Mayronne is a hamlet in the Corbieres hills, near Lagrasse. It hosts a stunning free sculpture trail five km long. There are permanent sculptures and an annual exhibition April - September. Sculptures are amusing, puzzling and breathtaking. The walk would be stunning even without the sculptures and it is a magical experience. Very few people know it's there.
About 10 miles from Lagrasse
One of the most beautiful villages in France and one of the least tourist-infested. Medieval streets, an abbey and a river with paddling place. Fabulous walking all round (GR36).
In the Corbieres hills, south of Lezignan.
Beautiful gorge that cuts through the hills around Tinerhir. In the area you can find deserted kasbahs, mud-brick villages and palmerias. All of which are truly inspiring as I am a keen photographer. I had a great time trekking there on a recent holiday. It certainly rivals the Grand Canyon in terms of beauty.
Gorgeous glassily calm natural pool with beautiful views of the nearby Roaches crags, the rolling hills of the Staffordshire Moorlands and, on a clear day, the Cheshire Plain.
Seemingly bottomless, this is the perfect spot for an outdoor dip while travelling through the White Peak or the rugged, much underrated Moorlands (although not suitable for children, as there are no shallows - the sides of the pool are sheer and it is not possible to stand up once in the water).
Legend has it that years back, a foolhardy local jumped in for a late-night swim, after one too many beers, and was dragged into the depths of the pool by the resident mermaid, never to surface again. Careful, sober swimmers shouldn't have this problem but if in doubt wear a wetsuit to counteract cramp and don't even think about taking the plunge without some sensible soul staying put on dry land to keep an eye on you.
The last time we visited, my companion jumped in despite warnings from a solitary canoeist, whose cheery advice ("well, don't say I didn't warn you...I'm not pulling you out if you get into trouble...") did not put him off.
Once you're out and drying off, make your way back over to the other side of the A53 and have a nice cup of tea, a sit-down and crucially, a scone, at Tisha's Teas, on the Gradbach road.
Between Upper Hulme, Upper Elkstone and Heathylee. Coming from Buxton, turn off the A53 just after The Winking Man pub, and follow the road. You'll pass the pool after approx 1.5 - 2 miles, on the right - park in the layby opposite. To get to Tisha's Teas; heading back to the A53 from the Mermaid's Pool, go straight over the crossroads at the A53 and follow the road down to the left - the tearooms are on the left (gorgeous views of the Roaches).
This place is gorgeous and we go every year since we discovered it. It's a really easy and unstressful drive from Faro airport and has a perfect location, perched up on a hill above the small village of Estoi with views down to the sea. Easy acess to all the great fishing villages and good shopping in Faro, as well as amazing wildlife, walks etc.
As you wind your way up into Italy's Sibillini Mountains, between Le Marche and Umbria, you will come across this dazzling tourquoise lake with its dramatic Mountain views.
If you arrive early in the morning you are likely to see boar and deer sipping from the shallow waters but as the heat of the day arrives you will be unable to resist the urge to dive in and sample a swim in the crystal clear pools.
In fact, if you take a snorkel and mask you can even view the medieval village and its church that was submerged during the last century.
There are also a number of beach areas one with a bar, a gelateria selling home made ice creams and a lakeside village with an osteria and pizzeria.
There are many marked walks nearby that take you around the lake, or high up onto the peaks and ridges of this dramatic part of the Italian Appenines. Great for building up a sweat before that wild swim!
San Lorenzo al lago, Macerata, Le Marche, Italy
From Les Lindaret the Lac de Montriond looks like a green puddle. Once you descend down the mountain to around 1000m the alpine simplicity of a lake surrounded by sheer cliffs on two sides is irresistible. Frozen in the winter and cool in the summer it's ideal for freshening up if you are hiking or biking in the area, which if you are staying in Morzine in summertime, you are very likely to be. Once in the water visibility is low and the water has a mysterious almost milky quality to it, such that when you turn to breathe and see the cliffs and pine forest, it feels like you are in a different age when dinosaurs might have stalked about in the shallows. It does feel very other-wordly.
At around 1km long, a couple of lengths and then back on the bike downhill to Morzine for drinks at Bar Robinson makes for a diverse and fulfilling afternoon.
Lac de Montriond, near Morzine, Haute de Savoie
The hosts were lovely and so welcoming that they came to pick us up from the station and served us tea and homemade cookies upon arrival. In fact they made everything homemade, from the breakfast granola to the yummy bread, which made the house smell amazing. It's a wonderful place to unwind and have a peaceful break in the country. Nothing to do but walk, eat and sleep. Which is a good thing sometimes.
Lynn Pocket (Owner)
Througham Fields Cottage
Berchules is a pretty village in the mountains, near Cadiar. There is a great hotel, which is the base for a number of excellent walks in the area. There is also a mountain biking company called Pure Mountains, run by Jenny and Tim, that organises guided trails on excellent bikes. Would recommend it for the beautiful scenery and the fantastic trails, either on foot or by bike. Good for higher levels of fitness but best enjoyed by those who like big hills!
Sunday is a hell in Seoul! The 24.5 million inhabitants all seem to be on the streets at once. If you want peace and quiet, visit Hwagye-sa.
It's an active Buddhist Temple and a home to the International Zen Centre, located at the base of Bukan mountain short 30 min. subway/bus trip from the heart of Seoul.
Go on Sunday and get a free vegan 'Monk Lunch' between 11.30-12.30 on the ground floor of the main building
After lunch there is an intro to beginners at 12.30 upstairs at the Zen Center. Worth the 30 minutes cross-legged sitting on a cushion :o)
Then to streach out a little, take an easy hike up to the mountain spring. Entrance just before the Temple's - follow the small path on the left, curving towards the right around the hill, (don't go straight on) It's a lovely walk.
I can't think of a more peaceful way to spend a Sunday in Seoul.
Subway line 4 (light Blue) to Suyu Station, exit 3,
take No.02 small green bus and get off at Hwagye-sa (Temple), cross the road and walk up the hill for 5 minutes or take taxi (under $3) from Suyu Station exit 3.
An original old Irish cottage that has had an eco-renovation (hemp lime plaster, geothermal heating, etc). Puts to shame all the horrible tacky and tasteless 'holiday cottage' developments that blight the Irish countryside. It's in an exquisite setting in hills with a view of a mountain waterfall from the front door, a lake behind the house, and yet only a short drive down to the glorious beaches of the Dingle peninsula, great pubs, etc. It has two lovely large bedrooms (double and single bed in each), characterful sitting room with wood-burning stove (we watched Life on Earth dvds every night!). Gorgeous spot - only minus are the midges in the front garden (insect repellent is a must). It's near lots of lovely places for kids. You can drive into Tralee to the waterpark with water chutes or on to Dingle town, which is a very atmospheric place.
A stunning youth hostel in a Jacobean manor house looking over the Shropshire countryside. The stone building may be austere but the food is superb and you can wash it down with a cold bottle of Hobson's Town Crier. It also has the benefit of being haunted! Handy for walking and not far from the superb Royal Oak in Cardington out towards Church Stretton.
Longville in the Dale, between Church Stretton and Much Wenlock, Shropshire.
Big Bend national park was a real eye opener, pretty far from the beaten track and despite its beauty, relatively unknown. Real John Wayne country with a single access road through a wide rift valley. Smoking volcanoes to your left, mountain lions in the distance, cowboy cacti all along the way. Stunningly beautiful, remote and there on the Mexican border near the bottom of the 'bend' is a real oddity... the small town of Lajitas. This is not the place you'd expect to find a town where the mayor is an elected goat (apparently the other candidate was so unpopular they jokingly elected a goat in his place) and the President plays golf at an exclusive, lush green private club.
Loads to do including Kayaking, horse riding, exploring, climbing, camping... an amazing experience that you'll never forget, I'd recommend to anyone and everyone.
Many people visit Granada and the Alpujarra. They naturally tend always to go to the most obvious or easily accessed villages. This suggestion takes the walker into the bit the others miss.
There are no buses to Castaras, so you have to walk. There is always a bar open in the tiny village for lunch. Walk on the GR142, generally east, from Busquistar and you will come across it. If you must go by car then access is via Almejijar or Trevelez.
The Woodman Pub is a gem in it's own right. One of the last 'traditional' pubs left in the UK, it's got a stong local flavour with all kinds of characters popping in and putting the world to rights. It stocks a host of local ales on tap, and is also a specialist in single and double malt whiskey. To top it off, it's situated in the beautiful Hampshire countryside with plenty of public footpaths. Look out for foxes, deer and hedgehogs who are never far away.
Winchester Rd, Upham, Southampton, Hampshire, SO32 1HA - 01489 860270
A really warm welcome in a well preserved, attractive and unspoilt village inn with a roaring fire, good selection of beers including an excellent Black Sheep, and filling meals at fair prices. Good anytime, but well earned bliss if youve just staggered round the three Yorkshire Peaks in under the twelve hours allowed for the 26 mile romp. The worrying tale at the bar is that the fastest fell runner came in at two hours 20 something minutes, but you should feel good just if you made it.
By the bridge in Horton in Ribbledale, and close enough to the station to get you there and back, and on the Pennine Way
This is a fantastic pub in the secluded Duddon Valley which has proven a great refuge on wet Lakeland days and nights. You can celebrate a long day's walk in fine style with fantastic Real Ales from Jennings and the food is excellent as well. This is the sort of pub that has inspired a special level of devotion in my family - on one occasion driving from Penrith to have a family meal there ...
The Newfield Inn, Seathwaite, Duddon Valley, Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria LA20 6ED
Literally anywhere on the south west coast of Crete; a mix of bustling little ferry 'ports' (Sfakia, Ag. Roumeli etc.), bijou mini-beach resorts (Loutro), deserted beaches with nearby basic rooms and authentic tavernas (Licos, Phoenix). Just sit back and relax watching the crazy hordes head off to the Samaria Gorge and guessing which ones will be half dead by the other end having never walked to the supermarket let alone tackled a challenging lengthy hike wearing flip flops!
Start off on the harbour side at Chorio Sfakion (Sfakai) but be sure to buy ferry tickets from the office near the bus stop first.
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