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Fairy Travels

Finland travel restrictions update

reindeer in Finland

Pic Credit: The Mamma Fairy Blog

We have been to Lapland (Rovaniemi- Finland) twice and are still cautiously optimistic about our trip at the end of January 2021. My post on diy Lapland still gets huge traffic as does my dressing for Lapland post. I get a lot of DMs and emails asking whether I think we will be able to travel this Winter season and the truth is none of us really know. It’s a constantly evolving situation and can be difficult to keep on top of the changing situation. As it stands (end September 2020) I have set out what the current situation is looking like. I will do my best to keep it updated as time goes on but please always rely on the official advice. I will set out the key websites below.

Finland Travel restrictions 

Post November 23rd

  • If your home country has less than 25 cases per 100,000 you can travel with no restrictions.
  • Greater than 25 cases the following are the key parameters:
    • If your visit is less than 72 hours you can travel with proof of negative test which itself is no older than 72 hours.
    • If your visit it more than 72 hours the above applies plus you will need a second test locally after 72 hours and self quarantine until you get the results.  The logistics around this are still being firmed up but this is the indicative guideline at the moment.

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Fairy Travels

Alaska – a 2021 bucket list destination

Back in 2010/ 2011 when we were planning our honeymoon we toyed with an Alaskan cruise. It’s one of those destinations that has always been on my bucket list.  Now that we have two wonderful boys some day I hope to be able to take them and share my bucket list trip with them. Maybe 2021 will be the year.  For anybody sharing this bucket list destination – American Holidays and Royal Caribbean have a mega offering to tempt us back to into the world of travelling again.

Escape to Alaska in 2021 with American Holidays and Royal Caribbean

Famed for its jaw-dropping landscapes, unspoiled natural beauty and incredible wildlife, a holiday to Alaska truly is a once in a lifetime experience. Boasting a longer coastline than all other US states combined, what better way to experience the breath-taking scenery of Alaska than with American Holidays on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Don’t forget, you can now book your 2021 Alaskan cruise with peace of mind with American Holidays’ new Book and Travel with Confidence promise, giving you low deposits, from £/€100pp, up to three free amendments, and free cancellation up to 10 weeks before departure, should you need to make any changes. American Holidays trusted partners have your safety and wellbeing at their core, and all adhere to our robust health and safety audit. Learn more about how you can book and travel with confidence here.

Discover some of the world’s most stunning sights and make memories to last a lifetime as you sail through the wilds of the Last Frontier on your Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Sail on Serenade of the Seas or Ovation of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship to sail Alaska, where you can pay a visit to the North Star, a glass pod rising 300ft above sea level from which you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the surrounding scenery as you sail through Alaska’s Inside Passage, Icy Strait Point or past the Hubbard or Dawes glaciers.

Ovation of the Seas offers you the chance to experience rock climbing walls and surf simulators to beautiful swimming pools and luxurious spa services, Royal Caribbean cruise ships are the ideal place for you to soak up breath-taking views of Alaska’s unspoiled landscape! Treat your taste buds while onboard, with incredible dining services, whether your craving Far East flavours, family-style Italian dishes, American steakhouse classics, there’s something for everyone onboard.

The amazing experiences don’t stop there. Your Alaska cruise holiday will take you to the port of Juneau, home to snow-capped mountains, misty rainforests, massive glaciers and bounty of wildlife as well as Skagway, the site of the famous Klondike Gold Rush. Anchorage is the state’s largest city and a gateway to the rest of the state. Take a trip to Denali National Park, the tallest peak in North America! This can be seen from as far away as Anchorage on a clear day! Covered in wildflowers, rushing rivers and calm lakes, an up-close view is more than worth the expedition during your holiday.

Whether you’re interested in hiking through a forest, trekking to glaciers, whale watching excursions or a shopping spree downtown, the towns along Alaska’s inside passage provide a variety of unique outdoor adventures.

No trip to Alaska would be complete without experiencing some of the local delicacies. Alaskan food focuses on using locally sourced ingredients, without compromising on flavour! Try some locally sourced fresh black cod or fresh king crab. Fancy something sweeter? Alaska is famous for its abundance of wild berries so, be sure to try some wild berry cobbler on your travels – you won’t be disappointed!

Get the best of both worlds and combine your Alaskan cruise with a city break with American Holidays…

Family Alaskan Cruise Adventure

Planning a family holiday to remember? American Holidays’ Family Alaskan Cruise Adventure begins with one night in Seattle before boarding Royal Caribbean’s incredible Ovation of the Seas for a 7-night Alaskan cruise.  Firstly, you and your family will arrive in Seattle, a wonderful blend of nature and urban beauty, the perfect city break destination and spend one night here.

On the second day of your family holiday you’ll board the incredible Ovation of the Seas for your cruise to Alaska from Seattle. This is a fantastic cruise ship and the perfect option for families as there are so many amazing fun features onboard. Scale the heights of the rock wall, experience the thrill of a free fall on RipCord® by iFLY®, or catch a wave on the FlowRider® all against the backdrop of the stunning Alaskan glaciers you sail by. Another real highlight will be a visit to the North Star pod which lifts you 90ft above sea level for breath-taking panoramic views of the Alaskan landscape.

On this cruise holiday you’ll experience some of the most beautiful places in Alaska. You’ll sail through Alaska’s Inside Passage which spans 500 miles of shoreline, covering some of the world’s most breath-taking landscapes and wildlife. You’ll stop at the ports of Juneau and Skagway, home to an abundance of exciting outdoor activities for the whole family! You’ll also sail through the Endicott Arm Fjord which is surrounded by granite cliffs, mountain valleys and dozens of gushing waterfalls. Finally, your last stop on your cruise is in Victoria, British Columbia, known as the ‘cycling capital of Canada’, this is the perfect spot for the whole family to rent bikes and explore the area on two wheels.

Take me there…..sounds just incredible.  Starting from €1,699, my interest is seriously captured. Now just to convince my husband……

Fairy Travels

A weekend in the Volkswagen California Camper

On a Friday at the end of August, just prior to the schools returning, I earned the best accolade!! Officially declared the best mammy ever! Why you might wonder…….

Well, I announced that we had been kindly offered the use of a Volkswagen California for a weekend. I am sure the squeals of excitement could be heard for miles! I mean what is not to love, the freedom of being able to hit the road and stay pretty much where we wanted. It didn’t take too long to formulate the plan of where to go. The kids wanted to show their cousins so it was decided pretty quickly we would head for quite possibly our favourite place….Donegal.

As luck we have it, we happened on possibly the only weekend where the weather was akin to a mini heatwave.  We packed up Friday after the oldest had finished soccer camp and we were off down the N3 with everything but the kitchen sink, and some very happy kids and adults.

The Volkswagen California 6.1

The model we had the use of was the California 6.1 – 2020 so brand-new version with the very eye-catching two-tone paint work.  That copper bronze is really fab! It has a 2-litre diesel engine with automatic transmission. I am informed that the annual road tax is a very reasonable €102.

Some initial thoughts on the spec

  • The way the space is designed is impressive, a very clever use of space. There is a decent size fridge (42l), 2 ring gas hob, sink, cutlery drawer and an abundance of storage. The front seats swivel around, and the table is pulled up to make it the perfect dining/ chill out space. I could ramble on about this for ever, it’s the little details.  The outdoor table is stored in the sliding door frame, the chairs literally in the boot door. No space is wasted. It’s so ergonomically designed and its ease of use I feel is a big selling point.
  • Its deceptively spacious, from just looking at the outside I didn’t expect to have so much space inside.
  • The kids went wild for the sleep set up. The roof rises (push button electric) and there is a decent size double up there and the two back seats lie flat to form the other double.  Plenty space for 2 adults and 2 kids. The base of the bed can also be pushed up into the roof to allow standing room too. Each window has blinds including very cleverly designed front windscreen blinds.

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Fairy Travels

Lapland in the summer time – Midnight Sun

reindeer

Pic Credit: The Mamma Fairy Blog

Its no secret we totally fell in love with Lapland, the people, the culture, the scenery, its just spectacular.

We have been in 2018 and 2019 and depending on how Covid pans out of the coming months we are planning to return in 2021. I think we leave a bit of our hearts there each time. The kids are lucky enough to have seen a lot of the world but Lapland (Rovaniemi) is the only place we have returned to a second and hopefully a third time. That’s saying something.

For some tips on Lapland on a budget – I have written this post and I also have this post on our 2019 trip. Both posts are packed with details on getting to and enjoying all the best that Rovaniemi has to offer.

However, one thing that we have been toying with is to see Lapland in the summer time – to see the Midnight sun. The concept fascinates me.  I saw an email from last week which contained a youtube clip on a 3 day Lapland trip and if this doesnt inspire you to visit and see it for yourself im not sure what will!! There is tonnes on Visit Rovaniemi who have a dedicated page on Summer 2020 if you do need any more information.

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Fairy Travels

Rediscover the beauty of Ireland with Google Maps

As we journey into Phase 3, people are ready to escape their back gardens and are looking for a holiday. As Government advice continues to advise against all non-essential foreign travel now is the time to plan a staycation and rediscover everything Ireland has to offer.  Whether you’re planning a staycation at home with day trips to local sights or  going further afield for a longer trip, Google Maps is on hand to help staycationers rediscover the best of Ireland.

From isolated beaches to breathtaking mountains Ireland has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world and our cities, towns and villages are filled with museums and attractions that can keep all the family occupied for days. Google Maps has everything you need to plan the ultimate road trip at your fingertips, with Local Guides advice on hand along the way to help find the best route, best view and best place to have dinner and drink after a long day of sightseeing. Google Maps is the ultimate travel companion whether you’re driving across world famous routes like The Ring of Kerry, discovering the soaring Cliffs of Moher, braving the Wild Atlantic Way, uncovering the history of Newgrange or spending a day delving into Irish history through the many museums in the Capital.

 

These Google Maps features will help people have a staycation to remember this summer:

  • Create lists so you can keep track of your favorite places and share them with friends.
  • Find hidden gems: Use the Explore tab find the best restaurants, sights and events happening in the area.
  • Find things to do and places to eat based on your unique interests and preferences.
  • Go Handsfree Keep your focus on the road by using voice commands on Google Maps. Just say “OK Google, find petrol stations” or “ Show alternate routes” to get the information you need, hands free.
  • Offline maps: No data? No problem.
    iphone

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

    You can still find your way even if you have spotty reception or an expensive data plans. You don’t need data on a road trip, you can download a map of an area so you can see directions and use turn by turn navigation even when you can’t get online.

  • Plan activities as a group: With group lists in Google Maps, planning travel with others is simple and efficient, giving you the ability to create an itinerary together by adding places to go and things to do as a group.
  • Plan ahead: Look for restaurants doing takeaway, dine-in or delivery. COVID-19 has forced many restaurants to change their operating models or even temporarily close, which makes planning ahead even more important. With Google Maps you can look for local restaurants around you that are open, offering takeaway, delivery, or no-contact delivery.

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Fairy Travels

The Canary Islands with Kids

The last few weeks have been a strange mix of emotions. I am thankful we are all well but I am aware it is not the same for everybody. I have been wiling away many hours pouring over family holidays. With both of us working out of the house full time to now both working in the house full time, we are acutely aware of how valuable time is as a family. I have only realised how much I looked forward to our trips away together, exploring, adventuring and educating ourselves on cultures and ways of life. My kids just love travel and its been an fantastic education for them to be able to have such experiences so young. So……as the world begins to re-open to travel, now is the perfect time to start planning your next trip with the kids!

From beautiful long beaches and glistening shallow water to theme parks and watersports, the Canary Islands has something for even the most demanding mini traveler. My pair are total water babies so this is right up their street!

Read on to find out more…

Siam Park, Tenerife – The World’s Top Artificial Waves

water slide

Siam Park

Tenerife’s Siam Park is one of the most popular parks in the world, according to TripAdvisor, and it’s easy to see why! Siam Park has a huge variety of pools, fun aquatic rides as well as a wave pool with some of the world’s best artificial waves. Siam Park also offers thrilling daredevil rides such as the Mekong Rapids, a fast-paced water slide ridden on a rubber boat, or the Dragon, a vertical funnel for up to four persons boasting a vertical zero gravity experience – perfect for keeping the bigger kids entertained! Wind down after your action-packed day on the white sand of Siam Beach, home to beautiful clear turquoise waters.

One day tickets for Siam Park begin at €25 for a child and from €37 for adults. Find more information at www.siampark.net.

Leap around like Tarzan in the Forestal Park, Tenerife

Leap off Tarzan Swings or fly down ziplines at the gates of Teide National Park. Forestal Park, Tenerife, offers a truly unique adventure for kids, both big and small! The park is surrounded by canary pines as well as a landscape full of biodiversity in the protected area of Las Lagunetas. Forestal Park consists of three different modules ranging in difficulty to suit all ages. Find out more information at www.forestalparktenerife.es.

Camel Rides in Fuerteventura

Oasis Park Fuerteventura is one of the biggest animal parks in the Canary Islands and is also the largest camel reserve in Europe. It differs from a classical zoo by allowing visitors to view the beautiful fauna from the top of a camel! Visitors sit on a saddle perfectly adapted to the camel, which arrived in the Canary Islands from Africa in the fifteenth century. With an option to take a short or long trip, inside and outside the park, this is one experience not to be missed! Visit www.oasiswildlifefuerteventura.com for more details.

Lanzarote – Dolphin and Whale Spotting

kids in a boat

Whale watching

Dolphins, whales, and turtles are all species which can be seen in the waters of the Canary Islands, on a number of different environmentally friendly tours offered around the islands. Kids will enjoy it as much as adults, and there’s no better way to learn about marine animals and how to respect them than seeing them in their natural habitats. In Lanzarote, there are even submarine trips to the seabed!

Discover the Volcanos in the Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote

There’s no better way to introduce the kids to mother nature and the world of volcanoes than visiting the Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote. The little ones are sure to enjoy the unique Martian-looking landscape – broken land and rusted, iron-red earth, as well as learning about the history of the park, which is centred around the volcanoes active during the island’s six-year Timanfaya eruption from 1730-1736. These eruptions covered a quarter of Lanzarote in lava, burying 11 villages and forcing the entire population to flee. To this day the heat of the ground and the sulphurous chemicals render it almost devoid of life; there are small bushes and lichens, but even three centuries later there are no grasses or forests.

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Fairy Travels

My Favourite Travel Apps

My favourite Travel Apps

For anyone from frequent fliers to travel amateurs, there are plenty of travel apps out there available for easy download to make planning your next trip easier than ever. Whether it is an app for finding the nearest bathroom on the road or alerting you when flight prices drop, there is no doubt that traveling is becoming easier and easier.

Hopper

Hopper is an app used for analyzing different prices of flights and hotels daily, alerting you when prices are starting to drop. You type in your dream destination, and it will let you know if prices are low and you should book it, or if you should hold off until prices start to drop a little more. This app saves users so much money on trips that could have cost them thousands of dollars more.

Kayak

aeroplane wing

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Kayak allows users to filter flight airlines, departure times, hotels, and car rentals, while also allowing you to change locations and dates. After booking your vacation, the app alerts and updates you on your flight’s status, security wait times, and where your airport terminal is. For these perks, Kayak wins the best app for filtering hotels and airlines.

Airbnb

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Fairy Travels

3 Scottish Destinations For Your Post-Lockdown Break

If you and your family are emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic in good health, you might be (very tentatively) wondering if it’s possible to safely take a much-needed family break in the foreseeable future – perhaps later in the summer or as we move into autumn.

Edinburgh Castle

The impressive Edinburgh Castle

You’ll know that here in  Republic of Ireland and together with the United Kingdom we  all have slightly different approaches to the timetable for easing lockdown, but there’s a decent chance that since we’re part of the common travel area, travel between these territories might be more manageable sooner than vacations further afield.  And if this is the case, where better to spend some time bonding and recharging your batteries than Scotland? 

As well as stunning scenery, the towns and cities are jam-packed with culture, history and friendly locals. 

If this sounds promising, here are three fab destinations for a cathartic Caledonian break.

Edinburgh

 

Which other capital city has a main thoroughfare framed by an ancient castle perched on top of a volcanic plug? 

With its elegant neoclassical New Town, an Old Town full of historical nooks and crannies and a world-class arts and culture sector, this beautiful city combines many eclectic elements in a heady blend. 

Tip: Don’t miss cocktails at The Dome when you’re in town – it’s breath-taking inside and out. 

Dundee

 

It wouldn’t be overly unkind to say that 10-15 years ago, Dundee wouldn’t have been on many people’s list of top cities to visit in Scotland.

But with a globally renowned V&A Design Museum that juts out from the riverside like an alien craft and a magnificent mix of independent shops, bars, restaurants and nightclubs, it has undergone a transformation that’s made it one of the world’s coolest cities to visit.

Tip: try urban wakeboarding at the Foxlake water-skiing facility at City Quay. 

Glasgow

 

Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Skyline

How can you describe Glasgow in a couple of sentences? Scotland’s biggest city is probably most distinctive because of its amazing people – it’s a modern multicultural metropolis which is inclusive, warm and fantastically funny. 

You can shop ‘til you drop here on Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street, enjoy live music and dancing on the spring floors of the legendary Barrowland Ballroom, slake your cultural thirst at Oran Mor and Glasgow School of Art and watch thrilling live football courtesy of Celtic and Rangers.

Tip: arrange car hire from Enjoy Travel in Glasgow and explore the whole of Scotland’s Central Belt.

So there you have a hattrick of reasons why Scotland could be your ideal family getaway location post-lockdown – and we’ve not even touched on the mind-boggling beauty of the Scottish Highlands, which are accessible from any of the above bases. 

Keep an ‘aye’ on all the official travel information before you head off, but we hope you can experience these superb Scottish locations for real soon! 

What’s your favourite Scottish location? Let us know in the comments section! 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Fairy Travels

The Canary Islands that everyone is talking about

Its a strange new world that we are day by day getting used to. My kids have been travelling since they were months old.  They are very lucky despite being so young to have seen so much of the world.  However it has been very hard for them to process this world where they cant see their friends or hug their grandparents. It such a huge departure from the free range life they lead. One of the things we have been doing as part of our home schooling is making an effort to learn more about the countries we are hoping to visit in the future. This week prompted by a very interesting press release we turned our attention to the Canary Islands. I was very interested to see the islands of La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa or, the “Covid-19 free” islands, are leading Spain’s de-escalation from the Covid-19 lockdown.

With my interest well and really grabbed, I wanted to delve deeper into these three islands……..

La Gomera – The Magical Island

La Gomera was awarded UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve status in 2011 thanks to the pristine nature of its marine and terrestrial ecosystems. La Gomera is known as the most magical of the Canary Islands and is home to species that cannot be found anywhere else. It’s also renowned as a hiker’s heaven! The islands highest peak is found in Garajonay National Park – UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. The park is covered in low-lying fog which creates a perfect microclimate for one of Europe’s last remaining cloud forests. This green paradise stands at the heart of La Gomera’s 650km network of beautiful walking trails.

Situated just 40 minutes by ferry from the southern coast of Tenerife, La Gomera is home to a perfect combination of lush green forests, black lava palm-studded beaches, ancient forests and banana plantations. Its capital, San Sebastián, is full of history and is famous for being Christopher Columbus’ last port of call on his voyage to America.

One of the most captivating features of La Gomera is the Silbo Gomero, its unique whistling language. Recognised as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Humanity, this pre-Hispanic language has been used on the island since ancient times to communicate over long distances.

El Hierro – The Sustainable Island

El Hierro aims to become the first island in the world that will be 100% sustainable within the next four to eight years. For now, El Hierro, the westernmost island of the Canaries has already set a world record. In Summer 2019, the island reached the milestone of covering the entire population’s energy needs for 24 days using only renewable energy.

El Hierro is the second smallest island of the Canaries and is world famous for its spectacular underwater scenery and wildlife. La Restinga Marine Reserve is an international acclaimed diving sanctuary frequented by numerous animal species. The volcanic eruptions that took place between 2011 and 2012 led to a regeneration of the seabed that gave rise to a very interesting biodiversity. El Hierro boasts the best diving area in the Canary Islands, where you could find dolphins, turtles, stingrays, barracudas, peaceful white sharks and more.

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Fairy Travels

Top 10 Resorts for Winter Sun

While we adjust to our new norm for the next while, id be lying if I said I didn’t really miss our travel adventures. We have lots of fab trips planned for the coming months. However the overriding thing is that everybody stays well, safe and adheres to all government directions re Covid 19  However, it has not stopped me dreaming and researching where out next adventure may be and whenever that may be.  I thought it might be helpful to share some of the great finds I did stumble across for the Winter sun. Whether its this year or any other year it might be no harm to save it for the future.

The Canary Islands is the perfect destination for just that! With seven islands and dozens of incredible resorts and hotels, here is a list of top 10 to help you choose…

Riu Palace Meloneras, Gran Canaria

Located in Gran Canaria, Spain, the Hotel Riu Palace Meloneras combines top-quality style, service and comfort. This luxurious Palace is perfect for relaxing holidays and soaking up the island’s winter sun, featuring freshwater swimming pools, a gym, jacuzzis and more. You can spend your days lounging by the pool, try water sports, play golf and more before enjoying a delicious meal in one of the high-quality, themed restaurants.

H10 Rubicón Palace, Lanzarote

Perched on the seafront in Playa Blanca, southern Lanzarote, the H10 Rubicón Palace resort stands out for its incredible interior design, including the most characteristic elements of the island and its colours: white, green and black. Boasting amazing swimming pools, a range of delicious dining options, stunning rooms, and luxurious spa treatments. The resort also hosts entertainment to suit the whole family, including the Daisy Adventure children’s area with a pirate ship and water attractions.

 

ocean and pool

H10 Rubicón Palace, Lanzarote

GF Victoria, Tenerife

Nominated for Europe’s Leading Family and Wellness Resort 2020 in the World Travel Awards, GF Victoria is the perfect resort for families looking to enjoy some winter sun. This five-star resort features a stunning family pool, aquatic park, adventure zone and a mini club – plenty to keep the kids active and happy. No kids? No worries. GF Victoria has plenty for adults too, including a spa, waterpark and adult-only pools – we recommend the incredible Glass Pool at Zambra Sky Bar!

Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora, Tenerife

Combining luxury with natural beauty, the five-star Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora, loacted on the stunning Atlantic coast, is one of Tenerife’s finest resorts. Boasting delicious dining options, the ‘Spa by Clarins’, several golf courses and the option of an adult-only experience or a family experience – this resort is an all-rounder. Did we mention it’s also dog-friendly? So, grab your four-legged friend and start planning!

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