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Highlight Adventures in the USA

Highlight Adventures in the USA

A holiday can be many things; it just depends on the kind of experience you’re after. Some like to relax by the pool and take things slow while others like to take in the sights and experience the culture of the place they’re visiting. And let’s not forget the thrill-seekers and explorers among us that see their holidays as an opportunity for adventure and excitement.

The USA is easily one of the best places in the world for an adventure holiday. As a vast continent, the United States offers an array of terrains and incredible landscapes that are ideal for adrenaline junkies, extreme sports lovers, and people that simply want to appreciate the rugged and diverse beauty of the Americas. Companies like Grand American Adventures provide a range of travel packages that cater to the adventurers out there, but here are a few highlights for anyone thinking about heading the USA this year.

 

The Appalachian Trail

 

Appalachian Trail
Image credit: Alyson Hurt – https://flic.kr/p/ZMgG

 

Walking the Appalachian Trail can be an incredible experience, and there are various options on offer such as camping and hut-to-hut travel that covers the 2,160-mile distance. Located in Eastern America, taking this trail is one of the oldest and most popular in America, taking you deep into the back country and into the White Mountains National Park. The Appalachian Trail is the ideal path for adventurers to travel, especially in larger groups. Ideally, the Autumn is the best time to explore the trail because of the fantastic colours on show.

 

Explore the National Parks

 

Eingang Yosemite National Park
Image credits: mindgrow – https://flic.kr/p/8ytK9N

 

America is known for its abundance of wilderness and incredible landscapes, and exploring the country’s national parks can be a great way to experience this first-hand. The national parks offer everything from hiking, rafting, climbing and scenic walks. The National Parks are also diverse, and a traveller can go from forests and geysers at Yellowstone to the Great Sand Dunes of the National Park.

 

Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park
Image credit: Marco Becerra – https://flic.kr/p/cu8PJq

 

Rafting in the Grand Canyon

 

Grand Canyon National Park: Colorado River Boating 3767
Image source: https://flic.kr/p/dSTRXb

 

The Grand Canyon is one of the best known attractions in the USA, thanks to the incredible sweeping vistas and an array of activities to participate in. The raft course in the Colorado is very popular for extreme sports enthusiasts, guaranteeing an array of incredible natural beauty and a swift, exciting way to travel. Taking you through the Grand Canyon and beyond, this is an absolute must.

 

The USA is truly an adventurer’s paradise, and there are so many opportunities for unique experiences that travellers will remember for the rest of their lives. So, if this sounds like the perfect destination to appease your adventurous spirit, start looking for travel packages now.

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3 Naturally Occurring Phenomena You Need to See to Believe

3 Naturally Occurring Phenomena You Need to See to Believe

The world is full of things that make you stop dead in your tracks. The events that take your breath away as you look on in awe. Not all of them occur naturally. Quite a lot of the ‘beauty’ around us is man made. We often take natural phenomena for granted just because we’ve become overexposed to it. Even simple things like a walk through the park doesn’t quite evoke the emotions that it should.

So, sometimes, you need something spectacular to remind you that the world is actually an incredible place. It isn’t something we’ll ever be able to comprehend fully, but at least it’s something we can observe and admire. Here are some of our favourite natural phenomena that you need to visit if you get the chance.

Aurora Borealis

Where else can we begin a list of this nature than with the incredulous Northern Lights? The Aurora itself is often quite confusing. Not many people understand where to go to see it. Or when. Or how. Where can you see the Northern Lights? Well, the truth is that the Aurora Borealis is very unpredictable.

The lights are the result of collisions between electrical particles from the sun as they enter Earth’s atmosphere. The Aurora also occurs in the Southern Hemisphere and, unbelievably, is almost a mirror image of the Northern Lights. Its most common colour is green, but it may vary depending on the gases it comes in contact with.

Mount Olympus from High Divide
Image credit: J Brew – https://flic.kr/p/GkFcJ

Mount Olympus

You might know it best for the role it plays in Greek Mythology, but Mount Olympus is certainly a real mountain. In actuality, it’s the highest mountain point in all of Greece. It has the prestige of being the first national park to open in Greece, where wildlife and unusual forestry is can be observed.

Where things start to get a little bit weird is when a lenticular cloud gathered around the top of the mountain. In the shape of a lens or disc, the clouds covered the whole of Mount Olympus in shadow and was mistaken by locals as a UFO. The actual explanation isn’t anywhere near as remarkable. It’s just an alignment of clouds thanks to the wind. But still, Mount Olympus is definitely a place to check out if you’re visiting Greece. If only for its role in mythology.

Central Asia 100
Image credit: Stefan Krasowski – https://flic.kr/p/agQku2

The Door to Hell

The not at all sinister sounding Door to Hell can be found in the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan. It is a direct result of a natural gas field collapsing into itself and forming a crater that was then accidentally ignited by scientists. Its fire has burned on a constant basis ever since.

Around ten thousand people visit the tourist attraction every year, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a fiery pit; the size of a football field. The desert area around it has become a hotspot for camping, too. In recent times, the president of Turkmenistan has expressed a desire to see the hole covered up. So, you might want to cross this one off the bucket list while you still can.

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Walking Scotland: Top 5 walking routes

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.

Scotland
Image credits: Moyan Brenn – https://flic.kr/p/91iRws

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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Top 5 Places to Visit in Australia

Top 5 Places to Visit in Australia

The world is full of incredible sights, from natural wonders to man made marvels. Keen travellers have been making pilgrimages all across the globe for decades, hopping on planes, trains and boats.

Australia is known for its immense size, the fascinating array of flora and fauna, and the outstanding array of natural attractions that draw thousands of visitors every year. If you’re planning a trip to Australia, found an affordable travel package from a company like Flight Centre and want to get the best experience possible, we’d recommend you try to check out some of the country’s best known places, from the untouched landscapes to the metropolitan and modern experiences available to visitors everywhere.

The Great Barrier Reef

the great barrier reef, Australia
image source: pixabay.com

The Great Barrier Reef is somewhat synonymous with Australia, and no list of attractions or trip to Australia would be complete without it. Australia is famed for its rare and unique animals and plant life, and there’s no better place to witness this than the 2,300 miles of the reef. There are various places to visit here, all offering their own unique experience, with plenty of options for sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving packages available for holiday makers.

Jenolan Caves

Looking up at Jenolan Caves
Image credit: PermaCultured – https://flic.kr/p/7sXjdz

Located in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, the Jenolan Caves offers 11 stunning natural caves, underground rivers and incredible limestone formations. This is an ideal place to visit all throughout the year; as the caves are underground they maintain the same temperature in the heat of summer and chill of winter!

Sydney Opera House

sydney opera house, Australia
image source: pixabay.com

It might seem like a cliché, but the Sydney opera house is one of the most iconic sights that Australia has to offer, and it’s a must-see for that exact reason. Visiting Sydney is one of the things that you simply have to do when in Australia, and the city has plenty to offer aside from the famous opera house.

Uluru/Ayers Rock

Uluru-ayers rock, Australia
image source: pixabay.com

The Sydney Opera House is Australia’s most iconic man-made attraction, and Uluru is arguably the most iconic natural landmark. The rock is rich in history and mysticism, close to Australia’s ‘Red Centre.’ There are various walking tours available, taking you anywhere up from three to seven days to see everything on offer.

Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach, Australia
Image credit: Kevin Gibbons – https://flic.kr/p/25n9CW

Located in the Whitsunday Islands, Whitehaven beach is a seven mile stretch of pure white sands and sparkling azure waters. Ideal for those looking to relax in a truly beautiful, serene atmosphere, the beach is known for its eco-friendliness, and the white sand means that your feet won’t burn, as it doesn’t retain the heat!

 

What other places in Australia would you recommend to holidaymakers? This is only beginning to scratch the surface of what Down Under has to offer!

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Idyllic Getaway: Things to Do in Provence, France

Idyllic Getaway: Things to Do in Provence, France

Famous for its scenic landscapes, local flavors, and mild weather that is perfect for a beach holiday, the southeastern French region of Provence has been drawing vacationers who wish to have a luxurious getaway well away from the bustling modern France. A holiday in Provence will be a time well-spent if you will plan your stay carefully and experience its multi-faceted delights. Start by booking a luxury boutique hotel or a villa to give you that regal ambiance that only Provence can give, then consider your options and activities to ensure that your getaway is the best vacation you’ll ever have.

Discover Provence Natural Wonders

Gordes Village via Pixabay.com

A visit to Provence will not be complete if you miss out on the quintessential villages of the region. Explore astonishing landscapes, magnificent gorges such as the Verdon Gorge and bask in the rich flora of the fields of lavender and poppies. You will find market villages that will encourage you to explore and give you interesting walking opportunities.

Verdon Gorge via Pixabay.com

Join A Wine Tasting Tour

Image credit: Philipp Hertzog [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Provence is also well known for the medieval village where the Papal Home in Avignon is built – the Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The Chateau looks out on rolling hillsides and vineyards. You may find walks, cycle rides and restaurant recommendations for the best wine tasting experience. If you find yourself in this area in August, you may also watch medieval knights, horse contests, parades and also taste delightful courses in different stalls.

Experience the French Wild West

The Pink Flamingos via Pixabay.com

Camargue is a French cowboy country located at the mouth of the Rhone River. This place is perfect for nature lovers who want to see and experience something different. Here you can ride white horses or watch an exotic blend of birds including the pink flamingo.

White horse of Camargue via Pixabay.com

Explore History and Culture

The Roman City of Nimes is home to some impressive remains of the Roman Empire. The “Les Arenes” is a version of the Coliseum but this wonderfully preserved arena still holds bull fighting and Roman games every weekend on the month of May.

You may also opt for visit at Cistercian Abbaye de Senanque which is an 11th century iconic image of Provence. It has a strong Romanesque structure and is surrounded with deep lavender fields.

Cistercian Abbaye de Senanque via Pixabay.com

The City of Love or Paris has always been a dream destination for many travellers. Visiting and seeing the Eiffel Tower in all its glory must be on everyone’s bucket list. But there is more to France than just Paris, head a little south and you’ll be amazed by the sweeping luxury of the French southern region, Provence – Côte d’Azur.

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