Ireland's emerald fields, craggy cliffs, and oceanside vistas make it one of the most varied, beautiful, and well photographed places across the globe. Add in a few white sheep peppering the vast landscape, winding tree-lined roads, and crumbling ancient castles, and you've got an idyllic island bursting with splendor.
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Fast-forward to present day, and the current monarch summers there every year. While still, of course, a castle, Balmoral is considerably less opulent than Buckingham or Windsor, and the royals use their time there to unwind and take a break from some of the pressures of royal life. Queen Elizabeth II has been photographed there doing everything from horseback riding to taking joyrides in a Range Rover. (Check out some more candid, rarely seen photos of the royal family.)
But don't limit yourself to just the volcano. The park's most popular trail, Pipiwai, is actually at sea level, meandering 4 miles (roundtrip) along Maui's southeast coast. The trail goes through a beautiful bamboo forest and ends at Waimoku Falls. The hike takes three to five hours to complete, but you'll walk away with some stunning photos.
As one of Maui's most popular strips of white sand, Ka'anapali Beach stretches across 3 miles of the island's northwest coast, offering plenty of space to surf and sunbathe. The coveted sand is just one of this beach's many highlights: Ka'anapali was Hawaii's first planned resort area, and today it features several notable hotels and restaurants, two golf courses and the lively Whalers Village, an open-air shopping center. Another highlight of a visit to Ka'anapali Beach is the daily sunset cliff dive at Pu'u Keka'a (Black Rock), which pays tribute to King Kahekili, Maui's last independent king who ruled in the 18th century. Additionally, a few whale watching and snorkeling excursions depart from this area and some of the best zip lines on Maui are nearby.
One of Maui's most popular hiking trails is a treasure trove of natural wonders. Located along the Road to Hana, the Pipiwai Trail is part of the exceptionally scenic Kipahulu District in Haleakala National Park. Along the approximately 4-mile round-trip trail, hikers pass over footbridges and across boardwalks through lush tropical vegetation, a bamboo forest and past two waterfalls, including Makahiku Falls, 400-foot Waimoku Falls and 'Ohe'o Stream Gulch, also known as the \"Seven Scared Pools.\" The Pipiwai Trail is considered moderately difficult, features an 800-foot elevation gain and can take up to three hours to complete.
Recent visitors loved the Kapalua Coastal Trail for its scenery and easy terrain (parents say the path is very kid-friendly). In addition to the beautiful ocean views, travelers also enjoyed exploring the rock formations that live in between the bays. For visitors hiking during whale watching season (December to March), they may be able to spot whales from the shore. Visitors also noted that because of this trail's popularity, it's best to start your walk early, especially since the parking lots are small. Others advised planning a visit at sunset. And while the trail is largely flat and mostly paved, some travelers said sturdy shoes are beneficial for the parts that aren't. 076b4e4f54