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Monday, January 25, 2010

Liverpool "European Capital of Culture 2008 and the home of The Beatles"

Liverpool is a city with great cultural heritage and was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture 2008, with the famous Pier Head Waterfront being a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2004. Liverpool is home to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and is also renowned for being the birthplace of a wide range of popular musicians including The Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Frankie goes to Hollywood, Echo & the Bunnymen and many more. The city possesses the largest national museum collection outside of London and has a fascinating and turbulent history as a great world maritime centre. Liverpool is home to Europe's oldest Chinatown. The famous Grand National Horse Race takes place in the outskirts of the city (Aintree).

Albert Dock

The Albert Dock is Liverpool's number one visitor attraction, showcasing the best of Liverpool in a stunning World Heritage waterfront setting.
Opened by Prince Albert in 1846, the Dock includes the largest group of Grade 1 listed buildings in the UK.
With award winning visitor attractions such as Tate Liverpool, BugWorld Experience, Yellow Duck Tours, The Beatles Story, Shiverpool Ghost Tours and The Merseyside Maritime Museum, the Dock also offers a range of stylish bars and restaurants including What’s Cooking, Baby Cream, Ha Ha Bar & Grill, Circo, Raven, Vinea, The Pan American Club, Pump House pub, Spice Lounge, Blue and Gusto.
The Dock also offers a good range of speciality souvenir and gift shops, numerous cafes and two hotels, Express by Holiday Inn and Premier Inn.

The Beatles Story

The basement of the Britannia Pavilion in Albert Dock houses "The Beatles Story" museum with memorabilia, photographs and films of the four Liverpool lads.
Hobbies & Activities category: Historic site; Miscellaneous collectibles museums


Built in 1884, the stadium has been home to Liverpool F.C. since they were formed in 1892 as a result of the original tenants Everton F.C. leaving the ground.
The stadium currently comprises four stands: Spion Kop, Main Stand, Centenary Stand and Anfield Road, giving a total capacity of 45,276. The record attendance at the stadium is 61,905 which was set in a match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1952. This record was set prior to the ground's conversion to an all-seater stadium in 1994; the changes, which were a result of the Taylor Report, greatly reduced capacity. Notable features of the stadium include two gates named after former Liverpool managers: the Bob Paisley gate and the Bill Shankly gate. In addition, a statue of Shankly is situated outside the stadium. Anfield's public transport links include rail and bus services but it lacks dedicated parking facilities.
Anfield is a UEFA elite stadium, and has hosted many international matches at the senior level, including England matches. The ground was also used as a venue during Euro 96. Earlier in its history the stadium was also used as a venue for different events, such as boxing and tennis matches. The ground is due to host matches during the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with pool matches taking place at the stadium.


Tate Liverpool is the home of the National Collection of Modern Art in the north, and in 2008 celebrated its twentieth year as a major presence in the city.
Located on the Grade One listed Albert Dock within easy walking distance from the City centre, the Tate Liverpool has become a venue for major exhibitions of international modern art, as well as hosting large and changing displays from the national collection, making it the ideal place to either see your favourite artwork or discover something new.
Tate Liverpool has seen some fantastic exhibitions over the recent years including work by Gustav Klimt, Rodin, Duchamp, Peter Blake, Giacometti and with the stunning work of 'Brit Art' movement including works by Sarah Lucas, Damien Hurst, Antony Gormley, Tracey Emin and Rachel Whiteread.
Attend one of our special events, entertain the family with our children's programmes, or simply enjoy the magnificent views across the Albert Dock from our café. However you choose to experience our Gallery, Tate Liverpool is the perfect place to relax, be inspired and have fun.

Roman-Catholic cathedral

Building began on the Roman-Catholic cathedral in 1928 only 0.5mi/0.5km from the Anglican cathedral. The original design was for a neo-Classical building, but only the crypt of this was completed. After the Second World War an architectural competition was held for the completion of the cathedral, the successful design - much more modest than the original plan, which would have produced the second largest church in Christendom, - was by Sir Frederick W. Gibberd, who had worked on the design of Heathrow airport.

The Cathedral, consecrated in 1967, is a massive circular structure centered on a lantern of medieval type and can accommodate a congregation of 3,000. Round this cylindrical lantern tower is a huge "tent" 200ft/61m in diameter, rising sharply to a funnel-shaped drum 270ft/82m high. Since the Cathedral is built on a hill it has the appearance of a huge lantern rising above the city. The principal structural materials are steel and glass - more glass than in any other cathedral. Opinions differ widely as to whether it is beautiful or not, but it must be conceded that it is striking. It has many nicknames among the local people such as "wigwam", "spaceship" and "Mersey Funnel". The altar, a block of white marble 10ft/3m long and weighing 10 tons, is from Skopje, the capital of Macedonia in former Yugoslavia. The spaces between the 16 supporting piers are occupied by chapels, separated by blue and green glass walls.

Anglican Cathedral

The Anglican Cathedral, on St James's Mount, can accommodate a congregation of 2,500 and shows a sharp contrast in style to the Catholic Cathedral. It, too, was the result of an architectural competition in 1901, the successful architect was the then 22 year-old Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. When he died in 1960 the church was still not completed; it was finally consecrated in 1978, although services were already held in the building in the 1920s. It has only a single tower, 330ft/100m high, in place of the twin towers originally planned and is built of red sandstone from Woolton with a copper roof. The tower contains a carillon of some 2,500 bells, the largest of which weighs 4 tons. The Willis organ, with 9,704 pipes is one of the largest in the world. The Lady Chapel and stained glass are also very interesting.

Mr Hardman's Home Photographic Studio

Situated just below the Anglican Cathedral in the centre of Liverpool is this fascinating house, home between 1947 and 1988 to Edward Chambré Hardman and his wife Margaret. The house contains a selection of photographs, the studio where most were taken, the darkroom where they were developed and printed, the business records and the Hardman’s living quarters - complete with all the ephemera of post-war daily life. The subject matter of the photographs – portraits of the people in Liverpool, their city and the landscapes of the surrounding countryside – provide a record of a more prosperous time when Liverpool was the gateway to the British Empire and the world. Parallel to this is the quality of Hardman's work and his standing as a pictorial photographer.
For 40 years this elegant Georgian town house was both the workplace and home to E Chambre Hardman, Liverpool's best known portrait and landscape photographer. 59 Rodney St is the UK's only example of an intact mid-20th century photographic studio open to the public.
In 2010 there will be an exhibition at Rodney Street focusing on Margaret Hardman. The ‘unsung hero’ of the Hardman duo, it was Margaret who kept the business on track and took care of its day to day running and staff. In addition to her photographs, a selection of her day and evening wear, jewellery and other personal belongings will be on display.
Highlights of the visit include.
•See a selection of Hardman's evocative images celebrating Liverpool when it was the gateway to the world
•Watch our introductory film with reminiscences by those who knew and worked with Hardman
•Step back in time and experience life in post-war Liverpool, brought to life by the personal effects of Mr and Mrs Hardman
•Buy exclusive high quality Hardman prints

Liverpool Museum

Adjoining the Polytechnic building, the Liverpool Museum contains a variety of collections, covering almost every field of knowledge from archaeology to the sciences. Among them are an interesting collection of model ships and the department of space travel, the famous Ince Blundell Collection (ancient marble) and the Sassoon Collection of carved ivory, and Egyptian, Babylonian and Assyrian antiquities.

St George's Hall

The facade of the Classical St George's Hall (Brown Street) by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, 1838-1854, is decorated with Corinthian columns. The Great Hall, with one of the world's largest organs, is used for concerts and congresses. To the rear are St John's Gardens, in which are statues of prominent Liverpool citizens.
Hobbies & Activities category: Architecture - Victorian; Architecture - Roman, Greek, classical; Garden or botanic display; Musical activity or concert hall; Standalone sculpture, statue or fountain

Speke Hall, Gardens & Estate

The atmospheric interior of this rambling house spans many periods. Originally built in 1530, its Great Hall and priest hole date from Tudor times, while the Oak Parlour and smaller rooms, some with William Morris wallpapers, show the Victorian desire for privacy and comfort. There is also fine Jacobean plasterwork and intricately carved furniture. A fully equipped Victorian kitchen and servants' hall enable visitors to see 'behind the scenes'. The restored garden has spring bulbs, a rose garden, summer border and stream garden, and there are woodland walks and magnificent views of the Mersey basin and North Wales hills from The Bund, a high bank.
Home Farm, a 5-minute walk from Speke Hall, is a model Victorian farm building, restored and part-adapted to provide a restaurant, shop and visitor facilities, and offers estate walks, children's play area and orchard.

Mendips & 20 Forthlin Road [Beatles]
A combined escorted tour of Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road, the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is your only opportunity to see where the Beatles met, composed and rehearsed many of their earliest songs. Imagine walking through the back door into the kitchen where John’s Aunt Mimi would have cooked him his tea, or standing in the spot where Lennon and McCartney composed ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. Join our custodians on a fascinating trip down memory lane, and take a moment to reflect on these incredible individuals. Note: no WC at Mendips. Visits by NT minibus only (charge including NT members).
Open Bank Holiday Mondays. Admission by guided tour only; 27 February to 14 March and 3 November to 28 November all tours depart from Liverpool City Centre. 17 March to 31 October morning tours depart from Liverpool City Centre, afternoon tours depart from Speke Hall. Telephone infoline or visit Any photography or duplication of audio tour material is strictly prohibited. You will be asked to deposit all handbags, cameras and recording equipment at the entrance to both houses.

Walker Art Gallery

Did you know the Walker Art Gallery holds the best collection of fine and decorative art in the North of England and an ever-growing collection of contemporary art?
The collection includes painting, sculpture and decorative arts from over six hundred years. Medieval, Renaissance and Pre-Raphaelite classics by Rembrandt, Rubens, Millais, Rossetti, Turner and Holman Hunt hang alongside another star of the collection, the Liverpool Cityscape by Ben Johnson, commissioned by the gallery in 2008 providing a unique panorama of the changing city.
Don’t miss the Gallery’s exciting variety of modern and contemporary art including David Hockney, Bridget Riley and Henry Moore and a fantastic temporary exhibitions programme featuring Toulouse Lautrec in spring/ summer and the John Moores 2010 Contemporary Painting Prize in the autumn coinciding with the Liverpool Biennial.
For families there is Big Art for Little Artists– a specially designed children’s gallery created for children under 8 years old. Add to this our stunning craft and design gallery, a welcoming café and gift shop in magnificent surroundings and we reckon it's a perfect day out for any art lover - all within yards of Lime Street Station and free to visit every day!


Situated in the heart of the city, the Bluecoat is one of Liverpool's most distinctive buildings. The widely revered Grade 1 listed arts centre is over 290 years old and uses its unique spaces to showcase talent across visual art, music, dance, live art and literature. It also houses a creative community of artists and businesses and runs a participation programme with local communities.

George Pier Head

To the north of the George Pier Head the traditional trio of harbor buildings can be seen: the Port of Liverpool Building (administration) in Portland stone designed by Arnold Thornley in 1907, the Cunard Building named after the Canadian Samuel Cunard (Cunard opened the first shipping line Liverpool-Halifax-Boston) and the granite Royal Liver Building by W.A. Thomas (administration).


FACT is the UK's leading organisation for commissioning, exhibiting, promoting and supporting artists’ work and innovation in the fields of film, video, and new media. FACT believes in the ability of individuals and communities to express themselves creatively, and work with international artists to develop exhibitions, increase knowledge about new technologies and their social impact.
Housed in the iconic FACT building in the historic Ropewalks area of Liverpool city centre, FACT offers visitors the world class art exhibitions, new media training and an exciting programme of events.
FACT has two galleries - plus an interactive space, three state-of-the-art cinemas, The Box, a shop - voted 14th hottest in Liverpool! - a cool bar and a friendly café. Entry to exhibitions is FREE, and the building also has FREE Wi-Fi access throughout.

Sudley House

Experience the magnificent art collection of Victorian merchant ship owner George Holt in the heart of suburban Liverpool at Sudley House. A treasure trove of masterpieces await you by artists including Millais, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Turner, Romney, Gainsborough and Landseer forming the only merchant art collection in the UK still in its original setting. A series of temporary exhibitions are hosted by Sudley House each year featuring costume and contemporary works.
Audio-visual displays on the ground floor recreate Victorian family life and younger visitors are welcome to enjoy the activities and resources in the Childhood Room. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the recently refurbished and extended Tea Rooms and the beautiful ground in which Sudley House is set.

Mersey Ferry Tour

With a spectacular view of the Liverpool skyline as well as a tour of the city's waterway, the Mersey Ferry Tour is a great way to learn about the area's seafaring history. The tours, which depart from the Pier Head, last about 50 minutes and include a stop at the Seacombe Terminal, where the Aquarium is located.

The Lady Lever Art Gallery holds one of the most beautiful collections of fine and decorative arts in the country. The gallery displays works collected by Leverhulme throughout his life. British 18th and 19th century painting, 18th century furniture and outstanding collections of Wedgwood and Chinese porcelain are among the treasures on show.

South Port

For art lovers, the Atkinson Art Gallery housed within the Southport Arts Centre is well worth a visit.
The collection includes nineteenth and twentieth century watercolours, and Victorian and twentieth century oil paintings.
Themed exhibitions from the permanent collection are regularly shown. Every month the Gallery 'spotlights' a "Painting (or Sculpture) of the Month", and a talk is given about the artist and the subject.

The Citadel Arts Centre provides a wide spectrum of performing and visual arts activities suc as live theatre, comedy, film, dance, fine art and family-friendly events in addition to its renowned music programme.


Don’t forget to take a visit to one of the two contemporary art galleries in Knowsley. The galleries provide a diverse and exciting programme of exhibitions exploring contemporary visual arts with education and outreach programmes. Located in Huyton and Kirkby (both within the main libraries) each host six to eight exhibitions per year. The two galleries present a high quality programme of exhibitions that are of international, national, regional and local importance.

Night Life In Liverpool

Baa Bar
This lively local pub is a favorite for good beer and conversations. Regulars flock here for the inexpensive brands of beer and entertaining banter. It's a superb place for a relaxing drink or pre-dinner pint.

On the last Friday of every month this club draws crowds from across the country and is considered the hottest club in Liverpool. Regularly open only on Saturday, there's great music and dancing in a huge warehouse. Be ready to get down until the early morning when you come here.

The Cavern Club

This place was hot in the 1960s and people still flock here for all-night dancing and music. It is considered by many to be one of the most famous clubs in the world. Music history and modern sounds collide at this great Liverpool nightspot.

Zanzibar Club
This is a great local dance club that features DJ's spinning the hottest sounds. It's also a great spot for a good beer and a night of dancing and socializing. The Zanzibar Club usually draws a younger crowd for nights out on the town.


By plane

Liverpool John Lennon Airport (IATA: LPL) (ICAO: EGGP). Around 160 flights arrive daily from within the UK and Europe. The airport is well-served by low-cost airlines including Easyjet and Ryanair. For a complete listing of airlines and destinations, see the Summer and Winter timetables.

The airport offers a Fast Track service, which for a charge, means you can bypass the queue at security, but this tends to be worthwhile only for first flights of the day or if you risk missing your flight.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport is about 12km to the south of the city centre. Immediately outside the arrivals area you will find a taxi rank and bus stops. Taxis to the city centre cost around £12 (Approx. €16, US$24) for the 20 minute journey.

Several bus routes go directly to the city centre from the airport:

  • The No. 500 Airport Express runs every 30 minutes and takes about 45 minutes to reach the city centre. Cost is £2.60/€4 Adults, £1/€2 Children and £5/€10 Families. Student discount: £1.40. It should be said that it is as quick to use the service buses (listed below) and it is significantly cheaper.

The following local buses cost £1.60 to get into the city centre (£1.40 for students). As discussed above, they're as quick and cheaper to use:

  • The No. 80A, run by Arriva, runs every 15 minutes and takes 45 minutes to the city centre.
  • The No. 82A, also run by Arriva, runs every 30 minutes and takes around 40 minutes to the city centre. This runs direct to Paradise Street interchange without stopping elsewhere in the city centre.
  • The No. 86A (Arriva) runs every 15 minutes during the day and now runs through the night, every half hour. This takes a little less time than the 80A as it is a more direct route down Smithdown Road. Journey time is 40 minutes but may be longer at peak traffic times.
  • The No. 81A also serves the airport, but does not go into the city centre. It may prove useful if you want to visit Woolton or the north of the city, as the route goes round the city ring road, Queens Drive, and terminates in Bootle.

The 80A and 86A also stop at Liverpool South Parkway station. It's a 10 minutes journey from where a frequent train service runs to the city centre in about 15 minutes. This may be a better option at times of peak road traffic (8AM-9AM, 5PM-6PM).

Manchester Airport (IATA: MAN) (ICAO: EGCC) can also be used and may be a better option. It is about a 45-60 minute drive away from Liverpool. Direct train services also run between Liverpool Lime Street Station and Manchester Airport operated by Northern Rail. Manchester Airport serves a variety of long haul destinations in North America and Asia, as well as short haul services throughout Europe.

Liverpool is served by Liverpool Lime Street station which is in the heart of the city centre. Trains arrive frequently from all parts of the U.K.

Liverpool is only about two hours from London by train. There's a train about every hour, with extra weekday evening peak services from London, and it's not too expensive to get there. You can get a saver ticket for £60 on the day of travel, or for as little as £12.50 if you book a couple of weeks in advance.

There is a direct train from Manchester Airport to Liverpool every hour at peak times (around 6:30AM-7:30PM). In addition, it is possible to reach Liverpool by changing at Manchester Piccadilly or Manchester Oxford Road.

Other main services

Birmingham, 1 hr 30 - 1h 45 minutes, half hourly Manchester, 50 minutes - 1h 10 minutes, 5 trains an hour (3 fast to Piccadilly and Oxford Road, of which 1 via Earlestown and 2 via Warrington, 1 slow to Oxford Road (extra services in peak times) and 1 slow to Victoria) Leeds, 2 hours, hourly Sheffield and Nottingham, 1h 30 mins and 3 hours respectively, hourly

By bus

  • National Express, the U.K.'s largest scheduled coach company has a bus station a short walk from Liverpool City Centre. London is four to five hours away by coach and is served by a half a dozen services per day. Manchester is served by an hourly service taking a similar time to the train (except at rush hour). Manchester Airport can be reached by coach in under one hour, six coaches run per day.
  • Megabus operates a fleet of ex-Hong Kong buses on its network across the U.K. There is one bus daily from London to Liverpool. Journey time 4-5 hours. Prices range from £1 (€1.46) to £11 (€16) depending on how far in advance you book.

Over the next 10 years a Park and Ride scheme will be developed, with easy access to the city centre, for more information see National Park and Ride Directory.

  • Liverpool One Executive Travel Provides an executive 16 seat minibus service from all airports, seaports and other locations. Prices vary depending on distances. Call 07761042952 or visit the website for further information.

Get around

Liverpool City Centre is small enough to walk around, but black cabs are plentiful if you are feeling lazy. Buses run out from the centre regularly from Paradise Street Interchange (mainly to the south) and Queen Square (mainly north/east). Both bus stations have travel centres with sometimes helpful staff who will assist with which bus to get and from which stand. At these, Saveaway, Solo and Trio travel passes can be purchased. The Saveaway presents a good value for the visitor, at £3.30 for unlimited travel for one day in 'Area C' (includes city centre, west out to Huyton, north to Crosby and south to Speke), including trains. All-zones saveaways can be obtained for about a pound more and will take you through the whole of the Merseytravel area. Perfect for visiting the Wirral ,and as far as Chester, or Southport, these include train and ferry services as well as buses. Trio (train, bus and ferry) and Solo (bus only) tickets require a photo, but have no peak-time limitations and can be bought for a week, month or year. This is ideal for visitors staying longer or working and therefore requiring more flexible travel. A Trio for one week costs about £14.70 for one zone, a Solo about the same for one area.

The train service in Liverpool is quite reliable and efficient these days (having once been nicknamed 'Miseryrail' and 'MerseyFail' by commuters). The main stations in the city centre are Central, Lime Street, Moorfields and James Street. Lime Street is the terminus for many national lines and the local city line to Manchester. Moorfields is just off Dale Street, ideal for the business centre of Liverpool and Central is usually used by shoppers and visitors. Local trains run very frequently between Hunts Cross, Kirkby, Ormskirk and Southport on the Northern line. They run every 15 minutes from Monday to Saturday and 30 minutes on Sunday. Central station is the main station for the Northern line, although the 'loop' links the three main city centre stations. The Wirral line forms the link between the Lime Street, Moorfields and Central, so all of these stations act as an interchange between the City, Northern and Wirral lines.

A new station in the south of Liverpool replaced the old Garston and Allerton stations in June 2006. This links the Northern and City lines and is ideal for the airport. It also acts as an interchange for a number of local buses. Adult bus fares on the main operator Arriva are a flat £1.60, or £1.40 for students, throughout the Merseyside area. Similar flat fares are available from the other operators as well. There are also limited night bus services on a Saturday night costing £3.00. Some buses are subsidised by Merseytravel, such as early morning and hospital services, and there is a maximum fare of around 80p. If you plan to travel a lot, a pre-paid pass presents much better value. Generally speaking, you save money with two or more train trips or three or more bus journeys.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jungfrau region "Most Attractive Swiss Holiday Destination"

The Jungfrau is one of the main summits in the Bernese Alps, situated between the cantons of Valais and Bern in Switzerland. Together with the Eiger and Mönch, the Jungfrau forms a massive wall overlooking the Bernese Oberland and considered one of the most emblematic sights of the Swiss Alps.

The construction of the Jungfraujoch railway east to the summit in the early 20th century made the area one of the most frequented places in the Alps. Along with the Aletsch Glacier lying on the south, the Jungfrau is part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected Area which was declared a World Heritage site in 2001.


Lauterbrunnen is a small town 10km from Interlaken, to which it is connected by road and rail. It is spectacularly sited at the entrance to the Lauterbrunnen valley - 400m white cliffs topped with pines and dotted with waterfalls.

Lauterbrunnen is well served by public transport, being on one leg of the rail line up to the Jungfraujoch (at 3454m, the highest train station in Europe), and the Lauterbrunnen region has numerous cog-railways, gondolas, cable-cars and funicular railways making getting around very easy indeed.

Above Lauterbrunnen, above the valley on either side are the car-free villages of Wengen and Murren (visitors can park in the large car-park at the south end of Lauterbrunnen and carry on up via train or on foot). The scenery is magnificent, with a glorious mountain view around every corner, and the comprehensive transport network means that one can ride up the tough bits, and walk along the edge of the valley wall. Though going up or coming down the 400 to 800 metres from the top of the valley can be tough on the knees, it is the only way to see some of the views. Of course there are so many spectacular sights in this region that it's impossible to miss out completely. The town has two banks, each with an ATM outside.

Schmadribach Falls

From Stechelberg it is a 45-60minutes' walk to the group of huts at Trachsellauenen (1,263 m/ 4,144ft), and from there another 1.25 hours' walk to the Schmadribach falls or a 1.5-hour walk to the Alp Obersteinberg (1,770 m/5,807ft), which affords a superb panorama of the mountains and glaciers around the upper part of the Lauterbrunnen valley.

Trümmelbach Falls

The Trümmelbach Falls plunge down in five mighty cascades through the gorge carved out by the Trümmelbach (open: mid April-end of October; entrance fee; electric elevator, stepped paths, floodlighting). There are breath-taking views of the falls, 10 of which are accessible, thundering down through the mountain at 20,000liters per second. They are fed by the giant ice walls of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Almost hidden inside the Schwarze Mönch they are the only waterfalls in Europe inside a mountain which are accessible.


Jungfraujoch is a col or saddle between the Mönch and the Jungfrau in the Bernese Alps on the boundary between the cantons of Bern and Valais, inside the Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected Area.

Strictly, the Jungfraujoch is the lowest point on the mountain ridge between Mönch and Jungfrau, at 3,471 meters (11,388 ft). It is just above this location that the mountain station of Jungfraubahn is located, Jungfraujoch railway station, which at an elevation of 3,454 meters (11,332 ft) is the highest railway station in Europe. The Jungfraujoch is often called the "Top of Europe" in tourist literature.

Not far east of the Joch rises a peak called the Sphinx, which tops out at an elevation of 3,571 meters (11,716 ft). It begins from the Jungfraujoch on the Valais side and at the Great Aletsch Glacier. There is an elevator to the summit of the Sphinx, where a small viewing platform and a scientific observatory, the Sphinx Observatory, are located.

The Jungfraujoch is also home to one of the Global Atmosphere Watch's atmospheric research stations. The Jungfraujoch can only be reached through a 7.3 km long cog railway tunnel, served by the Jungfraubahn, the highest in a series of cooperating railway companies that provide access to the Jungfraujoch from Interlaken.

Eiger Trail

With the official marking and designation of a trail beneath the imposing north wall of Eiger, Switzerland now has yet another spectacular, high alpine trail. This trail is easy, comparatively short, and a MUST for visitors to the Jungfrau region.

The long route begins at Mannlichen, up the gondola from Wengen or Lauterbrunnen. But we recommend that you cut out lots of pointless elevation drop and gain by starting at the Eigergletscher Station on the train to Jungfraujoch. Indeed, it is an excellent outing to visit Jungfraujoch in the morning, get off the return train at Eigergletscher, and hike down the Eiger trail to Alpiglen. This is a 5-mile route that will take around 3 hours at a pleasant stroll.

You start out beneath the massive Eiger Glacier and can watch it calve and avalanche while you sip tea and prepare for the hike.

Then, the well-marked trail (marked by blue-and-yellow bars painted on boulders where the trail is not obvious) heads around a shoulder and then runs beneath the massive north face. Try to pick out climbers on the cliff or the windows where you peek out at the stop on the Jungfraujoch railway.

Two hours into the hike you'll reach a series of waterfalls, culminating in a fairly spectacular one. Another hour or so later, you'll reach the Alpiglen station on the Kleinn-Scheideg to Grindelwald railway.

This hike is best from late July to late September. Carry plenty of water, and trekking poles will make you more stable.

Giessbach Falls

Giessbach Falls are near the Grand Hotel Giessbach, in the town of Brienz. The falls are really picturesque and are made up of about 9 to 10 falls. Most tourists see the lower cascades from a boat/ship, while cruising on the Lake Brienz.

From the hotel (rooms start at CHF$85 per person, per night, in the low season, but there's no charge to wander onto the patio and hike up the falls), there is a path up to the top six cascades. About halfway up, a rope bridge runs behind the falls, and you can reach out and touch the curtain of water!

The views of the 120+-year-old ornate Grand Hotel Giessbach, on the banks of Lake Brienz, with the snow-capped mountains in the background, is priceless.

Grindelwald valley

The Grindelwald valley, with the village Grindelwald, is situated south of Interlaken. The valley is well known because of the magnificent views at the Eiger, Wetterhorn and Schreckhorn. There are two glaciers, the upper and lower Grindelwald glacier, the lower glacier can be reached by cableway (to Pfingstegg) and from there it is easy to walk.

View-points of the Grindelwald valley (there are more): Männlichen, Kleine Scheidegg, Grosse Scheidegg, First, Lower Glacier, Pfingstegg. They all can be reached by train, cableway or bus and of course you can walk.

At Männlichen and Kleine Scheidegg you have an magnificent view at the snow-capped mountains of this region.


The Wetterhorn dominates the Grindelwald Valley with its great triangular 1300 metre high limestone wall rising vertically from the meadows of the valley floor.

It is a 3 hour climb on a steep path traversing a series of cliffs to reach the large Gleckstein Hut situated in upper pastures.

From the hut (after the usual early morning alpine start) a track leads over stony ground to reach the Krinnen Glacier. On the far side it is a long, steep climb (alpine grade PD) over mixed ground - rocks, scree and snow to gain the Wettersattel - the col between the Wetterhorn and the adjacent Mittelhorn.

A final steep snow slope brings one to the 3701m high summit and a dramatic viewpoint - immediately below the summit the cliffs drop sheer to Grindelwald in the valley floor far below. The superb panorama of peaks that unfolds to the west includes the famous alpine trinity of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.


The Mönch (German: "monk") is a mountain in the Bernese Alps. Together with the Eiger and the Jungfrau it forms a highly recognisable group of mountains visible from far away.

The Mönch lies on the border between the cantons of Valais and Berne, and forms part of a mountain ridge between the Jungfrau and Jungfraujoch to the west, and the Eiger to the east. The mountain is located west of Mönchsjoch (a 3,650 m high pass) and Mönchsjoch Hut and north of the Jungfraufirn and Ewigschneefäld, two affluents of the Great Aletsch Glacier. The north side of the Mönch forms a step wall above the Lauterbrunnen valley.

The Jungfraubahn railway tunnel runs right under the summit at a height of approximately 3,300 metres. The peak was first climbed on August 15, 1857 by Christian Almer, Christian Kaufmann, Ulrich Kaufmann and Sigismund Porges.

North face Trail

This is a beautiful alpine stroll and every so often along the path you'll discover an info board on the facing mountain with details of how and when it was first conquered. It only takes about 2.5 hours with a refreshing mountain hut to stop at on route. Leaves plenty of time to discover the traffic-free village of Murren.


Mürren is a marvelous mountain village (7km from Lauterbrunnen, 1638m, 363 inhabitants). It lies on a sunny terrace at the foot of the Schilthorn mountain (with its famous revolving Pitz Gloria restaurant). There may be other Swiss mountain villages that are equally pretty, but none of them enjoys views like those from Mürren across the deep valley to the dark rock faces and white-and-blue glaciers of the Eiger (3970m), Mönch (4029m) and Jungfrau(4158m) - simply breathtaking.

Total travel to Mürren takes 28 minutes. First take the Lauterbrunnen-Grütschalp funicular, which comes every half hour (for example, at 11:02, 11:32, 12:02). The entrance is right across the Lauterbrunnen train station. The ride is 10 minutes long. From Grütschalp take the BLM train to Mürren The funicular and the train are well connected. They basically share the same mini-station. The train departs two minutes after the funicular arrives. The ride to Mürren is 16 minutes long. Grab a seat on the left side for the breathtaking panorama of the Alps. You will need a map of the area. If you did not have the time to pick up a free map at the Grütschalp station, you still have a chance to do it in Mürren – at the station you will find plenty of the local maps and brochures.

Kleine Scheidegg

Climbing up to Kleine Scheidegg. You can take an easy path or the mountain trail. The last one is heavier but mutch more beautiful. You can start in Lauterbrunnen or take the train to Wengen or Wengernalp and start there.

Everywhere you look you see mountains with snow and waterfalls coming down. The tour takes about five hours or more. At Kleine Scheidegg you can rest an have a drink of have something to eat. The view is excellent. In the direction of Grindelwald you can see the Eiger, Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn. More at your left de Mönch and the Jungfrau.


James Bond fans are not allowed to leave the Jungfrau region without taking the tram to Schilthorn. The famous Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service was filmed here, atop the craggy mountain.

Schilthorn is somewhat campy and touristy, as are most things in this region of Switzerland. But the views are stunning. And watching the paragliders leap off the cliff into a mile of vertical nothingness and float dreamily on the thermals is worth the tram price alone.

You can eat here in a rotating restaurant that is famous for champagne Bond breakfasts. The food is good, but pricey. Also, don't forget to catch the film about Schilthorn's history. It runs every 30 minutes.

The dizzyingly steep tram up to Schilthorn will ruffle even a skier's feathers. You can get there from Stechelberg (no rail service), at the head of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, stopping in Gimmelwald on the way. Or you can get there from Murren (where there is a cog railway accessible on your Jungraurail pass), via a private railway to Birg (included in the tram price) and then the gondola to the top.

Use your Jungfraurail Pass to get to Murren, then buy an early morning pass, departing Murren between 710am and 840am, and your round trip ticket will be around $38USD. Otherwise, plan on up to $55 round trip, depending on class.

It's best to use Schilthorn as your first stop in a transit of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, by going up through Murren ($10 in second class, one way), then down to Gimmelwald and Stechelburg ($29 in second class, one way). Then return to Lauterbrunnen on foot or bicycle, stopping off at Trummelbach falls on the way.

The Aletsch Glacier

The Aletsch Glacier (German: Aletschgletscher) or Great Aletsch Glacier (German: Grosser Aletschgletscher) is the largest glacier in the Alps. It has a length of about 23 km and covers more than 120 square kilometres (more than 45 square miles) in the eastern Bernese Alps in the Swiss canton of Valais. The Aletsch Glacier is composed by three smaller glaciers converging at Concordia, where its thickness is estimated to be near 1 km. It then continues towards the Rhone valley before giving birth to the Massa river. There is a panoramic view of the whole glacier from the Eggishorn.

The Aletsch Glacier is one of the most impressive features of the Swiss Alps. The whole area, including other glaciers is part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected Area, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001.

Sphinx Observatory

Sphinx Observatory is an observatory located on Jungfraujoch in Switzerland.

Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz is located in the Swiss canton of Bern to the north of the Alps. There are no shallow ends in the lake and the shores are very steep. The river Aare flows through, joining Lake Thun after leaving Lake Brienz. Towns and villages in the area of the lake are Brienz, Interlaken, Unterseen and Matten. This lake has an unforgettable natural setting and offers a vast array of attractions with unlimited possibilities for sport and recreation throughout the year. The alpine region of Brienz-Meiringen-Hasliberg is one of 27 vacation resorts in Switzerland to have received the seal of approval from the Swiss Agency of Tourism.

Lake Thun

Lake Thun is located in the Bernese Highlands in Switzerland north of the Alps. It was named after the city of Thun on the north bank of the lake. Lake Thun was formed after the last Ice Age. In the distant past Thun and Brienz lakes were one. Recreational possibilities here include biking, hiking, a variety of water sports, canyoning, rafting and sky sports in summer and skiing, Nordic walking and snowboarding in winter. You can take a bike tour around Lake Thun and embrace the beauty of nature. There are 360 km of marked biking routes in the area.


Get in

Trains arrive frequently from Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Berne and Luzern. Connection at SpiezValais and to Italy via Lotschberg and Simplon tunnels. provides access to canton

There are two stations: Interlaken Ost (east) and Interlaken West, the latter is closer to the city centre. Most trains stop at both stations, except for trains to Luzern and the trains to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald which stop only at Ost station.

By car, follow Autoroute A8 (former N8) into the city center.Rental/autovermietung- car, bus, van, minibus rental.

By bus. Bus2alps operates direct private bus's from Florence, Rome, Paris and Munich to Interlaken. Timetables do vary but are busiest in February and March to cater for winter sport activities. Travel and accommodation packages are available and small and big groups are catered for.

Get around

Interlaken is small enough to get around on foot or bikes. Taxis are available from either train station and most hotels. With the guest card from your hotel, you can travel around Interlaken for free (it also gives discounts to local tourist attractions). Sightseeing Tours provided also in english by Panda1

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Miami "The best beaches in Miami and best sightseeing views"

Miami is a major global city located on the coast in southeastern Florida, in the United States. Miami is the county seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida. The Miami Urbanized Area (as defined by the Census Bureau) was the fifth most populous urbanized area in the U.S. in the 2000 census with a population of 4,919,036. The United Nations estimated that in 2007, Miami had become the fourth largest urbanized area in the United States, behind New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Miami is well known as a global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, culture, fashion, media, entertainment, arts and international trade. An international center for popular entertainment in television, music, fashion, film, and the performing arts, Miami also has a powerful influence internationally. The city is also home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States, as well as home to many international company headquarters, and television studios. The city's Port of Miami is the number one cruise/passenger port in the world and is known for accommodating the largest volume of cruise ships in the world, and is home to many major cruise line headquarters.

Bayfront Park

Bayfront Park, on the east side of Biscayne Boulevard, was redesigned in the 1980s. An attractive feature is the electronically controlled Pepper Fountain. Other highlights include an amphitheatre used for musical performances of all kinds, a tower for laser illuminations, and three important monuments: the Torch of Friendship, symbolising Miami's relationships with the countries of Central and South America; the World War II Memorial; and the Challenger Memorial, commemorating the crew of the Challenger spacecraft which exploded in 1986.

Bayside Marketplace

Bayside Marketplace is a large mall with more than 150 specialty and tourist shops, numerous cafes and restaurants and daily live entertainment. Tour boats leave from here, which visit locations around Biscayne Bay. As well, there is a water taxi service to Miami Beach and downtown hotels located here.

Little Havana

The Cuban center of Miami, Little Havana isn't know for its wealth of tourist attractions but more for its distinctive cultural flavor. There are restaurants, specialty food shops and Latin music is always in the air. Calle Ocho is the main thoroughfare running through the district and home to much of the activity here.

Calle Ocho

From Bayfront Park (Brickell Avenue) 8th Street runs west over the Miami River. Outside the city centre with its skyscrapers it is known as Calle Ocho, and continues into the Tamiami Trail, which runs through the Everglades. The district on the west side of downtown Miami through which it runs is known as Little Havana because of the many Latinos, particularly Cuban exiles, who live here: hence also the Spanish name Calle Ocho ("Street 8"). Between SW 12th Avenue and SW 27th Avenue is an area of shops, small markets and cheerful cafes and restaurants with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. The everyday language of Little Havana is Spanish. Planning controls seek to maintain the "Cuban" character of 8th Street.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was the former home of early 20th century industrialist, James Deering. Built in 1916, the mansion features 34 rooms arranged around a central courtyard. This 28-acre estate and Italian Renaissance-style villa is filled with European furniture and decorative arts from the 15th to 19th century. It took more than 1,100 workers and craftsmen to complete the Vizcaya project, many of whom were brought over from Europe to ensure authenticity in design.

The gardens contain a number of Italian and French fountains, pools and sculptures. A breakwater at the base of the steps leading into Biscayne Bay is carved into the form of female figures. The name "Vizcaya" is a Basque word meaning "an elevated place "

The estate has hosted a number of world leaders and important historical events including the meeting between Pope John Paul II and the former president Reagan in 1987 as well as Queen Elizabeth II during her 1991 tour of America.

Best Party Beach

In Key Biscayne, Crandon Park Beach, on Crandon Boulevard, is National Lampoon's Vacation on the sand. It's got a diverse crowd consisting of dedicated beach bums and lots of leisure-seeking families, set to a soundtrack of salsa, disco, and reggae music blaring from a number of competing stereos. With 3 miles of oceanfront beach, bathrooms, changing facilities, 493 acres of park, 75 grills, three parking lots, several soccer and softball fields, and a public 18-hole championship golf course, Crandon is like a theme park on the sand. More recently, they added Eco-Adventure Tours, including kayaking and snorkeling. For more information, call tel. 305/365-3018. It's open daily from 8am to sunset.

Best Beach for People-Watching

Lummus Park Beach, aka Glitter Beach, runs along Ocean Drive from about 6th to 14th streets on South Beach. It's the best place to go if you're seeking entertainment as well as a great tan. On any day of the week, you might spy models primping for a photo shoot, nearly naked (topless is legal here) sun-worshippers avoiding tan lines, and an assembly line of washboard abs off of which you could (but shouldn't) bounce your bottle of sunscreen. Bathrooms and changing facilities are available on the beach, but don't expect to have a Cindy Crawford encounter in one of these. Most people tend to prefer using the somewhat drier, cleaner bathrooms of the restaurants on Ocean Drive.

Best Beach for Communing with Nature

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is the pot of gold at the end of Key Biscayne, with over a mile of unfettered beach, a historic lighthouse, and nature trails that take you back to the days when South Florida was a tropical wilderness.

Best Swimming Beach

The 85th Street Beach, along Collins Avenue, is the best place to swim away from the maddening crowds. It's one of Miami's only stretches of sand with no condos or hotels looming over sunbathers. Lifeguards patrol the area throughout the day and bathrooms are available, though they are not exactly the benchmark of cleanliness.

Best Windsurfing Beach

Hobie Beach, on the side of the causeway leading to Key Biscayne, is not really a beach, but an inlet with predictable winds and a number of places where you can rent windsurf boards. Bathrooms are available but not exactly the cleanest.

Best Shell-Hunting Beach

You'll find plenty of colorful shells at Bal Harbour Beach, Collins Avenue at 96th Street. There's also an exercise course and good shade -- but no lifeguards, bathrooms, or changing facilities.

Best (Ahem) All-Around Tanning Beach

For that all-over tan, head to Haulover Beach, just north of the Bal Harbour border, and join nudists from around the world in a top-to-bottom tanning session. Should you choose to keep your swimsuit on, however, there are changing rooms and bathrooms.

Best Surfing Beach

Haulover Beach, just over the causeway from Bal Harbour, seems to get Miami's biggest swells. Go early to avoid getting mauled by the aggressive young locals prepping for Maui. Rancid bathrooms are available if you absolutely must. Surfers also like the southern tip of South Beach, not necessarily for the waves, but for the surfers themselves.

Best Scenic Beach

Matheson Hammock Park Beach, at 9610 Old Cutler Rd. in South Miami (tel. 305/665-5475), is the epitome of tranquillity. And while it's scenic, it's not too much of a scene. It's a great beach for those seeking "alone time." Bathrooms and changing facilities are available.

Best Family Beach

Because of its man-made lagoon, which is fed naturally by the tidal movement of the adjacent Biscayne Bay, the waters of Matheson Hammock Park Beach are extremely calm, not to mention safe and secluded enough for families to keep an eye on the kids. Clean bathrooms are a plus.

Best Beach for Seclusion

Virginia Key on Key Biscayne is where people go when they don't want to be found. It's also incredibly picturesque. Bathrooms are decent.

Best for Gay Beachgoers: South Beach's 12th Street Beach is the place to be for Miami's best gay beach scene. Here you'll see strutting, kibitzing, and gossiping among some of Miami's most beautiful gay population. You might even find yourself lucky enough to happen upon a feisty South Beach party while you're soaking up some rays here. If you can hold it, skip the public bathroom and head over to the Palace on Ocean Drive and use their bathroom.


Get in

By plane

Miami International Airport (ICAO: KMIA, IATA: MIA) is located just west of the city in an unincorporated suburban area. It is an important hub for traffic between North America and Latin America, and one of the largest airports in the world. As a result, Spanish is just as likely to be understood as English. The international traffic makes MIA a large and congested place. Be sure to allow extra time when departing MIA, particularly if flying internationally, as you may face an hour-long line just to check your bags. Curbside check-in is an excellent idea.

The predominant carrier at MIA is American Airlines, which has direct flights to most major cities in the Americas, and several European cities as well. European, Latin-American and Caribbean carriers are well-represented at MIA. The airport has no non-stop service to Asia, Africa or Oceania. The recent construction of two new terminals at MIA has helped with the airport's passenger capacities as well as the efficiency in going through customs and baggage claim.

MIA also has several restaurants ranging from local chains such as La Carreta to national chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and Starbucks. Be aware that some restaurants serve beer, wine and/or cocktails. If you drink too much the airlines can refuse your boarding on a plane. MIA also has several retail stores, including several magazine stands and bookstores (including a Borders). Other retail stores include, but are not limited to, Brookstone, K-B Toys and Ron Jon Surf Shop. There is also a hotel connected to the airport.

Money can be exchanged for US dollars at the airport. Wireless internet is also available at MIA for a small fee.

Fort Lauderdale International Airport (IATA: FLL) is 25-40 minutes north of Miami proper, depending on traffic, and does not have nearly as many international routes. It only offers a small variety. However, it is smaller and less trafficked than MIA, making customs, immigration and security a bit easier to go through. Southwest Airlines, JetBlue and other low-cost carriers generally use Miami's other airport, FLL, instead of MIA, making FLL a cheaper alternative in many cases as well.

Public transport is available to MIA and FLL. If you are arriving from FLL, there is a free shuttle to the Tri-Rail nearby train station. Tri-Rail trains connect West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. The cheapest way to get t Miami is to take the #1 Broward County Bus to Aventura Mall and transfer to the S Miami-Dade bus to downtown Miami via South Beach. This option is inadvisable if traveling with a lot of luggage.

At MIA, public transportation includes a free shuttle to the nearby Tri-Rail station, as well as to Metrorail and Metromover. Your best option is to take a taxi from the airport or rent a car, depending on what your stay involves (if you need to get around parts of Miami with no nearby Metrorail stations). MIA's car rental facilities are scattered around the airport and connected to the terminal by shuttle buses. FLL's facilities are more conveniently located in the parking garage adjacent to the terminals.

Currently at MIA, construction of the new Miami Intermodal Center is slated to become Miami's Grand Central station with hub connections of Amtrak, Metrorail, Tri-Rail, taxis, Metrobus, and all car-rental facilities. The M.I.C. is expected to be completed around 2009/2010.

By train

Amtrak's Silver Service operates two trains daily to Miami from New York City, Washington, D.C. and other cities along the Eastern Seaboard. The ride from New York is about 24 hours but is often subject to delays, as Amtrak uses poorer-quality freight lines south of Washington and must cope with slow freight trains along the way.

There are frequent (at least 1 per hour) Tri-Rail trains every day to Miami from West Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale on weekdays. However, on the weekends, the trains come every 2 hours.

By car

There are three main highways coming into Miami. I-95 runs along the Atlantic coast of the United States and terminates in Miami. I-75 comes in from the midwestern United States and runs through Atlanta and Tampa before terminating in Miami. Florida's Turnpike is a toll road mainly useful for those driving in from Orlando. The only southbound route from Miami is US Highway 1, which runs through the Florida Keys all the way to Key West.

Get around

By bus

Miami has a large and elaborate public bus system which covers the entire county and connects to the bus system in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Recent developments have made the bus system more reliable than in the past. Even with the changes and because of high local traffic, buses tend to have a harder time remaining on schedule. However, buses run often enough through each route so as not to be a nuisance. Schedules and routes are available from the Miami-Dade Transit website or by calling +1 305 770-3131.

By metrorail

Metrorail is a single-line elevated rail system serving Miami and surrounding areas running 22.4mi with 22 stations . Due to low funding, Metrorail has not been greatly expanded since its opening in 1984, but serves many areas of tourist interest. These include downtown Miami, Dadeland Mall, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Lowe Art Museum, Miami Museum of Science, Village at Merrick Park and many other nearby shopping areas. Coconut Grove and downtown Coral Gables can be reached via short shuttle bus from various stations. Metrorail operates between roughly 5AM and midnight, with a bus serving all Metrorail stations operating in the overnight hours, effectively providing 24-hour service. Fare is $2 per ride ($1 for persons with disabilities or on Medicare) and a monthly pass is available for $100. Tokens, exact change, or a bus-to-rail transfer ticket are required for all fare gates.

A northern expansion of the Metrorail, the 'Orange Line', was given over $4.3 billion in funding in the 2009 Federal "Stimulus Package" and should therefore be opened around 2012-14. This new line will more than double the length of Metrorail (adding 24.4mi)—connecting it with Miami International Airport, Dolphins Stadium, Florida International University, and the suburbs of Miami Gardens and Opa-locka—and add a "Miami Intermodal Center as a focal point of all Miami-area mass transit.

By metromover

Downtown Miami is served by a free elevated people mover system known as Metromover, which connects to Metrorail at two stations at Government Center in the central business district and at Brickell Station in Brickell. Metromover is free of charge and is the most efficient way to move around Downtown Miami. It is a great way to take a rest when walking around downtown, and a great time to take pictures of the skyscrapers and growing Miami skyline from above.

Currently a funding boost has set forth an expansion for the Metrorail system including a connection to Miami International Airport to be operating by 2010. Further expansion to the north toward Dolphin Stadium (the home of the NFL's Miami Dolphins) is expected to be operating by 2012. A light rail line to Miami Beach is also under development, as well as the Miami Streetcar connecting Downtown Miami to the Media and Entertainment District as well as Midtown Miami.

By taxi

Taxis are generally expensive with a surcharge of $2.50 for the pick-up and an additional $0.40 for each sixth of a mile traveled. Almost all cab companies in the area have pre-determined rates for travel into the barrier islands of Miami Beach and other beach and nightclub communities popular with tourists which can range from $30-$60 depending on arrival location. For example, South Beach may be the most expensive while a residential neighborhood in Miami Beach may be the cheapest. The charge is the same regardless of pick-up location on the mainland. All taxis are fitted with maps of the barrier islands which state the cost per location. The same applies for passengers leaving the islands onto the mainland, though normal rates apply for person traveling by taxi within the islands or within the mainland.

Service is available throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe counties regardless of pick-up location. The normal service charges apply for these four counties, but it is wise to ask for a pre-determined price beforehand if leaving the county as this will in most cases turn out to be cheaper and most drivers are willing to negotiate when leaving the county. If you wish to be taxied to a location outside of those four counties, you must negotiate a price and advise the cab company first. Drivers may refuse to drive outside of the metropolitan area if they are not advised to do so beforehand.

Usually you will have to call a cab company and request a pick-up. Taxis operated by the major companies are not normally allowed to pick up passengers at random locations for safety and legal reasons except at MIA, the Port of Miami and train stations. Some individual taxi drivers will not follow this rule, however. You can try hailing a taxi in the street.

All taxi drivers must have a valid license to operate. It is uncommon to hear of crimes involving unlicensed taxis anywhere in the metropolitan area since Dade County keeps track of all taxi activity in and around Miami and cooperates with other counties in getting this information. If you enter a cab and do not see a valid license placed in front of the passenger's seat, you should not enter the taxi and instead call another cab company regardless of what the driver says. If you willingly enter a taxi without a license or with an expired license and there is an incident or accident, it is possible that you may not be able to hold the driver accountable by law. When entering a cab you should make note of the driver's name, license number and cab number if any problems arise during the trip. This information should be easily found inside the taxi.It may be able to help you identify the cab driver to the police or the cab company.

By car

Unless you plan to stay downtown or in a single location elsewhere, you will find that a car is very convenient in Miami, and car rentals are cheap in comparison to other major US cities.

You can find cheap car rentals off terminal from the Miami Airport from such companies as E-Z Rent-A-Car and Ace Rent A Car. The major car rental companies can be found in terminal be can be often more expensive for the same service and vehicles.

Surface roads in Miami are usually easy to navigate. The area's roads are designed around a grid system, where most roads are numbered based on their distance from the city center. The two main axis roads are Miami Avenue (running north to south) and Flagler Street (running east to west). These two roads intersect in downtown Miami, the county's symbolic center. All avenues run north to south, while all streets run east to west. For example, the address, "9500 NW 30th Street" would be at the intersection of NW 30th Street (to the west of Miami Avenue, and 30 blocks north of Flagler Street) and NW 95th Avenue (north of Flagler Street, and 95 blocks west of Miami Avenue). Most roads in Miami conform to this nomenclature, but due to the more than 30 municipalities within Miami-Dade County, there are a few exceptions to be aware of. Examples include Coral Gables, the Coconut Grove section of Miami (city proper), Miami Lakes, and Hialeah. Hialeah is particularly notorious since it uses it's own grid system, in addition to the overall county system. For example, NW 103rd Street is also marked as E 49th Street, or W 49th Street in Hialeah.

Note that if you cross into Broward County, the roads will be numbered based on their distance from the Fort Lauderdale city center, which is generally the same going east-west but will be very different going north-south. Most of the municipalities in Broward County use their own limited grid systems as well. Some street names also change at the county line. The coastline highway, A1A, is known as "Collins Avenue" in Miami, but becomes "Ocean Drive" in Broward. Likewise, "Red Road" in Miami becomes "Flamingo Road" in Broward.

Miami has four primary expressways. In addition to I-95 and Florida’s Turnpike, there is state highway 836 (also known as the Dolphin Expressway) and state highway 826 (also known as the Palmetto Expressway). The Dolphin Expressway runs west from downtown Miami along the edge of Miami International Airport. The Palmetto Expressway and Florida's Turnpike form "F"-shaped loops around the city. The Turnpike continues north, roughly parallel to I-95, and will take you to Orlando if you keep driving. I-95, the Palmetto and the Turnpike intersect at a junction in North Miami called the Golden Glades. You may find driving in the Glades challenging, especially if you have little experience driving in it.

New visitors to Miami should be aware that the area's drivers are particularly aggressive.'s Road Rage Survey has rated Miami drivers the rudest in the country for a third year in a row. This shouldn't discourage anyone from using the roadways, but a passive approach to Miami driving can save you from an unwanted exchange with another driver, or even worse an accident. Posted speed limits are ignored by most drivers, especially on larger roads with lower speed limits. Two examples are I-95 and state road 826 (The Palmetto Expressway). The eastern portion of state road 836 (The Dolphin Expressway) between Miami International Airport and downtown Miami handles traffic that exceeds its capacity, and contains several left-hand exits, including the eastbound off-ramp to Lejuene Road (NW 42nd Avenue), which is the posted route, and the quickest route to Miami International Airport.