Three Alternative Desert-based Activities in Dubai

Dubai is arguably the most well-known of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates because of its fast development especially in terms of infrastructure – the Burj Dubai or Burj Khalifa being the most notable example – of openness to other cultures, and of wide range of activities, among other reasons. Indeed, if you are looking for desert-based outdoor activities, then Dubai is the best place to start!


Dubai Desert Safari Campsite

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Keep in mind, too, that Dubai directly lies within the Arabian Desert. Dubai’s deserts are characterised by sandy desert patterns consisting mostly of coral and crushed shells, hence, its fine, clean and white quality. East of the city lies the dunes running along a north-south line, which give way to the sabkha, the salt-crushed coastal plains, while farther to the east lies larger, red-tinged dunes.

The result: Dubai has the perfect topography for the enjoyment of many of the best desert-based activities in the entire United Arab Emirates. Here are a few of these outdoor activities that even children can enjoy:


  1. Travel by Hot Air Balloon

See Dubai from your vantage point high up in the sky! Glide up and away in a colourful hot air balloon over the beautiful landscape of the Dubai Desert Conservation for a new appreciation of the beauty of modern Dubai amidst its more natural setting. You will find that there are plenty of new things to discover up in the air that you would otherwise not appreciate on the ground, too. Places like Balloon Adventures offer good packages for this at


  1. Go on a Sand-boarding Safari

The best modern way to travel and enjoy the spectacular sand dunes of Dubai is via a 4×4 truck. Think of driving over the sand dunes as akin to a natural roller-coaster ride – going up the sand dunes speeds up your heart rate and then going down drops your heart into your stomach. It’s so fun that laughing and screaming your heart out is encouraged!

Once on the sand dunes, you will easily find the best sand dunes to slip and slide on a sand-board – yet another activity that will get your heart racing, your laughter booming, and your mood lightening. You should ideally have an expert guide/sand-boarder along for the ride since it can be easy to become disoriented in the desert as well as fall on your face on the sand dunes without proper instruction.


  1. Village and Desert Tour

But Dubai is not all there is to the Emirate either. You can travel east to the well-preserved Hajr Heritage Village, which dates back to the 16th century. Located in Al-Hajar, one of the most scenic mountains near Oman, the village gas mud-walled houses and mosques worthy of exploration.

After the village, your next destination is the open yet arid desert plains where Jebel Maleinah and Camel Rock are waiting to be explored; these are sites known for both their spectacular rock formations and abundance of fossils. Be sure to stop for lunch here, too, as your explorations can make you thirsty and hungry.


Of course Dubai has plenty of sports activities in the desert too, such as obstacle races that challenge personal endurance, stamina and strength in both the mental and physical sense. It is important to make sure you are wearing the correct attire for all outdoor activities and there are many outdoor sports retailers in the region. Sun and Sand Sports have a wide range of outdoor equipment from GoPro cameras to camping equipment and outdoor shoes to help make your activity of choice a memorable one. Just be sure to be in the right gear whether you are engaged in the above mentioned leisure activities or in any of the outdoor sports activities Dubai has to offer.

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Three Of The Best Holiday Spots In Cuba

Cuba may be famous in Western culture for ChéGuevera, the Cold War, and vintage cars, but there is so much more to see. As the US trade embargo has recently been lifted, holidaymakers are flocking in their hundreds to get a taste of the time-warped island before it has a chance for any American influences. But with so much to see and do over the beautiful island, it’s almost always a good time to visit. Book your trip to Cuba with Cuba Holidays and see the best places for yourself.


Old Town, Havana



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Any visitor’s first stop in Cuba should be to visit the warm and eclectic region of Old Havana, in the North of the country. During the day you can take a taxi in a remodelled vintage cadillac, sipping a spicy cuban coffee in a cafe in Plaza Vieja; visit the Museo Nacional de BellasArtes to see a rich variety of Cuban art; or learn more about its turbulent political history in the Museo de la Revolución. As dusk falls, you can take a tour of the museum and distillery in the Havana Club Museum, which incidentally has a bar attached; or head to 1830 for a proper cubalibré and salsa dancing lessons.


Viñales Valley, Pinar del Río


view over the Vinales valley

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Surrounded by beautiful mountains, Cuba’s National Park has something for everyone. Nature lovers and ramblers will enjoy an afternoon hike, through tobacco plantations and between dome-shaped mogote hills. The relaxed trail restrictions allow you to choose from hundreds of routes according to your stamina and ability, perfect for beginners and advanced hikers. If walking is too slow, the relatively flat terrain provides some of the most scenic (and relaxing) cycling paths in the Caribbean, while you can even have a try at climbing the mogotes with local teachers. Alternatively, there are a couple of options for going caving or even take a dip in an underground pool. The surrounding villages are inhabited by a multicultural blend of African, Indigenous, and Spanish origins, as reflected in the delicious food and gorgeous handicrafts for sale.


Trinidad, Central Cuba


Trinidad, Cuba

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If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live in the 19th century, an overnight stay in Trinidad will show you. Originally a Spanish colonial settlement, built upon a sugar plantation industry, the city remains virtually unchanged after 1850. Wander around the stunning architecture of this UNESCO protected ghost-town, surrounded on one side by lush mountain jungles and on the other by picture-perfect beaches. Get a sense of context by visiting the MuseoHistórico Municipal, and be sure to climb the tower to see a panoramic view of the city; while the Casa TemploSanteríaYemayá preserves the traditional Afro-Cuban religion Santería.


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Walking Scotland: Top 5 walking routes

From the country’s glistening lochs to its history-soaked coastlines and sky-scraping mountains, Scotland is truly a rambler’s paradise. With so many natural beauty spots to explore, it can be difficult to know which of the many walking trails to follow.


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To help you on your way, Shoetique has created this useful guide to the very best walks in Scotland, so you can effortlessly plan your next walking holiday.

South Loch Ness Trail

Loch Ness has become something of a tourist destination, with people travelling far and wide to try and spot the legendary Nessie. For a more relaxing experience, follow the South Loch Ness Trail.

The route is quite lengthy at 28 miles in total, so you may want to tackle it in sections depending on how long you’ll be in the area for. The elevated route begins at Loch Tarff and provides ramblers with exceptional views of Loch Ness as they make their way towards Torbreck.

It’s not just the majestic scenery you’ll be able to take in during the route though. You’ll see everything from the remains of an Iron Age fort to the Thomas Telford pier.

Where to stop:

Towards the end of your ramble, you’ll pass through the village of Dores. Situated on the shores of the Loch, The Dores Innis the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing drink and a home cooked meal as you look over the glass-like waters.

What boots?

Due to the steep inclines that feature along this route, it’s really important that you choose a pair of walking boots with a sturdy grip and padding around the ankles for extra support.

Arthur’s Seat

When most people think of Edinburgh, they think of a bustling Scottish city — and they’d be right! Yet many people are unaware of the hill walking opportunities the urban area has to offer.

Arthur’s Seat is a dormant volcano in Holyrood Park. While the route may be rocky and rough, it makes a great trail for walkers who want to enjoy spectacular views across Edinburgh’s city centre at the top. If you’re not cut out for the terrain, you can still take in the picturesque park from ground level.

Where to stop:

Because of Holyrood Park’s close proximity to the city centre, walkers are spoilt for choice when it comes to refreshment breaks. A popular choice is The Sheep Heid Inn. Located on the edge of the park, the homely pub is the perfect place to warm up.

Walking the route in the summer? Pack a picnic and dine alfresco in the park.

What boots?

Protecting the foot is key if you’re going to succeed on this route’s terrain. Opt for cushioned soles to protect against uneven rocks and stones, and a waterproof upper to tackle the occasionally boggy conditions.

Find out more:

More information about the route can be found at WalkHighlands website.

Ben Lomond

Standing at 3194ft above sea level, Ben Lomond is perhaps one of the most outstanding mountains in the Scottish Highlands, offering panoramic views over Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas.

Starting in Rowardennan, the route takes walkers through wooded spaces over steep pathways towards the summit. From there, you can admire the amazing views as you slowly descend the trail. With a moderate to hard rating, the steep sections of this walk will put even experienced walkers to the test.

Where to stop:

The Rowardennan Hotelis located at the base of Ben Lomond, making it an ideal stop-off as you descend from the mountain. If the weather permits, take your tipple outside to the beer garden and truly soak up the views of the magnificent Loch Lomond and surrounding mountains.

What boots?

As Ben Lomond is a mountain, you’ll need professional equipment to ensure your safety. Cushion, support and stability are all factors you should look for when it comes to boots, while you’ll also need base layers and waterproof clothing for the trek.

Find out more:

For more information about this route, visit Walking Britain.

The John Muir Way

At 134 miles in total, The John Muir Way should be split across a few trips due to its sheer length. Running from Helensburgh to Dunbar, the route has been split into sections for those who do not have the seven to ten days required to walk the full way.

While nature dazzles throughout the walk, it is particularly spectacular from North Berwick to Dunbar. Over the 15-mile stretch, you’ll climb Berwick Law to enjoy spectacular views over East Lothian and the Forth, explore the picture-perfect surroundings of the John Muir Country Park and wonder at the imposing Tantallon Castle.

Where to stop:

You’ll find plenty of perfect picnic spots along the route as well as many pubs and eateries too. Once you’ve reached Dunbar Harbour, pay a visit to The Volunteer Arms for some freshly caught seafood.

What boots?

The length of the route means you’ll encounter a variety of terrains during your trip. Because of this, it’s best to choose a pair of all-purpose walking boots, with a thick tread, cushioned soles and support around the ankles.

Find out more:

There’s plenty of other sections of the route that are worthy of a ramble. You can find out full details of the route on the official John Muir Way site.

The Borders Abbeys Way

The Borders Abbeys Way is a circular route in the centre of the Scottish Borders. Comprising of 64.5 miles in total, the walk has been divided into five sections so you can tackle it piece by piece. With an easy to medium terrain throughout, it’s worth trying to tackle the full route at some point, especially the 12-mile stretch from Kelso to Jedburgh.

During this section, you’ll take in the pretty sights as you work your way along the river bank. Look out for the many picture-perfect stone bridges and make sure you pack your camera to take a photo of the Abbey of Jedburgh ruins as your walk comes to a close.

Where to stop:

Treat yourself at the end of your walk at the Clock Tower Bistro and Bar, in Jedburgh. Offering a selection of wines, cocktails and fine foods, it’s the perfect place to indulge after a long ramble through Scotland’s outstanding scenery.

What boots?

From Kelso to Jedburgh, the terrain remains relatively flat. Select a pair of walking boots with cushioned soles to ensure you are comfortable throughout the duration of your route.

Find out more:

You can learn more about the route by visiting The Borders Abbeys Way official site.

Visit Shoetique today to discover an incredible selection of outdoor footwear for your next adventure.

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Visiting England? Here Are The Places I Recommend

Are you a self-professed anglophile?  If you are then I’m sure you’ll be booking a trip here very soon. There are so many great things to see and do in England I don’t want you to miss any of them. That’s why I’ve picked and listed my favourite places to go and things to do in our little country. Let’s start then where I’m sure your flight will be landing, in London.



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London is so jam packed full of interesting sites and activities, you could spend your whole holiday there. But, if you want my advice you’ll just take a couple of days exploring the city. It’s more than enough time to get in all the interesting sites. You can start by taking in a West End show, and I can’t think of one better than Wicked. It’s nothing compared to the version on Broadway. But if you’ve never seen it before it’s still not to be missed. You can book your tickets early online for some great seats. Or, if you’re planning on heading over here next year, you could book tickets this weekend for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child. Now that it has officially been announced as a sequel you should make sure you’re the first in line

There are two things that you can’t leave London without doing. The first is to take a trip up on the London eye. From there you can see the entire city and the view is breathtaking. An extra tip is to look for the mark on the floor to get the spot for the best photo op. The second, if you’re a keen shopped like me, is Oxford Street. Who knew one place could be packed full of so many of the best shops in the world. I’ve spent many happy hours there.

After that, you can either head North or South. Let’s start with North and head to…


When I try and pick my favourite Blackpool tourism spot, I always stumble. There are so many to choose from. But since I love my theme parks, I’m going to have to recommend Pleasure Beach. It’s such a fun park filled with exciting rides and fun opportunities. The park also changes depending on what season you’re visiting it in. If you head over near halloween you’re certain to find some extra scares. The Pepsi Max while aged, is still one of the best rides in the UK due to its massive height and scope, but there are many more to choose from.


But, if you’re visiting England in the Summer, you have to head south and visit Cornwall. Here, you’ll find the surfing capital of the UK. So, if you’re keen to try your luck on some waves, this is the place to visit. After that, you can take a trip along the coast for some breathtaking scenery and views. Don’t forget to head to Dover to see the white cliffs. Again, take my advice and rent a boat to get the best view of the British coast.

The White Cliffs of Dover

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Wherever you go in England, I hope you have fun over here on your next holiday.

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4 Steps to Planning a Trip Through California

I have been all over the USA and seen some incredible places. Of the states I’ve visited, California has to be one of my favorites. And not just because I’ve lived there! It’s such a diverse place, with everything ranging from beautiful coastline to busy cities. There’s so much to see that I wouldn’t blame anyone for being unsure about where to go. If you only have a week or two to see the sights, it’s a tough choice to decide what to cover. Even with a month or two, you might discover that you’re short on time. If you want to plan a trip through California, here are my top tips for making sound decisions.


Set a Budget

Before you go anywhere, you need to know what you can afford. Planning my budget is my least favorite part of traveling, but I wouldn’t skip it. It helps to know exactly how much I can spend on wherever I’m going. All you need to know at first is how much you’re willing to pay, and then you can work out how far it will get you. Doing some research on prices wherever you’re going will help. In some places, $100 is going to buy you a lot more than in other locations. Some people let their budgets guide them so they can get the most out of their trip.


California Redwoods

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Choose Your Focus

California is a big place, and there’s a lot to see and do. Deciding on a focus for your trip could be a good idea. Although, if you’re like me, you might want to do a bit of everything! Some people like to choose a central theme for their journey, whether it’s being active or exploring food and drink. If you pick something like this, it can help you decide on the best places to go. Anyone who wants to get out into nature is sure to prefer going to Yosemite over a trip to Los Angeles.


Length of Your Stay

You need to think about how long you want to travel for to help you plan your trip. If you only have a week or so, you might stay in one or two places, or you might do a whirlwind tour of several locations. Similarly, if you have plenty of time to explore, you could spend a few days at each destination or you could get to know some places better. If you want to stay somewhere for a few weeks, an extended-stay hotel is ideal. For example, Sajan Hansji of J Street Hospitality has just sold the Residence Inn San Diego Downtown – Gaslamp Quarter. The hotel is in a great location for anyone wanting to stay in San Diego with access to excellent amenities.


Decide How to Travel

There are several ways you can travel through California on your trip. Many people choose to do a road trip, but you could also travel by rail. And if you want a faster method, flying will get you from A to B in only a few hours. Think about how much time you have before you decide which method of transport to use.


You can see some incredible places in California, whether you’re looking for wine or wilderness. Plan your trip carefully to make the most of your time there.

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