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10 Amazing “Cold” Winter Vacation Destinations

Tromso, Norway Aurora Borealis

Forget the swimsuit, and flip flops. To enjoy these winter destinations, you’ll need to grab a parka, and embrace your inner polar bear. While I think it’s a natural tendency to let the mind wander south when temperatures drop and the snow begins to fall, there is a lot of beauty that winter offers those who runs toward it, instead of away. The following are just a few of the possibilities out there waiting. Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival Every year, during the months of January and February, the Chinese put on the biggest ice and snow sculpture festival in the world. It’s a festival that’s taken place for more than 50 years, and features ice art multiple stories high, and covering acres in a virtual city of ice. The best time to view and photograph the ice sculptures is at night, when lights embedded in and around the ice illuminate the sculptures in every imaginable…
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Switzerland’s Most Scenic Castles

Castle Chillon - Montreux, Switzerland

Aigle Castle  Aigle Castle is located in western Switzerland, in the Canton of Vaud. Montreux, the largest city nearby, lies on the shores of Lake Geneva. The castle was originally built by the Barons of Aigle, who along with the succeeding Counts of Savoy and Lords of Compey, enlarged and improved the castle over the centuries. While the castle alone, in its pristine condition, deserves consideration on any history or architectural lovers itinerary, what sets this castle apart is the landscape around it. Vineyards surround the castle, and in the distance the snow capped Alps accent the scene beautifully. Aigle is approximately one hour by train or car from Bern and Geneva.   Bellinzona Castles  If castles are a top item on your European vacation list, but you only have one day to spend in Switzlerand, Bellinzona is the stop I would recommend. It boasts three castles in close proximity to each other.  The largest, known as Castelgrande, is…
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Europe’s Most Beautiful Villages

Colmar on the Lauch River, France

Oia, Santorini – Greece If you have ever thought about island hopping southern Greece, or taking a Mediterranean cruise, chances are likely that you have seen pictures of Oia and its famous blue domed church, clinging to the edge of the gigantic volcanic caldera that is the island of Santorini. Oia offers arguably the most picturesque example of the white-washed cubic architectural style found across a number of Greek islands. Known as Cycladic, the architectural style derives its name from the Greek island group the Cyclades of which Santorini is a part. Santorini was once a center of the Minoan culture, and the natural disaster that befell the island during their dominance of the Mediterranean, is believed by some to be the source of Plato’s legend about the civilization of Atlantis. The eruption is also credited as one of the major reasons for the disappearance of the Minoan, and changing the coarse of Greek and World history….
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