Orlando, Florida is a great vacation destination for couples, families and more that want to enjoy theme parks, beaches, nature and a wide variety of entertainment. Located in the heart of Florida, Orlando is actually home to more than 50 theme parks and attractions spread across almost 4,000 square miles. With so many things to do, it’s hard to know where to start and planning a trip here can be overwhelming. The good news is that there is something for everyone and with such a diverse range of available activities, it’s difficult not to have a rewarding visit to this destination.
Here’s a list of some of the best ways to enjoy your vacation in Orlando…
Go to Disney World
Disney World is the most popular theme park in the world, and it’s easy to see why. There are four parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Each of these theme parks features rides and shows that will excite children and adults alike. You could easily fill up your vacation simply by visiting these four parks. Naturally, if you are coming to Orlando for a vacation, visiting at least one park is probably on your mind. And you should. Choose the one or two that match your interests the most and then spend the rest of your vacation at other places in the region, without the crowds and lines.
Take an Airboat tour through the swamps
For a different kind of excursion, why not join one of the airboat tours that take you through the wilderness of the Central Florida Everglades. You’ll encounter a combination of wildlife and beautiful nature, while enjoying time away from the city itself. Alligators are frequently seen as you zoom through the wetlands.
There are many options as well. You can take a short tour, longer tour, sunset tour, night tour or even a private tour just for your family or group of friends. Either way, if you love spending time in nature, this is an experience that should be on your list.
Visit the beach
You can visit the beach anywhere in Florida, and the beaches near Orlando are certainly not to be missed. Only 45 minutes away, you can easily reach places such as Cocoa Beach (a surfing haven!), Cape Canaveral (relaxed beach) and the expansive sands of New Smyrna Beach.
Each beach offers its own vibe, along with activities such as renting a boat, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, manatee sighting and more. You could even rent a bike and ride along the coast, passing through quiet neighborhoods and chilled-out town centers, finding no shortage of places to eat along the way. Rarely crowded the way that Miami Beach can get, these beaches offer a great day trip from Orlando in order to ensure you don’t leave Florida without having taken a swim!
Stay at a resort
If you’re traveling with kids, a resort stay can be an ideal option. With a lot of pre-planned activities at these resorts, it makes for an easier time since you won’t have to plan out every minute of the day on your own. Staying at such a resort also eliminates the need to find a place to eat for every meal.
All-inclusive resorts offer great value in many cases – especially when all food and drinks are included – so they are perfect for those on a budget. There are many resorts to choose from in Orlando, such as Westgate Resorts, and it’s worth looking through them all to see which one suits your family or group the best.
Visit the Kennedy Space Center
Only a 45 minute drive from central Orlando, the Kennedy Space Center is a great place to learn about the history of space travel. The center has an extensive museum and interactive exhibits that allow visitors to get a better understanding of how astronauts train for space flight, as well as how they live in space. You can see real rockets and other space vehicles there, too.
You can take tours of both launch pads (where rockets were launched) and flight decks (where they landed).
Even better, check the schedule in advance to see if you’ll be in Florida during an actual launch. If you are, head to the pier in the nearby town of Port Canaveral and watch the launch live. It’s a spectacular event to witness as you observe the rocket burst into the sky, with the sonic boom that soon passes over land.
Crystal River kayak tour
The crystal clear waters of Crystal River await anyone looking for a pristine slice of nature to marvel at. Hop in a kayak and enjoy a guided tour along this magical river, with two variations depending on the time of year you’re there. If you’re in Orlando during the winter months, you’ll have an excellent chance of seeing manatees as hundreds of them make this river their home in order to escape the cold. During the rest of the year, you’ll have an opportunity to visit several springs, including the famous Three Sisters Spring. You can swim in the beautiful water, look for dolphins, turtles and fish and paddle among some of the most impressive scenery in the entire state.
Spend time at Universal Studios
Universal Studios is another one of the more popular places to visit in Orlando of course. But it’s popular for a reason. It’s home to some of the most exciting rides and entertainment in the city and provides are more interactive experience, with activities that take you into the world of ET, Harry Potter, the Minions, Transformers, Fast and Furious and so much more.
With rollercoasters, rides, live shows and plenty of shopping and dining, it’s not surprising that you could easily fill up two days at Universal Studios alone.
Get wet at Aquatica
When you visit Orlando, getting wet at a water park is a very fun way to pass an afternoon. The water park Aquatica is particularly popular given its range of waterslides, rapids and more. There’s 13 different slides and water experiences to choose from!
Reef Plunge is a waterslide that actually takes you underwater to observe marine life and Riptide Race is the world’s tallest dueling waterslide. There’s also pools where you can simply relax, dining options and a lazy river to float down in order to enjoy some real calm vibes.
Experience the outdoors at Bok Tower Gardens
If you’re looking for another excursion out of the city, pay a visit to the Bok Tower Gardens approximately 1 hour away. This serene 250 acre garden is designed to offer a contemplative experience for visitors, right at the top of Iron Mountain. You can wander through the Olmsted Gardens, with over 126 different species of birds, and you can view the Singing Tower, with its impressive carillon (an instrument consisting of 23+ bells). You can also take a walk on over 2 miles of nature trails in order to learn about the unique upland savanna-like ecosystem that sits on one of the highest points in Florida.
If the hustle and bustle of Orlando gets to be too much, Bok Tower Gardens could be the answer to help you re-balance.
It goes without saying that there are endless ways to create a memorable Orlando vacation. As you can see, from theme parks and beaches, to hiking and boating, to nature and wildlife…and beyond, it’s hard to find a destination that offers such a variety of experiences. As a result, you simply need to look at the long list of options and figure out what suits you the most so that you can plan a fun-filled trip to this world-famous vacation destination!
The post How to Enjoy a Rewarding Vacation to Orlando, Florida appeared first on Wandering Earl.
Traveling alone is no longer terribly daunting. In fact, it is now seen as a common and wonderful way for people to avoid travel regret. Why not head out on your own? There’s no reason to wait when the world provides so many rich experiences for solo travelers to enjoy as well.
Some of those memorable experiences involve being active. Mountain sports, for example, involve activities that can be perfectly-suited to solo travelers given their focus on connecting with nature and relying on ourselves to move around. And there is perhaps no better place than the French Alps for such activities.
Fun-filled active holidays in French Alps can provide a fascinating experience, one that allows you to discover other cultures, partake in a variety of adventures, build confidence and create long-lasting memories on the way.
Why the French Alps?
- Easy and affordable access: To keep costs down as a solo traveler, affordable transportation can be the key. With a bus connection to almost every village and railhead, the Alps has an excellent public transport network.
- Safety: Solo travelers in this region need not fear about safety as it is considered to be a very safe and secure area.
- Accommodation: There is a wide network of huts (over 800 of them) spread across the Alps which allow solo travelers to spend the night in affordable rooms instead of using tents.
- Signage: Trail markings and signage are fool-proof throughout the Alps, good enough even for the less confident traveler.
- You might be solo, but you aren’t alone: The Alps attract a large number of solo travelers every year. As a result, you just might run into some of the same people over and over again and you’ll always come across new people. If you want to meet other travelers, you’ll have no problem at all while here.
Activities to try
There are a wide variety of activities that you could choose during a solo trip to the French Alps. And they all offer ways to spend some quality alone time in the fresh mountain air, in serene settings that will provide the quiet and peace of mind that you might be craving. Here are some ideas…
Extraordinary terrain, an exceptional lift system, serious investment in mountain biking infrastructure and spectacular scenery all come together to make the French Alps one of the best biking destinations in the world.
The Downhill and Cross-country riding programs provide you an opportunity to explore the forested valley floors over a network of trails. You can also take advantage of the lifts in order to navigate the high mountain routes marked Green, Blue or Red depending on their difficulty.
From the famous multi-day trek that is the incredible Tour du Mont Blanc to hiking the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt, the French Alps are a paradise for hikers. With accessible and well-marked trails in the shadows of soaring peaks, the Alps always provides options for all levels of walkers.
Solo hikers need not worry as plenty of accommodation is available through a combination of mountain huts, family owned chalets and hotels. To get the best out of this experience, you can have your luggage transferred from one accommodation to the next one in order to travel lightly and simplify the logistics while you enjoy the hiking.
A high altitude solo climb on a mountain route is simply one of the best ways to have an unforgettable adventure. When you climb solo, you are out there relying on your abilities to take you up to the summit and once you do reach the summit, the sense of achievement is something to behold.
The Alps have long been a hub of mountain climbing tourism given the sheer diversity of opportunities. Summer is naturally the most optimal time for such climbing, especially for first-time and solo climbers, as the snow cover will be gone. The weather is generally calm with plenty of sunny days. Even if you are not a seasoned mountaineer, you’ll find options and you can also find plenty of equipment to rent or purchase to help make your climbing easier.
A via ferrata, also referred to as an ‘Iron Path’, is a style of protected mountain route located mostly in Italy and Austria. However, they also exist in the French Alps. Though it’s not for the faint hearted as such a hike will involve metal cables and footholds, hence the name. You’ll cross over deep ravines and climb steps that leave you exposed right on the side of the mountain… it’s certainly enough to get the adrenaline flowing.
While via ferrata vary in design, required skill level and length, one thing they all have in common are surreal views. If you have the nerve, head to Le Rocher du Saint Julien in the Drome region. With a vertical drop of 288 meters and a length of 1.6 km, it’s sure to get your heart racing. And for some of the most magical views of the Mont Blanc range, the via ferrata of Les Evettes takes the crown.
If you love the tranquillity of being near water, the Alps provides something for you as well. Canyoning in the French Alps can be a beautiful experience, especially because most of the terrain in this region is well-suited for this activity. The combination of obstacles such as glacial gorges and deep rivers provides an inspiring canyoning experience for all those who attempt it.
Local experts will guide you through an itinerary based on your ability, so you don’t need to worry about going it alone. They’ll ensure you’re properly prepared for the course ahead and will help you with any of the difficult aspects so that you can really soak up the atmosphere of your impressive natural surroundings.
WHITE WATER RAFTING
Rather than stand atop a snow covered mountain or bike along windy roads, another option is to embark on a day of white water rafting. Some of the most popular locations for this activity include Arve, Dora Baltea and the Giffre. Rafting can easily be enjoyed by solo adrenaline seekers, especially if you are experienced. You can rent your own raft or join a group of others on an organized trip through the rushing waters.
During the summer months, the rivers around Chamonix are transformed into rafting playgrounds, as it’s considered one of the more ideal rafting spots. The cool waters of the Mont Blanc valley offer a respite from the harsh rays of the sun and are extremely popular with adventure lovers. Even if you are not an enthusiastic water person, a day of river rafting in Chamonix could change that.
The post Active Holiday Ideas in the French Alps for Solo Travelers appeared first on Wandering Earl.
Germany is already a world-famous destination among tourists and travelers. However, it has much more to offer than culture-packed big cities, wine-growing towns, and charming hamlets. Why not make a trip to explore some of the scenic villages in Germany this year?
Depending on your country of origin and the purpose of your visit, you may need a visa to enter Germany. Check here to see if you need a visa and how to apply for one well in advance of your trip.
Germany is home to many charming and scenic villages worth visiting. There’s so much more to this beautiful country, apart from the bustling and diverse Berlin.
Here are some of the most scenic villages in Germany:
Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a medieval town in the heart of the Franconian region of Bavaria that is famous for its half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, and extensive gardens. The town is surrounded by a well-preserved city wall and is home to several landmarks, such as the St. James Church, the Town Hall, and the Plönlein, a lovely square with a historic fountain. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is also a popular destination for tourists due to its Christmas markets, which are held in November and December.
Mittenwald – Located in the Bavarian Alps, Mittenwald is a village with a charming old town and an ideal mountain setting. The village is known for its colorful houses, painted in shades of yellow, green, and blue, and its many artisan workshops, where you can watch craftsmen at work. Mittenwald is also home to several landmarks, such as the St. Peter and Paul Church, the Maria Himmelfahrt Church, and the Linderhof Palace, a remarkable Baroque palace built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
Quedlinburg – Quedlinburg is a very well-preserved medieval town in the Harz Mountains with a rich history and an atmospheric old town. The town is known for its unique houses, narrow streets, and beautiful gardens, and it is home to several landmarks, such as the Quedlinburg Castle, the St. Servatius Church, and the Romanesque Church of St. Mary’s.
Tübingen – Situated in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Tübingen is a charming university town with a rich cultural and intellectual tradition. The town is known for its quaint old town, with its narrow streets, diversely colorful houses, and picturesque squares, and it is home to several landmarks, such as the Hohentübingen Castle, the St. George’s Church, and the Tübingen Old Town Hall. Tübingen is also known for its lively student culture and its many festivals and events.
Bacharach – Located in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Bacharach is a town with a rich history and a pleasant historical area. The town is known for its narrow streets and beautiful gardens, and is home to several landmarks of its own, such as the Bacharach Castle, the St. Peter’s Church, and the Stahleck Castle, a well-preserved medieval castle that now serves as a youth hostel. With its wine festivals and idyllic setting on the banks of the Rhine River, Bacharach is certainly worth considering.
Lindau – Lindau is another attractive destination with a delightful old town and a picturesque waterfront. The town is situated on the shores of Lake Constance and is home to several landmarks, such as the Lindau Lighthouse, the St. Stephen’s Church, and the Lindau City Hall.