My 4 Favorite Places For Traditional Czech Cuisine In Prague


I recently had the opportunity to spend some time in Prague (Praha) in the Czech Republic. Whenever I visit a city, I am immediately drawn to the food culture. You can learn so much about the history of a people by exploring their cuisine. As you venture away from the classic tourist areas, the restaurant menus reveal tidbits about the people, their history, and their cherished traditions. Below are four of my favorite spots around Prague to eat traditional Czech cuisine and delve into the world of the city’s culinary explosion.

The restaurants are listed in no particular order, each one has its own unique and sensational dishes. My suggestion, stay in Prague for several days and try each establishment, you will be enhanced with the city and it’s foodie culture.

Cestr steakhouse beef and dumplings, Prague, Czech Republic
beef and dumplings (Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett)

Eat In Prague Like A Local

My favorite places to eat traditional Czech food in Prague were discovered when I met Markéta Podrabská and allowed her to lead me around her beautiful city. It is abundantly clear she loves her job.

“We love to show our guests how the food scene in Prague has improved over the years, to tell more about the transition from communism to modern democratic society,” she said. “Prague is a very vibrant city that we love and we want to share all the amazing new openings, pop-ups, groups oriented towards high quality and perfect delivery both in the food and liquid department as well. We love to show different neighborhoods, off the beaten path places and general vibe of the city because we believe Prague doesn’t have only the looks and great beer, but so many more layers and spending a few hours with the locals can show you at least a little bit about what’s behind the curtain.”

Markéta is an amazing tour guide with Taste of Prague. She is charming and funny, loves her city, adores the cultural cuisine, and is dedicated to foodie explorers she serves. From the moment our group met on a quiet back street on the edges of Old Town where she sent us off to our varied hotels like a mother hen sending her chicks off to bed, our tour of Prague was more than a random eating excursion, it was deeply personal. We were completely under her spell, ready to taste and explore all the gourmet goodies showcased in the various neighborhoods that make up this fascinating city.

Their Prague Foodie Map is one of the most comprehensive restaurant guides you will find on the planet. It is a must for visitors outlining restaurants, pubs, cafes, and more. Use it in conjunction with one of their foodie tours and you will be well fed.

Prague Old Town Square Czech Republic, sunrise city skyline at Astronomical Clock Tower empty nobody.
Noppasin Wongchum / Shutterstock.com

A Brief History Of Traditional Czech Food

The history of traditional Czech food has an inauspicious background steeped in the “sameness” that typifies a Communist government. According to Radio Prague International, the Czech working-class families typically ate only once each day. This meant their meals needed to be large and calorie dense. Filled with legumes, mashed potatoes, and dumplings and flavored with classic Czech spices like marjoram and lovage, dinner was satisfying but uneventful. In 1990, the Czech Republic emerged from Communist rule which kept the food culture in a state of bland sustenance where every household and pub only had access to a limited variety of food options.

As the political realm developed into a republic and restrictions were loosened or erased, new generations were free to explore the world. This exploration led to a food revolution of sorts. Young Czech chefs began experiencing the global food culture with gusto. They returned to their homeland and began the task of elevating traditional Czech cuisine. This food revolution has spawned a burgeoning dining culture in Prague.

Visitors to Prague need to step out of the beautiful, but touristy area of Old Town Square and explore the wonderful culinary gifts Prague chefs have to offer.

potatoes in ash at Eska.
Potatoes in ash (Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett)

1. Eska

In the suburb of Karlin, Eska is the place to dine. This restaurant/bakery/cafe is completely at home in its urban chic, renovated factory. The name of the game is gorgeous baked bread all day long. When you have fresh local ingredients, foraged goodies, and intriguing fermentation, you have an intriguing menu of inspired Czech dishes.

Foodies searching for those unique dishes that make your tastebuds sing with joy will love Eska’s offerings. Its potatoes in ash with smoked carp, dried egg yolk, and kefir is a feast for the eyes and the belly. The subtle smoky flavor pairs beautifully with the silky kefir; it is a must-order dish.

Bread 66 is a sourdough loaf made with 66 percent rye flour for a sturdy bread with a beautifully crispy crust. Eska adds roasted cumin for a wonderful smoky back note. It is perfect with creamy butter or your favorite cheese spread. No matter what you order, plan to have it served with bread, it is divine.

The house made tonic water with a sharp juniper note makes a super flavorful gin and tonic, perfectly refreshing on a hot summer night. You will find a few Czech Republic wines on the menu next to offerings from Germany, Italy, and Austria to complement your dinner.

Dessert is amazing, this is a bakery after all. The chocolate cake, Likérová špička, vanilka, is an elevated twist on the traditional Czech likérová špička. It is divine, sweet, and a perfect ending to your dinner.

Prague’s subway is user friendly, you can easily hop over to the Karlin suburb on the Yellow Line for a delicious meal at Eska. The neighborhood is lively and will show you a local side of Prague you won’t see in Old Town.

Cestr steakhouse, Prague, Czech Republic.
Čestr (Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett)

2. Čestr

Čestr in the city center area is a beautifully designed, upscale steakhouse near the horse-riding statue of Saint Wenceslas. It focuses on Czech heritage breeds including Fleckvieh (Čestr) cattle and Přeštík pig. The restaurant is a masterpiece of contemporary decor and modern cuisine. The hip urban design with an open kitchen gives diners the feeling of being guests in a friend’s chic, uptown flat.

OK, the potato puree served with the smoked tri-tip and mushroom gravy is heavenly. It is like grandma’s best traditional Czech dish elevated to a higher calling. The braised beef is succulent and cooked to absolute perfection. I’m not entirely sure how they prepared the potato puree, but it is the best potato puree I have ever tasted. The chanterelle mushroom gravy was the crowning glory of the dish and we were all fighting over who would get the very last drop.

The brioche dumplings and the ragout with cumin paired perfectly with their dark draft beer, nefiltrovaný Kozel (unfiltered Kozel), for a smoky, salty, unctuous bite. Each absolutely delicious dish is delivered on its beautiful house china as the waitstaff details the highlights of the offerings.

Čestr’s extensive wine list pairs beautifully with the expertly prepared dishes. You will adore eating at Čestr. This restaurant needs to be on your menu when you visit Prague.

Lokal family style servings.
family style (Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett)

3. Lokal

Sometimes you just want to get out of the house and enjoy a nosh with some friends. Lokal is a chain of neighborhood pubs located throughout the city. It offers guests great Pilsner Urquell, easy to share small plates, and a lively spot to gather. The classic Czech bar food often served at beer halls is exactly what you crave when you are out for the evening with great friends. The Lokal’s version of traditional pub grub is delicious and satisfying, just what you want when planning for a night out of pint lifting.

Ham served with whipped horseradish, the classic frankfurter sausages with mustard, fried cheese (oh, yeah), and soused carp with onions are perfect accompaniments to the classic Czech beer, Pilsner Urquell. These traditional dishes are served up simply letting the beer and conversation take center stage.

When you are visiting Prague, a stop at one of the Lokal pubs is a definite must. If you visit in the afternoon, it will be quiet and you should be able to get a table quickly. If you choose to visit later in the evening, be prepared to wait, the tables aren’t turned around at the same rate as they are here in the states. When locals go to the pub, they are planning on staying for the evening.

beef and tarter at Kantyna, Prague.
beef tarter (Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett)

4. Kantýna

Kantýna, the Canteen, is not only the best butcher shop in Prague, it is the prime spot for upscale gatherings and plate sharing dinners. Located in a converted bank, Kantýna is a popular hip spot that is all about the meat. You can order your steak as you enter, then have it expertly prepared while you enjoy a lovely glass of regional wine and an appetizer. The Beef Tartar from dry-aged beef on crusty toast smeared with glorious garlic was the freshest and most flavorful nibble of tartar ever. Add the Sweet and Sour Veggies as a side to cut through the rich beef and you have an absolutely delicious starter.

Kantýna’s wonderful dishes to explore include the minced pork schnitzel, the succulent pork belly, and, of course, a fabulous ribeye steak. Sharing a meal with old friends or new acquaintances is the best way to enjoy the delicious food you will find in this converted bank. There is a charming coziness that you don’t expect when surrounded by all the marble and stainless steel. It must be the constant conversation buzz of the happy patrons enjoying gorgeous plates that give Kantýna its desirable cachet.

Pro Tip: When you travel to a new city, seek out a highly rated food tour, preferably a walking tour so you can work off all the amazing food. You will learn about the area’s culinary traditions, get an impromptu tour of the area, meet some wonderful fellow foodies, and enjoy a variety of dishes instead of having to choose just one dish for your lunch or dinner.

When you are in Prague, and you want to explore its traditional Czech cuisine dished up in a modern presentation, check out one or more of these fabulous restaurants. Prague is a charming city that is easy to explore; visit our Prague destination guide to plan out your visit.

Some other things to consider before you visit Prague:



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Top 50 Best Places To Travel Post-Pandemic 2021 – Forbes Advisor


More people are being vaccinated everyday and travel is already top of mind. Suddenly, the whole world feels in reach again, even if travel restrictions haven’t quite been lifted yet.

Most travel experts expect travel to re-open incrementally rather than all at once. We’ll see some countries loosening restrictions early on and others late to follow. At your destination, attractions and local protocols will change in phases, too. Remember, even if you’re vaccinated, not everyone else will be when you arrive at your destination.

Some travelers already know exactly where they want to go: canceled trips from earlier that have been rebooked or bucket list trips that seem more urgent after witnessing a global health crisis. For others, it might be more nebulous. Cabin fever might be constant but the details a bit fuzzy.

For anyone who’s having trouble narrowing down where to go, we’re sorry. Our list of fifty spectacular ideas might make it harder. Every single destination on this list is worth visiting—whether now or in the future—and is probably going to add more places to your wishlist. As they say…sorry, not sorry.

Alentejo, Portugal

You’ll find one stunning landscape after another in the mostly rural Alentejo province of Portugal. With soft hills and calm-inducing sunsets, you’ll find an easy-going culture and not a lot of stress (exactly what you need after the year we’ve had).

Take things in slowly by cycling past beaches, lighthouses and fishing villages—or head inland for wineries, castles and farmers’ markets. Rent bikes in Évora and design your own route or book a complete package to have luggage transfers and accommodations taken care of for you.

Algeria

Sitting along the Mediterranean, Algeria offers incredible Roman ruins without any of the crowds. As if that’s not enough, you can also head into the Sahara Desert or Hoggar Mountains to add a dose of nature to your adventure.

Visas are required for entry, but a little paperwork is worth it for access to 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and heart-warming hospitality.

Alta, Norway

Known as the “aurora borealis city”, Alta offers conditions just right for northern lights hunting. Activity is high and, unlike other Scandinavian destinations, it offers a disproportionate number of clear nights for viewing. There are even “arctic dome” hotels (high-end glamping tents with transparent walls) that are friendlier on your waller than glass igloos in other locales.

When you’re this far north, aurora season is longer than you might expect, stretching from September through March. Still, a winter visit is recommended so you can enjoy dog-sledding, snowshoeing and reindeer sleigh rides while you’re there.

Antigua, Guatemala

There’s no denying that Antigua, Guatemala is a touristy destination but its annual Semana Santa (Holy Week, or the week leading up to Easter) celebrations are worth the trip. Every year, locals create gorgeous “carpets” on the street out of colored sawdust, flowers and other materials. These intricate works of art are only viewable for a few hours before religious processions parade over them, destroying them as they go. While you’ll have missed this week in 2021, it’s already time to start planning travel for early 2022!

While this tradition is worth scheduling your trip around, Antigua is lovely the rest of the year, too. The colonial town has beautiful churches to visit, great restaurants and volcanoes to tour right outside town.


Pro Tip

Purchase travel insurance as soon as you book your trip to take advantage of early purchase benefits, such as medical coverage for pre-existing conditions and increased coverage limits.

Arkansas’ Ozarks

Natural beauty abounds in the northwest corner of Arkansas, where you’ll find the Ozark Mountains. This is one of the largest wilderness areas in the eastern United States, so it’ll come as no surprise that there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking and other activities.

What sets this area apart, though, is how many activities there are even if physical pursuits aren’t your strong point. Scenic drives are abundant and head past rivers and waterfalls. You may even see elk. In town, the historic district of Eureka Springs is practically an artisan village and the Great Passion Play is scheduled to resume this spring.

Assam, India

Assam is closer to the Himalayas than the Taj Mahal, which keeps this part of India decidedly off-the-beaten-track. Ecotourism is the main reason to visit, with wild animals a surprising draw. You can search for an Indian one-horned rhinoceros at Kaziranga National Park or explore evergreen forest at the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary.

The same fertile ground that makes it a good home for wildlife also makes the region ideal for agriculture. Add a tea plantation to your stay. The estates are beautiful and can be a great way to enjoy some of the smaller villages in northeast India.

Ayutthaya, Thailand

One thing’s for sure: no one in the West learns about Ayutthaya in history class, despite the fact that it was the largest city in the world in 1700. Most of today’s visitors go to see earlier history, though. The ruins at Ayutthaya Historical Park date back to 1350. The park is expansive and from a different period and culture than renowned Angkor Wat, so don’t write it off before you go.

Trains from Bangkok leave frequently to make the 90-minute trip to Ayutthaya. In fact, most visitors arrive on a day trip but staying the night is even better. You’ll get to see the temples in early morning and late afternoon, when they’re at their quietest. Sunset in particular is beautiful and a great reason not to leave too early.

Bhutan

A lack of travel over the last year has put the spotlight on sustainable tourism as destinations reopen. One country that’s gotten this right for years is Bhutan, where hiring a guide is mandatory to ensure that travelers treat locals, communities and natural or cultural sights with respect. They strive to keep tourism “high yield, low impact.”

While having a guide is good for the Bhutanese, it’s also good for the traveler. Your guide will take care of logistical arrangements which is especially important in a world where travel restrictions are constantly changing. They’ll also tell you stories, add context and help you connect with locals along the way for a more meaningful experience.

Bristol, England

Banksy fans may already be aware of what a great destination Bristol is—the street art is phenomenal—but it’s time for the rest of the world to catch on. Due west from London, Bristol is a mid-sized city with a spirited identity and lively atmosphere.

Narrowing down what to do can be difficult, but visitors should include touring Brunel’s SS Great Britain and the flagship M Shed museum to start. Netflix Bridgerton fans can day-trip to Bath fifteen minutes away to see filming sites in person.

British Virgin Islands

Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the BVI in 2017, leaving devastating damage in its path that took years to recover. Finally, the British Virgin Islands have rebuilt and reopened with enough infrastructure available that tourists can return and expect most of their favorites to be open.

Choosing which island to stay on can feel overwhelming, but there’s no bad choice. Pick one and stop stressing: You can visit others via day trip thanks to ferries and charter boats. If you truly can’t decide, you can always book a catamaran to sleep on instead of a resort so that your “hotel” room moves with you.

Cairo, Egypt

After numerous delays, this is finally the year the Grand Egyptian Museum is scheduled to open. The new museum will sit just outside the infamous Pyramids of Giza and, unlike the former Egyptian Museum downtown, it will be a gorgeous, modern look at Egypt’s past.

With brand new exhibits and never-seen-before artifacts from recent discoveries in Saqqara and Luxor, this museum will be worth the trip even if you’ve previously visited Egypt. Like all world-class museums, expect to spend a full day (or more) taking in all the exhibits.

Canadian High Arctic

Antarctica tends to get all the attention, but you’ll enjoy many of the same facets if you head to the other pole: an exclusive expedition to untouched nature, breathtaking scenery and astounding wildlife. The Canadian High Arctic also provides a glimpse into Inuit culture and history.

Opting for the Arctic can also be much more accessible. Group packages often meet in Toronto instead of Patagonia so flying is easy. On cruises, seasickness is less of a factor and itineraries start at only a week for travelers pressed for time. Prices are lower, too, despite offering an unforgettable experience.

Canary Islands

If you’re looking for a European getaway but aren’t quite ready to assimilate into city life yet, the Canary Islands can be your perfect solution. Vacation rentals here are common (and affordable) so you have a little extra space when you want privacy. Many have beach access, or even private pools so you can take advantage of the climate.

Tenerife is the largest of the Canaries, making it the obvious choice if you intend to stay awhile. The landscape varies from coastline to volcano to forest, so you’ll never be bored, and there’s everything from party cities to small villages to explore. Pro tip: even if your rental has a kitchen, allow plenty of flexibility to stop in bodegas and tapas bars, too. The Canaries have a cuisine of their own separate from Spain, of which it is a province. Be prepared to savor octopus in every possible permutation imaginable.

Cappadocia, Turkey

Few places manage to blend nature and history in equal proportions but Cappadocia excels. Best known for its moon-like scenery with rock formations referred to as “fairy chimneys”, this part of central Turkey is also home to underground cities that were built for protection during the Arab-Byzantine Wars.

Day tours introduce you to the fascinating history and allow you to explore churches built directly into rocks, some with well-preserved frescoes inside. Hikes of all lengths and difficulties are available for more active travelers while cave hotels, hot air balloon rides and hammams round out your visit.

Colchagua Valley, Chile

One of the four wine regions near the capital city of Santiago, Colchagua Valley is one of the most loved. The terroir is exceptional which is why there are so many award-winning reds, with classic favorites like cabernet sauvignon and merlot as well as carménère, Chile’s flagship varietal.

What moves the Colchagua to the top of the travel list is that it offers so much more than wine alone. In-between tastings, you can enjoy fine dining, luxury hotels and spectacular vistas. At 2.5 hours outside of Santiago, the light pollution is also nearly nonexistent, making it great for stargazing and other astronomical tourism at the Cerro Chamán Observatory.

Doha, Qatar

Because the National Museum of Qatar opened in 2019 and the country closed its borders for the pandemic, most travelers haven’t had the chance to visit this spectacular museum yet. It tells the surprisingly rich story of Qatar’s history and culture and makes a natural complement to the Museum of Islamic Art, also in Doha.

Since the country of Qatar is relatively small—approximately the size of Connecticut—you’re not likely to fly halfway around the world for a visit. Luckily, Qatar Airways makes it easy to include a one- to four-night stopover in your flight itinerary. Since they fly to more than 100 destinations worldwide, it’s an easy way to break up your journey.

Dominica

The nature island of Dominica isn’t like other Caribbean islands. A trip here is less about beaches and resorts (though they have those) and more about exploring the extensive natural park system. You’ll find volcanoes, forests, freshwater lakes, geothermal activity and waterfalls, with plenty of hikes to enjoy them thoroughly.

Dominica also makes it easy to learn more about the cultural heritage than islands where you stay within resort confines. Head to the Kalinago Barana Autê to get insight on Kalinago traditions from hundreds of years ago. The cultural center shares arts, dancing and demonstrations in a respectful, informative way.

Eastern Shore, Virginia

You might already be familiar with Chincoteague, VA where you’ll find wild ponies and NASA’s Wallops Island. You may not know that’s the northern end of Virginia’s Eastern Shore and the entire region is worth a visit. Along with Chincoteague, the area is home to towns Onancock, Wachapreague and Cape Charles, among others.

Regardless of where you choose to stay, traveling up and down the peninsula will give you opportunities to explore barrier islands, tour a family-run winery and swim the warm, calm waters of Chesapeake Bay. Be sure to sample plenty of local oysters, too (yes, they taste different based on where they were harvested along the shore).

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Honestly, there’s never a bad time to go to the Galapagos but this time might be better than average. With international tourism still somewhat slow, not all cruises are operating due to a lack of passengers. If your voyage is scheduled and confirmed, you’ll have fewer ships to share waters with (and possibly fewer passengers onboard, too).

If all of that sounds a little too unpredictable for you, skip the cruise and book a land-based trip instead. You’ll have to prioritize a handful of islands that best fit your interests. For example, the tortoise breeding center is on Santa Cruz Island but there’s great snorkeling off San Cristobal at Kicker Rock.

Gaspé, Québec

French Canada is so much more than Montreal and Québec City so make this the year you get out of the city and into the province. Unlike its metropolitan neighbors, the Gaspé Peninsula offers small towns, strong heritage and several wilderness areas. The best way to visit is by road trip, which will allow you to stop in villages and national parks along the way.

This region also has incredible cuisine. Expect a blend of classic French with a uniquely Canadian twist, like a bouillabaisse gaspésienne made from local seafood or artisanal chocolate with local balsam fir. Hearty dishes, to keep you warm in cold winters, are also prevalent here.

Gdańsk, Poland

As it is, Poland usually isn’t one of the first places that Americans visit in Europe and Gdańsk is even less on a traveler’s agenda. What a shame that is, since this northern city along the Baltic manages to hit the trifecta of being beautiful, interesting and affordable. New flights from the U.S. to Poland even make it easier to reach.

In Gdańsk, travelers should visit the European Solidarity Center to learn about Polish Communist history. The modern museum includes an audio guide to further explain the solidarity movement. Another new and worthwhile stop is the Museum of the Second World War, which explains another significant piece of Poland’s history.

Ghana

West Africa can feel intimidating, even for frequent travelers, but Ghana has a stable government and friendly, welcoming locals. Fly into Accra (nonstop from New York JFK) and dive in. Bustling markets, Atlantic beaches and nightlife can keep you busy for days before you head to Ghana’s rainforest or savannah safaris.

No trip to Ghana would be complete without a visit to the Cape Coast and acknowledgment of its position as a major hub in the slave trade. Learning about this part of history shows how far we’ve come as a world—and reminds us how far we still have to go.

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Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The new Museum of Underwater Art can be found down under…literally. A series of sculptures has been installed underwater off the coast of Townsville, Australia, giving scuba divers yet another reason to plan a visit to this classic favorite destination.

Although it’s possible to snorkel at the “Coral Greenhouse” exhibit in John Brewer Reef, diving will give you a closer look. Take time now, before Australia’s borders are open anyway, to get certified and/or brush up on your skills.

Guyana

Guyana is South America’s only English-speaking country but ironically it’s mostly untouched by tourism. Hop on a nonstop flight—it’s about four hours from Miami or six from New York—and then strap on an adventure mindset. It’s easy to arrive and communicate, but it’s distinctly off-the-beaten-path. Don’t expect luxury or a seamless transition.

Travelers who put in the effort will be rewarded with some of the most impressive nature you’ll ever see. Kaieteur Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall in the world and there are striking mountainous landscapes as well. Wildlife-watching is also a draw, with possible sightings including giant river otters, giant anteaters or potentially even jaguars.

Harbin, China

Every winter, there are dirt cheap airfares from the U.S. to China and now you have a reason to go: Harbin’s International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is the largest and most elaborate in the world. A modified version was held in 2021, so it’s relatively safe to expect it’ll occur again in 2022.

Although this festival is amazing every year, the timing of next year’s event lines up well to combine with a trip to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, an easy two-hour flight south.

Istria, Croatia

Foodies should consider Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula for their next taste-testing vacation. As the crow flies, you’re practically in Italy; in fact, there’s a ferry that runs between Venice and Pula, Croatia. You’ll find truffles, olive oil, prosciutto, wine and all types of seafood, plus delicacies that are 100% Croatian.

This region is popular with European travelers, but Americans are only just beginning to visit. If you go, be sure to split your time between a coastal city (such as Rovinj or Pula) and inland villages (hill-top Motovun is a favorite).

Jujuy, Argentina

Head to the province of Jujuy in Argentina’s Andes mountains to see a side of the country most people have never heard of. The scenery is mind-blowing, with a unique combination of mountains and desert. Colorful peaks, like the Cerro de Siete Colores in Purmamarca and Serranía de Hornocal in Humahuaca, pop like rainbows under the right lighting conditions.

It’s not just about the scenery and the outdoors, though. The Pucará de Tilcara is a set of pre-Incan fortifications, some of which have been rebuilt. Go to tour the ruins and learn more about the Omaguaca who lived here during the twelfth century.

Luxembourg

For such a small country, Luxembourg packs a big punch. You can drive from top to bottom in just over an hour, but in-between you’ll see medieval castles, untouched nature and historic tunnels. Stay in Luxembourg City if you want to see the old and new juxtaposed or head to fairytale Vianden if you prefer a smaller town.

Believe it or not, Luxembourg has its own airport with flights to numerous European cities. However, since it borders Belgium, France and Germany, it can be equally easy to drive in as part of a road trip. Highways and other infrastructure make it easy to visit on your own.

Kenya

Choosing a country for safari can be overwhelming, especially since almost everywhere is likely to be amazing. What makes Kenya stand out is the ability to book a trip at a more reasonable cost. Generally speaking, Kenya’s park fees are a bit lower than its neighbors and most parks have nearby budget lodges for travelers who want something in-between outright camping and a luxury stay.

Don’t think you’re skimping on animal sightings, though. Although the Serengeti in Tanzania is best known for the annual “great migration,” the exact same herds cross the border into Kenya at the Masai Mara National Reserve every summer.

Lombok, Indonesia

Move over, Bali. Lombok is where you should head if you want tropical relaxation without being overrun by tourists and global brands. You’ll find surf breaks, a looming volcano, waterfalls, beaches and temples.

Right now, flights to Lombok are only from a handful of international gateways, such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (most people fly or ferry in from elsewhere in Indonesia). Because of that, Lombok is relatively untouristed…for now.

Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

Botswana’s zebra migration isn’t well-known, perhaps because it was hindered for decades by cattle fencing that previously cut off migration routes. Now, the fences have been removed and 25,000 or more zebras migrate each year to take advantage of lush, green feeding grounds.

Booking a trip to see this spectacular sight is best done with a knowledgeable safari agent. Since the zebras are on the move, you’ll need an expert to tell you where to go based on your exact timing. Be aware the migration is most dramatic during the low (rainy) season, so choosing navigable routes and finding open lodges is also a consideration.

Milos, Greece

The Greek isles will always be beloved by travelers but do yourself a favor and skip the most-heavily visited islands this year. Milos, while certainly not “undiscovered,” is less crowded than other islands and cruise ships rarely stop here.

Milos is best known for the stark white Sarakiniko Beach but the Catacombs of Milos and Kleftiko Caves are equally worthwhile. And, like all Greek isles, don’t underestimate how much time you’ll want for swimming, sunbathing, wining, dining and chasing the sunset.

Moab, Utah

With two national parks in and around Moab, this city deserves to be on a travel list every year. This year, it’s especially inviting since there’s a whole new way to arrive. The Rocky Mountaineer train launches this year, taking travelers on a scenic journey from Denver to Moab or vice versa.

The luxury journey includes views of places you can’t see from the road, including Ruby Canyon on the way toward Arches National Park. Once in Moab, you’ll want to spend a few days taking in the red rock landscape the area is known for as well as scenic rivers, forests and mountains nearby.

Oruro, Bolivia

The Oruro Carnival is a party like no other. Held each winter, the festival blends Catholic rituals with local Indian rituals for an extravagant, colorful festival. The parades are exceptionally long, lasting up to twenty hours, and feature folk dancing, music and elaborate costumes like nowhere else in the world.

Outside of Carnival festivities, Oruro is a small, sleepy town without a lot of tourist attractions. However, it pairs perfectly with Sajama National Park outside town, where you’ll find the
snow-capped Sajama Peak, geysers, hot springs and prehistoric rock paintings.

Puebla, Mexico

There are 365 churches in Puebla, one for each day of the year. There are also several art museums, a dozen restaurants that claim to have the best mole and one stunning view of a smoking volcano in the distance. Puebla is giving Mexico City a run for its money and is only two hours away.

The university town of Cholula, about 12km away, is nearly always combined with Puebla and for good reason. The Great Pyramid here is a huge draw for travelers and is worth climbing to the top as well as touring the underground tunnels. It’s also excellent for dining and nightlife, with more trendy options than you’ll find in Puebla itself. For an authentic Cinco de Mayo celebration, look no further. Puebla is the only city in Mexico that actually celebrates the holiday.

Queenstown, New Zealand

If being stuck in your own home for a year has you antsy, head straight to New Zealand’s adventure capital. Queenstown offers everything from bungee jumping to riverboarding to satiate your need for adrenaline.

Once you’ve checked a few activities off your bucket list, you can enjoy Queenstown’s gentler pursuits. This small city on the South Island is also great for scenic lake cruises, fly fishing, golfing and more. The Kiwi Birdlife Park will let you get up close and personal to New Zealand’s most famous bird.

Saipan

Go ahead, pull out a map. Saipan is in the Northern Mariana Islands, in a part of the Pacific often forgotten about. It was an important World War II battle site and travelers can easily visit the exact location of historical events with a rental car. The American Memorial Park Visitor Center, a National Park Service site, can provide context and directions.

As you’d expect from an island, there are also glorious beaches and amazing diving, including one site with a sunken WWII plane wreck.

Salento, Colombia

If you haven’t been to Colombia’s coffee country yet, it’s time to consider a visit to Salento. This mountain town makes a convenient base for side trips to organic coffee plantations, the Cocora Valley (known for its iconic wax palms) and Los Nevados National Park.

Within town, you’ll want to walk the colorful Calle Real and visit the Plaza de Bolivar Salento, which are great excuses to constantly pull out your camera. Outside of town, most tours focus on outdoor adventures: hiking or multi-day treks, mountain biking, paragliding and horseback riding.

Samoa

Samoa gets very little tourism compared to other parts of Polynesia. Perhaps because of that, their culture shines brightly. The Fa’a Samoa (or Samoan Way) isn’t something fake or exaggerated for tourists. As a visitor, you will be welcome to observe and participate in local customs.

This is the type of destination where you should go out of your way to support local businesses. Choose small restaurants, personalized tours and family-run hotels and avoid international chains. The beaches and tropical paradise might entice you to Samoa, but the warm hospitality will make you long to return.

Sayulita, Mexico

Easily accessible from Puerto Vallarta’s airport (PVR), Sayulita feels a world apart from this tourist center. Like Tulum was before Instagram discovered it, Sayulita has the tourist amenities and services that vacationers want without losing its Mexican identity entirely. Enjoy it responsibly so that visitors in years to come will be able to enjoy it as well.

While surfing is what first brought tourism to Sayulita, there’s also fishing, snorkeling and shopping for local Huichol art. If you’re willing to put in a little effort, you’ll still find virgin forest and hidden beaches or maybe even the city’s best street tacos.

Sydney, Australia

Australia did a great job of keeping life normal so when they finally reopen their borders to international visitors, you can guess that there will be plenty to do. While there are plenty of must-see sights for first-timers, the real draw to Sydney is the events and festivals you’ll find. There’s always something to do.

One of the city’s best annual events is Vivid Sydney, which features outdoor light installations and projections across the city for an immersive experience. Music and other performances encourage you to explore beyond Sydney’s main landmarks and discover a new neighborhood to return to in the future.

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei is a foodie’s dream. There are Michelin-star restaurants, hole-in-the-wall eateries and street food 24 hours a day, each with delicious delicacies to offer. Start your day with pineapple cakes and oolong tea and work your way toward beef noodle soup and black pepper buns. Or head into one of the shrimping bars on Zhìshàn Road, where you literally catch your own dinner.

Of course, you have to do something other than just eat, and Taipei excels at that, too. Hit up the city museums and temples, do some shopping or day trip to Beitou for hot springs and hiking.

Telluride, Colorado

New routes and increased frequencies to Montrose airport have made Telluride more accessible than ever before. This small town in western Colorado has gorgeous mountain scenery with a wide assortment of active pursuits but a new twist compared to resort towns like Vail or Aspen that you may have been to before.

The best part about Telluride is that it’s lovely in both winter and summer. Choose to ski with shorter lift lines and varied terrain at Telluride Ski Resort. In summer, activities include favorites like hiking and off-roading. Plus, in either case, you’ll find great dining and cocktail options to round out your trip.

Tufi, Papua New Guinea

Realistically, anyone who goes all the way to Papua New Guinea will likely head to multiple areas but Tufi should be one of them. The pristine town sits next to a fjord (here, fjords are referred to as rias and were formed by ancient volcanic eruptions).

The scenery is only the beginning. You could easily fill a whole trip with diving alone with world-class sites and tremendous visibility. In addition to being known for macro diving, there are also rare white hammerhead sharks, wrecks and schooling barracuda.

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Uganda

East Africa is best known as a safari destination, but Uganda bucks the trend. Sure, you can see incredible wildlife here (and absolutely should) but it offers a more well-rounded travel experience. The country has stunning crater lakes, wild whitewater rafting and multi-day treks in the Rwenzori Mountains.

Among the places you shouldn’t miss on your first visit are Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to tree-climbing lions, and Murchison Falls National Park, one of the most powerful cascades in the world.

Uruguay

With a mild climate, Uruguay makes for a year-round destination with more variety than you could possibly fit in a week. The coastline tends to get the most attention, and with Punta del Este’s fabulous beaches and epic nightlife, it’s no wonder that’s where many travelers start.

Other highlights of the country include picturesque Colonia, a UNESCO World Heritage site for its many historic buildings and idyllic cobblestone streets. An hour away, the town of Carmelo has been up and coming for a few years now but hasn’t quite taken off. Go now, while you can still enjoy the peaceful countryside, blossoming wine scene and steakhouses galore.

Uzbekistan

Travelers who wish to explore Central Asia will find Uzbekistan to be one of the easiest -stans for independent tourism. The capital city of Tashkent’s metro system is both convenient and beautiful and high-speed rail links the city to other must-visit destinations like Samarkand and Bukhara.

Mosques and mausoleums dazzle with intricate designs, making the architecture a draw as much as its Silk Road history and culture. Slightly off the standard tourist trail, the Western Tien Shan mountains are perfect for hiking, mountain biking and skiing. On the other side of the country, the nearly-dry Aral Sea hosts a bewildering graveyard of former cargo ships.

Valdez, Alaska

Valdez offers an incredible microcosm of all that Alaska has to offer: glaciers, fjord cruises, salmon and halibut fishing, sea kayaking, hiking and wildlife-watching. It’s also a photographer’s dream. The drive-in on the Richardson Highway will leave you gaping at the scenery.

Since this small city isn’t on most first-timers’ radar, it’s not terribly busy even in peak season, but services are limited and you’ll need to make reservations in advance for hotels and tours. When you do, allow some flexibility for bad weather. Valdez gets a lot of rain (and snow), which keeps waterfalls looking spectacular all year long.

Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Waiheke Island is close enough to Auckland to make it a day trip but smart travelers will allow more time. There are over two dozen vineyards on this island, all of which are worth sampling. Olives are also grown here, thanks to hot summers, and olive oil tasting is an unexpected addition to your New Zealand experience.

When you need a break from your culinary experiences, Waiheke Island is also a terrific destination for biking or bushwalking. You can slow down entirely by heading to one of the island’s beaches, too. The coast on the north side of the island is typically best for white sand and swimmable waters.

Walt Disney World, Florida

Disney’s 50th-anniversary festivities begin October 1, 2021 and are expected to last 18 months, giving you plenty of time to join the party. Specific celebrations haven’t been announced yet, but you can expect magical entertainment, specially-themed souvenirs and treats and new park decor.

Waiting until 2022 for the initial crowds to lessen may actually be in your favor, especially since some favorite festivities like fireworks and parades are currently paused. Holding out for smaller crowds may also speed up your wait time on new rides like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT.

Bottom Line

Every week, we get a little closer to traveling again. More people get vaccinated every day and Covid-19 cases are thankfully dropping. As these trends continue, the ability to travel will become more of a reality and these destinations will be waiting. Which one you choose for your first post-pandemic trip…well, that’s up to you.

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7 Most Unusual Places To Vacation In The World


Travel is all about experiencing something new, learning about something previously not encountered, and meeting the unexpected. When we go abroad, we often do so to get out of our comfort zone, to be confronted with the unknown, but also to have fun and enjoy a really good time away from our day-to-day life.

So, what better than searching out not only great new destinations but also staying in some unique places? And, while the experience might be surprising, it does not have to be out of your comfort zone. I have discovered some strange and wonderful hotels, motels, and resorts — some of which fit into neither category. All bring something new to the table. Strewn across six continents, there is bound to be something that appeals to many of you.

1. The Lookout Cave Underground Motel, Coober Pedy, Australia

Coober Pedy is a strange place. It is the middle of nowhere, in northern South Australia, roughly halfway between Adelaide and Alice Springs. It is pretty much a hole in the ground, which also gave the “town” its name: it comes from the local aboriginal name for “white man in hole.” That hole, though, is what makes Coober Pedy the opal capital of the world, with it supplying roughly 90 percent of the world’s opals.

But with Coober Pedy being a hole in the ground, surrounded pretty much by desert, the people living and working there live in caves dug out within the hole. No windows, but cooler than outside in the blazing heat with all the creature comforts, make the Lookout Cave Underground Motel an ideal place to experience just how people live in this isolated spot. From your cozy cave, you can learn more about the history of opal mining, and even mine yourself. Should you come up empty, the local shops have all the multi-colored sparkle you could wish for.

Pro Tip: Getting there is usually by car, driving along the Stuart Highway, which crosses Australia; by plane and then hiring a car, or as an excursion from the Ghan Train.

Glass igloo at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort Finland during magical polar twilight.
Flystock / Shutterstock.com

2. Kakslauttanen Igloo Village, Finland

From one empty wilderness to another, on the other hemisphere. The Kakslauttanen Igloo Village lies in northern Finland above the Arctic Circle. Here trees vastly outnumber people, as do the reindeer and sled hounds. It’s most magical in winter. The Igloo Village is just that: a selection of glass-domed igloos, one a room, allowing you to lie in bed and look up at the sky, watching the northern lights, or the stars. Activities here revolve around the snow, with sled or snowmobile safaris, reindeer or husky safaris, skiing, and, of course, a visit to Santa. The resort is open throughout the year, and each season brings something special to the table, but if you have a choice, go in winter.

Pro Tip: If you need a break from snow, then in Kakslauttanen West Village you’ll find an art gallery that probably houses the northernmost art exhibitions.

Overwater Villa Manta Resort
Samy Ghannam Manta Resort Pemba

3. Manta Resort, Pemba Island, Tanzania

If staying on an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania with neighboring island Zanzibar close by isn’t enough, along comes Manta Resort. We have all seen the over-water villas in places such as Tahiti, but they tend to be connected to the main resort by a wooden walkway. This resort’s Underwater Sea Room floats on its own, only reached by boat ( your dinner and breakfast will be delivered by canoe), and has two floors — or three if you wish. The sea-level platform is perfect for swimming from, and above you, there’s a roof terrace where you can sunbathe and enjoy the view across the turquoise ocean. Steps down from the sea-level platform is your bedroom, underwater and encased in glass so you can watch the fishes while they watch you. Solitude and romance, and utter privacy. If you don’t count the fish.

Underwater room in Manta Resort.
Manta Resort Pemba Samy Ghannam

Pro Tip: Between October and April, you will see why it’s called the Manta Resort, with elegant manta rays coming close to the coast, and from your underwater room, you’ll have the best vantage point.

4. Treehouse Lodge Resort, Iquitos, Peru

I never had a treehouse when I was a kid, but I would dearly have loved one. Is there anything more magical than sitting in the branches of a large tree, in a lush green forest? The light is soft, the birds sing, and you can really relax and hide from the outside world. The Treehouse Lodge Resort is located near Iquitos by the Yarapa River, a tributary of the Amazon River, and right in the rainforest. The only way to get to Iquitos is by plane or boat, there are no roads connecting you with the outside world. There are 12 treehouses to choose from, all comfortably designed and open to the elements. Some have been built incorporating the tree’s branches, making for unique clothes hooks.

Pro Tip: Lying close to the equator, the temperatures are similar throughout the year, but between December and May there is the rainy season, making the rivers more navigable and offering sightings of pink dolphins below the treehouses.

Train on bridge as sun sets in Kruger Shalati.
Judiet Barnes

5. Kruger Shalati, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Turning a train into accommodations is not necessarily a new thing, even if the train is no longer in use. But what is different about this luxury train, it is parked on a historic and abandoned Shalati or Selati bridge across a beautiful river with stellar views. Not only has the train been turned into luxury accommodations, but there is even a pool platform right in the middle of the bridge. And, all around you, the famous Kruger National Park, teeming with lush greenery and abundant wildlife is your landscape. The train and the bridge were once used to transport chic 1920s travelers through the national park, now it offers modern travelers a bit of time travel and nostalgia and a truly unique place to stay a night.

Pro Tip: Kruger National Park is a year-round destination, just keep in mind that summer (the Northern Hemisphere’s winter) is the rainy season.

trekkers walking to the Hotel Everest View in Nepal.
November27 / Shutterstock.com

6. Hotel Everest View, Solukhumbu, Nepal

There are hotels with great views in every city and in every country, and there is nothing unique about having a view. Or is there? Try Mount Everest right outside your window. Hotel Everest View delivers what the name promises. Each of the 12 rooms has a seating area in front of panoramic windows which open up to a balcony, and Mount Everest’s iconic triangular peak is right in front of you. From the hotel, you will be able to explore the area going on hikes ranging from moderate to challenging, all several hours’ duration, and you can even choose to hike to the hotel for check-in. Alternatively, there are helicopter transfers available.

Pro Tip: This hotel has been mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest in the world, at 13,000 feet. Altitude sickness is a very real possibility, so allow yourself either sometime in the hotel to adjust to the altitude, or opt for the trekking up, as that will give you time to slowly reach the height.

Exterior and landscape of Fogo Inn on a cloudy early morning.
Bent Rene Synnerag

7. Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland And Labrador, Canada

This is another of those wonderful unique places to stay that combine an unusual location to call home for a few nights with a destination you have put some effort in to get to. Once you get there, your experience will be multiplied. In this case, it is a flight, a drive, and a ferry ride to get to reception. Fogo Island, out in the iceberg-strewn north Atlantic, is an island where living is tough. Tech entrepreneur Zita Cobb was born there and after a high-flying career away from home, came back and built Fogo Island Inn using local materials, inspiration, design, and manpower, and all with sustainability and her island foremost in her mind. 

The views of this rough and tumble corner of the world are so magnificent that there are binoculars supplied everywhere. Beautifully designed, with local materials woven and knitted on the island, to modern art and architecture, the Fogo Island Inn offers every possible luxury you could ask for. The inn is a testament to the island and its people.

Pro Tip: Hikes, northern lights, whale and birdwatching, food foraging, art and more, provides plenty to do. Plan your trip according to the “Seven Seasons” of Fogo.

To add to your travel portfolio, visit some of these unusual destinations:



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Pandemic travel news: From Angkor Wat to Havana, places reopening soon


(CNN) — There are only two months left in 2021 and as we enter November, countries around the world are relaxing their Covid-19 restrictions. Here are 10 destinations that have made headlines in pandemic travel news this week.

1. Anguilla: A Lonely Planet best pick

Anguilla's Cap Juluca, a Belmond Hotel.

Anguilla’s Cap Juluca, a Belmond Hotel.

Courtesy Belmond Cap Juluca

Anguilla, a Leeward Island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, this week geared up for the winter tourism season by updating its travel requirements, effective November 1.

Only pre-approved, fully vaccinated visitors can enjoy its azure waters, luxury resorts, 33 public beaches and 80-degree temperatures (with exceptions made for under-18s and the pregnant).

Those stringent requirements could be worth your while: On Wednesday, Anguilla was named one of Lonely Planet’s “Best Destinations to visit in 2022,” the only Caribbean island to make the cut.

2. Australia: Residents can travel again

Starting November 1, fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will finally be able to travel out of the country without needing a special exemption.

Two of the country’s states are taking slightly different approaches to easing Covid restrictions.

3. Barbados: No quarantine for the vaccinated

The eastern Caribbean island of Barbados has just elected its first ever president, Sandra Mason, who will take over from Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. She’ll be sworn in on November 30, which is the 55th anniversary of Barbados becoming independent from Britain.

If you want to celebrate with the Bajans, December to April is the peak time to visit, when the weather is driest. This week, the island removed its quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travelers as well as its mandatory second PCR test. Find out more on the website.

4. Cambodia: Reopening to international travelers

Pre-pandemic, Cambodia was emerging as one of Southeast Asia’s most fascinating destinations.
Vaccinated foreign tourists will soon to be able to visit once again, starting with the beach ‘n’ party spots of Sihanoukville and Koh Rong island, as well as the China-developed resort of Dara Sakor, reopening on November 30.
The country’s biggest attraction, though, is the city of Siem Reap and the legendary Buddhist temple complex of Angkor Wat. Foreign visitors will have to wait until January 2022 to explore the archaeological wonder.

5. Cuba: Welcomes tourists next month

Having now vaccinated most of its population with its homegrown vaccines (which are still under review by the World Health Organisation), the Caribbean country of Cuba is preparing to open its borders and ease entry requirements by November 15, Reuters reports.

Visitors will need just proof of vaccination or a recent PCR test to enter the country, says the news agency.

6. Easter Island: Voted against reopening

The far-flung Chilean territory of Easter Island, renowned for its huge stone head statues, has been closed to visitors since the start of the pandemic — and residents want to keep it that way.
On October 24, the island’s inhabitants, most of whom are indigenous Rapa Nui, voted against reopening its borders in January 2022, reports French news agency RFI, although the final decision rests with Chilean health authorities on the mainland.

7. Iran: Borders are open again

Iran is filled with spectacular archaeological treasures, no fewer than 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and an array of beautiful mosques.

For those wanting to make the journey, however, the Tehran Times reports that borders are once again open to foreign tourists. More details here.

8. Israel: Reopening to vaccinated tourists

A scuba diver has found a four-foot long sword thought to belong to a crusader 900 years ago off the coast of Israel.

Israel’s Ministry of Tourism announced on Thursday that the country will welcome individually vaccinated tourists from November 1. Currently, only organized tourist groups are allowed into Israel. You can find full details here.
If you’re heading there for the scuba diving, you might just strike lucky. Earlier this month, a diver found a 900-year-old Crusader sword off the Israeli coastline.

9. New Zealand: New easing measures

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces the country is moving from eliminating Covid-19, amid a persistent outbreak of the Delta variant, and will instead transition to a strategy of ‘living with the virus.’

Like its neighbor Australia, New Zealand is moving away from its zero-Covid strategy and preparing to reopen to the world.

Chris Hipkins, minister in charge of New Zealand’s Covid-19 response, announced on Thursday that, from November, travelers from Pacific countries including Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu will no longer need to quarantine on arrival.

For those fully vaccinated travelers from abroad who still do need to quarantine, the 14-day sojourn in a hotel will be shortened to seven days, with a plan to move to a system of home isolation for fully vaccinated arrivals later in 2022.

10. UK: Cleared its red list

There are just seven countries left on England’s once heaving inventory of “red list” destinations — Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela — and they’re all set to be removed on November 1.

This means that anyone from any country will be able to enter England, although they will still be subject to testing requirements or quarantine, depending on their vaccination status.

Rules vary in the other UK nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can find out more in our UK Covid travel guide.

CNN’s Karla Cripps, Jack Guy, Lilit Marcus, Francesca Street and Philip Wang contributed reporting.



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The Best Places to Eat near TD Garden


Before you head to a concert or game, fuel up with Mexican food from a TV-star chef, some of Boston’s best burgers, and more.


It’s officially Celtics and Bruins season again, which means many of us will be heading back to TD Garden for a game for the first time since before—well, you know. (We get sick of saying it, too.) Between that and concert schedules being back in the swing of things, we thought it might be helpful to remind you what’s close and good for pre- and post-venue dining in a neighborhood that’s experienced rapid redevelopment in recent years. From a new star chef-associated cocina to Detroit-style pizzas and a huge new food hall, skate over to these spots.

Smoked scallop conserva at Alcove. / Photo courtesy

Alcove

Not that we needed another reason to retreat to Alcove, a lovely modern bastion of coastal New England-meets-Mediterranean cuisine on the West End waterfront, but the recent addition of a raw bar doesn’t exactly hurt. It gives talented toque Brian Paszko something new to play with: sustainable, line-caught fish used for smoked scallop conserva and crudo presentations—hake dressed sweet chili, radish, and black sesame, perhaps. Of course, that’s in addition to a dinner menu that already includes some seafood-skewing dishes like roasted skate wing and ginger soy-glazed salmon.

50 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, 617-248-0050, alcoveboston.com.

Bodega Canal

Bodega Canal is a vibe: one fueled by tequila, bottle service, and DJs spinning, as the night goes on. Before the place starts getting too clubby, though, it’s a solid choice to pre-game with big party-friendly Mexican plates: Order up a bunch of tacos, filled with everything from blackened shrimp to short rib—plus a Nachos Supreme platter, natch—and let your crew go to town before you hit the town.

57 Canal St., Boston, 617-833-4885, bodegacanal.com.

Photo courtesy of Guy Fieri’s Tequila Cocina

Guy Fieri’s Tequila Cocina

If you prefer your Mexican-inspired dining with a bit more star power and frosted tips, make a bee-line to Guy Fieri’s first—and only, for a few more weeks, anyway—Boston restaurant. It’s everything you want if you’re a fan of the food TV star, meaning it’s filled with some goofy, gooey starters, like the signature Trash Can nachos, spilling out of a metal container; some boldly flavored entrees, such as the whole fish with green salsa, chipotle crema, and pickled red onion and cabbage slaw; pitchers of margaritas; and colorful decor that is suitably loud for a Fieri establishment. Opened in partnership with Boston’s Big Night Entertainment Group, the cocina is attached to the Big Night Live concert hall, so it’s a particularly fun place to hit before a show.

110 Causeway St., Boston, 617-896-5222, guyscocina.com.

Ramen at Momosan in Hub Hall. / Photo courtesy of Momosan

Hub Hall

Boston’s latest food hall, which opened right next to TD Garden this month, has a hell of a lineup. Inside you’ll find an outlet of Cusser’s, which happens to serve Boston’s best roast beef sandwich; APizza, Mida chef Douglass Williams’ new destination for New Haven- and Roman-inspired pies; and Momosan, Iron Chef icon Masaharu Morimoto’s Boston debut with ramen bowls, bar snacks, and sake. Add additional locations of local-favorite chains like the Smoke Shop BBQ and Greek restaurant Greco, plus wine and juice bars, and more, and you’ve got the recipe for the best food-hall lineup around (at least until High Street Place brings heavy competition next year).

80 Causeway St., Boston, 617-263-8900, hubhallboston.com.

Detroit-style pizzas. / Photo courtesy of Night Shift Brewing

Night Shift Brewing

You’d be forgiven for being surprised that Boston’s best pizza happens to be served just outside the Italian landmarks of the North End. Over at Lovejoy Wharf in the West End, though, Night Shift smartly surprised us with its Detroit-style pies: rectangular, deep-dish pizzas built by drizzling sweet tomato sauce on top of cheese that reaches to every well-crisped edge. They’re the highlights of the brewery’s very tasty menu, and perfect for pairing with recent Night Shift releases like the Cranagram, a hazy IPA made with cranberries and oranges.

1 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, 617-456-7687, nightshiftbrewing.com.

Tasty Burger tater tots and cheeseburger

A filling combo from Tasty Burger. / Photo by Wayne Chinnock

Tasty Burger

More than a decade after it debuted, this Boston mini-chain still makes some of the best burgers in town. That gorgonzola-covered patty, in particular, is among Tasty’s mouthwatering top options—so is the Rise ‘n’ Shine, a breakfast-anytime burger with a fried egg and bacon, and the patty melt, which trades a traditional bun for toasted white bread and adds some caramelized onions and cheese. The West End outpost at North Station will not disappoint, and it’s also got all the usual, best-in-class milkshakes for slurping down, too.

1 Nashua St., Boston, 617-303-0800, tastyburger.com.

The Tip Tap Room

On the backside of Beacon Hill, the Tip Tap Room is a short walk away from TD Garden—in the direction that fewer tourists seem to travel. That’s not to say chef Brian Poe’s gastropub will be quiet: In fact, the place gets pretty busy and buzzy. But at least you’ll be more likely to avoid out-of-town fanny packs in favor of hanging with the locals, who descend after work for meat tips (including steak, turkey, and wild game specials) and beer taps that flow with a lengthy list of craft brews from around the country.

138 Cambridge St., Boston, 857-350-3344, thetiptaproom.com.

Ward 8

Where’s Ward 8? Right on the West End/North End borderline, across the street from sibling restaurant Tony & Elaine’s, which trades on the Italian-American fare of the latter neighborhood. On the west side of the street, though, Ward 8 is much more eclectic: spicy fried chicken sandwiches, sweet chili-glazed duck wings, steak frites, and pork belly steam buns are just a few of the bases covered. The big central bar, meanwhile, does a fine job keeping pace with the pre- and post-game crowds, and plying them with well-made negronis and sazeracs.

90 N Washington St., Boston, 617-823-4478, ward8.com.

West End Johnnie’s

The area around TD Garden has changed a ton in recent years, with shiny new buildings sprouting up left and right. West End Johnnie’s is an old-timer at this point, its sports memorabilia-covered walls attesting to its legacy as a Celtics and Bruins fan favorite. As local pub grub goes, it’s got your back with a delicious Buffalo chicken dip, plus a smoked BBQ burger, gouda-feta mac ‘n’ cheese, and more—plus a reggae brunch on Sundays, when the coconut shrimp and Caribbean tunes come out.

138 Portland St., Boston, 617-227-1588, westendjohnnies.com.






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Travel Tips For Andaman And Nicobar Islands| 5 Must-Visit Places, Adventure Activities, And More


Craving stunning sunsets, crystal clear blue waters, and white-sand beaches? Then you can experience this and more in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. An archipelago of over 300 islands located in the Bay of Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands is the perfect choice for a vacation. The picturesque islands cater for a perfect beach holiday away from the hustle-bustle of the city. The untouched white sandy beaches offer a plethora of adventure activities and luxury staycations.Also Read – Visit Chaukori in Uttarakhand For a Heaven-Like Experience – Here Are Some Places to See And More

The gorgeous islands have something for every tourist. Here, we list 5 must-visit places in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Also Read – As Sikkim Decides to Lift Inter-State Travel Curbs – Here Are Some Places to Explore

  • Radhanagar beach, Havelock Island: Awarded as one of the best beaches in Asia, this beach offers picturesque scenery, pristine white sand, crystal clear blue water.
  • Cellular Jail, Port Blair: Built between 1896 and 1908, the jail was home to hundreds of freedom fighters. The jail is known as Kala Pani, this jail was constructed during the colonial rule of Britishers.
  • Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island: Formerly known as Ross Island, this is one of the most popular destinations in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located near Port Blair. This island is famous as the headquarters of the British Colony in the state. This island has a beautiful view of the sea, and you can laze around gazing at the turquoise blue waters for hours.
  • Kala Pathar Beach: A flawless seashore with white sand, clear blue water and big black rocks. Located on the tip of Havelock Island, the name of the beach was derived from the adjoining street known as Black Road. You can spend hours here and witness amazing sunset as well as sunrise.
  • Viper Island: The island has derived its name from the H.M.S Viper that met with an accident and its wreckage was found near the island. This island is famous for its old jail, here you can enjoy the sunset and the peace.

Adventure Activities in Andaman and Nicobar:

If you love all things adventurous, then Andaman and Nicobar Islands has a lot to offer: Also Read – World’s Highest Motorable Road In Ladakh – Check Interesting Facts

  • Snorkelling and Scuba Diving: Explore the vibrant aquatic life in the turquoise waters of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Witness the famous coral reefs and the wide range of aquatic flora and fauna.
  • Underwater sea walking: Experience underwater sea walking or helmet diving. You can walk on the seafloor at a maximum depth of seven meters during high tide and in calm water, as reported by Outlook India.
  • Glass Bottom Boat Ride: You can explore the mysteries underwater with the Glass Bottom Boat Ride.
  • Mangrove Kayaking: Want to experience kayaking? Then take a trip to Havelock Island. Explore the rich flora while riding kayak in still waters.
  • Seaplane ride: Witness the scenic attractions of Andaman with a Seaplane ride.

When is the Best time to visit Andaman And Nicobar Island:

The best time to visit Andaman and Nicobar Island and enjoy water sports activities is between October- May.





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The 17 Most Beautiful Places in New Jersey


While it might generally be tough to convince a non-Jerseyan that the state is in fact beautiful, we say seeing is believing. Because when you truly look past New Jersey’s suburban sprawl, the industrial complexes and factories outside of Newark Airport, you’ll see the Garden State for its unique natural beauty and charms.

Here are just some of the most beautiful places to visit in New Jersey, and where you should stay nearby at each.

RELATED: The 12 Most Charming Small Towns in New Jersey

Most Beautiful Places in New Jersey Sunset Beach Cape May



Vicki Kenyon/Getty Images

2. Sunset Beach Cape May

This beach at the southern tip of New Jersey never disappoints, especially in the summer months when fiery, western facing Jersey sunsets (they’re a thing, just look on Instagram) live up to its name. Aside from orange, pink, and yellow hued sunsets, the natural, sandy beach is also home to the unique SS Atlantus Concrete Ship, which ran aground here after a storm. The wreckage is now permanently on display within easy eyesight of the shore.

Where to stay:

Most Beautiful Places in New Jersey CAT



KenWiedemann/Getty Images

5. The Red Mill, Clinton

This charming country town is just over an hour west of the Lincoln Tunnel, but it feels like it’s worlds away. The picturesque Red Mill has a unique roof and has become a focal point in town. Its history as a wool processing plant, a peach basket factory, and a textile mill dates all the way back to 1810, but today, visitors gawk at its unique color and position on a dam, where gentle streams of water run past it in the most tranquil of ways. The historic buildings that surround the Red Mill are also part of an open air museum, Red Mill Museum Village, and home to a variety of events.

Where to stay:

Most Beautiful Places in New Jersey BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu Temple



Courtesy, BAPS BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

8. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu Temple

You don’t have to travel all the way to India to visit an authentic Hindu temple. Just over an hour away between NYC and Philadelphia is Robbinsville, NJ, a central New Jersey town which is the home of this awe-inspiring place filled with intricate carvings, domes and spires, arches, sacred figures, and a wealth of beauty. Completed in 2014 and built of beautiful Italian Carrara marble, it’s a site where, according to their website, “the mind becomes still and experiences inner peace”. We’ll take that over traffic on the Turnpike any day.

Where to stay:





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9 Best Places To Retire In Washington State


I am no expert on retirement other than I retired in Washington State. Here is how I curated my list of where to retire. I read as many articles as I could find on where to retire in Washington. I then went through the lists of cities and towns and made notes of which ones appeared on multiple lists. Articles by retirement experts use the statistics on taxes, crime, cost of living, proximity to medical facilities, etc. so I won’t cover that information. I then refined my list with my knowledge from living and traveling in the state with additional factors that I think appeal to TravelAwaits readers. 

We all love to travel and when I retired, I wanted a place that had many of the things I loved from my trips. Things that were important to me included great views, a welcoming community, a good coffee shop, proximity to a major airport, and lots of places to explore within driving distance.

Things I love about Washington are the temperate year-round climate which leads to lower energy costs, no poisonous snakes in western Washington, and no state income tax. It’s called the Evergreen State for a reason: gorgeous trees, and beautiful natural scenery throughout the state. The things I don’t love as much are the high sales tax rate (almost 10 percent), higher costs for housing, gas, and groceries compared to other areas of the country, and the traffic.

I’ve learned to embrace the grey skies, but the cloudy, rainy weather in the winter in western Washington can really get to people. We had one year with over 100 days with no sunshine. In spite of this, there are positives.

Here is my list:

Steilacoom during 4th of July parade.
Peggy Cleveland

1. Steilacoom

You won’t find this quaint town I retired to on any national lists because you must live near it to know about it, which is just the way the community likes it. Steilacoom is the oldest incorporated town in Washington. Each year it hosts a July 4th parade which will take you back in time as well as a fireworks display that is paid for by local donations. The tiny downtown has a few small businesses, but it is mostly residential. The neighbors are welcoming, and everyone works hard to keep Steilacoom’s small-town charm. It’s nice that it’s located between the larger cities of Tacoma and Lacey/Olympia. It is a 45-minute drive to the airport and an hour to Seattle. Views of both the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound are just stunning.

Gig Harbor on a crisp cloudy day.
Peggy Cleveland

2. Gig Harbor

What’s not to love about Gig Harbor? This charming town is just across the Narrows Bridge from the larger city of Tacoma. It is the perfect blend of modern conveniences and small-town charm. Uptown has all the shopping at the chain stores you love while downtown surrounds the harbor and is a walkable destination with local restaurants and shops. The retiree population is very active volunteering within the community and there are plenty of fun, local events to keep you busy year round. Its central location makes it an easy drive to Tacoma’s theater and museum districts or you can take a ferry from Bremerton into Seattle if you want some time in the big city.

Black dog in foreground, Cascade Mountains in background of Wenatchee, Washington.
Cascade Mountains (Photo Credit: Peggy Cleveland)

3. Wenatchee

Located in eastern Washington, Wenatchee made the Forbes list of the “Best Places to Retire in 2019.” I like it due to its location on the Columbia River. It is very scenic and not far from the Cascade Mountains and the more touristy towns of Leavenworth and Chelan. You will eat well in this sunny city, the “Apple Capital of the World,” with lots of fruit orchards, vineyards, and farms nearby.

Numerica Skyride over the falls in Spokane, Washington.
Numerica Skyride Over the Falls (Photo Credit: Peggy Cleveland)

4. Spokane

Located on the border between Idaho and Washington is Spokane, the second-largest city in the state. You get the best of both worlds with a vibrant downtown and plenty of outdoor activities. The performing arts are popular, especially at the lovely Fox Theater, a restored Art Deco treasure. Spokane is considered one of the most affordable cities in the northwest. It is also a college town with Gonzaga and Whitworth and several satellite state university campuses. There are 75 parks in the city with the crown jewel the Riverfront Park overlooking Spokane Falls. Foodies and wine lovers will love the downtown wine trail with multiple tasting rooms. The annual Crave Festival is one of the largest food festivals in the Northwest and celebrates the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest.

Port Townsend, Fort Worden Center of Lifelong Learning.
Peggy Cleveland

5. Port Townsend

Driving through Port Townsend is a step back in time because of the beautiful Victorian architecture and original downtown buildings. Located on the Olympic Peninsula overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, this small-town packs in quite a bit of activity for its small population. You won’t find all the amenities of a larger city but there are so many things to compensate for this. The Fort Worden Lifelong Learning Center is in the heart of Fort Worden State Park and is home to 16 nonprofits and creative businesses. Public programming includes wellness, outdoor recreation, education, and arts and culture.

Traffic and urban life in the city of Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Micheal Gordon / Shutterstock.com

6. Bainbridge Island

Lovely Bainbridge Island can be reached by a short ferry ride from Seattle or a drive through the Kitsap Peninsula, which gives you more transportation options than just relying on a ferry or boat. Safewise.com ranks it as one of the safest cities in Washington. For a smaller city, healthcare is excellent on the island. Many of the larger medical networks have specialists that visit the island on certain days of the week. There are several helicopter landing areas so you can reach Seattle which has some of the best medical care in the world in the event of an emergency. The lively town of Winslow offers great restaurants, shops, and art galleries. On the island, you’ll find many public parks and beaches as well as the amazing Bloedel Reserve with its historic mansion and gardens. History buffs can learn about the Japanese Internment during World War II. Bainbridge Island was the first place Japanese-Americans were removed from their homes and many in the local community kept in touch and watched out for their vacant property.

Vancouver, Revitalized waterfront with white daisies in foreground.
Peggy Cleveland

7. Vancouver

The city of Vancouver is located on the banks of the Columbia River with Portland, Oregon, right across the border. The city has made many lists of top places to retire in Washington and it is easy to see why. One of the negatives about retiring in Washington is the high sales tax rates, but by living near Oregon you just cross a bridge to tax-free shopping. Vancouver is the gateway to the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge with stunning scenery for outdoor adventures. The recently revitalized riverfront connects to downtown Vancouver via the 5-mile Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail. Vancouver offers Fifty and Better programs through its parks and recreation department. There are a variety of fun options and a great way to meet people if you are new to the area.

Yakima area arboretum
Peggy Cleveland

8. Yakima

Yakima was named by Where to Retire as one of the top eight destinations to retire for food and wine. The Yakima Valley has more than 120 wineries and it is known as the new “Napa.” Although wine is gaining in popularity, the area is known for its hops. More than 75 percent of hops grown in the United States comes from Yakima and this creates a great craft beer culture as well. Foodies will love the fresh produce from this farm community with the area known for its asparagus and apples. Yakima is also known as the Palm Springs of Washington due to its sunny weather. In addition to a vast outdoor area perfect for hiking and views of both Mount Rainier and Mount Adams, the Yakima River provides many opportunities for fishing and water sports. There are also many festivals throughout the harvest seasons celebrating the agricultural bounty of the area.

Long Beach, Pink Tinted Sands at Sunset
Peggy Cleveland

9. Long Beach

Long Beach comprises six darling small towns: Ilwaco, Long Beach, Nahcotta, Ocean Park, Oysterville, and Seaview. With 28 miles of continuous sand beach, the Long Beach peninsula claims the longest beach in the United States. This beach community has cute shops, galleries, and restaurants but none of the infrastructure of larger cities. With Seattle just 165 miles away and Portland just 115 miles away, you have two major cities within a day’s trip. Astoria, Oregon, is just across the Columbia River, as well. The year-round mild climate makes this an ideal retirement destination. The beautiful beach is perfect for long strolls or storm watching in the winter months. There are many state parks in the area as well as the Discovery Trail which follows the coastline into Cape Disappointment State Park and down into the town of Ilwaco.

Long Beach, kite flying on a blue sky day.
Peggy Cleveland

The area has a rich history, especially that of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The World Kite Museum and the Kite Festival in August bring in people from all over the world. The windy beach makes kite flying a breeze. The seafood is fresh and bountiful from both the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River. Even though this is a big tourist destination, the peninsula is so big it never feels crowded. It is a very peaceful and quiet community to live in.

Pro Tip: When looking for a retirement destination take the time to articulate what is important to you. There are lots of lists of places to retire and each based on different qualities the author deems important. Come up with your own list and then visit the destination. Stay a few days and plan a visit during the extreme season. In Florida, that would be the summer and in Colorado, it would be the winter. Do you still like the area at this time of year? 

Washington has plenty to offer all seasons of the year.

Other Washington attractions to explore:



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9 places to maximize the new 85,000-point Marriott award night






9 places to maximize the new 85,000-point Marriott award night






















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Passport delayed? 5 places you can travel without one.


Cruise ships are starting to venture out again from the United States. On “closed-loop” cruises, which start and end at the same U.S. port and visit locations including Alaska, the Bahamas, Mexico and the Caribbean, travelers don’t need a passport — though cruise lines recommend having one. For those who don’t have a passport, other forms of identification, including a government-issued photo ID for anyone older than 16 and a certified birth certificate, are needed. Some Caribbean islands could require a passport to enter, so passengers should make sure they know what is expected at each stop.



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