From the shore of the large Lake Bolsena at Capodimonte hire a small motor boat and venture out onto the lake and to the scenic island of Bisentina. Dive overboard and swim in the crystal clear water and sun bathe on the deck. My kids (14 & 12) loved having a go at driving the boat.
What a great day out we had as a family rafting near Norcia on the river Corno. It was great fun and thrilling. The guides were excellent, we even had water splashing fights with the other groups. The scenery is fantastic.
It certainly made our holiday a holiday to remember.
Best to book before on line.
Locanda palazone near Orvieto is a great place to stay.
The owners have done a great job at restoring the place and are excellent hosts. You must stay for dinner as they serve excellent Italian cuisine served by the charming owners. A pre dinner drink of wine produced by them before dinner to meet the other guests is a must.
We had a great time there and would recommend it for anyone staying in the area.
Semi-classy African bush themed restaurant, where you can try game meats such as warthog, crocodile, kudu, ostrich etc.
If you don't want to commit to a large expensive game steak, try the smoked venison platter starter.
267 Long St
Google map: tinyurl.com/ylbhnu7
The best way to avoid disappointment is to combine hunting for the Northern Lights with something else that's fun and different. Tromsø, Norway, is a great place to do just that. I went dog sledding which was so much fun I nearly forgot why I was there in the first place. With seven Huskies dragging you into the quiet wilderness on a sledge, the Northern Lights is an added bonus if it shows up, but even without it you would not go home feeling left out. My best night however was the cheaper option of renting cross country skis from the Intersport shop in town and heading for the free, open 24hrs, floodlit slopes on the island, just a short walk from the town centre! The calming feeling of sliding along on the skis, taking in the fresh air, makes the northern lights even more spectacular. Best of all, you wont have to 'share the experience'with anyone else, which often is the case on organised tours. And the downhills provide an added thrill!
The city itself is known in Norway for being one of the most hospitable – with a buzzing nightlife.
Tromsø also benefits from twice weekly direct flights from Gatwick with budget, but decent, airline norwegian.no. If you book early enough you can get returns for under £100. Stay in the Clarion Hotel Bryggen to get access to their rooftop heated jacuzzi!
There are loads of good (and cheap) ideas on what to do in Tromso and other tips here: www.iglobetrotter.com/norway/northern-lights/northern-lights-activities.
Ski-rental: Intersport Sportshuset, Storgata 87, phone +47 77661100
Husky-rides: Tromsø Villmarkssenter, www.villmarkssenter.no
Google map: tinyurl.com/yl8w4vp
This is a really great place to stay, under two hours from Cape Town, close to the most beautiful beaches with warm water. Also close to the southernmost tip of Africa. They have really comfy rooms with a great restaurant that makes the best pizza ever! The kids love it as they can play by in the pool and climbing gym while we sip cocktails and munch pizza. Backpackers vibe with great service. Live music every now and then in the pub as well.
This park is at the top of the Volcà de Montascopa and is worth stopping in before climbing back down into Olot. It has a watchtower which children will love and magnificent views of the other major dormant volcanos surrounding Olot.
The museu Dalí is not obligatory to visit in Figueres but even you're not an art-lover its worth a visit.
The best parts of the museum are:
Mae West room, the tomb of Dalí, a copy of Dalí's most famous work -
The Persistance of memory (you will recognise it when you see it).
Allow a good two to three hours to see everything. It is child-friendly.
Even if you're unwilling to pay the high entrance fee you can get some appreciation of Dalí's eccentricity by looking at the 'eggs' on the outside of the museum.
Entrance fee is 7-8 euros
Gala-Salvador Dalí Square, 5
Google map: tinyurl.com/ybxxoyd
The Santa María church in the hamlet of Porqueres is a 12th century Romanesque jewel with a solid brick ceiling and nave. The four arched entrance is inspired by the Moors.
Porqueres is 3km west of Banyoles facing the town across the Estany. It only takes 25 mins to walk to Porqueres from the tourist office on Passeig Darder - just follow the signs to Porqueres and eglesia de Santa María.
Google map: tinyurl.com/yekma2d
The estany is the main attraction of Banyoles. It's also had TV coverage as it hosted the rowing events for the 1992 Olympics. It's quiet and pleasant to walk beside either on the Banyoles side or the side opposite the town. You can walk around the whole lake in around two hours. The lakeside facing Banyoles is better for family picnics.
The Estany is a 30 min walk away from the centre of Banyoles and is well signposted within Banyoles or from the C66 bypass if you're driving.
Google map: tinyurl.com/yajh8de
To get a real feel for the labyrinth that is medieval Call this walking route is good as the narrow streets and alleys invite exploration.
Start at Carrer Força, turn onto Callejón Sant Lorenç and finish at Carrer Cúndaro
Just follow signs to Jeu or the
Every year I return with my daughter, now aged six, travelling near two hours to capture the Christmas spirit and to buy some great Christmas presents from log versions of Rudolph the Reindeer to make a great winter garden feature, to moroccan raffia and leather shopping baskets.
It ranges from a traditional German Market to European Market and an arts and crafts market.
Travelling with children works wonders, share a bratwurst sausage in Albert Square while admiring the nodding Reindeer. Agree that they can choose one treat from one of the 200 stalls; Angelica chose a husky dog keyring this year and in return they help you with the bag carrying and the decision making. Keep the energy up with snacks along the way like delicious chocolate marshmallows sticks and you have a fantastic festive day out.
There are 200 stalls across six different sites in the city centre - Albert Square, St Ann's Square, Brazennose Street, New Cathedral Street, and Exchange Street
Manchester's Christmas Markets open on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 and run until Tuesday, 21 December 2009
Jardim dos Namorados is a small, colourful park perched on a hilltop overlooking the Bay of Maputo.
Its attractions include a children's play area, a wonderful view of the sea and a cluster of ice cream parlours and cafes.
One of the most popular cafes is "Surf" which sells an imaginative range of pastries and light meals - although the service is a bit hit and miss at weekends, when it gets very busy.
Jardim dos Namorados is THE place in Maputo for wedding photos so at weekends you will no doubt come across several wedding parties: processions of jubilant Mozambicans dressed in suits, silks and satins, all swaying, singing and posing for the camera.
Avenida Julius Nyere, Maputo
Google map: tinyurl.com/yc6wgg9
The Mercure is not the cheapest hotel in Nelspruit but it is particularly good value for families: you can book a spacious two-bedroom apartment with kitchen area and living room. It's cheaper if you book (and pay) in advance. The Mercure has a beautiful swimming pool and the staff are welcoming. One drawback is that a shopping mall is being built next door, so our most recent stay (August 09) was not as peaceful as previous visits due to reversing trucks and the clang of scaffolding. Hopefully peace will return when the project is finished.
Corner of N4 & Graniet Street PO BOX 1556 1200 NELSPRUIT
Google map: tinyurl.com/yeaxx3w
Spread over nearly 80 hectares, these gardens in the east of the city is a perfect sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city. Extensive trails make it great for walking and birdwatchers will have a good time sighting the many different species. The Mokha restuarant overlooks the wetlands and serves great food, especially the buffet on Sundays, in beautiful surrounds. A section is dedicated to African medicinal plants and provides a interesting insight into South African culture.
This drive takes you through pine forests and dramatic mountain scenery, via Sabie and Graskop. The old gold mining village of Pilgrim's Rest is also worth a visit. Along the way, there are many signposted waterfalls close to the road (admittedly not very big at times of low rainfall but still a good opportunity to have a short walk with gorgeous views). God's Window is a popular look-out place with spectacular views on a clear day. Along the way, there are many interesting rock formations (The Pinnacle, The Three Rondavels and Bourke's Luck potholes).
You have to pay a small charge to visit some of the waterfalls and also at Bourke's Luck Potholes. There are plenty of picnic spots but the cafes and pancake houses of Graskop are a popular alternative.
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