I visited this place based on other reviews as I was after a fun place for a solo traveler in the heart of New York. As backpackers don't have too much money I found this place pretty ideal for someone who doesn't want a stinky hostel.
Feira da Ladra, also known as the Thieves Market, is a large open-air market in central Lisbon that is full to the brim with treasures and knick-knacks. Equally good for picking up souvenirs, antiques, furniture, crockery or just window shopping, the market has a great atmosphere and stalls for as far as the eye can see. It has a great location and it's a great way to spend a few hours wondering around marvelling at the things you find!
Campo de Santa Clara, Lisbon. 5 minutes walk from Santa Apolonia metro station and an even shorter walk from the tram 28 stop at Sao Vicente de Fora.
Google map: bit.ly/ADfeiE
It’s an hour and a half by car from Veliko Tarnovo to get to the low-key ski resort of Uzana. A perfect place for children, novice skiers and those of a nervous disposition who still want to give skiing a go. Lessons are approximately 25 leva (£12.50) an hour including ski’s, poles and boots. There are no funicular lifts because the runs are short but there are those mad pulley sort of arrangements to get you back up to the top of the slopes. Uzana differs from Bansko and other ski places in south east Bulgaria by being quiet, refined, small and charming. Good hot chocolate from the resort hotels too.
Along with Bansko and Pamporovo, Borovets is one of the most popular destinations for skiing and snowboarding in Bulgaria. In my opinion it is the best place to go because there aren't many people, especially if you go on my personal favourite slopes Yastrebetz (1,2 and 3), Popangelov and Markudjik (1 and 2). It is near the capital - Sofia, you need an hour and a half or two to get there, so you can leave in the morning and be there by 10am, register in a hotel, guest house or a villa, eat something and be ready to go skiing or snowboarding by noon. You can buy a half-day lift pass which is 25 levas (about 13 euros) on the weekends and you can start using it at 12pm - the lift pass is for all the facilities in Borovets.
I was there this weekend and we stayed at a guest house, where we paid 20 levas (10 euros) per bed for one night, which is cheap, considering we are in the middle of the ski season. It was an amazing weekend, the weather was great, it was sunny, there was a lot of snow, all the slopes were fabulous.
Krvavec is 'famous' for its Igloo Village. Whether you choose to stay there or not, it's a simple 25km journey from Ljubljana, you can buy ski passes from the petrol station and hire ski equipment and clothes from the top of the gondola. Only a few slopes but the snow is plentiful, valleys are pretty and you get a blast of skiing on almost empty slopes midweek. If you choose to stay the night it's an adventure reaching the hotels in itself by rickety chairlift and directions from pleasant but definitely non-English speaking ski guides. If you want to ski a week in Slovenia and have progressed beyond the nursery slopes then it'd be a good idea to do a self drive tour of all the small ski areas rather than stay in one for the week.
It's a vegan wagon with THE most delicious burger this side of NYC. If you go to Berlin, you MUST try this burger. I had the smoked chipotle chile sauce and also on the same burger, the Pineapple chutney, perfect match.
Only open Sundays, or should that be Sun Days, from late morning to about 5 or 6pm.
They are also at Kreuzberg Markt Halle Neun on Fri and Sat
Amazing resort with 23 lifts and 50 runs that is only an hour from Rome in Abruzzo National Park. The resort is at 1750m and the lifts to 2100m which guarantee snow. Cheap passes and hire charges and midweek its virtually empty - we didn't queue at all. All pistes have snow cannons and are really well kept. Look out for five-day deals for about €300 for half board boots, skis and passes!
No roads, no cars, no cash machines, no hordes of tourists. Perhentian Kecil, little brother to Perhentian Besar could just be utopia. Flanked by a sprawling jungle, pristine white beaches are lapped away by sparkling clear azure waters, the temperature of the most perfectly drawn bath in the world. A water taxi to one of the many secluded coves and beaches fringing the island meant an entire day with the stunning 'Shark Bay' to myself - a once in a lifetime experience. The locals couldn't be friendlier, and during Hari Raya the beachfront restaurants cooked and provided entertainment completely for free, with an open invitation to all on the island. Whether you are a backpacker or on the search for the ultimate paradise island getaway, Perhentian Kecil cannot come more highly recommended.
Speed boat crossings from Kuala Besut leave frequently, charging 70RM pp. The nearest airport if flying from Kuala Lumpur is Khota Baru - one hour's drive by minibus from Kuala Besut.
Google map: bit.ly/z8mNeZ
Isla Holbox is technically a peninsula but you can only reach it by ferry following a three hour bus trip from Cancun. The roads are all made of sand and you get around by golf cart or on foot. On a trip there this past November tourists were conspicuous by their absence and we had the long beach pretty much to ourselves. The Ida y Vuelta hostel provided a good base just a block from the beach - a simple, clean cabana with bathroom cost just $20 a night. You can eat at the food stalls around the town square for next to nothing or splurge $10 on a whole grilled fish for two at Miriam's. Compared to other beach resorts and islands in the Yucatan Isla Holbox is still unspoiled - however the mosquitos can be bad in the wet season and the crowds arrive in the summer for the whale sharks.
Marken Gjestehus is an award winning hostel in the heart of Bergen (only 250 meters from the train and bus station). I have stayed there twice myself, and can definitely recommend this place. I stayed in the dorms, but they also have private rooms. In dorms you also get a locker with a key, so you can safely store luggage. Everything is very clean and nice. Great kitchen, fully equipped with everything you need. The staff are very helpful and nice. I will definitely stay here again next time I go to Bergen.
Hostel opened few months ago near from Plaza Serrano (place with a lot of bars, restaurants and clubs really great at night!) well located! nice house,rooms are clean, cool and relaxing atmosphere, great music. We even made a barbecue on the terrace.
You'll appreciate the contrast between the crazy Buenos Aires and this haven.
Nelson, a small town in the interior of British Columbia, wonderfully designed by the architect Francis Rattenbury - who also designed the parliament buildings in Victoria - will make you reassess what you think civilisation should be like. It was made unique by a huge influx of American draft-dodgers during the Vietnam War, and has been kept unspoiled by constant overshadowing courtesy of the Rockies and their ski towns. Its many intellectual inputs (Russian pacifists settled there, sponsored by none other than Tolstoy himself) and its beautiful setting, folded compactly onto the shores of lake Kootenay by the underrated Selkirk Mountains, combine the majestic Canadian wilderness with the best minds and values our species has created. To top it off, the most beautiful YHA hostel I’ve ever seen ‘The Dancing Bear’ is located right in the centre.
Most people go think that doing the last 200kms to Santiago is what the Camino is about. Don't do this! Start in France (from Paris, Vezelay, Le Puy or Arles) and do part of it this year. You need a guide and a Pilgrim Passport (from the Confraternity of St James), accommodation is cheap and so is travel, but once you’ve started you’ll want to go back and complete the journey and that is when it will begin to change your life!
If you're looking to relax and unwind after a hard day's trek along the vertical slopes round Darjeeling, then don't come here. Hasty Tasty is frenetic, hectic and loud. Packed from the minute it opens (9.30am) till it closes (around 8pm) this strictly vegetarian cafeteria delivers exactly what it promises, fast and delicious food.
Choose from the vast menu displayed above the long counter, pay (around a quid) for your meal, grab a piece of paper with a number scribbled on it, and see if you can bag a table by the window. As you wait for the waiter to call your number - and if it's a clear day - you can gaze at Kanchenjunga, India's highest mountain, the third highest peak in the world. If you've had enough of mountains (is that possible?) I recommend some simple people watching: a cavalcade of characters swiftly passes through, mainly very cold-looking domestic Indian tourists in idiosyncratic get-ups (the women in be-jewelled, kitten heeled sandals, the men in extravagant bobble hats and tight gilets).
We ate here several times, and a typical meal would include two enormous bowls of (veg) chow mein and two lassis for 120INR (around £1.50).
The kitchen is behind the counter, so you can watch all the food being prepared and cooked in front of you. It doesn't get much fresher.
Opening hours: 09:30 to 20:00
13, Nehru Road, Darjeeling
Google map: bit.ly/xbCQ9e
Once you've booked your first casa particular you enter an unofficial chain where the owners of your present casa will offer to book your next one and arrange for you to be picked up at your point of arrival. We were gently bounced from one casa to the other up and down Cuba. Of course they're taking a cut but it does make things easier for you.
Do get yourself some pesos and buy food from the stalls/windows. It's delicious (freshly made egg tortillas, oyster cocktails, flan pudding hot from the tin), ridiculously cheap and completely safe - food hygiene is fanatically enforced. Also, it's a lovely change from the endlessly repeated chicken/pork/prawns/lobster plus rice plus symbolic amount of salad combo you get in the restaurants. Hard to believe as it is, you can get very tired of lobster.
Egypt may not be known for its beer, but if you visit Egypt you may want to try a local Stella (not Artois) during the course of your stay. If you want to drink it where the locals drink, then you’ll need to find a ‘baladi’ bar (‘baladi’ roughly translating as ‘local’ in Egyptian). Some of these bars are real ‘spit and sawdust’ places, but they’ll all offer you a beer and a glimpse into drinking beyond your hotel bar. The Stella Baladi Map will help you find your way around.
* Alip is our Been there local for Cairo. Her page is here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/cairo-local-alice-allsop.jsp and you can follow her tips directly here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/alip
We arrived in the city late in the day, and no-one was more relieved than me to discover the hotel I'd booked wasn't half bad. I chose the no frills Hotel Trimoorti off Elgin Road. Its common parts were basic, resembling a cheap serviced office corridor, but the kingsize bed, crisp white sheets and modern, faultless bathroom of the 'super deluxe' room made up for no view and no hotel lounge. Speaking to the owner at the end of our stay, he explained that all the hotel's resources had been concentrated on comfortable rooms and efficient room service. At 8190 INR for three nights in a state capital, including a/c and breakfast, I'd happily recommend the hotel. (In my experience the best room in a cheap hotel beats the worst room in a top hotel any day.) The room service was fast and faultless and the food, particularly the local breakfast, excellent.
My favourite Christmas was spent in Nature's Valley on the Garden Route in South Africa – a wild and remote area tucked between the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the rolling blue Indian Ocean. In South Africa, Christmas is mainly celebrated on Christmas eve and it's a very laidback, low-key affair. I stayed in a homely, rustic backpackers called Wild Spirit, where dinner was eaten together in a log cabin overlooking the native forest below, followed by a few ice-cold Black Labels round the camp fire. On Christmas day, myself and some of the other guests hiked part of the famous Otter Trail in Tsitsikamma National Park, then drove to Jeffrey's Bay for the surf and parties. Of course, you can always add in the highest bungee in the world! It doesn't get much better than this.
This hostel felt like staying at home! It is run by Miriam, Lucas and Hector, a lovely Argentine family that treat you like you are part of their family. The hostel is charming and clean, and the staff helped book excursions and make the best of my time in Ushuaia. The breakfast is better than most hostels - including Argentine medialunas, or croissants.
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