The first port of call for most visitors, due to its position at the hub of all activity within the archipelago, it's hard not to spend some time in Honiara, the closest thing you'll find to a city in the Solomons. Just over a decade ago it was little more than a sleepy South Seas port, but over the last few years it has undergone an urban boom, and traffic snarl-ups at peak hours are now increasingly common in the centre.
It's rarely love at first sight – the architecture wins no prizes and sights are sparse. But lift the city's skin and the place just might start to grow on you. Hang around the atmospheric wharf, wade through the shambolic market, grab a few gifts in the well-stocked souvenir shops and get your first taste of Melanesian culture by visiting the museum.
Honiara is also the optimal launching pad for exploring Guadalcanal's outdoor offerings and the various WWII battlefields around the city.