The Greek island of Corfu

6 September 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Corfu City citadel © Stefanos Kozanis

Corfu City citadel © Stefanos Kozanis

Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands. The island is part of the Corfu peripheral unit, and is administrated as a single municipality. The municipality includes the island Corfu and the smaller islands Ereikoussa, Mathraki and Othonoi. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality (pop. 33,886) is also named Corfu. Corfu is home to the Ionian University. The island is connected to the history of Greece from the beginning of Greek mythology. Its Greek name, Kerkyra or Korkyra, is related to two powerful water symbols: Poseidon, god of the sea, and Asopos, an important Greek mainland river. According to myth, Poseidon fell in love with the beautiful nymph Korkyra, daughter of Asopus and river nymph Metope, and abducted her. Poseidon brought Korkyra to the hitherto unnamed island and, in marital bliss, offered her name to the place: Korkyra, which gradually evolved to Kerkyra (Doric). Together, they had a child they called Phaiax, after whom the inhabitants of the island were named: Phaiakes. This term was transliterated via Latin to Phaeacians.   read more…

Theme Week Balearic Islands – Majorca

23 July 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Building of the Consell Insular - Palma de Mallorca © Olaf Tausch

Building of the Consell Insular – Palma de Mallorca © Olaf Tausch

Majorca is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the Balearic Islands. It is the largest by area and second most populated island of Spain (after Tenerife in the Canary Islands). The capital of the island, Palma, is also the capital of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands. The Cabrera Archipelago is administratively grouped with Majorca (in the municipality of Palma). Like the other Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Formentera and Minorca, the island is a highly popular holiday destination, particularly for tourists from Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Scandinavian countries.   read more…

Theme Week Balearic Islands – Ibiza

22 July 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, UNESCO World Heritage

Ibiza Town © Forbfruit/cc-by-sa-3.0

Ibiza Town © Forbfruit/cc-by-sa-3.0

Ibiza is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea 79 km off the coast of the city of Valencia in Spain. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands. With Formentera, it is one of the two Pine Islands or Pityuses. Its largest cities are Ibiza Town (Catalan:Vila d’Eivissa or simply Vila), Santa Eulària des Riu and Sant Antoni de Portmany. Its highest point, called Sa Talaiassa or Sa Talaia, is 475 m/1,558 ft above sea level.   read more…

Theme Week Balearic Islands – Cabrera

21 July 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Castell de Cabrera © J. Gomà

Castell de Cabrera © J. Gomà

Cabrera is an uninhabited islet in the Balearic Islands. The highest point is Na Picamosques (172 m). Cabrera is the largest island of the small archipelago that includes (from south to north) the islands of Estells de Fora, L’Imperial, Illa de ses Bledes, Na Redona, Conillera, L’Esponja, Na Plana, Illot Pla, Na Pobra, and Na Foradada. Cabrera, which had been a former Santa Catalina, Palma de Mallorca district, was declared a National Park in April 1991. The Cabrera National Park is now administratively grouped with the municipality of Palma de Mallorca.   read more…

Theme Week Balearic Islands – Formentera

20 July 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Lake Pudent © ximateix!

Lake Pudent © ximateix!

Formentera is the smaller and more southerly island of the Illes Pitiüses group, comprising Ibiza and Formentera, as well as various small islets. Formentera is renowned across Europe for many pristine white beaches and the fact that nude sunbathing is allowed on most of its beaches.   read more…

Theme Week Balearic Islands – Minorca

19 July 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, UNESCO World Heritage

Grau-Maó © Andrómeda7

Grau-Maó © Andrómeda7

Minorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. It takes its name from being smaller than the nearby island of Majorca. Minorca has a population of approximately 94,383 inhabitants.   read more…

Theme Week Balearic Islands

18 July 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Port of Ciudadela - Menorca © J. Braun

Port of Ciudadela – Menorca © J. Braun

The Balearic Islands are an archipelago in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The four largest islands are: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain with Palma as the capital city. The co-official languages in the Balearic Islands are Catalan and Spanish. The main islands of the autonomous community are Majorca (Mallorca), Menorca (Menorca), Ibiza (Eivissa) and Formentera, all of which are popular tourist destinations. Among the minor islands is Cabrera, which is the location of the Parc Nacional de l’Arxipèlag de Cabrera. The islands can be further grouped, with Majorca, Menorca, and Cabrera as the Gymnesian Islands, and Ibiza and Formentera as the Pine Islands.   read more…

Saint-Tropez

17 June 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Saint_Tropez church © MartinPutz

Saint_Tropez church © MartinPutz

Saint-Tropez is a town, 104 km to the east of Marseille, in the Var department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southeastern France. It is also the principal town in the canton of Saint-Tropez. It is located on the French Riviera, and it is known today for its famous and extremely wealthy summertime guests. It has been dubbed the ‘playground to jetsetters, fashion models, and millionaires’, and it is most-enduringly known as the place where the iconic Brigitte Bardot was “discovered” and for its role in the liberation of southern France during World War II. The inhabitants (around 6,000) of Saint-Tropez are called Tropéziens, and the town is familiarly called “St-Trop”.   read more…

Marseille, France’s oldest and second largest city

3 May 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, European Union, General, European Capital of Culture

Corniche - Petit Nice © Jddmano

Corniche – Petit Nice © Jddmano

Marseille, known in antiquity as Massalia, is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of 240.62 km2 (93 sq mi). The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of 1,204 km2 (465 sq mi). 1,530,000 or 1,601,095 people live in the Marseille metropolitan area, ranking it third among French metro areas. Located on the southeast coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, Marseille is France’s largest commercial port and largest French city on the Mediterranean coast. Marseille is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, as well as the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department. Its inhabitants are called Marseillais. Marseille enjoys a Mediterranean climate. The summer/holiday season lasts for six months, from May to October, although also in April sometimes there are temperatures above 20 °C (68.0 °F). Winters are mild, with average temperature 12 °C (54 °F) during the day and 4 °C (39 °F) at night in the period December–January–February.   read more…

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