In their most basic form, bridges help people get from point A to point B. Yet sometimes – like in the case of the Rakotz bridge in Kromlau, Germany (pictured) – the structure can transform the very landscape around it and become a work of art.
We went looking for some of the world’s most beautiful bridges and found plenty of nominations from users on the question-and-answer site Quora.com. Here are a few of their selections, remarkable for their physical beauty, architectural ingenuity and harmony with their surroundings
It might come as a surprise to some that France is the world’s biggest tourist destination in the world! Receiving nearly 20 Million more visitors annually than the runner up, USA. Doubly impressive when you consider that the US is over fifteen times the size of France.
From an easy hike across French wine country to a tough trek around the Mont Blanc massif, here are 10 European walks for all abilities
Camino Francés, Spain
The Camino de Santiago, or Way of St James, is a series of pilgrimages beginning at various points across Europe but all ending in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Most popular is the Camino Francés, which begins in St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France. To walk the whole 780km takes around a month, but for a shorter trip, tackle the final 111km, from Sarria to Santiago.
Level/time Moderate – you’re covering up to 25km a day, but the route’s well serviced. Allow seven days.
Getting there Ryanair (ryanair.com) flies to Santiago de Compostela from Stansted from around £80 return, then take a bus or taxi (from around €90) to Sarria. See the route at tinyurl.com/camfrances.
Alsace Wine Trail, France
Civilised cultural wandering amid the woody charm of the Rue du Vin is the perfect opportunity to mix wine and walking. Bergheim, Turckheim, pretty Riquewihr and Kaysersberg are easily linked on day-long walks of up to 17km.
Level/time Mostly easy walking; ask in a local tourist office for footpath pointers. Allow four to five days.
Base yourself in Kastelli Kissamos in the far north-west of Crete and you have access to a variety of routes, taking in necropolises, deserted coastal paths and olive groves. Don’t miss the beautiful Sirikari Gorge.
Level/time Walks to suit any level, though beware of summer heat. Between five days and a week is ideal.
Getting there Several budget airlines fly to nearby Chania from about £100 return. Check out The High Mountains of Crete (£14, Cicerone, tinyurl.com/highcrete) for walking routes.
Durmitor national park, Montenegro
Parts of Montenegro’s coast buzz with wealth, but the interior is all crumbling mountains and dark, Balkan wilderness, refreshingly undeveloped. Durmitor national park’s trails can be accessed from the well-serviced hub of Zabljak, on the edge of the park.
Level/time All levels. Allow five days: two to travel, three to walk.
Getting there Monarch (monarch.co.uk) has returns from Gatwick to Dubrovnik from £105, then hire a car for the short hop over the border.
The historic hilltop villages of San Gimignano, Colle di Val d’Elsa, Strove and Monteriggioni are close enough to be linked with pleasant one-day walks.
Level/time Easy walking through open countryside and villages. Can be hot in summer. Allow a long weekend.
Getting there Budget airlines fly to Pisa from about £1oo return. Find good-value accommodation at thriftytuscany.com. Get hold of a copy of Walking in Tuscany by Gillian Price (£15, Cicerone, tinyurl.com/tuscanyprice) before you go.
Tour du Mont Blanc France
For the best view of the Mont Blanc massif, get yourself on to this elevated path above Chamonix. Do one-day or shorter sections of the route between Les Houches and Argentière, or tackle the Tour du Mont Blanc, a strenuous 250km trail that takes in the most naturally dramatic slices of Switzerland, France and Italy.
Level/time Moderate fitness for the shorter walks; the tour is tougher. Allow a long weekend for the smaller trails; 10 six-hour days for the tour.
Kerry’s hills are eerie and wet, but atmospheric. The range called MacGillycuddy’s Reeks is the finest example of Irish mountainscape, and makes a superb centrepiece for a long weekend. Ideally based in a small cottage. By the sea. Near a pub.
Level/time Moderate – most of the hills have straightforward ways up, but a full traverse of the Reeks ridge requires good mountain walking skills. Allow four days – two either side for travel, and one each for exploring the Reeks and the nearby Dingle peninsula.
Norway can rival the Rockies for a fraction of the time and cash, particularly if you pack a tent. Jotunheimen national park is a sub-Arctic wilderness with trails up and around glaciated peaks such as Norway’s highest, Galdhøppigen.
Level/time Robust fitness an asset. Allow three days to a week.
Getting there Norwegian (norwegian.com) flies from Gatwick to Oslo or Bergen from £90. Grab a trail map at Juvasshytta Visitor Centre (juvasshytta.no).
Via Ferrata, Lake Garda, Italy
First world war soldiers engineered this system of iron ladders and cables. The staggering heights and angles achievable with relatively little skill attract more adventurous walkers. You need a helmet and harness to make your way across screech-inducing drops.
Level/Time Routes are graded but this is definitely adventurous. Allow five days. You’ll also need to get Via Ferrata instruction. Check out Via Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites, Vols 1 and 2 (£15.95, Cicerone, tinyurl/viaferratas).
Getting there EasyJet (easyjet.com) flies from Gatwick to Verona from £62 return. For buses to Riva del Garda see bus company website (atv.verona.it).
With the travel season upon us, it’s time to begin exploring again and creating memories that last.
Like everyone else, I’m pretty much broke and can’t afford to go on a luxury trip across Europe, but just because the university takes all my cash doesn’t mean I can’t still travel.
Here is a list of 10 countries that rank on the low-end for cost right now:
Home to many activities and sites, this cheap country will have you living like a king for less than you would think. You can get a nice place to stay, food, transportation and even alcohol for less than 20 USD per day.
Thailand has been trying to revamp its tourism as of late and many tourism companies have been offering excellent deals. I’m a huge advocate of hostels, but if that isn’t your thing, you can get a private room with a bathroom for less than 30 USD per night.
If you are open to bunks, you can easily get by for an entire day on that price.
With the state of the economic condition in Greece, prices are low and the tourism will help bring in some more much-needed money. The country is mind-numbingly beautiful and features amazing coasts and architecture.
This is one of the best locations in all of Europe for cheap travel.
Spain is having similar issues to Greece and could use the extra money from tourism.
The country has a lot to offer, as well, with awesome food, a rich history displayed through museums and architecture and great scenic sites like the Picos de Europa mountain ranges.
At a few hundred dollars, Costa Rica has one of the cheapest airfare costs when traveling from the United States, and the prices within the country aren’t bad, either.
The Costa Rican Colón has fallen lower than the USD recently, making it an even better deal. Besides, it’s an absolutely beautiful country.
You can travel in Vietnam for less than 20 USD per day and may even struggle to spend that much. The country’s dollar, known as the Dong, is at a ratio of 1 USD to 21,190 Dongs.
Even with the rise in tourism in recent years, the country still remains very cheap and that isn’t going to change away anytime soon.
Eastern Europe is very cheap right now. You can get a hostel for less than 10 USD per night and will only have to spend a few dollars per meal, including beer.
The prices in Romania have risen as of late, but you can still find great deals and even better street food. I’ll actually be backpacking in Romania next summer on a college budget!
The small country in the northern Indian Ocean is home to botanical gardens, temples and tea, making Sri Lanka a steal.
This is the most expensive country on the list, but you still only have to budget 60 USD per day and you will easily be able to afford all the basics that you need while traveling.
A tropical country with great food and a rich history, Nepal is paradise for backpackers. It’s the perfect escape from the craziness of your day-to-day lifestyle, as you relax in the countryside.
You shouldn’t expect to pay more than 20 or 25 USD a day.
If you want to relax or party, you can find both here. Buenos Aires is well known for its vibrant nightlife or you can visit Iguazu Falls for a relaxing hike.
You can stay in hostels, bus around and eat for not much money at all.
What countries have you been to that you found to be really cheap?
The map uses the prices of credit default swaps, which are derivatives that pay out if a borrower defaults.
Sovereign credit default swaps have been used as a type of insurance against sovereign governments not paying back the money they owe. Like any insurance product, the more expensive it is the more likely the event you’re insuring against will happen soon.
Venezuelan debt is by far the most risky, costing twice as much as Greek or Ukrainian debt to insure.
The graphic also shows just how far Spain and Ireland have come. The market thinks their debt is pretty risk free, with lower CDS spreads than Italy or Portugal. The Spanish economy is going through a bit of a revival after suffering a devastating housing crash and unemployment crisis.
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My observations as an artistic, writer, blogger, computer geek, humanist, mental health activist, lifelong learning and researcher of life living with lifelong severe depression, anxiety, social anxiety with agoraphobia, PTSD, A Nervous Breakdown, as well as a Survivor of Sexual Abuse and Rape.