Adventure holidays

Holidays in Ireland

The Best Adventure Holidays in Ireland

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Whether you want to captain your own cruiser on the River Shannon, or climb Ireland’s tallest sea stacks in Donegal, I’ve got 20 great adventure holidays in Ireland to suit all tastes and budgets.

 

Did you know you can actually climb ‘Dun Briste’, the sea stack in Down Patrick Head? I didn’t either when I visited it last week! Fancy yourself as another Bear Grylls? You can book a bushcraft skills course in Cork, where you will overnight in the wild, in a shelter that you have built… Perhaps you are looking for a digital detox  – why not enjoy a three-day canoe and wild camping holiday in Kilkenny, for just €120? There are so many great adventure holidays in Ireland that I was not aware of – I can’t wait to get out and try some of them myself. 


 

Being cooped up at home for so long has given us all a new found appreciation for outdoor activities. I have never seen so many people take up cycling or sea swimming, and wetsuits and SUP boards are like hens teeth! Staycations have never been so popular and I have had many requests from people looking for adventure holidays in Ireland – here are my top 20.

 

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1. Climb Ireland’s tallest mountain – Carrauntoohil, Co. Kerry

 

 
 
 
 
 
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And then I woke up

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Standing at 1,039 metres in the middle of the MacGillycuddy Reeks lies Ireland’s tallest mountain. I still can’t believe I actually climbed this many years ago. I’m not sure so I would be able to do it now, but I would certainly like to give it another try. The climb should take between 6-7 hours round trip, depending on your fitness levels, but the views from the top are definitely worth it. 

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Read: Top Airbnb Glamping sites in Ireland
 

 

 

2. Go Skydiving in Edenderry, Co. Offaly

adventure holidays in Ireland - skydiving

Release your inner action hero and try a skydive this year! Skydive.ie are a non-profit organisation that offer full training from beginner level to advanced. You can go solo, take a tandem dive, you can even complete an Assistant Free Fall course. Many choose to skydive for charity, but you can also choose to skydive for fun, prices from €199.

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3. Drive the Causeway Coastal Route, Co. Antrim

 

 
 
 
 
 
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As well as boasting a stunning coastline, the Causeway Coast is a great destination for adventure holidays in Ireland. You can visit the Giants Causeway, walk across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, try a sea safari with Aquaholics or if you really want to up the adrenaline, try coasteering – a combination of rock climbing and jumping into the sea.
 

 

 
Although currently closed, the Gobbins cliff path walk is one of Europe’s most unique cliff walks – hopefully this will re-open again soon. The best way to unwind after a day’s outdoor pursuits is to indulge in a seaweed bath at Sea Haven therapy in Ballycastle or enjoy a whiskey tour at Bushmills Old Whiskey distillery.

Read: A magical few days on the Causeway Coast

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4. Go Sea Stack climbing in Donegal

Sea Stack climbing is probably the most adventurous activity available in Ireland. I was amazed to learn that you can actually climb Dun Briste, the sea stack I visited recently at Down Patrick Head. UniqueAscent.ie “will take you to places that have been visited fewer times than the moon” – now thats a pretty cool claim to fame. You don’t need any previous climbing experience, in fact 80% of people that Iain Miller, (the world’s only professional sea stack climber), takes out have never rock climbed before. They also offer a host of other outdoor adventure sports including abseiling and coasteering. Voted Tripadvisor’s top outdoor activity in Donegal, if you are looking for adventure holidays in Ireland – look no further. 

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And you might find some cool places to stay here:

Read: 20 luxurious Airbnbs in Ireland near the beach
 

 

 

5. Captain your own cruiser on the River Shannon

A river cruise is a more relaxed way to explore Ireland’s towns and villages, but you also get a great sense of achievement by captaining your very own boat. You don’t need a license to rent a cruiser, and you can enjoy the freedom of deciding where or when to stop. Self-drive River Shannon cruisers range from 2-10 persons and can be hired in Carrick-on-Shannon, Athlone, Lough Ree and Banagher, Portumna and Whitegate on Lough Derg. 
 

 

 
You can also enjoy the lakes around Lough Erne, in Co. Fermanagh. They tend to be quieter than the Shannon, so you really get the feeling you are exploring on your own. Cruisers can be hired from bases in Tully Bay, Aghinver, Enniskillen, Killadeas, Carrybridge and Belturbet. Day trip rentals are also available.

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6.  Surf, Cycle & Climb in Mayo 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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We are just back after a fabulous few days in Mayo and I was blown away by the stunning beaches and the amount of outdoor activities available. It seemed everyone was either surfing, SUPing or biking! The Great Western Greenway is in Mayo and stretches 42km from Westport to Achill – you can also decide to cycle part of the way.
 

 

 
If you like hiking, why not climb Croagh Patrick while you are there. It takes about four hours round trip, so it is something that even older children can enjoy too.

Mayo is also home to 11 Blue Flag beaches, there are five in Achill. Achill is Ireland’s largest island, and it’s one of the best places to enjoy watersports. Check out PureMagic.ie who run various courses and one off surf lessons. They also have a lodge where you can stay, and I’m told their pizza is the best in Mayo too! 

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7. Hike Ireland’s highest sea cliffs in Co. Donegal

Slieve League Cliffs Donegal
Image by Holzauge222 from Pixabay

Donegal’s Slieve League Cliffs (or Sliabh Liag) are three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher, yet many people I speak to haven’t even heard of them. I should point out that they are actually the highest cliffs on the mainland of Ireland, the Croaghaun Cliffs on Achill Island are slightly higher, but who’s counting!  There are many walking / hiking trails to choose from, and there is even a car park near the top if you are not feeling the urge to climb. You can read more about the the various trails and viewing points here.

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8. Visit Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry

One of Ireland’s oldest sites is now one of our top tourist attractions. Skellig Michael is one of only three UNESCO world heritage sites in Ireland, and is one of the famous locations in Star Wars, The Last Jedi. However it is not the easiest place to get to, visitor numbers are restricted and the boats only visit the island if there are calm seas.
 

 

 
The boat trip is 45 minutes long and sea-sickness is common, so be prepared! You also won’t find any toilet facilities on the island and the terrain is rough, so bring comfortable shoes. You need to pre-book your experience by phoning one of the local boatmen. However, if you are unable to step on to Skellig Michael, Portmagee or Valentia Island offer superb views of the islands too.

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9. Drive the Beara Peninsula & take a cable car to Dursey Island, Co. Cork

I love driving the Beara Peninsula. The colourful towns of Allihies, Eyeries and lively Castletownbere are just some of the reasons. But did you know that the Beara Peninsula is also home to Ireland’s only cable car? It connects the mainland to the tiny island of Dursey. Catch stunning views of Ireland’s south coast 30 meters below, before rambling around the unspoilt island of Dursey. You may even see some whales or dolphins who often frequent these shores.

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10. Go scuba diving along the Wild Atlantic Way 

adventure holidays in Ireland
Photo Sebastian Pena Lambarri, Unsplash

Unfortunately we don’t have the warm temperatures of the Indian Ocean on our doorstep, but we do have surprisingly good dive sites. Baltimore in Cork is not only a gorgeous port town, but it is also home to the MV Kowloon Bridge which sank here in 1986. The wreck is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, as well as a variety of marine life.
 

 

 
Brandon Bay in Kerry has a Gulf Stream that keeps the water relatively warm. Divers are often seen swimming with dolphins and basking sharks, and whales are also a common sight here.

County Clare is home to two of Europe’s top 10 dive sites, Fanore, and Diamond Rocks in Kilkee. Diamond Rocks gets its name from the quartz crystals that glisten when the sun shines on the rocks.
 

 

 
Donegal’s Tory Island is renowned for its excellent visibility and the wreck of HMS Wasp, while Killary Harbour between Mayo and Galway is a natural fjord and is a unique place to dive. There are many other dive sites in Galway, check out Scubadivewest.com who are based in Connemara. 

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11. Take the Stairway to Heaven Walk, Co. Fermanagh

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Cuilcagh Boardwalk trail, a.k.a the Stairway to Heaven walk, is located in Co. Fermanagh. The boardwalk was originally built to preserve the area’s blanket bogs, but it was soon adopted by hill walkers and now attracts 20,000 visitors every year. The walk can take 3-4 hours, depending on your fitness level, and there are steps to reach the viewing platform at the top – but it’s worth it for the ‘Gram… Why not combine that with a luxury stay in the 5-star Lough Erne Resort afterwards?

lough erne resort

Read: Living it up at Lough Erne Resort

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12. Try coasteering or canyoning

Coasteering is a combination of climbing, jumping and swimming along the coast. It is an extreme sport that has gathered huge momentum over the last few years. It wasn’t until I visited the Causeway Coast a few years ago that I heard about coasteering. CoasteeringNI offer a wonderful setting in Ballintoy, which also happens to be one of the Game of Thrones filming locations. Nevsail in Kilkee Co. Clare also offer coasteering, as well as kayaking / coasteering packages.
 

 

 
Gorge Walking or Canyoning is an adventure sport that will see you hiking through streams, sliding down gorges and doing whatever is necessary to reach the bottom. Eclipse Ireland in Kenmare, Co. Kerry have a combined coasteering and canyoning activity that lasts 3-4 hours, price from €65, while Epic Ireland in Galway offer one or five day adventure tours including coasteering and canyoning.

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13. Enjoy white water adventures or canoe camping in Kilkenny

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Award-winning company Go with the Flow offer white-water adventures, eco safaris and lots more in Kilkenny and Carlow. The White Water Thrills & Spills activity will see you negotiate weirs and rapids in their Canadian Canoes. Prices from €40 per adult and €30 per child. You can also rent canoes for two or three days and wild camp along the River Barrow. A three-day Canoe Trail and Wild Camping costs just €120 and you will be supplied with a tent, canoe, paddles, buoyancy jacket and storage barrel – is this not the perfect digital detox?  See more here.
 

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14. Take a Bushcraft Skills course and be self sufficient in the wild, Co Cork

adventure holidays in Ireland - camping
Photo by John Salzarulo on Unsplash

You will feel like Bear Grylls after completing this two-day Bushcraft Skills course in West Cork with OutdoorsIreland. You will learn how to forage, fish, and cook your own food, how to build a fire, and you will overnight in the wild in a shelter that you have built. Cost from €250 per person and beginners are welcome. Killary Adventure Company also run a bushcraft and survival skills day time activity which is suitable for children age 8+ and costs just €52 per person.

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15. Go mountain biking and wake boarding in Ballyhoura, Co Limerick & Co Cork

mountain biking one of the adventure holidays in Ireland

It seems that everyone in Ireland is cycling these days, so why not go a step further and try mountain biking instead? The Ballyhoura Mountain range has the largest mountain biking trails in Ireland. Trailriders Bike Rental/Shop is based at the trailhead of the 92km Ballyhoura Bike Trails in Co. Limerick, and Co. Cork. There are trails for beginners as well as serious bikers.  
 

 

 
Pay a visit to nearby Ballyhass Lakes too, it is home to Ireland’s largest wake boarding facility and offers ziplining, ringo rides, axe throwing and lots more. We visited Ballyhass last year during our trip around the Munster Vales. 

Read: Top things to do in the Munster Vales

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16. Learn to surf in Lahinch, Co. Clare

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Whether you are a beginner or want to improve your surfing techniques, you can book a three-day weekend surf course with Lahinch Surf School. Lessons are held in waist deep water so you don’t need to be an amazing swimmer, and each lesson lasts two hours. Prices from €90 for three lessons.

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17. Go cycling and sea kayaking in Co. Waterford

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Waterford Greenway is our most famous cycle way, it is 46km long and stretches from Waterford City to Dungarvan. We cycled a small portion of it last year (from Durrow to Dungarvan) and loved it. We booked with Garvan Cummins, aka TheGreenwayMan. Garvan campaigned at length for The Waterford Greenway and provides information and insights that you may not find elsewhere.
 

 

 
We stayed in the coastal town of Dungarvan. It has a great food scene and is close to one of Ireland’s lesser known scenic areas – the Copper Coast. Home to the UNESCO Global Geopark, this coastline stretches from Dungarvan to Tramore and can be explored by car or bicycle.

Pure Adventure offers sea kayaking trips along the Copper Coast which offer the opportunity to get up close marine life and encounter sea stacks, caves, blow holes and lots more. 

Read: Top things to do in the Munster Vales

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18. Go Off Road driving and lots more at Todds Leap, Co. Tyrone

 

 
 
 
 
 
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There are over 20 action-packed activities available at Todds Leap Adventure Centre, including Off Road Driving, Clay Pigeon Shooting, a 500m ZipLine, a Giant Swing and a Free Fall Drop Zone. There are glamping snooze boxes and log cabins on site, which makes it ideal for families and groups, but if you fancy a more luxurious place to rest your head, Castle Leslie Estate is less than a half-hour drive away.

Read: Captivated by Castle Leslie

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19. Learn to kitesurf on Duncannon Beach, Co. Wexford

kite surfing - adventure holidays in Ireland

HookedKitesurfing offer a wide range of kitesurfing lessons from three hours to three days. The water in Duncannon is shallow so it’s ideal for beginners. The Zero to Hero private course consists of three hour lessons, done over two or three days, depending on the wind. All equipment is provided, with prices from €380.
 

 

 
Duncannon beach is located on the Hook Peninsula, so make sure you pay a visit to Hook Lighthouse, the world’s oldest working lighthouse, and if you are looking for a great place to stay nearby, I can recommend Dunbrody House Hotel. 

Read: My review of Dunbrody House

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20. Combine adventure with a spa break in Delphi Resort, Co. Galway

delphi adventure resort in Ireland

Delphi Resort is one of Ireland’s best known adventure resorts. You can take part in over 20 different outdoor adventure sports, with the added advantage of staying in a four-star hotel. Kayak the Killary Fjord, surf the Wild Atlantic Way, or brave the Zip’n’Trek aerial course. Surrounded by 200 acres of forest, Delphi Resort is a nature lovers paradise, and their thermal suite is the ideal place to heal any aches and pains at the end of the day. 

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I hope this post on adventure holidays in Ireland will help you plan your next break away. Note this post was published on 30th July 2020. While every effort is made to ensure that facilities and costs are accurate, please check with the individual company before making any holiday plans.
 

Like this post? You might also like:

20 luxurious Airbnbs in Ireland near the beach

Top Airbnb Glamping sites in Ireland

 
holidays in Ireland

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

AsiaLong Haul

Top 5 Adventure Holidays In Asia – With Flights & Luxury Hotels Included

thai-tourists-web

Cambodia and Vietnam, Malaysia and Borneo or a multi-centre in Thailand, there are so many choices for adventure holidays in Asia, check out my top five.

 

When we talk about going to Europe, we don’t compare Bulgaria with Spain, or Norway with Albania, so why do we do it when we talk about a holiday to Asia? We need to remember that each country has something unique to offer. Planning a trip to Asia can be tricky. Weather can not only vary from country to country, but in some cases you may find the rainy season in the north of the country and hot dry weather in the south – at exactly the same time! It can be a good idea to combine cities or jungle treks with beach resorts, or to combine two or three different countries in the one trip.

I have teamed up with Tropical Sky, the long haul holiday specialists to bring you my top five adventure holidays in Asia. These are just a sample of the holidays Tropical Sky offer in the region. All of the prices below include flights, transfers and top quality hotels – in most cases five star resorts! If you want to alter these itineraries in any way, just talk to their dedicated sales team and they will tailor make a holiday to suit you.

 

Thailand: Elephant Hills Experience with Phuket & Khao Lak Beach Stay, 12 Nights, from €3379

Sleeping in a tent in Thailand’s tropical rainforest is enough to make me want to try this trip! Throw in jungle trekking, canoeing and taking care of elephants and you have one of best adventure holidays in Asia.

Before embarking on the Elephant Hills experience you will first spend five nights in the luxurious Vijitt Resort in Phuket. This exclusive all-villa resort is the ultimate in five star luxury. Located on the Andaman Sea, this retreat is an ideal way to start your holiday in relaxing surroundings. You will then be taken by mini-bus to Elephant Hills in Khao Sok National Park, which will be your home for the next two nights. There is no need to worry, the tents have a double bed with bathrooms! Learn all about the conservation of the elephants and help feed them, as well as enjoying a canoe safari, jungle trek and longtail boat cruise.

adventure holidays in thailand

 

Your final destination is the beach resort of Khao Lak. You will be staying at the contemporary Bangsak Merlin hotel where you can chill out and enjoy the on-site facilities, or take the short shuttle ride to the centre of Khao Lak and enjoy some local food, shopping and entertainment.

Price from €3379 includes flights, transfers, hotels on a bed & breakfast basis in Phuket and Khao Lak and full board at Elephant hills.

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Vietnam & Cambodia: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An & Angkor Wat, 12 Nights from €2,449

A two centre holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia is a very popular choice for an adventure holiday in Asia. The short two hour flight from Dha Nang directly to the town of Siem Reap in Cambodia makes it an ideal combination. This twelve night itinerary combines the best of Vietnam with a three night stay to see the world’s largest religious monument at Angkor Wat.

Your holiday starts with a three night stay in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. After a busy few days you will transfer by private car to Halong Bay, where you will board a luxury junk boat for an overnight cruise. There is no better way to explore this captivating UNESCO World Heritage site, than by boat. See how the Vietnamese trade in the early morning and enjoy cocktails and seaviews.

adventure holidays in asia

You will then drive back to Hanoi to catch a short flight to Da Nang where you will transfer to the riverside town of Hoi An for four nights. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An is a pretty riverside town with pedestrianised streets and ancient buildings. Next stop is Siem Reap in Cambodia where you will spend three nights in the luxury Heritage Suites Hotel. Located only fifteen minutes from Angkor, you will have plenty of time to discover the ancient monuments, try some local Khmer tapas (a must-have) and also enjoy the swimming pool in the afternoons.

Price from €2449 includes all flights, transfers and hotels on a bed & breakfast basis.

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Borneo: Jungle & Beach, 10 Nights from €2,499

You only have to say the word Borneo and adventure springs to mind. Tropical rainforests, stunning beaches, amazing marine life and the chance to see Orangutans in their natural habitat – this ten night trip to Borneo is one of my favourite adventure holidays in Asia.

You will fly into Kota Kinabalu where you will enjoy a three-night stay at the Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, before flying north to Sandakan. Your first stop is the Orangutan rehabilitation centre at Sepilok, where Orangutans roam free and you can observe from jungle boardwalks. You will also be able to visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, where rescued sun bears live. After an action packed morning enjoy a river cruise and lunch at the Abai Jungle Lodge, where you will stay for two nights. Search for wildlife on river cruises and enjoy tropical sunsets and jungle sounds, from the comfort of your luxury lodge.

adventure holidays in asia

Your final stop is the stunning island of Gaya, where you will stay for five nights. Located inside the Tunki Rahman Marine Park, the Gaya Island Resort is not only a tropical island paradise but is also an eco-friendly luxury resort. You will be staying in your own private villa on stilts overlooking Mount Kinabalu or mangrove forests and you can expect fine dining, Balinese spa treatments and excellent snorkelling opportunities.

Price from €2499 includes all flights, transfers, hotels on a bed & breakfast basis in Kota Kinabalu & Gaya and all meals in Abai Jungle lodge.

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Malaysia: Pangkor Laut & Kuala Lumpur Luxury Twin Centre, 10 Nights from €1,969

If you choose this Malaysian adventure you will be staying at two of the best hotels in Asia, the exclusive island resort of Pangkor Laut and the Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, where I (and Prince Charles!) recently stayed. This two-centre holiday perfectly combines the bustling capital Kuala Lumpur with one of the world’s most secluded private islands. Your holiday starts in Pangkor Laut where you will be taken by private transfer from Kuala Lumpur. This piece of paradise was built specifically to blend beautifully with the islands 2 million year old rainforests. Explore through the jungle, relax on its pristine beaches or enjoy the many watersports and spa facilities on offer.

adventure holidays in asia

After a throughly relaxing seven days you will transfer back to Kuala Lumpur for a three night stay in the Hotel Majestic. A national landmark, this hotel is a favourite with celebrities and is the venue of choice for Kuala Lumpur’s social events. I stayed here last year and loved it, the rooms, food and service is superb. Located within walking distance of KL’s top attractions, make sure to visit Independence Square and the world’s tallest twin towers, the Petronas Towers.

Price from €1969 includes flights, transfers and hotels on a bed & breakfast basis.

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Thailand: Bangkok, Phi Phi Island & Krabi Multi Centre, 10 Nights from €2,169

This Thai adventure combines the bustling city of Bangkok with two of Thailand’s favourite islands, Krabi and Phi Phi. You will be staying in world class hotels in stunning locations, including one of Bangkok’s best – The Tower Club at Lebua.

Your first two nights will be at the luxurious Tower Club at Lebua. This celebrity hang out is renowned for its chic rooftop bars, outdoor pool and five star service. If you can manage to tear yourself away from the hotel, make sure to ride the Skytrain and check out Bangkok’s street food, buddhist temples and shopping malls.

adventure holidays in asia

After an action packed two nights in Bangkok you will transfer to Phi Phil island for a three night stay at the fabulous Phi Phi Island Resort. Relax, swim, or go island hopping, this is the perfect place to unwind. Following on from this you will have the chance to stay at another one of Thailand’s stunning resorts, the Tubkaah Boutique hotel in Krabi. Located right on a beach of pure white sand, with an outdoor sunken bath in every room, this luxurious resort will take your breath away. This is a great place to try jungle trekking or if you prefer to stay put, there are numerous watersports available on your doorstep.

Price from €2169 includes flights, transfers and hotels on a bed & breakfast basis.

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Note all of the above adventure holidays in Asia are just a sample of the many holidays that Tropical Sky have available. If you wish to add on extra nights or change hotels in any of the options I have selected, contact one of their expert staff and they will be able to tailor make a trip to suit you. This post was sponsored by Tropical Sky, but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Sarah

 

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America

Family California Fly Drive, Flights, Car Hire & Hotels, 2ad & 2ch, €4116!

family car

Driving the California Coast is probably the most iconic road trip in the world. You will experience classical cities, pretty towns, pacific coast beaches and incredible national parks. Take the kids on a California fly drive and have a holiday of a lifetime!

 

Our California fly drive holiday was one of our best family holidays to date! I originally thought I would drive it in a convertible, with Tom Petty playing loudly on the stereo, instead we had an SUV, the Zootropolis soundtrack and two kids in tow! What struck me the most though was how well the whole experience suited children. I recall in San Francisco how we had to have ‘the talk’ with the kids, about how a visit to Alcatraz was something Mum and Dad really wanted to do. We just assumed it wouldn’t be ‘their thing’. On the contrary, they were in and out of jail cells, enjoying treasure hunts and they got junior ranger badges at the end of their visit. This was typical of most attractions in California, even the ones that were not supposed to be child friendly!

california fly drive

Since our trip last year, I have had numerous emails from families asking me how to book it. It seemed that most California fly drive holidays are priced for couples, but I found this great deal with American Sky for a family of four, which includes flights, SUV car hire and hotels. This is an eight-night itinerary but you can add nights on at any time throughout your stay. Include a few days in San Francisco, the National Parks or have more beach time at the end,  just ask one of the dedicated sales staff and they will organise it for you.

This itinerary starts in San Francisco where you will enjoy a two-night stay. Visit Alcatraz and bike the bridge, two of our favourite things to do in San Francisco with kids! After a busy few days, you will move on to Monterey, where you will stay for two nights in the 5-star Intercontinental The Clement Monterey. The pretty town of Monterey has an historic seafront with a miniature Fisherman’s Wharf. It is also home to one of the world’s best Aquarium – my kids loved it.

california fly drive

You will then drive the Central Coast to Cambria. Drive through the Big Sur, over Bixby bridge and see the seals at the elephant seal rookery at San Simeon. There are thousands of seals playing right in front of you, it’s an amazing sight. We also visited Hearst Castle which is located just minutes from your hotel in Cambria, a fascinating tour, that the kids enjoyed too. From there you will drive to the upmarket town of Santa Barbara, where you will overnight before moving on to Anaheim for your remaining three nights.

california fly drive

Anaheim is a great reward for the kids after the week long drive along the coast. Disney has two parks here, Disneyland Resort and California Adventure and don’t miss my personal favourite, Universal Studios. See the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Transformers and the Minions – this truly is a kids paradise!  If you have more time you can drive further south to San Diego and visit Legoland, SeaWorld or enjoy some more beach time. Read my blog for more info on things to do with kids in California.

california fly drive

This package price of €4116 includes flights to San Francisco and return from Los Angeles, an SUV car rental with fully inclusive insurance, and ten nights hotel accommodation, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. Want a longer trip? Talk to the expert staff in American Sky and they will tailor make an itinerary to suit you.  Remember the kids wont be going on holidays with you for long, take them on a California Fly drive and you will have a holiday of a lifetime!

 

View offer here

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by American Sky but all views, as always are my own 😎

 

Like Family Holidays? See more here!

 

Sarah

 

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Long HaulRest of the World

Why You Should Choose the Emirates of Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Instead of Dubai…

Snorkelling

Did you know that Dubai was only one of seven Emirates? Why not get away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai and choose Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah instead.

 

There are a staggering 39 direct flights every week to the Emirates from Dublin airport. Many of you may have travelled to Dubai or stopped there en route to other destinations. Next time why not take the road less travelled and visit the quieter, more unspoilt Emirates. You will discover a relaxed atmosphere, lower hotel prices but still the same great beaches and expansive deserts. They are both very close to Dubai so you can easily take a day trip if you fancy a change of scene. Tropical Sky feature holidays to Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, two Emirates that combine sandy beaches and magnificent mountains with the Arabian desert. They are an ideal choice for a relaxing short break with some guaranteed sunshine. There are some amazing offers flying with Emirates direct from Dublin to Dubai until the end of the year, all with airport transfers included. I have hand picked some of their best to showcase why you should get off the beaten track and choose Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah instead of Dubai.

 

Ras Al Khaimah

 

4* Cove Rotana, Flights, Transfers & 5 Nights, All Inclusive, €889!

This traditional beachfront hotel is the perfect place to chill out. Choose from two swimming pools and a great choice of bars. Enjoy bottomless drinks and snacks while you watch the sunset in the Sunset Bar or some cocktails at Breakers at the beach. There are plenty of facilities to keep you active like their on site gym or if you want to chill out at the spa, thats cool too. They will also arrange sightseeing tours to the desert or you can enjoy a round of golf at the nearby course! Transfer time from Dubai: 90 minutes.

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5* Rixos Bab Al Bahr, Flights, Transfers & 5 Nights, All Inclusive, €969

If luxury is what you seek, look no further! This 5* hotel is located on a magnificent private beach in Marjan Island, yet only 5 minutes drive from the large Al Hamra Mall. All rooms have sea views and the amenities on site are second to none. There are seven pools to choose from including a adult-only infinity pool. The all-inclusive arrangement includes dining at one of the Emirates largest buffet restaurants, with live cooking stations and a BBQ as well as six other restaurants where reservations are required. The spa offers Turkish Hammam (self-service), steam room, sauna and an ice fountain and non motorised watersports are also included in the price. The hotel provides an excellent entertainment program for adults and children, as well as an on site kids club and teen zone. Chill out at the end of the day with a cocktail in the Mojito Bar or the fantastic beach bar. Transfer time from Dubai: 1 hour.

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Fujairah

 

5* Radisson Blu Resort Fujairah, Flights, Transfers & 5 Nights, All Inclusive €989

The Radisson Blu Resort Fujairah is situated on a private beach in the Indian Ocean. All rooms have sea views, perfect for a romantic drink on the balcony. There are excellent on site facilities including six restaurants and bars, a spa, fitness centre and dive centre. There is a water park for kids as well as a club offering snorkelling, sailing, games and crafts. Make sure to visit the nearby Madhab Park with its healing mineral springs. The hotel also offers a shuttle to Dubai, twice per week at an additional charge. Transfer time from Dubai airport: 90 minutes.

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5* Le Meridien Al Aqua Beach Resort, Flights, Transfers & 5 Nights, All Inclusive, €1369

This luxury Indian Ocean resort is set on its own private beach with the stunning backdrop of the Hajar Mountains. The Le Meridien Al Aqua Beach Resort is one of the best all-inclusive resorts in Fujairah and is rated number 1 on tripadvisor. The on-site facilities are world class including one of the largest swimming pools in the region, a luxury spa, outstanding international cuisine and lush gardens. There is a dive centre, tennis and squash courts and a health club on site. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to Fujairah City and Dubai, if you fancy a day trip. For a limited time you will receive 30% off stays until the 20th of October, price above includes this discount. Transfer time from Dubai: 90 minutes.

Click here for more details:

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Tropical Sky but all views, as always, are my own 🙂

 

AmericaAsiaDestinationsRest of the WorldTravel News and Reviews

National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures

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Explore the Inca trail, discover daily life in Tibet, hunt the Northern Lights in Iceland, visit the gorillas in Uganda or explore Australia and New Zealand over 22 days. This is just a sample of the itineraries available from National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures.

 

Have I got your attention yet?  There are 83 National Geographic Journeys available! Each unique tour offers unforgettable experiences where travellers are immersed in the local culture and have interactive experiences with local experts. Tours are geared towards travellers who like having their own free time but enjoy the security that goes with small group travel. Accommodation is chosen carefully to suit each tour, all adding to the experience. Many meals are also included, from fine dining to eating with families in their homes.

National Geographic Journeys

For 2017 there are eighteen new itineraries available. Planning a trip to Canada? Why not add a six day Canadian Polar Bear Experience. Go in search of polar bears, visit the Eskimo museum and hear what life is like in one of Canada’s most isolated towns. The twelve day tour of Japan includes a sushi-making class and you also get the opportunity to practise Zen Buddhism. One of my personal favourite is a ten day Wonders of Namibia tour, which includes a guided game drive with the National Geographic associated Cheetah Conservation Fund.

National Geographic Journeys

G Adventures offer the widest selection of small group tours to over 100 countries. They have nine different travel styles including National Geographic Journeys. They offer classic, active, 18 – 39’s , family, rail, cruising, you name it – there is one there for you. Sail around the Greek islands or cruise the Galapagos, climb Kilimanjaro or trek to Everest Base Camp. A G Adventure holiday is a life changing experience. You will live like the locals, immerse yourself in the countries culture and explore exotic places off the beaten track. The average group size is 8 with none larger than 16.  All tours go, whether there is one passenger or sixteen, they never cancel a tour due to lack of numbers. And if all of that hasn’t sold it to you, 65% of the value of your tour will stay in the local community – so technically you are making the world a better place!

So scratch one off the bucket list  – see more at G Adventures, call their dedicated Irish number 01 6971360 or see your local travel agent.

Sarah

AmericaDestinationsFamily HolidaysLong Haul

St Lucia For Romance, Adventure And Family Fun

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Palm fringed beaches, crystal clear waters and dramatic tropical rainforests. The Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic ocean, old plantations and modern resorts, waterfalls and watersports, St Lucia has it all.

 

Although known as one of the most romantic Caribbean islands, St Lucia is not just for couples. It’s mountainous terrain makes it ideal for adventure sports, while families love the all-inclusive resorts, numerous watersports and rainforest adventures. I holidayed in St Lucia with my husband and we absolutely loved it. There was so much to see and do, I would highly recommend a visit! Here are my top picks in St Lucia for romance, adventure and family fun.

St Lucia

 

Romance

St Lucia and romance go hand in hand. The combination of palm fringed beaches and tropical rainforests make it the picture postcard island. Try scuba diving or snorkelling in the Caribbean Sea, take a hike through the spectacular rainforests or bathe in the Toraille waterfall.  Treat yourself to fine dining at Cliff at Cap Restaurant and enjoy a sunset cruise Caribbean style. St Lucia is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway.

Where to stay: – Rendezvous Hotel

For the perfect romantic beach hotel, it has to be Rendezvous. This adult only, boutique hotel is situated on two miles of white sand beach. It’s all-inclusive too, so you can relax on a sun lounger and have the fantastic staff bring cocktails as often as you like! There are two swimming pools, a jacuzzi and a spa. Renowned for its superb cuisine, this classic hotel can do no wrong.

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Nature & Adventure

The iconic twin peaks of the Pitons are practically asking to be climbed. The larger of the two, Gros Piton is the easier to climb and is worth the six hour round trip. The views of St Lucia and the Caribbean Sea are stunning and it is also the cool thing to do when you are there! If hiking is not your thing try a segway or island buggy tour. Visit the colonial plantations in the south of the island, try a volcanic mud bath and end your tour with a bathe in the Toraille waterfall.  If you are staying in the north, The Babonneau rainforest near Rodney bay is a great day out. Try their zipline and release your inner Tarzan! Watersports are plentiful too, with snorkelling, sailing and kitesurfing being the most popular.

Where to stay: – Jade Mountain Hotel.

For a once in a life time luxury experience it has to be the Jade Mountain hotel. One of St Lucia’s best hotels,  it is located on a hilltop offering stunning views of the Pitons and the Caribbean Sea. This this a nature lovers paradise. Your room, or sanctuary as they like to call them has a private infinity pool, no TV and even WiFi is only available if requested. If escapism, romance and luxury is what you seek – look no further.

St Lucia

 

Family Fun

St Lucia is a great choice for a family holiday in the Caribbean. The calm Caribbean Sea is perfect for snorkelling even with small children. Kids will see the colourful fish and marine life in the shallow waters. Depending on where you are staying you can book a day trip with equipment rental included through most hotels. Dolphin and whale watching tours are a great choice for day out. Teenagers will love the many ziplines available through the Rainforest Adventures. Most have a minimum age of 12 or height restriction of 50″ but the Treetop adventure park includes a mini course with suspended bridges for younger kids.

Where to stay: The Coconut Bay Resort.

The Coconut Bay Resort is an ideal choice for families. There is a dedicated family wing which has it’s own waterpark, complete with lazy river and a host of slides. The Cocoland kids club is perfect for kids up to age 12 and there are plenty of on site activities and entertainment for all ages. The petting zoo has interactive zones where kids can pet and feed the animals. There is a separate adults only area in the hotel so you can chill out and relax while the kids are happy at the waterpark. Just sign in and sign out using a local phone and your kids can contact you at any time! The all-inclusive arrangement is great for families too, kids can help themselves to drinks, ice creams and snacks during the day.

St Lucia

I think it’s fair to say that St Lucia is one of the Caribbean islands where everything is possible. Young or old, thrill seeker or beach lover, St Lucia safely ticks all boxes. For more details and advice on resorts, contact the experts at Tropical Sky.ie . Their staff have visited the hotels and will recommend the right hotel for you.

 

City BreaksDestinationsFeaturedLong HaulRest of the World

Top Ten Things To Do in Dubai

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The worlds tallest building, the world’s largest shopping mall, the world’s only seven star hotel and now the world’s largest indoor theme park! Dubai never settles for anything less than the best!

 

Of course it’s not only what’s on offer in Dubai that makes it so appealing. There are numerous direct flights from Ireland every week so airfares are excellent value. The holiday options are endless too, you can go for a weekend break, a sun holiday or as a stop over to so many destinations. I spent five days in Dubai some years ago and loved it, but so much has changed since then. Every year there is a new hotspot to visit, a new adventure to try. I decided to consult the experts, Tropical Sky. Twenty of their staff visited Dubai in March of this year so I think it’s fair to say they know their stuff! Here are our top ten things to do in Dubai – tell me your favourite by leaving a comment below.

 

1. Go to the top of the Burj Khalifa

A visit to the tallest building in the world and the highest outdoor observation deck, just has to be done. Make sure you book online before hand as queues can be long in peak season. There are two types of tickets, one for AED 125 ( about €30 ) and one for AED 350 ( about €80 ) , the main difference is that you get to the 148th floor rather than the 124th, there is less queues and crowds and you get some nice pastries. You can judge for yourself if you think it’s worth paying the extra but either way make sure you go see it!

Top ten things to do in Dubai

 

2. Check out the Dubai Mall

The largest mall in the world is not all about shopping. There is also an ice rink, an aquarium and theme parks inside! Some of the 1,200 stores include Bloomingdales, Hamleys and even Marks and Spencer! Of course there are plenty of designer shops and high street stores too – you name it it’s here! And when you are shopped out, relax in one of the many restaurants nearby, and watch the incredible fountain show.

Top ten things to do in Dubai

3. Visit the Burj Al Arab

Where else can you visit a seven star hotel – actually, no where! Yes it is the ONLY seven star hotel in the world. And if like most of us you can’t afford to stay here, afternoon tea is a good alternative. This will set you back €135 including champagne, but you can also opt for high tea ( from 7pm – 8pm ) for €100 including cocktails. What a great way to start a special night out 🍸

Top ten things to do in Dubai

4. Visit the new IMG World’s of Adventure

The world’s largest indoor theme park opened last year and is a whopping 1.5 million square feet! Being completely enclosed, it will offer a welcome relief from the hot temperatures, particularly for families. Expect a Dinosaur adventure zone, MARVEL superhero zone with thrilling rides, live shows, movies and lots more!

Top ten things to do in Dubai

5. Try skiing

Another welcome retreat from the heat is the Dubai ski slope. Actually slope is probably the wrong word, resort is more like it! Located inside the Mall of the Emirates (and this isn’t Dubai’s largest mall! ) you can skiing, go tobogganing, snowboard or just play in the snow. And if you can’t ski  – don’t worry their qualified instructors are on hand if you fancy lessons!

Top ten things to do in Dubai

6. Go on a desert safari

A safari in the Arabian desert can offer many different experiences. You can camel ride, go dune bashing or enjoy a show with a BBQ. There are various trips that can be organised locally so whether you seek adrenaline pumping sand skiing or  romantic star gazing, a trip to the Arabian desert is a must.

Top ten things to do in Dubai

7. Take the monorail to Atlantis The Palm Hotel.

The best way to see the incredible structure that is Palm island, is by monorail. While you are there pop into the Atlantis hotel. This 5* deluxe hotel has an underwater aquarium, a water park and opportunities to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Bay. The hotel offers free wifi everywhere too so this is a great opportunity to show your friends back home what they are missing!

Top ten things to do in Dubai

8. Go shopping in the souks.

Most tourists flock to Dubai’s shopping malls but wandering through a bustling souk is one of Dubai’s best experiences. There are separate gold, spice, textile and perfume souks. Make sure you explore them and bear in mind a purpose built souk in a mall is not the same… Pick up local souvenirs and jewellery but make sure you haggle, it’s all part of the experience!  Bring your camera too as the souks are full of colour and offer great photo opportunities.

Top ten things to do in Dubai

10. Zipline over the Dubai fountain.

This is a must for thrill-seekers. Until recently, this was by invitation only but now anyone can ride. Tickets cost AED 600 (about €150) and can be bought from the Xline ticketing counter in the Dubai Mall. I would suggest you go on your first day as it can get booked out. Make sure you have ID with you too.

Top ten things to do in Dubai

So there you have it, my top ten things to do in Dubai. This is just a sample of what you can do here, I probably should have typed a top twenty list! When planning your next holiday, make sure you contact the experts, Tropical Sky – they will advise you on the best places to stay and ensure you have a memorable holiday too!

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Tropical Sky but all views, as always, are my own 🙂

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 

Travel News and Reviews

Group Travel Specialists Contiki release dedicated brochure from Ireland

Contiki

Contiki, the market leader in group travel, have been bringing 18-35 year olds on holidays together for over 50 years.

 

From short breaks to epic journeys of a life time – you name it, Contiki has is it covered. Every time I see one of their videos or flick through their brochures, I have a slight pang of regret that I never experienced a Contiki holiday in my twentys – this is somewhat ironic considering their mantra is #noregrets!

Contiki offer 270 different trips around the world and cover everything from island hopping in Greece to the famous Inca trail. They can bring you to the hottest festival or the coolest ski slopes. Contiki also offer a variety of tours to suit all tastes, from easy pace tours incorporating two or three night stays, to high energy explore all day, party all night trips. You can even go sailing in Greece, Croatia or Australia.

Contiki release dedicated brochure from Ireland

Its not all about hostels and campsites either, in France you can stay in their own 16th century Chateau and in Thailand, some top class beachfront hotels. You also get the VIP treatment for top attractions where you will skip to the top of the queue, while others wait in line for hours… All this and they throw in breakfast each day, plenty of  meals and local experiences. Not only are Contiki holidays filled with life long memories, they are good value too!

Contiki release dedicated brochure from Ireland

They have a cool app that allows guests message each other before the trip starts which is particularly great for solo travellers. Over 50% of their clients are go solo – so no need to keep pestering your mates to take that adventure holiday anymore. Take off on your own and meet new friends!

Contiki releases dedicated brochure from Ireland

So whether you fancy the Galapagos island hopper or four days in Iceland, Contiki will get you there. Visit Contiki.com or your local travel agent.

 

 There are only two times in your life, now and too late… #NOREGRETS

 

Sarah

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