A couple of the trams follow the Ringstrasse around central Vienna. I remember doing this on an early Sunday morning (whilst most good Viennese are still in bed or at early Mass). It's the best way to see the huge changes to the city made in the 19th-century, including the Opera House, the Rauthaus and other institutions built as part of Frank Josef II's reimagining of his imperial city. Also a good place to flirt and smile at the Viennese.
Any tram stop on the Ringstrasse
If you're a fan of BBC's Spooks drama, there's a spy museum where you can have a go at pretending to be Kim Philby or Guy Burgess. As well as the usual spy history displays you can rest your eyes and have a go. Why not try altering the pitch of your voice or reading someone else's email. It's based in an old brewery. After several hours reading and playing at being 007, you'll have no trouble finding somewhere to eat and drink. For real ale buffs, the place serves beer.
+358 3 2123 007
The appearance of this chain of restaurants can be a little off-putting to tourists looking for the 'authentic' Paris, but if you can get past the American-style decor and the packed tables you'll be pleasantly surprised. I can't vouch for all branches, but the restaurant in the Opera district was a real eye-opener; the quality of the food was excellent (the fantastic creme brulee is especially recommended). Very reasonable fixed-price 'menus' add to the appeal.
1 Blvd. des Capuchines, Metro: Opera
www.hippopotamus.fr/accueil/ (website content in French)
It may sound like a nightclub, but this is actually a brilliant restaurant in the centre of Prague.
A variety of different food is served, there’s something which should please everyone's tastes. The restaurant is nicely furnished and along with its downstairs location and dark setting makes it feel warm and comfortable. The prices are very good, considering the central location of the restaurant and its warm and stylish atmosphere. Families are welcome and the service is friendly and quick, with English widely spoken.
Betlemske Namesti 169/5A
Phone: +420 224401214, +420 224248878
In pre-classical times (before the 5th-century BC), the Areopagus (or "Hill of Ares") was originally the meeting place of the council of elders of Athens. In this sense, it could almost be considered the exact birthplace of Athenian democracy. It is mentioned in the Bible, and was later the site of classical Athens' homicide court. This latter use probably stems from its purported status as the place at which Ares was tried for the murder of Poseidon's son. It is also a very short walk from the Parthenon.
While standing in the shadow of the Parthenon, literally and figuratively, the Temple of Olympian Zeus is a magnificent structure. It is deceptively large, set as it is in large field adjacent to the ancient Agora (marketplace), but has remained much more intact than its more famous neighbour.
It is set in a beautiful 17th-century manor house where Bonnie Prince Charlie once slept – though presumably not in the dorms. There are also elegant, great value en suite singles and doubles with wood panelling and beamed ceilings. The gardens are lovely and there’s also a large pavilion. We used it as a base for walking in the Peak District, but it’s also good for kids (Alton Towers is nearby), Chatsworth House and cycling along the disused railway line, which is part of the National Cycle Network. Meals are hearty – perfect after a day in the outdoors. It’s extremely popular so book in advance. From £17.50pp.
Hartington, Buxton, Derbyshire.
0870 770 5848
The Montréal Canadiens are ice hockey's most storied team - they hold the NHL record for most Stanley Cup wins, have the NHL's largest arena (the Bell Centre, right in the middle of town) and some of its most passionate fans - especially fervent because of their famous team's unique status as the only Francophone hockey club in the otherwise Anglophone league. The Canadiens haven't won the lot for a while now, but the franchise's size and support base still means every home game is a sell-out and an occasion in and of itself.
Going to see a game offers a glimpse into a genuine Montréal and Canadian obsession. The streets around the Bell Centre fill with families dressed in Habs' (the team nickname) gear and thousands more Québecois tune into the games in sports bars and restaurants. It's also exciting - games are fast-moving and often full of incidental violence, which gets the crowd going just as much as goals and great saves.
As you'd expect from North American sports, it's a fairly family-oriented affair. Don't expect a UK football-style "atmosphere" and do anticipate lots of national anthems, audience participation and glitzy advertising on the big screens and scrolling hoardings that ring the rink.
Games against old rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins are especially tense.
The length of the hockey season and the sheer number and frequency of games means finding a game while you're in town and getting a ticket or several shouldn't be too difficult, despite the team's popularity.
Those who like to organise things in advance can check the schedule and buy tickets online at the Canadiens website: www.canadiens.com/eng/index.cfm
Alternatively, ticket agencies and posh hotels in Montréal itself can almost always help you out closer to game-time.
The Bell Centre has its own website, with details of its location and amenities: www.centrebell.ca/eng/arena/index.cfm
Stunning views over the north coast of Ireland and the sun setting on the nearby Scottish isles - and that's only what you see when you are sitting beside the open fire in the common room!
Nearby attractions are the Giant's Causeway, an 8 mile walk along the coastal path that passes the hostel, and Carrick a rede rope bridge, four miles into the other direction. A five minutes' walk gets you down into Whitepark Bay, a beautiful stretch of white sand, perfect to quickly tire out children after dinner.
The hostel is small and clean and always booked out at the weekends. The self-catering kitchen allows you to avoid sampling the local cuisine, which might be a good thing if you are a foreigner or suffer from heart problems.
Whitepark Bay Youth Hostel,
157 Whitepark Road,
t: +44 (0) 28 9032 4733
Huge park in the city centre (five minutes walk from Leidseplein). Lovely for walking/lazing/picnicking on warm spring/summer days. Bring your own food/drink or stop in one of the bars for snacks etc.
Amsterdam city centre
A bright and lively family run restaurant situated at the beach end of Hampton St, Pelagos offers traditional greek food and a great atmosphere (with lively greek music playing in the background). Great for families and others wanting a proper greek feed, Pelagos is a must visit. Note: take-away is also available!
265 Hampton St (beach end)
Hampton, VIC 3188
Tel: (03) 9598-3332
This beautiful palace is located next to the Alameda park. In its interior, one can observe a perfect mix of neoclassical, art nouveau, and art deco styles, together with murals by Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera. Besides the spaces dedicated to art exhibits, it has an enormous hall where you can enjoy a Mexican Folkloric Dance show on Wednesday and Sunday nights (35 to 60 euros). Seasonal tip: during Christmas season "The Nutcracker" is performed here. Closed on Mondays. Sundays free entrance (rest of the week: 3 euros).
Av. Hidalgo 1, Col. Centro.
Nearest station: Metro Bellas Artes.
Wonderful restaurant, serving gorgeous food at ludicrously affordable prices, it's deservedly popular, although be prepared to queue with locals and tourists alike (well worth it and the queue moves very swiftly) you almost feel sorry for the surrounding eateries whilst in that 50 yard long queue. Plaça Reial is a popular haunt with some of Barcelona's more "colourful" characters, which only adds to the restaurant's charm.
Plaça Reial, Barcelona. tel: 93 317 3075.
A great local spot for that quick meal or snack before or after shopping or visiting the cinema.
One thing to note is that the Dendy Deli which is located at the Dendy Plaza in Brighton is not in Dendy St Brighton, it is in Church St.
Dendy Deli located at Dendy Plaza
Church St Brighton
(west of the railway line) tel: 9592 6233
The fountains outside the Bellagio dance to the sound of opera and classical music from 3pm to midnight. It may sound cheesy, but it's an imopressive sight, especially at night.
Bellagio Hotel, 3600 South Las Vegas Boulevard (The Strip); www.bellagio.com
If you fancy a break from Vegas's 24-hour noise and neon, then get yourself on a tour of the Grand Canyon. The canyon is only an hour away by helicopter and you'll fly over some of Vegas's most famous sights on the way. The view as you come over the top of the canyon is unforgettable - a once in a lifetime experience.Try and book a tour for early morning and you'll see the sun rise over the desert. If you're jet-lagged the early start won't hurt you too much, so think about going at the start of your trip.There's loads of operators, so shop around for the best deal.
One company worth looking at can be found here:www.lasvegasgrandcanyontour.com
Not far from Salzburg is the village of Hallstadt, nestled in the Austrian lake district. It is situated in picture perfect scenery, a simple but beautiful place with views over lake Hallstadt.
A must-do is a trip on the funicular up to the entrance of the salt mines followed by a tour of the mines. Getting dressed in miners gear is a laugh. Beware that cars are restricted in Hallstadt (car parking is outside).
Hallstadt, near Salzburg Austria
This little shop boasts a slightly funkier and cheaper selection of Camper shoes and super friendly staff. Take your kids - for once they will be encouraged to draw on the walls.
Corner C/ Elisabets with Plaza dels Angels
A small family restaurant with the best chicken souvlaki and the driest local Robolo white wine (sold by weight) in this exquisite village. A strong family atmosphere, alfresco, and excellent for people and yacht watching.
On the main strip of this small village.
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