NOOSA: EXPLORE RELAXATION

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The always-popular seaside village on Australia’s Sunshine Coast boasts an abundance of incredible experiences and natural sights to enjoy in-between irresistible lazy days by the sea. Here are some of my favourite spots to hang and places to explore for the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

Noosa Main Beach attracts tourists from all over looking to claim their spot on the sand of one of Australia’s most popular holiday beaches.

The obvious downside of visiting Noosa in the middle of its peak season are the hordes of tourists with exactly the same plan as you; to see the Sunshine Coast at its best. Over the past few years the secret of this popular Aussie holiday spot has definitely got out, with seemingly more people on the beach each time I visit. Luckily though, the Main Beach is long enough to cater for everyone and it seems that there are still a few local gems that haven’t yet been divulged to the masses where you can escape for a spot of solitude.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

Relax in the stunning coastal fairy pools; one of Noosa’s best worst-kept secrets.

Noosa National Park sits hidden in plain sight at the Southern end of Noosa Main Beach. Home to a multitude of stunning bays, secluded swimming spots, spectacular lookouts and bush-land thriving with Australian native wildlife; the National Park offers so much to see and explore. There is a well maintained system of walking tracks through the park that make it incredibly easy to tackle the stunning 4000 hectare stretch of coastline on offer between Noosa and Rainbow Beach; perfect for a day out with friends and family.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

Visit the fairy pools early in the morning to give yourself the best chance of enjoying them all to yourself.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

Lined with coral and filled with crystal clear water, the pools are stunning from both above and below the surface.

One of the absolute must-visit spots in the National Park are the Fairy Pools. Hidden to the side of the track and not signposted at all, the natural saltwater pools are a perfect place to spend a lazy day by the sea. They require a scramble down the rocks to get to and can only be accessed at low tide, but if you are able to find them and can time it right, there is no more spectacular place to hang out. Although the pools were once a well-kept local secret, it is now getting harder to enjoy them without another soul in sight, and on busy days it can be hard to even find a vacant place in the pools. Visit early to give yourself the best chance of a secluded escape before the masses hit.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

Hell’s Gates are the perfect place to set up a picnic, watch for whales or explore the rugged coastline of the National Park.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

For those with small children, Alexandria Bay’s clothing-optional stretch of sand can be enjoyed from afar atop the Hell’s Gates lookout.

Alexandria Bay is an idyllic stretch of sand about an hour’s walk along the coastal track from Noosa. As you turn the corner at Hell’s Gates lookout, a favourite local spot for whale watching, cliff jumping and a picnic with a view, you get your first glimpse of the pristine Alexandria Bay below. We didn’t venture any further than the lookout, opting to avoid any close-up encounters on the clothing-optional beach and view it from afar before heading back along the track to Noosa. For those wishing to continue walking, it is about another hour’s walk all the way to the stunning Sunshine Beach.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

A sunset swim is the perfect way to cool off after a day of exploring Noosa National Park.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

Watch dolphins play just beyond the waves at Noosa Main Beach

The Sunshine Coast is a haven for marine life, boasting regular appearances of dolphins, whales, turtles and even manta rays all along the coastline. Last year I was lucky enough to be in Noosa in September, prime-time for encounters with the marine wildlife. I regularly witnessed whales breaching as they passed by the beach on their annual migration South and pods of dolphins putting on morning shows of aerial acrobatics. Although I wasn’t ever able to time my morning swim to meet them in the water, pods of anywhere between five and thirty dolphins regularly cruised the coastline and provided plenty of opportunities to watch them play just beyond the waves.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

The annual whale migration provides plenty of opportunities to watch the calves have some fun on their way down South.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

Exploring the other-worldly landscape of Double Island Point.

An excursion to Rainbow Beach and Double Island point is a fantastic way to get away from the crowds and see some of the region’s most spectacular stretches of coastline. You can hire your own car or join a tour, but the only way to get there is 4WD beach driving. I joined a Dolphin View Kayak tour with Epic Ocean Adventures and ventured up to Double Island Point with the hope of kayaking with dolphins, manta rays or even migrating humpback whales. Two days previous to my visit, the tour group had a pod of whales breach within touching distance and two days later, witnessed manta rays gliding directly beneath their kayaks. On our tour we were visited by a pod of playful dolphins for almost an hour, toying with us as we chased them around the bay. For incredible marine encounters, Double Island Point is pretty hard to beat.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

The dolphins of Double Island Point.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

The breathtaking natural landscape of Rainbow Beach.

As much as you can avoid the chaos of Hastings St and try to discover some secluded spots nearby, there is a reason travellers choose Noosa. The main beach and village have a relaxed atmosphere, excellent food & dining options, a variety of appealing accommodation choices and a great beach to enjoy. All you have to do to get away from the crowds is to get there before they do. Waking up for a walk along the beach and a swim at sunrise will be the best decision you make during your stay. Dolphins in the water, colour illuminating the sky and only a handful of other people scattered along the sand; it’s not hard to explain why sunrise is my favourite time to enjoy the classic appeal of Noosa’s main beach.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

Colour fills the sky and reflects across the ocean during a vibrant Noosa sunrise.

Noosa: Explore Relaxation

Adapted from: jamesvodicka.com/travel-blog/

Published: 15/07/2017

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The Best Destinations for your Summer 2017 Trip to Europe

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Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain

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Best for: Solo travelers

Enjoy open-air movies and theater performances, rooftop terraces, beautiful parks and alleys, outdoor activities, dances, yoga classes, sport and music events. Although summer months are quite hot in Madrid, this is a time when the city never sleeps; there are plenty of national and international events and many guests (but not as many as in spring and autumn). You will surely have a lot of fun and make exciting acquaintances.

Advice: don’t forget to bring a hat, suntan lotion, and a water bottle – these things will make it easier to deal with the heat.

Nice, France

Nice, France

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Best for: Couples

Mediterranean coast, turquoise seas, white-sand beach cafes, and amazing promenades .What could be more romantic than the stunning French Riviera in summer? Nice is a special city – a wonderful combination of Italian chic and Mediterranean maritime freshness. Here everything is full of romance.

Berlin, Germany

Nice, France

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Best for: Groups

Berlin is wonderful during the summer months. It is especially nice in August, when everyone is preparing for festivals. There are so many amazing places in Berlin! But only in summer can you visit the International Beer Festival and numerous outdoor activities that are not available in other seasons. Hang out at street cafes and restaurants, lounge in the parks and quaint alleyways, and generally enjoy the warm friendly atmosphere of the German capital.

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

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Best for: the whole family

Bruges is one of the most exciting destinations in Europe. Its mysterious streets along with cozy ambiance, attractive squares, and lovely cafes make everyone fall in love with this amazing city. There is a stereotype that the best seasons to come to Bruges are spring and autumn. Whether it is true or not, you can check for yourself. However, our travel agents suggest you visit in July and August, and for good reason: the temperature is extremely comfortable (21C) and the city looks like a fairytale.

Corfu, Greece

Corfu Island, Greece, Europe

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Best for: Honeymoon travelers

Greece is an incredible place for diverse travel. Whether you are searching for an opportunity to do all kinds of surfing, including wind and kite, or you would like to enjoy the beautiful streets of Corfu Island, its wonderful atmosphere, warm summer weather and romantic seaside. One of the best destinations for honeymooning couples, this Greek island is a truly magical, romantic and ideal place for your perfect summer trip.

Published: 13/07/2017

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Beautiful Beaches of Puerto Rico

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1) Balneario Flamenco, Culebra 

A wide angle panoramic view of the amazing clear blue Caribbean water and white sands of Flamenco beach on the Puerto Rican island of Culebra. depositphotos.com

The sunny weather, shades of blue sky and turquoise sea are astonishing from the moment you arrive here. This paradisiac beach is located on the small Island of Culebra, one of the numerous snake islands in the world. It was recently named by Travel and Leisure magazine as one of the thirty best secret islands of the world because of its natural beauty. The water is crystalline and calm; the sand is white, soft and so fine that it squeaks when you walk on it. Balneario Flamenco is surrounded by green mountains and beautiful palm trees and adorned with amazing coral reefs. Add numerous tourist amenities, and you will understand why this area is so perfect. Here you can enjoy camping, relaxing baths, visit kiosks of local fried foods and other tasty cuisine. The place is so spacious that even on crowded weekends you will still be able to enjoy a peaceful spot on this wonderful beach. Undoubtedly, it is the most beautiful beach on Puerto Rico and one of the most beautiful in the world.

2) Balneario la Monsserate, Luquillo

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The Balneario la Monsserate is one of the most popular and most visited beaches on the Island. There are many reasons for this. It has all the necessary facilities for a perfect day at the beach: showers, baths, kiosks, parking, snack bars, camping areas and even facilities for disabled persons. Its spacious shore faces a crystalline and tranquil sea where people go in for aquatic sports and exercises. A little to the west you will notice an impressive mountain, which is the largest tropical forest in Puerto Rico: The Anvil. This beach is surrounded by rich, luxuriant vegetation, and you will also find here a famous kiosk area with Caribbean delights and beautiful views. Balneario la Monsserate is one of four beaches in Puerto Rico with Blue Flag certification.

3) Balneario El Escambrón, San Juan 

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How does having a beach in the city sound? Perfect. This is reality at Escambrón Spa, located in an urban center two steps from the historical city of Old Saint John – one of the most ancient in the Americas and the most frequented tourist area of the Island. It is surrounded by hotels and restaurants and, by a short walk across a bridge, you are connected to the park Luis Muñoz Rivera, an excellent option if you are traveling with children. It is also ideal for those who go in for aquatic sports. If you like surfing, walk towards the west, and you will find Beach Eight. El Escambrón is another one of the Puerto Rican beaches classified as Blue Flag.

4) Balneario Boquerón, Cabo Rojo 

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We have selected this beach for its cheerful ambience, family fun, numerous beach festivities, and  panoramic vista. The surrounding neighborhood provides excellent street food and drinks as well. Hundreds of people from this part of Puerto Rico visit Boquerón spa on weekends.

5) Balneario Sun Bay, Vieques 

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This spa is thought to be one of the best on the whole Island. It is widely known for its golden coast, camping area, and beautiful panoramic views. Balnerio is also the entryway to other beaches in Vieques and Luminescent Bay.

6) Crash Boat, Aguadilla 

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Can you imagine calm turquoise sea near a beautiful white sand beach? This is a perfect area for excellent diving and snorkeling. In general, there is a festive ambience for young people and families. Everything for a perfect holiday is available here, and you can find a great variety of activities for perfect beach recreation.