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Gear Up For an All-terrain Run Around Flores Island

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The first edition of the Azores Trail Runâ – Extreme West Atlantic Trail will be held on 24th November in Flores Island, in the Azores.

Azores Trail Runâ is responsible for organising three other trail running events held in the Azores and is bringing this event to the westernmost island of the Portuguese archipelago for the first time.

Every year, over a thousand athletes with different nationalities come together in Azores to take part in the trail runs. The events take place during the low season and there are only a limited number of spots available that athletes have to qualify for prior to the race.

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Azores Trail Runâ – Whalers Great Route was the first event organised by the brand in 2104. The race takes place on the last weekend of May annually. As the years went by, several other events have been added, namely the Triangle Adventure (this takes place for three days in the islands of Faial, Pico, and Sao Jorge), the Columbus Trail (scheduled for the first weekend of February 2019 on the island of Santa Maria) and also the Flores-based Extreme West Atlantic Trail.

Home to unique terrain conditions and having a high potential for tourism development, the Azores is a perfect destination for such sporting events.

Flores as well as neighbouring Corvo is considered to be one of the most remote islands of the Azores. The island’s population stands at approximately 3,800 people and is famous for its untouched natural beauty and canyoning. Tourists generally visit Flores during the high season from June to September each year.

Enjoy Freebies When You Visit Dubrovnik During Non-Peak Periods

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Dubrovnik has always been a destination of choice during summer months. In bid to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city under less crowd, more and more travellers are visiting Dubrovnik during the winter months instead.

Dubrovnik Tourist Board has been organising complimentary city tours and folklore performances for the fourth year in a row so as to express their appreciation to travellers who make the trip off-season.

From 3rd November 2018 to 30th March 2019, a free city tour with an English-speaking guide will depart from the Tourist Information Centre on Brsalje 5, near the Pile Gate on every Saturday. On the “Winter Saturday Mornings in the City” tour, pre-registered guests will be able to spend 90 minutes exploring and discovering what lies inside of Dubrovnik’s medieval walls, such as the Onofrio Fountain, Sponza and Rector’s palaces as well as Stradun. The tour concludes at the open-air Luza square, followed by a performance of the traditional dances and songs by the local Lindo Folklore ensemble.

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Come winter, Dubrovnik will be well connected to seven European destinations with direct flights to Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Rim, Barcelona, Warsaw and Istanbul in addition to the regular flights to Zagreb. The Tourist Board expects an increase in tourists from markets such as the USA, Japan and South Korea with the improvement in access. Tourists will also be in time for the Dubrovnik Winter Festival which offers a variety of music and entertainment programmes.

If you’re keen on the city tour, do remember to register with the Tourism Board a day in advance either through phone or e-mail. Visit the Tourist Board website for more information.

The Green Volcano Chain of France

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France is known for its cuisine and culture, as well as having a number of places that are worth the visit—the bright city of Paris, the lush lavender fields in Provence, the scenic cliffs of Etretat. But not a lot of people know about the country’s natural wonders, such as the Chaîne des Puys or volcano chain located in the Rhone-Alpes region of France.

Granted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site this past July, the string of ‘Green Volcanoes’ of central France has a different image than the typical dangerous and rocky formations of volcanoes. Due to the volcanoes being dormant for almost 6,000 years, Chaîne des Puys has grown into a lush patch of greenery.

The formation of the volcanic chain can be dated back 35 million years ago, as a result of the creation of the Alps, an emblematic segment of the Western European Rift. The last known eruption was in 4,040 B.C. The volcano chain has several cinder cones, explosion craters, and lava domes. According to UNESCO, Chaîne des Puys is an excellent example of continental break-up.

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There is much more to the volcanoes than its fascinating natural history. Visitors can view the spectacular panorama of Chaîne des Puys at Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Park—one of France’s largest national parks. The park hosts several outdoor activities such as horseback riding, motorcycle rides, fishing and hiking.

Visitors can hike up the volcanic cones to crater lakes and view the natural spectacle or go for a more laid back hike up the to a beautiful view at the side of the Puy de Dôme, the tallest volcano amongst the chain.

If you wish to just relax without having to fulfil any sort of physical activity, the park also has a number of vineyards. There is the Loire Valley Wine, in which the section is known for its variations of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay. You can sample wines while enjoying the lush, green views of Chaîne des Puys.

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Impressed By Reunion Island

Of volcanic deserts, lunar landscapes, deep blue lagoons and black sandy beaches, Reunion is a jewel of the Indian Ocean. Although Reunion Island officially belongs to France, it is in fact located nowhere near Europe and instead lies East of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, basking in the southern hemisphere’s sun.

The island is mostly decked out in rugged, cloud-covered mountains, and most of the human habitation has been relegated towards the coastline. Perfect from outdoor enthusiasts, the mountains are great for hiking along steep trails, rappelling down waterfalls or even canyoning along its rivers.

With all that aside, here are several reasons why you should be impressed by this remarkable island:

The Island Holds the Record for the World’s Longest Domestic Flight Route

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Since Reunion Island is a part of France, entering Reunion also means that you’re officially entering France, despite it being over 9,000 km away from Paris. Taking a non-stop flight to Reunion from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris also means that you have never left France and can therefore enter Reunion as a domestic passenger. The total flight time adds up to more than 11 hours, hence making it the longest domestic flight route in the world.

Villages Can be Found Inside Craters

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As the volcanic island is covered in large craters, it is not surprising that entire villages can be found inside them. If you were to take a visit to Cirque de Cilaos caldera, you will be amazed by a completely different world that greets you, something that takes you far away from the beaches and cliffs of the coastline. Plus, the climate within the crater changes completely, with low temperatures and a change of landscape from rock formations to lush rainforests and magnificent waterfalls.

Tip: You can get the best views of the craters on a helicopter ride over the island

One of the World’s Most Active Volcanoes Resides in Reunion Island

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Located on the east side of the island, Piton de la Fournaise is a major tourist attraction and has over 150 recorded eruptions. Although it was a popular hiking spot previously, its last eruption in January 2017 has put a halt to this.

Rampant Shark Attacks

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We’ve all heard about the shark attacks in Australia and South Africa, but none of these compares to Reunion’s record. A fatal attack occurred in February 2017, making it the eighth one since 2011. Although scientists have been studying the phenomenon for years, it is still currently undetermined as to why Reunion has become a centre for attacks. The government has banned swimming and surfing at any of the island’s beaches except for those that have been protected by shark nets or lagoons.

Reunion Island Houses the Indian Ocean’s Highest Peak

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With the nearby Maldives and Mauritius not having extremely high peaks, Piton des Neiges in Reunion stands at 3,069 metres and you’ll be able to summit within a day. However, if you do prefer to go at a slower pace, you can always spend the night in a mountain hike and catch the sunrise from the peak the next day.

Go Glamping in a Treehouse in Croatia

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Where stunning nature meets modern luxury, glamping is your perfect way to experience the untamed nature without giving up comfortable accommodations. This is where glamour and camping fuse together, providing an authentic experience for a unique vacation.

Located just 8 km from Croatia’s famed Plitvice Lakes, Plitvice Holiday Resort has new treehouses equipped with Wi-Fi, making these five tree houses an idyllic nedt for glampers looking to explore the region.

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Image credit: Plitvice Holiday Resort

The treehouses are supported by steel columns, and can accommodate up to four guests in two bedrooms. The treehouses are also complete with two bathrooms, a kitchen, a terrace and various amenities such as Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and heating. These treehouses are designed by Abstracto Studio from Zagreb and executed by a Croatian contractor, guaranteeing the traveller an authentic Croatian experience.

The treehouses project came about because Plitvice Holiday Resort has aims to build a new experience of nature, fitting in houses into the crowns of trees along the lake, and at the same time seamlessly blending them with the surrounding nature. Most importantly, all of this is done without destroying nature’s beauty.

Plitvice Holiday Resort spans over 50,000 sq m and was originally established in 1968 as a campsite. With a makeover in recent years, the treehouses are the newest addition to the property and other facilities have been upgraded to better suit the needs of modern travellers. Travellers have the option of spending the night in cosy lakeside houses, mobile homes and even tipi tents, all of which are located throughout the green forests, complete with paths and planked promenades between them.

For more information, visit Plitvice Holiday Resort’s website here.

Have You Heard About the Vegan Avocado Beer?

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Image credit: Long Arm Pub & Brewery

We’ve had a variety of avocado-flavoured food and beverages, from gelato to burger buns and coffee. The latest addition to the avocado family is none other than the avocado beer. Produced by Long Arm Pub and Brewery in London, their limited-edition Avocado Stout will be made available to customers come November 5th.

Breweries often use animal-derived products to clarify beer, but the avocado beer offered will be 100% vegan and it will be launched just in time for Vegan Month in November. Brewed using dark malts together with a subtle creamy avocado flavour and aroma, you will now be able to get a dose of Vitamin C in yoru beers. The beer will not be green in colour, just in case you’re worried it might be a little off-putting.

Brewed in the pub’s brewery, its pumps brews from six 500-litre tanks straight to the glass, eliminating the need for a keg or usage of cask or bottling, ensuring that your beer will definitely be fresh. In addition, there will be no additives or chemicals in it and it has low carbon footprint since it is produced and enjoyed in the same place.

The Avocado Stout will be priced at £5.50, available at Long Arm Pub & Brewery (20-26 Worship Street, London), from 5th November onwards.

You Can Now Fly on the World’s First Craft Beer Airline

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Image credit: BrewDog

Do you remember the world’s first beer hotel? BrewDog, the makers of the world’s first beer hotel is now launching the “world’s first craft beer airline.”

BrewDog is now launching beer themed flights to its property, The DogHouse hotel,  come February 2019.

The flight will be trialed before being extended to later periods should there be enough demand. It will be taking off on February 21, transporting passenger between London and The DogHouse’s location in Columbus.

Passengers will be able to enjoy the round-trip flight onboard a Boeing 767. The flight will be filled with perks for beery lovers ranging from tastings of limited-edition brews prepared by BrewDog’s team to combat the change in taste and smell that can occur in higher altitudes onboard aircraft, as well as food and beer pairings.

On top of that, passengers can indulge in onboard cocktails and amenity kits that come with eye masks and blankets before landing in Columbus to enjoy a four-night stay in a downtown Columbus hotel. Guests can also opt to stay at BrewDog’s The Doghouse — complete with in-room taps, shower mini fridges stocked with beers as well as beer-infused spa treatments.

As part of their itinerary, guests will be able to tour BrewDog’s brewery, hotel and beer museum before going on tours of local breweries, bars and restaurant tours in Columbus and Cincinnati.

This round-trip flight will be taking place from 21st February to 25th February and is only open to BrewDog Equity Punks, which requires a minimum investment of $50 in return for a share in the company.

You can expect the flight to be approximately US$1,605 per person, inclusive of all flights, excursion and accommodation costs. In addition, there will be five lucky winners who can score a free seat on the flight by taking part in BrewDog’s social media competitio

Welsh Slate Region to be Nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Gwynedd quarries in north-west Wales is nominated for the world heritage status, a distinction enjoyed by many sites such as the Taj Mahal, Great Barrier Reef and the Southern African kingdom, Mapungubwe.

The UK government is able to put forward a site per year to be nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site status and this year it has been announced that it would be Gwynedd’s slate landscape.

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The area is said to have roofed the 19th century world, with immense amount of slate being sent all around Britain as well as expanding towns across Europe, America and Australia. Not only has the the quarries shaped the countryside of the region and across the UK but the world as well.

By becoming a world heritage site and gaining more global recognition would be a crucial milestone for the Gwynedd slate landscape. The site of quarries, railways, villages and mines will be formally presented as a nomination in 2019 and the selection process will culminate to a decision in 2021.

The area includes slate mines, quarries and the railway of Ffestiniog, the Dinorwig slate quarry mountain landscape, and the Aberllefenni slate quarry which is one of the oldest in Wales and possibly dates back from the early 16thcentury.

The UK has 31 world heritage sites, including the Lake District, the Tower of London, and the Neolithic monuments on Orkney. If successful, the landscape would be the fourth world heritage site in Wales, joining the 13thcentury castles and town wall built by King Edward I, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, and the Blaenavon industrial landscape.

There are more than 1,000 world heritage sites, worldwide. Italy having the most, with 54 sites that ranges from the rock drawings of Valcamonica to the industrial northern city of Ivrea. UK’s most recent nomination was the Jodrell Bank Observatory, which recently underwent evaluation by UNESCO experts. A decision is expected next summer.

 

The Westerly Secret Scottish Wilderness

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When most people here Ardnamurchan, they would tilt their heads in confusion. Not many seems to know that it’s the most westerly point of the British mainland and is in Scotland.

Formerly home to some of the most remote settlements in Scotland, Ardnamurchan has suffered greatly during the notorious 18th and 19th century Highland Clearances. Townships such as Buarblaig and Skinod were all cleared.

Today, despite being more accessible, Ardnamurchan still hold on to a very hidden-away feel to it. The single-track B8007, twists along the shores of Loch Sunart and around the crater of an old volcano before guiding you to the Atlantic coast. This drive into nature will transport you to a place unknown, or at least a place not much visited.

Once you turn onto the peninsula, you will be greeted by a large cluster of ancient oakwoods that have once spread all over Scotland, giving the region an unkempt and natural feel. Ardnamurchan have successfully missed tourists and weekenders who drive between Fort William and Mallaig, failing to see that there are more to see beyond the Road of the Isles.

What lies along the shores of Loch Sunart is definitely amazing. As you head towards the Atlantic, you will be arriving at Britain’s most westerly mainland point. The title, technically, belongs to the headland of Corrachadh Mor. But the lighthouse at Ardnamurchan Point, which is a short drive away, loudly claims the title.

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You can go up the lighthouse for £7.50 or take a five-minute walk around it for free. The lighthouse is a great place to give you a sense of how exposed the battered coastline is. On a clear day, the silhouette of the Small Isles and Skye’s Cuillin range can be seen.

During fall, the sunset blankets Ardnamurchan with a honeydew glow one the fallen leaves and the nights hold potential of northern lights.

Ardnamurchan is an adventure itself but so does getting there. You can hop on the Corran Ferry, a few miles south of Fort William, for a ten-minute crossing. You can travel down the A861 and drive past the eerie ruins of Tioram Castle.

Chill in This ‘Game of Thrones’ Ice Hotel

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Image credit: Lapland Hotels

Have watched Game of Thrones and wondered how cozy it would be to take a trip to the North in arctic temperatures? Wait no further, a new Game of Thrones themed hotel has opened in Kittilä, Finland.

You can now get the ultimate Westeros experience with the Lapland Hotels SnowVillage. Located in the resort of Kittilä, about 125 miles above the Arctic Circle and 90 minutes from Helsinki.

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Image credit: Lapland Hotels

With the help of professional ice sculptors from different parts of the world, the destination—made up of 24 rooms, 10 of which are for guests staying overnight—features an ice figure related to the popular TV show based on George R.R. Martin’s book series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’.

Some attractions that can be spotted in the resort is the recreation of Braavos’ Hall of Faces and a replica of the Iron Throne, which is guarded by Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane’. Some ice sculptures featured is a White Walker, complete with glowing blue eyes, and as well as a menacing dragon-shaped ice slide.

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Image credit: Lapland Hotels

Guests are also treated to a guided tour inside the SnowVillage, a buffet breakfast in the log restaurant and a diploma to commemorate your stay.

In addition to all the intricate sculptures and artworks, with the SnowVillage covering an area of 20,000 sqm, the ice hotel comes with a fully functioning bar, chapel, and a cinema.

With temperatures reaching at least -5C inside, suites are equipped with high-quality thermal sleeping bags to keep the guests warm. Despite this, guest are still advised to stay no longer than a night in the hotel due to the icy conditions. Guests who wish to stay longer around the SnowVillage are very much welcome to stay in the nearby log cabins.