An outstanding memory from our trip to Australia was the view from the deck of our cruise ship, the Coral Princess, as she sailed south down the edge of the outer Great Barrier Reef with a line of white surf stretching in either direction as far as the eye could see, where the deep ocean waters break on the continental shelf.
Every now and again the surface was broken by a flying fish skittering across the waves.
In Sydney it’s hard to imagine there’s a water shortage. This beautiful city grew up around the natural harbour of Sydney Cove and its neighbouring bays, and their sparkling blue waters are a stunning backdrop to the icons of Sydney harbour bridge and the opera house. Our first view of this well-known pair, from Mrs Macquarie’s Point is one of my five most magical memories from our adventure in Oz.
We arrived there, aboard the Sydney Explorer bus (hop-on, hop-off as many times as you want for the duration of your ticket – 3,5 or 7 days in 7) and were blown away by the view. We walked around Farm Cove on our way to a close-up of the giant sails, the botanical gardens on our left, the water to our right, the Sydney skyline in front. These were moments beyond magic.
Nearest town to the ruins, stay the night (very cheap and one nice restaurant) and walk into the ruins in the morning - be the only people there for a few hours before hundreds of coaches arrive (get amazing photos not covered in people!) Get there by bus instead of paying top dollar for a tour.
An excellent modern hotel in the Shidome district, with staggering views in every direction, and extremely helpful staff, this hotel is close to metro and JR stations, and within walking distance of the fish market, Ginza, and numerous reasonably priced restaurants. The hotel itself has a Michelin starred restaurant serving traditional Japanese food.
Our only quibble was that like many things in Japan the entrance to the hotel is so understated that it is easily missed, so it is rather hard to find when arriving jet-lagged from the train. Limousine bus would be better, as it goes straight there.
Shiodome Media Tower, Minato-Ku, near JR Shimbashi station. All details and a good map are on hotel website www.parkhoteltokyo.com
Two of the best places in the entire world to have a cocktail are the Moon Bar at Vertigo on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel and the Sky Bar at Sirocco on the 63rd of the State Tower Hotel.
Both are in the heart of the city and have jaw-dropping views where you feel as close to the aeroplanes overhead as the ground below. The Moon Bar, especially, seems to hover over the city. Brilliant fun and very surreal — like sipping cocktails on the set of Bladerunner.
Bratislava Castle is a must see. Great views over Bratislava, a cool museum to have a look about in (it costs though) and, if you walk back into the city, there's some cool little bars to keep you occupied on the way down.
Warning - if you get a tram, make sure to buy a ticket. They're very, very inexpensive and you don't want to be caught without one. Two of the lads I was travelling with got stopped by plain clothes inspectors who wanted £35 from them (known as a tourist fine).
My mates kicked up a fuss until a policewoman came on, told my mates to pay up or else they'd be taken to the police station, and then left. Not very pleasant.
Also, stay away from the train station area, a very dodgy area. I've never been propositioned as many times in my life!
The views up here are like nothing I have ever seen before. You know that scene in Vanilla Sky where Tom Cruise is at the top of the building and the whole world is glittering below him? Drinking in Level 25 is every bit as mind-blowing as that because it's all glass and the atmosphere of the place changes with the weather, making it impossible to get bored of.
It takes on the character of the sunset, or of a starry night. The city sparkles in the distance and the sea glimmers and glints and you feel like you could be a movie star yourself.
I go to Miami once or twice a year to see my family and this is always where I take people for a drink now. It's really good for post-work drinks if you're working in the area because it's in the financial district. You could get drunk just on the atmosphere or, of course, on the menu of marvellous speciality cocktails.
25th floor of Conrad hotel building, Brickell Ave, Miami, Florida.
This is a great walk up through woods and over Peakland with spectacular views over the Derbyshire Peak landscape.
Park at Fairholmes car park, Derwent Reservoir, grid reference SK1718389413. The walk is about 6.5 miles.
Page on the National Trust's site about Alport Castles:
Views of the city and its fjord to die for from this bar on the 21st floor. A stylish and suited downtown crowd gathers here at sunset to watch the light fade and the neons come on all over the city, supping sophisticated concoctions from a long (and, as it’s Scandinavia, suitably pricey) cocktail list. Male vertigo sufferers should stick to short measures: the urinals are built into glass walls looking out over the abyss.
All of a sudden there has been a craze in the market to travel to Croatia’s coastline. It is absolutely no wonder, considering Croatia boasts some of the most stunning coasts in Europe. I came across this beauty a couple of years ago and loved it so much I went again this year.
What I loved most about the islands (especially the first time) is the serenity and lack of built up resort style beachfronts that can be found everywhere else in the world. No matter how spectacular a place is, if its panorama is filled with man-made constructions and obstructions that I could also find on the Gold Coast, Ibiza, Cancun etc., then it has lost the unique splendour and appeal that I love about Hvar, Mljet or The Elaphite Islands.
With the Croatian islands still being relatively untouched like this, my travel tip is to see this place yourself. Don’t pay a tour guide or company to show you around! You don’t need to! With fresh fruit markets and ample accommodation in the townships (no matter how small) you save yourself a fortune, compared to paying for your stock standard tour group, which hardly compares to exploring these islands using your own aptitude. The islands are small enough to see on your own and the transport between islands is common, cheap and only a short distance!
You can get a ferry in the morning and be at the next place well before lunch. Hire a moped or bicycle and see more of the islands then any tour could show you. On many occasions I found myself on a beach that was not only magical but I was the only person there. Travel this seaside paradise with no time limits, stay on the islands you love and move on from the locations that you don’t. Explore these islands, use only a small amount of effort and less money than you would spend on the weekend in London - and you can find so much more than you bargained for!
Any bar on the piazzetta, the teeny town square, in central Capri is a memorable place to have a drink and enjoy the sometimes overwhelming spectacle that is Capri. Rich and poor, celebrities, fishermen and gigolos, whatever strikes your fancy, is on parade in La Piazzetta, the living room of the world. Al Piccola is a good one... well, all of them with outdoor seating are memorable. It is a very happy place and you do feel like you are a celebrity (undiscovered? in disguise?) to just sit there and watch the world go by. Try the bar at the top of the funicular. Delicious cheese sandwiches, good drinks and a view that will make you cry.
Surprisingly, and a very well-kept secret, Capri accommodations can be reasonable. Of course if you want to spend tons of money you easily can. Also the food can vie for the title of best in Italy. Fresh, and you have not lived until you've sampled the spaghetti al fruits de mer at da Gemma. Well, virtually any food is good and reasonable.
As a former Rio de Janeiro resident (from 1983 to 1992) I suggest one of the most beautiful and also peaceful and quiet places in Rio: JardimBotânico (the Botanical Garden). From the garden you have a magnificent view from the Tijuca’sNational Park Atlantic Forest and The Christ (CristoRedentor) with His open arms blessing such a wonderful city. It is a place where you spend hours admiring local and international plant species.
JardimBotanicoalso invites us to have some meditation: it’s great!
A wonderful place to be considered when visiting Rio: it's worth it!
On a clear day you can see the vast city and that is Utrecht from the top of the tower. The guided tour takes roughly one hour (and is done in English by request) and you are taken up some 465 steps en route to the route, but don't worry, you are given ample rest time on each floor and you are briefed of the history of all aspects of the tower. From who used to live there to long living superstition and myths. As it is the tallest church tower in The Netherlands I would urge any archaeological enthusiasts and general sightseers to give it try.
3512 JC Utrecht
Great rooftop drinks and fantastic views of historic HCMC centre from this 20th floor bar and terrace, and one of the pluses is that because you're in it, this modern edifice isn't spoiling your view as it towers over the Opera House, Post Office, Rex Hotel and Notre Dame Cathedral. Hang on to your money in the breeze for the sake of the waiters. A couple of notes we were leaving for a tip blew through the balustrade, and the waiter leapt over onto a narrow 20th floor ledge to rescue them before we could offer replacements. Good service or madness?
On Dong Khoi, the French and Americans famous Rue Catinat, at Lam Son Square
I first sampled Level 25 on a girls' weekend in Miami, and we all fell in love with it for its completely creative cocktails. It serves all your old faves, but given a unique twist and served with flair (by very attentive bar staff). It also has its own speciality cocktail menu - trust me, you'd need more than one visit to work through it! As well as all this, the setting is quite literally out of this world, 25 floors above the ground. The bar is all glass, with the city and the sea glittering away outside - quite enough to take your breath away (if the cocktails haven't knocked you out already!). The clientele is stylish and atmosphere electric. Without a doubt my favourite cocktail corner in the world.
Level 25, Conrad Miami
1395 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL, 33131, USA
Tel: 1-305-503 6500
In summer 2006, 10 of us took a villa in the tiny village of Vizinada in the central hills of Croatia's Istrian peninsula. This is a beautiful spot looking across to the medieval hill town of Motovun and within easy travelling distance of great coastal locations such as Venetian-styled Rovinj to the south.
We went there principally however to watch the World Cup amongst another passionate footballing people and the local Croatians did not disappoint. What made the holiday memorable however was the wonderful warmth and hospitality extended to us everywhere we went, not least when watching games in the tiny local bar on a beat-up TV in an alien language, and where £16 stood a round for most of the village on a packed Saturday night.
Were I not already committed to a holiday in Turkey next June I'd be looking to return to Vizinada or somewhere nearby to watch Euro 2008. I know I could expect great value and genuine friendliness along with the excitement of following a team with a real chance of victory. Since it was Croatia who sent England packing last month it might also soften the blow more than a little were Croatia to pull it off.
A wonderful unspoiled village high above Orgiva in La Alpujarra, with fantastic views towards the Mediterranean. The village is on the GR7 route, so walking is terrific.
Stay in one of the local rental apartments mentioned below - they're excellent.
I'm absolutely crazy for Brazilian food and I've been around the country enough to be able to enjoy all types of different dishes, from carne de sol (sundried meat) to the Carioca famous feijoada. One of my all-time favourites though, is the moqueca de camarao, which is made from shrimp with milk-coconut stew. It's a typical dish that originates from Bahia, but you can find it in Rio, in an excellent restaurant called Azul Marinho.
It's right at the Arpoador in Ipanema, so you'll be privileged with a breathtaking view while eating this amazing food!
Avenida Francisco Bhering
It is the countryside outside of Toulouse stretching almost as far as Carcassonne. In this area you will find the Canal du Midi, beautiful villages and stunning scenery. Markets, antique and reproduction furniture. Foie Gras and excellent local wines from the Corbieres, Minervois and Fitou.
You can fly into Toulouse or Carcassonne, exit the Autoroute A61 at Villefranche Lauragais and head in the direction of Revel where you will find a beautiful market every Saturday morning. Worthwhile stops are St Felix Lauragais. There is a 16th century farm doing B&B in Belesta Lauragais, a good base for exploring the Lauragais.
The Villa itself is interesting, but oh, the gardens, the fountains and the views are superb! www.villadestetivoli.info/storiae.htm
Tivoli itself is a nice hill town. too.
Tivoli is a short train journey from Rome. You can catch a bus into the centre, or walk; the Villa is signposted.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com