December 2017 Travel Guide


Updated Tour Guide

Greece – A Winter Destination

Among visitors and tourists, Greece is known for its sunshine, beautiful seas, extensive beachfront, and thousands of exotic islands. Not to under-emphasize the country’s enchanting summers, Greece also offers some of the most impressive mountainous destinations well suited for the winter vacation seeker.

In 2017 Greece ranked 53rd out of 136 countries as the safest for travel. The USA was ranked 84th, the UK ranked 78th and Canada 23rd in that year.

The Monastery of Rousanou was founded in the middle of the 16th century and decorated in 1560. Today it is a flourishing nunnery.

Kaimaktsalan- The Delights of Macedonia

Kaimaktsalan or Voras as it is called in Greek is a mountain in the north of Greece between the province of Macedonia and the country of FYROM. Kaimaktsalan which saw bitter fighting between Serbian and Bulgarian troops in the Second World War hosts on the FYROM site a cemetery dedicated to Serbian soldiers killed in the bitter tribulation, and a fantastic resort center on the Macedonian side in Greece.

Accessible through Thessaloniki, Kaimaktsalan, like Arahova, caters to both local and international clientele, a clientele which includes high profile jet-setters, high-level executives, celebrities, royalty, and politicians.

Pilio – The Mountain of The Centaurs

Pilio (or Pelion or Pelium), the mountain of centaurs is located in Central Greece in the province of Thessaly next to the city of Volos. Pelion is the mythical mountain home of the centaur teacher Cherion, instructor to Jason of the Argonauts, Achilles, Theseus King of Athens and the Great Hercules.

Pilion is that rare natural vintage that provides a perfect combination of mountain and sea. It is an ideal vacation for the winter traveler since the mountain hosts traditional villages with chalets deeply entrenched within the deep wood.

Pilio is the perfect vacation spot for the nature seeker, the traveler who wishes to spend the snowy daytime mountain trekking and skiing (Pelion has a number ski resorts) while retiring in the cool winter evenings next to a warm fireplace with a book, a cup of tea, or a warm brandy.

The Monastery of St. Stephen has a small church built in the 16th century and decorated in 1545. This monastery rests on the plain rather than on a cliff. It was shelled by the Nazis during World War II who believed it was harboring insurgents and was abandoned. The monastery was given over to nuns in 1961 and they have reconstructed it into a flourishing nunnery, with nuns in residence.


Kalavrita- A Retreat

Kalavrita is a family-oriented winter vacation spot, including a popular ski resort, in the mountains of Achaia close to the town of Patras. Kalavrita is an ideal destination for families and those looking for a moderately priced winter retreat away from the hustle and bustle of big cities but within the confines of metropolitan infrastructure.

The town hosts a number of high-quality family-oriented hotels and bed and breakfast dwellings, high quality but moderately priced restaurants, and an enchanting natural setting since the town is built on a mountainside and includes a beautiful town square surrounded by shops, cafes and the town church.

Kalavrita is an excellent destination choice for spending the Greek Orthodox Easter since its proximity to the monastery of Agia Lavra provides a unique experience of the Resurrection of Christ festivities as practiced by the Greek Orthodox faith.

Arahova- The Wealthy and Ostentatious

Arahova hosts a popular set of winter resorts within the confines of Mount Parnassus in mainland Greece close to the city of Lamia. Arahova has been traditionally a popular yet pricey destination for Greek as well as foreign tourists.

Equipped with posh five-star hotels and lodges, well-organized ski and winter resorts, as well as numerous nightclubs and world-renowned executive clubs, Arahova year after year, attracts thousands of visitors. Visitors include ski and mountain hiking fans as well as those wishing to use the mountain resort for further excursions to other famous sites such as The Delphic Oracle.

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Countries with the most Earthquakes & Natural Disasters

Some sort of natural disaster can happen almost anywhere at almost anytime. Floods, wildfires, droughts, volcanoes, and avalanches can occur in any season. While no spot on the planet is immune from natural disasters there are countries that see more occurrences of devastating disasters due to their geographic location.

The United States is second on the list of top 10 countries that experience the most natural disasters yet it is also one of the most popular safe destinations for traveling and vacations. Common-sense, caution and preparedness are always good procedures for self-preservation. If it is possible to adjust the timing of vacations to avoid rainy seasons or particularly harsh seasonal temperature fluctuations, you can mitigate the risk when you travel.

Below is the list of the 10 countries which have averaged the most natural disasters per year. While the threat to life is extreme in severe natural disasters most travelers and vacationers will experience more risk from people than from such disasters. Caution is always advised when choosing a vacation destination but factors like political strife, wars, financial instability and religious conflicts should take precedence when deciding on a holiday.

Countries With Most Annual Natural Disasters
Rank Country Climatological Geophysical Hydrological Meteorological Total
1 China 2 8 15 15 40
2 United States 2 1 3 14 20
3 India 0 0 8 7 15
4 Japan 0 2 1 10 13
5 Philippines 0 1 3 9 13
6 Indonesia 0 2 8 0 10
7 Mexico 0 2 0 6 8
8 France 0 0 3 5 8
9 Thailand 1 1 4 2 8
10 Nepal 0 0 6 1 7

Climatological: extreme temperatures, drought, and wildfires.
Geophysical: earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, and volcanic activity.
Hydrological: avalanches and floods.
Meteorological: cyclones and storms/wave surges.

Earthquakes
Every year, on average, there are approximately 1,800 earthquakes recorded that are over 5 on the Richter scale. The risks of fatality are lower in most of these earthquakes. Devastating earthquakes, above 7 on the Richter scale and ones that cause massive loss of life, are rare occurring on average 7 times per year world-wide.

Major Devastating Earthquakes in last 116 Years
Country Total Earthquakes Per Year
China 157 1.35
Indonesia 113 0.97
Iran 106 0.91
Turkey 77 0.66
Japan 61 0.53
Peru 44 0.38
USA 41 0.35
Italy 33 0.28
Afghanistan 32 0.28
India 32 0.28
Greece 32 0.28
Mexico 32 0.28

The Pacific coasts of North America bordering the Pacific Ocean and the Eastern coasts down Eurasia and through Pacific Oceania are recognized as zones of earthquake as well as potential volcanic activity. These areas include many popular tourist destinations and while no-one would seek out a vacation with earthquakes as part of their itinerary, the rarity of earthquakes makes it something that most of us can put as a low-level threat to our enjoyment of a vacation.

The Mediterranean and into India and Indonesia are also areas where risk of geological activity is present. There are many warm, desirable destinations in these areas as well that are popular for travellers and the most anyone can do to avoid problems is to watch for any indicators of potential earthquakes released by local authorities.

Largest Recorded Earthquakes since 1833
Rank Country Event Magnitude
1 Chile 1960 Valdivia earthquake 9.4–9.6
2 United States 1964 Alaska earthquake 9.2
3 Indonesia 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake 9.1–9.3
4  Japan 2011 Tōhoku earthquake 9.1
5 Russia 1952 Kamchatka earthquakes 9
6 Chile 1868 Arica earthquake 8.5–9.0
7 Indonesia 1833 Sumatra earthquake 8.8
8 Ecuador – Colombia 1906 Ecuador–Colombia earthquake 8.8
9  Chile 2010 Chile earthquake 8.8
10 India –  China 1950 Assam–Tibet earthquake 8.7
11  United States 1965 Rat Islands earthquake 8.7

Earthquake Magnitude Scale
Magnitude Earthquake Effects Occurances Per Year
2.5 or less Usually not felt, but can be recorded by seismograph. 900,000
2.5 to 5.4 Often felt, but only causes minor damage. 30,000
5.5 to 6.0 Slight damage to buildings and other structures. 500
6.1 to 6.9 May cause a lot of damage in very populated areas. 100
7.0 to 7.9 Major earthquake. Serious damage. 20
8.0 or greater Great earthquake. Can totally destroy communities near the epicenter. Once every 5 – 10 years

Nepal is a seismically active area and a citizen in Nepal is two times more likely to be killed in an earthquake than any other civilian in the world.

Some of the most desirable vacation destinations are also located in regions where earthquakes are a regular part of life to a certain extent. Such places like Japan have a long history of disastrous earthquakes which has not diminished the number of visitors who seek the countries unique culture and landscape.

Nepal is also an active area and has one of the highest rates of death by earthquake per capita than any other country. Attractions like Tilicho Lake, Chitwan National Park, and Mount Everest continue to draw tourists despite the elevated risk of seismic activity.

India is also in an active belt and South America has been hit with some of the largest recorded earthquakes in history. While the Chilean earthquakes have historically not been the most devastating for total loss of life compared to other countries the fact that extremely high magnitude earthquakes occur in this South American region mean that the risk should be considered potentially elevated, especially in Chile.

Pakistan and the Philippines are also countries that experience earthquakes more frequently and often the damage and loss of life is increased when such disasters occur in poor countries or where the infrastructure is unable to handle the large number of injuries. When natural disasters occur in poorer countries tourists may find that items that are taken for granted at home are hard to come by even if they are vacationing in a resort in a poorer country.

Countries like Turkey are not only earthquake prone countries but also part of regional political conflicts making travel to such countries rank lower for multiple reasons, not just earthquakes.

Earthquakes can lead to devastating Tsunami. When vacationing in coastal areas understand the procedures of your host country for dealing with the aftermath of Earthquakes.

These 5 Are Not Tropical But Not Too Shabby Either

When you get so bored from your daily routine and life gets monotonous, what do you do? If we are in a position to do so a lot of us choose to take a vacation far from home as a way to get rid of our boredom and it is also one of the most effective ways to refuel your body and mind. But while selecting a location for traveling, we often forget some basic things. Especially if you are traveling with family, the safety concern should become the first priority and you should choose a place which is safe to travel and at the same time, would offer you a lot to enjoy.

Now you might ask why it is so important to travel to a safe place, right? Well, to be honest, there is nothing called absolutely 110% safe place in the whole world, not even the comfort of your own home is free of danger. But isn’t it wiser to choose a place which has a low crime rate, no political unrest and a lower rate of natural calamity? This would be like wearing a seat belt. It would save your life in many ways you cannot even imagine! So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the world’s safest places to visit and their attractions.

Iceland
The first place in the list belongs to Iceland and that comes with a surprise to many. Iceland is at the top of the Global Peace Index and there is no political unrest of any kind either. If you are a nature lover, this would be the ideal place for your vacation. You can visit Iceland from May to September if you’re interested in whale watching. There are also many beautiful geysers scattered across the country. The Maelifell Volcano of Myrdalsjökull Glacier Park is another point of interest for you. While in Iceland, another thing you must see is the Skaftafell Ice Cave, situated at the Vatnajökull National Park. It is stunningly beautiful. In Iceland you’re able to catch a glimpse of the famous Aurora Borealis if you’re lucky. In order to see this, you must visit Iceland from mid-September to mid-April.

According to visitors some of the more popular places to visit in Iceland are:

The Icelandic Horse – Riding Tours
Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre
National Museum of Iceland
Arbaer Open Air Museum
The Pearl (Perlan)
Islenski Hesturinn, The Icelandic Horse – Riding Tours
Grotta Lighthouse
Lagafellslaug in Mosfellsbaer (Mosfellsbaer)
Reykjavik City Hall

Denmark
Though Denmark has a disturbed past of political unrest and chaos, it has successfully overcome all of them and now stands as one of the happiest countries in the world. The vibrant color would make you mind blown away and you will definitely find yourself enjoying this place from the moment you set foot on its soil. Almost everyone can speak English so language would be no barrier. There are many places to visit and many things to do. Among the point of interests, the Tivoli Garden is a must see. It is a 19th century amusement park that would take you back in time. Also, the National Museum of Denmark, Rosenborg Castle, Frederiksborg Castle, Christianbog Palace, the Old Town of Aarhus (an open air museum), Copenhagen zoo etc. are noteworthy. Though the Spring would be the ideal time to visit, you can visit Denmark any time you want, since it has the least extreme weather among the Scandinavian countries.




Austria
Considered to be the ‘Land of Music’, Austria comes next. It is a very peaceful country and the cities are as clean as you can imagine. Their tourism industry is one of the most sophisticated ones in the world so you don’t have to be worried about anything at all. This country is situated in the Alps, so most of the terrains here are mountainous and covered in snow. The capital, Vienna, is called the city of Music and as a country, Austria has given us many timeless musicians over the course of time. The mountainous region makes it an ideal place for skiing and no matter whether you are a pro or a beginner, there is room for everyone. While in Austria, visit places like Salzburg (Mozart’s birthplace), Hallstatt (a salt mine), Graz, Klagenfurt, Melk etc. Austria is also an ideal place for shopaholics and souvenir collectors.

New Zealand
According to the recent report of Transparency International, New Zealand is the country with the most transparent political status. There is no dirty politics going on so you can be rest assured corruption is far away. New Zealand would be the place you would want to go if you love to relax and enjoy nature to the fullest. The lush green fields full of grazing cows, the blue mountains behind them and small streams here and there would take your mind to another level where you can learn to appreciate nature in a different way. Though they are technologically a very advanced nation, the landscape and nature would give you a rustic and true taste of everything. It is a safe country for the tourists and you can freely move around without any trouble. Enjoy the local cuisine and the folklore. New Zealand is well known for its folk tales and their culture is very rich. So if you are searching for a place to relax and enjoy, have no second thought and pack your bags for New Zealand. It is the very place you want to visit.

Switzerland
Many of you must be surprised to see Switzerland coming in at number five. But remember, this is a list of ‘safe to travel’ countries, not ‘beautiful countries’. Then, does it make Switzerland an unsafe place? Off course not! It’s just that taking into consideration all other facts and figures, Switzerland comes in at number five. It is one of the countries with stricter law enforcement and hence the crime rate and violence is at a record low in the country. Also there has been no political issues for a very long time, which gave Switzerland a stable government and growing economy. While in Switzerland, you can visit places like Mount Pilatus, Rhine Falls, Chillon Castle, Lake Geneva, Matterhorn, Lake Zurich etc. The Swiss made watches has a worldwide reputation so try to grab one while you are in Switzerland. Though they are a bit costly, they are worth every penny.

Safest Unknown Places For A Holiday

What are the things that you consider while planning your holidays? The things to visit in the place under consideration, weather conditions of the place and expenses of travelling are some of the factors which we normally look at. However, there is one very important factor to consider that you often miss out and that is the safety of your family at that particular place. So if you are wondering where is the safest place to go on holiday, you will find some of the best options to choose from:

•    Seychelles:
This one is not so popular among all the tourists, but honey-moon couples seeking a peaceful environment with a lot of privacy largely prefer this place. It is basically an archipelago of the Indian Ocean that is considerably safe and free from terror attacks. San-bathing in the white sand beaches of Beau Vallon and Anse Takamaka is something on which travellers never miss out. Other things that attract travelers include the coral reef and the exotic wildlife of the place with rare species like gigantic Aldabra Tortoise.

The Seychelles are perfect for vacations, honeymoons and holidays.

The Seychelles are perfect for vacations, honeymoons and holidays.

•    Costa Rica:
The Central American country has a rugged terrain, densely covered by the rain forests. Naturally, wild life is a common attraction for the travelers. One thing that Costa Rica boasts of is its gorgeous beaches. You can enjoy lots of water-activities like surfing and diving over here. Last but not the least the place has mouth-watering local food that one can try out. You can visit the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum over here if you are interested in the cultural heritages of the country. A region of rich biodiversity, Costa Rica has protected jungles with rare species like spider monkeys and quetzal birds thriving in the lap of nature.

•    Iceland:
It is not only the shooting spot for many recent movies but also among the safe countries to vacation. The natural waterfalls, volcanoes and lagoons make the place favorite among the travelers. A few major attractions include the volcanic landscapes, the exciting nightlife and the Viking historical museums. If you are an adventure-lover, you can take part in climbing, hiking and snowmobiling. The sparsely populated island is safe, secure and peaceful and the pleasant weather here will help you to relax.




•    Malta:
In between Sicily and North African Coast, the archipelago of great historic importance called Malta is located. It has been under the dominion of the Romans, Moors, French and British through the ages. Naturally, royal fortresses and megalithic temples are found in profusion over here. Flaf, Saflieli Hypogeum and the burial chambers of 3600 B.C.E. are among the great observables in Malta. The elegance in the architecture, the enjoyable boat trips and the wide horizon dotted with small hillocks make Malta a heavenly place. Red gold beaches and limestone cliffs add to the aesthetic beauty.

•    Liechtenstein:
The German province between Switzerland and Austria is popular among the tourists for the scenic beauty and also the magnificent medieval castles. The ski resort of Malbun is one of the places where people from various parts of the world gather. However, we would advice you not to spend your holidays by merely admiring the natural beauty of the place or taking part in these activities. Take out some time from your tour schedule and visit the postal museum to have a look at the postal stamps of Liechtenstein. The winters in Liechtenstein are harsh and accompanied with frequent rain and snow. So it would be better to visit the place during summer when the weather is moderate and pleasant.

•    Poland:

Poland is a safe destination that we don't often think of as a choice for a vacation. Time to think twice and try new things!

Poland is a safe destination that we don’t often think of as a choice for a vacation. Time to think twice and try new things!

The seat of Jewish Heritage, Poland is one of the safe international destinations for traveling. You can go for hiking in the southern mountainous regions of Poland. The small, historic hotels in the city center would be the best place to put up in Poland. Don’t consider these hotels to be of the mainstream old and pesky type, they offer you modern amenities along with stylish interior decor. Warsaw, the largest city of the country has many great places to visit, especially in the reconstructed old town. The only safety concern at Poland is pickpockets at the bus. If you can be careful enough, there cannot be a better place for safe travel than Poland.

•    Bahama:
The picturesque islands of Bahama with soft sand and deep blue waters offer you a great opportunity to rejuvenate yourself. You can participate in various activities like scuba diving and snorkeling. Other things to do include kayaking, diving in the spooky holes of Andros and relaxing on the pink-sand beaches. The New Providence Island’s Nassau with the innumerable casinos and resorts is one of the most attractive places over here. Hearty dishes like French breads with mushrooms, cheese and ketchup are in galore. You can also try out the other treats like dumplings and pancakes found in the local shops and restaurants.

•    Japan: 
One of the most advanced countries of the world, Japan is also one of the safe countries to vacation. The places to visit are primarily the mountainous national parks, sanctuaries and royal palaces. Also, Buddhist shrines and gardens blooming with cherry blossoms are also the popular attractions. Needless to say that the most popular dish to try out here is the Sushi. And for the beef-lovers…you can try the most famous beef over here which is the Kobe beef. One of the myths related to Japan is things are very expensive over here. However, this is not really true since there are many items that you can buy within your budget.

•     Fiji:
The volcanic islands of South Pacific, Fiji draws foreign tourists in thousands. The two main islands, Viti Levu and Vauna Levu along with the other smaller ones offer a great place for comfortable stay and travel. There are both high-end, luxurious hotels and affordable ones. There are innumerable snack stands along the roads where you can taste the local delicacies.

Choose any one of the above-mentioned places and enjoy family safe vacations!

7 Peaceful Countries Worth Visiting

It’s difficult to ignore the tragic events that are occurring around the world, causing a lot of people to just prefer within the comforts of their home. But people are never meant to isolate themselves from the rest of the world so if you’re thinking “Where is the safest place to go on holidays?”, don’t worry because here are seven safe travel destinations for you to visit.

Japan

Japan - A peaceful Country

Japan – A peaceful Country

The Land of the Rising Sun is one of the safest international destinations families and single people can flock to when they’re on a vacation. Global Peace Index of 2016 ranks Japan ninth among the safest countries in the world.

Now some people might think that safe travel equals to boredom but it doesn’t mean that this country has nothing exciting to offer. In fact, every nook and cranny in Japan has lots of fun activities and tourist spots you can check out. If you’re into Japanese films, or any film from other countries, there is the 2016 Tokyo International Film Festival on October 25 to November 3, where filmmakers from all over the world will be present to showcase their latest creations.




Japan also holds several festivals every year and Tokyo is famous for hosting most of them on the streets. Kanda Matsuri, which usually takes place in mid-May and runs over an entire week, have thousands of floats paraded across the streets of Tokyo, which will remind you of those colorful parades in Disneyland. Or you can go to Kyoto and take part in Japan’s ancient tea ceremony at the Tea Ceremony Room Ju-an.

Canada
Canada also ranks high in the Global Peace Index, settling at no. 8 in the safest countries in the world. Just like Japan, Canada has lots of fun places to go to and fun things to experience, too. One fun activity that you and your family might want to try out is howl with the wolves. In Algonquin Park, scores of Canadians and tourists hang around there to visit the majestic wolves of North America and to join in their howling ritual.

Or you can head out to Drumheller, otherwise known as Dinosaur Valley, and check out the area where dinosaurs were first discovered. If you get tired of seeing the wildlife you can also go to Montreal and watch the best jazz artists from around the world presents their awe-inspiring talents on stage at the annual Montreal Jazz Festival.

Denmark
Number two in the Global Peace Index is Denmark and this Scandinavian country should be on top choice of families looking for a fun and safe vacation spot. Denmark is tagged once more as the “Happiest Country in the World” in the 2016 World Happiness Report. It has also been cited by the Transparency International to be the least corrupt nation in 2012 and it has topped their list ever since.

Visit Denmark and here you’ll find fun things to do like watching different kinds of sharks up close. Denmark’s Kattegatcentret boasts of over 250 species of animal life but their main attraction are the greatest predators of the sea—the sharks! As soon as you’re done swimming with the sharks, head over to Billund where the first Legoland was built and your kids will certainly have the time of their lives.

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