Ten Reasons to Go to Oktoberfest

By jen - Last updated: Friday, September 21, 2012

For beer and lederhosen lovers the world over, Oktoberfest is a veritable Mecca of boozy surrealism. Taking place over sixteen days straddling September and October in the Bavarian capital of Munich, Oktoberfest is set to welcome upwards of 5 million people for a festival of tradition and revelry. Here are ten reasons why you should join them.

10. The Funfair

Rollercoasters and dodgems may not be everyone’s idea of post-session fun and they probably aren’t compatible with stomachs filled with bratwurst, but the Oktoberfest funfair is a thrilling and unmissable staple of the festival that will surely capture any and all visitors at one point or another. Caution and discretion is most definitely advised.

9. The Schottenhamel

As one of the festival’s most famous tents, the Schottenhamel has a lofty reputation to live up to, but it might not be for everyone. Unlike most other tents, alcohol is not served as soon as Oktoberfest opens but only after the mayor of Munich has tapped the first keg at 12pm on the first Saturday of Oktoberfest. This is one of the event’s most popular traditions.

8. The Clothing

Germany is a bustling, multicultural and thoroughly modern nation, but there are some perceptions of Germany that will never die. Bavarian costume is a common sight around Oktoberfest and you should never pass on an opportunity to join in the festivities with some lederhosen-clad visitors and local milkmaids.

7. The Music

Along with the clothing, Oktoberfest’s music is among the things that are most important to the festival’s image. What would Oktoberfest be without hulking brass bands playing ompah music to the masses as they saunter round the site and take in the amazing atmosphere.

6. The Augustiner-Festhalle

The Augustiner-Festhalle ranks among the most the popular tents in the minds of locals and Oktoberfest regulars and conveniently offers a definitive slice of what the festival represents to hard-core members of the Oktoberfest fraternity. Augustiner is one of the most popular beers at the festival due to the fact it is stored in wooden, and not steel, kegs.

5. The History

Oktoberfest has been going on for longer than Germany has been an actual country. Held since 1811, Oktoberfest initially celebrated all things agricultural and awarded farmers for their efforts over the harvest period. It has undergone major transformations since then, having survived two world wars and persevered in the years before reunification, so there’s a lot to learn about the country from this one festival.

4. The Tents

We’ve listed a couple of the larger and more distinguished tents already, and though they may be essential, they are far from the only ones on offer. There are 14 large tents and over 20 small tents at Oktoberfest, currently, and they are all worth exploring. So have a look around and find which ones you like best, which ones you hate and create a personalised Oktoberfest especially for you and your friends.

3. The Food

Of course the food on offer at Oktoberfest is just as famed as the beer, and there’s is something suitably massive, exotic or intriguing for everyone’s differing palettes. Whether that is the unusual types of sausages, chicken, pork, oxen or fish is really up to you. So maybe skip breakfast and save room for the smorgasbord of culinary wonders.

2. Ease and Price

As part of ebookers Travel Happier Sale, you can make your way over to this legendary festival without having to break the bank. Munich is a very hospitable city with over 340 hotels of all standards that are well-staffed with friendly and helpful people as well as clean and easy to get to. Even if Oktoberfest gets a bit messy for your tastes, there will always be a safe retreat wherever you are in the city and the surrounding region.

1. The Beer

If anything has swayed you to go to Oktoberfest beyond the 9 reasons listed above and the countless others that have been foolishly left off this list, it is the beer, No question. There are so many distinctive offerings at the festival, and all of them are strong – you’re unlikely to find anything below 5-6% alcohol content or a beer not served in a sizeable glass. So enjoy yourself, sample everything on offer and enjoy yourself responsibly.

Beautiful Bali

By jen - Last updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012

Home to a seemingly never ending summer, the Indonesian island of Bali is a tropical wonder whose beauty will amaze you. So with flights and hotel stays more affordable than ever, there are plenty of reasons why you should consider a trip to Bali.

You can arrange flights and hotels to Bali with ebookers for as little as €1,014 if you book now. If you book at least 30 days in advance, you can get return flights and stay in a four or five star hotel for a fantastic price. The Raini Hotel & Spa (€1,103 for flights & hotel) and The Oasis Lagoon Sanur (€1,115 for flights & hotel) are both luxurious hotels, brimming with quality that are now within reach. However, one of the best hotels on the island has to be the five star Anantara Bali Uluwata. Skirting the ocean, this thoroughly modern hotel is spacious and minimalist in design, but is sure to provide a warm and inviting home for visiting tourists, however long they stay. 

Once you’ve settled down, it’s time to explore the many wonders the island has to offer. A great place to start is by going to Bali’s coral reefs. They are a feast for the eyes and the Bali Reef Cruise and Lembongan Island Day Trip will surely be an exhilarating experience for anybody in search of breathtaking sights.

You will travel to the nearby island of Lembongan – a paradise of palm trees and sandy white beaches – where you can choose to view the reef from the relative comfort of a semi-submersible coral viewer, or you can fully immerse yourself in the gorgeous reef by snorkelling or scuba diving. If you want to ignore the reef entirely, you can explore the island’s villages and indigenous culture or indulge in some fun, water-based activities. At eight hours, the trip is lengthy, but food and snacks are provided.

When you wander inland, you’ll quickly realise that, despite its size, the island is a place of great geographical disparity. After the Bali Reef cruise, and exploring the depths of the ocean, you could find yourself exploring the island’s dizzying heights as part of the Bali Kintamani Volcano, Ubud and Barong Dance Full-Day Tour. In addition to the over-awing sights of the Kintamani volcano, your tour guide will show off the regions traditional temples as well as the local culture and people, from stone carvers to indigenous dancers. Other stops on the tour include the intriguing Elephant Cave and Mount Batur, an active volcano, and the holy springs. 

Wandering away from the beaches and volcanoes, you will find yourself immersed in the island’s natural wonders. Such examples come in the form of the Bali Monkey Forest – where hundreds of monkeys inhabit a forest full of sky-scraping trees – and temples like the aged Sunset Temple of Tanah Lot. Scenic walks through the countryside and paddy fields form a major part of this touring affordable experience that is not to be missed. Bali is a place of true beauty and you will never be short of things to do.

 

Famous Museum Destinations

By jen - Last updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012

Museums provide a sense of wonder and amazement that few other tourist destinations can, and no matter which corner of the world you find yourself in, there are sure to museums that are worth checking out. However, there are museums that cannot be missed and simply must be visited by everyone. Here are a few of the world’s most famous museums; no matter which one you visit, it is sure to provide an enriching and unforgettable experience.

The Louvre in Paris is home to some of the world’s finest, most distinguished art work, including da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and for €49, you can skip the queues and enjoy a guided tour. Instead of rushing round the museum and having to resist the hustle and bustle, you will be given priority by the museum, and your tour guide will dispense expert insights that regular visitors wouldn’t be privy to. In addition to the Mona Lisa, this tour will focus on the Venus de Milo and the Victory of Samothrace, and you will be allowed to explore the museum at your leisure long after the tour has ended. The Unic Renoir Saint Germain Hotel is the perfect place to base yourself. Cosy and affordable, it is perfectly conducive to a comfortable stay.

London is not far from Paris if you go by plane or train, and while you’re there, you can take a 3 ½ hour private walking tour of the British Museum and the Soane Museum. Firstly, an art historian will give you a personalised tour of the British Museum and litter your visit with many illuminating insights about the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies and sculptures from the Parthenon. Meanwhile, the Saone has an extensive collection of artwork, including paintings and sculptures, all of which will be described in great detail by your guide. Victoria’s The Grosvenor has just undergone a massive refurbishment and provides well-sized and well-furnished rooms that will ensure your comfort.

Described as both educational and entertaining, New York’s American Museum of Natural History is a popular stop for families and hosts some of the most important landmarks in scientific and cultural history. The Super Saver package includes admission to the Museum, the Rose Centre for Earth and Space, the Planetarium Space Show, IMAX film, and all special exhibitions. The complex is an architectural wonder and should be admired by itself, but its contents are engaging and endlessly interesting, also. Manhattan’s Park Central Hotel is perfect for a short stay and is set-up to look after your every need.

If you want to go deep into ancient history, then there is no better museum than the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. An epic private tour is offered, and it can last from six to eight hours, but it provides a lot of important historical context to famous Egyptian landmarks such as the Pyramids and the Sphinx. The museum has over 165,000 ancient artefacts; an Egyptologist will teach you about the most important ones before taking you to see the priceless treasures of Tutankhamun. You can customise your own itinerary, and tours of the Albaster Mosque of Salah el-Din and Khan el Kalil bazaar are offered as part of the package. The Concorde el Salam Hotel is a luxurious residence that lies only 15 minutes from Cairo Airport and comes in at a reasonable €84 per night.

 

Activity-Filled Holiday in Melbourne, Australia

By jen - Last updated: Thursday, August 16, 2012

Australia is an ultimate holiday destination for many, but if you’re planning on heading Down Under, you may as well make the most of it and take in all the great activities and visual wonders that Australia has to offer. Take Melbourne, for instance, which offers plenty of fun-filled tours and activities that will surely leave holiday-goers with fond memories to look back on.

To get a taste of Australia’s wonderfully unique wildlife, consider taking the Savannah Walkabout, which gives the opportunity to roam wide open spaces in the hopes of seeing koala bears, kangaroos and the area’s many exotic birds, including emus and cockatoos, and it’s not too far from the city centre, either. The open forest walkabout is as close as you can come to witnessing these magnificent creatures in the wild. An expert e guide will be on hand to guide you around the park, which is within short distance of the city centre and is of great importance to the Aboriginal people. 

If you fancy something more aquatic yet still nature-centric, then perhaps the Shark Walking Experience will be more your style. This thrilling underwater walk, as offered by Melbourne Aquarium, is sure to be unforgettable as you stand face-to-face with shark and stingrays and walk among the aquarium’s hundreds of fantastical fish. No diving experience is required. and the custom-made Shark Walker helmets will allow you to breathe naturally, so all you have to worry about is your adrenalin levels for the 20-minute tour.

A staring contest with a shark may not be everybody’s idea of fun, but if you still want to get your feet wet, Melbourne’s Kayak Tours are a slightly less exhilarating way to do so. The tours are offered during the afternoon and at night and both offer a chance to take in the Melbourne skyline while in the midst of Melbourne’s gorgeous dockland vistas. If you decide to take the nocturnal option, you can expect a quirky dining experience while on the water, as you are served fish and chips aboard your kayak, but that’s before you start paddling. After dinner, you’ll tour past Bolte Bridge, through downtown and out past the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Rod Laver Arena. Again, no kayaking experience is need for this one of a kind tour.

If you’re tiring of Melbourne’s great weather and summer vibe, Mt Buller isn’t far away. It may surprise you, but Melbourne does in fact offer Ski Tours. You can take a full tour to try out Melbourne’s premier ski resort between June and October, and hone your skiing skills in an unlikely environment. Book now and you can save 50% on a Yara Valley Wineries tour.

Fraser Place provides four-star accommodation at a reasonable rate and renowned hospitality, while the BreakFree Heritage on Little Bourke is convenient as well as cosy and distinctive, making it the most affordable option. Rydges on Swanston is very well located and has some of the city’s best skyline views, also.

 

Edinburgh Getaway

By jen - Last updated: Thursday, August 2, 2012

Scotland is famous for many things, kilts, haggis, the Lochness monster, the highlands and Castles to name a few. Scotland is steeped in history and is the perfect destination to explore the castles, ruins and battle fields of the high kings of Scotland. Edinburgh is one of the main cities in Scotland and offers a huge range of tours dedicated to the castles, highlands and everything that makes Scotland such a beautiful place to visit.

Edinburgh is a city of high culture and the perfect location for Europe’s largest Cultural and Arts Festival. The annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe takes place over 25 days in August and this year it runs from the 3rd to the 27th of August and is sure to be as amazing as previous years. Performers from all over the world come to Edinburgh to display all imaginable types of entertainment. From comedy to dance to music there is something for everyone. Hotels will book up so it’s best to book early.

The newly restored The Howard is a 5-star city centre hotel. With only 18 bedrooms, you will feel like a guest in a very grand house with service and quality to the highest of standards. The Howard is located a 7 minute walk from George Street, where Edinburgh’s chic designer boutiques can be found, 6 minute taxi journey from Edinburgh Waverley train station and 9 miles from Edinburgh Airport.

But as Edinburgh is famous for its castles why not indulge and stay in one while on your trip! The Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Spa is located on the banks of the River Esk and Edinburgh is only 20 minutes away.

While staying in Edinburgh, if you are not lucky enough to be there during the Fringe Festival, there are many tours to take in the beauty of the highlands, Loch’s and Castles ranging from one to five day excursions. Scotland also being famous for its whiskey means you can’t visit this country without a tour and tasting of their finest whiskeys. The integrated Highland Lochs, Glens and Whisky Small-Group Day Trip from Edinburgh is a must to sample not only the rugged landscape but the locally brewed whiskey.

Edinburgh is also home to the town of Melrose and Rosslyn Chapel which are featured in the Dan Browns famous ‘Da Vinci Code’. Take a tour and visit both places and learn all about the Holy Grail and its suspected resting place.

Edinburgh has a very gruesome past and the city gives you the chance to experience this with a tour of their Dungeon. The Edinburgh Dungeon experience incorporates real live actors, shows and interactive special effects to give you a unique journey through the world of Scotland’s haunted past.

 

 

 

 

Luxury Destinations

By jen - Last updated: Friday, July 27, 2012

Cape Town

Cape Town is the capital of Western Cape Province and has a lot to offer. While it is now a modern a booming business city many of its historic buildings have been saved allowing for you to explore the history of this metropolis. With the Table Mountain situated in the heart of Cape Town and beaches and vineyards surrounding it you will never be stuck for things to do.

The Table Bay hotel is a modern yellow and blue building typical of the waterfront properties of Capetown. It is situated on the waterfront in an ideal location for shopping and as a base for a stay in Capetown.

While in the city one of the best ways to take in all the famous attractions is by Open-Top bus tour. A must see while in the Capital is the famous Cape Point, and what better way to take it all in than on a tour combined with wine tasting in their world famous vine yards.

Bangkok

Bangkok is a city that never sleeps, one which does not accept order and plans. You must just go with the flow and let the city take you were it wants. Lined with markets, outdoor eating and cultural and religious areas at every corner you will find it difficult to be bored in this huge city with the social manner of a small town. The Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok is perfectly situated in the middle of the commerce centre and is surrounded by shopping centres and close to train stations. With a huge variety of amenities within the hotel and welcoming staff you will not want for anything.

The five star Oriental Residence Bangkok is in the centre of Bangkok and Epitomises casual elegance and traditional luxury. With a spa, fitness centre and indoor and outdoor pool there is everything you need to enjoy your time in Bangkok.

The islands of Thailand are famous and there is something to suit everyone. Whether you are going for relaxation, fun or pampering there is an island that incorporates it.

India

India is one of the most diverse countries you may ever visit. From beaches to markets to temples, this country has a multitude of ethnicity and social influences.

Agra is home to one of the most famous temples in the world, the Taj Mahal. This is a must do tour with private tours available to experience in luxury the magical and romantic history of India. The Grand Imperial Agra is a five star hotel steeped in history. Located in the centre of Agra it will allow you to experience a true experience of culture for days.

One of the most diverse parts of the culture of India is its food. And what better way to really experience the food of the locals than by eating with them. Dehli is just two hours from Agra and the Dehli Cultural Experience allows you to cook and eat with locals and learn first-hand some of their traditions and all about their culture.

London

Although it’s only a stone’s throw away London is perfect for that luxurious weekend getaway with your partner or friends. With such an abundance of hotels and activities you will never be short of things to do. Whether it’s shopping on London’s most famous street, Oxford Street or attending a Musical on the West End. London is full of famous buildings and monuments and they are easy to experience. Some of the most exciting attractions are Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Madam Tussouds, The Tower of London and the London eye. Most of these can be taken in with a tour which first takes you on a cruise along the River Thames followed by a tour of London and London Tower. 

Claridge’s is one of London’s most exclusive hotels. Situated at the heart of Mayfair you will be close to all that London has to offer. Directly beside Hyde Park and within walking distance of Oxford Street this is a hotel to really spoil you with by staying.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s diversity is evident throughout this intense city. Mingled with the traditional temples are modern steel and glass buildings. With a maze of markets and boutiques you can shop to your heart’s desire. The Hong Kong Sunset Cruise brings gives you an unforgettable night with an evening cruise on Hong Kong’s dazzling Victoria Harbour, with a nine-course Chinese dinner at Aberdeen’s famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant.

To really indulge while in this magnificent city, staying in the five* Island Shangri-La Hong Kong will give you views of the Harbor or the Peak and give you access to award winning restaurants offering a superb range of international cuisine.

The Grand Hyatt Hong Kong is another hotel that epitomises luxury with its waterfront views of the famous Victoria Harbour. Amazing views of the harbour can be seen from your room or the restaurant.

 

Hawaii – Paradise Islands

By jen - Last updated: Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hawaii is made up of 6 unique islands spanning a 2400km area along the west coast of the USA. Hawaii is a as a paradisiacal place where you can enjoy the beautiful beaches, clear water and the volcanic mountains which are fantastic for hiking.

You will more than likely fly into Hawaii’s main airport, Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu. You can however get direct flights from mainland USA airports to islands such as Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii Island. Connecting flights through Oahu, are however generally needed, to get to the islands of Lanai and Molokai. 

Each island has something to offer and you will find that your first visit will not be your last. Home to dolphins, whales and surfing your visit will be a memorable one. The culture of Hawaii is diverse with many different influences. A must while visiting the island is to watch an authentic luau where you can get a taste of Hawaiian culture and watch the art of the hula.

Hawaii has two National Parks – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, on the island of Hawaii, and Haleakala National park, on Maui. Also on the islands is the much-visited U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. The island is full of other Federal Preserves, Walkways, and Historic Sites such as Pi’ilanihale Heiau. There are also many state and county parks, including the popular Waimea Canyon State Park on Kauai.

There are a host of activities to occupy your time in Hawaii. Two I would recommend would be the Turtle Reef Kayak Tour and to take some surfing lessons! The Turtle Reef Kayak Tour brings you around Makena Bay and allows you to enjoy snorkelling with the endangered green sea turtle all the while taking in the amazing views of Haleakala. The tour caters for all ability levels from the age of five up. So whether you’re a first timer or an experienced paddler this is an experience you won’t want to miss! Surfing is the most popular sport on the islands and there are many lessons available, private or semi-private. 

If you’re more interested in the volcanoes Hawaii has many tours and activities available.  The Kilauea Volcano Small Group Adventure Tour will start out from Kona and travel up the coast over desolate lava flows before bringing you up through the pasturelands on the flanks of Mauna Kea. You will see a dramatically diverse landscape from ranchland to sub-alpine dry forest and rainforest.

Accommodation is easy to come by with many of the hotels having panoramic beach views. One such hotel is the Halekulani Hotel situated on Waikiki Beach and is within walking distance of shops, activities and restaurants. The hotel has fantastic balconies which allow you to fully experience the beautiful views of the sea. The Ko Olina Beach Villas offer two and three bedroom villas with partial ocean view. They offer secluded accommodation surrounded by pools and lush gardens. Ko Olinas exclusive vacation community also offers a variety of sport activity, restaurants and gift shops.

 

Croatia

By jen - Last updated: Friday, July 13, 2012

Inland Croatia is often overlooked in favour of the beautiful and unmarked coast of Dubrovnik and islands such as Hvar. People tend to skip the cultural inner beauty of Croatia missing out on many activities such as hiking, Abseiling, Paragliding, rafting and Canoeing. Inland Croatia also has an attractive cafe life with many heading straight to their local Café to soak up the sun come spring. Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and its biggest city. It is a vibrant city with narrow, hilly streets leading you through the 18th century styled city filled with shops, bars and cafes. 

There is a huge choice of hotels to choose from when visiting the capital. Hotel Antunovic Zagreb is situated on the main street of the capital, Zagrebacka Avenija, and is well equipped with modern rooms and wellness facilities. The restaurant within the hotel is fantastic with creative dishes being served up on a daily basis.  The hotel also houses a Casino, pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and a fitness centre allowing you to make the most out of your time spent in the hotel.

There are over 30 different museums to visit while in Zagreb, boasting over 3.6 million art exhibits so there is a lot to keep you occupied! The coffee culture in Croatia is also a must try. The Croatian coffee ideal however is somewhat stronger than what you may be used to. It is customary to half fill your cup and fill the other half with milk and sugar as it known for its strength.

The coastline of Croatia stretches over 2000 kilometres and is scattered with over 1000 Islands. The main areas of interest along the coast are Dubrovnik and Split and on one of the most popular islands is Hvar. With such beautiful stretches of coastline you will not be stuck for places to roam by the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. There is also an abundance of activities to partake in such as the Cruise of the Elafiti and Green Islands from Dubrovnik. Explore the islands in a historical galleon, a pirate-style sailing ship visiting the three breathtaking islands of the Elafiti archipelago – Koločepo, Lopud and Šipan – just off the coast of Dubrovnik. 

The Dubrovnik Shore Excursion: Private Tour of Dubrovnik and Cavtat, offers you the chance to take in the panoramic scenic views of the city and the Adriatic coast. You can then explore the old town of Dubrovnik and the pretty area of Cavat while being told historical facts of the areas by your guide.

Also available is a day tour to Montenegro where you can indulge in Tara River White-Water Rafting, from Dubrovnik. The Tara River runs through the largest canyon in Europe and with Class III and IV rapids you’re in for an exciting day.

If the idea of rapids makes you queasy, you can set out on a more easy going snorkelling and kayaking trip off the coast of Dubrovnik. You don’t need any experience as training is provided to allow you to explore the beach cave of Betina where you can explore the marine.

If you are planning a coastal holiday, Croatia Hotel Dubrovnik offers a variety of options for holidays and recreation when visiting this sea front hotel. The hotel is beautifully located on a secluded peninsula overlooking the old town of Cavtat on one side and the Adriatic Sea on the other. The Adriatic Sea boasts some of the freshest water in Europe but if you prefer, you can take advantage of the hotel’s pool. Other amenities available within the hotel are a fitness room, health club, a fantastic restaurant and internet access.

The people of Croatia are polite and willing to help tourists, but do not be afraid to learn one or two phrases to help you get by a little easier. Being able to say hello, goodbye and thank you can go a long way.

The cuisine in Croatia is often known as the ‘cuisine of regions’ due to its diversification from region to region. The specialties of each area may not necessarily be known in other areas although there are some staple dishes. People from the Croatian Adriatic eat food that is very similar to Italian cuisine. Those from Northern Croatia (Koprivnica, north-east of Zagreb), prefer dishes which are similar to those of Central Europe (Austro-Hungarian). Some staple dishes are Mushroom soup with buckwheat, Bean stew, Italian minestrone and often for a light lunch they will eat fresh anchovies or sardines tossed in oil. While there are a great variety of local dishes the majority of restaurants will provide a large variety of options with pizza being a specialty coming from its Italian influences.