Air Jamaica News

10 Best European Castles You Can Visit

Posted October 4, 2013 by SmarterTravel.com

580x382_Hohenzollern_Germany

Sometimes romantic, sometimes sinister, Europe's best castles evoke a palpable sense of both melancholy and wonder. Their ancient stones brim with mystery and history—but not the stodgy old history of musty textbooks. Castles are the past brought to life, a visceral reminder that quests and battles and chivalry weren't always the exclusive province of fantasy novels. Go medieval on your next trip with a visit to one of these castles where ancient history is alive and well.


580x382_Carreg-Cenne_Wales

Carreg Cenne Castle, Wales

Never trust any list of Europe's best castles that doesn't include at least one entry from Wales. Owing to its tumultuous history of war and rebellion, the Welsh countryside is home to more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the world. Our favorite is Carreg Cennen, the only ruined stronghold to make this list. Actually, we like that Carreg Cennen has been in a ruinous state since 1462. Perched on a lonely limestone hilltop in Brecon Beacons National Park and often shrouded in mist, Carreg Cennen is easily the most evocative castle in the land. And while it may not be quite as popular as the larger Caerphilly Castle, Carreg Cennen will always be first in our hearts. It's open daily between April and October.


580x382_Hohenwerfen_Austria

Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria

Brooding high above Austria's Salzachtal Valley amid the dramatic peaks of the Berchtesgaden Alps, this stronghold has served alternately as a home to kings, archbishops, and prisoners (it was a state prison for a period of time) for more than 900 years. Today, Hohenwerfen Castle is a popular tourist draw and the site of Austria's foremost falconry center, where the royal hunting art is on full display with daily demonstrations.


580x382_Prejama_Slovenia


Predjama Castle, Slovenia

Predjama Castle is an easy sell to castle lovers. Most famous for being built into the side of a 400-foot cliff, it may also call to mind visions of Tolkien's Helm's Deep. But this real-world stronghold has the requisite dungeons, secret tunnels, and bloody history to make it a must-see on its own merits. Visit Predjama Castle during the annual medieval tournament, held each July, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


580x382_Guedelon_France

Guedelon Castle, France

Who says the age of castles is over? Take a trip back in time at Guedelon Castle in Burgundy, France, where a team of 50 craftspeople and laborers are currently using 13th-century building techniques and technology (think: horses) to construct an authentic castle from scratch, deep within a secluded forest. Visitors are welcomed from mid-March to early November each year. The project has been running since 1997 and hopes to reach completion in the 2020s.


580x382_Neuschwanstein_Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

It might be the most photographed castle in the world, but there's still nothing quite like seeing Germany's fairy-tale castle in person. The brainchild of "Mad King Ludwig" (or, more generously, "The Fairy-Tale King"), Neuschwanstein has influenced everything from Disney attractions (note the similarity to Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle) to books and computer games. Take a tour of the castle grounds, but leave time for an off-site walk along the myriad nearby trails. That's where you'll find the most stunning views for photographs.


580x382_Eilean-Donan_Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

One of the most iconic castles in Europe, Scotland's Eilean Donan Castle is recognized the world over from its appearances on postcards and in movies like the original Highlander ("There can be only one!"). History buffs will appreciate Eilean Donan's rich past as a key site during the 1719 Jacobite Rising, and all will enjoy the stark beauty of its surroundings, where three great lochs meet at the foot of an impressive mountain range. Today nearly every part of the castle is accessible to the public for tours and exploration.


580x382_Hohenzollern_Germany-2

Hohenzollern Castle, Germany

This ancestral home to a line of German emperors would fit in with the fantastical fortresses imagined by J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin. At 2,805 feet above sea level, Hohenzollern Castle really is a castle in the clouds. The current fortress is actually the third to be built on the site (the first was destroyed in battle and the second fell into disrepair). Today it is a popular tourist attraction.


580x382_Hunyad-Castle_Romania

Hunyad Castle, Romania

The imposing Hunyad Castle, which once imprisoned Vlad the Impaler (Bram Stoker's inspiration for Dracula), offers plenty for castle aficionados to sink their teeth into. Marked by myriad towers, multicolored roofs, and exaggerated stone carvings, this Gothic-Renaissance castle was fully and fancifully restored after decades of neglect. What we see today may or may not be authentic (some suggest that modern architects projected their own "wistful interpretations" of a Gothic castle onto the reconstruction), but either way, the end result is memorable.


580x382_Edinburgh-Castle

Edinburgh Castle, Germany

One of the best examples of a fully restored medieval fortress, Edinburgh Castle towers over Scotland's capital city from atop an extinct volcano called Castle Rock. It was built in the 12th century and has passed hands between the English and the Scots numerous times over the course of its bloody history. Today, it's open to the public year-round for tours and events.


Versailles, France

From its origin as an unassuming hunting lodge to its height as the royal court of France under Louis XIV, the Sun King's Chateau de Versailles is arguably the grandest castle in the world. No visit to Paris is complete without at least a day trip to see the gardens, canals, and gilded halls of Versailles.

You Might Also Like:

  St Michaels Mount_UK-SM

10 Beautiful Castles in Unexpected Places

 

 

Swallow's Nest Yalta-SM

27 Places That Will Restore Your Faith in Travel 

 

 

This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title 10 Best European Castles You Can Visit.

Follow Josh Roberts on Google+ or email her at at editor@smartertravel.com.

Caribbean Dreamin'

Posted June 8, 2009 by Katie Blais

Caribbean-jamaica
Starting July 13, Air Jamaica will add a red-eye flight from New York City to Grenada. Just think about it: you head home from your busy day, hit the airport, take a snooze, and wake up on a gorgeous Caribbean island … not too shabby if you ask me!

Flights leave Kennedy airport at 12:15 a.m. and arrive in Grenada the following morning at 6:30 a.m.  I think it’s a novel idea for a last-minute vacation, and I can imagine it would unfold something like this. You hit the bar after happy hour; enjoy some half-price appetizers and pitchers of margaritas when someone brings up how they didn’t think they would be working in a cube day in and day out. You chime in saying, "let’s go somewhere, let’s go somewhere tropical and warm and open up a smoothie shop and just live without the man infringing on our basic human rights to enjoy life."  You cab it back to your apartment, throw some mismatched (sort of) clean clothes in a bag, grab your passport, trek out to JFK, and hop on a last-minute flight to the islands to start your new life.

You wake up the next morning at the airport with a slight headache realizing it might be a little harder to open a smoothie shop in a place you have never been before. But you enjoy beaches, the laid-back vibe of the island (you might even get your hair braided and buy a crocheted beret a la Bob Marley) and return to NYC at 11:30 a few days later before heading to your stuffy office job relaxed and ready for the man to beat you down a little more.

Air Jamaica: Most Absurd Fee Ever?

Posted May 19, 2009 by Carl Unger

Air jamaica Air Jamaica announced a new $25 baggage fee for the second checked bag. Yawn, right? Little late to the party, Air Jamaica! Airlines have been adding these fees for over a year. And by keeping the first bag free, Air Jamaica actually joins the ranks of more lenient U.S. carriers like Southwest and JetBlue.

But it's not the $25 that has Air Jamaica in the running for Most Absurd Fee Ever. It's this, from the airline's press release announcing the new fee: "Passengers are guaranteed delivery of the free baggage allowance on the same flight on which they travel. All other bags will be transported within seven days, and must be collected from the airport. The status of these bags may be tracked online at www.AirJamaica.com/baggage to determine when they may be collected." The policy affects only two routes, New York-Grenada and New York-Barbados.

If you just did a spit take while reading that quote, well, that will teach you to drink while reading the BookingBuddy blog. But yes, you read correctly. Air Jamaica's new policy is that baggage you pay to check will arrive within seven days, while your free baggage arrives with you.

Let me try to make some sense out of this. The airline is clearly trying to discourage people from checking multiple bags, likely in the hope of simplifying its business and saving money. This is the driving force behind baggage fees in general. And to further unburden itself of the task of transporting baggage, Air Jamaica will now do so at its convenience, not that of its paying customers.

Alright, I tried—this makes zero sense. If anything, you would expect the bags you pay for to receive special attention. Instead, Air Jamaica is taking your money in exchange for a downgrade from the service you normally receive for free.

And that, my fellow travelers, is simply absurd.

(Photo: airplane-pictures.net)


  • From:
  • To:
  • Depart:
  • Return:
  • Travelers:

Hotels, Rental Cars, Cruises, and Vacations

www.bookingbuddy.com