Crystal Compass

Travel Today to Celebrate a special occasion

Celebrate a special occasion

Escape from home routine and find a romantic place to celebrate your special occasion.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Featured Destinations

Featured Destinations in April

 

25 Featured Attractions

Cultural/Heritage Places

Roman Theater and Archaeological Museum

Not satisfied with having a Roman amphitheater, Verona also has a Roman theater which is even older, dating from 1AD. Beautifully situated next to the River Adige, the seating rises to a height of 60 meters above the stage.The theater was discovered in the 19th century by a businessman who bought the land to develop, but decided he was more interested in finding Roman ruins. He was amply rewarded. The original marble floor of the orchestra pit was uncovered, along with the rows of stone seats. These days the theater is a popular outdoor concert venue.On the hill above in the ex-convent of San Gerolamo (15th century) is the Archeological Museum. Along with a wealth of Roman artefacts found all over Verona such as coins, mosaics, sculpture, etc., the museum has a great view over the river and the city.

Learn More

Theatres & Cinemas

Imperial Theatre

New York City is known for its arts and culture and Midtown Manhattan is recognized as the hub for theatergoers who want to catch live performances of some of Broadway’s biggest shows. With 1417 seats the Imperial Theatre has been welcoming theatergoers since 1923. Since its doors first opened, the Imperial has provided the stage for hit shows like Annie Get Your Gun, Fiddler on the Roof and the Broadway icon, Les Miserables. Although travelers will need tickets to a show to actually check out the theater’s interior, visitors can still step inside the lobby and admire this Broadway gem from outside during a tour of Times Square.

Learn More

Fun & Games

Royal Galleries of Saint Hubert (Les Galeries St-Hubert)

The Royal Saint Hubert Galleries are a series of shops and restaurants in Brussels that are covered by panes of glass. They were designed by the architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer in 1847 and are often referred to as the umbrella of Brussels. The galleries are divided into three different sections: the Galerie de la Reine, the Galerie du Roi and the Galerie des Princes. The glass roof helps protect visitors from rain or cold weather. In the past, visitors had to pay 25 cents on Thursdays and Sundays and 10 cents on other days just to access the galleries. Of course today it is free to visit, and over 6 million people visit each year. The galleries have something for everyone. There are boutiques selling the latest fashions as well as more classic clothing. Accessories shops sell gloves, hats, umbrellas and more. Several jewelry stores are located here along with book stores, chocolate shops, and other specialty shops.

Learn More

Theatres & Cinemas

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Located between West 62nd and 65th and Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a cultural hub focused on music, dance and theater. Each year, the center puts on hundreds of performances throughout 26 venues. The center is composed of 12 elite performing arts organizations, some of which include The Juilliard School, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic. Along with taking in a performance, visitors can opt for a guided tour of Lincoln Center to see what goes on behind the scenes and to get more in-depth knowledge on the performances and venues. Tours are available in English, as well as Spanish, Japanese, French, Italian, German, and American Sign Language upon request. Throughout the year, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts puts on various major events, some of which include Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the New York Film Festival and the Mostly Mozart Festival.

Learn More

Well-known Landmarks

Forbidden City (Palace Museum)

Have you ever wondered what's so forbidden about the Forbidden City? It's called that because it was closed to the outside world for 500 years. This was the seat of the Ming and the Qing emperors, and no one could enter - or leave - the imperial domain without their permission. These days, the Chinese mainly call it Gu Gong, or Former Palace.The Forbidden City, or Beijing Imperial Palace, is BIG - you'll need to allow at least one day for your visit. UNESCO have listed it as the largest collection of ancient wooden structures in the world. There are nearly 1,000 rooms in over 800 buildings. However, because it's been ransacked by invaders and gutted by fire several times (wooden buildings, lanterns, you do the math) most of the structures date from the 18th century on. As you move around the gardens and palatial buildings, which have now been converted to museums, you'll start to get a feel for what it was like to live the imperial life.

Learn More

Theatres & Cinemas

Degollado Theater (Teatro Degollado)

Across from the Guadalajara Cathedral, the Teatro Degollado looms in stony, neoclassical glory. Corinthian columns form a massive portico topped with a marble relief of Apollo and the nine muses. The length of the building’s rear wall is adorned with a stylish sculptural depiction of Guadalajara’s history; a fountain runs along the base.The inside is even more over-the- top, with five tiers of gilded balconies and a ceiling frescoed with scenes from Dante’s Divine Comedy. A red-and-gold color scheme is augmented with frippery, including a fearsome golden eagle above the stage. The eagle holds a chain in its beak: as legend has it, the theater will stand until the day the golden eagle drops its chain.

Learn More

Fun & Games

Bloomingdale's 59th Street

In 1860, the Bavarian-born Bloomingdale brothers, Joseph and Lyman, began selling ladies’ hoop skirts in a storefront on the Lower East Side; by 1872, they’d expanded their trade to a wider variety of European-made garments for both men and women, and moved their operations to a row house in then-unfashionable Midtown. Within a few years this area would become home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, streetcar service and a wealthy clientele, inspiring the brothers to open their flagship department store on 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. Encompassing an entire city block, the building was reconceived in the Art Deco style in 1930 by architects Starrett & Van Vleck, who also designed the flagships for Bloomingdale’s competitors Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and more.

Learn More

Places of Natural Beauty

Uros Floating Islands (Islas Uros)

The 40-plus floating Uros Islands are perhaps the most photographed attraction on Lake Titicaca, famously constructed with springy totora reeds. The reeds are collected from around the shores of Lake Titicaca, and used to replenish the fragile islands every three months or so, as the bottom of the two-meter (6.5ft) totora mat slowly rots back into the lake. Thus, the islands change shape, size and even number as the centuries pass, anchored to the lake bottom but in many ways a completely separate world.The Uros people are an ancient race, predating the Incas by millennia and, according to local legend, even the sun and stars. The “People of the Lake,” as they call themselves, once said that they did not feel the cold, thanks to their “black blood.”

Learn More

Cultural/Heritage Places

Taormina Greek Theatre (Teatro Greco)

The Sicilian town of Taormina has long been known as a popular beach resort destination, but it’s more than sparkling water and long stretches of sand that draw visitors. Taormina is also home to a spectacular ancient ruin - the Greek Theatre.Despite its name, the Greek Theatre - or Teatro Greco in Italian - is actually an ancient Roman structure. The design is more akin to how the ancient Greeks designed their theaters, so it is believed the Roman theater was built over an existing Greek theater. The ruins you see today date primarily from the 2nd century A.D., although the theater was started in the 7th century B.C.E. Taormina’s Greek Theatre sits high above the town’s famous beaches, so visitors who climb uphill to see the ruin are rewarded with more than just an up close look at an ancient monument - the views can be fantastic. From the theater, you can see the town of Taormina, the beaches far below, and the Mt. Etna volcano. It’s one of the best views in Sicily.

Learn More

Buildings & Structure

Coudenberg (Former Palace of Brussels)

Found at the southern end of the Parc de Bruxelles, Coudenberg marks the site of the original palace of the Belgian Royal Family, which was destroyed to make way for the present Palais Royal. In the 12th century a small, fortified castle stood on Coudenberg Hill, and this was gradually extended and reworked by successive monarchs until it reputedly became one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe and the main residence of King Charles V.In 1731 this imposing palace was destroyed by fire but it was not until 40 years later that its ruins were pulled down and the site flattened in preparation for the building of today’s stately Palais Royal. The cellars and chapel of the original palace can now be viewed underground as they stretch far underneath the present-day Rue Royale. Once open to the elements, the forgotten medieval cobbled Rue Isabelle is now below the Place Royale.

Learn More

Places of Natural Beauty

Bled Island (Blejski Otok)

Marooned in the middle of its eponymous lake in the fairy-tale Julian Alps of northwest Slovenia, Bled Island is a minuscule rocky islet clad in tall beech trees and accessed by the brightly painted, two‐oared wooden pletna ferries that are peculiar to the region. The island was formed after the retreat of the last Ice Age left behind limestone moraine and today its tiny length is virtually covered with a small hermitage, a gallery and souvenir store in the former Provost’s House, and a cafe selling delicious local cream cakes, but its stellar attraction is undoubtedly the lovely Baroque Church of the Assumption, with an ornate spire peeking above all the greenery. The church is reached by an elegant flight of 99 stone steps built in 1655, but it is known that human habitation of Bled Island started long before then, with remains of pagan temples excavated there that date back to the 11th century BC.

Learn More

Buildings & Structure

Palace of San Telmo (Palacio de San Telmo)

Today’s it’s the seat of the Andalusian government, but once upon a time, this grand, rusty-red and golden-yellow building served as a royal palace. That wasn’t its original destiny, however: built in the late 1600s, it was meant to serve as a seminary school for the University of Navigators, and is thus named after the patron saint of navigators, San Telmo. Later it was purchased by the royals, after which Princess Maria Luisa donated much of its lands to the city of Seville, hence why the grand nearby park bears her name (she ultimately donated the entire palace to the church).Nowadays, the palatial building belongs to the government of Andalucia, and has ever since 1989. Its exterior alone is quite impressive, as it is noted for its elaborate baroque façade, and a stretch of statues featuring historical figures, which is situated along Avenida de Palos de Frontera.

Learn More

Fun & Games

Clifton Hill

The center of entertainment in Niagara Falls, Clifton Hill is a bustling mecca of an exciting array of attractions, resort hotels, themed restaurants, shops, and nightclubs. Along this eye-popping promenade, you’ll find a giant ferris wheel, mini golf, interactive games, a haunted house, and a wax museum. The prominent attractions on Clifton Hill include Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, the Guinness World Records Museum, and The Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks. Tussaud's has long been a staple of the area, and you can see dozens of wax celebrities. If you like haunted houses, check out the Haunted House, the House of Frankestein, or Nightmares. Haunted House is probably the best for kids; the other two are better suited for older kids and adults.

Learn More

Fun & Games

Seaport Village

Seaport Village is San Diego’s preeminent shopping and dining complex. A slice of independence in busy San Diego, the Seaport Village is beautiful and relaxing escape in an otherwise busy world. Come here to window shop the boutiques, sit on a park bench and stare into the ocean, grab a bite to eat, or to simply have a glass of wine and catch some outdoor entertainment. Just a short walk from the Gaslamp Quarter and plenty of boutique and big name shopping, Seaport Village is a popular hang-out for tourists and locals alike.

Learn More

Places of Natural Beauty

Spouting Horn

When the island of Kauai erupted from the sea between 4 and 5 million years ago, parts of the coastline were riddled with tubes where molten lava once flowed. One of those spots is the Spouting Horn on the island’s southern coast, where waves are channeled into the tube before violently erupting in a saltwater geyser over 50 feet in the air. Compared to other Hawaiian blowholes, what makes Kauai’s Spouting Horn unique is the guttural moan that precedes the powerful eruption. A second, smaller hole in the rocks funnels air as opposed to water, and the result is a sound that makes it seem like the rocks themselves are groaning. No wonder Hawaiians believed that a mo’o was stuck inside of the rocks—a mischievous lizard of Polynesian lore that can still be heard to this day. Once finished admiring the geyser and feeling the ocean’s fury, peruse the homemade souvenir stalls erected by local vendors.

Learn More

Theatres & Cinemas

Melbourne Regent Theatre

An evening of glamour and performance awaits you at Melbourne’s landmark Regent Theatre on Collins Street. Golden and ornate, with velvet drapes, gleaming chandeliers, rich tones and stunning Renaissance Revival architecture, The Regent Theatre offers old-world elegance and a contemporary events schedule. This historic Melbourne theatre dates back to 1929, when it was a grand picture palace opening just before the start of the Great Depression. Since then, the theatre has endured fire and flood, depression and wartime, dereliction and city development, and has been honoured by the National Trust of Australia and the Victorian Heritage Register. The refurbished theatre was reopened in 1996 to seat more than 2000 people. The theatre has since hosted some of the biggest stage productions to show in Australia, such as The Lion King, Pricilla Queen of the Dessert, Wicked, Westside Story and Cats. It is also one of the Melbourne Comedy Festival venues.

Learn More

Places of Natural Beauty

Hill Inlet

Often described as one of the best views in all of Australia, Hill Inlet is a must-visit in the Whitsunday Islands area. Its a feature of countless tours throughout the region and sits on the large Whitsunday Island at Whitehaven Beach. If you travel along Whitehaven Beach to the north, you'll run into Hill Inlet. Try to be there when the tides are retreating, as this is when you'll have the luxury of watching perfect white sands appear in a twist among the clear blue waters. From the air, it almost looks unnatural, like a water-color painting or a colorful piece of sand art. Most people arrive by boat and take a dingy ashore. To truly appreciate the view, however, you'll want to make your way to the most popular lookout point over Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet, a spot called Tongue Point. It's here that the magnitude of the beach and inlet are best experienced.

Learn More

Museums & Exhibitions

Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale)

From the 14th through the 18th centuries, the rulers of Genoa were called doges, and they ruled from the Doge's Palace – the Palazzo Ducale in Italian – in the historic city center. Today, the palace is open to the public as a museum. The Palazzo Ducale was built starting in the 1250s, although the finishing touches on the building weren't complete until the 1530s. The palace once served as both the residence for the ruling doge and the offices from which he would govern the Republic of Genoa. The palace was added to at various points over the years, and partially rebuilt twice (once after a fire in the 1770s).There are two main entrances to the Palazzo Ducale. The main entrance is on the Piazza Matteotti, and a secondary entry is on the famous Piazza de Ferrari. Today, the palace serves various civil functions. There are regular exhibitions held in the palace, including visiting contemporary art shows, as well as a couple of large halls that are often used for events.

Learn More

Places of Natural Beauty

Amantani Island (Isla Amantani)

For those wishing to avoid heavily touristed Taquile Island, but still enjoy a smoothly operating system of homestays and a taste of traditional lake lifestyle, Isla Amantani is the perfect option. The 38km (26mi), four-hour trip and dearth of infrastructure (electricity, running water, automobiles) has kept the island of some 3,600 Quechua-speaking people somewhat isolated from Titicaca’s tourist industry.Amantani has been communally owned since shortly after Peru’s independence from Spain, after which the indigenous residents—used as poorly paid labor by landlords of European descent—took a page from their oppressors’ own handbook and staged a revolution of their own. Ever since, the island has been run as something of a commune, a tradition that extends to today’s tourism.

Learn More

Fun & Games

Casa Herradura Tequila Distillery

With a history dating back to 1870 and a reputation for producing some of Mexico’s finest tequilas, the Casa Herradura Distillery is among the most famous of Jalisco’s many tequila distilleries. A family-run hacienda located at the center of tequila country, Casa Herradura lies just outside of Amatitan and is devoted to preserving traditional hands-on production methods alongside modern processing techniques. The most popular way to visit the Casa Herradura Distillery is with a ride on the Tequila Express train from Guadalajara, an historic railway route set against a backdrop of blue agave fields and sweeping mountains. Exploring the vast distillery, visitors can discover the secrets of tequila production, from harvesting and crushing the agaves, to the fine art of fermentation and distillation.

Learn More

Places of Natural Beauty

Lobos Island

Fuerteventura might seem like enough of an island paradise, but it isn’t the only one that you’ll want to be conquering in this part of the Canaries: just 2 kilometers off shore sits a tiny islet that is a worthy destination unto itself. Called Lobos Island, the volcanic land mass spans 1.8 square miles and gets its name from the large population of monk seals (also called sea wolves) that used to live here.Although the island’s formation dates back to thousands of years ago, 1405 marks the first recorded presence of man, when Jean de Béthencourt used it as a resupply station during his conquest of Fuerteventura. Since those times, it has remained virtually uninhabited, with a lighthouse keeper having lived there until 1968, after which the illuminated beacon became automated. Today, and since 1982, Lobos Island has been classified as a nature reserve, noted for its abundance of vegetation species (over 130 different kinds), and its bird population.

Learn More

Places of Natural Beauty

Ballestas Islands (Islas Ballestas)

Often called “the Peruvian Galapagos,” the Ballestas Islands are where savvy travelers can experience wildlife on a budget. Here, on these rocky islets about 90 minutes off the coast of Paracas, hundreds of sea lions lounge on rocks that are covered in thousands of birds, and the cost of visiting is a fraction of the cost of visiting the Galapagos in Ecuador. When approaching the eroded islands by sea, there are so many boobies, cormorants, and penguins resting on the rocky cliffs, the entire island seems to vibrate with the collective fidgeting of feathers. Humboldt penguins are another draw for visiting the Ballestas Islands, and these tuxedo-clad birds can only be found off the coast of Chile and Peru. While motoring out to the guano covered islands, keep an eye out for the Candelabra Geoglyph that’s etched into the hillside. At 595 feet in height, the mysterious, ancient, unexplained symbol can be seen 12 miles out to sea.

Learn More

Places of Natural Beauty

Koh Tan (Koh Taen)

In stark contrast to its famed northerly neighbor, tiny and sleepy Koh Tan tempts visitors with empty beaches and vehicle-less roads just three miles and a 15-minute boat ride south of Koh Samui’s southern tip. Koh Tan (also spelled Koh Taen) is sometimes also called Coral Island for its diversity of colorful hard and soft corals, and it often serves as a popular day-long escape for snorkel or kayak excursions through its clear inshore waters. Though the island doesn’t have quite the aquatic diversity of other more remote locations, it still affords excellent snorkeling, relatively empty beaches and navigable mangrove swamps all very close to a major tourist hub. Longboats make the crossing daily and usually stop at several unique coral spots around the island. On land, Koh Tan spans only three square miles, and its population barely tops 30 people; their rustic lifestyle with limited electricity affords a glimpse of what much of Thai Island-living was like decades ago.

Learn More

Well-known Landmarks

Granville Island

Brimming with arts and crafts studios, bars and restaurants with eye-popping views, Granville Island is a popular spot for visitors and locals alike. Though it’s really a peninsula, jutting out into False Creek, the island draws those who come to wander the pedestrian-friendly alleyways while enjoying the sounds of the buskers and the sights along the waterfront.One of the highlights is the Granville Island Public Market, where you can trawl the deli-style food stalls and artisan stands. Art lovers can wander through the three galleries of up-and-coming artists at the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design. For the under-10 set, the Kids Market bristles with kid-friendly stores, mostly of the toy variety. For a little respite, entice the kids away from the shops and head to the huge Granville Island Water Park.

Learn More

Fun & Games

Block Arcade

The Block Arcade is a heritage-shopping arcade that was built in the late 1800s. Restored to its original glory, the arcade still features its original mosaic tiled flooring, glass canopied ceiling and wrought iron and carved stone finishes. In conjunction with Melbourne’s Royal Arcade, The Block Arcade forms part of the city’s Golden Mile heritage walk that cuts through the center of the CBD and offers a unique shopping experience. Much loved shops within the arcade include the popular Hopetoun Tea Rooms (Melbourne’s original spot for high tea and still home to the city’s most drool-worthy window display!), Dafel Dolls & Bears toy shop and Haigh’s Chocolates. You can enter The Block Arcade from its official entrance on Collins Street or via Elizabeth Street (west) or the pedestrian laneway off Little Collins Street.

Learn More