Friday, August 30, 2013

Hamburg: wanderlust and a maritime world city

Hamburg, Germany is a gateway to the world, beautiful seafaring hub, maritime capital of the north – even the normally reserved locals find it hard to conceal their pride in their home city, its ambiance and its cosmopolitan charm.
What to see?

Museum of Hamburg History
A great museum to visit if you love Hamburg and want to know more about its history from the Middle Ages to the present days. Theatre and art, fashion, home life and design are well represented and displayed here as is Jewish life in Hamburg.

You can find out all about the phenomena of chocolate in the CHOCOVERSUM. Following the motto “discover – experience – participate” our experts take you on a gourmet trip. You will discover what impact crushers and broker have on chocolate, you will see live how chocolate is made on historical machines, and we will reveal the secret of 500 aromas. All your senses will be involved and you are more than welcome to try all production steps of the chocolate!

International Maritime Museum
Learn about the history and future of shipping, and Hamburg’s importance, at this tremendous museum. Artifacts include ship models, paintings, uniforms and nautical devices.

The Warehouse District
The 100-year-old Speicherstadt, the world's largest warehouse complex, is situated between the Deichtor Halls and Baumwall. It is a very pretty quarter – not at all the kind of place visitors expect to find in an international port – with its Wilhelminian brick Gothic buildings, unusual gables, little towers and winding lanes. Behind the thick walls, high-value goods such as coffee, tea, cocoa, spices, tobacco and now computers are stored in a temperature-controlled environment. This is also the location of the world's largest Oriental carpet store. The Speicherstadt is one of the main attractions on the great harbour tour.

St. Pauli's District
The Reeperbahn in the St. Pauli district, where the Beatles shot to fame in the 1960s, is Hamburg's top entertainment quarter. It has everything and anything you could wish for. The street on which the 100-metre ropes or reep were once braided is now home to any number of bars, pubs, discotheques, clubs, snack bars and, of course, red light establishments. There's also plenty of more wholesome entertainment on offer at venues ranging from the 'Operettenhaus', Schmidt Theatre and Schmidt's TIVOLI to Café Keese and the Quatsch Comedy Club.

Hamburg Port and Fishmarket
Gateway to the world, beautiful seafaring hub, maritime capital of the north – even the normally reserved locals find it hard to conceal their pride in their home city, its ambiance and its cosmopolitan charm.
St. Michael's Church
Hamburg's famous 'Michel' church is not only the most important baroque church in northern Germany; it could also be seen as one of the world's tallest lighthouses. For many years, it has served as an important landmark for boats travelling on the river Elbe. The 132 metre tower has almost 450 steps leading up to a viewing platform, which offers wonderful panoramic views of Hamburg and the harbour – especially at night. Other attractions include the 52 metre long nave with its impressive 20 metre high altar and Germany's biggest clock tower, whose hands alone weigh 130kg each.

There is so much more to see and do when visiting Hamburg, Germany. You are going to have to just see it for yourself. Travel to Germany with Celtic Tours World Vacations

Rhine Valley, Germany

Where the Rhine carves its way through the slate mountains between Bingen and Koblenz, you're also in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage site, an area full of castles that embody the German Romantic tradition. The settings featured in the Rhine's myths, tales and legends are perfect for discovering on foot or by bike – you're sure to be impressed! Visit our website for Germany Vacation Packages

Germany: Towns and cities – from big nights out to romantic old quarters

 There is something for everyone in Germany's towns and cities – whether it's the big city buzz or the famous architecture, the historic sights or the packed shopping streets, the enchanting medieval houses or the scintillating nightlife.

Incredibly, there are more than 10,000 towns and cities in Germany between the North Sea and the Alps. And each one has a charm all of its own. In these vibrant destinations, you can look forward to concerts, cultural events, and high-calibre museums. There is also plenty to discover in the way of monuments and historical buildings.

Visit our website for Germany Vacation Packages

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Minack Theatre – Cornwall’s Famous Open air Theater

When traveling to Cornwall, England during the summer season, it is a must to take in a show at the spectacular Minack Theatre. The Minak Theatre is the most famous open-air theater in Britain, possible in the world.
From above, it looks as though the Minack Theatre is two thousand years ago, built by the Greeks or Romans. But this amazing theater was built just under 80 years ago! Carved into the granite cliffs of Porthcurno, Cornwall overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Nowadays, the theater is used from June to September for a full summer season of 17 plays, produced by companies from all over the UK and visiting companies from the USA. The theatre is open for visitors throughout the rest of the year and is a must for travelers in Cornwall, England.

Travel to Cornwall with Celtic Tours World Vacations!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Slieve League - Cliffs Experiences to Savor on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

Out at the very edged of Europe, the Wild Atlantic Way stretched 1500 miles alond Ireland's western seaboard. From Malin Head in Co Donegal to Kinsale in Co Cork, through regions like Connemara, Galway Bay and Kerry, it's the longest defined coastal drive in the world!

Here is just one of the experiences to savor on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way:

Get up close to cliffs that are amongst the highest in Europe: Paddy is the skipped of the Nuala Star. He'll pick you up from Teelin Harbour on the north side of Donegal Bay, to sail below the sheer granite walls of Slieve League - at 1970 ft. They are amoungst the highest accessible sea cliffs in Europe and the huge panoramas presented to you from these cliffs can look different from every angle. Bright azure skies appear next to blue grey shafts of rain which bolt sea and sky together. Still further across this ever changing canvas, beams of light, diffused wisps of thin cloud, gold the wild sea, warming the cool grey water into pools of liquid gold. Sometimes the Nuala Star is joined by dolphins, seals and whales. And in June you may see basking sharks, feeding on the plankton. There's the option to go swimming in the little coves: wetsuits are provided says Paddy, "if you think the water's cold". Once back on dry land, the climb up the Pilgrim's Path is optional. On a fine day, the views from the top - across sever counties - are glorious.

Visit the Slieve League Cliffs and Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way with Celtic Tours World Vacations

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

History of Tea in Britain

Each day in Britain approximately 165 million cups of tea are drunk but how many people know the origins of the tea in their teabag? Tea is so integral to our routine that we might never stop to think about how a unique plant from faraway China became the nation´s favorite drink! We can trace its fascinating story from the earliest times in Imperial China right up to its present place at the heart of British life.

The history of tea in Britain has rather exotic beginnings in China and the Far East. There are various legends surrounding the origins of tea. Perhaps the most famous is the Chinese story of Shen Nung, the emperor and renowned herbalist, who was boiling his drinking water when leaves from a nearby tea shrub blew into the cauldron. He tasted the resulting brew, and the beverage of tea was born.
Tea first became established in Britain because of the influence of a foreign princess, Catherine of Braganza, the queen of Charles II. A lover of tea since her childhood in Portugal, she brought tea-drinking to the English royal court, and set a trend for the beverage among the aristocracy of England in the seventeenth century.

The fashion soon spread beyond these elite circles to the middle classes, and it became a popular drink at the London coffee houses where wealthy men met to do business and discuss the events of the day. But the tea that was being drunk in those seventeenth century coffee houses would probably be considered undrinkable now.

The first tea shop for ladies was opened by Thomas Twining in 1717 where tea is still served today. Slowly tea shops began to appear throughout England making the drinking of teas available to everyone. The British further developed their love of teas during the years of the British Empire in India.

Today tea is enjoyed throughout Britain. Be sure to relax with a cup of tea on your next vacation to Britain with Celtic Tours World Vacations.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Heritage on Horseback - Experiences to Savor on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

Out at the very edged of Europe, the Wild Atlantic Way stretched 1500 miles alond Ireland's western seaboard. From Malin Head in Co Donegal to Kinsale in Co Cork, through regions like Connemara, Galway Bay and Kerry, it's the longest defined coastal drive in the world!

Here is just one of the experiences to savor on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way:

Heritage on Horseback in the Atlantic:
This ride takes about four hours with a lunch stop in the old O'Connor's homestead on Connors Island to the North of Streedagh Beach in North Co Sligo. Begin at Island View Riding Stables near Grange and walk along the shore to Milkhaven Harbour. You will then cross a magnificent tidal lagoon at low tide, going on to the back of Streedagh dunes. See archaeology along the way, have a nice packed lunch out of your saddle bag and hear all about the Spanish Armada ships that wrecked here after a horrendous gale on September 21st 1588. Continuing then to Dernish Island, enjoy this remote seasacape - with ruined cottages standing quiet, lost in time at the back of the island. Heading home then, you can refresh your horses legs in seawatrer and relax, sit back and take it all in!

Visit Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way with Celtic Tours World Vacations

Top 10 historic pubs in Great Britiain

From ancient ale houses to literary drinking dens, Britain has hundreds of historic pubs to explore. We've picked just 10 of the most interesting and architecturally important.

1. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, Liverpool
Built in 1858, the Phil, as it’s affectionately known, is special from its gilded iron gates to the luxurious marble urinals in the gents’ toilets. Standing appropriately between Liverpool’s two towering cathedrals this temple to Victorian pub design also has mosaic floors and stained glass. John Lennon famously complained that the chief price of fame was ‘not being able to go for a drink in the Phil’.  

2. Eagle and Child, Oxford
Drink in the Oxford atmosphere at this 17th-century pub once a favourite of J R R Tolkien, C S Lewis and later, Inspector Morse creator, Colin Dexter. Today you’ll find the Eagle and Child a simple pub with decent ales. Other historic pubs in Oxford include the The Bear and the Lamb and Flag.

3. Olde Cheshire Cheese, London
Of all the fascinating, historical and visit-worthy pubs in London we could list we’ve plumped for the 17th-century Olde Cheshire Cheese. Its cosy warren of dark rooms reeks of history and Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were all regulars. The pub is famously referred to in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. These days its snug rooms offer a perfect place for a restorative ale after a hard day’s sightseeing.

4. Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham
Favoured pitstop for crusading knights en route to the Holy Land, the Olde Trip to Jerusalem has stood beneath Nottingham Castle since 1189. It’s connected to the caves at the foot of the castle and still has an atmospheric cavern-like feel. The pub’s cellars used to be part of the castle gaol and an old cockfighting pit.

5. Crown Posada, Newcastle
The Crown Posada city centre pub is high on Victorian charm and Geordie spirit. Enjoy a Newcastle Brown Ale and admire the magnificent pre-Raphaelite stained-glass windows, gilt mirrors and coffered ceiling. An old gramophone in a wooden cabinet and a stack of LPs provide mellow background music when the pub is quiet.

6. Haunch of Venison, Salisbury
The Haunch of Venison has been around since the 14th century. Its two bars have several unique features including England’s last surviving complete pewter bar top and the ‘horsebox’ - a small bar reputedly used by Churchill and Eisenhower during the planning of the D-Day landings. The House of Lords bar proudly displays a severed, mummified hand said to be that of a cheating cards player.

7. The Eagle, Cambridge
Though busy with tourists and students The Eagle is worth a stop for its varied and romantic history. It’s where James Watson and Francis Crick drank during their ground-breaking research into DNA and the RAF bar has a ceiling with World War II graffiti daubed in lipstick, smoke and candle wax.

8. Britons Protection, Manchester
The Britons Protection is stuffed with Victorian decorative detail and is famous for its bewildering selection of whiskies. Open fires, solid wooden furniture and etched glass all lend a pleasing, old-fashioned feel. Wall tiles depict the infamous Peterloo Massacre of 1819 when government troops killed 15 people who were among a crowd demonstrating for parliamentary reform. The incident took place not far from the pub.

9. Café Royal, Edinburgh
Built in 1863, the Café Royal is a Victorian gem that joins ornate plasterwork, stained glass and marble to dazzling effect. The highlight here, though, is the unique set of Doulton ceramic murals depicting historical innovators like Watt, Faraday and Caxton. The food is excellent with Scottish classics including Cullen Skin and Arbroath Smokies.

10. The White Lion, Barthomley, Cheshire
The Winner of the Good Pub Guide’s Unspoilt Pub of the Year Award, The White Lion has a fantastic Tudor interior with low beams, a thatched roof and latticed windows. Barthomley itself is a charming village and from the pub garden you can take in views of the early 15th-century church of St Bertoline.

But don't take our word for it! Check them out for yourselves! Visit Great Britain with Celtic Tours World Vacations

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Malin Head - Experiences to Savor on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

Out at the very edged of Europe, the Wild Atlantic Way stretched 1500 miles alond Ireland's western seaboard. From Malin Head in Co Donegal to Kinsale in Co Cork, through regions like Connemara, Galway Bay and Kerry, it's the longest defined coastal drive in the world!

Here is just one of the experiences to savor on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way:

Circle Ireland's far north at Malin Head: There's drama out at Malin Head. The tip of the Inishowen Peninsula is mainland Ireland's farthest northerly point. The wild Atlantic has carved deep crevices into the rugged headland, like Hell's Hole - a dramatic long, deep and narrow chasm where the swells roar and churn. And birds flock here, blown in on the Atlantic winds: regular visitors from Iceland, Greenland and North America; and rarer exotic creatures from further afield. Mythical queen Banba has given her name to the peninsula's tip - Banba's Crown. It's here that guides from Cycle Inishowen will meet you for a 45-minute ride to stretch your legs in the fresh sea air, and learn about the area's wildlife, geology and history.

Travel to Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way with Celtic Tours World Vacations

The Wild Atlantic Way Story

Out at the very edge of Europe, the Wild Atlantic Way stretches for 1500 miles along Ireland's western seaboard. From Malin Head in Co. Donegal to Kinsale in Co. Cork, through regions like Connemara, Galway Bay and Kerry, it's the longest defined coastal drive in the world.

Here, the ocean's force has carved a coast of wild, raw beauty. Huge Atlantic rollers crash and churn , shaping jagged ocean crags, archipelagos and inlets, sea loughs, surfing strands, and the sheer granite walls of cliffs that are amongst some of the highest in Europe. Rare sea eagles circle over glacial mountains, dolphins leap the waves, seals bask on the shore, puffins nest on cliff faces and geese gather in great estuaries. And light houses safeguard sailors all the way up the coast - from Fastnet to Malin Head.

Right along this spectacular drive you're aware of the elemental poser of the Atlantic Ocean, turing from grey to green to azure blue as great weather fronts roll in and through. You'll drive on routes that ring great peninsulas, reaching out into the ocean. Tiny roads hug the shoreline then switch back high above the Atlantic swell. Cloud-shadows race across sea and land, followed by shafts of sunlight. You'll probably see a lifetime's rainbows in just one trip!

You'll want to stop often at the many small settlements and towns along the route. Every few miles there are places to stretch your legs and have a bite to eat. Maybe you'll hunker down and stay a night or two to get to know the places and climb cliffs, surf waves and ride bikes. You could join in the craic at sessions and festivals, go island-hopping and visit ancient sites or sit by turf fires in traditional pubs, where you'll eat the freshest seafood and hear the Irish language, songs and stories. Out here in the west coast's remote  Gaeltecht regions, Irish is the mother tongue for many folk.

You could drive the whole route in one go - but you don't have to! Instead, you may want to slow down and dive in deep...For it's oput on these western extremities -drawn in by the constant rhythm of the ocean's roar and the consistent warmth of the people - that you'll find the Ireland you've always imagined.

Book your next trip to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

County Mayo - Awe-inspiring scenery and historical attractions

Get ready for awe-inspiring scenery and a wealth of historical attractions


Mayo stands out as one of Ireland’s most scenic counties. But while you may gasp in awe at the craggy coastline that’s been lashed by the powerful Atlantic, make sure to remember that there’s a lot more going on in Mayo in the  West of Ireland.

Ceide Fields are the oldest known field systems in the world (almost 6000 years old), Croagh Patrick is where Ireland's patron saint fasted for 40 days in 441AD, and Achill Island is a stunning spot on the edge of Western Europe bursting with history and awe-inspiring sights.

And if all that wasn’t enough, there’s an abundance of charming villages to visit from beautifully situated Westport to the peaceful town of Cong.

Travel to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Golf Ireland's Sunny Southeast

If you enjoy leafy meadowlands and endless golden seaside views, then this it the region of Ireland for you. Classic courses are rightly regarded as among the best in the world and draw golfers from around the globe. Here are a couple of the wonderful courses to play golf in Ireland's southeast:


Mount Juliet Golf Club, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Mount Juliet golf course first opened in 1991 with a friendly match between Jack Nicklaus and Christy O'Connor Snr. Since then the course has established itself as a premier venue for top professional and leisure golfers from around the world. Set in a world of its own, on lush parkland in the south east of Ireland, the course is both captivating and memorable. Tiger Woods declared that Mount Juliet presented "perfect fairways...and the best greens to be putter on all year."

Rosslare Golf Club, Rosslare, Co Wexford
Rosslare Golf Links is the hidden gem of Irish links golf courses. Situated in the sunniest part of the country, on the extreme south east coast, it stands on a narrow peninsula with the Irish Sea on one side and the huge expanse of Wexford Harbour on the other.

Away from the course there's plenty to do in Ireland's southeast too. The many beaches provide an excellent opportunity to try sailing or surfing - or to just wile away an hour or two enjoying a peaceful stroll along the pristine coastline.  You can visit the famous Waterford Crystal works near to Waterford city, and see beauty created by hand right before your eyes. There, you can also learn some of the history behind the renowned company, about it's centuries old business and about its distinct techniques. Or visit Kilkenny's bustling city center, Wexford's operas. For anyone with an Irish heritage, the quayside in New Ross will be of interest. There, an exact replica of the Dunbrody, a 19th century three-masted sailing ship, and a state-of-the-art visitor's center will provide plenty of insight into Ireland's emigrant past and its strong links to North America.

Whatever you choose, one thing is for certain; after a few days in Ireland's southeast and you will understand why people from outside of Ireland have been flocking to its shores since the time of the Vikings. Start planning your golf vacation to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ireland - The West

Head way out West for wild landscapes and a sublime coastline rushing in from the Atlantic

The West of Ireland is an enchanting place filled with wonderfully atmospheric towns and villages, long stretches of stunning coastline, soaring sea cliffs, and craggy countryside that boasts a uniquely desolate beauty and a vibrant cultural heritage rich in tradition.

Encompassing the counties of Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Offaly  and Tipperary, the West gets under your skin like no other place in the world, offering an unparalled experience to all who visit.

The haunting drama of the Donegal landscape includes the enchanting Glenveagh National Park and Castle; Yeats’ County can be viewed from on high with a hike to the table top of Ben Bulben in County Sligo; or you could try a different vantage point with an ocean voyage to the magical Aran Islands in County Galway or Achill Island, County Mayo.

For those with a serious head for heights, nothing rewards more than a stroll along the magnificent Cliffs of Moher, County Clare! A little closer to sea level, picturesque Lough Key Forest Park in Roscommon is a haven of tranquility; while the legendary beauty of the majestic River Shannon stretching through the cruising counties of Leitrim, Offaly and Limerick can literally take your breath away.

Serviced by no less than five regional airports, you can hop on a plane to Shannon, Galway, Knock, Donegal and even nearby City of Derry airport to kickstart your holiday! So whether you want to soothe your soul in utter isolation on a remote island or feel the passion at a high-spirited summer festival, the wild and wonderful West has it all.

Travel to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

County Londonderry - scenic beauty and tranquil countryside

Head to County Londonderry for scenic beauty and tranquil countryside that’s hard to beat

A picturesque county in the north west of  Northern Ireland, Londonderry is famed for its tranquility, scenic beauty, lovely beaches and the lively university town of Coleraine.

Londonderry is one of the longest continuously inhabited counties in Ireland, and for good reason. This pretty county boasts delightful scenery as well as many fascinating sites. A must-see on any visit has to be the breathtaking Mussenden Temple, an awe-inspiring spot perched on the edge of a cliff edge.

If you’re a fan of outdoor living then Londonderry is the place to be with wonderful rivers, lakes, country parks and the wonderful Sperrin Mountains to enjoy.  
Travel to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Places to golf in & around Dublin

There are few - if any- large cities in the world that can boast the quality and variety of golf that Dublin has to offer. From the finest parklands to timeless lines and the myriad of charming hidden gems in between, the Fair City enjoys the golfing riches. Here are two of our favorite golf courses in & around Dublin.

St Anne’s Golf Course Dublin, County Dublin
St. Anne’s Golf Club is an impressive and testing 18-holes links golf course (par 71) situated on Dublin’s most famous ecological attraction - Bull Island Nature Reserve in Dublin Bay. The island, a bird sanctuary under the protection of Unesco, is natural links terrain of sand and dunes. The island’s beach is over three miles long. The unique setting of this famous old links with the splendid panoramic views of Howth Head and across Dublin Bay to the Wicklow mountains ensures a most relaxing and enjoyable game. Founded in 1921, it is a member-owned golf club. In 2003 an extensive redevelopment of the course was completed. Also that year we opened our new state-of-the-art clubhouse. The course itself has undergone significant development over the past two years, which included the building of five new greens and eight new tee complexes. The sacred turf of the old Croke Park pitch was used to great effect in developing, strengthening and giving real definition to the back nine in St. Anne’s.

Portmarnock Golf Course Portmarnock, County Dublin
Founded in 1894, Portmarnock is consistently ranked amongst the top golf courses in the world. With a rich history closely aligned to the progression of golf in Ireland, Portmarnock has hosted many major professional and amateur events including multiple Irish Open Championships, the Walker Cup and the Irish Amateur Close Championship. From Sam Snead to Seve Ballesteros, some of golf's best known names have tested their skills on this north county Dublin sand spit. Considered by many as a fair but challenging test of golf, Portmarnock invites you to experience one of the purest links courses in the world.

Let our golf experts help you plan your next golf trip to Dublin, Ireland.

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