A way to escape from the mountains of tourists in Barcelona, with amazing views of the city, Parc del Guinardó has a more local feel and is a lovely place for a picnic or somewhere to escape to.
From Dalaman, through Fethiye, through Ölü Deniz, along a narrow road on the side of a mountain, we climb higher. The sun gets lower and sinks as a huge red ball into the sea. We stop, but we should be down at sea level. Out of the gloom a safari jeep appears. We climb in the back and the jeep plunges over the edge of the road, down a precipitous boulder-strewn track, winding between trees barely a jeep width apart. Eventually we do reach sea level and are greeted by Yalcin and his wonderful staff. They, carrying hurricane lamps, guide us to our rooms, which are balconied cabins – rustic, yet well appointed with all mod cons. They, the kitchen and behind the bar are the only places under cover. Elsewhere, sun shades and vines on pergolas shade the many peaceful lounging areas. Everything is clustered round the kitchen garden which provides much of the delicious food. On the first day, everyone was very British and ate at separate tables. Thereafter everyone was very Mediterranean and we all ate round one big table exchanging life histories and tall tales. There are great walks (look out for wild boar, tortoises and rare butterflies) and the sea to cool off in. If you can’t be bothered to go the three minutes to the sea, there is a pool – but don’t try diving in – the rocks on which it was built provide a smooth but uneven bottom. Not just Turkish Delight, but Turkish Paradise.
Beyaz Yunus Faralya, Faralya, near Ölü Deniz
+44 (0)20 8605 3500
When you arrive in Formentera by boat from Ibiza, first thing you will notice is the silence. Ibiza represents the night madness and Formentera, which is right next to it, appears as an isolated piece of calm. The sand beaches reminded me of the Indian Ocean islands or maybe the Caribbean... but at a much more affordable cost! I hope they manage to keep the sustainable development as they have done so far.
Rhossili beach is in the Gower.
This beach is beautiful and has some secluded coves which you can have all to yourself if you walk further down it.
It is excellent for fishing and on the rocks you can find many different sea foods to eat.
The beach, just like much of the Gower is often often un crowded even during peak season so I would reccommend it over Cornwall any day. It is also easier to get to than Cornwall as it is serviced by a major motorway.
Pitton cross is a really peaceful campsite that overlooks the beach. It doesn't have a great deal of facilities and is more of of a back to basics campsite but for the view alone and the seclusion it is well worth a visit.
The nearest pub is Worms Head hotel. This has some nice traditional pub food and some good local ales on tap.
On the site we got a tipi from tipi rent, it was the envy of the whole site and provided a very relaxing/romantic atmosphere for my wife and I.
Would reccommend the whole experience and would return again this summer.
The campsite is Pitton cross (15 miles or so from Swansea.)
Pitton Cross Caravan & Camping,
Rhossili, Gower, Swansea, SA3 1PH
Tel : 01792 390 593
I believe the nearest station is Gowerton
The place I got my tipi was www.tipirent.com
Google map: tinyurl.com/yzdj2k4
Beautifully designed hotel in the city centre. Stayed there earlier this year - it's designed along the lines of a monastery and is a peaceful and stylish hotel to be in. Great pool, interesting library, lovely rooms and lots of open spaces for sitting around, lounging. It's quite small, about 20 rooms or something so is very quiet and calm.
Steeped in history dating to Simon van der Stel's era, this working wine estate is set in the fertile Constantia valley. Once the bread-basket supplying the former emerging settlement now it is only a twenty minute drive from the urban centre of Cape Town. Still holding its rural charm it offers the choice of three restaurants, hotel accommodation, spa facilities and a cricket oval as well as wine tastings seven days a week. History buffs and green-fingered enthusiasts can opt for tours of this restored and popular homestead and gardens. There is a selection of brandies and olive oils for sale in the wine shop as well as advice on food and wine pairing.
The recently revamped River Café offers a menu of affordable seasonal produce from Uitsig's own organic garden which is accompanied with specially sourced home-made breads, meats and cheeses. Understated and relaxed this bistro is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea throughout the year bar New Year's day.
La Colombe is the winner of numerous awards for both its service and predominately French cuisine but also offers diners a selection of Asian- inspired dishes. The estate's selection of prestigious wines only heighten the experience of fine dining.
Situated in the original manor house on the estate, The Constantia Uitsig restaurant focuses mainly on rustic Italian favourites for lunch and dinner. The best quality ingredients are used and this heartfelt approach adds to the convivial ambience.
With the option of three restaurants, fine wine, stunning scenery and a slice of Cape history this dining experience fails to disappoint.
Incredible beach club, wonderful atmosphere. Arriving at Singita is like going on a lost island, the sea is not clean as a Caribbean one but you can swim and the beach is white and long.
Food is good and cocktails amazing. There are four post and beds all around the beach, at sunset time they put many white towel and pillows all around. DJ set every day and gong play for sunset ceremony.
There is a nice fish restaurant too and you can have dinner on the beach or laying in the four post! The perfect place to relax and chill out.
High above Colares lies the white washed village of Penedo. A pretty village with excellent views to the Atlantic Ocean, the Sintra Mountains and the Pena Palace.
Wander around the cobbled streets, walk into the shaded pine forests, rest for a chilled drink with 'Paulo' at the Cafe - 'Refugio de Cyclista.'
Lunch is served in a hidden restaurant behind the cafe daily 12.00 - 14.00 (not Sundays). Traditional Portuguese dishes served from the BBQ, or try the dish of the day - which could include rabbit, curry or fish pie - to include dessert and drinks only 5 - 7 euros!! (depends what you eat and how much of the local wine you drink!
A taste of real Portugal!
Penedo - Colares - SINTRA
Google map: tinyurl.com/yb5sqo2
On the Mornington Peninsula about an hour from the centre of Melbourne are a lot of natural hot springs and pools and 'Peninsula Hot Springs' has built a resort over some of them. With this they provide special private treatments (massages, spa treatments etc) as well as public swimming areas in the thermal pools. Rich in minerals, the warm waters (around 36-42°c) soothe and caress.
Its a guest house run by delightful English hosts, in an area of outstanding peace and beauty. The gite is only 225 Euros per week off peak (I stayed in a similar place on the Isle of Wight recently and had to pay £600 for a week). There is plenty to do in Normandy and the food is great. They do B&B too from about 50 euros per room per night I think. Who needs any more?
This is a peninsula far from for the mainland just two kilometers through a handmade pathway in the middle of an estuary. The almost-island is an inhabited mountain named Monte Argentario. Porto Santo Stefano is one of the two small typical fishing villages in the area. You can enjoy looking at the sea from the central square at Porto Santo Stefano, placed in the middle of the bay and also the center of town. The streets here are steep. All the houses windows on the hill look at the sea.
You can enjoy a great pizza and especially all the fresh seafood just some minutes after the fishing people carry it from the boats.
You can have a bathe in the sea, sunbathing, having a mineral water bath - the nearest is Orbetello, hiking on the mountain, walk round the town, go on a leisure boat trip ... or just plan a trip to Siena or Firenze, only an hour and a half from here.
It is like paradise, you'll enjoy the historic places like the Spanish fortaleza (castles), the seaside walk, the mountain views, the excellent wines and food, the calm and tranquility, and the sea bathing and of course, the proximity to Firenze and Rome.
You should take some of the numerous, almost every two hours, trains from Rome, in direction to Milan or Lucca. You should stop down at Orbetello Station and there rent a car or a taxi. In some minutes, just about 10 kilometers far you will be in an almost unknown italian paradise.
Google map: tinyurl.com/yczbbqt
A replica of the American Statue of Liberty that was gifted to the Parisians in 1885. It faces west towards the original in New York.
To reach the statue you have to walk down an island walkway called Alles des Cygnes. This is a wonderful walkway with the busy Seine on either side. It is enveloped by hanging trees and is a very tranquil place. There are also many benches to sit on and relax. Its only a 15 minute walk from the madness and bustle of the Eiffel Tower but it could be a million miles away.
Pont de Grenelle, 75015 Paris, France
Google map: bit.ly/l13Egm
A beautiful cottage retreat to relax in near the Alentejo coast two hours south of Lisbon. You could spend the whole week reading books in the garden, enjoy the views and the wildlife on nearby walks or horse rides or go to the local beaches- popular with the Portugese over the summer, but otherwise you'll probably have them to yourself.
The Taylors are great hosts and will help introduce you to this beautiful part of Portugal having lived in Cortinhas for over 20 years.
A very beautiful yoga retreat in the Mediterranean mountains of the Costa Daurada in Spain from only £20 per day (breakfast and yoga included).
Daily Sivananda yoga classes are enjoyed on a spacious yoga deck surrounded by olive groves and stunning mountains. The golden Costa Daurada beaches are only 12 miles away.
Excursions to local castles, markets, beaches and more are offered each day. Stylish safari style tents with fully sprung beds are available for just £35 per day (breakfast and yoga included). Finally, a beautiful retreat at a beautiful price!
(0034) 663 140 297
Paekakariki is a little town in New Zealand, generally off the major tourist route. However, it is amazingly beautiful. Stay at the Paekakariki Backpackers (a BBH hostel, the only ones you should use) to have possibly the most beautiful view ever for sunset. A perfect place to sit, relax, and recharge if you're in the midst of a whirlwind Kiwi adventure and need a day off. Also, with little light pollution, at night the stars are INCREDIBLE.
This is a treat of a park out of the way in the quiet Horta district of Barcelona. One of the city's oldest, most romantic and unusual parks. The construction began in 1791, and this is certainly somewhere you can "get lost" (in the labyrinth) and escape into your own world.
Pg Castanyers, 1-17, Germans Desvalls, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
+34934 132 400
Google map: bit.ly/r1ViDM
The ferry from Cirkewwa on the island of Malta to Mjarr on next-door Gozo is a 25-minute journey. It costs less than five euros return for a foot passenger and about 15 euros for a car.
Gozo is airport-free, rural, quiet and slow compared to the manic desire Maltese holidaymakers seem to have for entertainment. You will find plenty of great places to eat and many deals on converted, self-catering farmhouses. Wonderful sea swimming and diving, bustling markets (if you can't resist a crowd) and fine sites and views, especially from the citadel in the capital, Rabat.
Small journey; big difference.
A lovely hotel/spa/resort in Lecce, this is an awesome place to really soak up the city.
Baroque beauty all around, with a delightful array of cuisine (including wonderful wines and olive oils), Lecce is architecturally stunning, and a fascinating place to visit. And of course, after a hard day's sightseeing, one deserves a bit of pampering and nature.
Sangiorgio is absolutely amazing, being made of a restored monastic asylum and set amongst groves of citrus and olive trees, as well as vineyards. Soaking in the scents on the breeze alone is enough to inspire a visit here, but the level of service provided as well as spa services themselves are exquisite.
Comfortable rooms, lovely grounds, a selection of pools, and a friendly staff make this a great find and the hotel restaurant with it's wine cellars is a DEFINITE can't miss as they house a large selection of fine wines. They pampered me very very well and I fully intend to return as soon as I can... and enjoy more wine!
It probably has a listing somewhere, but I booked through this site and it was very easy (the staff speaks English too): www.italiancollection.com/en/SanGiorgioResort-Lecce.html
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