Hue is about 2 hours drive north of Da Nang. It was the imperial capital of the Nguyen Dynasty and also the national capital until 1945 when the emperor was abdicated and a communist government was established in the north. Hue is well known for it historic monuments such as temples, tombs, but the highlight is of course the walled Imperial Citadel.
Hoi An is about half an hour from Da Nang by taxi. It was an important port which controlled the spice trade. Hoi An is a confluence of different cultures like the Cham, the Chinese, the Vietnamese, and the French. The Old Town of Hoi An, filled with small lanes and Chinese-styled shophouses, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
Da Nang is located in between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on the eastern coast of Vietnam. It is a great place to use as a base to explore the attractions of central Vietnam such as Hoi An and Hue, while also having access to beautiful white sand beaches. Da Nang is often overlooked by tourists.
The island of Santorini in Greece is famous for its white stone houses spilling down the cliff, stunning sunsets from Oia town, and dramatic views from the caldera. We opted to stay in Oia which is more peaceful than Fira but still quite busy during the day until the tourists from the cruise ships leave after sunset.
Meteora means “suspended in the air” in Greek. Greek Orthodox monks first settled in this area in Central Greece in the 11th century. The first hermits built simple dwellings in hollows and fissures in the rocks and lived in solitude. Then monks started building monasteries on top of these sandstone columns. These monasteries were built under almost impossible conditions with the materials carried up by monks scaling these sandstone columns. There were originally 24 monasteries perched on these sandstone peaks, now only 6 remain, namely The Great Meteoron, Varlaam, Rousanou, St. Nikolaos, St. Stephen, and Holy Trinity.
Delphi is conveniently on the way from Athens to Meteora and stopping for a visit is a wonderful way to break up the long drive. The drive from Athens to Delphi was a little over 2 hours. Delphi was considered the center of the world by the Ancient Greeks and is also where the most famous oracle resided.