France will always have a uniquely romantic, dreamy appeal to all sorts of travelers. Whether you’ve seen the glamorous French Riviera, or you’ve explored the countryside, you know just how intoxicating France is at its core. But Paris! The only city in this world that will always be as desirable as it ever was. The idea of Paris, the city of romance, gets us all weak at the knees, doesn’t it? The warm croissants for breakfast, the loud French markets, the impeccable wine – it’s a dream come true.
Despite all the fame the Eiffel Tower has brought Paris, and the many invaluable masterpieces guarded on the walls of Louvre, there are other ways to truly bask in Paris. Here are five of those offbeat ways you can include in your own itinerary.
1. Rent a bike
No matter how brief or long your stay is, you’ll always need that one week more to enjoy Paris. There’s always another street to discover, and another patisserie to visit. However, you can ensure that you see more simply by choosing a better mode of transport, and the best one for Paris is a bicycle. They even have a share system by the name of Velib that you can use while you’re there.
The local bike lanes will take you through spots you’d miss if you take the subway or the bus, and you’ll be doing the Parisian air a favor this way. Not to mention that you’ll join the local crowd faster this way.
2. Wake up your inner gourmet
This one may sound too obvious to begin with, but ever since the foodie travel scene developed, people have shifted their focus to the more “exotic” menus of the world. The good old French cuisine remains a staple worth your time and palate, and Paris is the best possible place to sample some of the finest bites France has ever made.
But don’t be fooled by their love for fine gastronomy and old recipes, because Parisians also have a knack for trying new recipes and pushing your palatable boundaries. From fine dining spots, all the way to novel eating concepts such as molecular gastronomy, Paris has it all. Pro tip: don’t skip their local fromageries and chocolatiers, as their specialty stores are particularly delightful.
3. Get your hands dirty
This one is for people who really like to immerse themselves into the local mindset and get behind the scenes, especially if you’re a foodie. In fact, locally-inspired and private tours are among the best things to do in Paris, especially for those who want an extraordinary experience. For example, if you’re a chocolate-addict, why not take a chocolate-making workshop, or set up a tasting session with a small group? The same goes for wine and cheese lovers.
You can also take a mobile tour that will take you to several different places over the course of several hours, so that you can get an insider’s perspective on a particular Parisian region’s culinary map. This is a unique chance to see what’s happening in the kitchens of those eclectic eateries of the French capital.
4. Stroll around their charming neighborhoods
Of course, every single trip to Paris deserves some time devoted to the classic spots such as the Eiffel Tower, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and the Arc de Triomphe, among many others. However, some of the most picturesque, village-like areas of the city deserve even more of your attention, preferably on foot.
These neighborhoods appear to be “stuck” in the past, delightfully undisturbed by the hectic tempo of the modern world. Le Marais is the perfect example of timeless Parisian beauty, just like its famous sibling of Montmartre, or the even less conspicuous Butte-aux-Cailles. If any of these finds itself on your bucket list, you will not be disappointed.
5. Dance to the Paris beat
In addition to its rustic, cobbled-streets charm, there’s also some modern, upbeat spirit residing in the streets of Paris, the one that invites youth from all over the world to rejoice in the beauty of the moment. Their music festivals are some of the best you’ll ever get the chance to visit, so if you can time your trip accordingly, their flawless programs will make it worth your while.
Some worthy examples include “la Ferme du Bonheur”, meaning the farm of happiness, whose summer stages and food courts have turned into a true homage to Parisian spirit of multiculturalism. Even though you’ll find yourself mingling not just with the locals but with plenty of people from abroad, you’ll taste the true essence of Paris, too. It is, after all, a melting pot of creativity, culture, and people from all over the world.
There will always be more to see in Paris, but to catch a glimpse of its real, ever-changing essence means to walk its streets unhindered by touristy thoughts. Rest assured, there is no wrong way to experience this stunning city, and these five ideas are only here to help you craft your own, unique way to discover its many charms!
Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. She spends most of her free time at home walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography and a regular author at High Style Life. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.
A castle high in the skies always looks as though there is a certain mystery to it. And the Chateau de Haut-Koenigsbourg definitely has some mystery and history to deliver!
Although I am a native of the Alsace region in France, I had only visited the Chateau de Haut-Koenigsbourg when I was a kid; and my memory failed to remind me how immense this castle was. So it was a great opportunity for me to re-visit this local gem during my winter holidays in my home region.
Although I don’t want to reveal the whole tour for you, I will give you some fun facts about the Chateau de Haut-Koenigsbourg. Did you know that the first written mention of a Christmas tree was found in Selestat, the town near the castle?
What about the fact that on clear days, high above its 800m altitute, it it said that you can see the whole Alsacian valley, and as far as the French Alps?! Pretty impressive.
Built in the 12th century, the castle has seen many owners succeed, as well as 9 centuries of conflicts between European leaders, kings and emperors. Let’s just say that this castle has stood the test of time and wars.
The castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg can easily be visited within a 2 hour-window, and it can be planned the same day as the Alsace wine route as it is almost on the same path. Do check the opening times as it differs between winter and summer months.
The adult ticket prices (as of 2019) is 9€, and this includes a free guided tour. The tours are available at certain times of the day, however for an extra fee, you can rent an “audiopen” which you point to the different numbers on your map, and it will narrate a story about the different areas of the castle. I found this very “21st century” and useful, and would recommend to anyone who wants to go at their own speed!
Overall I enjoyed my visit of the Chateau, even though I must warn you that when you visit in the wintertime, the castle’s old stones will keep the interior of the castle very cold. Prepare yourself with some warm gloves and a nice hat!
This is a sponsored post – I was provided with complimentary entry to the Chateau de Haut-Koenigsbourg, as well as complimentary audiopens. All opinions are my own.This post contains affiliate links. To read our disclosure policy, clickhere.
What happens if you want to go to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida but you don’t have kids? That’s fine, because I’ve put together a guide for all of us, Disney lovers. It incorporates the best things to do if you’re going to Disney World for adults without children! Why? Some of us simply want to enjoy the theme parks without the hassle of bringing young kids, or you just don’t have any of your own yet.
Now this guide can also be used for anyone, even families, but it is targeted towards adults-only.
Space Mountain – This ride is one of the best rides in Disney World in the world. A great thrill ride for those who like the dark, speed, to infinity and beyond! TIP: This is not for the faint of heart or anyone not in a good health; this ride does turn and drop a lot and because the seats are low, neck injuries are more prone to happen.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Another old-time favorite, set back in the Wild West for this thrill ride, but smaller drops for those who aren’t as courageous!
Haunted Mansion – this slow ride, although very old, is still one of the most visited in the Disney parks. It’s easy to see why, you will reminisce the old days when the technology wasn’t as advanced yet still spooky!
Splash Mountain – You love big drops and some splash? Then head over to this attraction when Florida’s sun hits the hardest! Water rides are always a great way to cool down from the heat whilst having fun.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – The newest thrill ride to Magic Kingdom, this mine train is just a whole lot of fun, and only include smaller drops which is great for those a bit scared of Space Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Other attractions to try – Pirates of the Caribbean, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
Restaurants & Dining Options
$$$$ – Cinderella’s Royal Table – If you’re looking for unforgettable dining experience then this is for you! Celebrate an occasion at this beautiful restaurant inside the Grand Hall.
$$$ – The Crystal Palace – In this beautiful verrière restaurant located on Main Street, the all-you-can-feast buffet is an excellent experience, and you can meet the characters (awaken the kid inside of you)!
$$ – Be Our Guest – The newest addition to Magic Kingdom, the Beauty & the Beast themed restaurant will throw you back in time with its beautiful décor and simple sit-down menu.
$ – Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe – My absolute favorite restaurant, this Mexican diner has all you need to fill your tummy for lunch!
Extra $ – Aloha Isle – Do you love ice-cream? Then the DOLE WHIP soft-serve will amaze you! It’s a fun dessert to grab, with vanilla or pineapple flavors, and add a float (pineapple juice) at the bottom to add a twist!
Magic Kingdom being the main park of Walt Disney World Resort, there are many parades, character experiences, concerts etc. so here are some of my favorites:
Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade – Parades are such an experience in Disney, and this one is no different! Floats, costumes, music.. Check out the time that the parade strolls through the park to make sure you don’t miss it!
Happily Ever After fireworks show – The best part at the end of a day spent in Magic Kingdom is relaxing while watching the beautiful fireworks over Cinderella’s castle. Adults will appreciate the amazing work that goes into the show, and feel all warm & fuzzy inside if watching with a significant other!
Test Track – One of my absolute must-do’s, Test Track is a speed ride, where you get to “test drive” concept vehicles and then go for an extremely fast ending! Not for those who feel sick in rides.
Soarin’ – A great journey on an airborne glider, enjoy the views and relax in this chill ride.
Mission: SPACE – I actually can’t handle this ride’s intensity, but for those who need an extra thrilling experience, Mission: SPACE was designed to make you feel the NASA training!
Spaceship Earth – Learn about the history of communication, from telephones to TVs, while slowly riding through the huge Epcot globe.
Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros – A slow boat ride taking you through Mexico with Donald Duck and his friends; a great way to escape the heat as well!
Restaurants & Dining Options
$$$ – Le Cellier Steakhouse – Set in a Canadian castle, this restaurant is known for its amazing steaks and seafoods.
$$$ – Monsieur Paul – Feeling a bit French today? Head upstairs in the French pavilion for some gourmet cuisine with Monsieur Paul.
$$ – Teppan Edo – Never had teppanyaki cooking? It’s an amazing Japanese way of cooking food right in front of you! Don’t miss this great restaurant.
$ – La Cantina de San Angel – Nothing says vacation more than tacos! This cheap Mexican-themed eatery will not disappoint.
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth – This nighttime show is all about the fireworks overlooking the Epcot lagoon. Let’s all reflect on humanity, and how lucky we are to be at Disney World!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith – If you love dark high-speed roller coasters with loops, then none will match this terrible one. Experience the legendary feeling of going from 0 to 57 miles (or 91 km) per hour in 2.8 seconds!
Star Wars – The Adventures Continue – For all of the fans out there, this ride is just too much fun! It’s not the newest, but the 3D film and the motion-spaceship will make you feel as though you are fighting in space!
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – It’s scary. It’s thrilling. It’s a huge drop! Go up up up the Tower, and get dropped too many times to remember! I’m a wuss when it comes to this ride, but for some people, this is what fun is all about.
Toy Story Mania! – This sounds like a kiddy ride, right? Well it’s actually most fun played against each other as adults! Get as many points as you can and beat the other, for bragging rights of course.
Restaurants & Dining Options
$$$ – The Hollywood Brown Derby – This fine dining restaurant will remind you of the Golden Age of Hollywood; try the most famous dish, Brown Derby Cobb salad!
$$$ – Hollywood & Vine – Feeling like a kid today? Go meet the characters at this breakfast buffet, but beware; there are quite a lot of kids in this restaurant, so if you want peace and quiet, I would not recommend it.
$ – ABC Commissary – Fast-food is quite known to be.. well fast! Exactly what’s needed during a filled Disney day – plenty of American quick service in this place.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – Watch this exciting show featured the best of the best, Indiana Jones and his stunts! Who can remember the epic trailer music?
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Kilimanjaro Safaris – You couldn’t come to Animal Kingdom without going on a safari! The savanna’s best animals are waiting for you: from elephants, rhinos, and giraffes, to lions, zebras, and okapis.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain – This one is for the thrill-seekers, especially as the train meets an expected turn.. And falls down backwards.. Enjoy!
DINOSAUR – Once the heat gets too humid, head in for this indoor attraction, and get lost in the dark back before our time.
Restaurants & Dining Options
$$$ – Tiffins Restaurant – Explore your culinary tastes on this expedition through international cuisine.
$$ – Yak & Yeti Restaurant – My personal favorite, the decor and dishes will transport you to the Asian continent instantly.
$ – Restaurantosaurus – Quick, cheap burgers and nuggets; just what any dinosaur needs in their life!
Festival of the Lion King – If you have to do one show during your whole time at Disney World, this is the one! It’s magical, beautiful, and will make you feel all kinds of butterflies!
Christmas – Everything is magical around this time of the year, but especially more at Disney World! The streets are lit-up with beautiful ornaments, and there are special “pop-up” character meets, so be sure to ask the staff!
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – This event should be called “Adults Having Fun & Getting Drunk Around Disney” because that’s exactly what it is. It is usually held during fall, and is a great way to enjoy Epcot and the fabulous ‘round-the-world foods and drinks you can try!
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – Epcot again, but the topiaries are quite impressive! Usually held in the springtime for all of the flower to be at their best bloom.
Disney World is filled with hotels ranging from your very basic campgrous, to luxurious villas, making it a great choice for any budget. When booking with one of the Disney hotels, there are also some amazing perks: early access to FastPass+, complimentary MagicBands, and complimentary shuttles or parking!
You can also create bespoke vacation packages which include your accommodation, park tickets, dining plans, etc. These packages can be sold at lower rates than purchasing your vacation amenities individually, which could save you a lot of money, and make your experience even more Disney-magical!
Now I hope that this will have convinced you to visit the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida whether you are with friends, in a couple, or even by yourself as an adult! The magic of Mickey Mouse never truly leaves you when growing up, and it will be the same with your newfound memories at the theme parks.
Are you looking for fun places to go on a vacation? If yes, then Bermuda is your next destination. You will enjoy not only the view of its numerous shipwrecks but also several other activities that make it an ideal holiday destination.
Things to Do
Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo
After a significant renovation, the facility has reclaimed its position as one of the top family-friendly attractions in the island. Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo has walk-through zoo exhibits that feature mammals, small birds, and reptiles found on other islands around the globe. Mammals from other parts of the world include tree kangaroos and wallabies from Australia and fossa and lemurs from Madagascar.
Learn at the natural history museum regarding the formation of the island from a volcanic explosion. The newly redesigned aquarium features a 140,000-gallon tank that houses schools of tropical reef fish and massive predators like black grouper and sharks.
Underwater Exploration Institute
The institute is 40,000 square feet and comprises two floors dedicated to the marine environment of Bermuda. The museum includes an outstanding collection of over 1,200 shells; a large wing of underwater treasure and artifacts discovered in over 300 shipwrecks in Bermuda; and a virtual submersible that takes tourists on a 7-minute drive underwater up to 1,200 feet.
Crystal & Fantasy Caves
This includes a massive network of subterranean granite caves that were discovered by two boys who stumbled across them as they tried to retrieve their lost ball in 1907. The Crystal and Fantasy Caves include a 55-feet-deep lake covered by a floating pontoon bridge, protruding stalagmites, and hanging stalactites.
Nearby, you will find Bailey’s Bay Ice Cream Parlor that serves homemade milkshakes and ice cream. Try the dark and stormy flavor for a memorable experience.
Dive the Mary Celeste
Bermuda comprises the wreck-diving center of the Atlantic due to its more than 300 shipwrecks. One of the most famous shipwrecks is the Mary Celeste.
It’s a steamer from the Civil War period that sank in 1864 but discovered in 2011 when a bottle of Piesse & Lubin perfume from London and five bottles of wine that was 148 years old were discovered. The Bermuda Perfumery recreated the perfume, and they are now selling it. Currently, divers can enjoy outstanding views of the wreck that is 50-feet underwater.
Hotels to Stay
Elbow Beach Resort
Elbow Beach Resort is the first coastal resort in Bermuda and stands on a hill overlooking the grandest pink sand beach. The hotel was opened in 1908 and comprises 98 rooms in the form of detached cottages that are scattered across the property.
The site is also home to the best open-air restaurant on the island. Mickey Bistro restaurant is located 20 yards from the surf together with its new spa that comprises six private suites consisting of soaking tubs, daybeds, and personal showers.
The rooms have all the modern amenities you would require from a luxury hotel, including personal espresso machines and iHome docking stations.
Fairmont Southampton is the most massive hotel in Bermuda. The hotel is adjacent to Horseshoe Bay Beach and located on a 100-acre piece of land. It consists of 593 guest rooms that have views of its 18-hole golf course, the Great Sound Harbor, and the Atlantic Ocean. The hotel has nine restaurants on the site including the Waterlot Inn and the Ocean Club.
You will also enjoy a private beach with a PADI-certified dive shop and tennis courts, as well as the Willow Stream spa, kiddie pool, and a vast outdoor pool. The Willow Steam spa comprises a 21,000-square feet wellness center consisting of a serene sun deck and an adults-only indoor pool.
Restaurants to Dine
The Barracuda Grill is one of the top spots for a romantic dinner. The restaurant features an understated elegance, seafood, and steaks. Inventive dishes served in the restaurant include tomato shrimp sofrito, poblano pesto, and pan-fried snapper consisting of black quinoa. For a great dessert, the chocolate fondue is excellent.
Devil’s Isle Café
It has a long menu of farm-fresh dishes that are seasonally inspired. This Hamilton’s restaurant consists of a hip, industrial space. It comprises hanging light fixtures and visible duct work. From the menu, you can enjoy the beer battered rockfish tacos or the cinnamon lamb lollies. The restaurant fills up quickly, and so reservations are recommended.
Bermuda is one of the most delightful vacation destinations. From its outstanding hotels to its fabulous restaurants, museums, caves, and beaches, you are sure to get lost in the beauty.
Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for Privilege Club. She often produces content for a variety of traveling blogs.
Most people wouldn’t even know that the island of Ireland is separated into two countries – Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. If you read about the Troubles, a civil war that happened in our very near history, you will get an insight into the difference between both countries, and the progress that has been made today.
Northern Ireland is not as large as the Republic of Ireland, which helps when you want to explore the best things that the country has to offer. And doing a roadtrip in Northern Ireland is one of the best ways to discover this beautiful, blossoming country.
May is considered the best month to visit Northern Ireland because of its sunny spells and higher-than-usual temperatures. The best days are sunny, at about 20°C with always a bit of wind, as we are surrounded by oceans and seas.
The vibrant city of Belfast is now home to many attractions. It is now booming with new construction work, ranging from hotels to new company headquarters. If you have a limited amount of time in the city, don’t forget to do a Belfast Mural Tour with some great guides! You can rent a private taxi for up to 5 people and visit the several murals surrounding the city, understand the history behind this once troubled area.
You can also enjoy shopping in the many streets surrounding the city centre. Because Belfast is quite compact, it’s easy to walk about and see the different buildings and sights.
On the Causeway Coastal Route…The Gobbins Cliff Path Walk
Recently reopened, the Gobbins is a must for any visitor. The steep and narrow path along the cliffs reminds you of how little you are compared to mother nature’s work. The good thing is that the path is enough above the sea for you to be safe from any splashes, however the mist will most likely be on the horizon.
The path is definitely narrow and steep in some areas (even a descent into a small cave!), so make sure you are fit, and also wearing appropriate outdoor clothing and hiking boots. I can’t stress this enough, as they won’t let you walk if you aren’t dressed appropriately.
Interested in the cliff path? You can find their website here.
Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge
Not for the faint of heart, this rope bridge is truly an adventure in itself! Although it only seems like crossing the bridge is the experience, the real experience is actually accomplishing crossing the bridge TWICE and enjoying the beautiful island of Carrick-a-rede. When the sun is out, the rays reflect onto the blue water, and the green pastures above the cliffs just make the place look stunning.
You can no longer book a ticket – you will need to get your ticket directly at Carrick-a-rede, and see the time slot allocated for you to cross the bridge.
A natural wonder, the Giant’s Causeway is an amazing volcanic formation made up of thousands of basalt columns. A legend that surrounds this site is about a giant called Finn MacCool whom fought another giant from Scotland. I won’t tell you the whole story, as it’s best to rent an audio guide when you get there (included in your ticket price).
Enjoy a leisurely walk along the coast, walk on the hexagonal-shaped columns, and then take the hike back up to enjoy the views from the cliffs atop! It’s a great activity which usually lasts you about 2 hours.
County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland Marble Arch Caves
This place made me feel like I was in a Jurassic Park movie, in a weird sense. Walking down to the beautiful, eerie limestone caves makes you feel so small compared to what Earth has naturally created. The cave tour is very informative, explaining how the different explorers reached the many caves, and the different types of formations found underground.
It does get cold down there; imagine a dark and damp underground tunnel.. That’s exactly what the caves are like. A mysterious place which Mother Nature created for us to admire and keep as intact as we can.
Cuilcagh Way & Mountain Park
Have you heard of the stairway to heaven? Cuilcagh Way has its own! This long path (7km to be exact) is a great walk from the Marble Arch caves all the way up the mountain. Although we were not able to walk all the way up (as we had a time slot for the caves tour), it did take us about 3.5 hours to walk all to the way to the start of the stairway, and back to the caves.
It is advised that the walk up and back down takes about 6 hours altogether. Enjoy the nature surrounding you, and of course some sheep will accompany you along the first bit of the walk. It can’t get more adventurous than this!
And what would be my number 1 tip for preparing a road trip in Northern Ireland?
Always bring a wind jacket!
Northern Ireland has a lot of coastlines, therefore making it vulnerable to the ocean winds storming throughout the country. I would recommend always bring a windbreaker jacket with you, or a light type of puffer jacket with a hood. You never know what the weather is going to be like; some days start sunny, continue with winds, and end with chilly misty rain. So be ready for anything!
This is a sponsored post – I was provided with complimentary entry to the Gobbins by the local council, and to Carrick-a-rede rope bridge by the National Trust. All opinions are my own.This post contains affiliate links. To read our disclosure policy, clickhere.
One of the gems of the Caribbean, Saint Lucia is a wonderful place to stop for a typical Caribbean vacation. We made a stop there while sailing the islands on our sailboat, Starry Horizons.
The island attracts many tourists, but most are from the visiting cruise ships. Getting away from the cruise ship tours and off the beaten path served us very well in Saint Lucia!
We found Rodney Bay to be party central of Saint Lucia. There are many resorts that play music loudly and party well into the night. Even some boats got in on the action, like the pirate ship from Sea Spray Cruises.
Many of the waterfront resorts boast inflatable playgrounds floating out in the water, keeping the party giong during the day and entertaining the kids.
One thing not to be overlooked in Rodney Bay is the dining. I haven’t checked out all the steakhouses in the Caribbean, but Big Chef is incredibly good, and I would comfortably say it’s one of the best in the Caribbean. We dined there with five of us Texans who know a thing or two about meat! The area around the Baywalk Shopping Mall has a diverse selection of choices, ranging from Indian to Creole to tapas.
Just west of Sandals Resort is Pigeon Island, which is not actually an island but a National Park. It’s well worth spending a full day there. Don, my husband, brought snorkel gear to check out the fish and coral in the water (not the best in the Caribbean but pretty good).
Take a hike up to the lookout point and Fort Rodney for a view back over the bay. Relax on the beaches and enjoy the colors and on a busy day, people watching. No need to pack a lunch – there are several restaurants such as Pigeon Island Jambe De Bois Restaurant & Bar, which is a casual place with a chalkboard menu and local fare.
This small, very well protected bay was my favorite stop. The bay is surrounded by higher-end resorts and dining options. Our highlight was totally free, though: the hike up Billy Goat Trail.
We left from Oasis Resort, where we were told several times that we should hire a guide to help us get up the hike. We decided to try our luck ourselves and once we found the path, it was easy to follow it up. We made it to a small platform with a view over the bay – stunning! I could totally image sunrise yoga here.
After our hike we popped into Doolittle’s Bar, named because some of the scenes in the 1967 movie Dr Doolittle were filmed in Marigot Bay. For some inexpensive local eats, check out Chateau Mygo House of Seafood, across the bay.
The town of Soufrière is next door to some of Saint Lucia’s biggest attractions – literally.
The Pitons are two volcanic mountains; Gros Piton peaks at 771 m, and Petit Piton peaks at 743 m. We took a taxi to the start of the Tete Paul hike, where we paid a fee to join a group going up to the viewpoint, led by a local guide.
This is NOT hiking one of the Pitons, which is incredibly challenging, but instead hiking to a viewing platform between the two mountains. Very, very worth it for the view you get at the top.
A half hour walk out of Soufrière brings you to the Diamond Botanical Gardens. The attractions aren’t just limited to the gardens. There is also a waterfall and mineral pools to enjoy.
In lieu of lunch at the Old Mill Restaurant, we walked a little bit further to Marie’s Local Cuisine, where we paid $10 for a buffet filled with Caribbean dishes.
How to Get to Saint Lucia
There are nonstop flights available from many North American cities. Alternatively, you can island hop the Caribbean via L’Express des Iles ferry or plane.
You can search for flights using Skyscanner – the best search engine for flights.
Where to Stay
All three stops have a wide variety of hotels to choose from to suit your price range.
Saint Lucia is on the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) which is available from ATMs at the airport and elsewhere.
Amy has been sailing around the world on her catamaran, Starry Horizons, since October 2014. She sails with her husband, David, and to occupy her time she writes her blog, OutChasingStars.com, and writes for Cruising World Magazine. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.
Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is a beach lovers dream. Blue skies, warm sun, white sand beaches, aqua clear water, palm trees, and total relaxation. I’ve been twice, and each time has been an unforgettable experience.
If you’re looking for a rich cultural experience with historic sights, then Punta Cana is not for you. But, if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation, and a place to have fun in perfect 80-degree weather, then Punta Cana is exactly where you want to be.
The best way to plan your trip is to book an all-inclusive resort. There isn’t really much to see or do outside of that unless you go to the capital which is 2.5 hours away.
I would also suggest pre-booking transportation for yourself from the airport to the resort. There will be plenty of people there willing to take you, but you might get overwhelmed by the bombardment of people fighting for your business, or roped into a timeshare presentation. So, to save yourself a headache and pre-book.
Upon Arrival in Punta Cana
When you arrive at the airport, you’ll have to pay for a tourist card. It will cost you about $10 USD cash. You can do this ahead of time online if you want to save some time, but it’ not necessary. (Punta Cana accepts the dollar, so if you’re American there is no need to change currency).
Then just find your transportation and head to your resort.
The best thing about staying in an all-inclusive resort is that all of your resort activities, food and drinks are taken care of and included. When you arrive to the resort, all you have to do is check in, drop your stuff off, change, and enjoy your vacation.
Your resort will be like a small little town.
As you walk through the grounds you’ll find community space, restaurants, a club, pools, the beach, little shops and more. You’ll even find little green or pond areas with ducks, flamingos and birds.
The beaches and pools are where most people hang out. You’ll probably come across some beach vendors selling bracelets or hair braiding, so you can choose to buy/do those if you wish as well. If you find the souvenir shops, be sure to haggle to get the best prices.
The resort sponsored activities at both resorts I’ve stayed in were one of my favorite things. They might have different pool games, salsa dancing, water aerobics, wind surfing, shell painting etc… They will have a couple different things to do every day and the activities will depend on the kind of resort you are staying in.
I have never come across a rude or impolite staff member. In fact, the staff in the resorts in Punta Cana have been some of the nicest people I have ever come across in my life. They always have warm smiles on their faces, and just want you to have a good time.
If you tire of the resort activities, you can always choose to take a day excursion as well. They offer all kinds of things like bike tours, cave explorations, and horseback riding.
I chose to swim with sharks and sting rays and it was a very cool experience. I’d get an underwater camera if you choose to do that.
Food & Drink
As for food and drink, it will really depend on your resort what quality you get. I have been lucky enough to have great food both times I went. I specifically enjoyed trying out all the different restaurants.
You can order whichever beachy drink you want, but I would definitely recommend at least trying the Punta Cana specialty of Mama Juana. It’s an alcoholic drink made of rum, wine and honey soaked in tree bark. It makes for a great souvenir.
Addie is a wife, mother, and adventure seeker that travels any chance she gets. Her goal is to inspire you to make time for your travel dreams and give you tips and tricks on how to make it easier and more affordable.
Imagine total spa bliss… Whether it’s warm or cold, you don’t care, because you’re in a steamy sauna inside a beautiful resort. This is exactly what Galgorm Resort and Spa feels like.
I had the chance to experience the Thermal Spa & Lunch Packagewith my boyfriend Adam, and boy did we enjoy our time there! As I’ve moved to Belfast only a few weeks ago, it was the perfect opportunity to take a day getaway and relax before starting my new job.
Located in Ballymena, it’s only about 45 minutes drive from south Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the scenery will definitely remind you that you are no longer in a big city.
Because the spa and restaurants have a separate entrance from the main hotel lobby, you can access the spa directly from the parking lot instead of walking through the Galgorm hotel.
We were warmly greeted by a member of the spa team, who gave us keys to our lockers and showed us the way.
After we had changed into our swimsuits and bathrobes (with slippers, duh), we headed up to the restaurant. And yes: you can have lunch in your bathrobes!
Bar + Grill at Gillies – Lunchtime
We arrived at the grill right around lunchtime, and were seated in the upstairs area, overlooking the rest of the restaurant. The cosy wooden decor makes you feel right at home, and the cow pictures are a great conversation starter.
When choosing the “Thermal Spa and Lunch Package”, you are entitled to one dish and a beverage of your choice, such as a glass of wine or a soft drink.
We both ordered Mexican-style dishes and truly enjoyed our lunch, even more so because we were eating in our bathrobes!
Galgorm’s spa is separated into different sections:
You will start your journey after the changing rooms in the indoor pool area, surrounded by seats and a few waterbeds to relax in while you hear the waves of the pool. It’s a great pool for doing a few laps, and refresh yourself after saunas.
By the indoor pool, there are two very opposite experiences next to one another: the Snow Cabin and the Sanarium.
The Snow Cabin is literally filled with snow; this is not for those who hate the cold! Although I tried it after being in the sauna for a while, the snow underneath my feet felt like it was burning my body. A really weird experience, but still a good laugh!
The Sanarium is a sauna whose temperature is a bit lower than the other saunas on the property, at only 50-60°C. This was quite enjoyable, also due to the window that lets you peak at the indoor pool swimmers.
Take a walk outside and you will discover the Thermal Village. A path leads you to different huts leading to the river. One of the huts features a Celtic Sauna, which was definitely my favorite one!
The colorful rocks against the wood make you think you are in another world. But the best part is the huge windows at the corner of the spa. The view on the river running, especially with the fresh snow, was spectacular and reminded you of how relaxed and warm you were inside the sauna.
Next to the inside pool area is a relaxation spot called the Orangery. With its green loungers and windows overlooking the Thermal Village, it was the perfect place to read a magazine or take a nap.
Right outside of the Orangery is a jacuzzi pool, where a lot of people were running from the pool to the robe hangers after going outside due to the cold temperatures! There is also a hot tub right next to the outdoor pool.
Go back inside into the Thermal Spa area, where different saunas and a hydrotherapy pool are waiting for you.
My favorite was the Caldarium as it was dry heat instead of humid heat. For some reason, humid heat is really hard for me to breathe in so I can’t stay too long in those types of saunas.
We absolutely loved our afternoon at Galgorm Resort & Spa and hope to return soon for another romantic escape! It’s the perfect spa getaway for those looking to relax in a 5* environment. We also appreciated that there were no kids so that it was a calm and adult experience.
Being an expert expat at this point, with having lived in 4 countries up to last year, I’m well aware of the headache moving your belongings feel like. Hours and hours of planning, organizing, and money-saving, this doesn’t even finish describing the moving headache.
Only those of us expats who’ve actually moved all of their belongings with them, such as furniture and other precious items, can understand how hard the process can be.
I’ve moved back and forth from France to the USA, moved some of my things to London, and back to France.
But in December 2017, a new adventure was about to start. I took the decision to move to Belfast, in Northern Ireland, to be with my significant other. And again, the question popped up: how would I move my things?!
I planned to fly to Belfast 3 times, each bringing a full suitcase of up to 23kg, and a hand luggage of up to 10kg. This would help me already bring some of my clothes. For those who know me, this is barely the whole of my closet, but it would do for the first 4-6 months.
As my boyfriend bought a new apartment, we would also be in need of furniture and household items. Starting from the bottom, furniture can become expensive!
Since I had kept a lot of my kitchen utensils from my Orlando apartment, such as pots, pans, bowls, Pyrex plates etc. I figured, why don’t I send those over instead of buying them again?
After researching some of the more “well-known” shipping companies such as UPS, FedEx, and the French post office, I quickly came to the conclusion that those options were too expensive. Sending two boxes of about 20kg each would cost me way too much, so I kept searching for different options.
That’s when I found Send My Bag.
This shipping company can basically do it all. Either sending your bags (as the name explains) such as your luggage, or your boxes, Send My Bag will do it all for you! All you do is get a quote, book your shipping, print your shipping information, and wait for them to collect your things!
I booked my shipping on Monday, for a Wednesday collection. The fact that I had to be at home from 9am to 6pm was a bit annoying as there is no shorter collection time. However as I had just quit my job, I was fine waiting at home all day. As the truck came to pick up my two heavy boxes at 6pm, I started tracking them from the next day forward.
Wednesday: Boxes picked up at 6pm from my French home.
Thursday: Arrived in Brussels, Belgium.
Friday: Arrived in London, U.K.
Saturday: Arrived in Belfast, U.K.
This was SO FAST, especially when compared to large shipping companies who take ages to send even the smallest of packages. As I shipped my boxes during the winter holiday season, I actually thought that my packages would arrive a week later at best. I was happily surprised by the speed of service.
My boyfriend opened up the two packages; the only thing that broke was a small mug (good thing it was not my favorite one), which I was very relieved about. It does mention for you not to send anything with glass, but some kitchen utensils are still fragile no matter what. I had wrapped most things around with paper and bubble wrap.
Being used to sending packages around the world, I found that Send My Bag was very affordable, friendly, and speedy shipping company.
I would recommend their services to any expat, or anyone needing to send bags/boxes worldwide for any reason.