Category Archives: Trip

A School Trip to the Opal Coast

A school trip that takes you on a quick hop across the English Channel to the Opal Coast in France is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the culture, language, and history of the area. The Opal Coast is the area in the north of France that stretches for 26 miles between Calais and Boulogne-Sur-Mer. The region played an important role in the wars, and today you can visit the various battlefields and see the locations where so much of the conflict took place. The main city that overlooks this lovely stretch of coastline is Calais – and some time spent here is a great way to start any visit to this part of northern France.

History of Calais

As a major town and ferry port on the Opal Coast of France, Calais has a history that dates back to the Roman settlement of Caletum. On a school trip to the city, you can unravel the history of the region. During the Medieval ages, the English fought over the town as it was the closest landing point to England and a valuable in-road to Europe for trade. Due to its location, Calais was often on the frontline for war, such as in the Napoleonic Wars, and at the end of 1918, Great Britain used Calais as its stronghold in post-Waterloo France. During World War II, the city of Calais was the site of the German siege of Calais and was virtually destroyed.

Seeing the Sights in Calais

When visiting the city on your school trip, make your way to the Place d’Armes – one of the largest squares in the city, and its heart during medieval times. The stunning Hôtel de Ville at Place du Soldat Inconnu should not be missed. Its Flemish, Renaissance façade was built in the years between1911 to 1925, and the 74-metre belfry can be seen from out at sea. It has been protected by UNESCO, since 2005, as part of a series of protected belfries throughout the region. From the Hôtel de Ville head to the Avenue Roger Salengro to see the Citadel of Calais, which was built between 1560 and 1571 to fend off potential invaders. Next, look out for the Tower de Guet, or Watch Tower, which is situated in the Calais Nord and is one of the city’s surviving pre-war buildings. It dates from 1229 as part of the fortifications of the city. From the forts and towers to the arts and history: Calais has many cultural aspects for students on a school trip to explore too. Visit the World War II Museum, at Parc St Pierre, housed in a former Nazi military bunker and WWII stronghold. Calais also offers a variety of theatre options such as Le Théâtre Municipal, Le Centre Culturel Gérard Philipe, and Le Conservatoire à Rayonnement Départementa, among others.

Choosing Your Family Cycling Trip Through Lithuania

With several opportunities for easy-going cycling, taking in parks, and lounging on the beach, the Seaside Cycle Route on Lithuania’s coast is a great family option.

Lithuania’s Seaside Cycle Route provides 3 different options for family cycling trips in Lithuania. These 3 seaside trails all extend from the town of Klaipeda, the third largest city in the country, and branch off to either the town of Nida, Butinge or Rusne Island.

With 200 km (125 miles) total of biking routes and 3 large bodies of water – the Baltic Sea, the Curonian Lagoon, and the Nemunas River – this journey includes spectacular views of forests, sand dunes, and the sea, and will have you experiencing UNESCO World Heritage sites, museums, and some amazing beach culture.

Your cycling trip in Lithuania surrounded by water on the Curonian Spit

The trek to Nida starts with a brief ferry ride from the middle of Klaipeda out to the start of the Curonian Spit. Your journey takes you cycling across the entire 52 km length of the island. Curonian Spit National Park occupies the entire Spit and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll take in the beauty of the area’s sand dunes, which open up to the sweeping vistas of the Baltic Sea on one side and the Curonian Lagoon on the other.

Stop through the quaint fishing towns of Preila, Perualka, Juodkrante, and Nida, and perhaps visit some of the amazing sculptures, monuments, and wide open beaches along the way. One of the most popular stops is at the Hill of Witches, a series of sculptures portraying characters from both pagan traditions and Lithuanian folklore.

See the beaches going north to Butinge

The second option on your family cycling trip in Lithuania is to head up the coast to the Latvian border. The trip to the city of Butinge, which borders Latvia, is the shortest of the 3 cycle routes at 49 km. This journey is steeped in history and relaxation. You’ll start off by cycling through Seaside Regional Park in the former Soviet military site that today comprises the towns of Giruliai and Nemiresta. Along this journey you’ll see sculptures, beautifully designed bridges extending over rivers and ponds, and experience a couple of great sea museums.

The highlight of the Klaipeda to Butinge route is perhaps the city of Palanga, which you’ll reach about halfway through your journey. Palanga is the most popular summer resort in Lithuania and during the holiday months you can find beaches packed with easy-going families and other vacationers lounging on the shores, playing games, and taking in the sun. The trampolines that line the beach in certain areas her may surprise you, as you don’t see this on most beaches, hop on and bounce away!

Take in the lowland down to Rusnė Island

Of the 3 routes on your family cycling trip in Lithuania, the longest in the Seaside Cycle Route is the journey to Rusne Island (115 km). This route has you and your family biking down mainly major roads and comes to a head at Nemunas Delta Regional Park, famous as the largest gathering place of water birds throughout the entire Baltic Sea region.

The whole of Rusne Island is contained by polders, which makes for a rather interesting sight, one that is unlike any other in the country. Because the area is in such an extreme lowland, years ago the residents were forced to build the polders to keep their island from constantly flooding.

Finding your route and setting off on a family cycling trip through Lithuania

This is really a great trip to discover the natural and cultural beauty of Lithuania from the seat of your bicycle. Try one of the 3 Seaside Cycle Routes or make a complete trip and attempt all 3!