Travel Trivia: 29 Fun Facts About The World

When you travel, you collect more than souvenirs. You broaden your horizons, amass meaningful memories, and expand your knowledge about the world. The best travelers – the ones who are more than just tourists – have a thirst for knowledge that can never really be quenched. We’re here to help! These quick travel facts will help satisfy your desire to learn about the world around you—until your next cruise rolls around, at least.

Even better, these 29 fascinating facts about the world will help you win a round of bar trivia, crush your opponents in a game of Trivial Pursuit, or just impress your dinner companions when you drop some knowledge over dessert.

The Most Beautiful Shortcut on Earth

The Panama Canal is hailed as one of humankind’s greatest achievements of the 20th Century. The building of the canal allowed ships traveling from New York to California to shave close to 8,000 miles off the journey.

The Panama Canal

We think the Panama Canal is one of those spectacles a person has to see in person to truly appreciate the magnificence. And there’s no better way to do so than to sail through the canal on an Azamara voyage. You can browse our upcoming Panama Canal cruises here.

The Vatican’s Fascinating Fashion

Have you ever seen a member of The Vatican’s Swiss Guard and wondered why they wear such eye-catching uniforms? The distinct red, blue, and yellow striped suits Swiss Guard soldiers don are thought to have been inspired by one of Raphael’s Renaissance paintings. That Michelangelo designed the uniforms himself is, in fact, a myth.

The Vatican’s Swiss Guard

Visiting Vatican City is one of the top things to do in Rome, thanks to its expansive museum complex and the breathtaking St. Peter’s Basilica. Will you join us for a Roman holiday soon?

Can You Say Bangkok’s Official Name 10 Times Fast?

The official, full name of Bangkok is quite a mouthful. Try saying it once, let alone 10 times fast! Here goes:

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit

Phew! We think we’ll stick to putting “Bangkok” on our itineraries. Did you know that when you cruise to Bangkok with Azamara, we dock in the heart of the city? Our ships dock at the Klong Toey port along the Chao Phraya River, while larger ships have to dock over an hour away. Our Bangkok cruises also include two overnight stays, giving you plenty of time to explore the city. Browse those itineraries here.

A temple in Bangkok.

How Do the Seven Sisters Stack Up?

The Seven Sisters Waterfall, near Geiranger, Norway, is one of the world’s most stunning waterfalls. But did you know it’s only the 39th tallest waterfall in Norway? The tallest stream of the Seven Sisters Waterfall measures 250 meters. The Sisters’ beauty comes from its location along the fjord. Across from the Seven Sisters is a single stream waterfall, known as The Suitor.

There’s no better way to see the Seven Sisters Waterfall and bear witness to its splendor than onboard a cruise ship. (Our captains always make a 360-degree turn, so you can admire the waterfalls from every angle.) See our upcoming Norwegian Fjords cruises here.

The tallest stream of the Seven Sisters Waterfall in Norway

Vietnam’s Official Language

The Vietnamese language has six different tones, and a change in tone changes the meaning of a word.

We cruise to three incredible Vietnamese ports: Da Nang, near Hoi An and Hue; Halong Bay, near Hanoi; and Ho Chi Minh City (often called Saigon).

A woman boats down a river in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Great Sights From Space

Plenty of man-made structures can be spotted from space, including the Great Pyramids of Giza and the greenhouses of Almeria. And contrary to popular belief, the Great Wall of China cannot be seen from space. But did you know that the Great Barrier Reef is the only living structure that can be spotted from outer space? It’s true! The colossal coral reef stretches across more than 2,000km along the northeast coast of Australia. White calcium carbonate coats the coral and reflects light, making it visible from space.

An aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef.

We still recommend seeing it up close and personal, though. Cruise to Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and so much more, for the adventure of a lifetime. Check out our voyages here.

Gambling in Monaco

You’ve probably heard of one of Monaco’s most famous landmarks, the Grand Casino de Monte Carlo. But what you may not have known is gambling is actually illegal for citizens of Monaco! In fact, even just setting foot in the casino is illegal for Monaco citizens, with the exception of its employees. However, the law doesn’t apply to more than 80% of the population, as foreign nationals residing in Monaco are exempt.

Monte Carlo's casino lit up at night.

If you fancy doing a little gambling in Monte Carlo, be our guest! Join us on an upcoming voyage to Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Crazy for Cruising

The Port of Miami holds the record for the busiest cruise port in the world. In 2016 4.8 million cruise passengers traveled through its facilities. Miami is a popular embarkation port for cruises to the Caribbean, as well as transatlantic cruises, cruises to Mexico, cruises to South America, and more. Browse all the options here.

An Azamara cruise ship embarking from Miami.

Who Wants to Sit on the Iron Throne?

Dubrovnik, Croatia is a filming location for the HBO hit show Game of Thrones, serving as the mythical capital city King’s Landing. In season one, another favorite cruise port doubled as King’s Landing: Valletta, Malta

Dubrovnik, Croatia, a filming location for the HBO hit Game of Thrones

Daydreaming about what it would be like to sit on the Iron Throne? Join us on a voyage to Dubrovnik and walk in the footsteps of the Lannisters.

What Do We Love About the Med? Olive It.

Olives have been cultivated in the Mediterranean since around 4,000 B.C. It’s believed that the Greeks introduced the crop to Italians around 600 B.C. Dig deeper into the history of Mediterranean cuisine by reading this article.

The sun shining through the branches of an olive tree at sunset.

Here Be Dragons

The Komodo Dragon, native to the Indonesian island of Komodo, is the largest living lizard. Can you believe the largest verified Komodo Dragon grew to 10.3 feet long and weighed 366 pounds? Wow!

Back in 2015, travel blogger Lee Abbamonte shared his story of visiting Komodo Dragons during an Azamara cruise. We’re offering voyages there again in 2018 and 2019.

 Komodo Dragon on a beach

Red, White, and Bordeaux

Bordeaux is famous for producing red wines, typically from grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec. However, until the 1970s the region produced more white wine than red. Bordeaux’s white wines are usually made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes.

Vineyards in Bordeaux.

Cruising to Bordeaux is a must for wine lovers, and our small ships take you right up the Garonne River. Browse upcoming Bordeaux cruises here.

Dripping in Diamonds

There are many beautiful sights to behold in Yangon, Myanmar, but perhaps the most breathtaking of all is the Shwedagon Pagoda. The gilded stupa (a structure containing relics that’s used for meditation) features an umbrella crown covered with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies.  At the very top is a stunning 76-carat diamond.

See it for yourself during one of our upcoming voyages to Yangon!

 Myanmar’s Shwedagon Pagoda

The Olympics in Athens

Greece is the birthplace of the Ancient Olympic Games, with the first iteration of the festival dating back to 776 BC. Did you know that Greece has hosted the Modern Olympics Games just twice? The first Modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896. The Olympics returned to Athens again in 2004.

When you visit Athens, visit the Panathenaic Stadium and walk (or sprint) in the footsteps of the world’s best athletes. Here’s when we’re cruising to Athens.

The Panathenaic stadium in Athens, Greece

Berlin’s Famous Street Art

Berlin is arguably the street art capital of the world. The city’s famous East Side Gallery is located on a 1.3-kilometer section of the Berlin Wall. It features 105 paintings by artists from all over the world. Meanwhile, the Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art opened in 2017 and is the world’s largest street art museum. 

Browse our upcoming voyages to Berlin and explore the city’s riveting graffiti art scene in person.

New Zealand’s Sheepish Population

Back in 1982, New Zealand’s sheep-to-human population ratio reached a historic high of 22 sheep for every one person. Today, that ratio has dropped significantly. As of a January 2017 report, New Zealand was home to 27.6 million sheep—around six for every one person.

Sheep in a field in New Zealand.

Get to know the people (and sheep) of New Zealand during a cruise there

The “Other” Golden Gate Bridge

Lisbon’s 25 de Abril Bridge has the longest central span of any suspension bridge in Europe and is even longer than San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. It’s often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge, as it’s a suspension bridge of a similar color. However, it was actually constructed by the company who built San Francisco’s Bay Bridge, not the Golden Gate.

Cruise beneath it with us on a voyage to Lisbon!

Lisbon’s 25 de Abril Bridge

Meal Delivery in Mumbai

 In Mumbai, dabbawallahs are delivery people who take hot lunches from homes and restaurants to workers. They deliver over 200,000 lunch boxes every day. The service dates back to around 1890.

Enjoy lunch (and so much more) in Mumbai during a cruise to the Indian Ocean. Browse our upcoming voyages here.

The Roots of St. Isaac's

St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg is the city’s largest Orthodox cathedral and among the largest cathedrals in the world. But, did you know this beautiful cathedral rests on 10,000 tree trunks? They’re sunken into the marshy ground below. 

St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

Visit St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and the city’s other magnificent sites, when you cruise to St. Petersburg with Azamara.

Castle in the Clouds

The name Meteora means “suspended in air”—and we bet you can see why! Monasteries were built on Meteora’s rocks centuries ago, but today only six remain. Monks reside in four of the Eastern Orthodox monasteries, while nuns live in the other two.

Monasteries built on Meteora’s rocks

Visit Meteora when you cruise to Volos, Greece with us.

115 Tropical Paradises

The Republic of Seychelles is comprised of 115 tropical islands in the Indian Ocean. Nearly half of the country’s landmass is devoted to national parks and nature reserves, making it one of the world leaders in protecting land for threatened species. Browse our upcoming voyages to Seychelles here.

A beach in the Republic of Seychelles,

Barcelona’s Tallest Structure

The Torres de Collserola telecommunications tower is the tallest structure in Barcelona, at 945 feet. For comparison, the 44-story Hotel Arts is the tallest building at 505 feet, and once complete, the Sagrada Familia will reach 560 feet.

The Torres de Collserola telecommunications tower in Barcelona

 Admire Barcelona’s incredible architecture on a voyage there! Browse cruises here.

Paris’s Biggest Paint Job

Once every seven years, the Eiffel Tower gets a fresh paint job. It takes more than 60 metric tons of brown paint. Planning to visit Paris before or after your Azamara cruise? Read our guide to spending a couple days in the city.

The Eiffel Tower

Red Sky at Night, Volcano’s Delight

When the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia erupted in 1883, the resulting debris caused vibrant red sunsets around the world for up to three years afterward.

Denmark’s Green Transportation

Denmark has twice the number of bicycles as cars. In particular, Copenhagen is known for its biking culture and nearly every road features a bike lane. Take a spin around town when you cruise to Copenhagen with us!

A bicycle leaning against a wall of ivy in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Perfect Pour

Pouring a pint of Guinness is a skill, which can be perfected at Dublin’s Guinness Academy. The “perfect pour” should be done at an angle of 45 degrees, and take 119.5 seconds. Give it a try next time you’re in Dublin—we can take you there.

Venice’s Many Bridges

Venice is a city comprised of many tiny islands, separated by canals and connected by a series of footbridges. But have you ever wondered how many bridges there are? In fact, Venice is home to 417 bridges. You can’t set foot on all of them, though, as 72 are private. Two of the most famous are the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs. Cruise beneath the bridges of Venice during a gondola ride when you visit next—with us, of course! Browse upcoming cruises to Venice here.

The Bridge of Sighs in Venice.

Ride the World’s Oldest Subway

London’s Metropolitan Railway was the world’s first subway. To retrace part of the original route, ride the Circle Line from Paddington to Covent Garden. Then hop off and do a little shopping. The area around Covent Garden is known for its historic market and trendy boutiques. Ready to go? These voyages will bring you to the heart of London.

Australia’s Hopping Kangaroo Population

As of 2017, Australia’s kangaroo population was around 50 million—or around two kangaroos for everyone one person. That’s a big increase from 2009 when there were only around 27 million kangaroos. Interact with Australia’s famous wildlife when you visit—browse our upcoming voyages here.

A kangaroo on a beach in Australia.

Which of these 29 travel trivia facts did you find most interesting? Let us know on our Facebook page, where we share new photos, videos, stories, and fun facts about travel every day.  

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