Karlstein Castle, Czech Republic

Karlstein Castle (Hrad Karlštejn), located 30 km from Prague, is one of the most important castles in Bohemia. It was founded by Charles IV to preserve the jewels of the Imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire, the royal crown of the Bohemian states and the various holy relics. The original castle was of Gothic architecture but after being abandoned for over a century, many Gothic elements were replaced by others of the Renaissance type. It is known as the most visited castle of the Czech Republic. It has 5 levels with several towers and the large dungeon has 60m.

Tips

Prepare for a walk of about 20 minutes to get there, as the access by car stops in the parking of the main road, the rest of the ascent must be done on foot.

Do not miss the Saint Croix chapel in the upper tower. Generally it is necessary to make a reservation to visit it because of the great affluence of tourists. It has 4 partially glazed windows of gems, a cross of ogives and frescoes illustrating the life of Christ and 129 paintings representing saints signed by Theodoric.

You will also find a well with a depth of 80m where the bucket is raised and lowered by a wheel once driven by people who walked.

It is possible to book a guided tour in different languages. For visits in Czech, German or English it is not necessary.

Moon Palace Jamaica, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Moon Palace Jamaica is an all-inclusive hotel located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The complex has three buildings, one for accommodations in very spacious rooms with a king bed, no balconies; another one especially for families and one last for those who have a time share. It’s a good resort, not too big, with activities for all ages including non-motorized water activities, a wave simulator and even water slides for kids. You will find several restaurants: Italian (one inside and one at the seaside), Asian, seafood and grilled meat, sushi, a pizza-salad-panini area and a bakery open 24 hours a day that offers different coffee and tea specialties, pastries and ice cream all the time, a corner on the beach to enjoy the famous jerk chicken, as well as an excellent buffet with a large selection of food and a poolside bar. The beach is not very big but there are sunbeds and umbrellas everywhere. The sea is very calm because the hotel is on a small bay. The complex also has a spa, a training room, a theater, a disco, a covered scenario for evening shows, meeting rooms, a souvenir shop, a tourist agency where you can book your excursions, a currency exchange office and a very romantic place to celebrate weddings. There’s wi-fi everywhere on the site and free calls to USA and Canada from your room.

Tips

If you want to know the city of Ocho Rios with its main street full of shops and the craft market, you can do it coming out of the hotel and walking to your right; it’s really very close. You can continue to the port where the big cruise ships stop and have a drink in one of so many bars, cafes or restaurants around. You will also find a supermarket where you can buy all the local products at a good price.

If you spend 5 nights or more in the complex, you will receive a very important hotel credit that you can exchange by taking advantage of various services offered on site: spa, excursions, romantic dinner on the waterfront, etc. Ask about it at the tourist agency located at the entrance of the hotel.

If you are traveling with children or teenagers, you will find dedicated areas exclusively for them with different activities offered.

If you want to swim with dolphins, you will find this activity on site at a very affordable price.

The Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve is a region located to the south of mainland Portugal having Faro as the administrative capital. The river Guadaiana separates it from the Spanish region of Andalusia. There are two regions Barlovento (the western part), which largest municipality is Faro and Sotavento (the eastern part) having Portimao as its main municipality. The coast of the region is about 155 km long and has open caves in the limestone rock near the town of Lagos. It is a region very appreciated by tourism because there are beautiful beaches and its Mediterranean climate makes it even more attractive and many Europeans own their second home here especially the inhabitants of Great Britain so it is quite common to hear English speak and watch TV and read newspapers in English in hotels or restaurants. Apart from the beaches, there is also a natural bath; Caldas de Monchique. We find ruins and monuments dating from different periods, such as the Roman period or the period of Muslim rule. The region’s gastronomy is rich in seafood and fish, figs and almonds are widely used in pastries and there are vineyards that produce the wine of the region quite appreciated for wine lovers.

Tips

If you want to explore the region, the best time of year is between June and September. Frequent rainfall is between October and February.

Enjoy to taste one of the typical dishes of the region; sardines.

You can rent an apartment or choose a hotel in a touristy city like Albufeiras and from there visit the area.

You can also make excursions to visit vineyards and enjoy tastings.