Located near the village of Jukkasjärvi alongside the Torne River in Lapland, Sweden, the Ice Hotel is built out of ice and snow each year at the beginning of winter, and melts at the arrival of spring. The hotel offers visitors a unique experience to explore this spectacular Land of the Midnight Sun and the iconic Northern Lights, and stay in a hotel that was built especially for them. The creators of the ice hotel look upon it as an annual art project and each year the Ice Hotel is different from the year before, but the warm hospitality and attention to detail remains a top priority.
While windmills of various types are tourist attractions in many European countries, they are a defining characteristic of Holland where prior to the 19th century Industrial Revolution, an estimated 10,000 windmills dotted the countryside. Today, there are around 1,000 Dutch windmills standing, the most of which are kept in running order for their historical and tourism value. In addition to being used to power saw-mills and grain-mills, windmills kept many parts of Holland from being flooded as they pumped water from low-lying areas.
When the magnificent Château de Versailles initially started out as a hunting lodge for Louis XIII in 1624, the village from which it took its name was out in the country, some twenty kilometers from Paris. Today, Versailles is a suburb of the capital city of France, and the Palace of Versailles is an architectural, cultural and historical monument with 2,300 rooms displaying thousands of paintings, sculptures, engravings, drawings, items of furniture and objets d'art, and is listed as one of the internationally acclaimed UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
With the official name of De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, the Royal Delft factory located at Rotterdam Avenue in the city of Delft in South Holland, has been manufacturing the distinctive blue and white Delftware uninterrupted for more than 350 years. It is the only Delftware manufacturer remaining of the thirty-two factories established in the 17th century, to manufacture blue painted porcelain in the style of the porcelain brought to the Netherlands from China by the Dutch East India Company (VOC - Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie).
With its ancient history and rich cultural heritage, Germany is a wonderful destination to explore. There are no less than thirty-seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany and visitors to this fascinating European country should try to include at least one of these in their travel itinerary. After all, only the finest monuments to human endeavors and the most spectacular natural features are deemed worthy of the UNESCO World Heritage title.
Stretching along Italy's coastline from the town of Sorrento to Amalfi village, the Amalfi Coast offers fifty kilometers of spectacular sightseeing. Rocky cliffs are dotted with precariously perched villages and lemon groves, while masses of flowering plants add splashes of color to the scenery. The roadway twists and turns as it hugs the cliffs, and with safety barriers featuring only in the most risky areas of the road, drivers need to be alert to any potential hazards, but fortunately there are plenty of places to stop off and enjoy the view and fresh sea air.
Located in central Copenhagen on the islet of Slotsholmen, Christiansborg Palace houses all three of Denmark's branches of government – executive, legislative and judicial – being the only country in the world to have all three in one building. Scheduled and guided tours are available for members of the public to view its many architectural and cultural treasures, including the Royal Reception Rooms and the majestic Palace Chapel. But perhaps the most interesting part of Christiansborg Palace, from a historical point of view, is what was found when excavating to lay foundations for the present-day palace.
In 2007 the Diergaarde Blijdorp, a zoo in the northwestern part of Rotterdam, celebrated its 150th anniversary and is recognized as one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands. As a member of both the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and the Dutch Zoo Federation (NVD), Diergaarde Blijdorp maintains high standards with the emphasis on the wellbeing of its residents. Moreover, the zoo participates in around seventy international breeding programs, acting as the coordinating body for a number of these conservation initiatives, including programs for Red Pandas, Komodo Dragons, Red-crowned Cranes, Siberian Cranes, Asian Elephants, Visayan Warty Pigs, Crowned Pigeons and Egyptian Tortoises.