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What to do in Istanbul

One of the more recent additions to the Green Motion family, Green Motion Turkey already has 13 locations across the country. The capital Istanbul is the jewel in the crown of this amazing and beautiful country.

If you only have a few days in Istanbul, the majority of your time will probably be spent in the area of Sultanahmet.

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque is one of the most stunning buildings in the world. There is a fountain directly between the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque which is an ideal spot on which to stand and admire both buildings.

As incredible as the exterior of the Blue Mosque is, it is also worth going inside to understand the scale of the building, and to pay your respects to the fact that it’s still an important functioning mosque in the city to this day.

Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia (pronounced aya sofya), is an ancient orthodox church turned mosque turned museum. The building exemplifies Byzantine architecture as well as modern day Istanbul. Perhaps no other building epitomizes the history of this city and its transition from ancient Christianity to modern Islamic than the Hagia Sophia.

The Bosphorus Strait

Bosphorus cruises are offered throughout the area of Sultanahmet, and they’re typically fairly decent and reasonably priced. Take a cruise to get out on the strait and see what’s known as the Golden Horn (where many of Istanbul’s major sights are) from the water.

Kadıköy

From Karaköy, you can hop on a ferry that will take you over to the Asian side of the city to an area known as Kadıköy. The ferry ride itself offers fantastic views of the city, and Kadıköy is one of the most dynamic areas in the city with its thriving café and infamous “bar street”.

For more information on hiring a car with Green Motion Turkey to start off your exploration of amazing Istanbul, visit www.greenmotion.com


Explore Canada

In honour of the recent grand opening of Green Motion in the vibrant city of Toronto, here are our tips for your visit!

During your stay in Toronto make sure you include the following destinations into your travel itinerary:

  1. Explore the CN Tower, the world's #1 elevator / lift ride! There are three observation levels including the famous glass floor with a view 324 m / 1,122 ft down, a great way to test your fear of heights! You can stand or even jump on the glass – don't worry, the floor is 256 square feet of solid glass which is actually 5 times stronger than the standard required weight for commercial floors.
  2. If heights are your thing, then you will also love visiting the Fantasy Fair located in the Woodbine Shopping Centre. Ontario's largest indoor amusement park offers the classic favourites – roller-coasters, a train, arcade, carousel and more! 
  3. The Toronto Zoo is home to around 5,000 animals – with that much selection you are guaranteed to find an animal you love or maybe 5 or 10 or 5,000! The zoo is split into 7 regions with the animals enjoying tropical pavilions and naturalistic environments.
  4. Check out a sports game! You can attend ice hockey games at the Air Canada Centre and watch the Toronto Maple Leafs between October and April. When the hockey season finishes, there’s always baseball - watch the Toronto Blue Jays play at the iconic Rogers Centre from April to October.
  5. Go to the beach! Toronto’s Beaches community is a summer hotspot amongst those who like to stick around the city rather than venture to cottage country. Both family friendly and complete with great cafes and restaurants, The Beaches is a favourite amongst tourists and locals alike. Take a ferry over from the waterfront to Toronto Islands to enjoy excellent views back over the city.
  6. Don’t forget to try some poutine (hot chips, cheese curds and gravy) while you’re in Canada.
  7. Also be sure to check out St. Lawrence Market every Saturday – it was hailed as the world’s best food market by National Geographic in April 2012.
  8. Visit the Falls! No trip to Toronto would be complete without a jaunt over to Niagara Falls. Only an hour and a half away, it’s very easy to take a day trip in a rented car to one of Southern Ontario’s most beautiful sights. Along the way there are numerous vineyards where you can try some of the Niagara region’s delicious wines.

For more information on renting a car for your trip to Toronto, Niagara Falls and the surrounding area visit www.greenmotion.com


Looking for some inspiration for your European road trip this summer?

Check out this Trip Advisor post for some inspiration for your European holiday this summer - 10 Pictures of breathtaking European towns you've probably never heard of - why not hire a car with Green Motion, get off the beaten track and away from the crowds in these lesser known but stunningly beautiful European towns.

From the medieval castle city of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic to the sleepy fishing village of Polperro in Cornwall, Europe is full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. For more information on hiring your summer road trip vehicle from Green Motion visit www.greenmotion.com

Have you ever thought of making Albania your next road trip destination? Head into the capital Tirana to explore Skanderbeg Square or learn about Albania's rich past at the National Historic Museum. From Tirana, drive along the Saranda coastal road with its spectacular beaches and breathtaking views. Head into the Ceraunian Mountains to explore the castles and woodlands or go inland to visit the city of Fier and the ruins of the town of Apollonia.

Or - if you really want to get away from the mainstream tourist hotspots, how about Serbia - Belgrade, the capital and largest city of Serbia, is steeped in history. The mild climate can be rainy during spring and moderately warm during the summer, so if you aren't a sun worshipper Belgrade may just be the place for you – a historically rich city with warm (not hot) weather.

Planning a road trip this summer? You can keep in touch with us during your travels on Facebook and Twitter! #GreenMotion 


​Explore the mesmerising beauty of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for its wonderful combination of sunshine, beaches, rainforests and biodiversity.

A land of cloudforests, smouldering volcanoes and rugged beaches, Costa Rica’s natural environment provides a perfect setting for wildlife experiences and adrenaline-fueled activities alike.

Covering an area of only 51,000 square kilometres (19,700 square miles) it’s a small country, yet one of the most biodiverse on earth. Thick forest canopies protect all manner of flora and fauna, from red eyed tree frogs to three-toed sloths, while on the coast turtles come to nest along Costa Rica’s Caribbean and Pacific facing beaches.

Costa Rica has five percent of the world’s biodiversity, across four mountain ranges, 800 miles of coastline, 200 volcanic formations and hundreds of national parks that are easy to get to from the capital, San Jose.

So why not rent a car from Green Motion Costa Rica, and see for yourself!

Discover San Jose

Costa Rica’s capital and largest city, San José is a cultural hub and home to many trendy restaurants, cafes and museums.

Most visitors flock to San José’s downtown which is a great starting point. From here you can watch the street performers in the Culture Plaza (Plaza de la Cultura) or head south to the National Theatre (Teatro Ncional) which is a prominent centre of tico culture.

Rainforest – Osa Peninsular

Get close to nature and spend some time in one of the country’s eco-lodges found throughout Costa Rica, many in lush jungle in the famous Osa Peninsula. Much of the Osa Peninsular is protected by the Corcovado National Park, sheltering rare mammals such as tapirs, anteaters and ocelots, as well as the rare scarlet macaw.

You can also do your part to protect Costa Rica’s beautiful rainforests no matter where you are in the world with Green Motion’s Green Heart campaign in conjunction with FONAFIFO in Costa Rica.

Beach – Caribbean or Pacific coasts

The Pacific Coast has some beautiful beaches with conditions that offer some of the best surfing in this part of the world. Towns such as Nosara are packed with bright driftwood signs pointing to surf shacks and sunset bars.

Costa Rica also has a Caribbean coastline with a cultural mix of Afro Caribbean, Tico (the name Costa Ricans give themselves) and old hippy vibe. Puerto Viejo has recently become a hit with tourists and has stunning white-sand beaches, tropical vegetation and is close to parks including a Sloth sanctuary.

Volcano

Until recently, the Arenal Volcano was the most active volcano in Central America. Although it no longer delivers sporadic eruptions and night-time lava flows, it remains an impressive, almost perfectly conical peak, and is the heart of Arenal National Park.

One of the most thrilling ways to view it is from above the green canopy of the park as you whizz down a zip-line. Other options for exploring Arenal National Park include kayaking, hiking and horse riding.


For more information about car rental in Costa Rica and Green Motion’s Green Heart campaign, visit www.greenmotion.com


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!


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