Juneau, Alaska

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Cruising to Juneau, Alaska

When most people think of Alaska, the first things that spring to mind tend to be snow and oil. Take a visit to the capital city of this northerly US state and you'll quickly realise that, despite being remote, it isn't so far removed from the civilised world.

Spread out over the banks of an inlet in the Gulf of Alaska, Juneau is in fact the second largest city in the US in terms of area, although with just 30,000 inhabitants it's also one of the least densely populated. As such, it offers the best of both worlds, with a vibrant culture and bustling centre yet constantly surrounded by the majesty of the great outdoors. Overlooked by snow-capped mountains and breathtaking glaciers, it's arguably the most picturesque city you'll ever see, and is the perfect blueprint for a way of living that reunites mankind with Mother Nature. Among the man-made attractions to enjoy is the headquarters of the Alaska Brewing Company, which offers tours of facility and the chance to sample some of the craft beers it produces. There are also plenty of restaurants serving up local delicacies, with freshly-caught Alaskan salmon, halibut and crab among the most common ingredients.

The pedestrianised downtown area is dotted with Native American art historic monuments, such as a memorial to the fishermen who have been lost at sea, while the Perseverance Theatre regularly hosts productions from some of the top local and travelling drama groups.

Despite all this, the main attractions in Juneau all predate the arrival of mankind, and among the most stunning features on show here is the famous Mendenhall Glacier. Then there's the Juneau Ice Field, which is crisscrossed with well signposted walking trails, while there's plenty of wildlife to discover just off the coast too. Keep an eye out for humpback whales, which are regularly spotted breaching in the Gulf of Alaska.

Juneau, Alaska

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