During a family weekend by Lake Como, we loved our Sunday morning spent exploring 17th-century Villa Carlotta. Inside, we were impressed by antiquities and preserved rooms. But the biggest treat was outside: exquisite terraced gardens with magnificent views of the lake, room to picnic and play, a hidden valley of ferns and even some enchanting tiny turtles in one of the fountains.
To say that the Italian lakes are picturesque is a mighty understatement, but if you can imagine that the essence of the beauty and romance of all of the lakes could all be condensed into one small town by the side of one of the smallest lakes, then you can begin to conjure up a picture of Orta San Giulio.
Whilst many of the popular resorts on larger lakes suffer traffic problems, cars are banned from the streets of Orta San Giulio, indeed many of the streets are too narrow for anything other than scooters. Day visitors and residents alike have walk down medieval streets and alleyways, which all lead to the main square and the stunning view across to Isola San Giulio.
www.ortasangiulio.com (in Italian)
Located on the edge of Krakow, at the last stop on the tramline is a nest of hyper malls and rampant development. In the middle of this sits the lone surviving building from the once massive Solvay Soda Ash Complex which employed at its peak 3,000 men and their families.
"Solvay" has a complex and fascinating history (Pope John Paul II worked there during World War II to avoid deportation) but stands today as a forgotten monument and symbol of the transformations that have occurred in Poland over the last 20 years. Solvay has quietly become the defacto community center of the area - and a dedicated space for creative and artistic production.
Conceived and curated by Halfslant, NOWA SODA: Solvay Transformed is a month long artist in residency which challenges four international artists to create a site-responsive installation while bearing witness to the past and present of the building. Four artists have each developed proposals that address not just the history of the building, but the living community that uses the space every day.
Last stop on tram number 8 heading towards Borek Fałęcki
Stay in Santa Margherita Ligure (which has cheaper accommodation than Portofino itself) and take a scenic boat trip to Portofino. Climb to the top of Castello Brown for the most amazing views of the Marina and bay. Lunch at one of the many open air restaurants on the quay.
If visiting nearby Sherwood Forest here's a good and inexpensive place to spend a couple of hours. Crumbling, haunted ruins of a medieval monastery and later country house, contemporary craft centre, modern sculpture trail, attractive park and lake, shops, cafe and restaurant with good value cooked lunches. Unusual things for the kids to discover like the camera obscura, the dragon gateway and the 'stone harp'. www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/ruffordcp
About 20 miles north of Nottingham on the A614, 3 miles south of Ollerton. It's on the old Great North Road which once ran through Sherwood Forest.
Chanced upon this hotel a few years ago, the AC chain is Spanish owned and there are a lot around Spain. This chain nails it. Modern and chic rooms, in Malaga you get a roof top pool, overlooking the old town which is beautiful. Crisp and clean and uber stylish, and, best of all, very reasonable. You get free beer (in bottles) and small snacks all day too, an incredible find, highly recommend.
South eastern Crete remains one of the few areas on the island that has not been swamped by a dependence on tourism. The infrastructure is there to provide for tourists' summer needs but agriculture remains the main source of income for locals. The two-hour drive from Heraklion Airport has helped to keep the area largely unspoilt, with many hidden gems of isolated beaches and traditional mountain villages just waiting to be explored. There is a good (daytime) public transport service between Heraklion Airport and Ierapetra with an hourly service on to Makry-Gialos which has the widest selection of accommodation and is a good base for the area.
Stunning little town. Good food, really friendly people and a fair amount of ex-pats to talk to. Lots to do too. Hillwalking, coastal walks, boat trips, sea kayaking, an ancient amphitheatre to visit. Simply amazing. Even the drive to the town will blow you away.
A short drive along the coast from Kalkan. Or there are plenty of hotels in Kas itself if you fancy a stay. Dalaman Airport is closest.
Small museum that for a suggested 99 cents donation displays and contextualises wonderful remnants of Coney Island's colourful past including vintage bumper cars, funhouse mirrors and photos of the sideshow folk who once worked there. Also houses temporary exhibitions. Highly recommended to those with a taste for oddball Americana. Note that it's only open at weekends.
Sleep in wooden bungalows, so buried in the orange trees and jasmine it is hard to spot them. The rooms are spotless and comfortable, the alarm clock is a cockerel. Breakfasts start early and continue until lunch time, everything comes fresh from the village. Stroll 100 metres down the path and you are on the beach. Walk to the left and find the Chimera burning constantly, walk right and explore the Lycian city of Olimpos or just grab a bed and a brolly and enjoy the view of the sea and the mountains. Dinners on the beach include the day's catch, but be prepared to wait whilst they go and pick the salad! So laid back all you will want to do is read a good book. (but they do also have wifi!) Room and breakfast for two is around 120 TL.
Çıralı Köyü Ulupınar Kemer / Türkiye E-Posta: email@example.com Telefon-Faks: 0242 825 71 61
About 80km from Antalya, easily reachable by bus and then dolmus from the main road.
- Stay at the ITC Grand Central (although it's kind of removed) in the Towers. You can use Starwood points
- Check out the Ellora Caves on Elephanta Island
- Buy a Thailand Tatler
- Stop by Dhobi Ghat. Be prepared for some interactions
- See Haji Ali Dargah
- Go next door to the Mahalaxmi Temple (and bring socks)
- Shop at Bombay Electric if you want fashionable clothing and price is no object
- Lunch at Not Just Jazz by the Bay
- Enjoy evening cocktails on the deck of The Intercontinental
- Visit the Jain temple near Malabar Hill
ITC Grand Central:
Not Just Jazz by the Bay:
Information on many of the tourist spots is available on Wikipedia:
On a nice day there's no better place to be.
One of the finest and most spectacular pieces of Elizabethan architecture. The beautiful roaming deer in the park. The gardens and the lake.
It's definitely the best urban park outside London, and not that far from Nottingham City Centre by car or bus.
Google map: tinyurl.com/ycwtvff
The Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds is the second oldest continually operating cinema in the country, one of the oldest surviving cinemas from the silent era and with many of its original features still intact. To be found on the corner of a terraced street you come upon it almost by surprise. Not only has it shown film, it has also featured in film, notably Wetherby in 1985. What makes it so appealing is its intimate feel - indeed it was advertised in 1914 as “the cosiest picture house in Leeds”. It hasn’t changed much since then. Among its most well known features is its gas “modesty lighting”, which could be dimmed by the projectionist to a level that would preserve decency during a show! To be found on the corner of a terraced street you come upon it almost by surprise. Today it serves the local community well, showing a mixture of selected mainstream cinema, classic cinema, arthouse films, Hindi films and is about to host the Leeds Young People’s film festival. It even welcomes babies to its Saturday morning screenings.
Gwalior is the next stop from Agra so the competition in terms of tourist attractions is rather tough in this region! It is home to a massive fort which looks like a castle from an Indian fairytale. It dates from the 8th Century and you'll feel like you have stepped on to the set of Passage to India/Jewel in the Crown/Carry on up the Khyber. It cost about 10p to get in, although that was in 1998.
Built at the turn of the 20th Century by a wealthy, and presumably somewhat eccentric family, the Kirk really has a magical atmosphere. A mixture of architectural styles and fascinating details, which somehow contrive not to be a dog's dinner but a beautiful building. Looking across the loch on a misty day even the most cynical traveller must surely feel this is a special place.
The new Alexandra bookstore on Andrássy opened in November 2009. The building is quite striking from the outside, however, when you walk in and take the escalator to the first floor, a magnificent frescoed ceiling (complete with huge chandeliers) is revealed as part of the in-store cafe. The place is stunning with so much to gaze at and lots of seating. Coffee was pretty good and reasonably priced. Go and take a look - it's not in the guidebooks yet, but it will be.
Andrássy út 39. Close to Oktagon.
New York's oldest building that is still in continuous use dating from 1766. Amazing when you think it is right in middle of the financial district, surrounded by skyscrapers.
Since it was only across the road from the Twin Towers, this chapel was used by the rescue workers as a place of respite. A lot of displays relate to the 9/11 period and are moving reminders of what happened that day. This was the church on whose railings people pinned photos of loved ones missing in the days following the terrorist attack.
While Grand Central station is a must see in itself there is quite a quirky feature that people should experience.
The archway outside the Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant creates a neat trick with sound. Simply stand in one corner of arch and whisper something into the wall. A friend who is standing diagonally across from you in the other corner will hear you as if you were standing next to them.
Largest Catholic church in the US.
Perfect to get away from the hustle and bustle of 5th Avenue. Seen famous funerals in past such as Robert Kennedy's.
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