St Lucia’s most iconic sight has to be its pretty pair of mountains, the Pitons. They sit on the island’s south-west coast, and have earned themselves the UNESCO World Heritage Site seal of approval. You’ll have seen pictures of the couple – taller Gros Piton and Petit Piton – taken from the land, looking like they stand shoulder-to-shoulder. In fact, they’re actually set opposite one another at the mouth of a bay.
Although they are very much part of the land on St Lucia, the best way to see the Pitons is actually from the water. Book a boat tour, and snap some incredible pictures on your approach to the bay. Then, best of all, you can sail in between the two peaks and watch as they tower over you on either side. Plus, the seabed is carpeted with colourful coral. Strap on a snorkel, jump in the water – there’s a dedicated zone for diving – and take in the sights underwater, too. If you’re looking for a truly up-close experience, pick a peak to hike up – there are trails up both of them. The climb is quite tricky, especially up Gros Piton, but the views from the top are pretty spectacular.
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Everyone who’s been to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa has had a go at taking that picture. You know – the one with the carefully positioned hands that make it look like you’re propping up the whole wonky structure. Don’t get us wrong – we’ve all got our own attempts in an album somewhere, too. But it’s worth knowing that there is another way to see the tilted tower.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa took a whopping 300 years to build, starting way back in the year 1173. Its signature slant comes from the fact that it’s built on soft ground. But, despite its off-centre position, the tower is structurally sound. So much so, that you can climb it. Book yourself a time and a ticket, and start climbing the 273 steps up to the top. You’ll be out of breath by the time you get there, but the views are something special. Plus, it’s a great way to get up-close-and-personal with this ancient building – once you’re up there, you can actually feel the floor sloping. There’s no better way to see the intricate decorative details, too. Once you’ve had your fill of panoramic vistas, make your way back down and take a breather at the bottom. And don’t forget to take that propping up pic – it would be rude not to.
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You’ve seen it in every TV show set in the city, plastered on postcards, and on canvas prints hanging on just about everyone’s walls. So, it’s no wonder that you want to see the New York skyline for yourself. And the best place to see it is from the top of the Empire State building, right? We’re not so sure. That’s not to say that the views from the Empire State building aren’t spectacular, because they definitely are. The thing is, everyone knows about this viewing point. The queues tend to be long, and even once you’re up there, you might struggle to get through the crowds to see the skyline in full, and get that all-important skyscraper-scattered shot.
So what’s the alternative? Make your way over to the Rockefeller Center, where you can head up to the Top of the Rock. Sure, the Empire State building is slightly higher, but we think it’s worth the sacrifice. This viewing platform, like the Empire State building, is in the middle of Manhattan, so you still get a really good view of all the big names. In fact, lots of people say that the Times Square and Central Park vistas are better from the Top of the Rock. Plus, there’s one key building that’s missing from the Empire State’s view – the Empire State Building, of course.
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Machu Picchu might be an ancient Inca city that’s been around for over 500 years, but it’s recently seen a renewed surge of popularity. We can’t say we’re surprised, really. This place has so much to offer visitors. From its historical significance to its free-roaming Alpacas, Machu Picchu offers an experience that’ll tick something off everyone’s once-in-a-lifetime list. What that means, though, is that it can be difficult to get a good picture of the site, because it’s busy. Don’t worry – we’ve got the solution.
Machu Picchu is bracketed by a pair of mountains – the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu peaks. Both of them look down on the settlement, and both are criss-crossed by hiking trails. If you don’t mind heights, then book a trek up the Huayna Picchu Mountain. The paths are steep, but you’ll be rewarded with a practically people-free view of Machu Picchu from above. There’s nothing quite like it. If you’re not sure, opt for a hike up Machu Picchu Mountain – the views aren’t quite as bird’s eye as Huayna Picchu, but they’re still amazing. If you aren’t up to the climb, here’s an insider tip to bypass the crowds – when you’re booking your ticket, make sure you pick the afternoon session over the morning. You might think that getting up nice and early would mean fewer people, but actually the site tends to be busier at the start of the day.
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Ready to see the sights?
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Author: Hannah Stratton
Broadway, Central Park, Fifth Avenue - they're all within striking distance of the larger-than-life Riu Plaza New York Times Square hotel.
The TUI FAMILY LIFE Baia di Conte takes inspiration from Sardinia’s sense of family, and it’s sandwiched between a private beach and a national park.
Staying at TUI SENSATORI Resort Riviera Cancun means you’re only footsteps away from white sandy beaches. You’ll also get the chance to dine in Le Chique restaurant, which offers Heston Blumenthal-esque experimental cuisine.
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