Salobreña is the weekend getaway for the people of Granada, but despite this, its sandy beach is quiet. The locals are very friendly, and the town itself is pretty, with a castle and a less commercialised atmosphere than nearby Malaga and Nerja.
Regular buses from Granada, which is 80km (50 minutes) away.
Salema is a village tucked away on Portugal's south-western tip. It is a wonderful beach town with a sandy and gently-sloping beach that sits between golden cliffs, and is ideal for families with children. On the beach it's easy to find the perfect location, near the cliffs, or in the shade, to spread your towel and settle in for a day of lounging.
But what truly makes this village a wonderful beach town is the open-hearted approach of the friendly, kind Portuguese people.
Catch a bus to Salema from Lagos.
In fact, why not rent a bike and take a day trip by bike to Potsdam. There are plenty of parks and lakes to criss-cross. Plus everybody cycles in good weather. However, you don't have to cycle all the way. Take the bike on the S7 Train, change at Wannsee and get the S1 to Potsdam (just cross, it's on the same platform).
Potsdam is a World Heritage site with beautifully restored period architecture. It lies just 15km (10 miles) south-west of Berlin, but it is almost like travelling to another Eastern Europe city altogether, on par with Prague or Budapest, just a tad smaller (this is no exaggeration). Potsdam has a picturesque old town with many (outdoor) cafés, and even has its own Brandenburg Gate.
It is also home of the Royal Gardens, and the popular Sans Souci Palace. There is proof of Russian culture to be found in Potsdam's "Alexandrowka" which has replicas of Russian village houses and a pretty Orthodox Church on the Hill, and Dutch period buildings fill the Dutch Quarter (Holländisches Viertel). The historic sections of the city provide the flair of a city steeped in European tradition.
Bike rental information: www.berlinfo.com/Traveltime/WithinBerlin/by_bike/bike_rental/index.htm
Fruh is the best-known and most widely available Kolsch and the bar near the cathedral, (Fruh am Dom), is one of the oldest brauhuses, having survived bombing during WW2. It's a traditional German pub serving good beer and wholesome German food, and a great place to start the day.
Am Hof 12-16, 50667 Köln Altstadt/Dom;
The Bäckerhof has a Thai restaurant downstairs and a bar upstairs. The building is unassuming from the outside but has a great space inside. The restaurant food is good and fairly inexpensive, with a small separate lounge area. Through the back there is a fussball table. Upstairs is a really huge bar with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Sofas, table service, cocktail waiters and a DJ make it a great place for a couple of pre-club drinks.
tel: 0911 801 3642;
If you are looking for something to eat after the game try the good, simple pub-style food the Hövels Haus Brauerei. The house beer is also very good, and they have a small biergarten which is nice if the weather is good.
Hoher Wall 57 (the city centre end);
tel: 0231 9145 470;
Barrock is the place to go before and after the games. It's only a 10 minute walk from the stadium and is one of the meeting points for Borussia Dortmund fans, so it's a good chance to mix. They also sell Brinkhofs, one of the best local beers.
Kreuzstraße 87 (on the corner of Lindermannstraße);
tel: 231 2063 221
The most bizarre drinking experience ever. Red wine in blood transfusion packs, electric shocks from tables, rotating bar stools, a tarantula in a glass case, a flasher at the entrance... and not too expensive either! Has to be seen to be believed.
Leibnitzstrasse 57 (50 metres from Ku'damm); U-Bahn: Adenauerplatz (U7);
tel: 030 32701466;
Microbrewery opposite Lille Flanders station. The food here's OK (pub grub - go for the Flammekuche pizza) but the real draw is the beer, brewed on site. Try the tasting menu: four house beers in little sampling glasses. Also sells beer to take home - a three-pack of 75cl bottles is about 10 euro.
22 place de la gare, 59000 Lille;
tel: 03 20 06 4625;
There is not much point in very light kit - the biggest part of the load is you.
Take OS 1:50000 Landranger maps.
Get Sustrans route guides and visibility kits - look out for dirt tracks (bridleways, paths) on the maps - they often form bridges between zones of quiet roads which otherwise are only connected by trunk routes.
Don't sing too loud as you go. If you do, the deer will hide.
Notice how strong a single car smells after you have been breathing clean air for an hour - the exhaust in cities anaesthetizes the nose.
Don't spend time planning a trip - just set off.
Bull Island is man-made - well, formed as the result of sand building up against the (man-made) harbour wall. A stunning long sandy beach with an important bird sanctuary at one end, and a quaint wooden bridge, harbour wall, and monument at the other. If you aim for the middle section, you'll avoid the boy racers (they're not intimidating - just a bit annoying). On a windy day you'll have some impressive kitesurfing to watch, too.
Look out for the Bull Island if you come in on the plane. The northern approach often takes you directly overhead.
Bus routes 103, 104 and 130 run next to Bull Island (ask the driver), or Clontarf Rd DART (suburban rail) station followed by a 20 minute walk along the sea wall
I highly recommend doing a bicycle tour. We went in April and had the guide to ourselves. It was great to get an overview of the city and the coast. Very easy cycling and the guide was fantastic.
This loungy bar has one of the best views of the Thames.
The cocktails and drinks are fabulous, and very reasonable for London!
2a Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 (between Southwark Bridge and Millennium Bridge);
tel: 0207 021 0085;
The hostel is very clean and modern. It is really large for a hostel and well organised but the feel isn't as personal as it can be in some smaller hostels. The staff were very friendly, and not at all intrusive.
This place is wonderful - the staff can be snotty, and it's not cheap, but fascinating all the same. And it's just a couple of hundred yards up the hill from the Port Institute (also can be snotty) but cheap tasting of some great port wines.
Rua Dom Pedro V, 89;tel 21 342-47-29;Metro: Restauradores, then take the Elevador da Gloria and turn right;Open til 2am
One of the nicest hostels I've stayed in anywhere in Europe and at a good price too. Run by the owners, who are exactly the kind of people who should be in charge.
An enormous windswept beach. Fabulous view with Cape Roca and Sintra hills as a backdrop and some of the best surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing in Europe.
15 miles west of the centre of Lisbon. Take the train to Cascais then catch a bus or get on the free hop-on hop-off bike.
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