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Festivals are portholes into a society's culture, offering fascinating glimpses into ancient traditions. Be they religious, cultural, musical or something else, travellers know that festivals are great opportunities to absorb and experience another culture.
This article offers an overview of some of the most famous festivals in the world.
The Caribbean Islands are a popular place to travel to. Many North Americans and Europeans go there, often just to relax in the sun and maybe do a day trip or two. Of course, for the independent traveller there are lots of options for travelling around and seeing much more of the islands than beaches and beer. Most travellers fly into one island and usually fly out of the same island again at the end of their trip. But there are several ways to combine many islands and thus create a fantastic trip.
Seoul (서울) is the heart of South Korea, hosting about a quarter of the country's population of nearly 50 million. Seoul was also the historic capital of Korea from the 14th century until the nation's partition into North and South in 1948. Located just 50 kilometres south of the North Korean border, Seoul symbolises the division of North and South Korea.
Texel is the largest of the Dutch Wadden Islands. The island with 13,727 inhabitants is also a municipality. With just over 7,000 people Den Burg is the largest village on the island. Texel is the largest of the Dutch Wadden Islands. The island with 13,727 inhabitants is also a municipality. With just over 7,000 people Den Burg is the largest village on the island. It is the largest and most populated island of the West Frisian Islands in the Wadden Sea. The island is situated north of Den Helder, northeast of Noorderhaaks, also known as "Razende Bol" and southwest of Vlieland.
Hawaii Island, or the Big Island, is (as the name correctly suggest) the biggest island of Hawaii. Unlike Oahu, where Honolulu is located and Maui, it sees far less tourists and is far more attractive and impressive regarding nature and landscapes as well. It is home to three of the most famous and prominent mountains of the state: the ever-active Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the largest mountain in the world in volume (Mauna Loa) and the tallest mountain in the world as measured from its base on the sea floor to its peak (Mauna Kea).
Rio de Janeiro is the pumping heart of Brazil. From dusk till dawn this thriving city has a multitude of fantastic sights, sounds and experiences to be had be they hidden gems like the rickety tram up to Santa Theresa or standing proud like Christ the Redeemer that heralds visitors in to this unique city. Named the River January because settlers thought that the mouth of the bay was actually the mouth of a river, the city is enfolded and runs itself like an oozing river among the feet of a handful of majestic mountains, Sugarloaf and Corcovado among other smaller hills.
From the thumping beats of nightclubs to the intoxicating rhythms of the flamenco, Spain is a land with a rich tradition and a sharp eye for the future. Fine art, revolutionary architecture, inspiring fashion and world class music - Spain is a lesson in diversity. From the official capital at Madrid to the cultural capital at Barcelona and the beach capital at Valencia, Spain has something for everyone, whether you're after beaches or sweeping plains, lively clubs or impressive cathedrals.
Switzerland is a country as famous for its pocket knives as it is for its chocolate. But to travellers, Swiss fame is largely focused on its Alpine landscape. Beautiful and majestic, many visitors prefer to take in the scenery through activity, rather than mere sightseeing: skiing, hiking, hang-gliding and rafting are only a number of the outstanding opportunities the Alps award.
Edinburgh may be dubbed the Athens of the North, but in truth it is an exceptional and unique city. While it's surpassed in size by Glasgow, Edinburgh is Scotland's most popular attraction as well as its capital. It is home to the Scottish Parliament and features a historic combination of Georgian and Medieval architectural styles.
With their pristine waters, picture-perfect beaches and classy resorts, the Bahama Islands remind you of a finely sculpted replica of paradise. Their waters are ideal for fishing, swimming with dolphins and scuba diving; their beaches are gorgeous and draw thousands of visitors to relax under the warm Caribbean sun; and the stylish capital, Nassau, is dotted with five star resorts.
Owning an almost audacious amount of coastline, Belize's geographic location is given to diverse travelling. The entire coast is sidelined by a barrier reef, making for exceptional diving opportunities. But head a little inland and you will discover many more attractions. Hundreds of Mayan ruins have been discovered in Belize's heartland and well organized tours make these fantastic sites to visit, their attraction accentuated by enjoyable nature trips.