I discovered the REAL Cornwall, after years of family holidays in 'obvious' places, by going on a week long walking holiday with Martin Hunt.
He leads walks over moors, along coastal paths, across beaches, up hills and down creeks and valleys. He knows magical, secret places that I'd never have discovered on my own and he's got amazing knowlegde of local flora, fauna and folklore and geology. Does tasy packed lunches as well! Excellent.
You don't have to be super fit but a bit of agility helps and although I had a good time on my own, there were also couples and groups of friends.
www.adventureline.co.uk 01209 820 847
The forest of Marselisskoven is right next to the city and can be reached from the centre of town within 10 minutes.
In the summer, stick a coin in one of the city bicycles and off you go (or catch a bus). There is a wonderful sandy beach all along the forest and in the forest itself there is a park with deer, a camping site, several great restaurants and a view over the sea to kill for.
Just before the forest you pass the royal family's summer residence, Marselisborg Slot. When the Queen is in Aarhus, you can watch the change of guards every day at noon. The castle is surrounded by a beautiful memorial park which is perfect for a picnic or a barbecue. When the Queen is not in residence, it is even possible to walk around the castle's own gardens.
Just south of the city centre. Walkable distance on a nice day.
First of all, their friendly English and Portuguese speaking staff make your trip seamless through the country if you take one of their well-planned guided tours (and Portuguese is not an easy language).
They also make it so easy for someone to go on their own down the coast. It's really a joy when you can roll through the countryside with just a map and bike knowing your hotel and restaurant staff are literally waiting for you! Bluecoastbikes' staff also took care of our dinner and hotel reservations too.
Their staff took care of everything for us, even calling midweek to see how we were enjoying everything!
Bluecoastbikes is the way to go for biking in Portugal if you want to enjoy your trip and worry about nothing but the ride and the wines to choose!
They are licensed and insured. They have daily rentals and dropoffs, week-long guided and self-guided tours, and jeep rides/tours as well.
A stunning group of coral islands 60 miles off Key West, only accessible by boat or seaplane.
The name comes from “tortugas”, referring to the then abundance of nesting sea turtles on the islands, with the word “Dry” added later to indicate to sailors that there was no water here.
The main island is home to the amazing brick construction of Fort Jefferson, built to protect young America’s shipping routes from the Spanish and then the English. It was later used as a prison for civil war deserters.
The islands have been called “the Galapagos of north America” because of the diversity of wildlife. While snorkeling – in perfectly clear water - you can see sharks, rays, hundreds of types of tropical fish and spectacular coral formations. Many rare birds, including masked boobies, sooty terns and frigate birds, only nest on or visit these islands.
Turtles lay their eggs here too, and you can occasionally see them popping their heads up above the surface.
There are two boat services and a seaplane to choose from.
We went on the Yankee Freedom ferry, which costs $139 per person, and includes breakfast, lunch, cold drinks and all snorkelling gear.
You can also camp on the island.
The original and oldest Everglades airboat tour is one of the first stops along the Tamiami trail – the road from Miami across to Naples and the Gulf of Mexico coast.
The exhilarating ride lasts for about 40 minutes and goes out through the waterways, which are actually made up of one big grass river.
The driver slows down to point out birds, many alligators and will give you some local natural history.
US 41, 11 miles west of the Florida Turnpike
A great three-hour trip into the 10,000 Island section of the Everglades, which is made up of islands and inlets of mangroves.
You’re transported on a larger boat right out to the edge of the park where the Everglades meet the Gulf of Mexico, then dismount into kayaks in groups of about eight.
The guide, friendly and knowledgeable Captain Charles, leads you up small creeks, through mangrove areas and stops for a while on a sandy beach on one of the island.
Spring and autumn are said to be the best times to go because of the migrating birds and water levels - which encourage more wildlife - but even in summer we saw brown pelicans, egrets and herons, rosette spoonbills, ospreys, terns and dolphins.
The tours leave from Everglades City and cost $115 per person. The boat drops you off right outside the Seafood Café, where you can get a great lunch of fresh fish and crab.
Forget all your assumptions about Greece. This mountainous peninsula is very green with enormous broadleaf trees, ferns, moss, daisies and buttercups. The air is fresh even in August, building is more strictly controlled than in London’s green belt, the roads don’t have any potholes and the cooking would satisfy even the most picky foodie.
Rising to 1123m and more than 300m above Zakopane, Gubalówka offers magnificent views of Zakopane itself, the Tatra mountains, the Podhale region and the Beskid mountains beyond it.
During the spring and summer months, Gubalówka is a great starting place for a Zakopane visit. Offering a few kilometres of hiking trails, breathtaking views, as well as eating establishments, you can easily spend a day here exploring the native beauty.
Several gentle and rough hiking trails starting in Zakopane will get you to the top of Gubalówka. Alternatively, for 10 months of the year (except May & October) there is a rail line to the top from the market in Zakopane.
Although Mount Rysy is not as high or spectacular as, say, Mont Blanc or the French Pyrenées, it is Poland's highest peak and a national symbol.
At 2503m, the hike up from Morskie Oko and Czarny Staw is arduous but is well worth it for peering across into Slovakia and back across Poland. The sunset over the peak is
Mount Rysy lies within the Tatra National Park and on the border between Poland and Slovakia.
If you want to cross the Polish/Slovakian border after climbing Mt. Rysy, keep in mind that this is only allowed until the 30th of September due to the high risk of avalanches.
A bus from Zakopane to the Slovakian border at Łysa Polana will get you to Polana Palenica car park, from there it's a good half days trek up to Mount Rysy via Morskie Oko and Czarny Staw.
Note that there is a 2 złoty entrance fee to enter the national park.
Morskie Oko (Eye of the Sea) and Czarny Staw (Black Pond) are the most popular tourist attractions on the Polish side of the High Tatra mountains, but go after July when the foreign tourists have gone and the breathtaking views of domineering Mount Rysy and the peace of both of the lakes are yours alone. It's a shame though that all you can do is admire the lakes instead of swimming in them but make the most of the fresh air!
Morskie Oko and Czarny Staw both lie within the Tatra National Park. A bus from Zakopane to the Slovakian border at Łysa Polana will get you to Polana Palenica car park, from there the local Górale inhabitants will take you up the 1440m climb to the lakes in their horse drawn carriages for 35 złoty each in 1 hr 45 mins, otherwise it takes 2 hours to cover the whole 9km on foot (but the path is concreted). Note that there is a 2 złoty entrance fee to enter the national park.
150km up the road from Coral Bay is Exmouth, which whilst a not particularly inspiring town itself has fantastic access to the Ningaloo reef nearby. The beach to aim for is Turquoise Bay and the neighbouring Drift Bay.
About a 45 minute drive from Exmouth around the top of the cape and back down the other side, these beaches offer fantastically clear water, beautiful sand, an isolated setting and snorkeling over a reef that you can easily swim to from the shore.
In Drift Bay, walk to the 'left' when you come onto the beach, swim out, and then let the current carry you over the top of the reef for a few hundred metres, where it will drop you at a small headland that pokes out into the bay. It's not as dangerous as it sounds, and can be done without the need for flippers, or any swimming at all, just float and let yourself be carried along.
There is a huge variety of underwater activity, with turtles, wrasse, angel fish, butterfly fish and even leopard sharks amongst the hundreds of fish doing their thing.
Individual service, fine dining, a pleasant living ambience created by fine wooden surroundings, warm colors and original fabrics.
Cosy rooms with an overwhelming panorama view over the valley.
Beautiful mountain spa with treatment areas, pool and different saunas.
Alpine and cross-country skiing, hiking, mountain biking, wine-tasting, shopping in and around the loveliest high valleys in the very heart of the Black Forest National Park, located within the region of Feldberg, Schauinsland and Belchen.
Ideal for round-trips as in the border triangle close to Freiburg im Breisgau (25km), the sunny capital of the Black Forest and to the French and Swiss borders.
Beautiful forested national park up in the Apennines.
In late June we felt we virtually had the national park to ourselves.
Wildlife is protected here so, unusually for southern Europe, you will (if you're quiet and alert!) actually see wild boar, deer, as well as numerous butterflies, wild flowers...
Refreshingly cooler up in the mountains too.
40km east of Florence. You can fly Ryanair to Forli then drive 30km south to pretty town of St Sofia which is on the edge of the national park.
Directions on the official website: www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.for.casentinesi/Earr.html
Le Marche's hills roll in from the Adriatic and reach the Sibillini mountains. A national park has been created to protect this awesome high section of the Appenines and its flora and fauna which includes wolves, golden eagles, wild boar and porcupines.
In Spring the area is carpeted in a rainbow of wild flowers. In summer you can swim or eat at tavernas round the shore of a lake; walk through cool gorges that dissect the mountains; and cycle or walk the paths that cross the ridges at 2,000m.
There are an abundance of fascinating medieval hill towns with museums and great ristorante serving up great value meals.
A great base for the area is Sarnano; which has 20 ristorante, a ski resort nearby, a variety of bars and stunning views.
Sarnano is in Macerata region of Le Marche and can be reached via Ancona and Pescara airports.
The stunning Las Islas Cies in Galicia is an uninhabited and pristine national park with loads of wildlife and a perfect crescent of soft pale sand, backed by small dunes sheltering a calm lagoon of crystal-clear (but freezing) sea.
The water is turquoise and the sand fine and white.
The only place to stay on the island is an idyllic campsite shaded by pine trees. It has a decent shop, bar and cafe and, this being Spain, even a proper restaurant that serves great seafood.
The park is open to the public only in summer.
00 34 986 43 83 58, campingislascies.com, open Easter week and June to September.
For 1000 pesos (£1) you can take a 30-minute boat trip around the harbour. On sunny days, you get beautiful views back to the city and the hills.
You also get about as close to a fully functional port as you will anywhere in the world and get to see a dry dock and the local battle ships up close and personal. If you're lucky, you'll see sea-lions sunning themselves on the decks of fishing boats that they have commandeered. For 10,000 pesos (£10) you can hire a whole boat for yourselves.
Muelle Prat, down by Plaza Sotomayor
Lake Iseo, with Monte Isola, southern Europe's largest lake island, is Italy's best kept secret and behind it is Valle Camonica with skiing, rivers and more lakes.
Easy to get to, lots to do, not expensive and unspoilt.
Just north east of Bergamo (Ryan air hub for Italy) see
Combe Martin is about six miles out of Ilfracombe on the A39.
It's excellent for rockpools. Head onto the beach and walk to the cliffs on the right. At low tide you will find a path that follows the base of the cliff and around the headland about 200m.
It has an abundance of big and small rockpools full of sealife.
Keeps the kids (and dads) happy for hours.
There is also a lovely stretch of sandy beach exposed beyond the water break at low tide.
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