Spoiled for vistas, your trip to Maine will be beautiful regardless of where you go. Whether you trek north into the woods, slip around peninsulas along the coast, or head into downtown Portland’s cobblestone streets, choices abound. In the summer the coast is stunning but busy, while the lakes fill with cabin denizens looking for a slower pace. The bold should strike out in the woods and confront nature, treking through Maine’s most abundant resource: solitude and space.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Allagash Wilderness Waterway
Thoreauvian wilderness. The 92-mile stretch of protected forest and interconnected waters of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is one of the largest untouched, largely uninhabited regions remaining in the northeast. Visitors can paddle around on day trips, but the true highlight is to explore the vast landscape—as humans have for more than a millennia—by canoeing over several days (up to 10) from a series of lakes interconnected by the mighty river that gifts its name to the region. Go in the spring when the crowds are thin, the camping sites along the river unpeopled, and the trout are jumping. Several guide services offer all-inclusive trips.
Mount Katahdin, Baxter State Park
Katahdin, Maine’s tallest peak, rises from Baxter State Park, a stretch of pine wilderness and lakes. The hike is transportive: a crowded parking lot thins on the trail, which follows a boisterous stream before plateauing to a sky-blue glacial pond over which the cathedral—a crown of peaks—encircles. The trip is a strenuous 10-hour ascent, but the views and experience are unique and unforgettable.
Acadia National Park
Spruce and pine forests end abruptly at red rouge bluffs on this island national park. Countless hiking trails, fjords, sounds, secluded beaches and world-class food. Acadia first enchanted the Gilded Age industrialists before becoming the state’s tourism centerpiece. Sure, there are crowds, but there are also hikes hugging the Atlantic from which all pepole disappear from view. Not interested in a lot of physical activity? The park’s loop road gives you all the views without the fuss. Spring and fall, when the numbers dwindle are the best times to go, when everything on the island is still open and the weather is at its peak.
If you had to compile a list of things associated with Maine, this outfitter-turned-flannel fashion icon would be third on a list after lobster and blueberries. Their duck boots, originally intended as stealthy hunting footwear, are worn from Rome to New York by fashionistas injecting a hint of rustic into their attire. Despite branching into a brand, L.L. Bean stays true to its roots, selling top-notch camping, hunting, and cold weather gear. The flagship store itself has a trout pond and massive aquarium inside, while the hunting section features taxidermy to put most lodges to shame.
Casco Bay Islands
Baileys, Little and Greater Diamond, Long, and the one you’ll most likely hear of—Peaks. What sets the islands apart (aside from their stunning beauty of course) is that in the summer tourists are locals who live and commute via the same mail boat into work in Portland every day. For those on break from the daily grind, this island-abundant bay can be explored by hopping from one to another via public ferries, giving you a chance to walk secluded beaches and partake in a local Maine passtime.
Mount Kineo, Moosehead Lake
Rising from a peninsula that juts into Maine’s largest lake, Mount Kineo offers stunning views of the rambling waters and surrounding country. The lake’s waters are cold even in the height of summer, and swells can rise as the weather turns. Hike or boat in, and then tune into the phrase “going up to camp,” a Maine-ism honed by generations of summer lake dwellers sitting in Adirondack chairs, watching the sun set over the water.
Nearly a mile of granite slabs form a wide walkway jutting into the harbor before ending at the Breakwater Lighthouse, one of Maine’s most visited attractions. In summer, bronze sloops and bright sailboats glide past to create an idyllic scene. Rockland is a quaint, quintessential Maine sea village, and a good jumping off point for visiting nearby towns like Rockport and Camden.
Height of Land
Travelers through western Maine often make their way to the ski slopes, but along a rural back way this hill offers stunning views over the Androscoggin River watershed. Near the ever-popular Rangeley Lake is a rise aptly called Height of Land, with stunning views of Mooselookmeguntic, a lake dotted by evergreen islands. The area is treasured by outdoorsman for its fishing, and boaters for its quiet waters. This is camping territory, and hikers should try day trips along parts of the Appalachian Trail, which runs by the main road.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
One of the first sights of spring, after Mainers thaw from five months of winter, are huge purple and pink rhododendrons growing at the stunning Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Spread out over 300-acres in coastal Boothbay, the gardens are one of the state’s premier attractions, drawing an estimated 190,000 visitors in 2016, which is a record. Their popularity is partly due to their willingness to adapt to the season. There are sections for roses, native plants, bulbs, and when the snow falls, gardeners trade in their spaces for LEDs, stringing thousands of lights for a sold out lights display called Winter’s Aglow. You can search on their website to see what’s in bloom at any time, and the gardens exhibit sculptures by local artists.
Locals call it the Grand Canyon of the East. Here at the Gulf Hagas, the east branch of the Pleasant River falls hundreds of feet through a series of screw auger falls into deep bowls teaming with trout. The trail, accessible only by hiking knee-deep through a mild river, skirts the rim of the gorge and opens up on outcroppings plunging into the river far below. Dedicate a day to the hike, and swim the Buttermilk Falls, a deep, dark bowl of water fed by icy falls churning the water into thick, cream-colored foam. You can camp nearby along the river and start your hike early in the morning.
The Old Port
Brick and cobblestone, winding, Portland’s downtown, the Old Port, exudes old world charm. As though the world-class restaurant, boisterous beer halls, and gulls crying on the quay bounding the streets weren’t enough reason to go, this pedestrian-friendly hub is easy on the eyes. Maine’s commercial and creative center hums with life, as artists, tourists, and locals rub shoulders, each seeking a slice of something similar. Portland often convinces travelers to stay, wooing urbanites to move. Bespoke bars, farm-to-table restaurants; Portland combines Maine’s rural and urban tendencies around a dinner table. Walk around or grab a seat to watch the fashionable prowl the streets.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.