With remains of one of the seven cities mentioned in the Iliad, the home of writer Patrick Leigh Fermor and the chapel where Bruce Chatwin's ashes are buried, this is Greece ancient and modern - and for modern comforts stay at Anniska or Liakoto in the village.
A small entrance fee gives you access to the extensive Lycian archaeological site complete with large amphitheatre. Work is still in progress and we found the guys working there really friendly and anxious to explain it all to us. When you have finished looking round the historical site, you can drive a little way further on to the beach- 18 km of beautiful sand. There is a small cafe and a few recliners with umbrellas. Paradise!
Google map: bit.ly/XjH5wu
While on a primarily wildlife trip to the national parks of Assam, my wife and I decided to do a short tour of Majuli Island, and we are glad we did. The island, located in the middle of the mighty Brahmaputra River, is a place anyone visiting this region should go to. The island is the hotbed of an ancient culture which still flourishes in the form of Xatras (monasteries) where monks learn various historical forms of arts, dance, music, drama and philosophy. The island has a magical and ambient aura where one can participate in simple rural life and enjoy life at a very leisurely pace.
Our trip was organized by Greener Pastures.
The Algarve has many good beaches. You will find the picture postcard type, with grottos, cliffs and golden sand at low tide, around Lagos. However, when you want something different, head 30 miles north-west to the small town of Aljezur, close to the wild Portuguese Atlantic coast, which is designated as the Vincentina Coast Natural Park. Aljezur is a good looking and interesting historic town with a Moorish castle set in a productive green valley. It has a nice hostel, a market (to buy picnics) and good places to eat, but the real treat is at the end of an attractive five mile drive along the winding road west following the valley of the Ribeira de Aljezur. This takes you to Praia da Amoreira, which has all the components of the perfect beach, but with no crowds and commerce, other than a nice looking shack which, by reputation, has excellent fresh fish in season. You will be able to enjoy the fantastic, weirdly contorted, rock formations in the cliffs and on the foreshore, explore hundreds of rock pools, watch the ever optimistic local fishermen perched in precarious positions rods in hand, ride the surf, run free on the wide expanses of sand, picnic amongst the dunes or splash around in the quieter waters of the estuary.
If you are driving, 1/2 mile north of Aljezur, on the N120, turn left (by the swimming pool) and follow the narrow winding road along the river valley. Praia de Amoreira is at the end of the road. Alternatively up to eight buses a day run from Lagos to Aljezur.
Google map: bit.ly/12OE8vz
An amazing site for everyone to enjoy including families, with its legends and myths of the minotaur, impressive frescoes and murals and space to explore and wander without rush. This is a centre of Minoan civilisation and culture. There is enough information for enthusiasts, a decent shop, nice cafe and unintrusive staff who let you take your time to absorb the atmosphere and wonder of this important historic site. The dolphins and griffins in murals appeal to the younger visitors and there is plenty of shade when a break needed from the sun and heat. Wonderful.
I've just returned from a trip of a lifetime walking in the desert with an excellent guide, a docile dromedary carrying everything for a night's camping and the dromedary minder who led me on spectacular rides into the sunset. Imagine, the only sound was birdsong, no other people to be seen, delicious meals and a star filled sky at night - truly a dream come true! Reach the desert by 4X4 from Marrakech.
We treated ourselves to luxury by staying in a Welsh castle near Aberystwyth. It is in fact a grand house built as a Gothic folly complete with turrets and ramparts but inside it is very deservedly a five-star boutique hotel that is sumptuously decorated and inviting. Our room had a four poster, a bathroom with a circular bath and we had tremendous views out over the beautiful Aberdovey river which was ideal for our romantic stay. The breakfast was excellent and our host was friendly and made us feel at home. Well worth staying for something special.
We visited Tlos in spring when the snow on the mountains provided a magnificent backdrop to this ancient, ruined Lycian citadel which was subsequently inhabited by Romans, Byzantines and eventually Ottoman Turks. Entrance fee was 3 TL and this allowed us to wander up to the citadel passing wonderful examples of Lycian carved rock tombs, sarcophagi and the remains of Turkish baths and a Roman stadium. Despite being surrounded by history it was the all-round view which provided the most lasting spectacle.
You reach the Tlos from Fethiye by following the 400 highway towards Kalkan and following the signs for Tlos.
This is an historic building built in Japanese style in 1911. It sits high above Hollywood Blvd with a view toward downtown. Interesting fusion dishes and a great bar. A great place to escape Hollywood's frantic pace in a beautiful setting to enjoy the twinkling lights.
A wonderful spot to study the skyline and enjoy drinks, small plates or dinner, moderate prices. Romantic and historic at the same time. Be sure to check out history on website.
Pack your picnic basket with a baguette, Camembert, a Normandy cider and a tarte au pommes, and head for the old town of Rouen. Relax on the bench at the foot of Rouen’s Notre Dame Cathedral where Monet stood with his easel and brushed his series of Cathedral images and bon appétit! If you are brave and maybe talented too take your charcoals with you and try your hand. If not take coffee on the pavement outside one of several little cafes, like Brasserie Paul, nearby to the sounds of the accordion. Inspiring.
A small, intimate restaurant set in a 17th Century townhouse that fits beautifully into the medieval atmosphere of Dinan.
Grilled meat is cooked on an open fireplace within. Flames and delicious aromas add to the all important 'je ne sais quoi.' Although fully booked we were left unhurried and had plenty of time to savour delicious local wines while drinking in the period details of the setting.
6 rue Sainte-Claire, 22100 Dinan, Brittany
Google map: bit.ly/14jZMmB
A charming town in Southern Sicily, located in the foothills above Agrigento. A perfect base to explore many destinations in Sicily. An easy distance from the famous Greek temples of Agrigento, the pristine beaches of the Capo Bianco, the fantastic nature preserve of Zingaro which sits above a crystalline bay. North of the town in the rugged mountains are many towns to explore and sites to visit: the grotto in Santo Stefano di Quisquina, the mafia Museum of Corleone, every town has festivities and celebrations throughout the year. We have just fallen in love with pleasure of finding a new little restaurant, an old church, a wonderful place in Sciacca where the owner makes granita, but also has a stash of house made limoncello as well.
But why Cianciana itself? It is one of the friendliest and most hospitable towns on the island. Featuring several restaurants, numerous bar/cafes, all the amenities and yet still small enough to leave your keys in the car without worry. During summer months the main street is closed to traffic every evening, and all the cafes place tables out from one end to another to enjoy balmy evenings and cool drinks.
Where to stay: there are self catering rentals as well as a new boutique hotel in a renovated palazzo, Villa Platani. It is a perfect base to explore all the wonders Sicily has to offer, and has become a place one returns to again and again, welcome each time like a returning family member. When traveling in the region of Agrigento, it really is our favorite place to stay.
East meets west with spectacular views over Helsinki. Russian and Finnish are the most widely heard languages in this exotic venue which served as the Russian headquarters during the latter part of the Second World War. As the tallest building in Helsinki from 1931-1976 it has been the scene of intrigue that shaped the recent history and politics of northeastern Europe. An unforgettable and atmospheric location.
Mambo Poa Tours is a new tour agency located on the South East Coast of Zanzibar. We heard a lot of discussion about Zanzibar becoming over touristy and over-charged, but we did not find this the case to be on the south east coast. Jambiani is a perfect base to stay, and the boys from Mambo Poa had some really interesting tours, beside the usual tours. We did a snorkelling trip, a day out in Stone Town (ask them about a combo of Spice tour, City Tour and Prison Island - it was a day full of fun!) and to a place in the south of the island with an abandoned hotel site (definitely something different.) You can tell that the boys know their island and they were nice and honest guys to hang out with.
No Dublin-based film would be complete without a shot of the capital's cultural quarter, Temple Bar. In the final few moments of the movie 'Once', Glen and Marketa take a walk through the sun-dappled cobbles. It's a bittersweet scene. On the one hand, they're celebrating the completion of their album but ultimately they know they will soon be going their separate ways. If you choose to stick around, you’ll easily while away an hour or so checking out the latest exhibition in the Gallery of Photography on Meeting House Square.
The Gallery, Booshop and Darkrooms are open Tuesday to Saturday 11am-6pm, Sundays 1-6pm.
Gallery of Photography, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar,
+353 1 671 4654
Google map: bit.ly/YCR0hQ
* Fiona is our Been there local for Dublin. You can follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/FionaHilliard and read her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/trails/been-there-locals.jsp. She also has her own blog: www.traveledits.com
This church may be less well known than many in Prague, but inside it reveals the story of an act of great heroism from the days of World War II. Two Czech partisans, Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcik, had assassinated the hated deputy Reich- Protector of occupied Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich. They were hiding out in the crypt along with five of their comrades when they were betrayed to the Gestapo by one of their own. There followed a three hour siege, during which 800 members of the SS and Gestapo were held at bay, until Kubis and Gabcik took their own lives. The crypt today is a compelling place to visit, with a strong sense of the events that unfolded there many years ago. There is a small museum and shop, and a film made by the Nazis with dramatic footage of Hitler attending the state funeral of Heydrich. At street level you can see the air vent with the surrounding stonework still scarred by the bullets that were fired at it in an attempt to dislodge the Czech partisans. It is also possible to follow the story to its final dreadful conclusion by visiting the village of Lidice, outside Prague – shortly after the assassination the anticipated reprisal took place there, the men shot, women and children deported to concentration camps and the village dynamited.
Petrin Tower is a great experience if you don't mind heights and steps. If walking up 299 steps fills you with horror you can take the funicular railway to the top. The views at the top will take your breath away, the whole of Prague city in every direction, your reward.
This little known museum has an amazing collection of soviet era helicopters and even some jets. It is run by a private collector who has built up the collection over the past ten years. Rarely seem outside Russia these copters and planes are impressive and interesting and if you have an hour whilst waiting for your flight can be seen for small fee
Ten min walk from the main terminal...ask the helpful staff on the information kiosk inside the building as other staff seem unaware of its existence (as do official tourist info in riga)
full info and list of exhibits here
Only bettered by the equally unknown air museum at east midlands aiport (ask in aircraft model shop...the only one I have ever found in an airport even though that would seem a great place for one!)
Buy a Prague one day travel pass and rumble along on a number 22 tram from the National Theatre across the River Voltava. Then let the quaint funicular railway take the strain up Petrin Hill. Built in 1893 the Petrin Observation Tower is an Eiffel lookalike and sways slightly in the wind. You can go up by lift or climb the 299 wooden stairs on the outside to the viewing platform with its superb panorama over Prague. Stroll back to the city down through gardens and apple orchards. Two hours, all in, for a fiver.
The Sedlec Ossuary (The church of bones) is at Kutna Hora, 50 miles to the east of Prague. It is reputed to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 bodies.
In many cases, these skeletons have been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel.
Four enormous bell-shaped mounds occupy the corners of the chapel, and an enormous chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, hangs from the centre of the nave.
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