Europe – A Photographer’s Paradise

Venice-Italy

Renowned for its Beauty, Architecture, Artwork and Grand Canal

Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages, a cultural center during the Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusader Knights to free the Holy Land. It was also an important center of commerce which made Venice wealthy.

Venice today, the capital of Italy’s Veneto region, offers unforgettable experiences via its picturesque waterways.

It is located on a group of 118 small islands that are linked by canals and bridges and a breath-taking backdrop of Baroque buildings and famous landmarks which include the Piazza San Marco, Saint Mark’s Basilica, St Mark’s Campanile (bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica), Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs and the Gallerie dell’Accademia (museum gallery of pre-19th-century art) are just some of its many attractions.

There are no cars or roads. Just canals and boats.

You can experience the wonders of this cultural-rich city through the waters of the Grand Canal on a gondola and float through the world-famous Rialto Bridge.

Venice and its lagoon were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1987.

Colmar-France

“Little Venice of Alsace”

Historic Old-World Charm

Founded in the 9th century, Colmar reflects eight centuries of Germanic and French influence in all its variety and vitality.

Colmar, in the Alsace Wine Route of northeastern France, near Germany and Switzerland between the Vosges and the Rhine, Strasbourg and Mulhouse is surrounded by natural forests, lakes and vine-covered foothills of the southern Vosges Mountains and the Upper Rhine Valley.

The historic town of Colmar is another one of the beautiful locations in Europe with its historic old town, its famous “Petite Venise” lined with canal-side neighborhoods decked with colorful flowers, cobblestone streets and walkways.

You can stroll through half-timbered medieval and early Renaissance buildings which include the Unterlinden Museum with the Isenheim Altarpiece.

The 13th-century, Gothic Eglise Saint-Martin church can be found on central Place de la Cathédrale.

Here in Colmar, you will also find wine estates and cellars dotting the local vineyards which specialize in Riesling and Gewürztraminer wines.

Annecy-France

Venice of the French Alps

History and Culture in Alpine Settings

The old-world charm of Annecy with its idyllic, alpine settings is located in the Haute-Savoie region of southeastern France and on routes that lead to Italy and Switzerland.

Its beautiful, picture-postcard settings include other traditional nearby villages, forests, snow-capped mountains and Lake d’Annecy,

Its medieval Vieille Ville (Old Town) with its winding canals are lined with shops and cafes, the Perrière Bridge (Pont Perrière), and its cobbled streets with Piedmontese, pastel-colored, geranium-decked houses are a photographer’s dream.

Other attractions include the Rue Sainte-Claire with its arcaded houses and fortified Sainte-Claire gate and, you can visit the turreted, 14th Century Château d’Annecy, once home to the counts of Geneva.

Giethoorn-Holland

“Dutch Venice”

Water Wonderland

Away from the hustle and bustle of busy, city life, you can explore the beautiful, tranquil water village of Giethoorn by boat, bicycle or on foot.

Panoramic views, tranquility and beauty, Giethoorn, “the Venice of Holland” is at the center of Overijssel’s canal system and lakes.

Surrounded by the vast natural De Wieden reservation this dyllic Durch village was founded by fugitives from the Mediterranean around 1230 AD.

No roads or cars, just beautiful canals lined with colorful flowers, traditional 18th century thatched-roof cottages, farmhouses and more than 150 wooden arched bridges.

Just imagine walking, cycling or boating gently along these serene canals in picture-postcard settings enjoying its beautiful and tranquil atmosphere.

And, you can enjoy a meal or a coffee at a canal-side cafe or restaurant and watch the world go by.

Keukenhof-Holland

Garden of Europe

Keukenhof is a world-famous attraction that is open for eight weeks each spring.

Visiting the tranquil settings of Keukenhof will be a unique and unforgettable experience.

Keukenhof is one of the world’s largest flower gardens and is open annually from mid-March to mid-May.

However, the best time to view the tulips is around mid-April, depending on the weather.

This panoramic Dutch garden is located about 20 miles southwest of Amsterdam in the small town of Lisse in an area called the “Dune and Bulb Region”.

Approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted annually including 800 varieties of tulips and covers an area of 32 hectares (79 acres).

Here you can enjoy breath-taking flower shows and panoramic gardens, unique artwork.

You can visit the Tulpomania exhibition in the Juliana Pavilion and you will also find beautiful, iconic Dutch windmills.

Attractions designed for children to enjoy include treasure hunting, a petting farm with lambs, baby goats, pigs and other animals and there is the high-hedge maze and playground.

When you get hungry, you can visit the pancake and poffertjes (mini-pancakes) restaurant.

The Northern Lights-Sweden

Nature’s Natural Light Show – Aurora Borealis

Abisko offers the most clear nights in Sweden which provide the best opportunity to see the shimmering display of colored lights across the night sky.

The Aurora Sky Station situated on Mount Njullá, 900 meters above sea level, in the far northwest corner of Abisko National Park in Swedish Lapland is regarded as one of the best locations in the world to observe the breath-taking, Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis.

This natural phenomenon is an awe-inspiring, colorful light show in the autumn and winter night sky that occurs during ideal conditions.

Swedish Lapland’s proximity to the magnetic north provides the ideal conditions across the Arctic skies when charged particles discharged by the sun reach earth’s atmosphere and collide with gaseous particles which in turn produce these different colors.

Auroras that occur in the Southern Hemisphere are called ‘Aurora Australis’ or ‘Southern Lights’.

A visit to the Aurora Sky Station begins with a 20-minute chairlift ride up the mountain.

Santorini-Greece

Magical Island that Stirs Your Imagination

Santorini, with its classic, Greek architectural beauty, wonderful ocean views and breath-taking sunsets provides a unique holiday experience.

Classically Thera and officially Thira, Santorini is an island in the southern Aegean about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of the Greek mainland.

It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera.

A giant rectangular lagoon measuring about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft) high cliffs on three sides.

Gaze upon traditional, whitewashed buildings, blue dome churches, thriving nightlife, luxury hotels and boutique guest houses in panoramic settings.

You can visit the historic Minoan site of Akrotiri, the traditional hilltop village of Oia, cross over the bay to Santorini’s capital, Fira, swim in the famous black volcanic Perissa, Kamari and Red Beaches or go hiking along its adventure paths.

Santorini has also become a favorite destination for overseas couples who want to get married or enjoy their honeymoon in wonderful, picture-postcard settings.

Rhodes Island-Greece

Famous for the Colossus of Rhodes, One of the Seven Ancient Wonders

History, Culture and Beauty

Beautiful beaches, historic sites, traditional villages and a town divided in two – the Old Town built by the Crusaders and, the modern, New Town just outside

Rhodes Town

Rhodes Town lies along Mandraki Harbor which is the first of three harbors filled with cruise ships, yachts and fishing boats.

This is where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood before being toppled by an earthquake in 225BC.

The New Market (Nea Agora) with its Moorish domes which lines Mandraki Harbor, is filled with lively cafes, food stalls, gift shops and souvlaki bars.

Along Mandraki Harbor are neo-colonial and Italianate style buildings and at the entrance of the harbor now stand two bronze deer where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood.

You can see the Palace of the Grand Master by the Crusader Knights of Saint John and a Turkish minaret, you have panoramic views of the medieval, fortress of Saint Nicholas and three Byzantine windmills.

Around the island, you will find beautiful beaches, historical sites that date back to the classical era of the ancient Greeks and traditional, picturesque villages.

Medieval Old Town

The Old Town of Rhodes is one of the biggest and best preserved medieval settlements in Europe inscribed in the List of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO which recognizes its exceptional value as a cultural site.

The Old Town is a legacy of the Crusader Knights of Saint John who built it to defend the island against invaders.

You can enter the Old Town through eleven gateways and walk through its maze of cobbled streets, alleys and archways.

Life goes on in the Old Town with many homes, shops and business as well as restaurants, cafes, bars, gift stores, pensions and museums.

Symi-Greece

Panoramic Harbor and Amphitheatrical Town Views

Stunning views, a beautiful harbor and a wonderful, island atmosphere makes Symi a unique travel experience for its visitors.

Symi is a Greek island of the Dodecanese island group located about 41 kilometres (25 miles) north-northwest of Rhodes (and 425 km (264 mi) from Athens).

It includes the harbor town of Symi, its adjacent upper town Ano Symi, as well as several smaller localities, beaches, and areas of significance in history and mythology.

It is a popular tourist destination known for its beaches, its annual music festival and for its breathtaking views of one of the most beautiful harbor’s in the world surrounded by colorful neoclassical houses built on its hilly slopes.

From its hilly slopes you can gaze out to panoramic views of the town, the harbor and the surrounding sea, islets and the Datça and Bozburun peninsulas of Mugla Province of Turkey in the distance.

Monastery Panormitis

On the southwest coast, the 18th-century Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis which overlooks a bay and still inhabited by monks, is a major Greek Orthodox pilgrimage site with a Byzantine museum.

Source by Andrew Papas