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Driving Iceland’s Ring Road

If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure travel experience, a road trip around Iceland’s Ring Road will not disappoint. There’s nothing like a good road trip - especially when driving past active volcanoes, blue icebergs, roaring waterfalls, and northern lights!

Iceland’s Ring Road encircles the entire country covering over 800 miles on Route 1. While you could technically drive the whole thing in less than 24 hours, the reality is it will take you at least a week with stops on along the way.

Renting a car for your Iceland road trip is essential. There are bus tours that drive the route, but by driving the circle yourself you'll have more flexibility, and can choose how long you want to spend at each location.

In summer this means you could be enjoying the sights until the middle of the night, but in winter you might want to get to your accommodation before it gets dark, but then look up in the sky during cloudless nights in search for the auroras. However we wouldn't recommend driving yourself in winter unless you are familiar with driving on ice and snow.

Most people start their Ring Road adventure from Reykjavik or Keflavik Airport. Don’t miss the chance to spend some time in the vibrant and colourful capital Reykavik either at the beginning or end of your trip.

From there, there are also separate trips to the Golden Circle (highlights include Thingvellir National Park where the Earth’s tectonic plates are being ripped apart, exploding geysers, and the impressive Gullfoss Waterfall), and the infamous Blue Lagoon to do, then look to head off around the Ring Road.

During your road trip around the Ring Road, see huge waterfalls such as Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, go hiking on Sólheimajökull Glacier, check out the abandoned plane wreckage on Sólheimasandur Beach, look out for the magical northern lights – especially on the east coast, investigate the hot springs and other geothermal features in the Myvatn Lake area and go whale watching in the fjords around Akureyri.

This roadtrip really has something for everyone – enjoy the beautiful country of Iceland in all its glory!

To find out more about hiring a car from Green Motion Iceland, visit www.greenmotion.com


Our travel tips for a stress-free bank holiday weekend

With so many motorists on the move over a single weekend, traffic can be atrocious between Good Friday and Easter Monday. If you do plan to hit the road over the bank holiday weekend, there are things you can do to enjoy a relatively stress-free journey. From avoiding traffic hotspots to keeping the kids entertained, here are some simple tips for a hassle-free Easter holiday.

Roads to avoid

According to the AA, the busiest stretches to avoid over the Easter weekend include:

  • M1 — Junction 6A (M25 interchange) to Junction 13
  • M5 — Junction 15 (Almondsbury) to Junction 31 (Exeter)
  • M6 — Junction 4A (West Midlands) to Junction 21A (Lancashire)
  • M25 — Both ways from Junction 14 to Junction 17 (Heathrow Airport, M4, M40 Interchange)
  • If your journey includes one of these – perhaps think about consulting Google maps and find an alternative route!

    Watch the weather

    As shown from the UK’s recent double visit from the ‘Beast from the East’ – that fact that it is March is no reason to assume that there won’t be bad weather. Bad weather makes for challenging driving conditions, which can lead to worsened traffic at best and potential accidents at worst. Check the forecast before you leave.

    Break up your journey

    Take a break! Long car journeys can be arduous for both driver and passengers – as well as the potential danger that driving when tired can present. The UK motorway network has many excellent service stations – why not check them out! Sharing the driving also helps – if you are hiring a car be sure to enquire about adding an extra driver.

    Pack entertainment and snacks

    Particularly if your passengers include small children but this tip isn’t just for the kids – everyone gets bored on long car journeys, especially in heavy traffic. An Easter road trip can be fun if you come prepared though – pack toys and car games for the kids to keep them occupied in the car - magnetic mini board games or a trusty tablet are always good for killing an hour or two.

    Make sure you have sat nav

    Almost everyone has a smartphone these days, and apps such as Google maps are invaluable for finding an alternative route around traffic hotspots. Alternatively, if you are hiring a car speak to your provider about adding sat nav to your hire package – whether its phone or sat nav, make sure you remember to bring the device’s charger!

    Whatever your travel plans this bank holiday weekend, if you plan to rent a car and brave the traffic visit www.greenmotion.com to make sure your Easter road trip gets off to a great start.


    Malta: more than just a sunshine holiday

    Green Motion recently announced their expansion on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Malta with the opening of a new in-terminal location. Now you can step off the plane and into your Green Motion rental car, ready to explore this stunning island steeped in history.

    With over 300 days of sunshine a year and its crystal clear waters popular with swimmers, snorkelers and divers, Malta is a popular European summer destination. Visitors all year round will also be impressed by its rich 7000 year history with a plethora of historic sites to visit.

    Malta is an island with huge historic relevance; most notably it was the home of the Knights of St John. Its medieval capital Valletta was built in the 16th century - a gorgeous amalgamation of sun kissed historical architecture. Considered a UNESCO heritage site, the city has the highest concentration of historical sites in the world. There is a multitude of imposing buildings including St Johns and St Pauls Cathedrals. St Johns is supposedly built on the ruins of a Roman Governors Villa which dates back to 60AD; history is inescapable here.

    Attractions such as the Blue Lagoon in the western portion of the island provide some of the bluest waters and best swimming in the world. The history below the waves almost matches the treasures on the island; Malta is world class for diving, everything from sunken ships to crashed WW2 bombers can be found around the island.

    Take a hike to visit the Dingli cliffs or grab a rich cup of coffee in St Julian's whilst looking out over the coast. You might spot boats taking holiday makers to the island of Gozo – why not take one yourself and discover its Neolithic Ggantija Temple ruins, rural hiking paths, beaches and scuba-diving sites – ferries leave from Cirkewwa every 45 minutes, all year round. 


    What about a road trip along the coast of Portugal this summer?

    In celebration of the recent signing of the Green Motion Master Country Franchise for Portugal, why not look at a road trip this summer to really see the best of what this beautiful country has to offer.

    Lazing around on a beach in the Algarve is tempting – but Portugal has so much more for you to see; with over 500km of coastline to explore a road trip is the perfect way to fully experience Portugal’s amazing culture, history and stunning scenery.

    In the capital Lisbon you can soak up the atmosphere walking around downtown, making sure you check out the typically Portuguese neighbourhoods of Alfama and Graça, as well as the quaint narrow streets leading up to the Moorish castle, Castelo de São Jorge.

    From Lisbon you can either travel north to Porto stopping at the lovely beach towns of Peniche and Nazare, known for their world class surfing, or you can head south via the Costa Alentejana and Vicentina. The southwestern coast of the country is where you’ll find hidden gems overlooked by most tourists. Characterised by dramatic cliffs, unspoilt beaches dotted with quaint villages and huge national parks such as the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, this is where you will be blown away by the true beauty of this magnificent landscape.

    For more information about hiring a car with Green Motion Portugal to take the road trip of a lifetime, visit www.greenmotion.com.  


    Thinking about booking a romantic break to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

    Whether you’re looking for a beautiful beach to share a cocktail on, you want to get lost with each other amongst the hustle and bustle of a city or even just want to enjoy the stillness of nature, these are some of the best places for a spot of romancing.

    Scottish Highlands, UK

    The Scottish Highlands are sparsely populated with many mountain ranges dominating the region, making it an oh-so romantic and refreshing backdrop to any retreat, with rugged glens, secluded beaches and dramatic scenery.

    Venice, Italy

    Venice, located in the northeast of Italy, is a romantic and enchanting city of ancient palaces, turquoise canals and serenading gondoliers. Whether you are falling deeper in love on a moonlit gondola ride or calming your soul at an orchestral symphony, Venice will amaze you with its artistic and romantic flair.

    Santorini, Greece

    Santorini is unlike any other Greek island. It was created from a volcanic explosion which left the island with volcanic cliffs overlooking a red and black coast. It is stunning against the turquoise Mediterranean.

    Iceland

    Iceland offers the perfect romantic getaway. The country is ethereal, shrouded in folklore as well as bursting with volcanic activity. Watch the sky blaze with the spectacular Northern Lights or bathe in the mineral hot springs, focusing on nature and wellness with your significant other. 


    Where to go in September - without the peak season crowds and prices

    With the kids back at school, September can be the perfect time to enjoy some lovely weather without the peak season crowds and prices.

    Europe is great to visit in September, with warm, dry days while the whole of Africa is pretty much in its prime for safari adventures. Southeast Asia is still affected by the monsoon rains however there are plenty of autumn festivals that will tempt you into a visit.

    If you want to visit historic cities and spa towns, then we would recommend Europe. September marks the changing of the seasons across Europe, with the summer heat starting to cool off in preparation for autumn. This makes it a great time to explore historic cities and spa towns at a lower price. We would highly recommend Italy, with average temperatures between 19°C to 23°C.

    However, if you are looking for a beach destination than you should consider Croatia, as their peak holiday season is now over but it still has its pleasant Mediterranean weather with warm waters and very minimal rainfall. The best beaches are Penatur, Betirino, Spiaza (Susak) and Bačvice (Split). Or you can visit Morocco, which has plenty of coastline for the perfect beach holiday - we would recommend you head to Saidia, Legzira Plage, Asilah, Sidi Kaouki for the best beaches. 

    Take advantage of the lower prices without the crowds now!


    ​San Diego's Coast – a holidaymaker’s paradise with near to perfection temperatures and a relaxed vibe

    Most people who visit San Diego stick to the downtown area however you haven’t really seen the real San Diego unless you explore the coastal area.

    San Diego has 70 miles of beautiful coastline set in a collection of beaches - each one with its own personality. 

    Sailing from Harbor Island
    There are a number of options for sailing in San Diego. You can book an intimate sail for 2, an afternoon on the water with a group of friends or even do whale watching – seeing San Diego from a new perspective!

    Catch a sunset at Windansea
    Windansea is a popular location for surfers however if you are not up for surfing, the beach itself is stunning and if you stay long enough, you will be rewarded with a gorgeous sunset.

    Try Tandem Hang Gliding at Torrey Pines Gliderport
    Torrey Pines is lucky enough to enjoy flyable weather about 300 days out of the year. You can enjoy a flight over the beautiful Torrey Pines coastal cliffs with a bird’s eye view of the emerald Torrey Pines Golf Course, stunning mansions along the cliffs and miles of dramatic coastline.


    Mauritius - the island that has it all

    Mauritius will enchant you, uplift your soul and make you feel completely and totally relaxed. The island is a contrast of colours and tastes, perfectly set in its turquoise waters and white beaches. The beauty about Mauritius is that the island has just about everything you need to make your holiday truly unique.

    Wildlife tourism in Mauritius has gained popularity over the last few years and it is no wonder as Mauritius has saved more bird species from extinction than any other country, meaning you can see two of the most beautiful birds of the Indian Ocean – the pink pigeon and the Mauritian kestrel. Mauritius is also home to giant tortoises, dolphins, whales and sharks.

    If you are more of a beach-body, then you will love Mauritian beaches and with over 160km-worth, you won’t have to travel very hard to find one. In the north of the island, you will find the greatest variety and concentration of beaches, including small coves. Although, the famous long stretches of talcum-white sands are found in the east. The west has golden sand with shallow waters and the best sunsets. Why not spend your holiday beach hopping until you find just the right place for you.

    But if you are looking for something a bit more active, especially water related, you really can’t lose as Mauritius offers kitesurfing, paddling, diving, snorkelling, swimming with dolphins and boat excursions to the beautiful islands of the lagoon. On land, you can also decide between hiking, horse-riding or even golfing (yep, they have championship-standard golf courses).

    Last but not least, why not top off your day of indulging at a local Mauritian restaurant. The island has just about every type of cuisine and backdrop, from fine-dining restaurants to beachside shacks serving fresh fish. Curries and seafood are staples of the island. Look out for the local delicacies such as Creole fish rougaille (a spicy tomato sauce), daube (beef or chicken stew) and vindaye (deep-fried fish coated in turmeric, ginger, chillies and mustard seeds).


    ​The best of the Balkans

    From Split to Sarajevo, Montenegro to Serbia, we have the best places to visit in the Balkans.

    The Balkans have exploded as a tourist destination over the past few years, as it was only a matter of time before people realised that the Balkans was in fact one of Europe’s riches destinations.

    The territory - spanning the borders of the Adriatic Sea, the Ionian Sea, the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea and the Black Sea, is often overlooked in the European region. The post-war and post-Communist/Socialist territory has become a diamond in its own right.

    You could probably spend years, even decades, exploring all there is to see in the Balkans, however below are just a few places you should start with.

    Belgrade, Serbia

    Serbia’s beloved capital can be described as vibrantly alive. You can find a party pretty much every night of the week, with intricate layers of history to keep your mind and soul captivated. The city’s most significant landmark is the Beogradska Tvrđava, a striking fortress residing at the union of the Danube and Sava rivers.

    Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

    East meets west is the best way to describe the feel and mood of the city. The antique stone alleys of Baščaršija give the Old Town a Turkish feel, while directly north and south there are steep valleys covered with red-roofed Bosnia & Herzegovinian houses. In winter, Sarajevo’s mountain resorts - Bjelašnica and Jahorina – offer some of Europe’s greatest skiing opportunities. 

    Podgorica, Montenegro

    Taking into account that it has undergone 5 name changes, passed through the hands of the Romans, Turks and Austro-Hungarians and twice been completely wiped from maps, it’s no wonder that Podgorica seems to be gripped by an identity crisis. Its streets are a mixture of Ottoman oddments, brutalist blocks and shiny new malls but also excellent galleries, plenty of parks and a vibrant café culture – making it a worthwhile place to visit.

    Split, Croatia

    There is no other place where you will become as immersed with ancient ruins as you will in Split –obviously assuming that you spend a majority of your time within the confines of the 1600 year-old Diocletian’s Palace. Split has benefited from the new arrival of many restaurants, beautiful hotels and the attractive Mosor Mountain and Krka National Park are close by.


    Visiting the Dominican Republic's capital, Santo Domingo - what you must pack

    If you are visiting the Dominican Republic, you should put the capital, Santo Domingo (La Capital’), on your ‘must see’ list. Santo Domingo is the oldest city in the ‘new world’ and also the largest in the Caribbean. The city is a mix of old-world charm with a modern Latin feel. In addition, its medieval palaces fuse beautifully with its nightlife and shopping. You will also find unspoiled beaches and many hidden gems – like a salsa club set inside a massive underground cave!

    WHAT YOU MUST PACK

    We can all agree that packing isn’t the most exciting part of any trip – and it is a given that you are going to forget something important, however below is a list of the absolute essentials you will need in order to enjoy Dominican Republic’s capital to the fullest.

    Guidebook – reading about the city’s history, culture and general layout can greatly increase your enjoyment. You must take the time to visit the Colonial Zone, which is both an important historical site with a wonderland of Spanish colonial buildings and monuments, as well as a vibrant cultural neighbourhood filled with shops, cafes and restaurants. The pulsing street life, including live music performances and beautiful parks and squares, make the Colonial Zone a prime destination for art and culture.

    Hat & Light Clothing – Santo Domingo has a tropical climate with warm and humid weather year round. There are two seasons: one wet (May – November) and one dry (December – April). The Caribbean sun is much hotter than what most visitors are used to and a hat can be a great way to stay cool and avoid sunburn! Also, while shorts and short-sleeves are the tourist uniform of choice, they are not always the best to protect you from the sun. Lengthier, light-weight clothing helps to combat the sun and keep you cooler.

    Swimsuit & Sunglasses - even if you haven’t made any plans to stay at the beach, bring a swim suit (or two)! The beaches at Boca Chica and Juan Dolio are close enough that you can just spend a morning or afternoon by the crystal blue Caribbean Sea. The locals head to Boca Chica and Juan Dolio during the weekend but if you go during the week, you will practically have the towns to yourself. Make sure to get yourself some fried fish or seafood while you’re there. You won’t regret it.

    Sun Lotion – as mentioned, the Caribbean sun is very strong so even if you are used to sun exposure, we recommend that you ensure you are protected. As with most places, Santo Domingo can encounter abnormal weather, such as extended dry or unusually hot periods however generally, the weather is quite consistent with warm sunny days with a scattering of short heavy downpours in-between.

    Bag – while a backpack is more convenient, they can sometimes pose as a target for theft. As with any big city, you must take basic safety precautions. A side-strap bag can give you more security – great as a city or beach bag!

    Dancing Shoes - from bars to dance clubs and casino’s, San Domingo comes alive at night. You will be sure to find the right place for you, from cozy bars for romantic evenings to popular clubs where you can dance until dawn. And the opportunity to enjoy live music is endless, with bands of all styles performing each night throughout the city. If you want a more authentic experience, you can stop by one of the city’s colmados – small grocery stores which become the neighbourhood watering holes at night, serving local beers and Latin music.

    What would you add to your list?


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