Great Attractions

Roof It Around Stockholm

For some travelers the opportunity to take a guided walking tour of historic buildings is about as appealing as taking a walk through an airport security checkpoint. Yet even those travelers would find the offerings by Stockholm tour operator Upplev Mer cool. That’s because their tours don’t walk alongside acclaimed architecture—they walk on top of it!

Literally. Participants on a Upplev Mer tour scamper across Stockholm’s roof tops like Mary Poppins. Except, instead of using an umbrella for safety, they rely on hard hats, harnesses and cables.

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The Beach in the Middle of the Meadow

Though not on the sea, water at the beach falls and rises with the tides.

In Spain, it isn’t surprising to find a crystal-clear waters lapping up against a golden sand beach. Yet it is completely surprising when you come across Spain’s Playa del Gulpiyuri. That’s because this unusual beach isn’t on the Atlantic Ocean. And it isn’t on the Mediterranean sea. It isn’t even on a lake or next to a river. Instead, Gulpiyuri beach is in the middle of a meadow!

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Take a Chance on The ABBA Museum

Anyone can (attempt to) sing Dancing Queen in a karaoke bar. But what about singing Dancing Queen along with a holographic rendering of ABBA and then fielding a real live phone call from one of the original band members? That’s possible only if you are exceedingly wealthy, eccentric and well-connected — or if you visit The ABBA Museum. It’s part of a new complex in Stockholm that celebrates Sweden’s second most famous export after Ikea furniture: The Swedish Music Hall of Fame.

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Key West Art Scene Hits New Low

It seems unlikely that a 60-year-old ship of war would end up as the home of a surreal art gallery. Which is an example of exactly why Spot Cool Stuff so loves to travel:

The world is full of unlikely attractions in unlikely places. And some of those places aren’t even on land.

So it is with Vandenberg: Life Below the Surface, an underwater art exhibit off the coast of Key West, Florida.

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Majorca in Chopin’s Footsteps

Majorca is full of tourists — mostly British — who flock of the sun-drenched Spanish island in the Balearic Sea for its high-rise hotels, social beach scene and techno-fueled nightlife. Visit specific portions of the island and you’ll certainly find all those. But a vacation on Majorca can be completely different from that experience too.

Instead of staying in a high-rise hotels, travelers can book a villa online — there are all sorts to choose from, many surprisingly affordable.

Instead of the packed beaches, check out the old quarter of the Majorcan capital of Palma. Its medieval architecture and maze of cobblestone lanes ooze history — and are surprisingly unvisited.

And instead of the techno nightlife, take a more classical music approach and follow in the footsteps of Chopin.

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Tuscany and Moravia Through a Telephoto Lens

Spot Cool Stuff is sometimes asked for advice on what camera lenses to bring on a trip. The short answer is: It depends. Different camera types, different travel styles and different destinations require different lenses.

If you are going on a nature trek to somewhere with rolling hills and sweeping vistas, for example, a medium telephoto might make an outstanding choice. Want proof? Look no further than the photography of Marcin Sobas. In particular, we love his shots of the countryside in Tuscany and the Moravia region of the Czech Republic.

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The Glowworm Cave

When it is time for vacation and you go online to research ideas, it often happens that small things can make a big difference in choosing your destination.

Take, for instance, the tiny glowworm. The unusual creature is only about the size of a small mosquito. But when gathered in a large group, the glimmering effect the glowworms create can be worth traversing the globe for.

And you likely will have to traverse a large portion of the globe to experience the glow of the glowworm, unless you happen to live Down Under. That’s where the majority of glowworm habitats are located.

The very best place to go glowworm gazing? That’s inside the appropriately-named Glowworm Cave in Waitomo, New Zealand.

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The Roller Coaster Stairway To Nowhere

Try not to think about the fact that you are above an enormous mound of industrial waste.

There are more than a handful of tourist attractions that feature great staircases. Among those that immediately to mind: the stairs that spiral up the Loretto Chapel in the Vatican, the stairs leading down to the ritual bathing areas along the Ganges River in Varanasi, India and the stairs that ascend Mexico’s Chichen Itza temple. But the world’s coolest set of stairs don’t go anywhere at all. For those you’ll have to visit Angerpark in the town of Duisburg, in the Ruhr area of Germany.

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