Hipmunk’s “Off the Beaten Path” Guide to Rome

Although attractions like the Coliseum and the Vatican top must-see lists for a reason, don’t let your trip to Rome stop there. We’ve compiled a list of five of the best lesser-known Rome attractions to help you see all this beautiful ancient city has to offer. Enjoy your trip off the beaten path!

Baths of Caracalla

The Baths of Caracalla were named for Emperor Caracalla, a Roman ruler who reigned from AD 211-217. The vast ruins that stand today are an incredible monument to Roman architecture and culture, featuring many of the Baths’ original mosaics, tiling and marble walls. The sheer size of the ruins speaks to the scale of Roman construction! This is a great spot to check out incredible Roman ruins without dealing with the crowds that pack more famous destinations. A don’t miss experience: during the summertime, the Baths become a venue for operas and other cultural events.

Palazzo Altemps

Housed in a Renaissance palace, the Palazzo Altemps is a recent addition to the Roman art scene after opening in 1997. Its relative youth makes it one of the city’s best-kept secrets, housing a beautiful collection of classical sculptures without the staggering lines found at other museums. The collection features works from ancient Greece and Rome, most notably a 3rd-century sarcophagus, picturing the Romans fighting the Ostrogoths, carved from a single block of stone.

Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter (or Ghetto) is a historic destination dating back to 1555, when Pope John Paul IV pushed all Jews into a small, restricted walled-off area of the city. Today, while the walls have come down, the area retains the flavor and culture of its early inhabitants. It is the home of the Synagogue of Rome, and a small piece of the original Ghetto wall remains in the area. Take a stroll through to sample kosher food and experience incredible lived history.

Tiber Island

This small island in the middle of the Tiber River has been linked to the Roman mainland by bridge since antiquity. Once called the Insula Inter-Duos-Pontes, or “island between the two bridges”, its bridges are the Ponte Fabricio, the only original bridge in Rome, and the Ponte Cestio. In 239 BC, the Temple of Aesculapius was built on the island to worship the Greek god of healing. Although the temple is now gone, legend still holds that the island is a place of healing.

Aurelian Walls

The Aurelian Walls, a line of city walls built around 271 AD, remain standing after nearly 1400 years of Roman life, creating both a testament to Rome’s history and a line between antiquity and modern Italy. Created to provide fortification against invasion, the walls cover 12 miles in a circuit that includes 383 towers and 2,066 external windows. The walls continued to serve as a military defense for the city until the late 19th century, when the Bersaglieri of the Kingdom of Italy captured Rome.

Ready to stop reading and start sightseeing? Check out http://www.hipmunk.com to book your flights and find your perfect hotel.



Hipmunk Guide to Rio de Janiero for the 2014 World Cup

As thousands descend on Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, all eyes are on Rio de Janeiro: the host city to the Cup’s final match is South America’s premier tourist destination for a reason. Whether you’re cheering on your favorite team or planning a relaxing beach vacation, check out our guide to beautiful Rio:

The Setting

Brazil’s most famous city has a population of about 6.3 million, making it the country’s second largest city and South America’s third largest metropolitan area. Known as the cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city), Rio is a spectacular city surrounded by natural paradise, including white-sand beaches, rainforest and mountains. Home to the final match of the World Cup on July 13, Rio is one of the premier tourist destinations in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Stadium

Maracanã Stadium has a powerful FIFA history: it hosted both the 1950 World Cup final and the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup before being tapped for this year’s championship match. The stadium seats 78,838 spectators, making it the largest stadium in both Brazil and South America. In addition to hosting football matches between the major football clubs in Brazil, the venue is also used for local concerts and sporting events.

What to See

Rio de Janeiro is combines beautiful geography and vibrant city for an incredible vacation experience. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and hit the beach: Rio has dozens of gorgeous white-sand beaches that all link into each other, meaning you can walk from one to the next or simply stay put and soak up the sun. Hikers will find lots to love in Rio, including Floresta da Tijuca, a national park and rainforest within 15 minutes of the city center. Head to Sugarloaf Mountain at sunset for incredible views of the city, including cable cars to take you to the top. For the true Rio experience, dance to samba beats at one of the city’s gafieras (dance halls), where locals meet to party into the night.

What to Eat

In Rio, the local cuisine is all about fusion: traditional indigenous flavors blend with Portuguese and Africa influences to create a unique hybrid flavor. Two of the carnivore-friendly area’s most famous dishes are feijoãda, a stew with black beans and pork, and churrasco, a meal prepared with up to ten types of meat. Cool of with a caipirinha, a cocktail consisting of cane liquor, lemon, sugar and ice. For dessert, Rio locals love quindim, a cake made with egg yolks, sugar and shredded coconut.


Although Rio’s temperature during the day should stay within the 65-75 range, winter in the Southern Hemisphere means there’s always a chance of rain. To avoid the mid-match chills, pack a light raincoat to layer in case of a sudden downpour.

Ready to book your trip to Rio? Check out http://www.hipmunk.com/ to book your flights and find your perfect hotel.

Hotels for Dad

No matter what your dad is into, his perfect hotel is on Hipmunk. Check out our top five Dad-approved hotels to find his ultimate getaway.

The Outdoorsy Dad: The Estes Park Resort Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado


 Stay minutes away from Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the country’s most beautiful hiking spots with scenery ranging from mountains to lakes.  The resort itself features private balconies and patios with lake and garden views, perfect for relaxing after a long day on the trails.

The Golfer Dad: InterContinental the Clement Monterey in Monterey, California


The InterContinental is a short drive from Cypress Point Golf Club, a course surrounded rugged coastline that is consistently ranked as one of the country’s best. After dad’s 18 holes, he can relax with the InterContinental’s outdoor pool, full-service spa, and access to the shops and restaurants of Downtown Monterey.

The Foodie Dad: Affinia Shelburne in New York, New York


This New York hotel, minutes from Times Square, puts Dad within walking distance of  many of the city’s greatest restaurants, including Chef Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin, a seafood restaurant consistently rated the United States’ best. After a five-star meal, work it off at the hotel’s complimentary fitness center or mingle with other guests at a complimentary manager’s reception.

The Beachgoing Dad: Ocean Key Resort in Key West, Florida


This four-star resort is the perfect home base for a relaxing beach vacation: it’s situated steps away from the beach, restaurants, and other popular Key West attractions. Private balconies and poolside bars let you soak up the sun, while jetted bathtubs, room service, and a spa provide luxurious indoor alternatives.

The Techy Dad: Hotel 1000 in Seattle, Washington


Take a quick walk to the Living Computer Museum, founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to preserve the history of information technology. After a day of interactive sessions with vintage computers, geeks can unwind at the hotel’s restaurant or with room service, or stop by the spa, health club and sauna.


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