Tag Archives: car hire

Secluded Beaches

We are nearly half way into 2014 and although the sun has only just started to poke its head through the miserable British clouds, many people are already wistfully dreaming of the upcoming summer holidays in the next few months. There has been a recent increase in ‘staycations’ where people opt for holidaying at home instead of going abroad to visit sunnier tides, however sun, sand and sea destinations are still incredibly popular with those who like to hop on board a plane and fly into the sunset for a week or two.

However nobody likes overcrowding. It’s annoying having to get up at 5am just to save you and your family a set of sun beds, but it is essential otherwise you’ll be stuck sitting on the floor. Beaches are far more crowded during the summer time and on occasion it may be hard to simply enjoy the holiday because of the amount of heads you see bobbing up and down in that perfect ocean view.

So where are some better, less trodden, less crowded beaches to visit? In this two part blog series we’ll have a look at some of the ‘beaches less travelled’ to bring you the most relaxing, isolated holidays that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else unless you somehow managed to hire yourself a private island.

Owen Island, Cayman Islands

owenLocated just off the south-western coast of Little Cayman is a tiny islet known as Owen Island. It is only reachable by sail boat or by kayaking, but these waters can get a little windy so it is best to be prepared. You’ll need to travel across the Bloody Bay (sounds a little ominous) but if you’re a seasoned traveller with a little kayaking experience it should be no problem.

The islet contains very few buildings or homes, in fact very little human habitation at all, so it is a great way to feel as if you have your very own deserted island to yourself. Plus the tranquillity of the warm sun and the iconic beach imagery is great for relaxation. Owen Island can be enjoyed by those of all ages and makes a perfect choice for a honeymoon island away from it all for an hour or two.

To get to Owen Island, simply grab a hired car from the and then drive 2 minutes to the south-west coast of Little Cayman. Simple!

 

World’s Wackiest Rollercoasters – Voyage

Everybody loves a different style of holiday. Some people like to tan it out through two weeks of sun, sand and sangria, whereas others will relax in warm shade and read a book or two. Some people like to see the world, snapping photos of ancient ruins and crumbling mountains and some love to ski down the sides of beautiful snowy mountains. Then there are the pleasure seekers. The ones who can easily be happy enough with a day ticket pass to Thorpe Park, where they would ride every roller coaster twice if they had the time.

Whether you belong to one of the former categories or the latter, or you are just looking for a few ways to get some thrills into your life, why not have a look at some of the world’s biggest, highest, longest and wackiest roller coasters with us at Penguin car hire?

Todays Coaster: Voyage
voytageVoyage is a traditional wooden roller coaster and is on both top ten lists for the longest and the fastest wooden rollercoaster in the world. Located at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana, the coaster is a staggering 6442 feet in length and the whole ride takes around 2 minutes and 50 seconds. The carts can reach up to 67.4mph which can be pretty intimidating for a wooden roller coaster, and climbs to a height of 163 feet at various points along the course.

Voyage also holds a world record for the amount of airtime – time in which passengers are lifted from their seats either gradually or violently – which is a gut-wrenching 24.2 seconds. Half a minute may not seem like a long time now but while you’re spiralling down at 60 miles an hour with only a padded metal bar across your lap preventing you from falling, it can get pretty exhilarating. The course ricochets through the woods of Holiday World, dipping underground at two points during the ride and starts off with a stomach-churning 154 foot drop.

As the coaster descends underground, passengers are treated to complete darkness and a rush of cool air and then suddenly plunged downwards into two more drops before emerging back out into the sunlight. For a warm Indiana day the sudden temperature change can be as thrilling as the ride itself.

With Penguin we have thousands of car hire destinations to choose from. For a hire car to Holiday World, Indiana you can drive from Terre Haute, Indianapolis or even Nashville, Tennessee. What are you waiting for? Get out there!

Easter Celebrated By Different Cultures

Whether you are planning on staying home for Easter Weekend, or you have decided to take a few extra days off during the Easter holiday to spend time with the kids, different countries and different cultures have individual ways of celebrating Easter Weekend. Although commonly associated with Christianity, Catholicism and the death and rebirth of Jesus Christ, cultures from around the world celebrate the death and rebirth as well as a number of other, related events in their own way.

Verges in Spain

[penguin] easter blogThe Thursday before Easter weekend is known as the night of the ‘dansa de la mort’ in the town of Verges, Spain. The residents dress up in skeletal outfits and re-enact scenes from The Passion while parading through the streets of town, complete with eerie fire torches. The parade starts at Midnight and lasts for three hours until the early morning.

The end of the ‘dansa de la mort’ is signified by terrifyingly designed skeletons carrying boxes of ashes, signifying the death of Christ.

Rome, Italy

Easter celebrations in Rome start on Good Friday, where the Pope will commemorates the ‘Via Crucis’ or ‘Way of the Cross’. At the coliseum a huge cross made of burning torches is burnt, lighting up the sky, while the 14 Stations of the Cross are described in multiple languages for all to hear.

On both Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday mass is held in the evening, and on the Sunday, visitors congregate in St Peter’s Square to be able to receive the Pope’s blessing seen from the church’s balcony. This is known as ‘Urbi et Orbi’ or ‘To the City and to the World’.

Sweden and Finland

[penguin] sweden easter blogEaster time is like a mini Halloween for most of Sweden and various areas of Finland. It was thought that on the Thursday before Easter weekend, witches used to fly to the mountains to congress with Satan. Children would wear rags and old clothes and would go from door to door holding out a copper kettle for treats.

To scare away the ‘witches’ the Swedes would light up large bonfires that would keep evil spirits from entering their homes. Nowadays children still go out ‘trick or treating’ and bonfires and fireworks are set up and let off throughout the town in  keeping with the old traditions.

Whether you need transport in the bustling streets of London, or are looking for a hire car to help you make your way through the roads of Paris, Brussels or even Marrakech, with thousands of companies to choose from, Penguin Car Hire can get hold of a first class hired car to take you where you want to go within minutes.

Towns Less Travelled in Morocco

Whether you are a fan of the sun and the sea, you’re eager about hiking and culture abroad, or you just like relaxing holidays, sometimes it is hard to find a destination without swathes of freckly pale British tourists milling around with giant sun hats and oversized beach bags. The most popular destinations such as Tenerife and Hawaii are often populated by tourists, particularly in the warmer months, so where can you go on holiday without having to weave your way around countless other tourists in order to get the best spot on the beach?

As a country rich in both culture and natural beauty, Morocco is a holiday destination like no other. With a number of exquisite and iconic cities each with their own classic theme, you could spend days wandering the intricate streets of Marrakech or Fez and experiencing the many market stalls and array of delectable dishes the vendors have to offer. Or you could take the plunge and explore nature at its finest, with stunning valleys, stretches of beautiful desert, glorious mountains and spotless beaches, Morocco has something for everyone.

However if you are seeking somewhere rich with culture, without having to make your way through crowds of tourists, there are a few destinations within Morocco that are certainly not to miss!

Essaouira

[penguin]essouira blogPronounced ‘essa-weera’, this is a traditional fishing town with an iconic harbour, fortified walls, and a strange design that would not look out of place in France. Nicknamed the ‘Wind City of Africa’ there is a fierce gale that often deters ‘sun sand and sea’ tourists because it often blows the sand in your face!

However the town has its own iconic beauty; with narrow winding streets filled with the exotic aroma of fish blended with spices and thuya wood from the woodworkers of the medinas. You can hire a car or take a walk down the many alleyways, whichever you prefer. Plus if you happen to visit Essaouira in June, you may be privy to the fantastic annual World Music Festival.

Ouarzazate

[penguin]ouarzazate blogThe name of the city means ‘noiselessly’ and the city has been nicknamed ‘The Door of the Desert’. Ouarzazate is a great location to see some classical Moroccan buildings as well as going on excursions across the Draa Valley and into the desert, if you’re a fan of bewitching sights. Ouarzazate is also a famous film- making location and has been used as a backdrop for many Hollywood films including Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia.

If you love seeing rare gems amongst the desert scenery, you can also book a local tour to see the Oasis Fint. After a tough trek through the rocky desert scenery you will emerge into a beautiful Oasis Valley with palm trees, native wildlife and a winding river through the valley. Perfect.

No trip to Morocco is complete without visiting the huge medinas of Marrakesh, as some of the greatest souvenirs and cultural pieces can be found by shopping around. However if you want to take a step back from the tourist side of Morocco and look through its cultural and natural beauty, Essaouira and Ouarzazate are two great examples of beauty where you least expect it.

 

About the Author

Mike James is a fan of Arab culture and Islamic art and enjoys trips to Morocco several times a year. He is a regular visitor to the souks of Morocco and stays at the Riad El Zohar in Marrakech whenever he can.

Holidaying in the Easter

When it comes to the Easter holidays, although nowadays there is much more diversity when it comes to religion and the meaning of Easter, the Easter holidays are still widely recognised by schools across the country. What this means for your kids is a beautiful fortnight of no school no homework and hopefully some late nights! However what this means for you is two weeks of hastily arranged sleepovers, babysitting arrangements and if you’re lucky, a three or four day weekend to spend with the children.

Although it can be hard many of us choose to keep working throughout the Easter Holidays, even if it means hiring a babysitter to look after your young children during the weekdays. For those with older children it is slightly easier; they have more responsibility, often you can easily trust them to stay home alone without turning the house into a post-war bomb site.

Why not go on holiday then?

The Easter holidays are the perfect opportunity for parents to take some time off to spend with their kids. Sure, trips away may be more expensive during the Easter holidays, but you have a limited amount of time to spend with your children before they grow up and make their own way in the world, so why not make the best of it?

The Mediterranean

[penguin] bournemouth blogWhy not get in some early sunbathing practise? In the UK, the Easter marks the start of spring, where the air becomes slightly less icy and the grass becomes slightly greener.

Unfortunately, spring in the UK also means a lot of April showers and sometimes a Mediterranean getaway can be just what the doctor ordered.

If you are not willing to travel for your sun, you could always wait for a sunny day in the UK and Hire a car to Bournemouth for a cheeky day out at the beach?

Skiing

[penguin] skiing blogIf the sun is not your thing, why not go on a spring skiing holiday? Many ski slopes still keep their courses open in the spring, and as it is known as the ‘late season’ skiing is cheaper than at peak times!

With less people on the slopes both accommodation and course and lift passes are cheaper than if you want to ski in the full throes of winter. Bonus!

Whatever you decide to do for the Easter Holidays, make sure you enjoy it and try to spend at least a little bit of time with the kids. They’re not young forever!

 

Best Art Museums Worldwide

Are you or your family new to the art scene or are you returning veterans? Interested in learning the origins of various artists, or just love to see some of the weirder pieces of art the world has to offer? Wherever you decide to go on holiday, the chances are that you’ll be able to find an art museum somewhere nearby.

They are incredibly popular, and although the recent rise of the internet has hinted at a decline in the modern appreciation of classical art, they are still incredibly popular and provide a window into what it was like living and working in ancient times, as depicted by various painters and artists of the ages. Whether you are looking for the most visited museums of the world or are more interested in finding those hidden gems, take a look at some of Penguin’s best worldwide museums.

The Uffizi Gallery, Italy

[penguin] uffizi blogLocated in the centre of the beautiful city of Florence, Italy, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest museums in the world, and is also one of the most famous museums of the western world. The museum holds many beautiful pieces from classical artists of the 16th century, including works by Da Vinci Himself.

The museum is incredibly popular and visitors hoping to see the beautiful works on show may have to face waiting queues of up to 5 hours to get into the museum. Pre-booked ticket holders experience a significantly reduced waiting time.

Prado Museum, Spain

[penguin] prado blogKnown as the main Spanish national art museum, the Prado houses a vast collection of European art from as early as the 12th century to the early 19th century. To this date the Prado has had over 2.7million visitors and is comprised of over 20,000 pieces of art, including drawings, prints, sculptures and paintings.

The Prado also houses a number of historic documents and is known as a site of significant historic importance. Hire a car in Madrid to visit the Prado now!

The Louvre, France

[penguin] louvre blogHoused in the Louvre Palace, this museum was originally built as a fortress in the 12th Century, and some of the remnants can still been seen in the basement of the museum. It officially opened on the 10th August 1793 and is one of the world’s best known museums, attracting over 10 million visitors since it was opened.

The Louvre holds a huge collection of ancient pieces and antiques from all around the world and is also noticeable for its iconic, pyramid design at the entrance.

Happy Mother’s Day From Penguin

This Sunday, 30th March is Mother’s Day, a day dedicated to those hardworking mums who put up with smelly, messy children for most of their lives. Today is a day that you can use to thank mums all over the world for their hard work, or you can just thank your mum. It can be in any way you want, with a small personal gift, with a weekend away, or just by taking a moment out of your day to spend some quality time with her. Whatever you choose to do, make it special.

Spa Breaks

Very few people don’t enjoy being pampered, and especially if you have endured the stress that being a mother brings, a spa day or two, or even an hour or so, won’t go amiss. Give her the gift of relaxation, where a qualified masseuse works out all her aches and pains accompanied to soothing music and fragrant scents.

Do Something Interesting

[penguin] cafe france blogNot got a run of the mill mum? If she prefers spending her days out and about, why not hire a car in Paris and take her on a tour of the sights? Trips to France are ideal as it is easily reachable by boat, and you can enjoy some quality time with mum while at the same time getting some fresh air. Why not visit the Louvre, or have a look at the Eiffel Tower? You could even take a few moments to have a delicious bagel in one of the many French cafes and simply watch the world go by.

Presents!

Make sure to give your mum at least a card this mother’s day. Even a small token will show her that you have thought of her, and in the end, even a small thing can make a big statement. However be careful to make sure not to get her anything she really doesn’t like, as some mum’s don’t like flowers or trinkets. You should know; she’s your mum!

Enjoy It!

[penguin] gift blogSome people spend far too much time running around, worrying about their daily lives and the stress and fatigue it brings about. Take a step back to relax with your mother, remind her of what she means to you. If you take time out to enjoy the time you spend with her, you may even begin to appreciate her on another level. It is one day a year, so make it count!

Beautiful Lakes in the South of France

The South of France is a beautiful holiday destination to visit in the summer, particularly for those who love stunning beaches, but aren’t that fond of taking long haul flights to the likes of Hawaii and beyond. Some of the best locations to swim in the South of France are, ironically, not by the sea, but are instead by the region’s various rivers and lakes. These beaches may not be sandy, but their isolated locations and lack of tourists along with gorgeous views more than make up for their outward rocky appearance at first. Here at Penguin Car Hire, with fantastic deals and opportunities on hire cars from Boulogne-Sur-Mer to Toulouse, we look at the more beautiful Lakes and rivers, perfect for holidaymakers, located in the south of France.

Lake Bugarach

[penguin]lake bugarach blogA tiny lake just south of the village of Bugarach, located in the shadow of nearby mount Bugarach, this lake is beautifully quaint. Surrounded by rolling hills and with various nature walks through the forests nearby, Lake Bugarach is perfect for holidaymakers who are looking to get more in tune with nature.

Montpeyroux

Located on a hilltop, Montpeyroux is a small village which accurately reflects the quaint and relaxing atmosphere of the countryside. Situated in the picturesque Lidoire Valley, Montpeyroux is located right next to L’Allier River, where you can see the water cascade its way through the rocks of the valley, down tiny waterfalls and running alongside itself in beautiful rivets made over hundreds of years.

Take a homemade picnic and sit on one of the large rocks stranded in the centre of the river, where you can enjoy the quiet sounds of L’Allier flowing by while basking in the beautiful weather of sunny South France.

Frigoulet

[penguin]french lakes guinguette blgoThe river near Frigoulet village has a popular family beach framed by dense forest on one side. The other side often receives visitors on family days out, attracting both local residents and tourists. The beautiful archway bridge across the river is often used as a diving board for local children, but it is not recommended for tourists!

If you fancy a bite to eat, you can always visit a nearby ‘guinguette’. The traditional word for a classical French pub, a guingette can serve small snacks and sandwiches for a very reasonable price.

Whatever your holidaying preferences, take your trip out in style with Penguin Car Hire. With a first class directory offering hire cars from thousands of destinations worldwide, you can be sure with our comprehensive search and booking engine, you will find the very best rate for a holiday hire car.

 

Bucket List Week 4 – Scuba and Sky Diving

A Bucket list can consist of anything, from big events to tiny things that you had never even considered doing before. It can be something as little as trying every flavour of ice cream, to a big event such as completing a marathon. Here at Penguin we believe in travelling the world, visiting fantastic landmarks and enjoying the great sights of the different traditions and cultures worldwide. We’re not saying you have to travel to be happy, but for those of you who love travelling and are looking for some stunning locations and activities to tick off your bucket list, we can give you some ideas.

Skydiving

[penguin]skydive blog

An exhilarating feat, not for the faint hearted. Skydiving sessions happen everywhere in the world, depending on where you live or where you would like to dive. Normally divers on their first go will be accompanied by a professional, who chooses to open up the parachute at the right moment. The freefall portion of the skydive is the most exhilarating, the idea of rushing towards certain death, followed by the relief of the parachute opening – the rush of adrenaline you feel when this happens is often one of the major appealing points of diving.

Plus you get a great view of the surrounding area as you drift back down to safety, so for a truly inspirational view, why not try skydiving in Hawaii, where you can see the whole island laid out in front of you as you fall?

Great Barrier Reef – Australia

 

[penguin]scuba blog

Famous for being the world’s largest coral reef, with over 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays, and with a range of diving experiences available depending on your level of diving skill, you can see the great barrier reef up close, no matter how much experience you have with diving!

 

Plus with accommodation suitable for families, couples and singles, the Great Barrier Reef is a great spot to visit for everyone! If you’re in Australia for a week or two, you can also hire a car in Townsville in order to see the local sites, after enjoying the fantastical views of the Great Barrier Reef.

New experiences can be found anywhere, from the ends of the earth to your back garden. Why not look at the rest of our bucket list collection, if you are putting together an ideal bucket list of your own and would like some great inspiration from the best locations worldwide.

50 States Road Trip – Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the 3rd most densely populated states in the USA. The state has played a significant role in shaping American History. Plymouth was the site of the colony founded by the pilgrim passengers of the Mayflower in 1620 and the oldest institute of higher learning in the entire 50 states; Harvard University was founded in Massachusetts in 1636. Massachusetts was also the first U.S state to legally recognise same-sex marriage, in 2004. A leader in higher education, healthcare technology and financial services, Massachusetts has a lot for tourists to offer.

current state

[penguin] witch salem blogSalem

Famous (or is that infamous?) for its Witch trials, take a step into the history books as you learn about the historic importance of this city, and its connections with the witch trials of 1692.

A lot of Salem associates with the witch trials of 1692; police cars have witch logos on them, an elementary school is named Witchcraft Heights and most of the athletics teams in the schools are known as the Witches.

Salem is also home to a number of quaint New Age and Wiccan boutiques, as well as being a popular location for holidaymakers around Halloween!

Cape Cod

For the chance to see some extreme weather, head on over to Cape Cod. It is a beautiful cape that, due to its location, receives slightly colder winters and slightly warmer summers. Consisting of 15 distinctive towns each sporting their own unique charm, Cape Cods beautiful beaches that attract hundreds of tourists and honeymooners in the summer months.

If you are planning on visiting Cape Cod on your holidays, make sure to check the local weather report, as every five-six years a tropical storm accompanied by high winds tends to hit the Cape, so take care!

[penguin] nantucket blogNantucket

A beautifully quaint little island located to the south of Cape Cod, Nantucket is well known for its sparkling beaches and iconic home designs. Nantucket’s beaches are known to be some of the most pristine and beautiful beaches in the world. Littering is strictly prohibited and punishable, as it could damage the fragile ecosystem of the island.

Plus with houses, cottages and time share rentals available, you can own your own little piece of paradise during the holiday season.

Next Stop

Our next state is the state of Rhode Island. Why not hire a car in Providence, Rhode Island’s capital city by using Penguin’s Car Hire service?