Summer Break on the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Kauai
April 29th, 2013
The state of Hawaii is famous for its year round sunshine, rich culture and endless stretches of sandy beaches. Hawaii is comprised of several islands and as the name suggests, the Big Island is by far the largest and most popular of these islands. However, people who want to escape the crowds a little will discover that the enchanting islands of Maui and Kauai also have a lot to offer.
People who travel to this stunning part of the world will want to allow plenty of time to explore the beauty of Hawaii’s various islands. However, public transportation is rather limited in Hawaii, so it is best to pick up car hire when visiting each island so that you can explore independently at your own pace and enjoying the great moment during the Hawaii cruises.
Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island and this is a particularly popular destination with newly married couples. This is also one of the best sports for surfing and windsurfing in this part of the world, while the island features more than 50 kms of beautiful sandy beaches running along the coasts. Nature lovers will also love the diverse range of natural attractions that are waiting to be discovered here, and trekking through the jungle is a great way to see the island’s rich flora and fauna.
The main settlement on Maui is Lahaina, which was established as a whaler’s town in the 19th century. The town’s streets are lined with a number of quaint shops as well as boutiques and galleries, while some of the main highlights here include the 1859 Courthouse, Ho Wing Temple, the Baldwin House and Hale Paahao Prison Museum. Lahaina also features a number of historic taverns, which are great places to enjoy a drink in the evening.
The small island of Kauai boasts a diverse range of natural attractions for visitors to explore and driving along the Na Pali Coast to discover dramatic cliffs rising 4,000 feet above the ocean is an unforgettable experience. The north shore is also home to the stunning Lumahai Beach, which is the perfect place to pause for an hour or two, while the nearby town of Hanalei was originally settled by ancient Pacific voyagers and features a good range of historic and cultural attractions.
Visitors can follow the winding road that leads along the coast to west Kauai, which is famous for natural attractions such as the awe-inspiring Waimea Canyon. Nearby Polihale State Park is another popular hiking spot, while just to the north is the scared site of Polihale heiau. Other attractions on Kauai that should not be missed include the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Coconut Coast and the Wailua River, which is a popular kayaking and boating spot.
Five of the best sights and attractions in Alicante
April 19th, 2013
Alicante is one of the most popular tourist cities in southern Spain. It’s a city rich with history and culture, and its home to dozens of interesting sights and attractions. The city is easily reached, too, with an international airport nearby and excellent railway links with Spain and other neighbouring European countries.
This article will provide a rundown of 5 of the best sights and attractions in Alicante.
#1 – Postiguet Beach & San Juan Beach
Alicante is home to two beaches – Postiguet Beach and San Juan Beach.
Postiguet Beach is the easier of the two to reach as it is located in the heart of Alicante. It’s a great beach to sunbathe on during the day with fine, golden sands and plenty of shelter from the wind, and a great beach to party on during the night with beach parties being held regularly after the sun sets.
San Juan Beach is slightly harder to reach as it is located further away from Alicante than Postiguet Beach. Buses, trams, and trains leave Alicante for San Juan Beach on a regular basis with the trip taking no longer than 20 minutes.
At 7km long, San Juan Beach is one of the longer beaches in Spain. It’s also considered by many to be one of the best beaches in Spain.
With it’s beautiful, golden sands and cliff cover, San Juan Beach is perfect for sunbathing. Its waters are also crystal clear and warm all year round making San Juan Beach a great spot for snorkelling. The beach is normally relatively quiet, too, making it easy to find a secluded spot for some private sunbathing.
#2 – Castle of Saint Barbara
Sitting on top of Mount Benacantil at a height of 170 metres, the Castle of Saint Barbara is one of the largest and most impressive medieval castles in Spain. The castle, built in the 9th century by Muslim settlers, is also remarkably well preserved considering its age.
The castle contains a number of exhibitions inside that tell the history of the castle and its construction. It also offers stunning views over the city of Alicante and its harbour.
The Castle of Saint Barbara can be reached by taking a lift at the foot of Mount Benacantil. A return ticket for the lift will cost approximately €2.40. Alternatively, the castle can be reached on foot via the “Plaza de Carmen”. The walk can be difficult in places, though – make sure to bring plenty of water if you decide to take this option.
#3 – Museums, art galleries, and architecture
Alicante is home to a number of art galleries and museums showcasing art and exhibits created by local artists and historians.
Of the city’s many art galleries and museums, the Archaeological Museum of Alicante, a museum featuring exhibits that tells the history of Alicante; the Gravina Museum of Fine Arts, a museum containing art created by famous Spanish artists; and the Asegurada Museum of Modern Art, a modern art museum featuring works by Picasso, Braque, Fris, Miro, and more; are arguably the best.
Alicante’s Old Town is also home to dozens of beautiful, rustic buildings built centuries ago by settlers in the area. The remnants of Alicante’s Old Town can be leisurely explored on foot. A picnic can be enjoyed in one of the Old Town’s many parks, too. A relaxing day spent exploring Alicante’s Old Town can be a great way to unwind after arriving on flights to Alicante.
#4 – The Canelobre Caves
Located 15 miles to the north of Alicante in the small town of Busot, the Canelobre Caves are some of the most impressive caves in Spain.
The Canelobre Caves’ feature impressive stalactites and stalagmites that reach sizes up to 20m. The caves also feature an unusually high 70m vault that gives the tops of the caves a unique look similar to that of a cathedral.
The Canelobre Caves can be easily reached by train. Entrance to the caves costs €5.
#5 – Benidorm
Benidorm, a seaside resort town on the Costa Blanca, is one of the most popular tourist towns in Spain. The town is home to a number of excellent restaurants, two beautiful Blue Flag beaches, and interesting sights and attractions. It also contains a number of water parks and theme parks filled with thrilling rides.
Benidorm can reached from Alicante in less than an hour by train or by car. The resort town is the perfect place to visit on a daytrip.
Some Great Old Train Photos
August 10th, 2012
One thing I am looking forward to in the coming weeks and months is finding some great train photos to inspire those about to embark on the Ultimate Train Challenge this November to try to win the great Eurail passes for Best Photo and Best Video on UTC12.
These photos are from National Library of Ireland on The Commons’ photostream. I just love the feeling of the era you get from looking at them.
What do you think?
You Have More Questions?
August 1st, 2012
Feel free to contact us with any questions you have about UTC12.
Some of the questions we will be answering in the coming days with posts on our blog, which is here, so you might want to be scrolling through that in the coming weeks.
Worried about the Weather?
July 30th, 2012
If you have ever wanted to challenge yourself in the area of travel — this is the time to sign up. UTC12 is going to take you almost 15,000 miles (25,000 kilometers) from one end of the Earth to the other.
All by the best mode of transport, the glorious train.
Are you worried about doing it in November? Fair enough. The weather in Russia, Mongolia and northern China is likely to be chilly. Average temps in that part of the world at that time are hovering around freezing.