A city like Florence, well known for its amazing art collections, monumental architecture and rich historic past can sometimes have you forget about the natural beauty that abounds in the form of well maintained gardens and parks. And then, when you do think about them, it is places like Boboli Gardens, the colorful iris and rose gardens, and even the Botanical Garden in the city center that come to mind first.
The magical silence and stunning architecture in the Bardini Gardens seem to get lost in the crowd of places to visit while in Florence.
Virtually unknown, and many times almost deserted, this 4 hectare garden was recently restored to part of its original glory and is now slowly being rediscovered by the locals and guests to the city of Florence. First time visitors to the Renaissance city just might not have time to fit it into their already full itinerary; however, those who are coming back to Florence again should really find time to walk the grounds. In an hour you can stroll the entire garden easily and calmly, and that is what this garden deserves: time for a short stroll that will sooth your soul.
Just a few kilometres from the hubbub of tourists visiting Pisa and its splendid piazza dei Miracoli, there’s an island of nature that sits silently and far away from the changes of urbanization. We’re talking about the Migliarino, San Rossore and Massaciuccoli Nature Park, a protected site that includes wet areas, marshes, sand dunes and the large Lake Massaciuccoli, once an ancient salt water lagoon.
The San Rossore Estate is the most important environment in the park: hugged by the Serchio to the north and the Arno to the south, the area conceals dense pine groves and woodlands of deciduous trees from the old-growth forest. The estate’s accessible itineraries zigzags through dunes and tombolos, marshes and woods that hide a wealth of fauna and flora.
The Parks of Nervi are an important historical/nature complex formed from the combination of several gardens that once belonged to private villas: Villa Gropallo, Villa Saluzzo Serra, and Villa Grimaldi Fassio. Today, these villas belong to the City of Genoa and have been transformed into museums.
So called the “Canalazzo“, is the most important water way of Venice, about 3800 meters long, it splits the city in two sides..Venice from above looks like a big fish, not bad for a city on the sea! The Grand Canal it's like a thick dark line that creates a kind of "big S" inside the fish.
The Vatican Gardens are a natural, architectural and artistic space of great beauty and spirituality, boasting an area of 23 hectares occupying most of the Vatican Hill. It was finally opened to the publick in 2014. The garden combines in itself 3 different styles Italian, Frech and English, each with their respective characteristics.
Red Island (Crveni otok), one of the most renowned tourist locations in Rovinj. Actually, it consists of two artificially connected islands: St. Andrew’s Island (Otok Sv. Andrije) and Maškin Island (Otok Maškin).
Red Island is a fifteen-minute sail away from the town center. Taxi boats arrive from and depart for Red Island every hour, from a small pier on the main town square, and from Delfin pier. The sail to the island is very pleasant, passing by Katarina Island, Lona and Zlatni rt bays that will surely enchant you with their beauty.
Dense Mediterranean underbrush and old coniferous forest are predominant on the island, and there are cultivated flower parks with paths near the hotels and annexes. In 2002, Red Island was hit by a heavy storm, almost entirely destroying the 100-year-old pine forest, which has been providing shade and shelter from summer heats for numerous tourists. The biggest damage was caused on Maškin Island. A lot has been done towards cleaning and renovating the island since last year so that you could enjoy its beauty and intimacy again.
You can find a really large number of beaches on the island. They are mainly stony beaches with typical coves covered with pebbles. The most frequented beaches are the ones situated on the south side of St. Andrews Island, near the hotel and the annexe. Numerous services are offered nearby, namely: a restaurant, a pool, miniature golf courses, a diver centre and others. A small part of the shore near the little port has been covered with gravel, making it suitable for children and seniors.
Brijuni Islands are situated near the city of Pula and represent the only National Park in Istria County. They were declared as National Park in 1983. With its 14 islands, 743,30 ha of area and water surface of 2652 ha (total area of 3395,00 ha), they represent the most indented and interesting islands in Istria. By arriving at Brijuni Islands and walking on its gentle paths, one can immediately notice why they deserved almost mythical status with its pleasant and mild climate. There is an important archaeological site on these islands in the northern Adriatic, and there is a rich cultural ancestry of the islands from the earliest to modern times.
Ambrela Beach is located in small St John Cove, between Saccorgiana Beach and Hotel Brioni. It is covered in pebbles with boulders of rocks. On the side, it is surrounded by autochthonous holm oak trees. Ambrela Beach is very popular among the local population and guests. Because of the soft entrance to the sea, it is convenient for families with kids. In the vicinity of the beach, there is a restaurant and a Lounge Bar Ambrela after which the beach was named. You can rent sunbeds, parasols and pedal boats on the beach. In the cove, there is a safe net, and Lifeguard service also takes care of security. There are public showers, toilet and dressing rooms on the beach as well. Entrance is free along with free parking near the beach. Ambrela Beach has been awarded a Blue Flag.
Histria Beach is located under the Hotel Park Plaza Histria on Verudela Peninsula in Pula. The beach is very popular and is partially made of stone while the other part is built from concrete. Because of the soft entrance and a terrace all the way to the sea, Histria Beach is very suitable for families with kids and older persons. By the beach, there is a small autochthonous holm oak woods suitable for leisure in the shades. The beach was awarded with a Blue Flag as an evidence of crystal clear sea and maintenance of the beach. Lifeguard service takes care of the security, and there is a safety barrier to protect the swimmers. You can rent sunbeds and parasols on the beach along with other equipment. There is a Beach Bar & Restaurant Yacht on the beach.
The forest park Punta Corrente (Golden Cape) is one of the most important natural attractions of Rovinj. At the end of the nineteenth century, Georg Hütterott bought four Rovinj islands (St. Andrew, Maskin, Sturag and San Giovanni) and began cleaning up an area of about 90 hectares on the Golden Cape to build a spa. His premature death interrupted the realization of this ambitious project, but his vision remained and contributed to the development of tourism in this area.
The uniqueness of Punta Corrente has been recognized in 1961 and declared a nature park.
Golden Cape is ideal for various sporting activities such as running, cycling, gymnastics. The old quarry has been transformed into a paradise for lovers of free climbing. The park is perfect for a leisurely stroll. The whole area is closed to traffic from motor vehicles.
The beaches of Punta Corrente are worth a visit. As in the rest of the coast, there are rocky capes and pebble bays suitable for children. In several places along the coast there are beach bars where you can refresh.
Valkane is the most notable and most furnished beach in Pula. It is located in Zelenika Cove in the western part of the town, at the beginning of Lungomare Boardwalk. Part of the beach is rocky and pebble and most parts are made of concrete. One part is adapted to disabled persons with special ramps for entering the sea. There are two bars on the beach: Valkane bar and Šumi more, where you can enjoy drinks next to the sea. At Valkane there is a playground for bocce and beach volleyball. Near the Sports Center Valkane, there are several tennis courts, a football field and Valter restaurant. Beach Valkane is awarded a Blue Flag which is given to beaches with lots of facilities and crystal clear sea. There is a lifeguard service on the beach which takes care of the security of the swimmers. Near the beach, there is a bus stop with a direct link to the city.
Beach Balzamake just after Kurent cape, Small and Big Scaraba bay divided by cape Scaraba are reachable by foot with a thirty minutes walk from Rovinj town center or by bicycle. The nearest car park is just after Monvi Entertainment Center and is free of charge but it can also be very crowded in July and August. From the car park, Scaraba beach is a few minutes walk like any other beach within the Golden Cape Park Forest. The coast is rocky with a few inlets covered with pebbles.
The rocky beach Balzamake is suitable for sunbathing because of big flat stones. Scaraba cape offers more privacy and less people on a rocky coast not recommended for elderly people or families with small children. This kind of beaches are frequently visited by naturists that are not a rarity in Rovinj. The pebble beach in Big Scaraba bay with its pier is a favorite place for swimmers and divers.
On the west side of the Old Town core lies the Monte beach. For those who find accommodation in the Old Town, this beach will only be a few minutes walk away. This is also the ideal place for visitors who start touring the Old Town – they can find relief from the heat in the Rovinj sea.
Although the beach is about 150 meters long, the locals divided it into several parts. The Big and Little Guguliera are small beaches, suitable for bathing small children, while Baluota (or Balota) and Lanterna are beaches favoured by the older population (you get into the sea by climbing down or diving from the rocks).
Many cafes and restaurants are a few dozen meters away from the beach, while the XL café and Monte restaurant are situated at the foot of the St. Euphemia church (about 50 meters from the beaches).
The beaches are rocky, with no natural shade, so we recommend bringing along some refreshing beverages and headcovers. When the gale gets strong, the waves will make it even more difficult to get into the sea or out of it, so it is better to go for the beaches in one of the numerous Rovinj coves when it is windy.
Eight kilometres south of Rovinj on an area of about 20 hectares in the rainy periods and two hectares in periods of drought, near the sea and the bays Cisterna and Gustinja, it is located the only ornithological reserve in Istria, the "Special ornithological reserve Palud - Palù" whose trademark is the Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus).
Palud was a freshwater swamp that the Austro-Hungarian army connected to the sea in 1906 by digging a channel with the hope that the increased salinity of water would stop the development of mosquito larvae and thus prevent malaria. They didn't manage to suppress malaria but as a result of the mixing of fresh and saltwater in the swamp, mullets and eels, fish that prefer brackish water, found their habitat.
The Porton Biondi Beach is located north of Rovinj, beneath the Camping Porton Biondi. From the direction of the old town of Rovinj, the beach can be reached on foot in about 15 minutes. If you arrive by car you have two parking zones: one is a small parking place located near the Fish Processing Factory Mirna, and the other, slightly larger, next to the rowing club Arupinum.
The coast in this part of the predominantly rocky and difficult to access, but besides the camp are made concrete piers are designed for swimmers between which is applied to gravel. This has greatly embellished and facilitated entry into the sea or remaining on the beach.
What beach Porton Biondi makes it particularly attractive for guests is a beautiful view of Rovinj peninsula which certainly contributed to the whole of the coast has become a very well visited in the last few years.
Near the road Rovinj-pula, about 2 kilometres far from the centre of the City of Rovinj, in the locality of Monfiorenzo, is situated the quarry phantasy, a geological park of remarkable beauty and importance. According to the expert opinion of numerous scientists, it is one of the most significant natural monuments in the world in the perspective of the karst phenomenon. The lime-stone of the quarry phantasy, like the open book pages, illustrate the history of the evolution of the terrestrial crust.
Various layers give evidence of the existence of the fossilized meadows consisting of sea-weeds, which, blended with lime-stone silt, were drifted on the shore by strong currents during the last 130 million years.
The quarry phantasy will reveal to a more careful visitor a considerably big number of furrows made of black and white dolomiti layers. Furthermore, there are fissures formed by tightening and exsiccation of the silt that had been squeezed into the previously created sediment.
The lower part of these stony layers was formed below the sea level, while the upper part is the result of the high-tide.
Follow the coastal road south-west of Porto towards Piana to discover an almost surreal world of weather-carved pink granite, an other-worldly vista of strangely shaped red figures, often plunging dramatically into the turquoise sea below.
Culture and nature promenade across beauty, innovation and Como's treasures. A path through Villa Olmo, Villa del Grumello and Villa Sucota where art initiatives grow. A place to meet and "breathe" culture for citizens and tourists.
Ready for an exciting day on the beach? How about refreshing yourself in the beautiful, clear sea in Opatija? Then join us at Slatina!
The main town beach of Slatina is located in the heart of Opatija. The beach is partly concrete and partly sandy, which makes it an ideal choice for many swimmers. It is situated in the immediate vicinity of cafés, restaurants and sports facilities, which guarantees a fun and fulfilling day on the beach.
Isolino Virginia is one of the oldest pile-dwelling settlements in the Alps and was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2011 as part of a serial property known as the “Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps”. The tiny islet is home to a LIPU (the Italian Society for the Protection of Birds) sanctuary that acts as a stopover for many species of migrating birds, and attracts many visitors as there is so much to see and do. As the area around Lake Varese has a long tradition of marvellous cuisine it also has many traditional restaurants and eateries serving local produce, and Isolino Virginia is no exception – a meal at the islet’s restaurant is a memorable experience. Tourists come to admire Lake Varese’s wonderful sights and culture and small boats ferry them to and from the islet from different points of the lake depending on the time of day.
Mlaka Park, also known as Giardino Pubblico, is one of the oldest and most beautiful parks in Rijeka. It was designed in 1874 by Filibert Bazarig, PhD as indicated be based on the proposals of Rijeka’s mayor at the time, Giovanni Ciotta as a kind of frontier between the city centre and the western suburbs as well as the announcement of the historical centre for those arriving from that direction into the centre.
Originally a spacious park irrigated by natural resources, it was once a favourite popular meeting point, although today it occupies a smaller area due to the construction of buildings that have been constructed around it in its surroundings over time. In spite of its reduced size, this park located close to the train station is still a pleasant place for relaxation and walking.
Apart from Mlaka Park, Nikola Host’s Park is one of the oldest in Rijeka. It was created in the 19th century as a botanical garden close to Villa Androch when it was owned by Archduke Joseph, a great lover and connoisseur of the art of gardening. Located on the rocky terrain and stretching over several levels, the park, with its sculptures, fountains and exotic plants brought by the archduke from around the world, has assumed the appearance of an English garden. This appearance has partly faded away over time. The park was named after the Austrian botanist who participated in its creation. Today Villa Androch houses the State Archives.
Spread over an area of approximately 15,000 m2, the Exotic Garden is home to a thousand cacti and other succulent plants with stems or hypertrophic leaves which store water. Originally from the planet’s main semi-arid regions, these plants still produce plenty of flowers. The principal flowering seasons are winter (January–February) for South African succulents such as Aloe and Crassula, and spring and summer for cacti, a family native to the American continent.
The enormous trees which line the paths of the Exotic Garden illustrate the age of the collection which served as the basis for the creation of the garden at the instigation of Prince Albert I. Opened to the public in February 1933, and supplemented in the 1960s by a botanical centre and specialist tree nursery, the garden is one of the Principalities most visited tourist attractions.
At the base of the cliff on which the Exotic Garden is situated (called “the observatory” due to the long-standing presence of a small astronomical observatory), at an altitude of 100 metres, there is a subterranean chamber equipped to receive visitors. The limestone rock, carved out by water containing carbon dioxide, is studded with caverns adorned with geological formations bearing evocative names: stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, columns, soda straws...
Expert guided tours of the cave are included in the entry ticket for the Exotic Garden. The tour travels from a depth of 98 metres to a depth of 40 metres (around 300 steps). The chamber plunges down almost to sea level and is regularly explored by local cavers.
The presence of prehistoric humans in the region of the cave is confirmed by the bones of the animals that they ate. These remains also illustrate the climate variations that have taken place over the last 250,000 years.
Lučice cove is a favourite cove amongst those who sail around this part of the Brač coastline. The cove has five endings in which you can always find a decent shelter from the wind. Besides those who sail, the cove is interesting for divers because of its cave on the western part of the cove. Along the sandy floor and the dense pine forest, the sea in Lučice has an exquisite sky-blue colour that simply invites the visitors for a swim. You can find accommodation in numerous summer houses, apartments and rooms. The nearby restaurants offer Dalmatian specialities and a rich selection of fresh fish.
The city’s original site, the Castle Hill (Parc De La Colline Du Chateau) once boasted a reputedly impregnable citadel that was entirely dismantled by the soldiers of the French King Louis XIV in 1706.
Truly a maze of greenery that has become popular for its cool undergrowth and surprising waterfall, this wonderful place for strolling offers a wonderful viewpoint over Baie des Anges, Old Nice and the Port (orientation table). Spectacular lighting at night.
Kornati National Park covers the major part of the Kornati water area and was proclaimed a national park in 1980 due to its exceptional landscape beauty, interesting geomorphology, well-indented coastline and a rich marine ecosystem.
The Kornati Archipelago encompasses an area of about 320 km2. This most indented island ecosystem in the Adriatic Sea has 89 islands, islets and cliffs. It was named after the largest island of Kornati. Because of its uninhabitedness and wildness, intact nature and outstanding beauty, the Kornati are appealing to many tourists and important for the development of excursions, sports and nautical tourism.
Zadar has a unique combination of architecture and music, the wordly known Sea Organ. It is located next to the installation Greeting to the Sun, and it represents an organ whose sound is produced under the influence of the energy of the sea, rather waves and tides.
The Sea Organ has been gently formed out of stone and returned to the sea. It stretches out on a surface of seventy meters of Zadar's coast, under which on the level of the lowest seated 35 pipes of different lengths, diameters and descent are installed. When the most beautiful sunset illuminates the waterfront, the play of light of the Greeting to the Sun accompanies the rhythm of waves and the sounds of the Sea Organ.
The National Park covers - including land and marine areas - 20,180 ha, with a coastal development of 180 kilometers. La Maddalena, mother island and capital of the homonymous Archipelago, is the Park gateway. It is the one and only inhabited island, except for the village of Stagnali in Caprera Island and the settlements of Santa Maria.
It offers many activities and exhibitions on Nature all year long, with - some twenty theme gardens display 2,500 plant species. A lake, where a hundred birds - ducks, pelicans, black swans - live together in peace and in which are reflected the white marble façades of the Asian Arts Museum designed by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. Also one of the largest greenhouses in Europe: the ‘Green Diamond’, that takes visitors through 6 different tropical climates to discover several thousand rare plant species, including tree ferns, an orchid collection... and many more plants. And you can see crocodiles, iguanas and exotic birds. A family of Varis lemurs are currently delighting visitors.
The Mont Avic natural park was established in 1989 to preserve the resources ofthe high valley of Torrente Chalamy (Champdepraz); in 2003, a part of the great valley of Dondena was also included in the protected area, reaching up as far as the mountain ridges of the Val Soana and the Valle di Cogne.
Jadrija is a city beach and weekend settlement founded in 1921, and today it bears the title to be the one cultic beach of Šibenik.
It is ideal for a day trip and is recognizable by cabins in different colours. You can reach Jadrija by boat, and during the ride you will enjoy the Šibenik archipelago and the imposing St. Nicholas's fortress.