So it’s time for part two of our Top Ten requested locations from our range of Surprise Trip Cards.  Some of our favourites… Who’s in the mood for some time away!

Venice

Image via Unsplash: Photograph by Fedrerico Beccari

Venice must be a staple of Bucket Lists throughout the globe.  Where else combines Italian flair, theatrical architecture with thriving cafe culture.  Did I mention that Venice manages to achieve this whilst perched on top of, and quite often within a Lagoon!

This Labarythine city is awash with hidden gems, secret Garden Islands, marble palaces and intimate picture-perfect squares, I’m not sure a short break would be quite long enough. 

Our Top Tips

Basilica di San Marco

Sitting within a square featuring a beautiful collection of historic architectural masterpieces, without a doubt the most spectacular is Venice’s Cathedral.  Featuring soaring Domes, intricate Mosaics and treasures spanning centuries, a true feast for the eyes.

Rialto Market

For over 700 years Venice’s premier market has been an experience for the senses.  Arrive nice and early and enjoy the hustle and bustle of this vibrant market, and wonder at the sheer volume and variety of produce on offer.

Pasticceria Del Mas

This historic bakery/cafe has been efficiently dispensing Cornetti (Italian-style croissants) and other mouth-watering gems for years.  Another speciality, Quiche, along with a delicious Hot Chocolate may be a perfect mid-morning snack to take in the Venician atmosphere.

Los Angeles

Image via Unsplash: Photograph by Caroline Hernandez

Mountain walks, luxurious beach resorts, world-famous boulevards and hobnobbing with the elite of the movie world, La La Land certainly is what you would call an eclectic mix of… well just about everything that you can imagine really.

LA is a cultural powerhouse, enveloping cultures from across the globe in a cosmopolitan melting pot between the glorious beaches and spectacular mountain ranges.

Anything to do in LA?

Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Once dubbed as ‘America’s Coolest Street’, the mile-long stretch that takes you between Venice Blvd & Main St. is a heady mix of rather exclusive boutiques, restaurants and galleries… Very swish darling.

Griffith Observatory

Perhaps one of LA’s most iconic structures since its development in 1935, the Griffith Observatory boasts the worlds most advanced star projector.  The astronomical displays are outstanding, as are its vistas over the LA skyline.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Whether it’s the Bates Motel & Psycho House that brings back some frightening memories, or you’re more of a Harry Potter fan, the rides, shows & attractions at this huge backlot theme park will definitely keep you entertained.

Prague

Image via Unsplash: Photograph by Rodrigo Ardhila

When Prague was freed from Communism in 1989, this historic Czech city became increasingly popular with tourists.  Today Prague rightfully takes its place alongside Paris, Rome, London and Amsterdam as one of Europe’s premier holiday hotspots.

From 20th Century surrealism art installations, Gothic architectural wonders and some of the world’s finest Beer, Prague is diverse, enchanting and an urban explorers dream!

The Best Bits

Charles Bridge

Completed in 1390, toing and froing across Prague’s most iconic bridge is a firm favourite.  Featuring elegant rows of fine baroque statues along its parapet, it’s easy to see why so many fall in love with this beautiful ancient monument.

Astronomical Clock

Every hour, just like clockwork…so sorry, crowds gather beneath the tower of the Old Town Hall to enjoy the 45 seconds or so that the Astronomical Clock springs into action.  Historic, beautiful and elegant, one of  Prague’s most famous attractions.

U Kroka

Combine two treats in one, located at the foot of the ancient Vysehrad Citadel is the U Kroka, a Traditional Pub with not only excellent local beer on offer but exceptionally hearty and great quality pub grub. 

Iceland

Image via Unsplash: Photograph by Jonatan Pie

Dazzling, and revelling in its remote beauty, Iceland is a volcanic hotspot that continues to wow tourists from around the globe.  Perhaps a little lacking in man-made wonders, but it really doesn’t need them.  Travel to Iceland to witness first hand the immense power of mother nature.

The Vista’s are vast and awe-inspiring. A volcano erupting over there, geothermal springs behind your hotel, a stroll on the local glacier over here and the Aurora Borealis as you sip cocktails in the evening.

What to see

The Golden Circle

Cutting a long story short, the epic Gullfoss Waterfall, Incredible force of nature. Stroller Geyser, projecting a 30m plume of steaming hot water every 5 minutes or so, and the Thingvellir National Park, the collision point of two international Tectonic Plates.  All in a day’s work for Iceland.

Hallgrimskirkja

Concrete white perfection, the target of millions of photographs and in the heart of vibrant Reykjavik.  Its star attractions, the 5275-pipe organ and the stunning view across the city from the top of the 75m tower.

The Blue Lagoon

Most people enjoy a nice relaxing bath on holiday, now if you were to include two luxurious hotels, restaurants and a Spa, you’d have the Blue Lagoon.  The main attraction, vast warm silica-rich water, gently making its way to the Blue Lagoon after a 2000 meter journey from deep within the earth, simply a magical experience.  (Especially in the Snow).

Dubai

Image via Unsplash: Photograph by ZQ Lee

Somehow Dubai manages to combine ancient Arabic traditions with an uber-modern lifestyle.  Whether it’s Dubai’s unstoppable ambition to create the extraordinary you admire or its rich history, Dubai is fascinating, remarkable, and sometimes just on a different planet.

Epic Sunsets, luxurious hotels, outstanding food and world-class shopping, Dubai can and will be whatever you desire it to be.

Our Best Bits

Burj Khalifa

Peaking at a little over 800m, Burj Khalifa dominates… everything.  The Observation deck on the 148th floor is a must, as is a little recovery time in the 152nd-floor restaurant.

Dubai Museum

If there is ever a museum that helps you lend perspective to where you are, it’s Dubai’s principal museum.  The main focus, to chart the monumental rise of this Emirate, from a humble fishing and pearling village to a global tourism powerhouse and centre of commerce.

Madinat Jumeirah

Not just a complex of exceptionally well-themed hotels and attractions, but a traditional Souk hosting a bewildering array of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. Time to relax? Abra strewn waterways lead to gardens and peaceful courtyards, it’s almost like therapy.

That concludes our little tour around the top ten places that you’ve requested for your surprise trip cards.  We’ve enjoyed taking a look back at these fascinating locations and reminisced about the ones we’ve been lucky enough to see in the flesh.

Team NOE

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