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5 Activities to Do in the Scottish Highlands

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Do you ever just need to escape to a mythical outdoor place and feel the wind through your hair? The Scottish Highlands are an untamed land of beautiful coastlines, originally occupied by the Gaels where Gaelic was the language of choice. Often depicted as the romantic part of Scotland, we have compiled a list of five activities to propel you into the best that the highlands have to offer.

Boat Trips Around Eilean Donan Castle

For a walk through history, visit the iconic Eilean Donan Castle that started is a small community in the 7th century by the bishop Donan. Since then, the humble island has been built on until a medieval castle sat amongst the breathtaking valleys, and was probably one of the largest at the time.

The castle makes an excellent morning or afternoon activity for a day out in the local area. Soak up the region to its fullest with a ferry tour or a boat trip. The nearby village, Dornie village, is also the ideal place to soak up yet more culture with local beers and great food. For more tips on the best places to stay, visit www.visitingscotland.com to get expert advice.

The Great Glen Canoe Trail

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Paddling along the scenic lakes of Scotland is a wonderful way to see the highlands. You will pass through four main lochs (lakes). Including Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour. Not just the home to a shy water monster, the loch (lake) Ness is the most famous in Scotland. This is the perfect place to get a boat onto the waters and paddle Scotland’s great lakes.

Mountain Biking in Fort William

The Nevis range is a sprawling series of mountains brimming with untamed wildlife, ranging from heather moorland to peaty bogs and sweeping grasslands. Hop on your mountain bike and test out some of the UK’s best mountain biking trails which has ranges of blue, green and red graded routes.

The Fort WIlliam route in particular is famous for hosting the UCI DH world cups so this is a hot destination for the avid mountain biker. Prepare yourself for a tough route that will get your blood pumping. For real biking enthusiasts, you can also check out the Glentress ride guide for mountain biking in Scotland. There is always more world to see!

Hiking in the Isle of Skye

There is plenty of scenery that Scotland can spoil you with and it might just be that the Isle of Skye is the most wondrous of all. The Isle of Skye literally means ‘cloud island’ and is a landscape of craggy cliff edges, mountain peaks and otherworldly charm. For a fantastic afternoon hike, go and see the fairy pools. If it is warm enough, you can even take a dip.

You are well advised to take a car to the Isle of Skye in order to make the most of the Isle of Skye. For more information, check out this guide on how to see the Isle of Skye. Be prepared for all types of weather as the island can switch in a moment. Packing layers, waterproofs and good hiking shoes with ankle support will see you through the Skye’s changeable weather.

Nature and Hiking at Glen Coe

For the geological enthusiasts out there, these distinct hills and valleys that were carved out centuries ago from glacial erosion and volcanic eruptions have plenty to feast the eyes on. Glen Coe lies on the remnants of a supervolcano which has been long extinct. Then, to see it all from above, you can climb up the Monro mountains.

These picturesque peaks are quite famous and have been used in backdrops in the movies: Harry Potter, Skyfall and, of course, Braveheart. It is also a rich area for nature enthusiasts. The peaks of Glen Coe support the tiny bird the snow bunting and ptarmigan, a distinct and beautiful grouse. Buzzards and golden eagles also soar around the area.

So get planning the ultimate escape in the furthest corner of Scotland and see everything that it has to offer. It’s the perfect place for the adventurer, the nature-enthusiast, the swimmer, the camper, just the all-round explorer.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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Visiting the UK for the First Time? 10 Things to Consider Doing (2024)

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Are you planning a trip to the United Kingdom and feeling a little overwhelmed with all there is to do? No worries! The UK is packed with history, culture, and beautiful landscapes, making it an exciting destination for any traveler. To help you get started, here are ten things you should consider doing on your first visit.

1. Explore London’s Iconic Landmarks

London is often the starting point for many visitors, and for good reason. The city is bursting with iconic sights that you’ve likely seen in movies or read about in books. Be sure to check out:

  • The Tower of London: Learn about its rich history and see the Crown Jewels.
  • Buckingham Palace: Try to catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
  • The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben: Snap some photos of these famous structures.
  • The London Eye: Get a bird’s eye view of the city from this giant Ferris wheel.

Walking along the River Thames will give you a great perspective of the city’s skyline, too!

2. Take a Day Trip to Stonehenge

Just a couple of hours away from London, Stonehenge is a prehistoric marvel that has stood on the British landscape for thousands of years. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most famous landmarks in the UK. Many tours are available that can provide round-trip transportation and insightful commentary about this mysterious stone circle.

3. Discover the Scottish Highlands

If time allows, venture north to Scotland and experience the breathtaking beauty of the Scottish Highlands. With its rugged mountains, serene lochs (lakes), and sweeping glens (valleys), it’s an area of outstanding natural beauty. You might even want to try spotting the elusive Loch Ness Monster while you’re there!

4. Play the Irish Lottery

While exploring the UK, many travelers try their luck with the Irish Lottery. While based in Ireland, the Irish Lotto remains popular in the UK among locals and visitors alike. People can purchase a ticket from authorized retailers like Lottoland.

5. Visit Historical University Towns

The UK is home to some of the world’s most prestigious universities, and the towns of Oxford and Cambridge are well worth a visit. Wander around the historic college buildings, admire the architecture, and maybe even take a punt (boat) down the river. Both towns have a unique charm and are brimming with history and culture.

6. Enjoy Traditional British Cuisine

Your trip won’t be complete without trying some traditional British food. Fish and chips are a must-have, ideally enjoyed by the seaside. Also, don’t miss out on a classic Sunday roast at a local pub, complete with Yorkshire pudding and gravy. For something sweet, afternoon tea is a charming British tradition where you can indulge in scones, sandwiches, and a selection of teas.

7. Wander Through the Lake District

The Lake District is England’s largest National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for its stunning lakes, forests, and mountains. It’s the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you prefer hiking, cycling, or simply picnicking by the water’s edge, the natural beauty here is sure to leave you in awe. Don’t forget to visit the charming villages like Windermere and Keswick.

8. Experience the Welsh Culture in Cardiff

Cardiff, the capital of Wales, offers a blend of ancient history and modern Welsh culture. Explore Cardiff Castle, stroll through Bute Park, or catch a rugby match to experience the national sport and passion of Wales. The city also boasts a vibrant waterfront at Cardiff Bay, where you can find delicious Welsh cuisine and entertainment.

9. Attend a West End Show in London

For theatre lovers, attending a show in London’s West End is a must-do. The area is famous for its high-quality theatrical productions, ranging from musicals and comedies to classic dramas and new works. There’s something magical about spending an evening in one of the historic theatres, enjoying world-class performances that you’ll remember long after the curtain falls.

10. Visit the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland

A trip to the UK wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. This natural wonder consists of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, give or take, resulting from an ancient volcanic eruption. Legend says it was built by giants, and as you walk the coastal path with the Atlantic Ocean crashing beside you, it’s easy to see why this myth persists. It’s a truly unique and unforgettable sight.

Remember, the UK is more than just its sights; it’s the experiences and the people that make a trip truly memorable. So, chat with locals, take in the scenery, and immerse yourself in the culture. Have a fantastic trip!

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Did you get receive an inheritance or own the Lottoland’s lottery and are planning a trip to the UK? Here are 10 things to consider doing next time you visit the United Kingdom.

 

 

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Exploring Equatorial Guinea: A Journey through the Heart of Africa

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Tucked away in the western part of Central Africa lies Equatorial Guinea, a nation often referred to as the “Heart of Africa” due to its geographical location straddling the equator. This small yet captivating country comprises the mainland region called Rio Muni and several islands, with Bioko being the largest and most populous. Exploring Equatorial Guinea is akin to embarking on a journey through a microcosm of Africa’s diverse landscapes, cultures, and history. So, if you are in the mood to plan a trip to this wonderful land, make sure to check out eVisa in order to keep things going easily and plan stress-free.

A Tapestry of Landscapes

Equatorial Guinea’s geography is as varied as it is stunning. From dense rainforests to pristine beaches and volcanic landscapes, this country offers a tapestry of natural wonders waiting to be discovered. The lush rainforests of Bioko Island are a haven for biodiversity, home to rare species such as the drill monkey and the African grey parrot. Hiking through the dense foliage, one can encounter cascading waterfalls, hidden lagoons, and endemic flora that thrive in this ecological paradise.

Venturing to the mainland, Rio Muni unveils a different facet of Equatorial Guinea’s landscape. Here, expansive savannas stretch as far as the eye can see, interrupted by winding rivers and rolling hills. The Monte Alen National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, offers intrepid travelers the chance to witness elephants, gorillas, and other wildlife roaming freely in their natural habitat. Explorations along the Rio Muni River reveal traditional villages where ancient customs and traditions are still preserved, providing a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of Equatorial Guinea.

Cultural Encounters

Equatorial Guinea is a melting pot of cultures, with influences from indigenous tribes, Spanish colonial heritage, and neighboring African nations. This diversity is reflected in the country’s vibrant music, dance, and cuisine. Traditional rhythms reverberate through the streets during festivals and celebrations, where locals clad in colorful attire showcase their ancestral dances passed down through generations.

The capital city, Malabo, offers a fascinating blend of old-world charm and modernity. Spanish colonial architecture stands side by side with contemporary structures, creating a unique juxtaposition of styles. The bustling markets of Malabo are a feast for the senses, with vendors selling fresh produce, spices, and handicrafts crafted by local artisans. Exploring the city’s museums and galleries provides insight into Equatorial Guinea’s history, from its pre-colonial roots to its struggle for independence and subsequent development.

Island Escapes

Equatorial Guinea’s islands offer a perfect escape for those seeking sun, sand, and sea. Bioko Island boasts pristine beaches fringed by coconut palms, where azure waters beckon travelers to swim, snorkel, and dive amidst colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life. The island’s volcanic peaks provide a dramatic backdrop for exploration, with opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and even volcano trekking for the adventurous.

Off the coast of Rio Muni lies the tranquil island of Annobón, a secluded paradise untouched by mass tourism. Here, time seems to stand still as visitors immerse themselves in the laid-back island lifestyle, characterized by warm hospitality and breathtaking natural beauty. Snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, exploring hidden coves, or simply unwinding on deserted beaches are among the activities that make Annobón a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

Conclusion

Exploring Equatorial Guinea is a journey of discovery, where every corner reveals a new facet of Africa’s rich heritage and natural splendor. From the lush rainforests of Bioko to the pristine beaches of Annobón, this small yet diverse country offers endless opportunities for adventure, cultural immersion, and relaxation. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking an off-the-beaten-path destination, Equatorial Guinea promises an unforgettable experience that will leave a lasting impression on all who visit.

 

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How Gaming Inspires Real-World Adventure

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Video games have gone well beyond just entertainment; they can now open doors to real-world exploration and adventure too. Their unique ability to take players to new worlds, albeit virtual ones, can motivate players to go out on their own to experience those locations, cultures, and adventures first-hand. A trend that’s gaining popularity with gamers is seeking out these virtual experiences in the real world to bridge the gap between the two realms. After all, they’ve already visited these diverse cultures virtually. In this article, we look at the impact gaming has had on our desire to explore and connect with the world around us.

The Influence of Gaming on Travel Choices

The immersive worlds of video games serve as more than just backdrops for storytelling and gameplay; they can be jumping-off points for real-world exploration. Games like Assassin’s Creed, which explores various historical settings, including cities, landscapes, and cultures in detail, and Yakuza, which unfolds the heart of Tokyo, have piqued the curiosity in gamers, motivating them to explore these destinations themselves.

These games have rich narratives and often take place in authentic settings, giving players a close-up look at the spirit of different locales, from the ancient streets of Rome to the bustling districts of modern-day Japan. This virtual tourism not only enriches the gaming experience but also influences travel choices, as players seek to experience the depth and authenticity of the cultures and places they’ve grown to admire in their digital adventures.

Las Vegas and Online Casinos

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Las Vegas is one of the best examples of how gaming—video games and online casinos—inspires real-world adventure. For those who don’t live in the Southwestern United States, getting to the entertainment capital of the world requires planning and long-distance travel. However, you can find aspects of the city’s glittering appeal in various video games and online platforms that offer a virtual taste of one of the world’s most famous cities.

These digital experiences, from the strategy of blackjack to slot machines’ virtual spins, mirror the excitement of Las Vegas, motivating gamers to experience the city in person. Titles like Fallout: New Vegas and numerous casino-themed games have significantly shaped perceptions, enticing gamers with a virtual Las Vegas adventure to seek the authentic entertainment, sounds, and sights of the Strip, boosting tourism as players pursue the excitement they’ve first encountered online.

From Virtual to Reality: Other Popular Destinations Inspired by Gaming

Within video games, distant and fictional worlds are available for us to explore with the tap of a controller or click of the mouse, which can inspire real-world curiosity among audiences. If a player explores Tokyo through the Persona series, they’ll get a vibrant, stylized glimpse into Japanese culture, fashion, and daily life, which can encourage fans to get out and explore the city’s actual streets, shrines, and districts on their next vacation.

Similarly, the Spider-Man games set in New York City allow players to swing through the different Manhattan boroughs, which can foster a desire to experience the Big Apple’s iconic landmarks in person.  One of the biggest draws of the Assassin’s Creed series is its historical settings that educate players on different eras and locations, including everything from Renaissance Italy to Ancient Egypt, making history accessible and intriguing. These games entertain while at the same time acting as interactive travel guides, encouraging cultural exploration and a deeper appreciation of the history and significance of their real-world counterparts.

The Role of Augmented Reality (AR) Games

Augmented Reality (AR) games, like Pokémon GO, have changed the way we interact with our surroundings, turning boring everyday activities into a backdrop for fun and exciting adventures. AR works by overlaying virtual elements onto the real world and these games encourage players to venture outdoors, explore new locations, and even travel far from home as they try to collect as many Pokémon as they can along the way, making it one of the most unique gaming experiences available. Pokémon GO, in particular, has had a big role in creating community events and gatherings, bringing together players of all ages in public spaces, parks, and landmarks worldwide.

The Pokémon Go phenomenon has gotten people off the couch and engaging in physical activity and exploration while also bringing together communities for a shared adventure among players. Although there hasn’t been another game as successful as Pokémon GO, its success demonstrates the potential to blend virtual gaming experiences with real-world adventures, making the act of exploration both fun and rewarding. Through these interactive experiences, AR games have the power to transform local neighborhoods and distant locales into playgrounds for the imagination, further blurring the lines between the digital and the physical worlds.

 

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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