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 /

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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Travel writers pick the most beautiful places on earth

You’ve seen the pictures: The Eiffel Tower with sky ablaze in brilliant color. The Taj Mahal with no tourists. Lakes with perfectly mirrored mountain reflections. 

Unfortunately, the photos often have been doctored. Many places can’t live up to the expectations set by photography that has been filled, brushed, blurred, and balanced to a flawless finish. It can leave travelers feeling disappointed when they see famous sites in real life.

But the splendor of some places can’t be fully captured in a photo — edited or not. Here, CNBC Travel contributors identify the destinations that vastly exceeded their expectations.

The stillness of Iceland and Siberia

Iceland is one of the few countries that looks better in real life than in postcards. Its beauty is unearthly. A walk along any of its coastlines is so picturesque, you expect a soundtrack to start at any moment.

Morgan Awyong on Lake Baikal in the Russian region of Siberia.

Courtesy of Morgan Awyong

Siberia’s Lake Baikal is also jaw-droppingly stunning. The area is so isolated that it’s nearly impossible to think it could ever be touristy. As you stand upon the lake’s marbled ice, time seems to slow — even stop.

—Morgan Awyong, Singapore

The lights of Paris

Artists have attempted to capture the Parisian light on canvas for centuries. The Impressionists came closest, but still, no painter has quite succeeded.

The most iconic photos of Paris are in black and white, which simply doesn’t do the city’s rich, creamy colors justice. 

—Christian Barker, Australia

The vastness of Patagonia, Chile

One road lies between the small Patagonian port city of Punta Arenas and the town of Puerto Natales. It’s the path to the Torres del Paine National Park — a place of indescribable beauty and grandeur.

The “torres,” or towers in English, are three granite peaks that are surrounded by snow-capped mountains and crystalline lakes and glaciers. There are few places like it on the planet.

Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park.

Courtesy of Kevin Cox

The park occupies just a tiny part of Patagonia, most of which is accessible only to trekkers, climbers and adventurers. It spans Chile and Argentina in the area of South America known as the Southern Cone, which stretches to the literal end of the road, at the bottom of the continent.

It is beautiful beyond compare. The very sight of it made me want to conquer it in ways I hadn’t anticipated — maybe I could climb the mountains, paddle the fiords or traverse the glacier crevasses.

Then a frigid wind swept inside my open jacket, and I lunged back into the sanctuary of my car.

—Kevin Cox, United States

The diversity of Slovenia

For a country the same size as Massachusetts, I was blown away by the diversity and majesty of the landscapes in Slovenia. A mix of Balkan, Mediterranean and Alpine vistas and cuisines make it a truly memorable escape.

Slovenia’s Lake Bled.

Courtesy of Chris Dwyer

The rolling, vineyard-covered hills on the Italian border, the elegant and eco-friendly capital city of Ljubljana, the perfect tranquility of Lake Bled, the snowy valleys in Triglav National Park and the warm waters along the Adriatic coastline — the nation definitely punches way above its weight.

—Chris Dwyer, United Kingdom

The energy of Sedona

With Sedona, no words or pictures do it justice. When I first saw photos of it, I wanted to make my way there. When I finally did in 2019, it was surreal, the beauty other-worldly. 

Sheryl Nance-Nash near the Arizona desert town of Sedona.

Courtesy of Sheryl Nance-Nash

A hike through Red Rock State Park, with its babbling creeks and woods, soothed my soul. The massive red rocks are mysterious and majestic.

Better still is a visit to one of the area’s vortexes, believed by some to be energy fields. As I got out of the car and approached the mountains, I felt a vibration. Power and peace totally enveloped me the higher I climbed.

—Sheryl Nance-Nash, United States

The calm of rural Japan

In my case, the photos I take never adequately capture anything! But that’s especially the case with the east coast of Japan’s Tohoku region, the area devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

I’ve been several times over the last few years, visiting the markets in the city of Hachinohe, taking boat trips in Yamada Bay and walking parts of the Michinoku Coastal Trail. It’s got a lovely calmness coupled with rugged beauty. A photo just can’t convey the feeling of being there.

—Ross Goss, United Kingdom  

The island of Zamami is the second largest of Japan’s Kerama Islands.

Courtesy of Duncan Forgan

In Thailand, where I’m based, we are spoiled for paradise-like islands. But a short break to the Japanese island of Zamami — a short ferry ride from Naha, the capital of Okinawa — more than exceeded my expectations.

Days spent hiking the island’s quiet mountain paths were followed by evenings scoffing seafood at excellent izakayas. And the beaches? The crystalline waters of Zamami’s Furuzamami and Ama beaches are as spectacular as any I’ve ever seen. 

—Duncan Forgan, United Kingdom

The silence of southern Africa

I’ve always had a soft spot for Africa. A canoeing safari down the Zambezi river reignited that love.

On the numerous river islands, lush reeds swayed in the balmy breeze. The flapping of a white heron’s wings splashing water against the canoe, and the all-consuming symphony of hippos were the only sounds heard for hours. No cell phones, car horns or human bickering disturbed the experience — just silence, occasionally interrupted by the sounds of nature.

The area around the Zambezi River is renowned for its large hippo, crocodile and elephant populations, said Petra Loho.

Courtesy of Petra Loho

When paddling down the gentle water, the sunlight reflections on the blue ripples of the Zambezi River look like dancing diamonds. At sunset, the river takes on a soft golden hue, which changes to bright orange before deepening to rich purple.  

—Petra Loho, Austria

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Where is hot in February? The eight best places to go for sun in February | Travel News | Travel

Where is hot in February? The eight best places to go for sun in February | Travel News | Travel – ToysMatrix

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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 /

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 /

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


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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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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 /

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. 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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