Subscribe to isango! RSS feed
World’s leading site for travel experiences - Tours, Activities, Shows, Excursions and more
Find amazing experiences Book before you go. Local rates. Handpicked suppliers Find out more >>
We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

Author Archive

August Bank Holiday is coming!

1

Hoorah! Another Bankholiday is coming! Are you already thinking of the long weekend even though it’s just Monday? Have you not made any plans yet? Here are some some suggestions to make the most of that extra day off.

from zsl.org

London
“Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo” sang Simon and Garfunkel. We do believe it’s true: visit London Zoo by Regents Park. New this year is the Penguin beach, where you can see the penguins from upclose! Don’t forget the rest of the animals, the gorillas, the lions the butterflies etc. Opening times 10-6pm daily book your London Zoo tickets here and skip the line.

Take a Street Art Walking tour: it was voted the London Tour for Londoners. See Shoreditch and Brick Lane in a completely new light as a guide leads you through the streets of London. Discover painting, installations and posters by artists where you were meant to see it: on the street.

Liverpool
the-cavern-club_liverpool_4119_1Spend your weekend in Liverpool, city of the Beatles and so much more. The Liverpool waterfront is an UNESCO World Heritage site, so take a Mersey Ferry and explore the Merseyside. Art lovers can visit the Liverpool Walker Art Museum, the national gallery of the North, or The Tate Liverpool . Antony Gormley has a public installation by Crosby beach consisting of 100 life-size sculptures of himself. You also have to visit the Cavern Club and discover how the legendary Beatles started. In a rush, see all the best bits with a hop on hop off bus tour of Liverpool.

royal-crescent_bath_5111_1Bath
Another UNESCO heritage site, Bath is indeed a very pretty part of England. Hollywood star Nicolas Cage fell so much in love with the Bath, that he bought a home there and switched on the Christmas lights. Already famous in the days of Jane Austen, Bath Spa is home to Britain’s only natural thermal spa. Relax in the warm waters and indulge in some spa treatments. You can easily spend the day admiring the beautiful architecture or go for some shopping in the city centre. Explore the hightlights of the city with an hop on bus Bath tour.

kings-college_cambridge_5106_4Cambridge
Cambridge came fourth in the UK TripAdvisor’s Traveller Choice Awards. It placed behind London Edinburgh and Bath (see above) but beat rival Oxford. You can visit the university and tour the ground of the infamous colleges daily. Still Cambridge is more than just a university city, there are plenty of things to do: enjoy some leisurely punting on the Cam, take afternoon tea in the Orchard Tea Garden or just explore the beautiful city centre. Visit our site to book a quick tour of Cambridge.

Make the most of the August Bankholiday, visit isango.com and book your own travel experience.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Friday Facts: The Berlin Wall

0

This year it’s been 50 years since the Berlin Wall was build. The Berlin Wall separated East Berlin from West Berlin for nearly three decades until it finally came down in 1989.

sdc12663

courtesy of E. Liparova

This picture was taken last Saturday during the 50th anniversary commemorations, from the Bernauer Strasse where there’s still a section of the Berlin Wall standing.

Quick History

After WWII Germany was divided between America, France, Great Britain and the USSR; Berlin too was divided in four. Soon Germany became a pawn between two world ideologies (Capitalism vs Communism) and the Berlin Wall became a symbol of the Cold War. West Germany’s economy bloomed and many East Germans tried to flee West. The easiest way to this was by reaching West-Berlin, a capitalist island in the communist East.  To prevent a complete exodus the communists erected the Berlin Wall, practically overnight on the 12th and 13th of August 1961.

Facts on the Berlin Wall:

  • After the 1961 wall was built, another one was erected parallel to it but 100 yards further. The space in between was  known as the Death Strip. It was covered with gravel to spot footprints and filled with tripwire booby traps and mines. Guards were also ordered to shoot anyone crossing.
  • Checkpoint Charlie was the third and most famous checkpoint opened by the US; it got its name from the phonetic alphabet. It was the scene of a dramatic stand-off between American and Soviet tanks in 1961 and from 1962 it was the only place where foreigners visiting Berlin could cross from West to East and back again.
  • The first version of the wall was no more than a barbed wire fence. The 1975 incarnation of the Berlin Wall would be the most memorable:  45000 separate sections of reinforced concrete, 3.6m high and 1.5 wide. It had barbed wire, mesh fencing, signal fencing and watch towers.
  • The Fall of the Berlin Wall happened in 1989 when communism already started the crumble. After a new law was made to allow East Germans to travel freely on the 9th of November 1989 thousands East Germans flocked to the Berlin Wall and people were seen hugging and dancing on top of the wall.

bebelplatz_6462_3Berlin has since become a very popular place to visit and is renowned for its art and culture scene. Take a tour in Berlin on a segway and zoom through the beautiful city visiting all the key places of Berlin’s rich history, like the Berlin Wall.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Follow The Inbetweeners to Crete.

1

inbetweenersThe Inbetweeners Movie has hit the cinemas!
The gang has graduated and they are going on their first lads-holiday in Crete. The first reviews agree that you can expect a film not too different from the successful television series: the jokes are simultaneously funny and cringing. The boys are looking for girls, there are alcohol fuelled antics aplenty. Among the discussions about the reputation of British youngsters abroad, The Sun has still given the Inbetweeners Movie four stars and The Telegraph deems it hilarious …

Obviously there is plenty to do on Crete than the activities depicted in the film -  if you feel inspired to soak up the Greek sun, why don’t you consider these options:

elafonissi_6613_4

Visit the Elafonissi Island, a little bit of paradise on earth. It is popular among Greek vacationers but remains largely secret for the throngs of tourists. Spend a day on the beach or go on a cruise and visit seaside villages. However, we wouldn’t blame you for lounging on the white beach or go for a leisurely swim in the Mediterranean waters.

spinalonga_heraklion_6464_1

Cruise to the infamous Spinalonga Island: previously Turks and the Venetians occupied the island and the fortress on the island was converted into a leper colony in 1903. These days you can take a boat to the pebbled beaches and spend a day swimming and diving, the tour includes a lovely BBQ lunch too.

aghios-nikolaos_heraklion_6402_1

You can shop til you drop in the local coastal town of Agios Nikolaos and Kritsa, a mountain village. Agios Nikolaos has a lovely high street with boutiques, as well as a market where you can browse for homemade handicrafts or fresh fruits, local honey and herbs. Krista is the place for handicraft shops and art stores for unique souvenirs. Also handy: there will be an English-speaking escort on hand to help with communication.

For more tours on Crete, visit the isango website.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Elvis Presley’s Graceland

0

BE048005It’s been 34 years after Elvis Presley’s death but fans still hold candlelight vigils at the gates of his Graceland mansion to remember The King.

Elvis was born 1935, in Tupelo Mississippi to his parents Vernon and Gladys Presley. His twin-brother Jesse was still born and Elvis would remain an only child. In 1954 he signed up with Sun Records in Memphis, a label owned by Sam Phillips and deemed the birthplace of rock ‘n’roll. Self-taught producer Philips has a knack for spotting talent: he’d also sign the likes of Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. A picture of the four jamming in 1956 would later be printed as “The Million Dollar Quartet.” The unique event has recently inspired a jukebox musical Million Dollar Quartet that was sold out on Broadway and a hit in the London West End.

A mere two years after his first recording Elvis had transferred to the bigger label RCA and was on his way to become a world-star. He sold over a billion records, earned 14 Grammy nominations and acted in 33 movies.

In 1967, after an eight year courtship, Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu. Exactly nine months later their daughter Lisa Marie was born. Elvis and Priscilla in Germany when he drafted for the US Army. Remarkably this would be the only time Elvis would travel outside of the USA, despite his worldwide success.

elvis_graceland

On the eve of the 34th of anniversary of her father’s death Lisa Marie released a statement, in which she announced a new exhibition at Graceland in Spring 2012 “Elvis Through His Daughter’s Eyes”.

Elvis might have left the building but his legacy still lives on.

Discover the undisputed birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll and visit Graceland and other Memphis music attractions with an audiotour and discount.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Day Trippers – Oxford

0

team-isango-oxfordIt was another sunny weekend and Team isango! went to Oxford for the day. Oxford university is world-famous, its alumni include Nobel Prize winners(e.g. Sir John Eccles) politicians (e.g PM David Cameron and former PM Tony Blair), well-known actors ( e.g. Hugh Grant and Rosamund Pike) authors (e.g Michael Palin) and the list goes on.
christchurchOne of the largest colleges of the university is Christ Church College. The college’s big hall was used for filming some scenes of the  Harry Potter franchise and you can visit the building Mon-Sat 9am- 5.30pm and Sun 2pm-5.30pm. Tickets in peak season £7.50, concessions £6.

screen-shot-2011-08-15-at-153439The city with its historic buildings is a bustling town with plenty of shops, theatres and museums to keep tourists and residents entertained.  Team isango! visited the Ashmolean museum of art and archaeology. Opening times are Tues – Sunday 10am – 6pm, Bank Holiday Monday 10am – 6pm, admission is free.

greenery-oxfordOxford also has a lot of open spaces where you can lie on the grass and look at people punt on the Cherwell or the Thames.

We had fun and we hope you enjoy the pictures!

statue-with-bag

Oxford was more touristic than I thought. The main street is full of shops and people! There were street artists and the music bands all over, which was nice too. Visiting the city is very good ’cause it is not so big and you can easily see everything. Just take a tourist map and the fun can start. The old style of the buildings make the city look like it’s from a fairy tale. It was a very nice trip! – Claudio

A visit to Oxford is an easy day out from London – if you are in a rush: take a day tour from London and see Windsor, Oxford and Stonehenge in one day.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Friday Favourites: New York

0

newstatue

Favourite Place: New York.
Reason: It has a 24hr -lifestyle and a positive vibe, which makes you believe anything is possible!
Story behind the picture: It symbolises ultimate freedom for me (and the strength of women…) We were on our way to Ellis island where we learnt more about what an immigrant had to face before being able to start a new life in America.
Other place I’d like to visit: Bhutan – apparently they measure their inhabitants’ happiness there. That can’t be a bad thing!

For an insiders guide, take an audio tour in New York .

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

0

fringe The summer exodus to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival continues: the cobbled streets are filled with people handing out flyers for their plays, next to groups performing songs from their shows. The atmosphere, despite the inevitable rain – it’s Scotland after all, is electrifying and exciting.

This year we did the Edinburgh festival experience in one day, commuting from Glasgow. The last train is around midnight: an extra service thanks to the fringe. Word of warning: if you have not already sorted out your accommodation you might be in trouble. The hotel prices are extortionate around this time of year and you’d really be best off finding new love for a distant family member who lives close or join the celebrations in the evenings with all the performers and find yourself a local buddy. (That’s a joke, mother.)

For all you people who are still planning to heading up North, a few tips:

1. Be nice to all the people ‘flyering’: they are just promoting their shows. They have worked hard and often put a lot of their own money into it.
2. Pick up an offical Fringe magazine, which contains all the shows and has a very useful map in the front. You can get one from the Box Office on the High Street, which is open from 9am to 9pm.
3. Book tickets online to avoid disappointment, but still be prepared to queue when you pick them up. So leave yourself enough time to get to a show!
4. During down time, climb the stairs of Calton Hill, just a ten-minute walk from Waverly train station. The view from the top is fantastic: you can overlook the bustling city streets and see the gorgeous landscape surrounding the city.edinburgh-castle
5. Embrace being a tourist and visit the famous Edinburgh Castle (open daily 9.30-5pm; adults £12; child £6).

Should you have time to go sight-seeing, book an Edinburgh tour where you can hop on and hop off, and get the most of your time in Scotland. Enjoy!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

0

fringe The summer exodus to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival continues: the cobbled streets are filled with people handing out flyers for their plays, next to groups performing songs from their shows. The atmosphere, despite the inevitable rain – it’s Scotland after all, is electrifying and exciting.

This year we did the Edinburgh festival experience in one day, commuting from Glasgow. The last train is around midnight: an extra service thanks to the fringe. Word of warning: if you have not already sorted out your accommodation you might be in trouble.  The hotel prices are extortionate around this time of year and you’d really be best off finding new love for a distant family member who lives close or join the celebrations in the evenings with all the performers and find yourself a local buddy. (That’s a joke, mother.)

For all you people who are still planning to heading up North, a few tips:

1.    Be nice to all the people ‘flyering’: they are just promoting their shows. They have worked hard and often put a lot of their own money into it.
2.    Pick up an offical Fringe magazine, which contains all the shows and has a very useful map in the front. You can get one from the Box Office on the High Street, which is open from 9am to 9pm.
3.    Book tickets online to avoid disappointment, but still be prepared to queue when you pick them up. So leave yourself enough time to get to a show!
4.    During down time, climb the stairs of Calton Hill, just a ten-minute walk from Waverly train station. The view from the top is fantastic: you can overlook the bustling city streets and see the gorgeous landscape surrounding the city.edinburgh-castle5.  Embrace being a tourist and visit the famous Edinburgh Castle (open daily 9.30-5pm; adults £12; child £6).

Should you have time to go sight-seeing, book an Edinburgh tour where you can hop on and hop off,   and get the most of your time in Scotland. Enjoy!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Tube Travel Tips for Tourists

0

Dear Tourist,

Please don’t get me wrong: I appreciate you roaming around London, exploring the many places and events that the capital city has to offer. However, dear tourist, London is also a city that houses Londoners. They aren’t actually looking for things to do in London: they just have to get from A to B every day.

It is summer and you flock to London in groups, with your backpacks on; there is no air conditioning on the Tube and so before we all get overheated, here are some tips for Tube travel:

  1. Please avoid travel during peak-hours, when all the commuters are struggling to get on the train: The Big Ben will still be there and the Changing of the Guards doesn’t happen til 11am anyway.
  2. Check before you travel, there are often railworks during the weekends which means you have to find an alternative route with the  TfL-site .
  3. Oystercards on yellow circles to open the gates, paper tickets are to be inserted into the gates.
  4. Take off big backpacks, this will prevent you from knocking anyone out when moving into the carriage. If paranoid about getting pick-pocketed: it is the backpack that makes you stand out as a tourist-target.
  5. The carriages at the end and the beginning of the train are usually the emptiest: this is why you are encouraged to move along the platform.
  6. Doors on the Tube will open automatically. However, on the Dockland Light Railway (DLR) you DO have to press the button to open the doors, same goes for any of the Overground lines.
  7. Don’t stop at the end of escalators, in front of the entry gates or in the middle of the walkway. If you have to check your map, move to side and let other people pass.
  8. Stand on the right side of the escalator as people will pass on the left. This means you can not stand side by side, but if you hold your small child in front of you, you can still make sure s/he doesn’t fall down.
  9. Mind the Gap when leaving the carriage: a lot of stations are old and the gaps are because of the different dimensions of the modern trains to the old platforms.
  10. When waiting for the train stay behind the yellow line: it’s not big, it’s not clever and you will only cause delays if a train hits you!

Thank you for reading and happy travels London tourists! If this Tube traveling overwhelms you, remember you can always take a London tour with a hop-on-hop-off bus…

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

London in Summer Series: Culture vultures

1

London in the summer is perfect for the culture vultures. London has always been a capital full of culture and there are enough things to do in London if you are looking for that culture fix during your summer break. London has a wide variety of museums, exhibitions, cinemas and theatres. There are a lot of cultural events to choose from but here are some off-the-beaten- track options.

Tour a Theatre

Tour the backstage area of the National Theatre and see all the work that is done to make the magic on stage happen. Tours happen up to six times a day on Monday-Friday, twice on Saturday and once on Sunday. Tickets cost £7.

The Shakespeare Globe has an exhibition about theatre in Shakespeare’s day: from Elizabethan Special effects to dressmaking. Tickets are available at the door from 9am and an adult ticket cost £12.50

Cinema on the Rooftop

For an alternative cinema night, keep an eye on the Rooftop Filmclub website. Films are shown on the roof of Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch from July to September. Food, drink and free blankets are available. Tickets cost £9 but there are only 100 places so you have to book early.

Museum

The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary artists and designers whose work connects the traditional Islamic culture to modern day. The work of the shortlisted nominees is shown in the V&A museum. The exhibition is on from 21st of July -25 September and the entrance is free.

London Shows

For a London theatre break see the play War Horse with magnificent puppetry. The horse Joey is sold to serve the cavalry in France during World War I. His boss Albert is too young to enlist but heart-broken by the loss of his friend he goes on a dangerous journey to save him.

Another show full of puppetry and masks is the musical the Lion King. Based on the Disney film of the same title, the show is now in its 10th year and wows audiences from every age.

Stay

Insert a little bit of glamour into your stay in London and book you theatre break to stay at the newly decorated St Ermins Hotel. It is situated in central London, close to St James’ Park but is protected by its beautiful courtyard, making it an oasis of calm.The modern yet classy decorated rooms and the gorgeous Crystal ballroom will make your London stay something unforgettable.

Drink

Gordon’s Wine Bar is the oldest wine bar in London and was established in 1890. It is a cosy little place thanks to the dark wooden furniture and ambiance lighting but it also has an outdoor terrace.

The Book Club in East London mixes all kinds of cultural events with food and creativity. The beautiful open space is perfect for live music nights, speed-dating and craft sessions. Enjoy breakfast and lunch here or share some platters in the evening and play some pool.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS