Enjoy a virtual reality tour of Lisbon

The Portuguese capital was once one of the most important cities on earth, and was at the heart of an empire that had territories across almost every continent of the known world. This has left a fascinating legacy around the capital, both in terms of the fortification and defense of the city and in terms of the wealth and style of the architecture of so many of its buildings. While there are thousands who do come to visit the city every year, if it is too far a journey to make the trip yourself, why not immerse yourself in the spectacular culture and enjoy a virtual reality tour of Lisbon?

The Huge Jeronimos Monastery

One of the most impressive sights to enjoy when taking a virtual tour of Lisbon city and the surrounding area is the Jeronimos Monastery, which is among the most impressive buildings in the city. The sheer size of the building is impressive, and with its Gothic architecture and wonderful decoration, it is a masterpiece to be enjoyed in cinematic virtual reality. While some visitors to the city may miss out on the monastery as it is often used for official functions, the virtual tour means that you never need to miss out on this spectacular part of the landscape in Lisbon.

Exploring The Hills Of Lisbon

A famous part of the history of Lisbon is that the city has actually been built on seven hills, and there are very few flat areas in the city. A great part of taking the virtual tour of Lisbon city is that you’ll never feel it in your legs, and following the trams and funicular railways to the top of the city’s hills is easy enough from the comfort of your own computer. You still get to enjoy the spectacular views from the viewpoints at the top of these hills, and can take in the spectacular panoramas in wonderful cinematic virtual reality.

The Belem Tower

While modern Lisbon is a cosmopolitan and exciting city, it also has a long history, and one of the most famous tourist landmarks in the city is actually placed in the waters of the Tagus river. The wonderful Belem Tower is an iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site and was built to protect the city from the potential of attack by water, but following an earthquake in 1755, the river moved, meaning the tower is now much closer to the banks than it once was. This is one of the most popular parts of the virtual tour of Lisbon city, with the sixteenth century tower also being well decorated as well as being a functional part of the city’s defenses.

Visiting The Ruins Of Igreja do Carmo

While many parts of Lisbon are thriving, the Igreja do Carmo is a memorial to the threat of earthquakes that can hit this part of the country. The cinematic virtual reality captures the arches and the nave of this church that was affected by the 1755 earthquake. After the roof fell in during the earthquake, it was decided that repairs would be too difficult, and now this haunting building is also home to the city’s archeological museum.

Time to take a virtual reality tour of San Francisco

The city by the bay is one of the greatest cities on the West Coast, and is famous for being an exciting and tolerant place to be, with a varied range of different cultures and communities living side by side. The city itself is set on an island that is connected to the mainland by two large bridges, and these have also become an iconic part of the city which is covered in the virtual tour of San Francisco city center. The cinematic virtual reality really helps to convey the atmosphere and the spectacular sights of the city, from the grand man made constructions to the natural beauty of the coastline and the island.

See The Golden Gate Bridge

One of the world’s most famous bridges, almost everyone who takes a virtual tour of San Francisco city’s sights will see the large red towers that support the bridge, which is particularly impressive on foggy mornings when the towers rise through the fog. The bridge carries the six lane highway of Route 101 from the mainland to the island of San Francisco itself, with the span of the bridge over 1,300 meters long. This is widely considered to be one of the beautiful bridges in the world, and the view from the bridge itself is also recreated in the virtual tour.

Explore Chinatown

While many cities have a Chinatown area, the large Chinese community in San Francisco is famous for being the largest such Chinese community outside mainland China, which has helped this area to become a real attraction. The cinematic virtual reality helps to represent the pagoda style roofs of the area very well, along with showing the bustling markets and the tables with people playing mahjong. The area is also home to an interesting fortune cookie factory that prepares 20,000 cookies every day, and the pedestrianized alleyway which is named after beat poet Jack Kerouac.

Visit The Palace Of Fine Arts

At close to a century old, this beautiful building in the Marina district of the city is one of the most visited in the city, and is an important part of the virtual reality tour of San Francisco‘s sights. Having been built for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915, it was aimed to exhibit the works of art that were being displayed there at the time. The palace lies on the shores of an artificial lagoon, and takes inspiration from ancient Greek and Roman culture, and is still one of the most popular attractions in the city.

The Island Prison Of Alcatraz

There are few prisons in the world that can claim to be as famous as Alcatraz, the prison that is built on an island in the bay off the main island of San Francisco. The prison was rumored to be inescapable, and many of the most dangerous prisoners in the country were housed there, while today it is a museum. This has also been recreated in stunning cinematic virtual reality, and is a fascinating part of the history of San Francisco.

You’re In Charge!

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Ever been in charge of a trip for a large group of people? It’s awesome, right? Having that kind of power, probably being given some kind of budget, and being able to share your love or passion for a place with a whole host of others. Whether you’re on the PTA at a school or you run a youth group, religious or community group or something else, there will bound to be a time where you’ll need to plan something to expand everyone’s horizons a bit.

Often, unless you’re planning something REALLY extravagant, all you need is a good coach (try International Coachlines London for some great private hire ones). So, where to? Here are just a few ideas!

A Safari Park/ Zoo/ Farm

Everyone loves animals, right? What better way to celebrate this than with a trip to see them in all their glory?! Whether you choose a zoo or a safari – where they roam free, so you may as well be in Africa or something – your group is bound to have fun!

A Sporting Event

This one is a perfect idea if you coach a team or you’ve got a youth group full of sports mad fans. Whether you choose a tour of a famous football club, a chance to watch some extreme sportsmen and women in action, or even a trip to try surfing on the coast, everyone will be sure to have a great time.

A Music Festival

So perhaps you’re not exactly going to bus a load of impressionable kids to a field full of drug and drink addled people BUT that isn’t to say the concept of a music festival in general isn’t something they can culturally benefit from! There are so many to choose from, both in the UK and abroad. For adults, you can even make an entire holiday out of the thing, so if you’re maybe planning around an excursion for your band or music fan club, consider Benicassim in Spain, Riot Fest in Chicago or even a music cruise or all-inclusive resort trip including bands – but of course, these are limited. It goes without saying that the aforementioned options are pricier though, so you might want to budget accordingly.

The Seaside

It should be a universal truth that everyone likes to be beside the seaside. Whether you think your group would benefit from some downtime at the beach, learning some new vital swimming skills or even going off on a sailing adventure, this is the place you’ll need to be.

A Cultural Trip

Whether your group would enjoy museums, ancient ruins, local architecture or cuisine, there are so many cities, villages and landscapes worth visiting. You can explore your own country or others – a cultural experience doesn’t have to be boring by definition – rather, it is the way we see and discover our world.

 

Mermaids and more

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How often do we dream of far away places to get a break from our daily life and the chores which come with it? Unfortunately the budget isn’t always there, but there is no reason to despair because we have some lovely places on our doorstep to visit too.

If you’re looking for somewhere quiet to get away from it all this summer, who better to trust than the likes of Wills and Kate for your choice of holiday destination? Anglesey in Wales is a picturesque haven of activities, from sandy beaches to cultural hotspots. Just 65 minutes’ drive from Chester, 90 minutes from Liverpool and two hours from Manchester, Anglesey has a whole host of activities throughout the year, including the well known Anglesey Half Marathon.

Tour de Mon

For all those cycling enthusiasts out there, the Tour de Mon comes as part of the Anglesey Cycling Festival, which takes place on 16th and 17th August. The tour will take more than 1,000 cyclists down the most beautiful coastal route in the UK, while the festival will also include live entertainment, fresh local food and children’s activities.

Mermaid’s Rock

Disney films would have us believe that the legend of mermaids is actually true, as would the beautiful Mermaid’s Rock trail, which offers beautiful stretches of road near Brynsiencyn that run alongside the Menai Straits. Take a risky walk down the rocky shoreline to The Mermaid and The Mermaids Pool for beautiful views, or have a few drinks at The Mermaid Inn. If that’s not enough mermaids for you, play online at Mermaids Millions, and you’ll be all mermaided out before you can say Ariel.

Gottwood Electronic Music and Arts Festival

Perfect for all those young and hip festival goers out there, the Gottwood Festival takes place from 19th – 22nd June to celebrate its fifth birthday. This year, big names such as Craig Richards, Max Cooper and Zero 7 will be taking to the stage, with fresh new talent from Bristol boys Eton Messy. Boutique camping starts at just £18 a night, so get your festival on and book a ticket now.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – the longest village in the world

Need we say more for this one? This quaint little village in Anglesey is worth the visit just to say you’ve been there – if you can manage to say the word. Situated on the Menai Strait, you won’t find anywhere else as entrenched in Welsh culture, so have a go at pronouncing it and make sure you pay it a visit.

So whether you’re looking for beautiful views, coastal walks or just a good old fashioned tongue twister, Anglesey promises a great holiday for all the family. After all, if it’s good enough for the royals, then it must be fun!

 

What to do in Reykjavik

Reykjavik – one of the coldest cities but one of the most enjoyable cities I have visited.  It all started with a discussion with a friend about the Northern Lights.  Everyone has seen them, whether it be on TV or in pictures.  I always have the “wow” factor and am mesmerized by them.  To see them has always been a dream.  Unfortunately, like my experience with the Pyramids, I am yet to be amazed.  You will feel my frustration more below.  For now, I would like to tell you about the other two activities that were fun and adrenaline filled and something I would definitely recommend.

1. The Golden Circle Tour with Snowmobiling

With excursions to the best and biggest Icelandic Natural attractions this tour took me to the Geysir Geothermal Area, Thingvellir Nation Park and the Gullfoss Waterfall.  We then ended with a fun-fuelled snowmobile tour on top of Iceland’s largest glacier.

I had an early start for an all day tour but it was great! In the Geothermal area I saw hot pools and hot springs.  Although the Geysir does not erupt anymore, the Srokkur was sprouting as high as 40m every few minutes.  The heat was great, the smell not so much!

The waterfall was amazing.  Standing close to the edge I could feel the spray on my face and the earth shake.  Don’t expect to talk to anyone near this, the sound of the thundering water is extremely loud – you can’t even hear your inner voice!

My favourite part of the tour was the snowmobiling activity.  I still speak to my friends about this a year later.  Travelling through a glacier and imagining myself in an Ice Age movie, this was not only beautiful and mesmerising but I was most definitely appealed to my inner competitor mode as sped through the snow trying to beat my other tour members!  By the way, wearing the jump suit and feeling like an astronaut on the moon was not a bad feeling either

2. The Blue Lagoon

Imagine a massive spa, and then throw that out of your mind.  Now image a spa in Heaven.  The Blue Lagoon is the most amazing spa in the world (according to me).  An outdoor heated ocean with in-water massages was pure bliss after an activity filled holiday.  Book your massages in advance to avoid disappointment and enjoy a great spot of lunch or dinner in the lovely indoor restaurant.  There are also natural exfoliating products that are on the rocks on the side of the ocean.  Enjoy seeing everyone swim with their heads above the water in white exfoliating masks – fun sight!  On a serious note, this is one of the greatest places for relaxation and I most defiantly recommend anyone to visit even if it means getting a cheap plane ticket, just to go there and come back a day later!

3. Northern Lights

As I stated earlier, this was a dream to see.  But unfortunately I was disappointed.  Of course if someone said to me is it worth going to Iceland to see the lights I would say yes BUT you are lucky if you actually see them.  It was frustrating not being able to experience what you see in the pictures, but I guess sometimes it is just pot luck.  We had landed in the evening and found a tour that night.  It was extremely cold and I was not used to such extreme temperatures, plus I was tired.  The tour started at 12am and lasted for 2 hours.  We drove to the outskirts and then had to disembark the coach and look up in to the sky which was pitch black.  I guess if I had seen what I had dreamed I would see, I would be writing a different account, but unfortunately you do need to be prepared to see nothing and just settle for the pictures! The Northern Lights did not shine for me that night.

In conclusion, Iceland is amazing.  The food and drink is lovely, the hotels are accommodating and the nightlight is party central! I had a great time and would recommend the destination to anyone.  I would most definitely go back just for the snowmobiling and blue lagoon, and maybe next time I will get lucky and see the Northern Lights!

About the author:  This article was written by Nishma Shah for FHR Airport Hotels and Parking

Things to Do in Sapporo, Japan

Things to Do in Sapporo, Japan

When people think of the name Sapporo their thought often turn to drinking beer. Sapporo is the fifth largest city in Japan and is the capital of Hokkaido. It offers its visitors a lot more to do than to sit back and sip on a cold beer, but not everyone is aware of where they should go if they visit this city. There are certain attractions that stand out from the others and that need to be included on the list of things to do when you visit Sapporo, Japan.

1. Sapporo Beer Museum – While there are many things to do in Sapporo that does not mean that you should ignore the importance of beer when visiting. The beer museum is the perfect place to find out about the birthplace of beer in Japan. Sapporo beer was first brewed in 1877 and is one of the most popular brands of beer that is sold in the world today. This museum was opened up by the Sapporo brew company in 1987. It offers the complete story of beer making in Japan and the process that is used. Visitors can get samples of the beers that are brewed. They can also visit one of the two restaurants that are located at the Sapporo Beer Garden which is near the museum.

2. Teine ski Resort – There may be some people who may not think that skiing and snow sports are a big thing in Japan. This resort is proof that there are places to go to enjoy the winter sports. The resort is located about 40 miles from the center of the city and is a great place to enjoy winter activities. It has two ski runs that were used in the 1972 Winter Olympics that were held in Sapporo. The Olympic Torch from those games can still be seen at this resort.

3. Shiroi Koibito Park – This is a theme park that was created by a candy company in Sapporo. Visitors can browse the shops and restaurants that are in this park for free. They can find the Shiroi Koibito cookie which is a must have souvenir for anyone that takes the time to visit this park. Visitors can also enjoy the museum and a tour of the chocolate factory in the park.

4. Susikino – This is the entertainment district of Sapporo. In addition to the stores that can be found hear, tourists can take in the bars, karaoke shops and pachinko parlors that fill up this area. A must have when visiting this area of Sapporo is a taste of the real ramen noodles that were made famous here.

5. Nijo Market – Like so many other places in Japan, the open air market is one of the places that visitors must take in. The hustle and bustle of the vendors and their patrons is only surpassed by the aroma that you get from the vendors selling their wares. A trip to one of the restaurants in this market can allow a visitor to get some of the freshest possible seafood around.