Worth the trip alone. The Pacific beaches are stunning and Tofino is a great little town - posh-hippy, laid back, with great restaurants. The Rainforest Cafe offers sublime high quality food. Walk through the temperate rainforests and the cathedrals of tall cedars and pines. You will probably see bears on your way too. In Tofino try the Wolf House bed and breakfast, a really great bed and breakfast with lots of character.
Tofino is on Vancouver Island;
Rainforest Cafe: 250 725 2215;
Wolf House: 250 725-2330
Walking tours of many parts of central Vancouver, run by Simon Fraser Uuniversity Architecture Department (www.sfu.ca)
Slide shows about outdoor activities in Canada and around the world at Mountain Equipment Co-op (www.mec.ca).
Slide Shows about kayaking activities locally and around the world at Ecomarine (www.ecomarine.com) on Granville Island, monthly from January - July. Also go to their free kayak try out day at Jerico in July, and try paddling 20 different types of kayaks.
Water Parks for kids at False Creek Community Centre, Stanley Park and other Parks Board venues (www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/Parks/events/events.htm).
Go to the Stanley Park Bike Fetival in June and try out the races for kids or one of the guided trail rides (www.stanleyparkbikefest.ca).
Watch the Tour de Gastown (www.tourdegastown.com).
Watch The Kite Festival at Vanier Park in July, and make your own kite to fly (www.bcka.bc.ca/Events/PacRim.htm).
A delightful little eatery hidden away on a back street near The Village. If you like you dining outings to be a relaxed, enjoyable event then you will love it. Taking inspiration from centuries old Mongolian warrior traditions, you select your raw food (a host of meats, vegetables, sauces and spices) and one of the talented chefs grills and cooks the meal before your eyes. Wonderful decor and polite, attentive staff make this one of the most original and enjoyable eating experiences in Manchester.
16 Chorlton Street, Manchester (walkable from Picadilly Gardens and station);
tel: 0161 228 1631;
For many tourists, the way to see the West Bank temples and tombs appears to be the highly priced offerings from their tour company.
Typical costs are £39 per person for a visit to the Valley of the Kings, Hatshepshut's temple and the Valley of the Queens. Included in this price are the ticket prices (approximately £9.50 per person).
To hire an air-conditioned minibus and a guide, and to visit temples and tombs that you wish to see, will cost at most 200LE (£20) for up to six people (total price), so adding the cost of the tickets, the trip will probably cost an individual in this situation about £12.
The other plus of this is that you can actually spend as long as you wish at a site, and not have to rush back to take in the obligatory visit to an alabaster or papyrus shop, for which the tour leader on the coach can make up to 50% of your purchase price in commission.
The world's longest (and highest!) suspension bridge, over a river at the foot of Grouse mountain. Get the SeaBus from the Waterfront Station, and then a bus towards Grouse Mountain (a two zone ticket will cover the whole journey). There are great filmset-like views from the bridge itself, plus a network of platforms linking huge pine trees once you reach the other side. Keep your ticket for a discount on entry to Grouse Mountain. Get the SeaBus back to downtown Vancouver in the evening for fantastic views of the skyline as the sun sets.
Commercial drive is a piece of unique heritage in an area of the world that is dominated by chain stores and coffee shops. The Drive is bucking franchises in favour of amazing shops and stores that are complete one offs.
Start by stocking up with fresh breads, fruits, herbal remedies and more, punctuated by a few coffee breaks along the way in one of many of the NON franchised coffee shops. Then finish your experience in one of the fantastic restaurants (many with outdoor heated patios) dotted along Commercial.
La Grotta del Formaggio is a treasured local purveyor of the best new-world Italian Deli sandwiches and cheeses. If you like kitsch then Urban Empire is the place for you - a shop filled with wonders and surprises. Havana is a great restaurant for good (if not traditional) Cuban food and it has a great photo gallery at the back. Waazubee is also a good rest stop or even better dining experience with a wide range of veggie dishes.
This all comes from a person who doesn't even live in Vancouver. Guess it must be great eh?
Between Broadway and Venables;
Just outside downtown Vancouver, Stanley park is a delightful wooded and grassed park on a peninsula in Burrard Inlet with wonderful views of Lion's Gate Bridge and Vancouver Harbour. You can spend several days here wandering around the forest paths, bathing at the beaches, seeing the impressive totem poles, as well as visiting the fantastic aquarium or relaxing in the Rose Garden.
Just go there and see for yourself why it's so great!
1 mile to the west of downtown Vancouver;
It's the second-largest Chinatown outside of China, and perfectly authentic. It's a living, breathing cultural artefact. Go in the daytime, as everything shuts at six pm, unless it's a Friday or Saturday; the street market is on then in the summer.
See the Sun Yat-Sen garden and park, the Chinese Cultural Centre, and Pender Street between Carrall and Gore. Keefer Street is also Chinatown, between Columbia and Gore, and in the summer (late May-September) on Friday and Saturday nights it's closed to host the street market. This features entertainment, games, children's rides (dinky ones, but fun) and lots of bargains along the cheap bag/sunglasses/clothing line.
Good restaurants include Goldstone on Keefer (closes early), Hon's on Keefer, and Gain Wah on Keefer, which is open late. Great groceries are to be had at many of the local stores, or the local Asian supermarket, T&T, on Keefer near the Stadium Skytrain station.
After the street market (which runs till nine or so) walk over to La Casa Gelato on Venables and get one of their 200+ flavours of ice cream: rocky road, yes, but also durian, basil and pernod, or gorgonzola.
East Pender street between Carrall and Gore, Keefer Street between Columbia and Gore, East Georgia Street between Main and Gore. North-south axis is Main Street.
Get on the little passenger ferry across False Creek to visit Granville Island. Former industrial buidlings have been converted into galleries, shops, craft workshops and restaurants. There is also a fantastic farmer's market and a brewery.
South Shore under Granville Street Bridge, catch the False Creek Ferry or Aquabus;
Don't limit your stay in Vancouver to just seeing Vancouver. The dormitory town of North Vancouver is separated from Vancouver by the Burrard Inlet and your choice of one of two road bridges (we like it that way).
The best way to get there from downtown Vancouver is by taking the Seabus from Waterfront Station in Gastown (a 15 minute ferry ride costing $3.25 and is valid on all buses for 90 minutes). You arrive at Lonsdale Quay, a smaller version of Granville Island, but this is just the jumping off point for a whole range of activities. You can use your ferry ticket to take a bus to Grouse Mountain & take the cable car up to see the bears they have there. You can take a different bus to Lynn Valley & hike through forested trails. You can take yet another bus and browse the Persian stores on Lonsdale Avenue & end up at Brazza's (19th and Lonsdale) for a Cappucino and a gelato. The more energetic of you can take a bus to Lighthouse park in West Vancouver. A 30 minute hike through ancient forest rewards you with a view over the waters at the edge of Howe Sound, to downtown Vancouver.
If you are really committed to do something extensive like visit Whistler, then you probably have to drive. Take the Lions' Gate bridge from downtown Vancouver and follow the highway & signs there (don't forget to gasp in admiration at the North Shore mountains as you cross the bridge). You must appoint a designated driver who will watch the treacherous highway 99 (Sea to Sky Highway) while everyone else oohs and ahhs at the view up Howe Sound to the glaciers at the top.
I live in North Vancouver & I think it represents the more natural side of the city.
Take the Seabus (www.translink.bc.ca/Transportation_Services/SeaBus). Driving to North Vancouver requires an understanding of the local drivers - something even the local drivers don't have.
A special coffee bar in a town full of coffee bars. What makes this place on Granville Island so special is the view of the North Shore mountains and the water of False Creek leading out under Burrard Street bridge. Commercial and pleasure boats are always going by, heading off into Howe Sound and beyond. A truly relaxing way to enjoy a great cup of coffee.
2698 West 4th Avenue (west end of the Granville Island market, close by the water);
tel: 604 688 1173
A beautiful complex designed by Moshe Safdi (he designed Habitat in Montreal). The courtyard is a great place to grab a snack and sit. There is a calendar of readings/performances, etc.
350 West Georgia Street;
tel: 604 331 3603;
OK, so it's Sicilian and we're talking Rome, but Capricci Siciliani delivers the best baby squid in the known universe. Fantastic seafood, excellent wine list, including many native Sicilian grape varieties, reasonably priced, and a warm and inviting staff. Over an 8-day visit, we actually had dinner here twice, and our 14-month-old enjoyed both the delicious bread and unending attention. Two truly memorable meals.
Via di Panico, 83 (near Piazza Navona;
tel: 06 4543 3823;
In the main exhibition area is a photographic tribute to Poland's Jewish heritage during the last thousand years. It also holds Jewish musical and cultural events. We attended an excellent Klezmer musical evening, which was held regularly in the summer. They have an English bookshop and a cafe, provide a really clear map of 'Jewish Krakow' and speak good English. Everyone was very helpful.
One of the most beautiful and secluded beaches on the island - and yet it's just around the corner from San Antonio. A nice little bar with very reasonable (if simple) food, clean sand and beautiful water. It's not exactly a secret, but is never crowded even in peak season despite its small size. The other sun worshippers are usually Spanish or Italian, and you'll be very unlikely to find noisy gangs of Brits. Good for families as well. When you get off the taxi boat you'll be at the Aquarium which is also beautiful and well worth a look.
Take a taxi boat from San Antonio for a few Euros, or it's probably walkable. Take a taxi to Hotel Tanit and walk towards the sea
There are a few very luxurious, but not too expensive, agroturismos on the island. These family-run hotels, usually converted from old fincas, are much more stylish than the Italian versions — but still offer peaceful, rural locations and some have pools.
Tel 971 33 88 38, atzaro.com
Es Cucons, Santa Agnes
Tel 971 80 55 01, escucons.com
Can Pujolet, Santa Ines
Tel 971 80 51 70, ibizarural.com
Can Lluc, Santa Ines
Tel 971 19 86 73, canlluc.com
Can Planells, San Miguel
Tel 971 33 49 24, canplanells.com
Vigeland Park is a huge park in which to stroll and browse the sculptures of Vigeland - both bronze and stone – which are overwhelming in their beauty and size. The children I was with were climbing all over the sculptures at the top of the stairs, near the monolith crawling with naked stone bodies! What a wonderful experience. Ideal in summer, but lovely in winter too.
Right in the centre of Oslo;
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