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.
I spent a long time wandering through this market. Throngs of chilli, piles of fruit, ripe tomatoes, peppers. It is a truly mesmeric place. A great place to take photos or just soak up the atmosphere.
A totally flat 5km track for runners, cyclists and walkers that runs along the hills at the back of Barcelona and offers the most stunning views of the city spread out below you with the sea beyond. The track sometimes winds through the trees but is mostly out in the open. If you need a break or want a different perspective on the city take a couple of hours and refresh your mind in this oasis with a view.
Despite its wonderfulness, the track is often almost totally deserted, though is busier on Saturday and Sunday mornings as Barcelona exercises itself. This track is a runner’s paradise and if you are there just after sunrise (the best time to go) you may see me plodding along.
To get there take the Ferrocarillis Catalana, which starts in Plaza Catalunya, towards San Cugat and get off at Peu de la Funicular. Take the funicular to Vallvidrera but get off at the half way stop. As you exit the halt turn left along the track and keep walking for as long as you want. Once you have walked enough either retrace your steps (literally) and return to the funicular or after 4 km you will get to Placa del las Maduixas (sadly lacking in strawberries) and here you can take the road back down into Barcelona stopping for refreshments at the Bar Miramar (a bit expensive and you've already had the views) beside the funicular station up to Tibidado and the Tramvia Blau if you wish
A basilica dedicated to the virgin of Guadelupe, who appeared on this spot. There is a modern square and basilica where on Sundays you can see traditional dances and an assortment of pilgrims. There are some nice colonial churches and a peaceful park. On top of the hill are excellent views of the city. There is also a giant street market selling religious souvenirs.
Take the metro to basilica or take a micro bus marked La Villa heading north on Avenue Reforma
A fabulous free light and music show to the "dancing" fountain at the foot of Montjuic - a spectacular display of light, water and music. At the same time, the Palau National is illuminated, providing a beautiful background. The show runs every thirty minutes. The start and end date depend on the time of the year (see the web link), but the best time to see the fountain is at sunset with a glass of cava from one of the snack bars alongside.
Av Maria Cristina; nearest metro: Espanya (L1, L3);
This is a great bar in Barcelona. The clientelle is a mixture of Brits and Catalans enjoying an exotic Guinness and a natter on the terrace or in the wood panelled rooms. It’s a 15 minute walk from the Ramblas so it avoids the stag and hen party trawl that has infested a lot of other English bars in the city and, as it’s a haven for expats, it’s also a great venue to get tips on other places to go.
The staff are really helpful and friendly and add to the mixture of families and friends that hang out there.
When I lived in Barcelona I spent far too long here and made friends for life so I may be biased but if you say I sent you they’ll treat you kindly. No, really.
Avda Allada-Vermell, 16; tel: 932 683 338; nearest metro: Jaume;
Small square located in bohemian neighbourhood with three terraces for eating and drinking. Very nice and quiet with fairly priced meals and drinks.
To the west of the city centre - just continue walking up the Paseo de Gracia; nearest metro: Fontana
Ortaköy is an area of Istanbul on the European side of the Bosphorous just under the first bridge.
There are many cafes and little shops in which to poke around but they are a little more expensive than the norm.
Despite this you can sit with a drink, watch the boats glide past, and admire the bridge which is lovely by day or night. Heaven!
Ortaköy is very easy to get to from any central area. Buses or minibuses going up the Bosphorous coast road all pass through it and a taxi from Taksim will cost about 10 lira. Ferries go there and if you cannot get one to Ortaköy then go to Beşiktaş and get a minibus for the remaining 2 km.
Belgrade Forest (Belgrad ormanı) is a large green area to the north of the city. It has many entrances but I recommend the one at Bahçeköy which is closest to Neşet Suyu, where there is a 6km path/track around a lake. Here you can walk/run in the fresh air and then enjoy a snack at one of the little cafes near the start. The area is very busy at weekends in the summer for barbecues so I would recommend a visit in midweek or in the off peak seasons.
It is lovely to be only 20km from the centre of the city and yet only hear birds.
It is possible to explore further, but signposts tend to be Turkish only, which could be awkward! It costs 5 lira for a car to enter the forest or 1 lira for someone on foot.
Getting there is the problem!
The 42T bus from Taksim will take you to Bahçeköy and from there it is a very short walk to the entrance.
Alternatively a minibus from Beşiktaş towards Sariyer passes the Kilyos turning to Bahçeköy and people frequently pick up hitch hikers from this corner. (I must point out that this is not a good idea for women on their own).
Unfortunately from the entrance it is then a further 2 km to Neşet suyu which would tire out smaller children.
Ideally you need some sort of personal transport or a reliable taxi service to make the journey easier. A taxi from 4. Levent (the last stop on the metro from Taksim) will cost about 25 lira one-way (a tenner) which is very good for four people.
Guell park has lots of Antonio Gaudi's amazing stone structures, stunning tiling and fascinating buildings. Don't miss the colourful dragon fountain at the entrance to Guell park. There is something rather hypnotic and magical about the fantastical atmosphere, which is great for adults and children (lots of hiding places for the kids). See all of the city's sights stretched out before you. Allow at least half a day to enjoy the park fully.
Metro line 3 towards Canyelles. Get off at Lesseps and follow the signs from the metro station to Parc Guell. The park is a 20 minute walk away from the metro station. Warning: the final 200m up to the park is up a steep hill
Mexican masked wrestling. Where else can you see an evil monk wrestle a good nazi??
Matches are packed with more thrills, laughs and more fake punches than a bollywood film, and can include midget wresting and 3-on-3 girl action.
Lucha is a great afternoon/evening out for kids and adults and has a huge Mexican fanbase. Just be prepred to leave your political correctness at the door and to lose your voice a-whooping and a-hollering.
Arena Coliseo, Mexico City (nr metro Bellas Artes & Allende) every Sunday afternoon. Lots more locations and dates - pick up Lucha magazines from the street stalls for a few pesos or ask at your hotel - there are bound to be a few fans working there!
A real off the wall tourist attraction! A tongue in cheek art/spiritual/cultural exhibition located in an intriguing labyrinth of tunnels under castle hill. Strange music, odd statues, faux cave paintings and a real maze will keep you guessing what's round the next bend. Thoroughly enjoyable. We visited in winter when it provided much-needed relief from the subzero chill on the Hill. Drop your sulky kids off there whilst you take in the sights above ground..!
A back street on castle hill, Uri Utca 9.
This ancient military fortification is still in use by the army, but also functions as a monument and museum of army life at the fort. It's visually stunning and fascinating for military buffs, but just as fascinating for lovers of nature - dolphins and numerous types of wild sea bird can be seen. Bring your binoculars.
Ardersier, near Inverness (easily accessible by Tourist Bus from Inverness town centre)
If you're bathing in Budapest, it doesn't get any better than the beautiful bath house at Szechenyi Furdo. Exquisite baroque architecture, wonderful selection of hot and cold pools, steam rooms and a well stocked cafe for those who fancy a beer and a game of chess.
Worth a visit anytime of the year. Were it not for corpulent 50-something Hungarians wearing nothing but Speedos, this could possibly be my favourite place in the whole world.
A five minute walk from Szechenyi Furdo on the Budapest underground
This late 14th-century castle is a must-see when visiting the Highlands. Steeped in history, the fascinating and diverse art collection within is just as impressive as the castle itself. There are plenty of activities for people of all ages, including woodland walks and duck feeding.
Nairn, near Inverness (easily accessible by Tourist Bus from Inverness town centre)
Take the old underground (yellow line) to Hosok tere, where you will find a crescent of statues of historic figures of Hungary. Behind the square where you arrive is a park, which is a favourite for many, particularly families with small children (a zoo and amusement park are on your left). In the winter, you can go there for skating. Petofi csarnok (hall) offers cultural events and a flea market on some weekends.
Tube: No 1 to Hosok tere or Szechenyi furdo; trolleys: various
Whistler is buzzing in the summer. You can swim or wakeboard in Alta Lake, hike up to Singing Pass or Rainbow Lake, or tackle one of the challenging mountain bike trails, which are graded in the same way as ski runs. Kids can be transformed into trapeze artists at the base of Blackcomb or can hurtle down the hill on the luge.
A play space for kids and adults. Hidden in the slightly dingy suburb of St Kilda is this crazy secret place full of climbing frames, trampolines, flying foxes and other contraptions to fire the imagination.
Off Robe Street, follow the signs, St Kilda
A working farm on the Yarra River in inner-city Collingwood. A beautiful space where you and your kids can get really close to nature and learn things in a friendly educational environment. Great cafe and weekend market, great way for kids to get their hands dirty.
Right on the river in Collingwood.
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org