- Province of Quebec, Canada
- Washington, D.C., USA
- Islands of the Maldives
- Paris, France
- Sri Lanka
- Rome, Italy
- French Polynesia
Province of Quebec, Canada
Travelers from all over the world visit the province of Quebec. They are attracted by the spellbinding nature of the national parks and nature reserves, the crystal-clear water of the lakes and rivers, the distinctive atmosphere of the colonial past, numerous festivals, and the unique historical and contemporary attractions.
The historical center of Quebec City (Old Quebec or “the Old City”) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This area of the capital has narrow cobbled streets and most of the buildings here were built in the 17th-19th centuries.
One of Quebec’s major attractions is the magnificent 84-meter high Montmorency Falls. Also very popular are the Parliament Building, the Museum of Civilization (the largest in Canada) and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. Tip for the winter season: active travelers will appreciate the downhill ski resorts to the east of Quebec City.
Montreal is the province’s largest port city. It is located on the island of the same name at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa rivers. Montreal attracts people with loads of entertainment, massive festivals, and tourist attractions.
The most popular sites for tourists are: Mount Royal, where there’s a beautiful park, Old Montreal, the district that’s considered to be the city’s historical and cultural center, as well as the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal.
- See the medieval five-star Grand Hotel Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, the most impressive place in Quebec, and the nicest thing is that you can book it on ZenHotels! The castle and its majestic central tower are located at the top of Cap Diamant. If you aren’t able to stay here overnight, then you can definitely take a photo in memory of it.
- Stroll along the cozy streets of the Old City, where you can trace the entire 400-year history of the formation of New France.
- Admire the stained-glass windows, pictures, mosaics, and the stone and wooden sculptures in the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.
- Cross the suspension bridge at Montmorency Falls, which takes your breath away with its force; by the way, it’s 30 meters higher than Niagara Falls.
- Taste the best dishes of the national cuisine in the city’s atmospheric establishments. For example, Le Buffet de l’Antiquaire serves Quebecois French-style stewed meatballs (ragoût de boulettes) flavored with cinnamon, mace, marjoram, sage, and cloves.
Washington, D.C., USA
Proud Washington is an amazing city that attracts tourists from all around the world.
One fifth of the area of the US capital is comprised of picturesque green parks, in the midst of which a record number of memorials and obelisks rise proudly.
Besides historical and political points of interest, there are also interesting cultural centers located here. For example, the National Gallery of Art has the most diverse collection of art in all North America, and the breathtaking expositions in the museums of the Smithsonian Institution will captivate you for more than just one day.
When you are in Washington, be sure to visit the National Mall. This is the area where the main tourist attractions are concentrated, such as: The White House, the official “house” of all presidents of the USA; the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, where part of the Declaration of Independence is memorialized on its wall; the United States Capitol, the office of the United States Congress; the Lincoln Memorial, a majestic building designed in the style of an ancient Greek temple with 36 columns and a huge statue of Abraham Lincoln.
A must-see for book lovers is the Library of Congress, whose tireless curators have collected over 34.5 million books and other print materials. This is the largest book depository in the world with a unique collection of folios, and, most importantly, entrance here is absolutely free.
- See the United States Capitol. This beautiful building from the first half of the 20th century impresses with its grandeur and monumentality.
- Stroll down the National Mall, along which Washington’s main memorials, historical city museums, the Botanical Garden, and the Smithsonian Institution are located.
- Climb the Washington Monument, a 169 meter high granite obelisk made from white marble built in honor of the founding father George Washington.
- Marvel at the collection of the Library of Congress, which has more than 34.5 million books.
Barbados is a fabulous island surrounded by coral reefs, with wonderful beaches, lush tropical nature, and a consistently mild climate throughout the year.
Barbados was a British colony and retained the traditions of those years — five o’clock tea, golf, cricket, and polo. There’s a reason why the island is still called “little England”.
Like many other Caribbean resorts, this island is known for its tropical beaches with palm trees and white sand. In the west, calm waters gently lap the shores, creating ideal conditions for swimming; whereas on the east coast, there are huge roaring waves, which surfers will definitely appreciate.
Interesting fact: nudism and going topless are prohibited; in this respect, Barbados strictly adheres to conservative British traditions, so you still have to bring your bathing suit or swimming trunks.
By the way, Barbados is famous for the diversity of its animals and plants. Here, you can see unique green monkeys, red deer, caimans, turtles, raccoons, pelicans, and more.
And, of course, you can’t come to Barbados without trying the local light rum and Malibu, a coconut flavored liqueur. There is even a museum here dedicated to the pirates’ favorite drink. By the way, many colonial buildings that were former plantations and pirates’ shelters have been preserved in Barbados.
- See the rocks and waves at Bathsheba Beach — one of the most picturesque places in all Barbados, located between the rocky capes of the east coast.
- Stroll through historic Bridgetown, the UNESCO-protected capital of Barbados, which never ceases to amaze with pretty sights such as the Chamberlain Bridge and the grand parliament buildings, built in the high style of Victorian England.
- Relax in Hunte’s Gardens among flowering orchids and emerald-green ferns, overhanging palm fronds, and yellow-tipped craboo trees.
- Hug the baobab in Queen’s Park: the colossal trunk of Barbados’ largest tree can be found (and hugged, at least if you’re part of a group — you can’t do it alone!) on the lawn of beautiful little Queen’s Park in the very heart of Bridgetown.
- Set off for the uplands around Walkes Spring and Carrington in the heart of Barbados and go underground following the winding tunnels of Harrison’s Cave, one of the island’s most breathtaking natural wonders.
For those who crave new sensations and emotions, a vacation in Iceland is a cherished dream. After all, visiting here is like being at the end of the world surrounded by pristine nature.
The landscapes in Iceland are so different from the usual (especially if you’re a city dweller) that fantasy movies can be shot here without a theater set. There is everything here: an explosive mixture of glaciers with thundering waterfalls, smoking volcanoes, and a stunningly beautiful coastline. Icelandic cities and villages are modern, charming, culturally unique, and filled to the brim with attractions.
You must go to Iceland to climb higher and spread your hands out to the wind, be in total silence, catch a bit of long-awaited zen by relaxing in the turquoise waters of the Blue Lagoon, taste the local herring and see for yourself why it is called “Icelandic gold”, jostle in the crowd of tourists near the Strokkur Geyser in Haukadalur (the Valley of Geysers), that erupts into the sky several times every hour.
Warning: Iceland is famous for its unpredictable weather. There is even a saying here “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” This means that after some time, everything might become even worse. Regardless of the season, bring a waterproof windbreaker, comfortable hiking boots, fleece clothing, and thermal underwear. And don’t forget your thermos: hot tea will invigorate you and warm you if you get wet in the rain.
- Go on a whale safari — a whale-watching boat tour.
- Ride Icelandic horses, which are easily recognizable by their short stature, short and strong legs, and muscular rump.
- Relax in the Blue Lagoon spa complex; better still, go swimming later in the evening while observing the mysterious northern lights.
- See the most powerful waterfall in Europe — the Dettifoss Waterfall in northern Iceland.
- Take a hike on a glacier and visit an ice cave.
Islands of the Maldives
A vibrant holiday life in an unusual place — isn’t this the dream of worn-out travelers or any person who has worked hard the whole year in order to take a well-deserved rest?
The Maldives are an astonishingly diverse archipelago of twenty atolls (groups of islands and islets) in the equatorial waters of the Indian Ocean.
Many of the archipelago’s islands are still uninhabited, but a little over two hundred are inhabited and have comfortable living conditions for even the most demanding tourist.
Here, you will find the purest sandy beaches, summer the whole year round, and total safety — there are no poisonous insects and predators, and there is complete protection from the side effects of noisy civilization.
It’s as if the nature of the Maldives was been created in response to travelers’ most frequent requests — some of the landscapes are covered with lush tropical vegetation, while other landscapes are just snow-white sand and azure water. It’s a little piece of heaven on earth!
- Dive down to picturesque reefs with white corals, labyrinths, caves, and grottos. Overcome your fear and get close to the hammerhead shark; or, on the other hand, swim with the kindest dolphins; or you can simply admire the multicolored exotic fish.
- Stroll through Malé, the world’s smallest capital city, with an area of merely 5.8 km2. Despite its size, there are plenty of sights to see here: the National Museum, Grand Friday Mosque, Jumhooree Maidhaan park, Muleeaage palace, and the Medu Ziyarat chapel.
- Stay on a deserted island. There are 1196 islands in the Maldives and only 200 of them are inhabited. Tourists can go to a deserted island to enjoy peace and quiet away from civilization.
- Dine in one of the underwater restaurants surrounded by stingrays and multicolored fish.
- The Boduberu dance is a foot-tapping dance accompanied by drumming that was brought to the Maldives about 10 centuries ago, and has become a real tradition since then.
One of the world’s most traditionally popular destinations is not losing any ground — romantic, stylish, elegant, and oh so beloved Paris!
Its marvelous architecture, dense gardens, and winding streets, filled with the aroma of roasted chestnuts, will delight everyone who comes here. Each year, 45 million people visit the “City of Love” to see Montmartre, the Luxembourg Garden, and the Venus de Milo sculpture in the Louvre Museum with their own eyes.
Paris has a great variety and large number of entertainment venues — there’s something for everyone here. The most popular cabaret is the Moulin Rouge, where costumed singing and dancing shows are performed every night for an adult audience.
If you decided to bring your whole family to Paris, be sure to include a visit to Disneyland in your tour program. This popular amusement park, located in the suburbs of Paris, will be fun for both the kids and their parents.
If you long for a bit of romance, head to Montmartre with its picturesque little cobbled streets and stairways, ride the carousel at Place des Abbesses, which is the location for the famous Le Mur des Je T’aime wall, where the phrase “I love you” is written in 280 languages! The Musée de la Vie romantique (Museum of Romantic Life) is located nearby.
Just be careful you don’t catch “Paris syndrome”, which we told you about recently.
- Climb the Eiffel Tower. Well, you haven’t been to Paris unless you’ve been to the top of it!
- Have a picnic on the Champ de Mars. The park’s neat and tidy lawn is just asking you to spread out a blanket, take out some cheeses, uncork a bottle of rosé, and admire the view of the “Iron Lady”.
- Another Parisian thing you absolutely must do is buying fresh croissants for breakfast. In this city, even the pigeons cannot imagine life without croissants.
- Take a boat ride on the Seine (you can even do it twice — during the day and in the evening), and if you come as a couple, don’t forget to kiss under the Pont Marie bridge to ensure you’ll always be together and have a long and happy life.
- Lose track of time while looking at the exhibits in the Louvre and smile back at the Mona Lisa.
The pearl of the Indian Ocean, an island of magnificent beaches, picturesque waterfalls, thousand-year-old palaces, and lush tropical jungles — Sri Lanka amazes visitors with its lavish, exotic beauty.
The ancient temples, surprising cultural traditions, and unique nature of the country’s forest reserves attracts adventure lovers and photographers.
Sri Lanka has a vast variety of historical and cultural monuments collected over 2500 years. Here, you will see magnificent archaeological sites, seven of which are UNESCO world heritage sites.
There are many Buddhist shrines in Sri Lanka, so every year, very many pilgrims come to Sri Lanka to be in the same places the great Buddha was in. One of the main places is Adam’s Peak (the locals call it Sri Pada), where the Buddha’s footprint is preserved.
Fans of beach holidays appreciate Sri Lanka for its great variety of beaches: some people are looking for calm waters, whereas others seek out rougher waters.
The vacation style of Sri Lanka can be briefly described as follows: away from the hustle and bustle and closer to the sea and nature.
- Visit Pigeon National Park and be enraptured by white sandy beaches, multicolored coral reefs, starfish, sea urchins, turtles, and hundreds of brightly colored fishes of various shapes, sizes, and colors.
- Visit the Dambulla Cave Temple and become a witness of a unique natural phenomenon: the water along the sides of the cave moves upward, not yielding to the force of gravity.
- Hear the “singing fishes” in Batticaloa. In the summer, especially during a full moon, “fish singing” is heard coming from the lagoon — it sounds rather like the clink of a glass goblet or the sound of a harp string. Scientists from various countries have been struggling to find the reason for the strange acoustic effect over a decade, but so far they have not come close to uncovering the secret.
- Visit Sigiriya — a 170 meter high cliff with a fortress at the top and impenetrable jungles at its base. There’s a fantastic view of the surroundings from the top of the cliff.
- To find out more about tea, visit the plantations of the tea center Nuwara Eliya, located high up in the mountains, and also spend time at the tea factories, taste different varieties of tea, learn the culture of tea drinking, and how to distinguish true Ceylon tea from fakes.
Rome is one of those places where you want to return to again and again. For a long time, the city is more than just the capital of Italy, but also a portal that sends travelers back 2000 years in time and allows them to see how everything began.
The entire center of Rome is under the protection of UNESCO, so every building here is a heritage site. There are so many historical places clustered together in Rome, that, after spending a couple hours in this city, the poor tourist’s heart and brain are forced to reboot — the perfect way to do this is to buy a gelato (Italian ice cream) and eat it calmly in the shade, quietly contemplating the unhurried passage of time.
When strolling around Rome, besides the Colosseum, of course, we advise you to pay attention to these places of interest:
- The Pantheon is a temple where people used to worship pagan gods. Thanks to a lot of restoration work, its grandeur has been preserved to this day.
- Piazza San Pietro (Saint Peter’s Square) was created by the architect Bernini. The church here, Saint Peter’s Basilica, is the largest Christian church.
- Castel Sant’Angelo is also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Many people discovered the building after Dan Brown’s book Angels and Demons was made into a movie.
You’ll also enjoy the majestic fountains that are scattered across the whole city. Rome can easily be called the “city of fountains” because no other capital in the world can boast of having so many of them.
- Drink coffee on the Piazza Navona. All year round, something interesting is happening on this square: street musicians are performing in concerts, artists are painting caricatures, live statues and clowns are entertaining the public, and it’s best of all to observe this pleasant hustle and bustle while sipping a cup of coffee on a café patio.
- Toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain. It’s widely believed that if you fling one coin into the fountain — you’ll return to Rome; if you toss in two coins — you’ll find love; if you cast in three coins — there will be a wedding soon; if you throw in four coins — riches await you.
- Savor some gelato in one of the famous gelaterias Rome’s legendary gelato is so delicious that it can rightfully be called a local landmark.
- See three states in the keyhole at once. For this, head to Giardino degli Aranci (orange garden) and walk to the Knights of Malta Keyhole. You can view Malta, Italy, and the Vatican through this very keyhole.
- Stroll around the Trastevere neighborhood to see genuine Italian life: loud and hasty conversations, laundry hanging out to dry, cozy little cafés, and ancient houses.
European tourists have long recognized Ireland as a great place to spend their holidays thanks to an extensive excursion program, delicious beer, distinctive nature, and impressive history.
Ireland is called the “Emerald Isle”, which keeps attracting travelers with its northern beaches, amazingly tasty and original cuisine, and large number of medieval castles.
A holiday in Ireland is not fun on the beach. Although the country is practically surrounded by the sea from all sides, the cool climate is not very conducive to bathing. Ireland is breathtaking landscapes with ancient castles, fortresses, and cathedrals buried in verdure.
The capital, Dublin, is a city where you will immediately feel cozy. Here, you can always find a welcoming little café or pub where you’ll feel like warming yourself up with a cup of coffee or quenching your thirst with a beer.
According to legends, Ireland is the haven of fairies and elves, and the locals are not in a hurry to disprove these legends. This is also the homeland of one of the best sorts of whiskey in the world, which you will certainly appreciate.
The hospitality and inimitable sense of humor of the Irish will guarantee an unforgettable trip.
- Stop by a pub for a couple pints of Guinness, the world’s most famous dark beer.
- Visit the National Leprechaun Museum. Don’t laugh because the Irish relate to Celtic mythology with respect and awe. Fairies, dwarfs, and elves have made a significant contribution to Irish national culture.
- Visit Blarney Castle, kiss the miraculous Blarney stone, after which your eloquence will amaze all listeners (you’ll be able to use your “silver tongue” to tell everyone about your trip!).
- Buy Claddagh rings as gifts; they are sold in almost all jewelry shops in Dublin. The heart symbolizes love, the two hands represent friendship, and the crown stands for loyalty.
- See the Cliffs of Moher, one of the most popular sites in Ireland. The cliffs are 200 meters high and run for about 8 kilometers along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. This place will really appeal to Harry Potter fans because this was where the scenes for the last part of the film series were shot.
French Polynesia is practically a full collection of advertising slogans from tourist booklets: “snow-white beaches” are available; there are “crystal-clear coastal waters” as far as the eye can see; and where would we be without “brightly colored schools of tropical fish”? There’s also “Lush tropical greenery!” — well, you get the idea.
In French Polynesia, the names of the islands refer directly to legends: Tahiti — the Queen of the Pacific Ocean; Mo’orea — the island of flowers and dreams; Bora Bora — the most beautiful island in the world; Hua Hin — the island of the ancient ruins of Polynesian temples; Raiatea island is the cradle of Polynesian civilization, and, according to the legend, the birthplace of the gods; and Hiva Oa was Gauguin’s favorite island.
French Polynesia attracts tourists with the beauty of its underwater world and very rich fauna (turtles, starfishes, manta rays, sharks, and unique fishes). The islands also have cultural points of interest, such as the following interesting museums: the Museum of Tahiti and the Islands (Punaauia), the Paul Gauguin Museum (Teva I Uta), the Museum of Seashells (Papara), and the Pearl Museum (Papeete), as well as others.
- Swim with the stingrays on Bora Bora (you can even hug them). The bravest can even feed sharks from their hands!
- See pink sand on Fakarava Atoll. These unbelievably beautiful sites are often visited both by tourists and Fakarava locals, who come here on the weekends to swim or take a picnic.
- Visit the pearl farms on the Manihi Atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago. Manihi, located far away from the modern world, has been the cradle of pearls in Tahiti since 1965. Today, as before, there are active farms that will leave a lasting impression on you after you visit them. Here, you get a clear picture of just how much time and effort goes into the production of these treasures.
- Fall asleep to the sound of the waves in a bungalow on piles in Bora Bora — isn’t this a dream or a romance? The views from the terrace are stunning: velvety blue-green islands fringed by magnificent beaches and waters filled with schools of multicolored fishes darting among the corals.
- Buy souvenirs at the market in Papeete. This is precisely the place where it’s worth stocking up on products from local craftsmen — Monoi oil, perfumed tiaré flowers, mother-of-pearl jewelry, as well as tropical fruits that you can eat right away.
Wherever you decide to go, we really hope that you will choose a destination after your own heart and organize an unforgettable vacation for yourself! We will be happy to provide you with the broadest selection of accommodation options on ZenHotels.