• Join us on
5

The UNESCO World Heritage Site Mont St. Michel is accessible throughout the year and free of charge except for the Abbey. It’s 10 € per adult and worth to visit.

Mont Saint Michel the most visited destination in the Normandy with an estimated three million visitors and pilgrims each year. The island is situated 600 meters from the mainland with its own microclimate. Extraordinary is the highest tidal range in Europe with roughly 15 meters. This makes a visit during spring tide a unique experience. Regarding the weather, it may be pleasant from May to October. What makes a visit outstanding? Continue reading to get detailed information.

Tides at Mont-Saint-Michel

If possible, visit Mont St. Michel during low tide. Spend a couple of hours on the island and the Abbey and wait for the incoming high tide. Ask at the information center close to the parking and opposite the shuttle bus stop when the first wave may come. After visiting the Abbey, instead of leaving it walk back to the west terrace especially if a spring tide is expected. You can also leave the Abbey at the entrance afterward. Alternatively, visit the Abbey half an hour before the first wave is predicted. Bear in mind that you may queue for a ticket depending on the season and time of the day. This ensures that you are in time at the west terrace to get a good place for watching a spectacular show of the incoming tide.

Crowds on the west-terrace at Mont-Saint-Michel watching the spring tide
Pretty busy on the West Terrace

The sea flows out 15 km during spring tides and comes back with an immense wave. You already hear the sea coming back from far away with 30 km/h / 18.64 mph. It’s an extraordinary experience to witness the power of the tides.

The first wave at spring tide watched from Mont-Saint-Michel
The first wave is the most impressive one

The spring tides occur 36 -48 hours after full and new moon; in total round about 20 times a year. The strongest spring tides appear in March and September. To get the most out of your visit check the tides first. If the spring tide is in the night, you can watch it, but you can't get a good shot. If a spring tide is forecasted for the evening; the Abbey closes around 10 pm. Mont St. Michel is not accessible roughly for 1 ½ hour during the highest water level. We experienced this outstanding spring tide in September 2018. Download tidal times for Mont Saint-Michel

Visitors are waiting for the spring tide on the bridge in front of Mont Saint Michel
Visitors are waiting for the spring tide.

Visitor Centre Opening Times

It’s open from 9 am to 7 pm from Easter until the end of September and the rest of the year from 10 am to 6 pm. Only closed on Christmas Day the 25.12. and New Year 1.1.

Abbey Opening Times
  • Closed on 1st January, 1st May and 25th December
  • 2nd May until 31st August from 9 am to 7 pm, last admission one hour before
  • 1st September until 30th April 9.30 am to 6 pm, last admission one hour before
  • Exception: During spring tide in the evening open until 10 pm

 

Peak Season and Crowds

With three million visitors each year it’s almost always crowded but summer months are the worst. You even have to queue for the restrooms and for paying your parking ticket at the ticket machine. Most of the guided bus tours come here during the day and already leave the outstanding place in the afternoon. If you want to avoid the crowds; come here for the sunrise or in the afternoon. Experience the village in the evening when most of the shops are closed, and the narrow alleys are almost without any people.

Narrow alleys are empty at Mont Saint Michel during the evening
The main street "Grand Rue" is less crowded during the evening.

Weather

Mont St. Michel has a coastal climate but due to the location, influenced by the tides it has its own microclimate mostly a bit cooler. Rain frequently occurs throughout the year but not much just around 750 mm per year. Less precipitation from June to September. Most sunshine hours from May to September. The summer is the most popular time of the year for a visit with pleasant temps and plenty of sunshine. Temps in summer are on average around 20°C but can climb up to 25°C as well. October and May are similar to an average daily temp of 16°C, and the lowest is 10°C. December to February expect one-digit temps. Anyhow, it’s pretty chilly during winter due to the high humidity. The water temp is below 20°C even in the summer.

Historic Site
FR France
5

Very shortly we'll add a list of 15 AMAZING THINGS TO DO IN MELBOURNE right here. With many detailed tips from a local! As of today we have the first 3 activities (see below).

As one of the world’s great cities, Melbourne has plenty going on all year round, so there’s not really a bad time to visit the city. That said, there might be a few things to consider depending on when you’re visiting – so before we dive into the '15 Amazing Things to Do' here’s our guide to the seasons in Melbourne.

Summer (December, January, February)


Summmer on the boardwalk by Chris Leishman, CC BY

  • Pros: Warm, sunny weather that’s perfect for the beach or the many summer festivals
  • Cons: It can get HOT, and also busy

For many people, a visit to Australia is synonymous with enjoying sun, surf and sand – so it’s no wonder that summer is peak tourist season in Melbourne. With blissfully warm temperatures and many great events, summer is a fantastic time to visit the city and especially enjoy attractions like St Kilda beach and the bustling night life. Summer is also cricket season, so it’s the perfect time to check out the world-famous Melbourne Cricket Ground.

That said, there are a couple of drawbacks about Melbourne in the summer. Firstly, it can get very hot: temperatures often hover around 30 degrees and even climb above 40 degrees sometimes – so be sure to be sun smart! Also, prices can be higher and accommodation options booked out, so it’s a good idea to plan your trip and book ahead.


Autumn (March, April May)


Easter Monday Melbourne 2018 by Peter Myers, CC BY

  • Pros: The climate is usually very pleasant, and there are lots of great festivals
  • Cons: It can get a little colder the closer you get to winter

Fall can be a lovely time to visit Melbourne, when the climate is not too hot but not too cold, averaging around a maximum temperature of about 20 degrees. Plus, there are several exciting events that happen in autumn, such as the Melbourne Grand Prix and Melbourne Fashion Week, which both happen in March. The Botanic Gardens are also beautiful, as many trees turn to golden autumnal hues.

Autumn can still see some extreme weather events, where it be late heat waves or early cold snaps, so you may need to pack a wider variety of clothes to be ready for whatever the weather brings.


Winter (June, July, August)

  • Pros: The quietest time to visit Melbourne, the city has a very cozy feel
  • Cons: There isn’t that much rain in winter but it’s cooler and sometimes foggy, which is not exactly beach weather

Winter is the quietest time for tourism in Melbourne, which means that there are less queues and more opportunities to truly live like a Melbournian. Plus, although it is winter, the city certainly doesn’t entirely hibernate! There are still lots of fun things to do, including lots of all-weather activities such as the Australian Centre for the Moving Image or the SEALife Aquarium.

Of course, winter does mean the weather can be a bit gloomy, so make sure to pack a warm coat to keep you toasty warm since the average winter low temperature is 6 – 7 degrees. That said, the climate is rarely too cold in Melbourne and rain spells don’t tend to last, so even outdoor activities such as visiting St Kilda can be great fun in winter.


Spring (September, October, November)


Coop's Shot Tower in spring by Bernard Spragg

  • Pros: The weather in Spring is glorious yet the crowds aren’t quite as overwhelming.
  • Cons: There aren’t many!

Spring is a wonderful season in Melbourne, where the weather is starting to warm up and so too is the social calendar. There are many great festivals, such as the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, and of course the usual attractions such as catching a gig at the Tote or swinging by the Astor Theatre are great fun in the springtime. A particular highlight is a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens while all of the flowers are in bloom.

Although temperatures are usually pretty warm, with an average high in the low to mid-twenties, spring can still see late wintery weather, so we recommend chucking a coat in your bag, just in case!


Monthly Weather

 

A Great Place
AU Australia
5

Laniakea is a long but rather small beach where turtles can frequently be seen. It’s just an hour drive from Honolulu to the north shore of Oahu depending on the traffic.

Laniakea Beach is famous for the Hawaiian Honu, the green sea turtle. It’s not guaranteed to spot basking turtles, but if they come ashore, it’s one of the most memorable experiences. There isn’t any specific time for the honu to haul up onto the beach to sunbathe and rest. Some come year-round while others prefer the spring and summer. Several already appear in the morning, some prefer the afternoon sun like “Kekoa”; a 20-year-old male. A couple of them like to stay on the beach past sunset like “Kuhili” a 40 years old male. Also, Olivia Dawn; the 4th most frequently basking honu stays past sunset.

Laniakea Beach at Sunset

We came to the beach three times; on the first day we didn’t spot any and watched the sunset. On the second day we spotted a few in the sea only, and on the third day two turtles hauled up to the beach while others were feeding on seaweed on the limestone shelf. Walk along the huge limestone and look for “Keoki”. This turtle basks here exclusively. “Hiwahiwa”; the 5th most frequently spotted honu left the beach past sunset on our visit.

Honu feeding on seaweed at Laniakea Beach

Snorkel with Green Sea Turtles

It’s fairly easy to spot the honu while snorkeling during summer due to a gentle surf. But be aware, strong currents and a hazardous surf occur here especially during October to April. Do not enter the water in rough conditions. Just look don't touch the honu. Leave enough space that the honu doesn't get scared. 

Sea Turtle while snorkeling close to Laniakea Beach

Crowds and Traffic Jam

Tour buses circle the island and make a stop here so do the rental cars. It’s almost impossible to avoid the masses of tourists except when it’s raining.

Laniakea Beach crowded at midday

You may get stuck in a traffic jam a couple of miles before the beach on the Kamehameha Hwy especially during midday and weekends. The flow of the traffic is impacted by many cars searching for a parking lot. It’s a nightmare for the residents. Only the morning and evening are less busy.

Early morning at Laniakea Beach before crowds appear

Parking

Limited parking on a gravel area on the opposite of the beach. It’s pretty busy and fills up around midday and during weekends. Don’t leave any valuables in the car.

Top Tips
  • Stay here in the north of Oahu minimum two nights to higher the chance of a sighting. It was just a ten minutes drive for us, and we always had a quick look to check if turtles are present. The other advantage; there is too much traffic roughly from 11 am onwards coming from Honolulu. Often the parking lot is full. Weekends are super crazy. We recommend the private Pipe Beach House just 10 minutes drive north of Laniakea Beach. Another excellent choice on the north shore is the Turtle Bay Resort in a spectacular location. Nearby is the famous snorkel spot Sharks Cove with lots of colorful fish.

    Sharks Cove Famous Snorkel Spot
     
  • Bring enough water and a picnic. There isn’t any good shop nearby and finding a new parking lot is sometimes impossible.
Turtles
US United States
5

The Haiku Stairs were on our bucket list for years. We just figured out it's illegal when we'd been in Oahu.

First of all, hiking on the Haiku Stairs is illegal and the stairs are officially closed! A $1000 fine and an appearance in court was something we wanted to circumvent. Therefore, we had chosen the more difficult and dangerous trail through the Moanalua Valley. Anyhow, even trespassing will be prosecuted. Of course, when you reach the Haiku Stairs, you want to access them and take the best snap of your whole vacation. 

Haiku Stairs view from the summit

Most important for the hike is the weather. Pick out the day with the most stable weather and if it was dry the day before even better. Although Honolulu is dry rain may occur in the valley and on the ridge. You can’t avoid getting dirty on this trail. Don’t underestimate the trail difficulties. Much needed for the steep ascent and descent back through muddy and slippery soil are “mini” crampons. If you want to use the provided ropes gloves may be necessary. Do you like to do to the hike? Read all our insights first to be prepared and experience one of the most thrilling hikes ever.

Hiking Conditions and Crowds

The Moanalua Valley, especially the ridge to the Keahiakahoe summit and also the Haiku Stairs experience a lot of rain even during the drier season in summer. The exhausting hike can be done all year, but it’s easier to cope with all difficulties in the drier season. There is often a strong wind and fog which makes hiking along the ridge dangerous. Read on for detailed tips by season.

Windy Ridge Moanalua Valley

Spring (Low Season)

It starts to get drier, but the trail is still extremely muddy and slippery. The Moanalua stream may have a low flow and fording or hopping from stone to stone is necessary a couple of times. This improves in June. Temps along the trail is above 70°F, but it gets chilly on the ridge and the top due to the strong wind. The islands are not much crowded in spring. It starts to get busier in June, but still acceptable. June is one of the best months for this hike. Nevertheless, always check the weather forecast before; flooding can happen. 

Summer (Peak Season)

It’s drier but the humidity is higher, and it gets hot while hiking and climbing. If you can avoid, don’t travel to Oahu in July and August. Prices are at the highest and hotels are booked to capacity. 

Autumn (Low Season) 

September is usually the best month for the hike. The stream may be dried out and it’s easy to walk the first 2.8 miles / 4.5 km. It’s less busy on the island, and the temps are pleasant. October is fine as well. November gets wetter and trail conditions are getting worse. Monitor the clouds on the mountain ridge. It may be possible to hike, but it’s even more difficult and dangerous in rain and clouds. We can’t recommend hiking in the rain. 

Winter (Low and Peak Season) 

Expect more rain during the winter. It’s more likely that the Moanalua stream gets flooded. The north and east experience more rainfall. It’s the coldest time of the year but still up to 80°F in Honolulu at daytime. It's possible to hike the trail but expect the worst conditions when climbing up. The way back is even more slippery than usual. Don't hike in rain and clouds. The first part of December is still not too busy, but it gets crowded from the second half of December and in January. Although it’s not the best time for Hawaii hotels are fully booked and hotel rates are the highest. 

Hiking
US United States
5

'Skógafoss! With a stunning 60m drop it's one of the biggest and most impressive waterfalls in Iceland.

Skógafoss! An astonishing waterfall in Iceland. Read on and learn about the best time to visit, how to avoid the crowds and more must-know tips.

Season Overview

Skókafoss is an excellent year-round destination. However, the best time to visit depends on what you’re looking for. Less crowds and cooler conditions or pleasant temperatures with the downside of a packed and crowded place? Read our season overview:

Winter / Early Spring (November - April)

Although winter conditions can already occur in October, it’s usually November/December when heavier rain, strong winds, more fog and especially snowfall and ice are coming to Iceland’s south coast. It’s getting colder in winter months but not as cold as many visitors think. Average high temperature during the coldest months (December, January, February, March) is 3°C / 37°F. Be careful at the base of the falls, as it’s often covered with ice between November and April. Also keep in mind that days are short in winter. Between mid-November and the end of January there are only 4-6 hours of daylight on average. That’s important to know in case you want to photograph the waterfall: Sunset - Sunrise Reykjavik The great advantage in winter: It’s definitely less crowded. However, even in winter it can be a little busier at popular Skogafoss sometimes.

Late Spring / Summer / Early Fall (May - October)

The pleasant temperatures start in late May. On a warm summer in July or August day temperatures can even climb up to 20°C at times. Average daily sunshine in July/August is 5-6 hours. The perfect months terms of mild temperatures months are June, July and August. Great shoulder months for a visit without the harsher winter conditions as well less crowds and cheaper rates are May and September/October. July and August are the months when it gets very crowded with the highest rates for hotels and flights.


Avoiding the Crowds

Due to its popularity it’s usually very busy at Skógafoss, even more so in peak summer months. Tour busses, many cars, people to the falls and back from the parking lot. However, while some complain about the crowds, other visitors say it doesn’t feel too crowded, even during high season.There is definitely plenty of free parking, which means you don’t have to worry about getting a parking lot, even in July or August. Also the climb to the top is not too crowded since a good portion of the visitors stay at the base area. On the other hand, it’s a different experience to enjoy such a stunning waterfall with less people in general. The well-known way to dodge the crowds is visiting in the cooler months with less daylight. Although less crowded, you won’t experience real solitude at Skógafoss in winter, it’s just too popular. Thus, two other great options to avoid tourist crowds are:

  • Visit Early/Late:  Usually it’s a great idea to get to the famous waterfalls in Iceland very early to avoid the crowds. The reason: Most visitors and especially the tour busses usually don’t arrive before 10 a.m. However, at Skógafoss the early mornings can be busy in summer with campers due to the very close campground. Visiting later in the day? In general, after 5 p.m. crowds start to dissipate. Some even visit at night for real solitude. Tip: We wouldn’t drive directly from a hotel in Reykjavik. Rather check hotels close by (Skogar Hotels). They are pricier than in Reykjavik but it's worth it to stay closer. Then you can visit this waterfall twice: During daytime/morning and then later or even at night. That way you dodge the crowds enjoy walking around, take photos during different light conditions. Trust us, it’s 100% worth it!  After your second visit or on the next morning you can continue to Seljalandsfoss and still have plenty of time. As recommend: It’s not a good idea to visit both waterfalls on one day starting from Reykjavik and returning there.
  • Climb to the Top / Walk Along the Path: Even if you visit in peak season and the base area is packed: Climb the 400 stairs and then walk the path along the river. Many visitors stay at the base area, some walk to the top and only very few continue walking the path along the river. Check the details about this great path in the text below (How to Visit)

Weather and Climate

The south coast and it’s waterfalls experience cold winters (around freezing) and mild summer months with temperatures around 11°C (52°F). However, Iceland’s south coast experiences a milder climate in winter than you might think. This is due to the Gulf Stream that flows along the west and south coast, bringing pleasant air from the Caribbean. The summers are short with only 3 months where temperatures are considered warm. Regardless of the season: Weather in Iceland can change very quick. Always be prepared and pack an extra sweater as well as rain gear. Please note, that the temperature chart below shows the average high temps from a weather station (Stórhöfði) which is located 40 km from Skogafoss and on a small island. Degrees can vary at the waterfall.

Waterfall
IS Iceland