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European Beach Vacations for the Budget Traveler

If you want to save big on your summer holiday, try visiting one of these seven cheaper destinations for all the bang with half the buck.

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Summer isn’t officially here yet on the calendar but someone should tell the weather because it’s hot out there. Time to plan and book your summer vacations so let’s look into where the best deals are for your European beach trip. The hotspots are always busy and not very affordable so maybe we will skip Barcelona, Marseille and the other trendy destinations. If you want to save big on your summer holiday, try visiting one of these seven cheaper destinations for all the bang with half the buck.

 

Malta

Sure Malta isn’t as cheap as you may wish, but it’s still much more affordable than hotspots like Lisbon or Sorrento. Head to Sliema for a hip beach town filled with designer shops and trendy cafes that won’t totally break your budget. The nightlife is wild and fun and the beaches are gorgeous.

  

Portugal

Obviously, major beach cities like Lisbon will break your budget wide open, but Portugal has plenty of affordable alternatives. Try Algarve, just down the road from popular Lisbon but nearly half the cost. Enjoy over 300 sunny days a year, warm waters and some of the best surf on the Atlantic coast. This small beach region is a gem and should be visited even if only for a few days.

 

Cyprus

The ancient Mediterranean beach city of Paphos in Cyprus is the perfect beach destination. Enjoy ancient ruins of the Greco-Roman empires while basking in the warm sun. The city comes alive in the warm summer months and visitors will enjoy the variety of restaurants, castles, and monasteries the old town region has to offer.

Greece

Greece is the Mecca of Mediterranean beaches and many are extremely expensive, so let’s find an affordable one. Try Cephalonia, a small island that rivals Crete for cheapness. Get the most out of your European beach vacation at this Greek island and have the best trip possible.

 

Bulgaria

OK, hear me out; maybe try a beach destination that isn’t on the ocean. Head to the resort town of Sunny Beach, Bulgaria and save huge on your summer vacation. The Black Sea isn’t salty and has very mild waves; so expect a lake type of vibe with a party atmosphere. The nightlife here gets rowdy and the bars along the beach stay open late.

 

Croatia

No longer a well-kept secret, Croatia is now a hotspot for vacationing Europeans. Instead of hitting the hot islands or capital city, try Porec for your budget summer vacation in style. The city is a throwback with rustic architecture and an old town that features cobblestone streets.   The water and beaches are great and the weather couldn’t be better.

 

Italy

Everyone wants to visit the Amalfi Coast in Italy, but few of us can afford such a luxurious trip. Instead try to visit the Puglia region, which is much less crowded and offers some really great deals. Check out the resort town of Otranto, which features huge rock pools and rustic beaches. The stone buildings will bring you back in time and the cheap prices will bring you back.


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Destinations

A Quiet Bethlehem This 2020 Christmas Celebration

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Sans the influx of tourists in the historical birthplace of Christ, a quiet Bethlehem community gets to experience a renewal in faith over a boom in business.

Prior to the pandemic, the Palestinian city located in occupied West Bank was always filled with visiting tourists who wanted to experience walking in the land of Jesus Christ’s official birthplace. In the past, those who wanted to visit the Church of the Nativity were forced to maneuver through the crowds teeming the streets of Bethlehem. This year, however, a quiet Bethlehem becomes largely part of the massive lockdown and quarantine restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Nevertheless, the absence of tourists is an opportunity for renewal, says Father Rami Asakrieh, the parish priest of Bethlehem. “Sometimes there are more than half million people who arrive in this period to visit the Nativity Church,” he recounts.

During the days leading to Christmas, however, the Church of the Nativity has been so silent, devoid of the yearly visiting faithful who traditionally visited Bethlehem from all over the world. A quiet Bethlehem, then, is a new thing for the community as locals are used to the noisy throng of commuters and visitors who annually arrived during the holiday season.

Armenian prayers are recited by four (4) monks below the Grotto of the Nativity, echoing through the typically crowded vicinity. Even during this year’s Christmas Eve, the most essential part of the celebration, the church was closed to the public. The lack of yearly visits from Palestinian authority representatives starkly reiterated the difference of this year’s celebration, as well.

“It has never happened before,” contemplates Asakrieh, as he mentions that the only times that the church was forced to close its doors were during periods of uprisings and Palestinian intifadas that were done in protest against Israel’s continued occupation.

“I think that this Christmas is different because people are not busy with the external manifestations of the feast,” the priest shares, referring to the customary purchasing of gifts and the conduct of extravagant get-togethers that have long been linked to Christmas celebrations.  “Now (people) have the time, and they are obligated, to concentrate on the essential… the theological spirit of Christmas,” he expressed. “Less business, but more religion,” Asakrieh continues.

During the days leading up to Christmas, the chapel of Saint Catherine, a small one that is next to the Church of the Nativity was made open to the local Bethlehem public. Amid a distinctively quiet Bethlehem atmosphere, many of the local faithful turned up as they donned their Sunday’s best.

One of them was Nicolas al-Zoghbi who mentions that the usual joy of the Christmas season was replaced by the overall feeling of depression. He shares that his son is among those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. “We hope the Lord will destroy corona, just get rid of it so we can return to our previous life,” states al-Zoghbi who is now in his 70s.

The city’s economy is hugely reliant on the annual influx of visitors who purchase items like rosaries and other Nativity-based trinkets from the shops and stands that pepper the place. Thus, a quiet Bethlehem during this holiday season signifies a highly decreased income for those who rely on the earnings that used to be generated from these yearly tourist visits.

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Travel

Enjoy Your Weekend With These Awesome Outdoor Adventures

We talked to our team around the country to find out where their favorite places to get out in nature are so you can go really unwind this weekend.

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If you’re looking to get away this weekend, like really get away, then there is nothing quite like going out in nature. But can you get away when you only really have two days to relax? Of course, you can. You just have to put some planning in during the week and then when the weekend comes you can cruise off into nature and completely unplug from all the stress of your everyday life. We talked to our team around the country to find out where their favorite places to get out in nature are so you can go really unwind this weekend.

 

 

San Juan Islands (Washington)
If you love the sea and the animals that live within then give sea kayaking a go in the spectacular San Juan Island. You have a great shot of seeing Orcas feeding and playing which is something that will stick with you for the rest of your life. These very intelligent creatures are a marvel to watch in nature and most people never even see them let alone see them so close in their natural habitats. The San Juan Islands are not just an amazing way to get out in nature, but they’re an amazing way to see real life orcas. Now that is a super way to have a weekend you will remember forever.

 

 

Slickrock Bike Trail (Utah)
If you love hopping on your bike and spinning your way through magical trails then hit the Slickrock Bike Trail and ride on what is widely considered the best place to mountain bike in the world. No matter how good of a mountain bike rider you are you can find the right trail for your experience level. The ride is super fun and the views are absolutely breathtaking. Utah is a fantastic state and these trails are so fun for your weekend trip.

 

 

Youghiogheny River (Maryland)
The Youghiogheny River in Maryland is sure to give you everything you’re looking for on your weekend escapade. This river has a ton of rapids so all you rafting and kayaking freaks are sure to get your rocks off enjoying a trip down this river. You can also see amazing natural wildflowers and wildlife as you cruise down. If you’re not into rafting or kayaking then don’t worry, there are plenty of fantastic trails around here that are fantastic to cruise around.

 

 

Green Mountain National Forest (Vermont)
Vermont is known for its beautiful forests so it would make sense that one of them would make this list. The Green Mountain National Forest is a great example of conservation that a lot of other parks should take after. You can hike through the unbelievable sites that abound all over this park. There are beautiful lakes, streams, cliffs, and of course, plenty of forest land to wander through. THere are so many sites around this park that you will be absolutely blown away even if you’re only there for a short visit like a single weekend.

 

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Featured

9 of the Best Places to Visit in Florida

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Florida is a hotspot for Americans traveling domestically and for international travelers as well. It’s home to some of the biggest theme parks like Universal Studios and Disney World. 

Plus, it offers some of the most incredible beaches in North America. How can you be that? But the most amazing thing about Florida is that there isn’t just one or two cities that have something to offer.

In fact, there are multiple cities that are great for vacation, and there’s something for everyone. On that note, take a look at this list of the best places to visit in Florida:

1. Miami

Everyone knows that Miami is one of the best places to visit in Florida. It’s one of the top hotspots for vacationers looking to live it up with their hair down.

If you want to sit on a beautiful beach, Miami’s got it. If you want fine dining, Miami’s got it. When you’re trying to figure out where to go in Florida, Miami is the answer.

This city is known for being flashy, and if you want to do a big vacation, this is the place to go all out.

2. Orlando

Orlando is another one of the best places to visit in Florida. How can anyone say no to Disney World and SeaWorld? If you’re looking for the ultimate vacation, Orlando is the spot.

With all the theme parks and water parks that this city offers, you’ll never get bored. Even if you’re not into big parks, they also offer fun activities at Universal CityWalk.

Also, Orlando isn’t just for little kids. This is also a great place for a group of teenage or college kids to visit for a fun getaway.

3. Naples 

When you’re thinking about visiting Florida, don’t forget about Naples. It’s one of Florida’s gulf coast cities, and it’s located in an upscale region. It’s adorned with a nice stretch of beachfront that accompanied by elaborate houses and luxurious resorts.

When you and your lover want to get away, this is the place to go. Not to mention, the beaches in Naples offer some of the best in the entire state. The warm waters provide a nice soothing feel that vacationers can’t deny.

Also, if you want to do something out of the box, check out the best Florida helicopter rides to book an exciting excursion!

4. Tampa

There may not be much sand and water in Tampa, but it’s still one of the best places to go in Florida. It’s filled with famous attractions like Busch Gardens and the Tampa Zoo at Lowry Park.

If you have children, they’ll also love visiting the Tampa Aquarium and taking a walk through the Big Cat Rescue. When you’re not in the mood for the big theme parks of Orlando, Tampa is an awesome alternative.

5. Key West

Key West sits at the southern tip of Florida, and it provides visitors with an island feel. It’s one of the best places to visit in Florida because of its beautiful water. It’s the perfect alternative for travelers who want the experience of an island getaway without leaving the country.

However, if you do decide to take an international trip, Key West is one of the main cruise ship ports for cruise lovers. You can always spend a few days in Key West, hop on the ship, and come back. It provides the perfect getaway.

6. Fort Myers

When you’re thinking about visiting Florida, Fort Myers might not be one of the first places you think about. however, it shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s known as the River District, and it provides travelers and residents with a lot to do.

There is plenty of dining, shopping, and sightseeing. Plus, Fort Myers is home to the IMAG History and Science Center which allows visitors to experience the city in 3D virtual reality.

This town is also situated on the shores of Estero Island, which is slightly separated from the mainland. It’s a hotspot for honeymooners and celebrities.

7. Sanibel Island

If you don’t know where to go in Florida, check out Sanibel Island. It’s just off the West coast of Florida and it’s home to many high-end resorts. There are also numerous water activities for visitors to get into, as well as incredible shopping boutiques and galleries for guests to enjoy.

Although this city is popular amongst tourists, it’s not as famous as some of the other cities in Florida. So if you want a nice getaway that’s not too crowded with tourists, this is it.

8. Pensacola

Pensacola is known for its awesome beaches and laid back, down-home environment. This is an area that many college students like to visit on the weekends or for a spring break vacation. It’s also a nice escape for the surrounding Florida towns that don’t have a beach.

If you’re a local resident, Pensacola is the perfect place to go for a weekend beach vacay.

9. Daytona Beach

Chances are you’ve heard about the Daytona 500 NASCAR race that’s held every year in Daytona. But outside of the big races, many people decide to go to Daytona for the beaches. It too is a hot spot for spring breakers and other visitors who want a fun time.

Daytona Beach spans over 23 miles of the Atlantic ocean, and it’s accompanied by a pier filled with games, restaurants, and amusement park rides.

The Best Places to Visit in Florida

If you didn’t know before, now you know that visiting Florida is a smart choice. It works well for couples who want to get away, a girl’s trip, and a family trip. This list of the best places to visit in Florida has something for everyone.

If you enjoyed reading this article, feel free to read more of our blog posts. We cover content relating to different destinations, the best ways to travel, food, and much more. You’ll love it!

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