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Medium 9781628871807

11 PLANNING YOUR TRIP

Nicholas Gill FrommerMedia ePub

11

Planning Your Trip

This chapter is designed to help you with practical matters in planning your trip to Iceland: when to go, how to get there, how to get around, how to prepare. Advance planning is especially important in high season (mid-June to August), because tourism is booming and services have trouble meeting demand.

When to Go

Iceland has a concentrated tourist season, peaking from mid-June until the end of August. Many Icelanders think the summer tourists don’t know what they’re missing. Iceland offers plenty to do in the other seasons, even winter, and prices are dramatically lower for airfares, car rentals, and places to stay. Icelanders are avid Christmas celebrators, and the aurora borealis is remarkably vivid in winter. Most off-season visitors use Reykjavík as a home base, and combine city culture and nightlife with activities such as horseback riding, snowmobiling, and visiting spas.

High Season

On the other hand, high season is high season for good reason. Most tours and adventure trips to Iceland’s most renowned natural attractions end after September. Roads in the hinterlands are generally closed from October to mid-May, and some don’t open until early July. Precipitation increases in September, peaking from October to February, and frequent storms and driving rain are enough to dissuade many would-be winter adventurers.

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Medium 9781743210017

Colonial District, Marina Bay & the Quays

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

1Admiring regal jewels, temple carvings and ancient pottery at the world-class Asian Civilisations Museum, home to Southeast Asia's finest collection of pan-Asian artefacts.

2Leaping into a sci-fi future at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore's spectacular new botanic garden.

3Pondering Singaporean ambition from the top of one of the world's greatest engineering feats, Marina Bay Sands.

4Time travelling through Singapore's history at the engrossing National Museum of Singapore.

5Exploring the colour-saturated culture of the Peranakans at the Peranakan Museum.

For more detail of this area see Map Click here and Click here

This is the heart of Singapore: a showcase of grand colonial buildings, modern architectural marvels, superlative museums and parks, and pulsating riverside restaurants, bars and clubs.

The City Hall MRT station bolts the neighbourhood together and is a perfect starting point. Wander northwest along Stamford Rd towards the museums. Head in the opposite direction for booming Marina Bay, home of Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and Esplanade – Theatres by the Bay. Around City Hall MRT itself are the iconic edifices of colonialism, among them Raffles Hotel and St Andrew's Cathedral.

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Medium 9781743210031

Parliament & Around

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

1Entering the hallowed halls of the Parliament, arguably the most iconic of all Budapest’s buildings, and making your way to the Crown of St Stephen, symbol of the Hungarian nation for more than 1100 years.

2Doing the right thing by visiting the Basilica of St Stephen and Hungary’s most revered religious relic, the Holy Right (hand) of St Stephen.

3Carousing in and around Nagymező utca, Budapest’s own ‘Broadway’ and home to a plethora of wild and crazy clubs, including Instant.

4Ogling the sinuous curves and asymmetrical forms of the Royal Postal Savings Bank, one of Budapest’s many incomparable Art Nouveau buildings.

5Eating at one of the little eateries called étkezde, such as Kisharang, that serve Hungarian soul food.

North of Belváros, the district called Lipótváros (Leopold Town) is full of offices, government ministries and 19th-century apartment blocks. It’s an easy and fun neighbourhood to explore on foot, and its defining squares are V Széchenyi István tér (sometimes still called Roosevelt tér) facing the river; V Szabadság tér, with the only Soviet memorial left in the city; and V Kossuth Lajos tér, fronted by Parliament. Come to this neighbourhood for exceptional architecture, two of the city’s most important sights (Parliament and the Basilica of St Stephen), some excellent restaurants and cafés and, especially around Central European University, some very great bars.

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Medium 9781742208947

Smíchov & Vyšehrad

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

1Spend an afternoon at the Vyšehrad Citadel, enjoying views from the rampart walls over the city. Don’t miss the evocative cemetery, with its pantheon to Czech arts luminaries. Pack a picnic lunch and, with luck, catch an open-air concert.

2While away an evening drinking and discussing at a rowdy Smíchov pub such as Zlatý klas.

3Enjoy a night of high-quality jazz on the river at Jazz Dock.

4Check out some off-the-wall art or a crazy club happening at David Černý’s Meet Factory.

5Have a great meal in the open air at Rio’s in Vyšehrad.

While the districts of Smíchov and Vyšehrad both lie to the south of the historic centre, they occupy different sides of the Vltava River and couldn't be more different in character. Smíchov, a former industrial area, lacks traditional sights, but has some good old-school pubs and classic restaurants. It's also home to some great hotels, especially around the Anděl metro station, so you might find yourself spending more time in this area than you thought. Bucolic Vyšehrad, by comparison, feels like a sanctuary. In many ways, it's Prague's spiritual home. Come here to tour the Vyšehrad Citadel and pay your respects to the country's cultural giants buried at Vyšehrad Cemetery.

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Medium 9781628873368

THE SAVVY TRAVELER

Elizabeth Heath FrommerMedia ePub

Crowds of shoppers mill near the Spanish Steps.

Before You Go

Italian Tourism Websites

Italian National Tourist Board North America: www.italia.it/en or www.italiantourism.com.

The U.K. & Ireland: www.italiantouristboard.co.uk.

Australia & New Zealand: visitaly.com.au.

The Best Times to Go

April to June and late September to October are the best months to travel to Rome, and springtime weather in particular is usually glorious. Starting in mid-June, the summer rush really picks up, and from July to mid-September the city teems with visitors. July and August can be uncomfortably hot, humid and crowded. If you can tolerate cold, rainy weather, January and February are the months to find hotel bargains—even at otherwise pricey lodgings—and much thinner crowds at museums and monuments.

Festivals & Special Events

Spring. The 42km (26 miles) of the Maratona di Roma (www.maratonadiroma.it) is run the third Sunday in March. In late March and early April, azaleas cover the Spanish Steps in the Mostra delle Azalee. Settimana Santa (Holy Week) and Pasqua (Easter) in March or April are the biggest Catholic holidays of the year, with the pope partaking in dramatic ceremonies daily. Every April 21, Rome celebrates its birthday (Natale di Roma; www.natalidiroma.it) with fireworks over the Campidoglio. Workers’ unions organize a huge free rock concert at San Giovanni on Primo Maggio (May 1; www.primomaggio.net). The Italian Open brings the VIPs of the world tennis circuit to the Foro Italico (the Forum) for 10 days in May (www.atpworldtour.com).

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