Most travelers don’t know this fact unless they’ve been there, Canberra is the capital city of Australia located in the Australian Capital Territory being surrounded by the state of New South Wales and southwest of Australia’s largest city Sydney. It’s the largest inland city and the eight largest Australian city overall. As of latest measurement the city has a population of 345 thousand people.

Since 1901 the capital of Australia has been established in Canberra, although most foreigners think that Sydney or Melbourne is the capital city. Australia’s national parliament, federal government, the High Court of Australia, the Australian War Memorial along with several other important institutions are all located in Canberra.

Canberra has five large town centers; Central Canberra, Belconnen, Woden, Tuggeranong and Queanbeyan which lie in the valleys of the Canberra region. The most popular destination among travelers is Central Canberra which has several areas of interests. Historical and cultural sightseeing go alone with a modern city center where shopping, accommodation and dining facilities are widely available. Canberra is different than the most Australian cities, first of all it’s relatively young as it’s been established in 1927 and secondly it’s expanding rapidly with new developments. A strange but true fact is that city hall has excluded any building plans over 15 stories high. It makes the skyline a lot less appealing, unlike the modern cities. But don’t be turned off by the skyline, you will realize soon enough that Canberra is a great place to explore, relax, enjoy and learn about Australian lifestyle, culture and history.

Travelers to Canberra need a valid passport and visa. Citizens of America, Canada and Europe will automatically after application receive a tourist visa that is valid for 12 months. It permits multiple entries into Australia for a stay of up to 3 months on each visit.


Marseille formerly known as Massalia is the second largest as well oldest city in France. It forms the third largest metropolitan area after Paris and Lyon. Situated on the south east coast of France facing the Mediterranean Sea, Marseille has become France’s largest and most important commercial port. As of latest measurement the city of Marseille has a total population of 1,7 million people.

The rise of Marseille as a travel destination cannot be ignored, since 1998 the number of tourists has grown every year. Some may say the “World Cup effect” increased the number of tourists. But we think otherwise. Travelers wouldn’t go back to a city if they didn’t like it in the first place. It’s ever changing city center is fascinating as it offers fashion malls, cinemas and theaters, shopping facilities, music, concerts and hosts many congresses. Also cultural and historical sightseeing are available around city center, so without abandoning any of its history, Marseille presents itself as a modern European city of today.

Some of the things every traveler should have done, being in Marseille include visiting the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde a historical iconic church, Musée d’Histoire de Marseille a museum about the history of Marseille, Plage du Prado and Plage de la Corniche the shores of Marseille, Cathédrale de la Major one of the largest cathedrals of Europe, Musée de la Faïence a museum from the 18th century.

Travelers to Marseille need a valid passport and visa. American citizens can visit without a visa for up to 90 days. Marseille is a good destination any day of the year, the city offers besides regular tourist attractions many concerts, theater shows and ballets throughout the year. The summer time and its peak season are in the months May till August.


Bali is an Indonesian island located between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. Bali is one the 33 provinces in Indonesia, with the provincial capital Denpasar located south of the island. A small percentage of the population living on the island adheres to Balinese Hinduism, while the most follow the Islam. As of latest measurement Bali has a population of 3,5 million people.

Bali, also known as the Island of the Gods has a varied landscape with hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and white beaches. It’s colorful, unique and spiritual atmosphere takes serious weight in being the most popular tourist destination of Indonesia. It’s beaches are excellent for surfing and diving, while other daytime activities include cultural and historical sightseeing. The exact reason that Bali is such a popular travel destination is that backpackers as well the rich have suitable accommodations. Bali also offers highly developed arts which include; dance, painting, leather, sculpture and metalworking. Although the area is relatively small compared other favorite Indonesian destinations, such as Sumatra and Java, Bali is still the most popular tourist destination for years in row.

When traveling to Bali, most of the time you will have first stop at Jakarta’s international Soekarno-Hatta Airport. From there you will have connecting flight to Denpasar’s Ngurah Rai international airport. Despite the misleading name, the airport is roughly 30 minutes away from the city Denpasar. From there you can travel all around Bali, several popular destinations on the island include; Candidasa, Kuta, Jimbaran and Lovina.

You are required to get a visa to Indonesia. A tourist visa will allow a stay of up to 30 days. The VISA will be stamped on your passport upon arrival for 7 days (costs $10) or 30 days (costs $25). Only those from ASEAN countries are exempted. Your passport must also be valid for at least six months upon arrival.


Grahamstown is a city in the Eastern Cape, with a population of about 125,000, located North of Port Elizabeth. The city was founded by the British in the 1900s as an outpost during the Boer Wars, and there are some interesting historical military buildings and relics to be found throughout the city, as it has the largest number of forts of any city in South Africa. Grahamstown is the central city within “Frontier Country”, an area recognized by its turbulent past.

Firstly, the city has earned the nickname “the City of Saints”. There are over 40 religious buildings in Grahamstown, and the city caters for a wide range of different religions, including Hindu, Quaker, Muslim and Mormon adherents. The main bulk of the 40 buildings belong to the wide variety of Christian denominations. The Anglican Church is, logically enough, most well represented, and Grahamstown has an Anglican Bishop, who has his episcopal seat at the Anglican Cathedral of St Michael and St George. This Cathedral is perhaps the most impressive building in the city, with the tallest spire in South Africa.

Although I refer to Grahamstown as a city it feels more like a town even though it has a population in excess of one hundred thousand and a cathedral. It therefore also has a more intimate feel to it enhanced by the lack of high-rise buildings and the presence of thousands of trees inside the city boundaries. It is also not uncommon to find the odd donkey-cart in the streets. The town has three traffic lights excluding the pedestrian crossings with traffic light assistance. One of these can be found at St Andrews College, one of the world class schools in Grahamstown together with Kingswood College. The Diocesan School for Girls is also worth a mention and is the sister school to St Andrews College.

Secondly, Grahamstown is known for the Rhodes University, a world class institution with thousands of students. It is therefore not unusual to suspect that the night life in the city is something tremendous.

Nightlife in The City of Saints is almost always throbbing unless the students are between semesters then all of them are away at their respective homes. Even when the students are away the world class “The Rat and Parrot” pub is always busy and when the students are here it is almost impossible to move inside this double-storey double bar pub with a balcony area and an outside area. Grahamstown also has “Friar Tuck’s”, a well-visited pub with dance floor that usually receives its patrons late at nigh after they had visited The Rat and Parrot and other bars or private house parties. Slip Stream Sports Bar is further down the street from the Rat and Parrot and at this venue one can have a drink and try your gambling luck with slot machines.

This is also related to the third feature which makes Grahamstown such an attractive place to visit, is the fact that it is known as the festival capital of South Africa. Grahamstown hosts a number of cultural festivals throughout the year, which attracts visitors from all over the country. The main festival is the National Arts Festival, and during the week when it is in play, Grahamstown transforms into one large cultural exposition.

During the summer over December and January things become much more quiet in Grahamstown, but a mere fifty-odd kilometers to the South are the world class beaches at Port Alfred and Kenton-on-Sea where you will find thousands of holiday-makers. Port Alfred boasts one of the more impressive Marinas in the Southern Hemisphere whereas Kenton has two Blue Flag Beaches. If you like the beach and holiday atmosphere that accompanies summer then this whole area of the coast is for you.

All the large buildings and open spaces are occupied by musicians, dancers and comedians, and open-air theaters are erected on the main village squares, with ongoing performances throughout the day. Flea-markets span the street and hawkers sell extravagant goods on the sidewalks.

Grahamstown has something for everybody and it seems everybody is interesting. Get tired of this impressive city and you can take a quick trip to the beach or one of the game farms like Shamwari or a slightly longer ride to Port Elizabeth, one hundred and thirty kilometers away. I would recommend Grahamstown to any would-be traveler.

Amsterdam, De Wallen

De Wallen is the largest yet best known red light district area in Amsterdam, and the world. It’s a major tourist attraction that’s located in the heart of oldest parts of Amsterdam city. The area covers multiple blocks around the Oude Kerk and crosses several canals. De Wallen, together with the prostitution areas Singelgebied and Ruysdaelkade is locally known as “Rosse Buurt” and worldwide known as “Red Light District”.

De Wallen is a network of narrow streets containing approximately 300 one-room cabins rented by prostitutes who offer their services behind a glass door with red lights. In between the prostitutes there’s a number of sex shops, sex theaters, peep shows, bars and coffee shops selling marijuana. Though besides the sex industry which is most present in this area, there’s several other things to do. For example visiting the Sex museum (about $5 entrance fee) or the The Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum (about $15 entrance fee) which are both located in the heart of red light district. They show interesting sights on the history of sex and soft drugs.

The area also offers narrow streets near canals, with plenty of small cozy cafe’s, bars and restaurants. It’s recommended to stay in for a drink, the average price per beer is about $3,50 depending on the exact location and bar you’re in. In any of the coffee shops, were smoking marijuana is legal you may not smoke regular cigarettes or purchase alcohol.

In the recent years, the Dutch government has tried to change the reputation of de Wallen worldwide by making it safe, like more police surveillance and opening “regular establishments” such as shoe shops, office buildings and bakery shops in between the red lights of the prostitutes.

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth is one of the largest cities in South Africa, and the largest city in the Eastern Cape Province. The extended city, the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan area, houses over 1.3 million people. The city was founded by the British in 1820, and it has played an influential role during the Boer Wars, which has shaped its history. There are a number of historical attractions available to visit throughout Port Elizabeth, or the Windy City, as it is known locally, including the Historic Donkin Heritage trail, which allows visitors to relive the settler experiences of the early 1900s by following a trail past some of the remaining relics of the era.

The city is usually considered the last locality on the Garden Route, and like many of the Garden Route towns, the Windy City offers some great opportunities for watersports fanatics. The beaches of Port Elizabeth are generally accepted as the best beaches a large South African city has to offer, with warm water and perfect wind conditions for surfing waves. Closer to the CBD, Port Elizabeth has more to offer, and as the 2010 World Cup draws nearer, the city will be preparing for its own influx of international visitors, which will result in a better infrastructure, a revamping of the international Port Elizabeth Airport, and an extension of the already widely available accommodation on offer.

If you intend to stay in the city center, there are some interesting museums and extensive parks, including the King George Park, a sprawling cultivated garden with plenty of flora. Furthermore, Port Elizabeth has always been a sports-obsessed city, and there are some word class cricket and rugby stadiums featuring matches on a regular basis.

Finally, it has to be mentioned that even though Port Elizabeth is bordering the ocean, there is still an opportunity to see the Big Five in either the Addo Elephant Park, just outside PE, where Elephants and Buffallo roam free, and the luxurious Shamwari Game Reserve, where all the big animals of the continent can be seen in the semi-wild.

Cape Town, Greenpoint and Seapoint

Greenpoint is mostly a residential suburb. Located to the North-West of the central business district (CBD) in Cape Town, it is very close to the city center. For visitors, the main appeal of the suburb is the large number of restaurants, clubs, dance halls, bars and other nightlife. Since 2009, the Greenpoint Stadium has been in development.

This stadium will be the site of a number of 2010 Soccer World Cup matches, including a quarter and semi-final. Because of this, the number of accommodations is poised to rise exponentially over the coming months, and the suburb, which used to be both notorious for its high crime level and famous for its shopping and dining atmosphere, is set to be cleansed of its dark side.

Cape Town is often hailed as one of the gay capitals of the planet. If this is true, the Greenpoint is definitely the headquarters. GLBT emancipation has progressed a lot over the years, and the Seapoint on Greenpoint is characterized by Rainbow flags outside some well established gay bars.

For straight people, the suburb has much to offer as well, both night and day. During the day, the biggest African market in the city is set up near the site of the new Greenpoint Stadium. Sellers from all over Southern Africa set up their stalls most mornings, offering the widest variety of African art, in the form of statues, cloths and other handicraft items, of decent quality. Haggling is absolutely necessary if you intend to buy any souvenirs at the market.

The neighboring suburb of Seapoint has many of the same qualities, but the buildings are more expensive, there are a lot of high rise buildings, and the views of Lion’s Head, the little brother of Table Mountain, and the Atlantic Seaboard are an additional reason to visit.

Cape Town, Kirstenbosch Gardens

Kirstenbosch Gardens is a large botanical garden, inside Cape Town, on the slopes of the Table mountain. It is a 13km drive from the city center, and there are buses in the center and the Southern Suburbs which will take you to the Gardens directly.

The unique climate of the Western Cape, and the large amounts of indigenous species of flora which are found all over the country in special locations, such as the Table Mountain fynbos ecosystem, are all on display in a natural environment. Most of the 525 hectares of the Garden are cultivated by nature and can be enjoyed in their own habitat.

The cultivated garden area is an impressive botanical feat. South Africa has several differing climates, from the Mediterranean climate down at the West Coast, to semi-desert in the Karoo, humid wet forest in the East and dry patches in the Northern Cape. The cultivated garden recreates the best conditions for each of these areas, and some of the spectacular flora from the winter rainfall areas, which you would not be able to encounter inside the Western Cape, are blooming in Kirstenbosch.

Kirstenbosch does have an entrance fee, of about R30 (about $4), and with this you will have access to all the amenities inside the park. There are pathways throughout the park, a visitor center where maps can be purchased, toilets, a restaurant and a garden shop where seeds, flowers and other paraphernalia are offered.

Most days, visitors will come to the Garden for a lazy afternoon, a picnic, drinks or a chance to climb the Table Mountain from one of the more accessible slopes. Between November and April, Kirstenbosch offers something more, when the Summer Concerts occur every Sunday on the lawns. Some of the finest musicians and groups, included rock, jazz and classical, can be viewed live in this peaceful setting.


Stellenbosch is a town located just outside of Cape Town, in the Western Cape at 50 kilometers east of the city. It has about 50 thousand inhabitants, and it is the second oldest town in the country. The old settler houses and colonial buildings spread throughout the village are a nice sight for visitors interested in architecture.

There are two main features Stellenbosch is famous for. Firstly, there is the University of Stellenbosch, one of the oldest, more esteemed universities in the country, and one of the few universities being taught in African. Because the town itself is not very populous, and the university is relatively large, you will find a lot of students, and their predominance has left a mark on the village, as there are a lot of pubs, cafes and music venues in the dense town center.

The opening of the academic year, in February, is always a cause for celebration, and if you are looking for an opportunity to see African rock bands, you should attend this event, or one of the many festivals occurring irregularly throughout the year. Then there is the wine culture, the feature Stellenbosch is probably more famous for abroad. There are over 140 wine farms around Stellenbosch, and regular wine festivals occur during the summer months. There are many drivers in Cape Town and Stellenbosch advertising wine tours, where you can spend a day driving from farm to farm to taste the different types of wine, explore the cellars and farms, and buy some of the best wine South Africa has to offer directly from the producers.

If you are staying in the Cape Town and have the time to go on a weekend break, Stellenbosch is the perfect option. Accommodation is available both in the town and on some of the wine farms. Many of the wine places have developed into guest houses or restaurants, and the owners like taking care of their guests.

Cape Town, Camps Bay

Camps Bay is one of the famous beaches of the mother city. Because of its great location, only 15 minutes from the heart of Cape Town or the V A Waterfront, and about half an hour from the airport, it has become a busy tourist hub. Even though it is only a short drive to get there, the stunning views on the way past the mountainous windy roads will make you feel like entering a different place altogether.

The beach area itself is characterized by the long straight road, with boardwalks on the side, flanked by towering palms, which severs the beach from the hotels, restaurants and amenities. In the background, you can recognize the Twelve Apostles, the famous twelve mountain ridges.

Although the Atlantic Ocean waters near Cape Town are notoriously cold, even during the summer months, a brave swimmer will be tempted to jump in the deep blue waters bordering the sandy white beach. The waters are safe, with coast guards always on duty. However, sharks have been active, if rarely, in this area, and it is advised to keep close to the shore. For the not so brave, a large tidal pool, built in the 1930ies, will be the warmer (and safer) option to get some aquatic exercise.

You can rent umbrellas and loungers, and public toilets are situated near the west end, by the coast guard station. Beach volley, kite surfing, and scuba diving can all be organized, and a short drive away you will find a 30 holes golf course.

Among the many beachfront cafes, you are bound to find the perfect spot to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets in the city. If you are looking for a luxury stay and fine dining, the Bay Hotel and the Twelve Apostles Hotel both offer top of the line luxury rooms, several pools and sundecks, and their restaurants are equally acclaimed.