An Island with No Income Tax

Why would someone like me stay on St Barts? Aside from the absolutely gorgeous scenery and perfect weather, it’s also a tax haven. I run some very lucrative internet sites that provide me with a very hefty income. It’s the type of income that the French government wants to get their hands on. I used to pay an enormous sum to the French government through my taxes. People in other parts of the world complain about taxes, but the French have them all beat. The taxes are practically ruinous to a businessman like myself. That’s why I sought relief in the Caribbean.

St Barts ended up being my destination. I can stay on the island for several months out of the year and that means my tax burden is dramatically lowered. I’m not alone as I know many of my fellow Europeans live on the island and they too save a lot of money. Some people think we aren’t paying our fair share, but if they wouldn’t say that for long if they had to pay the same amount. Besides, we spend plenty of money in the local economy and believe me when I say the locals love us for it.

I thought about buying a home here until I found a company that rents beautiful homes to high end travelers. I rent a home on the island for a few months out of the year and it counts as a tax exile back home in Europe. It’s better to rent, I think, because it’s a bit cheaper than buying an estate and then having to staff it the months of the year that I’m not around. The company does an excellent job of making sure my needs are met and I find the cost quite reasonable. Perhaps one day I will move here permanently, but for now this is an excellent deal.

Street foods of Northern India

For many first-time travellers to India one of the greatest pleasures is discovering its amazing street food. Surprisingly, there’s infinitely more to subcontinental cuisine than the rather bland offerings of tikka masala and chicken korma.

Street food, whether sweet or savoury, fiery or mild, is eaten by all and it’s not unknown for there to be lively debate amongst friends and family about which is the best. As well as giving your stomach a treat, trying street food helps support hard-working vendors, many of whom have been plying their trade with great skill for many years. So here’s our guide to the best street food of northern India – try each one with a steaming cup of the nation’s rocket-fuel, masala chai.

Pav Bhaji – soul food

This food for the soul originates from the western state of Maharashtra. Pav bhaji really comes into its own further north in winter however: in a place like Maharashtra, where temperatures rarely drop into single digits in December and January, winter isn’t really a thing! Toasted white rolls (the pav) are dunked into a smooth blend of mashed potatoes, tomatoes, onions, green peas, and peppers (the bhaji) – with lashings of butter having been mixed into the bhaji before serving. Hearty and – possibly – healthier than your average street-fare, pav bhaji is pukka (first-class) grub!

Panipuri

Panipuri, also known as golgappa, is probably one of the region’s most common street foods. In fact you can find varieties of this ubiquitous treat across India, and its exact origins are hotly contested. If you already know some Hindi you may recognise the words pani and puri, meaning water and bread respectively.

Don’t be put off; this isn’t as dull as it sounds. To make it, hollow puff-pastry balls are fried and then filled with a green-coloured spiced and peppery water, potatoes and chickpeas. It may look unusual and slightly messy to eat, but it’s very refreshing on a hot day.

Gajar ka Halwa – food gets you hooked

Grated carrots might not immediately sound like the most promising of starters for a sweet dish, but we promise one bite of this Mughal-era treat will have you hooked, even if eating mounds of it probably won’t improve your eyesight! Throw in some dates, almonds, raisins and sugar, pour in milk and gently simmer until it’s all absorbed, and you have the makings of an excellent pick-me-up if all that exploring has tired you out.

Fried Duck

If you’re travelling to the north-eastern state of Assam, then kudos to you fellow explorer! With such a keen sense of adventure and independence, you probably don’t need much advice on what to eat. But just in case, we recommend sampling some fried duck at a road-side stall. The people of Assam are confirmed carnivores, so you’re sure to have an authentic five-star experience without the eye-watering bill at the end.

 

Follow the Jane Austen trail

It’s the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death and Britain is celebrating. Even the Bank of England has produced a new £10 notewhich features a portrait of this most prolific writer.

After all who has not heard of “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility”. two of her all time greats that have inspired generations of readers and indeed TV viewers.

We suggest ways to follow in this great author’s footsteps.

Jane Austen and Hampshire

Jane was born in Steventon in Hampshire. She is also buried in the county’s Winchester Cathedral. She did most of her writing in Hampshire and even penned her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, here. So, it makes sense that this county is the focal point for the Jane Austen 200 commemorations.

Start your trip at Jane Austen’s House Museum (her former home) and Chawton House Library in the village of Chawton, which is hosting changing exhibitions, talks, activities and other special celebrations up until December.

In the meantime, Winchester Cathedral is running “Tours and Tea” every month until November exploring Jane’s life and in Basingstoke.

You can follow a downloadable sculpture trail called “< =”http://www.sittingwithjane.com/app/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Sitting with Jane” made up of 25 “BookBenches” until 31 August. Each bench is uniquely designed and painted by a professional artist with their personal interpretation of a Jane Austen theme.

Follow in Jane’s footsteps in Bath

The South West Spa city of Bath is a great place to get to know Jane Austen, where she lived between 1801 and 1806. The city’s perfectly preserved Georgian architecture remains unchanged from the streets depicted in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

Visitors can step back in time with a free downloadable audio walking tour of the city In the footsteps of Jane Austen, that includes extracts from her novels and letters, which brilliantly describe Bath as it would have been in its Georgian heyday. Be sure to stop off at the Jane Austen Centre, located in a Georgian town house just a few doors down from where she once lived and home to an exhibition of costumes, manuscripts, and film clips to bring the author’s world to life and explore the city’s influence on her work, as well as the all-important Regency Tea Rooms (£11 per adult and £5.50 per child).

And for true enthusiasts, visit between 8-17 September to join the largest gathering of Jane Austenenthusiasts at the Jane Austen Festival. Previous years have seen fans donning full regency garb at the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade, meeting their very own Mr Darcy at the Country Dance Ball, and dancing their sense and sensibilities away at the Regency Costumed Masked Ball. 2017 will see the 17th edition of the annual festival. Tickets on sale now.

Explore Jane Austin’s seaside sojourns in Lyme Regis

Jane is known to have visited and loved Lyme Regis. In her letters to her sister Cassandra she described walking on the Cobb and tellingly her last novel Persuasion was set in the Dorset seaside town.

It’s easy to explore the area especially with a guided tour with Literary Lyme who offers a several walking tours of Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast that follow in the footsteps of several authors who lived or visited Lyme Regis. In the mix is a visit to the Golden Cap, the highest point in Southern England, which features in a film adaptations of  Persuasion – 90 minute tours cost from £10 per person.

Literary Trails and film buff locations in Berkshire

Jane Austen went to school at Abbey Gateway, Reading between 1785 and 1786. It was the only time in her life she lived away from home.

To get an insight explore the area on a Readipop Reading Literary Trail, a free walking tour developed by a group of young locals, as part of a heritage project called Reading on Tour to uncover Reading’s hidden history.

Film buffs may like to visit the 18th-century Palladian mansion of Basildon Park. It had two roles, one as Mr Bingley’s house, Netherfield and the other it was the dreamy location for Darcy and Elizabeth’s first meeting in the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennett and Matthew MacFadyen as Mr Darcy.

With both its impressive exterior and many of its indoor spaces featuring in the lavish production, Basildon is instantly recognisable to fans. Entry to Basildon Park costs £14 per adult; £7.50 per child.

Trips Tips for The Average Joe

Traveling to China is the most interesting thing to do. China has a lot of fascinating and beautiful places that attract a lot of people worldwide. The country lies in the list of those destinations that can make a trip memorable. China has got a lot of fascinating and beautiful places to visit. A a trip to China can be of any kind, business, family or a honeymoon trip. China has got sparkling beaches, lakes, rivers, and mountains that attract most of the tourists. The most exciting season to visit Beijing is during autumn. A tourist needs only to find China Traveling Service and your trip become easier. This China Traveling Service offers accommodation, food, traveling services as well as any other service that you need during your visit.

Beijing tour should include three of the most important visits. The first memorable place to visit is the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City is the beautiful castle in the world history. The Palace has got beautiful architecture for tourist to visit. Tourists do enjoy the great and beautiful paintings and treasures of the Forbidden City. A lot of money has been used by the China’s government to make the Forbidden City beautiful. This Forbidden City is of great importance to the Chinese government.

The Great Wall of China is a very tourist attraction site in the world. The Wall was built very many years ago. The structure is visible from the space too. The Wall has been constructed purposely for protecting the Yong. There is a section of the wall that is constructed with massive stones and bricks that make the wall to be very smooth. The section of the Wall is one of the mist secluded and isolated area in the Great Wall. It has twelve watch towers at different intervals and it takes two hours to reach the place. This section is perfect for adventure trekkers and hikers. The place is always crowded with tourist from all over the world.

The third most beautiful and exciting place to travel in Beijing is The Temple of Heaven. Temple of Heaven is on the Southern side of the city of Beijing. Ming and Ding Dynasties used this Temple of Heaven as a holy site for prayers. The most interesting place to go in this Temple is the Echo Wall. This Echo Wall is surrounded by a vault and is well known for its acoustics. Visitors like this place because even the slightest echo is noticeably repeated back and is heard by someone who is near. These three locations are the nicest and most beautiful places to visit in Beijing City. Tourist should consider visiting these exotic places.

Road Trip through Ukraine

Ukraine, the country famous for banning Hollywood Steven Seagal from visiting, is opening up to tourism with visa-free travel. Add to that direct flights from the UK and the fact that it is still remarkably good value for money, this is as good a time as any to visit. We suggest you get behind the wheel or a hire car or indeed to hop on a train.

Lviv

Situated in the far west of the country, just 50 miles from the Polish border, Lviv was known as Lemburg when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1772 to WW1. That’s reflected in its quaint cobbled streets, proliferation of churches and architecture reminiscent of those other Hapsburg cities like Vienna and Budapest. Of course it also has trams, trolley buses and coffee houses. Indeed they say that the first coffee shop in Vienna was opened by an Ukrainian from Lviv in 1686.

It’s a pleasant place to wander round, with street musicians on every corner, and the Market Square in the old town is lined with renaissance houses. The elaborate Lviv Opera House still stages productions of opera and ballet and imposing Cathedrals beckon you inside. My visit coincides with National Embroidered Blouse Day so everyone is sporting one, men and women alike.

Outside the old town, the 18th-century Lychakiv Cemetery has ornate tombs, chapels and shrines plus a special section dedicated to those who are still being killed in the armed struggle on Ukraine’s Eastern borders. Most Ukrainians I speak to believe that it’s Russian mischief making and can’t understand why their former ally is making trouble. Central and Western Ukraine show no signs of the war, so travellers shouldn’t be alarmed.

Carpathian Mountains

The Carpathians form an arc running roughly 1000 miles across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe. They occupy the South West of Ukraine, separating the country from Romania, with the highest peak, Mount Hoverla, reaching over 2000m. Life carries on here much as it’s done for centuries and during the Soviet period was left almost untouched. Even guerrillas fighting their Russian oppressors stayed holed up here for years.

Kolomyia

It’s a three hour drive across the Ukrainian steppes to Kolomyia, famous for the world’s only Pysanka or Easter Egg Museum. Of course it’s built in the shape of a giant egg and houses an impressive collection of intricately decorated specimens from all over the world. Nearby is another museum dedicated to the Hutsuls, the largest ethnic group in the Carpathians, scattered through both Ukraine and Romania. It’s an excellent introduction to their culture with an exhibition of ethnic costumes, arts and crafts.

Yaremche

The landscape begins to change as I climb up to the town of Yaremche at 580m. The wide cornfields give way to forested hills, wooden houses and quaint chapels by the side of the road. The River Prut runs through the centre of town in a series of rapids, and there’s a rather tacky craft market on either side of the ravine. However if you’re in the market for woolly slippers or dodgy fruit wine, this is the place for you.

Travel Guide: 24 hours in Moscow

The name Moscow is used synonymously with the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin, yet the city is so much more than a political city and has plenty to offer visitors.

The beating heart of Russia is a global commercial hub, a cosmopolitan metropolis with 1,000 years of history and more than 10 million inhabitants. It boasts some of the finest hotels in the world, iconic buildings, rich cultural sites, and fine restaurants, so whether you are just passing through in transit, or have a day at leisure between business meetings, be sure to make the most of the most impressive capital city between London and Beijing.

Unlike its sister city St Petersburg, the Venice of the north, few foreign visitors think of coming to Moscow. The Cold War memories of a cold, grey city still linger, but in 2017 they couldn’t be further from reality. Now is the time to immerse yourself in everything Moscow has to offer.

Must Stay

In Moscow, location is everything, and you can’t do better than to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow (read our review), a stone’s throw away from Red Square. An historic hotel where the decor is inspired by the decadence of Imperial Russia, you’ll live like a Tsar in this palace. Superior guest rooms start from £225 at the weekends, and whether you’re treating yourself to fine dining in Novikov Restaurant, relaxing in the spa, or soaking up the stunning views of Red Square from the rooftop O2 Lounge, you’re not going to want to leave.

Must Visit

The Kremlin is Moscow’s fortress and it is the city’s cultural centrepiece as much as a political institution. Inside the vast fortified compound you will find three cathedrals, the Patriarch’s Palace, a church and the bell tower of Ivan the Great, and together these buildings are the holiest sites of Russian Orthodoxy — Moscow’s Vatican, if you like. Exquisite religious frescoes decorate the walls, incense drifts in the air, and every now and then it is possible to hear the sound of devotional plainsong. Here too is the Armoury Chamber with its extraordinary collection of state regalia, gold and silver plate, and jewels. Prepare to stand entranced by the craftsmanship and the wealth, the shear number and variety of sublime artefacts.

Must Be Seen At

The old Red October Chocolate Factory, a converted industrial area on an island in the Moskva River, is the coolest place to be seen. Hipsters working at Digital October, one of the city’s most successful start-up incubators, hang out here, and you can join them for a contemporary art exhibition at Red October Gallery or the Lumiere Brothers Centre for Photography. There’s a bar serving fine wines at the neighbouring Strelka Institute, a creative space hosting open lectures, conferences and film screenings, or you can pop into Urban Kitchen for a drink and a bite to eat.

Must Drink

Forget the stereotypes: Moscow has so much more to offer than vodka, though if that is your tipple of choice, you’ll certainly be in for a treat. The city’s best mixologists are to be found in the O2 Lounge on the rooftop of the Ritz Carlton hotel. Dress to impress so you fit right in, and as you stand on the terrace gazing across the city, you’ll never forget the sight of St Basil’s Cathedral lit up at night.

Must Shop

Catherine II commissioned the Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi to build her a neoclassical trade centre after the 1812 fire in Moscow. Today the complex is the GUM Department Store, and you should come here as much to appreciate the impressive metal and glass vaulted ceiling as for the designer stores. The delicatessen displays put even Fortnum and Mason’s to shame, and the shoe and handbag selections may well prompt hysteria.

Must Eat

The Radisson Royal has a flotilla of ice breaker yachts, and every evening you can step aboard for a dinner cruise afloat on the Moskva River. The gourmet menu includes fresh seafood platters, and the hot smoked sturgeon is undoubtedly a culinary highlight.

For authentic contemporary Russian cuisine, prepared with seasonal, organic ingredients from local farms, go to LavkaLavka. Think of it as Moscow’s answer to River Cottage. Our absolutely favourite dish on the menu is the beetroot spelt with porcini mushrooms, though the duck breast with stewed plums, honey, and ginger is also a highlight for your tastebuds.

Must See The View

The 540m high Ostankino TV Tower was the tallest free-standing building in the world until the completion of the CN Tower in 1976. Built to mark the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution, this iconic structure is a masterpiece of Soviet engineering and unexpectedly beautiful when it is lit up in many colours at night. The observation deck is open daily until 21.00 and on a clear day you can see right across the city in every direction.

Travel Guide: 24 Hours in Munich

Munich, home to the famous beer festival Oktoberfest (which despite the name is held in September), is the third largest city in Germany, and the capital of Bavaria, Germany’s biggest state.

The most distinctive building in Munich, the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus), looms with neo-Gothic splendour over the Marienplatz, and you can see its 85m tall tower from almost anywhere in the city. From this central point, it’s only a 20-minute walk to the English Gardens, a perfect place to stop and relax after a day of sightseeing and shopping.

Must visit

Munich Botanical Garden (Botanischer Garten Munchen-Nymphenburg) is the green lungs of Munich, the perfect spot to stroll around on a sunny day. The gardens cover more than 50 acres and are home to 16,000 plants, many of which are in impressive, multi-tiered glasshouses. Even if you’ve only a casual interest in botany, the 2,000 different kinds of orchids really are something special to behold, and all sorts of tropical plants are thriving in their carefully controlled environment.

Combine your visit to the botanical garden with a trip to the Nymphenburg Palace, a short walk away. The palace is the work of architect Henrico Zuccalli. Construction began in 1701, but quickly ground to a stop because of the Spanish War of Succession: patron Max Emanuel had to be away from Bavaria.

From April to October, you can take a 30-minute gondola ride on the river (EUR 15), and the Rococo Amalienburg Palace in the grounds has an extraordinary Hall of Mirrors in the centre of the pavilion.

Must be seen at

The coolest place to be seen in Munich is the Barbara Gross Galerie. Originally a bakery, this exhibition space was converted first into a graphic design studio, and now into a contemporary art gallery. Barbara Gross is particularly keen to promote emerging female artists, and many of the paintings and sculptures tackle social and political issues.

Must drink beer

This is Germany, and Munich is home to Oktoberfest. Of course you have to drink beer! In warm weather, the biergartens are completely packed with people. The biergartens in the English Gardens are mostly filled with students and families, and the one beneath the Chinese Tower is especially scenic. It’s also the second largest in the city. Elsewhere in the gardens, there’s a large biergarten on the shore of Kleinhesseloher Lake, and a third, quieter place to drink at Restaurant Aumeister in the northern part of the park.

Must eat

German food is heavy on the meat, and meat dominates almost every meal. For those visitors who are vegetarian, therefore, or who fancy something a little lighter, Germany’s first Vegan Cat Cafe, Katzentempel, is a welcome addition to Munich’s restaurant scene. The menu is completely vegan, and surprisingly delicious. Six cats, Gizmo, Ayla, Balou, Jack, Robin, and Saphira, keep diners entertained, and they do such an excellent job that Katzentempel is usually packed. It’s best to book a table, just in case.

Must shop

Munich is very much a design-focused city, and this is reflected in the places to shop. Walk along Sendlinger Strasse, and explore its side streets, too, for a mixture of quirky boutiques and big name brands. The architecture of the Funf Hofe shopping mall makes it a tourist destination in its own right.

Must see the view

Right on top of the Department of Architecture at the Technical University of Munich is Vorhoelzer Forum Cafe, a rooftop cafe with a 360-degree view of Munich. It’s not the easiest place to find, but everyone at the university is extremely friendly and they’ll point you in the right direction. The cafe has a laidback vibe, the unique hot chocolate is a mug of hot milk and a cup of chocolate chips for you to stir in yourself, and the views across the city are definitely worth the climb.

Things to do and see in Western Canada

Drive the Trans-Canada Highway

The Trans-Canada runs 4,990 miles across the entire width of Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The dramatic western section goes from Horseshoe Bay through the Fraser Valley, crossing passes, bridges, and gorges. It’s a fantastic road trip with plenty to see, and the road links together many of the other sites on this list.

Stay on a houseboat

Shuswap Lake is one of the most picturesque settings in British Columbia, and you can sleep onboard many of the comfortable houseboats. Typically sleeping 10, the boats are based in the marina but sail out across the lake to various spots where you can swim, sunbathe, and relax. The boats vary from basic to pretty luxurious: some even have a hot tub!

Summit Mt. Norquay

At 2,133 m, Mt. Norquay is by no means the highest peak in Canada, but it is easily accessible and from the summit you’ll have breathtaking views across the Banff National Park. You can hike up to Mt. Norquay (the name of both the mountain and the ski resort on its slopes) from Banff town in a few hours or, if you aren’t feeling too energetic, take the chairlift instead.

Soak in Sulphur Hot Springs

There are naturally occurring hot springs across the Rocky Mountains: the water is heated as it forces its way up through the Sulphur Mountain Thrust Fault, and once mixed with snow melt the water temperature is a bath-like 38°C. There are nine hot spring sites in the Banff National Park, but the most developed of these are Banff Upper Hot Springs, where you can sit in the hot pool looking out across Mt. Rundle.

Raft on the Lower Thompson River

Western Canada’s mountain rivers offer numerous possibilities for white water rafting, but one of the best sites is on the Thompson, a tributary to the much larger (and more famous) Fraser River. Here you can take a motorised rafting trip with a guide through the class 3 and 4 rapids, including a rafting through a river feature known ominously as the Jaws of Death.

Camp at Lake Louise

Lake Louise is a glacier-fed jewel, sparkling in turquoise and surrounded by mountain peaks, hiking trails, and pebble beaches. Camping on the riverbank you’ll have the lapping of the water as your soundtrack, and an extraordinary canopy of stars overhead by night.

Traverse Columbia Icefield

Columbia Icefield is the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains, crossing into both the Banff and Jasper National Parks. The glaciers here were formed some 200,000 years ago, and they are surrounded by some of the Rockies’ highest peaks. You can walk out on the Glacier Skywalk, a glass walkway suspended 280 m above the ice fields, and also ride on a purpose-built Ice Explorer, purpose built for travelling across glaciers.

Things to see and do in Kazakhstan

The Singing Dunes in Atlyn Emel National Park

The Singing Dunes (also known as Singing Barkhan or Singing Sand) is a mountain of sand in the Altyn Emel National Park – itself a stretch of desert and canyons across 4,600 square kilometres.

These naturally occurring dunes are an impressive 150m high and 1.5km long but what makes them phenomenal is that they sing out a whistling sound when the wind skims across the sands. Beware: the sound can be as much as 105 decibels loud.

Access is easy from Almaty into the national park, especially if you have a 4×4 as the drive takes around an hour and a half. The entry fee is 962 tenge, the local currency (£2.47/2.98 euros). Once there you can climb the dunes on foot.

Sharyn (or Charyn) Canyon

Charyn Canyon is within the Charyn River valley which practically kisses the Chinese border. It might not be as deep as the Grand Canyon, but its steep sides and colour gradations make it equally as impressive.

If you watched Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman in The Long Way Round, you’d have spotted the canyon then as it was one of the highlights of their route.

There are opportunities for white water rafting and canoeing on the Charyn River, and hikers can explore both the canyon and the striking red rock formations of the Valley of Castles on an extended trek.

Aral Sea

The shrinking of the Aral Sea is one of the great environmental disasters of the 20th century: in the 1960s it was one of the four largest lakes in the world, but today it’s only a fraction of its original size. Poorly planned Soviet irrigation schemes diverted its water supplies, and the Aral Sea dried up. It’s an important place to visit, however, to see first hand the devastating potential impact of human intervention in nature. The skeleton ships in the sand, now miles away from open water where they might sail, are a poignant reminder of the past.

Ski resort of Shymbulak

You might not think of Kazakhstan as a winter sports hub, but the ski resort of Shimbulakjust a short 30 minute drive from Almaty, hosted the Winter Asian Games in 2011, and bid (albeit unsuccessfully) for the 2014 and 2022 Winter Olympics, too. You can ski at Shymbulak from November until May, and the lifts go up to the Talgar Pass at 3,200m. In total there are around 20km of pisted runs, plus some excellent, affordable opportunities for heli-skiing. The resort’s ski jump overlooks Almaty and the views for the top are spectacular, even if you’re not intending to jump.

Almaty

Almaty is the former capital of Kazakhstan, a charming city surrounded by mountains. It remains the commercial and cultural heart of the country, with plenty to see and do. Highlights here include the photogenic Zenkov Cathedral, the Kok Tobe cable car, and Almaty Opera House. The Kazakhstanis have quite a fondness for the UK and Ireland, so keep your eyes peeled for the statue of The Beatles, erected by a Kazakh fan, and also Mad Murphy’s Irish Pub.

Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center

The Khan Shatyr is the most famous building on Astana’s skyline, and its claim to fame is that it’s the world’s biggest tent. Designed by Norman Foster, this iconic structure houses an indoor beach resort, boating river, shopping mall, and concert hall. It’s temperature controlled so it’s always balmy inside, even when the mercury falls to -40 Celsius outdoors. Andrea Bocelli sang at the Khan Shatyr’s opening, with the presidents of Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Armenia, and Belarus in the audience, so you’ll be the latest in a long line of international visitors.

Lake Kaindy

Hidden in the Tien Shan Mountains, Lake Kaindy is a relative newcomer to the landscape made by a landslide in 1911. With water that shifts from turquoise to emerald green depending on the light, it’s particularly scenic to walk here, either on a day trip from Almaty or on a longer trek. Siberian roe deer graze on the lake shore, there’s a large amount of bird life, and the lake is also good for trout fishing. This is somewhere you’ll want to retreat to and spend a while, watching the reflections and ripples on the water.

Turkistan

Kazakhstan was on the Silk Road, and there was a substantial commercial centre at Turkistan at least by the 4th century AD. An important Sufi saint, Khodja Ahmed Yassawi, preached and was buried here. His medieval mausoleum remains an important pilgrimage site, recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Kazakhstan has relatively few surviving historic sites from this period, unlike neighbouring Uzbekistan, so Turkistan should be treasured even more.

The most beautiful spot to see the tours in puglia

Gargano

Gargano, Puglia (c) marcom66
In the spur of Italy, Gargano is replete with beautiful fishing villages, dark and ancient forests inland, fine sandy beaches but also rugged cliffs, secret caves and picturesque coves. A perfect hub for eco-tourism and relax.

The most popular and fashionable town in Gargano is the medieval village of Vieste, with its narrow streets and white houses, dominated by a stunning 13th century castle.

Among the most beautiful beaches we recommend Mattinata beach, especially the coastal area of Baia delle Zagare, with its famous stacks a few metres from the shore.

If you like fresh fish you have to try a dinner at trabucco, a traditional wooden fishing platform on the coast where you can watch the fishing process, help out if you want, and dine leaving you with a very memorable experience.

Salento

Roca Vecchia, Salento (c) Freddyballo
The southernmost area of Puglia is defined by stony olive groves that extend between dry-stone walls bordered with oleander. It has a strong identity with its own cuisine, traditions and music, influenced by its Greek past.

Along with some of Italy’s best beaches such as Porto Cesareo with the Punta Prosciutto dunes, Pescoluse beach (also called Maldives of Salento) and Torre Lapillo beach there are some fascinating towns to explore such as Otranto, Specchia and Presicce (awarded as 3 of the most beautiful Italian villages).

Get there in the summer for a chance to witness a sagra di paese (a village festival) where you can eat traditional street food while listening to traditional music such as pizzica or tarantella.

Valle D’Itria

Valle d’Itria, also called “Trulli valley”, is an extended valley with a unique fairytale landscape composed by cylindrical peasant houses with beehive roofs known as Trulli.

These traditional apulian buildings served a very practical function: using up all the stones that peasants cleared from their difficult, rocky fields. They were easily made and easily knocked down again.

Today, the fanciful Trulli are restored holiday houses for tourists: silent and peaceful places that keep you warm in winter and cool in the summer months. For example, Trullo Due Ulivi in Valle d’Itria has been recently renovated following the traditional criteria preserving the authentic beauty:

Another authentic Trulli house in the heart of Valle D’Itria is Trullo Stefano, surrounded by dry-stone walls and centenary Olive trees and comes with a private pool.

Ostuni

Ostuni (c) Dronkitmaster
The city of Ostuni is a beautiful maze-like white city on a hilltop just 8km from the Adriatic Sea packed with narrow streets you can spend ages getting lost in, climbing staircases and falling in love with the stunning views. 
Wandering through the old alleys of its historic center inside its ancient walls you can find traditional craftsmanship shops, cosy cafes and aperitivo spots, and lovely restaurants to experience a perfect Apulian dinner before a drink in one of the trendy bars where you can enjoy the lively Italian nightlife in a very international environment.

Brindisi

Brindisi (c) Reise nach Apulien
The port of Brindisi was recognised as a UNESCO heritage site for culture of Peace as it was always considered a safe harbour for travellers and a point of departure. The city today hosts the United Nations Logistics Base – the hub for peacekeeping operations.

For many years, the port has been a main stop of the Indian Mail from London to Bombay, and it hosted world-known names such as Virgil and Ghandi.

Its beautiful waterfront is packed with restaurants that serve local and fresh food. The old town has the charm of old-school traditional Italy that sometimes feels lost in the more touristic cities. People are friendly and welcoming and visitors like to call it “Brindeasy” for its slow and relaxed lifestyle.

Old town of Bari

Making orecchiette
Bari, the capital of the region is buzzing and busy which has a lovely old town. Bari Vecchia (the old town of Bari) is a walled city built on a peninsula jutting into the sea. While walking down the narrow alleyways you will feel like being in someone’s living room. The streets here are places to socialise, and in the mornings women sit at tables making orecchiette (little ears), the typical Apulian pasta made by rolling the dough into thin logs, cutting off a chunk and shaping it by hand at an impressively rapid pace.