Gain a deeper understanding of the tumultuous pasts of Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and admire their wealth of ancient treasures which serve as a testament to their history under oppressive rule
Uzbekistan is a Central Asian nation and former Soviet republic. It's known for its mosques, mausoleums and other sites linked to the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. Samarkand, a major city on the route, contains a landmark of Islamic architecture: the Registan, a plaza bordered by 3 ornate, majolica-covered madrassas dating to the 15th and 17th centuries. This tour highlights the following:- Visit to Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand, Tomb of Imam Bukhari, Ulugbek Madrasah, Independence Square, Registan Sq, Siyob Bazaar, Chimgan Mountain.
The Mother City, home to soaring Table Mountain, golden beaches and bountiful vineyards, is an old pro at capturing people’s hearts. Proudly Multicultural Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and traditional African beliefs coexist peacefully in this proudly multicultural city. Given South Africa’s troubled history, such harmony has been hard-won and remains fragile: nearly everyone has a fascinating, sometimes heartbreaking story to tell. It’s a city of determined pioneers – from the Afrikaner descendants of the original Dutch colonists and the majority coloured community to the descendants of European Jewish immigrants and more recent Xhosa (isiXhosa) migrants from the Eastern Cape. They all bring unique flavours to Cape Town’s rich creole melting pot.
Magerit, ‘land rich in water’. This is how the Arabs called this area on the central plain of the Iberian Peninsula, close to Sierra de Guadarrama, where King Phillip II of Spain later established the royal court. Later on, it grew into the big city that’s come down to us. The first historical record of Madrid dates back to the year 865, when Emir Muhammad I commissioned the construction of a fortress in the village of Mayrit, on the banks of the river Manzanares. ‘Mayrit’ means ‘plenty of waterways’, which is why the city’s first recorded coat of arms read, ‘I was built on water / My walls are made of fire / This is my flag and my coat of arms’. Madrid belonged to the Islamic world until 1083, when Alfonso VI of Castile took over the city.
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is Vietnam at its most dizzying: a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the country forward with its pulsating energy.
Istanbul's strategic location has attracted many marauding armies over the centuries. The Greeks, Romans and Venetians took turns ruling before the Ottomans stormed into town and decided to stay – physical reminders of their various tenures are found across the city. The fact that the city straddles two continents wasn't its only drawcard – it was the final stage on the legendary Silk Road linking Asia with Europe, and many merchants who came here liked it so much that they, too, decided to stay. In so doing, they gave the city a cultural diversity that it retains to this day.
Hanoi is undergoing a rapid transformation. You can dine on the wild and wonderful at every corner, sample market wares, uncover an evolving arts scene, then sleep soundly in a little luxury for very little cost. Meet the people, delve into the past and witness the awakening of a Hanoi on the move.
Welcome to one of the world’s ultimate outdoor playgrounds, bursting with opportunities for adventure amid diverse and inspiring landscapes. Walk on the Wild Side With just a million people scattered across 151,215 sq km, the South Island has a population density even lower than Tasmania in Australia. Filling the gaps are the sublime forests, mountains, lakes, beaches and fiords that have made New Zealand’s ‘Mainland’ one of the best hiking destinations on the planet. Tackle one of the South Island’s six Great Walks, such as the world-famous Heaphy, Routeburn or Milford Tracks, or choose from one of countless other options ranging from 15-minute nature trails to multiday, backcountry epics. DOC's track and hut network makes it easy to find a way in. Meet the Locals Prepare to meet the South Island’s idiosyncratic wildlife: whales, fur seals, dolphins and penguins all frequent the coastal waters around Kaikoura, partnered by an armada of pelagic bird species including petrels and albatrosses. Endangered Hector’s dolphins cavort in Akaroa Harbour and the Catlins, while the Otago Peninsula has penguins, royal albatrosses and sea lions. Further south, remote and wild Stewart Island boasts a healthy population of NZ’s iconic but shy kiwi. Two special parrots – the kaka and the kea – are totally unmistakable as they flap and squawk, with the latter inclined to chew car aerials and unattended hiking boots. Action Aplenty Hiking (known as 'tramping' here) may be the South Island's classic adventure, but there are far racier ways to immerse yourself in its landscapes. Raft down the tumbling Buller or Rangitata Rivers, or kayak around the coves of the Marlborough Sounds, Abel Tasman or Fiordland. Scare yourself silly with Queenstown’s gravity-defying menu of bungy, paragliding or skydiving, or mount a mountain bike to wheel through the stunning scenery along the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. During winter, go snow crazy on the ski fields around Wanaka, Queenstown or Mt Hutt.
Melbourne is best experienced as a local would, with its character largely reliant upon its diverse collection of inner-city neighbourhoods. Despite a long-standing north–south divide (flashy South Yarra versus hipster Fitzroy), there’s a coolness about its cafes, restaurants, festivals and people that transcends the borders. Ethnic communities have gravitated together in some areas, and Melburnians know to head to Victoria St in Richmond for Vietnamese food, Lygon St in Carlton for old-school Italian, Balaclava for Jewish bakeries, Brunswick for Middle Eastern, Footscray for African and Chinatown for all manner of Asian cuisines.
The legacies of colonial Colombo's garden roots are still very much intact along its often-shady boulevards. Fort is a compelling place thanks to ongoing restoration of its landmark colonial architecture, while Pettah brims with markets and rampant commerce. Even traffic-clogged Galle Rd is getting spiffier with glossy new hotel complexes. Colombo’s cosmopolitan side supports ever-more stylish eateries, galleries and shops. Surprises abound: with a little exploration you'll find great local food, characterful shops, and tiny, convivial cafes. Meanwhile a building boom like no other is transforming the city's skyline.