Filled with activities for younger children at the weekends from painting to renting tricycles, the Parque Mexico in La Condesa is also pleasant for adults and near lots of restaurants and cafes. The duck pond is often rather smelly though.
Nearest metro Chilpancingo (not very near)
Although LA is notable for its lack of parks and green spaces, it does host the largest municipal park in the US, Griffith Park. Home to the (currently closed) Observatory as well as an equestrian centre, the zoo and a wealth of trails and hiking paths, Griffith Park is an unexpectedly rich escape just a few miles from downtown.
At over 700 acres, this is Dublin's giant playground - the largest enclosed urban park in Europe. It features lakes, deer, cricket and polo pitches, Dublin zoo and Áras an Uachtaráin, the home of the president.
From the city centre, wander along the Liffey to the Parkgate entrance opposite Heuston station.
Neither the biggest nor the most beautiful of Beijing’s parks, but it is filled with a gentle communal life rather than hordes of tourists. For the 1rmb entry fee, you can see Beijing opera singers, somersaulting gymnasts, kite-flyers, pavement ballroom dancers, tai-chi practitioners and badminton players. If you feel like peace and quiet, there are quiet groves around the edges.
Go just before dusk to the top of the small hill in Jingshan park, just north of the Forbidden City. By this time, the usual throng of tourists and trinket sellers has usually declined to just a couple of dozen people so you can see the old and new of Beijing in relative peace. With a good sunset, even the smog can look attractive. Open 6am-9pm daily.
Across the road from the north gate of the Forbidden City; or take bus No 101 from Fuchengmen or Chaoyangmen metro stops
Because Berliners love the outdoors, visiting a park or garden is no guarantee of getting away. In the summer, the beaches are packed, but as soon as you start to walk through the woods or round the lakes the crowds disappear. The Botanical Garden is nice, and has a dinky cafe.
Nearest S-Bahn: Botanischer Garten or 101 bus
Magical island near Wannsee, reachable only by ferry (€2). Gardens, fountains, fake ruins, peacocks … (in May big patches of Lily of the Valley). Afterwards (with your back to the water), go right up into the woods and have supper on the terrace of the Blockhaus Nikolskoe. Built in the style of a Russian Dacha, you can watch the sun set over the island. Alternatively, go left and down from the bus stop to a picturesque river beach with willow trees.
Pfaueninselchaussee 14109, Berlin-Zehlendorf; Tel: 80 58 68 30
Idyllic lake in Berlin’s main park, the Tiergarten. Hire a boat and drift among the ducks and the blossom. Relax in the cafe afterwards over a big yummy beer.
Nearest S-Bahn: Tiergarten; Cafe am Neuen See, Tel: 2544 9300
The small outdoor performance area at the Theatres on the Bay on the Esplanade hosts free concerts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Concerts also take place less frequently on the stage built on Symphony Lake in the Botanic Gardens. Both are idyllic settings in very different ways, and you may get some good music, too.
Events on the Esplanade are advertised there (nearest MRT station City Hall). Enquire at an information centre about concerts in the Botanic Gardens. The gardens are just beyond the top of Orchard Road, and a definite must-see in their own right.
Like a zoo, but just for birds. Centre piece is a re-entrant valley up into the hill with a net high above the tree canopy so all the birds fly around 'free'. Worth the visit.
2 Jurong Hill, Singapore 628925
Tel: 65 6265 0022
Wetland - which largely means mangrove swamps. Well laid out walkways take you through a variety of natural habitats. The wildlife, especially the birds, is stunning. Gives two or three hours of peace in the Singapore experience.
On the north-west coast of Singapore.
Like everywhere on the island, it is easy to get to by public transport: the website explains all you need to know.
(Of course, even taking a taxi is not particularly expensive - at least not be European standards.)
An amazingly long and beautiful walk through the jungle. About 9 or 10 kilometres of walkway through amazing primary rainforest, perfectly preserved.
The Treetops trail is awesome - a walkway a hundred feet in the air, through the vegetation. The ground-level walkway is well signposted, and even though it feels like you're in the middle of nowhere, you're never too far away from civilisation.
Runners and walkers scoot round here every Sunday morning - it makes a great start to the day - but the shady paths make it a pleasant walk at any time of the day. A real treasure and a great alternative to hitting the malls while you're in Singapore.
Just get a cab and tell the driver Macritchie Reservoir. He'll take you to the front entrance. Walk so the reservoir is on your left, and keep turning left; after 9 or 10 kilometres you'll end up back where you started.
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