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Author: Nathan Wright

48 Hours In Oahu, Hawaii

48 Hours In Oahu, Hawaii

Maui is loved by all and especially Westerners but Oahu is it’s big brother and started the tourism in Hawaii. Not only that but it sits right in the middle of a reinvention where it escapes the typical stereotypes of high rise buildings and instead promotes a high end hot spot for sun, surfing and shopping.

The Modern Honolulu is a breathtaking hotel with a sparkling clean white lobby with a custom scent that delightfully reminds you that you are on holiday.

Day 1

surfingFor the keen and experienced surfer then head out to the north shore of the island where the serious surfers hang out. For the beginner surfer, Waikiki Beach is a good training ground to learn the basics and a lesson at the Hans Hedemann Surf School is definitely worthwhile.

Catch the waves all afternoon and then come evening, trade your wetsuit for your dressier attire and indulge into a four course tasting menu at Chef Mavro run by the jolly George Mavrothalassitis, a Marseilles-born, James Beard award-winning cook with a penchant for the fresh island ingredients of his adopted home. If you want to continue on into the night then head on down to the La Mariana Sailing Club for a drink with a hit of tiki chic.

Day 2

Leonard’s Bakery is famous for their portuguese doughnuts that are dusted in sugar and are packed full of creamy custard. Once you have overeaten on these sweet delights prepare for your exploration at Kalakaua Avenue’s Luxury Row and Royal Hawaiian Center, which is a boulevard that is edged with palm trees and high end shops. If you just want to window shop then perhaps you can treat yourself to a trip at the Mandara Spa at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and have a heavenly bamboo massage. Bamboo shoots are soaked in essential oils and rolled along your back to smoothly melt your troubles away.

You can then take to Diamond Head and get actively involved in the unequipped lookeloos or take the road less travelled for a more unique experience. Bike Hawaii hosts Bike and Hike treks on private trails which are filled with beautiful scenic views and a splendid waterfall at the end of your trip.

Enjoy your evening meal at Iron Chef Morimoto where the tables are uniquely dressed in moss and oversized coral. The restaurant is a favourite with the Obama family when they are in town and it is no surprise as the menu is stunning. Finish the night off at the Study of Modern and enjoy a drink or two.

Day 3

honolulu skylineThe best way to appreciate the scenic views of Hawaii is to grab a rental car and head north to the most spectacular shores. Keep your eyes out for those skillful surfers attempting those magnificent huge waves. You can stop off for lunch at Romy’s Kahuku Prawns and Shrimp and savour a plate that is piled high with luscious shrimp smothered in plenty of lemon and garlic.

One last thing you must do before your trip comes to an end and that is to swim with dolphins which is an absolutely amazing experience. You can follow a wild pod through the deep blue seas and snorkel to get a sense of this truly fabulous adventure.

48 hours in Newquay, Cornwall

48 hours in Newquay, Cornwall

NewquayNewquay is renowned as a town for the younger generation as well as place to come to for a stag and hen do. However this vibrant town has so much more to offer and for all ages. Newquay is a perfect choice for a family as there is plenty to offer to keep everyone entertained. Beautiful, sandy beaches stretch for miles on either side of the town which is why it is so popular for the keen surfer as the waves here are some of the best in the country. If you want to venture out then you can choose from parks, a zoo, aquarium, golf courses, swimming pools, historical sites and scenic train rides, you certainly have to agree you would struggle to get this all done within 48 hours !!

If you prefer to stay in a hotel then there are a few that have spectacular views these include, The Headland Hotel which has a lot of history involving the royal patronage, The Atlantic Hotel was used by the Beatles whilst they filmed the Magical Mystery Tour in 1967. Other hotels include Hotel Victoria, The Esplanade, Carnmarth Hotel which overlook Fistral beach.

Smaller hotels and guesthouses might meet your criteria and Newquay has plenty of these as well, some of the better ones include, Three Beaches, St Breca and Lynton House. If you are travelling as a couple then you could always treat yourself to a one bedroom apartment which are located with some stunning views. If you are travelling on a budget then pitch up a tent or your caravan in the Watergate Bay touring park.

sconesAs well as the many surf shops, cafes and amusement arcades there are quirky little gift shops and galleries on offer too. Each little road or alley that you venture down, you will soon be greeted by the blue sea and sky. You will notice that there are plenty of churches and chapels scattered everywhere giving the town its character.

You notice that many of the tourist attractions have been built ancient sites, for example the aquarium used to be the old steam laundry site and you can still see the history when visiting the aquarium.

If you are looking for something a little more peaceful, Trenance Gardens and Boating Lake is a tranquil place to visit. It also gives you a chance to appreciate the natural wildlife and well-kept flowerbeds. Pedalos and rowing boats can be hired for the lake which is most enjoyable.

If you are staying in a larger hotel then you will find that most of these will have their own restaurant which host some spectacular views the sea.

There are of course a wealth of different restaurants in town and a trip to Cornwall would not be complete without sampling the local seafood. Ye Olde Dolphin Restaurant offers a fabulous menu of steak and seafood. Another great place to eat is Senor Dicks which is an American/Mexican theme serving spicy food such as nachos and enchiladas and your meal would not be complete without having a margarita.

boatsNewquay has some of the best beaches in Cornwall and in the UK so you have to take a trip to the beach at least once during your stay. Towan Beach is location next to the town and has its own little island with a solitary house on top, linked to the mainland by a bridge. Porth Beach is sheltered, whereas Fistral, Crantock and Holywell beaches are huge stretches of golden sands. Harbour Beach is a suntrap where you can watch the fishing boats arrive and there are rock pools and caves to explore at Porth Joke.

Boat trips are available from the harbour, where you can go sharking, wreck and reef fishing, or enjoy a pleasure trip around Newquay Bay.

My Portugal Travel Tips

My Portugal Travel Tips

It isn’t hard to understand why Portugal is such a popular destination, not only to Brits but with tourists from all over Europe. It is home to some of the best beaches in Europe with it’s rocky coastline and fabulous golden sands. It has some excellent architecturally and historic cities and if you love food and wine then it has some fabulous bars and restaurants making this a perfect place to come on holiday. Despite it being very popular, the great thing about Portugal is that it doesn’t seem to get too overcrowded in high season, very busy like you would expect but not suffocating like some countries get around August time.

Accommodation – you will be pleased to know that prices in Portugal are very affordable and hotels are of high quality. A typical room will cost around 30 euros for a great value apartment like the club praia da oura.

Food – there is such a wide choice of places to eat here, if you are looking for a light lunch,meals and sandwiches start around 7 EUR, and fast food for around the the same price. Evening meals with drinks are reasonably priced at around 18 EUR. Like with anywhere there are always places that offer a good bargain but if you are staying in a villa or a self catering apartment and want to do a spot of cooking yourself then a week’s worth of food will cost around 36 EUR.

Transportation – You can grab a taxi for approximately 12 EUR which is fairly expensive and you will often find that they have add on fees for any luggage and airport pick-ups. If you prefer to travel a little cheaper then you can obtain city metro ticket from 1.50 EUR and inter-country trains and buses are inexpensive too.
Places to visit

Lisbon – the capital city is a fantastic place to visit as it has lots of history to explore and you will get the chance to meet the locals who are so friendly and welcoming. One of the great things about this city is that it is fairly compact which makes it easier to get around and see everything.

Batalha – is a church monument built in 1388 and is protected as a World Heritage site. As you walk through the huge, gothic doorways you will be greeted by amazing 16th century stained glass windows and 7 impressive chapels to explore.

Abbey of Santa Maria – is Europe’s largest building of the Cistercian order. You can explore the abbey at your own leisure and discover the different parts of the building including cloisters, dormitories, a library, and huge kitchen.

Azores islands – these small nine islands lie about 930 miles from Lisbon which is about a two hour flight away in the Atlantic Ocean. Each of the islands are tranquil with a slow-paced way of life, stunning wildlife, and beautiful beaches.

Braga – this wonderful city is home to many Baroque monuments including one of the country’s well known sights, the Bom Jesus Sanctuary. The old and the new city are connected by the main square, Praça da Republica.

Lagos – is the party town of Portugal which is located in the Algarve and is very popular with the younger tourists in the summer months. With plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs to choose from you will also find some beautiful beaches to soak up the sun and relax your troubles away.

Cape Sagres – is the most southwestern point of the European continent so by visiting here you can say you have stood literally on the edge of Europe.

When to Visit the Algarve

When to Visit the Algarve

Two familiar questions that most people ask when choosing a destination to holiday in are “when’s the best time to visit the Algarve?” And also “what’s the weather like?”

I have had the privilege of experiencing every month of the year in Portugal so I thought I would give you an insight on what to expect depending what time of year you are visiting.

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Spring

Although it is not particularly hot in the springtime, it has very pleasant temperatures ranging from 17-20 degrees during the day which is warm enough to pack your summer wardrobe and a chilly 8-9 degrees in the evening, so it may be worth packing a light jacket for your evening meals!
As you would expect from Spring, you can see the flowers bloom to life and Portugal is famous for their oranges which are at their best around March.

The Algarve has its own version of April showers like we are used to in Britain, the difference being the showers normally ease off going into May and don’t last all summer!! April can be quite unpredictable as it can show off some lovely temperatures which can often be short lived by some chilly spells when those showers roll in. Unfortunately, April is also Easter holidays and you can expect the prices to soar around this time.

Spring-Summer

May and June are the nicest months to visit the Algarve as the temperatures in my opinion are spot on. They average around the mid 20’s which is delightfully warm without being overly hot. The added bonus of this time of year is the resorts are still fairly quiet and so you can make the most of soaking up the sunshine.

Summer

July and August are the hottest months ranging from the high 20’s to some days peaking into the 40’s … scorching! The temperatures rarely dip much during the evening as well so be sure you have a hotel room that has air conditioning if you want to guarantee a better night sleep!
The summer months are when the Algarve certainly comes to life where it hosts a wealth of events and festivals for you to enjoy day and night. The downside is that during these months, it can get extremely busy so if you are looking to do something in particular it may well be worth booking in advance to avoid any disappointment.

September is a fabulous time to visit as the peak season has ended but the temperatures still remain hot in the high 20’s. You can also enjoy a little more room at the beach and you’ll probably get seated straight away at your favourite restaurant.

Autumn

October and November can still hold some pleasant temperatures during the day but the warmth certainly starts to disappear during the evenings, so a light jacket or jumper is well needed. With the sun being lower this time of year, the sunsets are magical and unforgettable and you cannot leave without trying their roasted chestnuts.

Winter

December and January temperatures are still fairly pleasant during the day, making this a popular destination to visit during the Christmas and New Year periods. If you want to escape the busy shopping malls and supermarkets where people are grabbing those last minute Christmas presents and making their Christmas dinner preparations then the Algarve can offer you complete peace and quiet with temperatures in the high teens. Don’t be fooled by the daytime warmth as by evening, it can drop to only a few degrees and before you know it, you will feel like you are back home in the UK.