Castelo de São Jorge or St. George's Castle is one of the most significant historical attractions in the city of Lisbon. Situated on a hilltop overlooking the neighborhoods of Alfama and Baixa, this Mooroish castle can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. The fortification was built in the mid-11th century by the Moors, and little of the original structure still remains. After an earthquake destroyed most of it, it was renovated to what is present today. Steeped in history and home to a fascinating archaeological site, a restaurant and an engaging museum, Castelo de São Jorge is an absolute must-visit when in Lisbon. Visitors will be able to see remains of the homes of those who lived in the fortification; dating back to the 7th century B.C., they will also get the chance to climb the lookout towers for fantastic views of the Atlantic Ocean, the city of Lisbon and the River Tagus, and walk along the impressive battlements. Inside the Tower of Ulysses is a Camera Obscura which offers an unusual 360 degree projected view of the beautiful city. The museum found here is the ideal place for visitors to learn more about the inhabitants of the fortification, and the Castle Café is the perfect place to relax after exploring the structure....more
Castelo de São Jorge or St. George's Castle is one of the most significant historical attractions in the city of Lisbon. Situated on a hilltop overlooking the neighborhoods of Alfama and Baixa, this Mooroish castle can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. The fortification was built in the mid-11th century by the Moors, and little of the original structure still remains. After an earthquake destroyed most of it, it was renovated to what is present today. Steeped in history and home to a fascinating archaeological site, a restaurant and an engaging museum, Castelo de São Jorge is an absolute must-visit when in Lisbon. Visitors will be able to see remains of the homes of those who lived in the fortification; dating back to the 7th century B.C., they will also get the chance to climb the lookout towers for fantastic views of the Atlantic Ocean, the city of Lisbon and the River Tagus, and walk along the impressive battlements. Inside the Tower of Ulysses is a Camera Obscura which offers an unusual 360 degree projected view of the beautiful city. The museum found here is the ideal place for visitors to learn more about the inhabitants of the fortification, and the Castle Café is the perfect place to relax after exploring the structure.
1 November - 28 February: 09:00 – 18:00 1 March - 31 October: 09:00 – 21:00 Tower of Ulysses: 10:00 – 17:00 Hours tend to vary. Check website for more information
Around 1 hour or more
Adults, senior visitors, young adults, families, children
The museum, the archaeological site
Castelo de São Jorge does not offer prayer facilities for Muslim visitors. Muslims visiting the attraction may however be able to find a secluded area within the fortification’s garden to offer their prayers. They could also make use of the services offered at one of the many mosques in Lisbon, such as the Central Mosque of Lisbon, Mesquita Aicha Siddika de Odivelas, Mesquita Benformoso or Masjid Baitul Mukarram.
As mentioned above, Castelo de São Jorge does house a café. While the Castle Café will offer a good selection of dishes, Muslim visitors will have to be careful with what they order since non-Halal ingredients will be widely used. There are also quite a few Halal restaurants in Lisbon which are known to serve a variety of cuisines ranging from Portuguese to Middle Eastern.
Rotunda Nuno Rodrigues dos Santos 2-2C, 2685-223 Portela Lisbon, Portugal
Shopping and travel is undoubtedly a wonderful combination for a shopaholic who enjoys exploring new destinations and looking for good bargains. Different cities have their own things to offer in terms of brands and prices, and some places simply standout from the rest. So you might be wondering – what are the best shopping places abroad? Shopaholics on a budget who love their designer brands will not be disappointed either since most of these destinations offer something for everyone. 1. Barcelona, Spain Shopaholics should not leave Spain without enjoying a shopping spree in Barcelona, which is also where the well-known brands Mango, Zara, and Stradivarius originated from. Some of the most popular shopping malls are home to a wide range of designer and sports brands, while Passeig de Gràcia a well-known shopping street is no exception either. Barcelona is where you can enjoy some of the cheapest clothes shopping in Europe and still get great quality too. Your other stop should be Avinguda del Portal de l’Angel to satisfy your shopaholic dreams and conserve your budget where you will find awesome mid-range brands too. 2. Bangkok, Thailand Picture Credit: Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash Bangkok should be your next stop for the best shopping in Southeast Asia for reasonable prices and where you can get designer items quite easily. However, if getting the real deal is what you are after, it’s always better to visit a few popular stores to avoid great looking designer knock-offs. From Chinatown to the famous Central Mall and Siam Paragon – you will have a great choice, ranging from mid-range to high-end brands such as Versace, Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger or even Mango. Another shopping mall worth visiting is Terminal 21, where you will get nice international and local brands without compromising on quality. 3. Hong Kong Picture Credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash Hong Kong has got to be one of the best destinations in Asia for shopaholics who love a good bargain. Ladies’ Street should be one of your first stops for a variety of affordable clothes, and you can bargain as much as you like. Do drop by Times Square as well, which is a shopaholic’s delight with over 230 stores to choose from – and where you will find a wide range of brands to suit your budget. Don’t forget to visit Harbour City, which is one of the most popular shopping malls in Hong Kong where you will find everything from Burberry to Dolce & Gabbana or Puma and Reebok. 4. Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City is also among the cheapest shopping destinations in Asia where you can get some pretty decent items for lowered prices. You can take your pick from the high-end brands to mid-range brands and satisfy your inner shopaholic by visiting some popular shopping spots. This includes the Vincom Center where you can find sportswear and your favorite designers from Hugo Boss to Armani. You can also find some amazing fashion options in Nguyễn Trãi Street as well, and while sifting through designer items and mid-range options – and get a great bargain too. 5. Berlin, Germany Picture Credit: frederik danko on Unsplash Berlin is another shopping gem that shopaholics should not miss out on. If you are looking for branded sportswear Germany's most popular brands include Adidas and Puma, while you can get your fair share of items from Hugo Boss and JOOP! as well. The Kurfürstendamm is not only a famous historical spot but is a must-visit where shoppers can spend a few glorious hours going through many stores. Alexanderplatz is another popular shopping mall worth dropping by, and where you find brands such as H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara and Quiksilver to name a few. Shopaholics should spend some time at the Mall of Berlin where you get your fix for mid to high range designs from more than 270 stores. 6. Paris, France Picture Credit: Earth on Unsplash It's no secret that Paris is a fashion capital that is known for the best designers in the world. However, you need not break your bank to get your hands on those lovely designer clothes since there are small affordable shops to stop by and get great deals combined with quality. Do watch out for the big winter and summer sales where you can get gorgeous clothes. Shoppers should not miss out on Champs-Elysees. You'll fing the Forum des Halles mall where brands such as Esprit, Levi’s, H&M, Zara and more can be found. Another mall you should visit includes Les Quatre-Temps where stores such as Promod, Mango and Lacoste can be found. 7. London, United Kingdom Picture Credit: Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash London is undoubtedly another hotspot for fashion at a reasonable price depending on where you shop for branded clothing. While there are luxury brands and expensive places in London, spots such as Oxford Street and Regent Street have a nice range of places to shop until you drop. Some popular mid-range brands to watch out for include H&M, Zara, Topshop and River Island all of which have chain stores in the city. But London has no shortage of places to satisfy a serious shopaholic. Westfield London and Canary Wharf Shopping Centre are some of the best places for shoppers on a budget or those who are looking for high-end options too. 8. Istanbul, Turkey Picture Credit: Gabriel Garcia Marengo on Unsplash While Istanbul is popular for its bazaars where bargaining is the key to pretty good discounts, those who are looking for good deals on designer clothes won’t be disappointed when visiting the local shopping malls either. This includes the popular Akmerkez mall where you can check out brands such as Hugo Boss, Nike, and Zara. Eco-friendly shopping mall, Istinye Park is another go-to spot for branded shopping with stores such as Adidas, Stradivarius, Dolce & Gabbana and Mango too. Shoppers should also drop by City’s, which is a well-known mall that boasts of a variety of stores with some great selections. 9. Lisbon, Portugal Picture Credit: Joel Filipe on Unsplash While Lisbon might not be the first place that comes to your mind as a shopping destination, you can enjoy shopping from amazing outlets for much less than you would spend in more popular destinations. Some outlets you must check out include Fashion Clinic where you will find designs from high-end brands such as Prada, Balmain, and Givenchy to name a few. Better yet take a stroll down Avenida da Liberdade where you can shop from a range of designer shops. If you are hoping to stock up on items from your favourite designers at great prices you won’t get at home – consider visiting any of these cities for your next big trip!...
As you embark on a journey to travel Sri Lanka and explore the wonders of the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, one of the top sites not to be missed is the magical city, Galle. Many locals and foreigners alike flock to the city on a daily basis to enjoy their vacation in Galle, because the city has much to offer travelers. So if you are looking to enjoy anything from a honeymoon holiday in Galle, a relaxing vacation with your family or adventurous solo expedition here are some of the top things to do in Galle 2017 to make your stay as great as it could be. Credits - giphy.com 1. The Dutch Fort Picture Credit - commons.wikimedia.org The magnificent Dutch Fort is one of Galle's must-see places that simply cannot be missed. This massive construction is one of the most prominent gifts left behind by the Dutch and has been recognized to be of immense historical value. As such, Sri Lanka was once again able to gain the prestige of another key site being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. The site was first constructed by the Portuguese in the 15th century when Galle was chosen as the main port city, but it was during the 17th Century when the Dutch took over, that the site was fortified to the amazing form it displays even today. You could enjoy a quiet stroll along the stone pathways that overlooks the beauty of the vast ocean on one side and the beautiful view of the well-preserved old town of Galle on the other. 2. Galle Lighthouse Picture Credit - www.flickr.com Standing proudly at the eastern end of the rampart walls you will see the beautiful Galle lighthouse. This structure was built in the subsequent era when the British colonized the island. This lighthouse has stood watch over the port since 1848 making it the oldest light station of Sri Lanka. As a part of our quick guide to things to do in Galle, we recommend you take a tour to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the breathtaking view of the surrounding area including some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. 3. The Meeran Jumma Mosque Picture Credit - commons.wikimedia.org As a part of enjoying a Muslim friendly vacation in Galle, one of the most important things you would consider is how accessible prayer facilities are in the area. Galle is a city in Sri Lanka that has quite a large Muslim community, therefore there is no shortage of mosques and Halal-friendly food places in Galle. One such important Mosque is the Meeran Jumma Mosque, which is also an important landmark in the city. Located right opposite the lighthouse, this mosque is quite special as it highlights a unique blend of various architectural styles like British Victorian and traditional Islamic designs. 4. National Maritime Museum of Galle Picture Credit - commons.wikimedia.org From ancient times, Galle was a city well known around the world as it was a major port city where several trade activities took place. Therefore it comes to no surprise that the city features a museum dedicated to preserve and display artifacts related to the Maritime history of the country. As you take a stroll down Queen’s Street you will find this museum where you can learn about the history, marine biology and related local ecosystems. 5. Historical Mansion Museum Picture Credit - commons.wikimedia.org Although a privately owned museum, the Mansion Museum has remained as one of the most important parts of Galle tourism. As it is located within the old city of Galle, it too boasts of the vintage vibes that give the city its own special charm. Entrance to the museum is free of charge and it features a rich collection of colonial artifacts. If you are looking for some interesting souvenirs to remember your vacation in Galle, you can even purchase antiques or valuable Sri Lankan jewels found in their gem shop. Check out more guides on Galle! ...
Backpacking vacations are becoming more and more popular as it is an ideal way to holiday abroad - specially for students and families looking for budget or cheap vacations ideas. It can be a lot of fun and will give you a very realistic view of the holiday destination, but do be willing to give up some luxuries! Source: Reddit With the increase in tourism in most countries, there are plenty of last minute vacation deals and all-inclusive family holiday travel packages to choose from; even for the budget traveler. The list below includes some of the cheapest destinations for a backpacking vacation. So, enjoy these fun places for an all-inclusive backpacking vacation. 1) Vietnam Vietnam has been become a popular choice as a vacation destination over the last few years. Today, many people travel to Vietnam on backpacking vacations. While you need to be a bit careful not to get hoaxed into any tourist scams, this country has loads to see and do; from war museums to traditional village life...resulting in a fun vacation spot at cheap prices! Things to do and places to visit: The most popular cities and towns to visit are Hanoi – the 11th century French influenced capital of the country, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – for a look at the war museums, NhaTrang – for the beaches, Da Lat – for fabulous lakes and waterfalls and the colonial landmarks, Ha Long Bay – for the famous junk boats and caves, Mui Neb – for a view of a traditional fishing village and a river canyon walk nearby, and Sa Pa – for a trekking adventure close to hill tribes and a look at the rice terraces. Accommodation: There are many hostels and hotels in Vietnam available at cheap prices as well as being Muslim-friendly...a search on the internet will get backpackers on the right path. If you are taking a family trip, then do search out hotels that have bigger rooms that can accommodate everyone. If you are traveling with family and kids on this vacation, then checkout some of these family-friendly hotels in Ho Chi Minh City that offer children-friendly facilities - Tan Sot Nhat Saigon Hotel, Eden Saigon, Metropole Hotel, The Imperial and Golden Central. There are also some hotels that are Muslim-friendly in Hanoi, including Vietview Hotel, Atrium Hotel, HanoiTirant Hotel among others, but they may come at a higher price. Transportation: Traveling around Vietnam can be done by bus – buy the tickets in advance or as you feel like it. For longer journeys, the country has a good train service. If you just want to have some fun, you can easily rent a motorcycle and travel off the beaten track at your leisure! However, be careful when you drive and cross streets, as motorcyclists will be zig-zagging to avoid you but may not want to stop. Muslim-Friendly Facilities: There are quite a few hotels and restaurants that cater to Muslim travelers in the towns of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, while the smaller cities and towns in Vietnam may offer fewer Muslim-friendly facilities and Halal food. In this case, try the seafood dishes and the vegetarian street food as an option. In Ho Chi Minh City check out the street next to Ben Thanh Market for such hotels/hostels and also many restaurants that serve Halal food. NhaTrang has only one Halal restaurant that serves Indian food - Omar's Indian Restaurant. There are quite a few mosques in Vietnam’s districts and provinces, but the most are found in Ho Chi Minh City and there is also one in Hanoi. 2) India India is a hotspot for backpackers, with its widely varying landscapes, lifestyles and cultures. The Indian subcontinent is so vast that you may actually have to plan several trips in order to take in the essence of the country from its deserts to mountains to beaches, and the diversity in cultures and people that is only found in India. India is actually a good country to travel on family vacations and even travel with kids. There is usually plenty to do and see. Children will be accommodated and welcome almost everywhere you go. What to do and see: Just go about India, visit the different States and cities, and take in the different cultures and lifestyles. Visit the Himalayan Mountains which spans 10 States of India, go to Goa and live by the beach, visit some of Indian heritage cities and sights. Take a tour of the Golden Triangle of Dehli, Agra and Jaipur or the state of Jammu and Kashmir, visit South Indian cities like Bangalore, Mysore, Pondicherry, Ooty, Kodaikanal, and Kanyakumari, or venture into the famous Bollywood town of Mumbai…there is plenty to do and see…thus, giving you one of the best vacation spotsto visit. Accommodation: There are many hotels and hostels in most major cities of the country, choose one that fits your budget and requirements. But as you’re planning a cheap vacation, please do be ready to give up luxuries, although some Indian cities will surprise you with great value for money hotels. Transportation: The Indian public transport is quite extensive and cheap. There are also plenty of taxis or tuk-tuks depending on the city you are in. The Indian Railway system is quite fantastic and can be used for getting from one place to another in the city, between cities and even States. In some cities such as Mumbai, the train actually gets you to your destination faster because of traffic congestion on the roads...it’s also cheaper than being stuck in a taxi in traffic! Muslim-Friendly Facilities: Food in India is generally quite affordable and there are plenty of Halal food options in India. There are also ample vegetarian restaurants, which actually serve some fabulous Indian veg food… do try out the Gujarati vegetarian thaali, it’s truly a delicious meal, and you will not miss the meat! Indian street food is also delicious, cheap and a must try… just make sure you ensure the place is clean. There are mosques in most major cities of the country, and generally, Muslim travelers should not find it difficult to find Muslim-friendly facilities in India. 3) Thailand Everyone travels to; or wants to travel to Thailand… and why not? It is one of the cheapest travel spots of the world, known as a shopping heaven for shopaholics, and is has natural beauty together with a traditional cultural heritage. Thailand is renowned for its celebrated beaches and star-class resorts. However, it is also a go-to destination for backpackers worldwide. Sightseeing: Enjoy the lush jungles, hot springs, waterfalls and beaches of Thailand. Take the time to indulge in some world-class diving, snorkeling, kayaking and rafting. Enjoy hiking and cycling adventures through jungles and national parks. Visit museums, temples and ruins; and enjoy the floating markets, and take a boat ride or an elephant ride as you please. Some of the places to visit include Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. There are tour operators who will be able to arrange special day tours at reasonable prices, and if you are really into diving, register for the popular PADI dive certification course in this tropical paradise. An interesting beach holiday for family travel for Muslims visitors to Thailand would be the Krabi Province, which has a large Muslim populations and thus provides facilities for Muslims. Accommodation: There is no dearth of hotels, motels, guesthouses, hostels and even dorm rooms in Thailand. As a popular tourist destination, the country has enough rooms to cater to tourists with wide-ranging budgets. With the increase in awareness on Muslim-friendly facilities, you can also find hotels and guesthouses that will cater to such clientele. Transportation: Transport is also cheap in Thailand as is most everything else in the country. Options available are the local buses, the Metro, Skytrain and metered taxis in Bangkok. There are tuk-tuks as well, but these are not metered and usually more expensive. Motorbike taxis (in orange vests) are available all over the country for short trips – no meters but negotiate the price before you get in. Trains are another cheap option for longer distances and night travel. For going between islands, there are boats available. There are packages available for travel combining different transport modes – most commonly bus and boat, a cost effective option to use. Muslim-Friendly Facilities: Most of the major cities have Halal food and Halal restaurants. In some of the smaller towns, you may need check with the restaurants on the Halal options available. However, there is no shortage of seafood available in the country. If you want to try out the street food, then Bangkok is your safest bet, as Pratunam Market has a few stalls that serve Halal food and drinks. In the Krabi Province, you can be sure to get lots of Muslim-friendly facilities and enough Halal food. As for mosques; Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Pattani do have mosques. For other places, I suggest taking your Qibla compass and prayer mat along on your travels. 4) Sri Lanka While Sri Lanka is a small island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the country is versatile in providing all types of holiday fun from luxurious upmarket holidays to cheap vacations for the entire family. Today, the country is becoming an ever popular holiday destination with its all-inclusive landscape, and the availability of all-inclusive vacation packages by many travel companies. Sightseeing: Sri Lanka also offers travelers options from beaches and jungles, to wildlife sanctuaries and rolling hills. Some popular sightseeing destinations have different rates for locals and foreigners – including museums, the Botanical Gardens in Kandy, national parks, cultural centers and archaeological sites. But a walk on the beach is quite free, unless you get haggled by the local vendors. Also take the time to wonder around the cities of Colombo, Galle, Kandy and Jaffna, to gain a view of the eclectic culture of the country. This country does also make a very good case for trying out a beach vacation – as it offers surfing, swimming, snorkeling, diving, water sports, as well as whale and dolphin watching! Accommodation: There are many hostels, rental rooms, small hotels/motels, and seaside cabanas available for use by backpackers.There are also some resorts and hotels that offer special off-season rates and this is truly a bargain with all inclusive deals for family vacations. Transportation: Public transport is cheap - use the bus or the train… they may not be high luxury but it will get you from one town to another. Another option is tuk-tuks for shorter journeys, and this is ideal if there are three people to share the fare… also make sure to ask them to use their meters, or foreigners can be charged extra! If you are willing to walk, that is also something that can be considered as things and places are close enough within some towns and city centers! For longer journeys there are rental cars and also long distance luxury buses. Muslim-Friendly Facilities: Having a large Muslim population, Sri Lanka can has enough Halal food and Halal restaurants, while many other restaurants are willing to accommodate your special requests to avoid certain ingredients in your meals. However, do try the more low key restaurants and food outlets if you are looking for cheaper prices. Some places may serve alcohol and non-Halal meats, but check if the chicken is Halal (which in most cases it is) and ask them if they can prepare it without mixing any non-Halal ingredients. You also need not worry about the availability of mosques, which are found in the majority of the towns and cities. 5) Cambodia Cambodia’s is another Asian country that is made for a backpacking holiday. Its landscape spans low-lying plains and mountains; and also includes the Mekong Delta and the Gulf of Thailand coastline. It is a country that is still coming to grips with development and its increasing attraction as a tourist destination, hence, the low cost hotels and tourist attractions! Sightseeing: Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, is a must visit with its central market, Royal Palace and the National Museum's historical and archaeological exhibits. Then visit Angkor Wat, considered one of the famous sites in Cambodia’s northwest region. In fact, arrange a day trip there as it is quite close to Phnom Penh. Visit Sihanoukville for its selection of beaches from Serendipity Beach - a happening and partying stop for backpackers, to the Otres Beach – a place to relax and take in the sun. Try to include a day trip to Bokor National Park while in Sihanoukville. Also go to Battambang to get a feel of the colonial architecture and visit the surrounding hilltop temples and rustic villages. You can also take a scenic river trip here. Accommodation: There are many hostels and low budget hotels available in Cambodia. Then, there are some better hotels that are also quite reasonably priced. There are also many Muslim-friendly hotels in Phnom Penh, but these are more expensive. In the beach towns, there are guesthouses and cabanas that can be rented. Transport: Public transport is cheap but unreliable and cramped. However, there are metered taxis (a bit expensive) and the REUMORK (Tri-cycle motor) or Cyclo (Tri-cycle) which are the preferred method of in-city travel by tourists. The country does have private bus companies that operate semi-luxury and luxury buses from Phnom Penh to other provinces. The other way to travel is by Boat, but this is limited due to low demand and limited destinations, and tickets have to be bought a day in advance. There is only one train from Phnom Penh to Battambang Province which takes the full-day to reach your destination. Muslim-Friendly Facilities: As Cambodia does have a small Muslim population, there are quite a few Halal restaurants in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Halal food is also available in other cities which are most visited by Muslim travelers. There are also mosques in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham and Kampong Thom. 6) Morocco Morocco’s mix influences make an in interesting and cheap vacation spot for backpacking enthusiasts! A North African country that borders the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, it has an eclectic atmosphere which is a mix of its Berber, Arabian and European influences. The country features on many travelers’ radar as a short stay travel destination, but has a lot on offer as a cheap and reasonable backpack travel destination. There are even travel companies that will pre-book and organize special travel packages custom-made to your needs and requirements.Morocco also has lots of family-friendly attractions and can be ideal a family vacation. Things to do and places to see: While in Morocco do not forego a trip into the Sahara Desert…wake up to a sunrise over the sand dunes, take a camel ride at sunset and drive through the Atlas Mountains. Visit a UNESCO world heritage site that has been used in famous films like the ‘Gladiator, Indiana Jones and Lawrence of Arabia’, take in the Moroccan architecture; its famous walled cities and the Kasbahs, and visit the monuments and famed-sites in the cities of Marrakesh, Casablanca, Tangier and Fez. You can also enjoy the beaches and water sports in many of the coastal cities of the country. Accommodation: You can easily find cheap hotels and hostels in Morocco, and if you are trekking through the mountains then take the opportunity to sleep in a Berber tent. Also try the traditional houses known as ‘Riads’ – this will not only give you a truly authentic Moroccan experience, but will provide some privacy if travelling with family and children. Some larger hotels may have a liquor license, so if you want to avoid this, check when you make your reservation. Transportation: Public transport can be used and is cheap, but not very clean. Use sharing cabs or tour buses to take you to and from cities. The most popular tour bus companies are Supratours and CTM, these are cheaper than cabs but charge you for luggage. Buy the bus tickets a day in advance. There is also one train line to a few of the cities and can be used to travel on longer journeys in more comfort. Muslim-Friendly Facilities: As nearly all Moroccans are Muslims, there are absolutely no shortage of mosques and halal food. All meat is halal, but there are some restaurants that serve pork and alcohol, as a means of catering to the growing non-Muslim tourist population. However, the restaurants in smaller cities and towns are still true to Islamic traditions. The cheapest way to experience the food of Morocco is to buy your meals from market stalls and street vendors. 7) New Zealand New Zealand is a very low-key country and should feature more often as one of the best vacation spots ideal for the backpacker! Synonymous with the filming location of the movie – ‘The Lord of the Rings’, the country has such a diverse landscape that you will wonder if you are being transported to different Lands throughout your journey. I would advise you to not forget to take your camera if you plan to make this country the next stop for a fun family holiday. Things to do and See: When backpacking through New Zealand’s two islands you will come across volcanic lakes, beautiful forests, mountains dotted with waterfalls, miles of beaches. But, while enjoying the breath-taking views of this ideal vacation spot, also take time-off to surf in Raglan, hike through the mountains, experience white water rafting down the world's highest commercially rafted waterfall, try out a few adventure sports such as bungy jumping, skydiving, hang-gliding and zip lining; and last but not least check out the famous Hobbiton Movie Set. Another exceptional activity that New Zealand offers is stargazing, possible because of its vast and natural landscapes, clear of man-made buildings! Accommodation: As New Zealand caters to backpackers, there are plenty of accommodation options for backpackers from hostels to small rental rooms. These are generally clean and have sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities. There are also plenty of bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation on offer. And if you are travelling with family or a large group of friends, then try renting out holiday homes – ideal for Muslim travelers, as it will give you the required privacy and you can cook your own meals! Transportation: New Zealand is made for backpackers… the country offers fabulous cycling and walking trails from the North to the South. There are also special backpacker buses where you can meet like-minded travelers! The best option may be to drive around the country using a rental car, or try something different if you are travelling with kids, and rent a campervan, also known by some as a motorhome – this will give you great flexibility, and allow you to travel at your pace. Don’t worry, the country has many camp grounds and holiday parks where you can park and take a break for the night. Muslim-Friendly Facilities: Due to the growing Muslim population in New Zealand, getting Halal food in the big towns of the country is quite easy. Also as backpackers, if you are willing to cook your own food, getting Halal meat is also possible. Read the article on New Zealand at this blog for more details 8) Portugal A country not always on the top of one’s ‘to visit list’, Portugal should be considered for a not so crowded backpacking vacation. Although more expensive than some of the Asian destinations listed in this article, it is still considered a cheap vacation spot especially being situated in Europe! With its unique allure of sandy beaches, rugged coastline, fabulous architecture, World Heritage Sites and vineyards, Portugal is worth a visit. For those Muslim travelers living in Europe and the West, I am sure that you can get hold of fabulous last minute vacation dealsto enjoy this summer vacation in Portugal. Things to do and see: Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a cosmopolitan city with an old world charm and the architecture to blend. Visit the cities of Sinatra, Porto and Braga, and go to Cape Sagres to stand at the edge of Europe. For the beaches, visit the Azores Islands and Faro. Visit the region of Alentejo to find the vineyards, olive groves, and even Roman ruins. In all of Portugal there are 15 listed World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, and visiting these alone would make an interesting and educational family holiday. Accommodation: There are lots of hotels from two-star onwards in Portugal and you can make a choice from these to suit your budget. There are also many hostels and lower star-class hotels that are very affordable. As for Muslim-friendly facilities at the hotels, it will be best to check when making your reservation. Transportation: Taxis are an expensive form of transport in Portugal. It would be best to use the public transport system such as the Metro and buses in the cities or walk wherever possible. For longer distances use long distance buses and the Eurail network. Muslim-Friendly Facilities: Lisbon has ample Halal food and restaurants for Muslim travelers. Other restaurants may serve Halal food together with alcohol and non-Halal meats, so, check before you order anything. Other big cities like Faro also have a choice of Halal restaurants, and there are plenty of places that serve seafood. As for mosques, Lisbon has the most number, while some of the other cities may have one mosque. Best to be prepared to say your prayers in your hotel/hostel room. 9) Fiji A Pacific island destination that offers travelers the beauty of a rugged landscape filled with lagoons and palm-lined beaches, and activities ranging from mountain climbing, zip-lining to surfing and soft coral diving. While Fiji has its share of luxury holiday venues, it is popular for mid-range vacation deals. However, today, the Fiji Islands are also emerging as another cheap vacation spot for a backpacking holiday, especially the Yasawa Island chain. However, the Muslim traveler will have to do some pre-holiday preparations before embarking on this particular vacation. Vacation Activities: There is lots to do from island hoping, dolphin watching to swimming with Mantra Rays, snorkeling (some islands offer this free of charge, so make the most of it!) and hiking in the Wasali Nature Reserve. Also visit the famous Blue lagoon on the North of the Yasawa Islands and try to spend a few days on the mainland of VitiLevu (in Suva and Nadi) doing the usual touristy things. You can also plan a day trip to the South Sea Island which is close to the mainland and is quite popular with travelers with kids. Accommodation:There are a variety of budget resorts to choose from in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Island chains. These resorts offer basic accommodation which includes meals (check if they offer Halal food on reservation). Accommodation on the mainland of Viti Levu should not be a problem, although a bit more expensive. For the budget Muslim traveler, in Suva try the Roseland Inn which is run by a Fijian family and has a kitchen where you can cook your own meal. In Vanua Levu too you will find lodges and small hotels catering to the backpacker. Transportation: The bright yellow ferry (a trademark) will take you to the islands, as well as take you off the islands. The Ferry visits the islands daily so that travelers can be taken to the next island in the chain. It would be best to buy the ‘Bula Combo Pass’ that ranges from 5 to 21 days if you are planning to Island hop. There are also individual tickets available. However, be prepared to wait when catching the ferry, as it sometimes is quite flexible when it comes to timings. Muslim-Friendly Facilities: There are several Halal restaurants in Suva, the capital city, located on the main island of Viti Levu and all the McDonalds here are Halal certified. Also the island of Vanua Levu has a few Halal restaurants, but do check before you go. As for the popular backpackers destination of Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands, availability of Halal food maybe a problem. But Fiji is quite famous for its seafood and that is an option to consider. Just check that they do not use any alcohol or any other non-Halal items in their food preparations. An alternate is to stock up on snacks and take some easy to prepare meals to these islands. A tip – buy bottled water from the mainland as it will be cheaper than buying it from the other Islands. 10) Croatia Croatia is an Eastern European country, encompassing more than a thousand islands, with a stunning coastline of the Adriatic Sea. The country is dotted with castles as well as medieval and Gothic architecture and buildings.The Dinaric Alpsalso crosses through the country. It is also a popular destination where backpackers can tour through the country onvacation packages… so, what more can you ask for on a backpacking holiday? Things to do and see: With over 1,000 islands, island hopping via the sea is the best way to see the Croatian coast with its unspoiled beaches, oceans and fishing villages. While on this tour, take some time to enjoy the many water sporting activities and also visit the ‘Blue Cave’ on the BiševoIsland and the famous Dubrovnik Old Town. To travel through time, go in-land to see the medieval castles, museums housing fabulous ancient art and objects, and the many other monuments spread across the country. Visit Split, the capital city of Zagreb, Rovinj, Motovun, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Šibenik,Korcula and Hvar. Accommodation: There are enough hostels in Croatia, similar to other European countries. There is also the option of renting rooms and apartments by using sites such as Airbnb. Croatia also has many hotels which offer good value for money. A popular option for the coastal region is small inns and guesthouses to get a real Croatian experience. For Muslim travelers, there are a few hotels that are Halal certified in Zagrib, SlavonskiBrod and Baska. Transportation: The most popular way to travel through Croatia is by Eurail. However, take note that the train only runs as far south as Split, and then you have to use buses. Using the bus network is another popular option and both local buses and regional buses for longer journeys are easily available. An interesting way to travel in Zagreb is to use the tram system. For island hopping there is the boat and ferry services. Muslim Friendly Facilities:The cities of Zagreb, Dubrovnik, and Split have Halal food and Halal-certified restaurants, as well as mosques. In other cities and towns getting Halal food can be a bit difficult, but they always will have a seafood option…just ensure it isn’t an exotic sea creature being served! Click here for more trip ideas on your next Muslim-friendly vacation! ...