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Juneau is the capital of Alaska, located in the southeastern panhandle of the state. Although the urban surface is just around 30 square kilometres, the total municipal area covers a massive 8,430 square kilometres, making it one of the biggest in the world. To give an idea: that's almost a quarter of the Netherlands.
For more information, visit the official Travel Juneau website.
The city itself doesn't have much to offer, but the immediate surroundings more than make up for this. There are also a few things to do and see in the city itself. Most of the popular ones are included here.
Juneau's climate is a mild maritime one can not be compared to much of Alaska's bitter cold climate. Summes last from June to August when daytime temperatures average around 18 °C and nights are just under 10 °C. During winter, days are mostly around zero and nights around -5 °C. Occasionally, temperatures plummit way below though. Juneau is a wet place, with around 100mm of precipitation a month, though September and October see double this amount. Snow is possible from October onwards, though usually won't start before November. It peaks in January with around 75 centimetres of snow.
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|Avg Max||-1.4 °C||1.2 °C||3.7 °C||8.4 °C||12.8 °C||16.1 °C||17.7 °C||17.1 °C||13.3 °C||8.4 °C||2.6 °C||-0.2 °C|
|Avg Min||-7.2 °C||-5.2 °C||-2.9 °C||0.1 °C||3.8 °C||7.2 °C||8.9 °C||8.5 °C||6.1 °C||2.9 °C||-2.7 °C||-5.2 °C|
|Rainfall||115.3 mm||95.3 mm||83.3 mm||70.4 mm||86.9 mm||80 mm||105.7 mm||135.1 mm||170.9 mm||199.1 mm||124.7 mm||112.8 mm|
Juneau can only be reached by ferry or plane, though you can take your car on the ferry if you wish.
Juneau International Airport (JNU) currently only receives Alaska Airlines flights to/from Anchorage, Seattle, Ketchikan and several other smaller places. Alaska Seaplane Service flies to a few places as well, just like Wings of Alaska. Both have small airplanes/seaplanes to serve communities as well as tourists wishing to explore more of the region.
Juneau can be reached by Alaska Marine Highway, which handles transport along most of Alaska's southern coastlines. It's officially even part of the National Highway System. In summer, there are about one million visitors who come to Juneau by cruiseship. To add, there fast car ferries connecting Juneau with Haines and Skagway, which have road access further away.
There is about 300 kilometres of paved roads and rental cars are available at the airport. Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
The government runs a bus services, called Capital Transit, which has services throughout the city and surroudings.
Most of Juneau itself can easily be negotiated on foot.
Bikes are a good way to go if you want to explore more of the outskirts of town and further away, though outside the summer season it is not really advised to go out.
There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.
See also International Telephone Calls
The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.
The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.
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