If you go to the beach at Gruinard Bay, a glorious drive south from Ullapool past Corrieshalloch Gorge and the mighty Falls of Measach, take a stroll up the wee hill to the south: you get a glorious view of the entire bay, gently ringed by pebbles, grass and rock, with mighty mountains all around.
I stood there and thought if I’m ever going to get married I’m doing it round here. I did.
If you’re in Ullapool, drive north to Cape Adventure for some seakayaking around some delightful coastal bays ringed by knuckles of rock, all in the shadow of Ben Stack – said to be the inspiration for Tolkien’s Mountain of Doom. Driving there through Sutherland is staggering.
The most thrilling way to do Knoydart, Britain’s last wilderness and unreachable by road, is to take a speedboat (seafari.co.uk) from Mallaig into Loch Hourn (Loch Hell!). It can’t dock anywhere so you just leap off onto shoreline rocks. Hike up Ladhar Bheinn, arguably the finest mountain on the mainland, with staggering views over the “rough bounds”. Descend southwards to Inverie and hit the legendary and often riotous Old Forge for a heather ale and a smokehouse platter. Anyone who sneers at Scottish food hasn’t eaten here. Had one of the best weekends of my life here. Dorms at the nearby Bunkhouse, £14 per person.
The Aonoch Eagach in Glen Coe is one of the world’s finest ridge walks. Do it before you die. If you’re fit, good with heights and aren’t put off by a stretch called the Crazy Pinnacles, you’ll be fine. There’s some climbing but you don’t need ropes.
We did it on a clear summer’s night and stood speechless on a peak, able to see up past Ben Nevis and right out to the Hebrides, mountains everywhere and us above them. A pint in the Clachaig Inn afterwards is compulsory.
A beautiful village in Sleat, the garden of Skye, boasting an art gallery, a lively pub, a whisky shop, and a lighthouse that seems to have been painted on by Monet.
We took a boat to Eigg and got followed by a whale that stuck its head out of the water to see us better. The next day we caught 12 mackerel while boating in the sound and had them with mussels bought from a local fisherman. Just ask in the pub.
Also: you must go roamin’ in the gloamin’ on the Old Man of Storr, further north.
The Longhouse at Tokavaig on Skye was pretty quickly like home from home, only we felt a million miles from anywhere, which was exactly what we were hoping for.
The decking, set to look out over Loch Slapin, is perfect for lounging about and admiring the
Cuillin mountain range - what an outlook, especially with a dram or two.
The walk to the shore is recommended. We saw an otter and, to the delight of our teenage girls, you can actually get a signal on your mobile if you scramble to the top of the castle ruins!
This is a series of towers and ramparts in the Buda Castle district. It gives amazing views, particularly across the Danube to the Pest side of the city.
Without planning, I went early evening and the colours looked wonderful in the setting sun.
Take the Metro to Moskva Ter, then the very frequent castle minibus to the castle district.
A huge and elaborately decorated church in the centre of the city. Worth going for the views from the dome - there is a lift, ticket office just opposite as you go in.
You can also see the mummified hand of St Stephen and illuminate it by putting a 100 forint coin in the handy slot.
V. Szent István tér 33
Metro Arany Janos utca
Experience a chunk of Harry's trip to Hogwarts by going over Glenfinnan Viaduct on the West Highland railway line between Fort William and Mallaig.
Better still, stop and visit the viaduct itself - you can walk up to it easily from the visitors centre, which also has information about the nearby Bonnie Prince Charlie's monument, set amidst some of the most spectacular scenery on the west coast.
After working up an appetite, head to Glenfinnan Station's Dining Car - a cafe in a converted carriage - for afternoon tea of homemade scones with jam and thick cream.
While you're there, don't miss the fascinating Glenfinnan Station Museum - a real labour of love containing displays about the building of the railway and viaduct, along with ephemera from the railway age. If all that tires you out, you can always overnight at the Glenfinnan Sleeping Car, too...
North from Rothesay on the Isle of Bute is the village of Port Bannatyne around Kames Bay. Time has stood still. The little inshore fishing boats leave from the stone-pier catching crabs and langoustines. The bobbing yachts anchor offshore. The views across the water to the Argyll mountains are stunning. There are three pubs, and a great little cafe-cum-shop, and a post-office too.
Behind the village is an eccentric golfcourse with wonderful views, north and south. The little hotel sells truly fresh seafood, real ales and, astoundingly, Russian cuisine!
An absolute oasis in western Scotland.
Port Bannattyne is 2 miles north of Rothesay along the coast road on the Isle of Bute. Ferries to the isle leave from Wemyss Bay on the A78 at the mouth of the River Clyde (30 minutes sailing.) Wemyss Bay is linked by rail and bus to Glasgow Central station,Glasgow bus station,Glasgow Int Airport and Prestwick Airport (Ryanair.)
Oddballs camp is a camp in the Okavango Delta with great mokoro trips.
It is seen as a budget option for the Okavango.
Loved Dumela Botswana that arranged the trip.
A hidden gem, the coastal Georgian port of Whitehaven about 15 miles out of the national park.
All the perks of the lake district, without the crowds or the expense. Fantastic harbourside with great places to eat, and the maritime festival is a well worth visiting.
Recently re-opened cafe and B&B in splendidly isolated position on Rannoch Moor. Only accessible on foot or by train to its own station!
Great food and drink (lots of venison-based dishes from the local estate) and within walking distance of beautiful lochs and hills. Equally brilliant Loch Ossian eco-Youth Hostel close by.
Corrour Station House, Corrour Estate, Fort William, PH30 4AA
- at Corrour Station.
One of the finest B&B establishments around. A stunning view of Quinag, Suilven and Stac Pollaidh from the balcony, this recently built spacious detached wooden house is situated a kilometer outside Lochinver. Beautifully clean, it boasts an outdoor hot tub to relax under the stars after a big day on the mountains. Fantastic hospitality - our host Mike arrived to pick us up with takeaway fish and chips after an 11 hour 'too late back for pub food' assault on the whole Suilven ridge as part of our Cape Wrath 250 mile trek.
Breakfast is very hearty and meticulously timed and all at £22 a night per person. An amazing bargain for what you get.
Mike Rochester, Eadar Da Sloc, Torbreck, Lochinver, Sutherland IV274JB
The Buttes Chaumont park is slightly different to other parks in Paris, in that it was built on a former quarry and, as such, has some interesting hilly views across Paris, alongside an artificial cave complete with stalactites and waterfall.
Don't expect 5-star service for 3-star prices ($108 a night). The service here is mediocre, but who cares? The architecture is one-of-a-kind (envision lots of dark, twisting tunnels) and the view from your balcony is stunning at any time of day. I highly recommend HC if you're staying in Punta del Este: it's charming and full of character. Rent a car. Full report, with pictures, at www.travelmusings.net
One of the best sights in Rhodes with the famous spa, amazing Italian architecture, pebble mosaics, arcades and domes, palms and bougainvilleas completing the decoration.
The place has been used as location for many films, among them Escape to Athena, The Guns of Navarone, Triangle at Rhodes and many others.
If you stay longer in Rhodes, visit Lindos with the famous temple of Athena.
The Isle of Kerrera is a very accessible 5 minute ferry ride from Oban. It's car free and for a small island provides wonderful walking and exploring opportunities, especially for families. The tea garden at Lower Gylen with views out over Gylen castle and the Sound of Kerrera is a special spot. It's an easy day trip from Oban or if you have longer it's worth a night or 2 in the bunkhouse at Lower Gylen.
Isle of Kerrera, by Oban.
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