The Cerro del Panecillo - literally bread-bun hill - is a natural point from which to observe Quito. Situated alongside the Historical Centre, with the skyscrapers of the rich Northern districts to one side and the increasingly irregular rooftops of the poorer Southern barrios to the other, it provides a fascinating overview of this city of contrasts.
Visitors are advised to take a taxi up to the hilltop statue of the Virgin as the risk of robberies is considered to be a threat, even in daylight hours. If you have the time it's worth making the trip during the day but also at night, when even the lights tell of a divided Quito, with bright neon signs visible in the North and muted streetlights in the South.
Cerro El Panecillo Costado del Centro Historico
Half way up Petrin Hill furnicular is a restaurant with the best views of Prague. The food isn't bad and the beer is, as ever, superb. Get there for sunset at the best table in the city! Cost about £18 for 2, with wine
first stop up Petrin Hill
Renzo Piano's distinctive spiky sculpture in the recently regenerated old port allows visitors to fly 40m into the air to enjoy a view over both the rooftops of the old centre, and the whole port area. They say that, on a clear day, you can also see the coast of Corsica ...
Carpe Diem, built in the traditional local timber style, sits high above the lovely fishing village of Castara. Deigned by an English couple, Chris and Yvonne, Carpe Diem's two studios and top floor apartment enjoy fabulous views and gorgeous sunsets. The village of Castara is quite unspoilt, with great little local bars, cafes and restaurants - some of them right on the sand - friendly locals and pretty much everything you might need to buy from Bingy's tiny food store. His wife Hazel bakes wonderful bread to order, or you can go to the ladies who bake a whole variety of bread and cakes in the clay oven on the beach. Chris and Yvonne have a network of local drivers and guides who can show you the island (including a hike through the rainforest), and you get great value from your TTs - Trinidad and Tobago dollars. But if you don't want to go far, just sit on the balcony of Carpe Diem and enjoy the magical view.
Quite apart from having six floors of books (you can happily spend hours browsing) this store has a handy cafe and bar on the fifth floor which I found nice and relaxing having dodged into the store to get out of the rain!
203-206 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LE
+44(0)843 290 8549
Google map: bit.ly/W4Nfj8
The Stein Inn states that it is the oldest inn on the Isle of Skye, and its venerable bars, sturdy walls and highly impressive archive of malts certainly lend veracity to the claim. There is a wide range of beers and other drinks, the food menu is ample, and the service is attentive and prompt.
In good weather (or foul weather if you're after the complete Highland experience) you can sit outside and take in the view of Loch Bay towards Loch Dunvegan and, if the day was really clear, as far as the wonderfully named Gob na Hoe (could anyone, even a Scot, spit that far?).
Forget expensive coach or taxi tours along the Amalfi coast - take the public bus from Sorrento bus station, and head out towards Positano. For a few euros return you will have one of the best scenic trips of a lifetime - try and get to sit on the entry step looking out. They even run to time. Magic!
Main bus station - Sorrento.
This was a wonderful place to stay, it was somewhere we stubbled upon when scouring the web frantically looking for somewhere in the mountains.
Its in a wonderful spot, right on the edge of the mountains, with amazing views. The staff were so lovely and it was nice to be cooked for every night after a long day of walking. With no electricity, the place turns into a candle lit palace at night, where you can relax and take in everything. Its really felt like you were in the middle of nowhere, living like a local. I couldnt recommend it enough.
It's a restaurant/bar on the fifth floor of the old Customs House (which also includes a library with a scale model of Sydney under a glass floor). It's not that expensive and you get a fantastic panoramic view from the Bridge to the Opera House & beyond.
It's not open that late, however only until about 11pm.
31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, NSW 2000
Telephone: 02 9242 8551
Neraest Station/ bus stop/ ferry stop is Circular Quay.
Google map: tinyurl.com/qmqk8h
Take a 30 minute ferry from Circular Quay to the surfers’ community of Manly! Away from chaotic downtown Sydney, there’s a bit more privacy and great views over the ocean. It’s still vibrant though – from the Quicksilver shops to the busy Manly Beach.
For the views, go right along the beach from the Corso around Fairy Bower to Shelly Beach.
Google map: tinyurl.com/lgoplc
For a totally different view of Marrakech not too far from the medina walls - this is a cafe serving coffee, tea, soft drinks and light snacks. As with most places within Marrakech this place does not serve alcohol.
The Hivernage is a neighbourhood of nice villas and five-star hotels so Café Extrablatt is an interesting contrast to the relative poverty of the medina. Watch as the customers pull up in their 4x4s dressed in their western fashions. Still not expensive from a western point of view but interesting to people-watch.
in the district of Hivernage at corner of Avenue Echouhada & Avenue El Qadissia. Not too far from Sofitel hotel just outside medina walls.
Café de Paris is situated in the historic centre of Sintra Vila with fine views of the National Palace. A beautiful 19th century building built in the classical Parisian café style, covered in blue tiles. You have the choice of dining on the balcony, the terrace or the beautiful French style interior decorated with painted murals.
The café offers excellent Portuguese cuisine with a French flavour. After a long walk to the palace and castle on the hill spend the afternoon relaxing here with a bottle of Borba red wine.
Restaurante Café de Paris: 21 923 23 75
The views from the terrace of Basilique de Notre Dame de Fourvière are amazing with clear sights of Cathédrale St Jean, Place Bellecour, the 'Crayon' skyscraper, and the control tower of St Exupéry airport. Only from this place can you appreciate the immense size of Lyon.
It's also a great starting point for a walking tour of Fourvière.
Just follow signs for Basilique de Notre Dame de Fourvière from Place Bellecour or take the funicilar from Vieux Lyon métro station
Just a tip about buying a ticket and recognising the train. This site is ace for planning times reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/e.
Worth writing down the journey details and the Romanian for 'first-class ticket' and handing it over - no English spoken at the train station when I was there. But the Lonely Planet guide came to the rescue.
Once you have found the platform watch out. The noticeboard flagged two separate trains - one to Targa Mures and one to Bucharest. The Bucharest train stops at Sighisoara.
But the trains appear to arrive joined as one - late. So it can be confusing.
What seems to happen is that the first-class carriage is always carriage three.
If you are on the same train as me be prepared for 50 year-old rolling stock in first class.
The scenery is fantastic. Ranging from the awesome pollution of Copsa Mica to shepherds and their flocks.
Str. Garii 1-3
The toy/mountain train from Siliguri to Darjeeling is surely one of the great railway journeys of the world. But, unless you're a real rail enthusiast, nine hours on an uncomfortable train, which travels at less than walking pace, is a little bit too long.
We got a jeep up the mountain from Siliguri to Darjeeling, which cost about 300 Rupees (£4) each. The share jeeps are very regular and, although they're pretty crowded, are way more comfortable than the train.
You can then take the highest altitude part of the great rail journey from Darjeeling to Ghoom, to visit the famous Ghoom monastery. It takes about 45 minutes and is probably more romantic and comfortable than doing the hard 9 hour slog from Siliguri.
Just make sure you book the train on your first day of arrival in Darjeeling. You can't book the train from anywhere else and there is a fair wait for tickets (a few days). There is plenty to do in Darjeeling in the meantime, including the Everest museum, one of the better Indian zoos, Glenary's cafe and lots of trail walking and shopping.
Don't even bother with the tourist ride unless you've money to waste, it's a complete rip-off compared to the Ghoom trip - about 10 times the price.
Nathmulls in Darjeeling has to be the best tea shop in the world. Really helpful staff and a great range of teas to test (local of course!). Well worth a visit when you're up in the mountains.
Get to Siliguri train station, then ask a cycle rickshaw to take you to where the jeeps go from. Then just climb in a jeep and wait for it to fill up.
Nathmulls is in Rink Mall, Darjeeling, next to Cafe Coffee Day.
Named after a notorious Victorian brothel keeper, Madame Brussels has a deliciously kooky garden party theme, complete with grassed interior, trellising and parasols.
Bright young things in tennis whites will bring you iced Pimms and cucumber sandwiches. Scrumptious in every way.
Do you remember seeing a green finger-like mountain in the background of most Machu Picchu pictures? The mountain is Huayna Picchu (also called Wayna Picchu) and there are stairs going right to the top of it. If you want an alternative view of the famous Inca site, climbing up is a must.
The climb takes about an hour but the view will stay in your mind for the rest of your life. The Incas built their cities in the shapes of different animals. Look down at the condor shape of Machu Picchu, and don't forget to bring a packed lunch and some water.
Nearest station Aguas Calientes. Stay overnight in Aguas Calientes to allow more time than on an average day-trip from Cuzco.
One of many companies providing guided tours and equipment for the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. The guides were brilliant - helpful, friendly, knowledgable and introduced us to our porters.
The chef and the food were first class - better than in any resaurant in Peru.
Azenhas do Mar ("Watermills by the sea"), in the region of Sintra, is a charming village of whitewashed houses, trimmed in blue, built on the slopes of the cliff and a small river with waterfalls running down through gardens to the sea.
There are Interesting rock formations and natural seawater pools, plenty to keep the kids amused.
The watermills were a popular seaside retreat in the 1950s. They have recently been carefully restored, offering a restaurant, bar and swimming pool arranged on different levels.
The restaurant has a stylish seaside wood panelled interior with magnificent views to the Atlantic Ocean. It offers a great selection of fresh fish and seafood caught locally by one of the owners, and is complemented by an excellent wine list.
The snack bar, Terraço da Azenha, situated above the restaurant and swimming pool, has a series of small terraces with great views. Inside the bar, through a glass section in the floor, you can see the old workings of the mill. It offers a good selection of snacks including sweet and savoury crêpes.
Well worth a visit, and you will find great walks that will take you along the cliffs to the beaches of Praia das Maças and Praia Grande.
Off the N247.
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