Throughout all of Ireland, and Northern Ireland there are a plethora of ruins that inspire the imagination and have a rich history and lore. Some, like Blarney Castle are well known, and have had a myriad of visitors over the years. Other spots like Corcomroe Abbey, the Mulgrave Barracks, and even Mahon's Rock appear to have slipped out of time and seem to be waiting to be discovered again by visitors who stop by for a visit. One of the more accessible spots with a rich medieval and modern history is Dunluce Castle, whose ruins rest a hundred feet above the ocean along the coast of Northern Ireland.
One of the most magical things about Ireland is that no matter where one goes in the country, that area is guaranteed to have a local legend of some sort. From Saints, to Holy Wells, to ghosts, monsters, the Devil himself, sprites, fairies, leprechauns and more, the land is inhabited by magical creatures and secret portals to other magical realms. And, with many places of otherworldly scenery, even if you are a non-believer, it is easy to see how such myths, legends, and stories came about. Out of all of these places, however, there is only one spot where one can visit where two giants battled, or depending on the account, where one giant tricked another, and that is the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
From its northern tip to its southern stretches, the South Island of New Zealand has a number of unique geologic features like the Moreaki Boulders. While some of these locations require a bit of commitment to see, other features like the Pancake Rocks on the west coast of New Zealand are easily accessible. Further, as a whole, the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island is an area that, while it is isn't hidden, is wild as a whole. As a start, the west coast is one of the rainiest portions in the entirety of the island, with storms commonly coming off the Tasman Sea. It is also an area that in places, resembles a more tropical locale with pristine beaches, and has many sub-tropical rainforests that are in part, are protected in Paparoa National Park.
If one has the time, and the luxury of having a car, or rented a car, driving around the South Island of New Zealand is one of the great adventures in life. Aside from cities and towns, a majority of the island has little traffic, and nothing but sweeping views of far off mountains, expansive coastlines, and almost everything in between. While it is hard to single out one specific drive with the “best” views, any list would surely include the stretch of State Highway 94 from Te Anau to the Milford Sound (otherwise known as the Milford Road). Along this 118 kilometer (73 miles) stretch of road, one has fantastic views of Fiordland National Park, with alpine meadows, snowcapped peaks, waterfalls, old growth forests, and glacial valleys. The only downside to this road is that unlike other stretches of New Zealand highways, it is narrow, and at times, does not have places to pull out and admire the view.
From the North to the South, and the East to the West, Ireland is a country with extraordinary natural beauty. While there are a plethora of sites and National Parks to choose from, the country’s top and most well-known natural feature is the Cliffs of Moher. With over one million visitors yearly, and in recent years, over 1.5 million visitors, the Cliffs of Moher are not just the top natural feature in Ireland, but one of the top overall tourist destinations overall, second only to other iconic Irish destinations like the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, the Book of Kells, and the Giant’s Causeway (in Northern Ireland). One of the reasons the Cliffs of Moher are so iconic is because in modern times, they have been featured in all sorts of movies like Harry Potter; but the main reason that they are so popular is because they have been a tourist destination since the eighteenth century, and a historic spot for centuries before that.
While all of Costa Rica is stunning, one of the more popular regions in the country is the Arenal/La Fortuna Region. With a nearby lake, a national park, and many adventure opportunities the area truly has something for just about every adventure traveler. Without a question, however, the high point of the area is Arenal Volcano, both literally and figuratively. Although the volcano has not been active since 2010, and climbers and hikers are not allowed on its slopes, it is a must-see location in the area. One of the best locations with unobstructed views of the volcano is also one of the area’s historic sites, the trails at Arenal 1968.
Iceland is the land of the midnight sun, the land of fire and ice, the land of Game of Thrones, and most importantly, the land of epic road trips. The most popular road trip in Iceland is unquestionably the Ring Road (Iceland’s Route 1), which circles the island. While Iceland is not one of the larger countries on the planet, completing a circuit of the Ring Road takes at least five days, and because Iceland is one of the countries on the planet with the largest scenery, one cannot fully appreciate the beauty of the Ring Road without taking at least ten days or longer. Unfortunately, in 2016, not everyone has a full ten days or longer to devote to exploring everything that Iceland has to offer. Fortunately, some of Iceland’s best and most iconic features can be explored in the course of a single day road-trip through Southeast Iceland.