Get lost in the Alfama district. It is the real Lisbon, as it is the only district not to have been flattened by the great earthquake of 1850. The maze of confusing cobbled streets leading to the Castelo de São Jorge contain houses showing examples of azulejo tiling. Look out for the viewpoint with a beautiful mosiac of the city and a pond, looking out over the Tejo river and Ponte 25 de Abril.
A 5 minute walk to the east of the Praca de Comercio. The metro doesn't cover the Alfama area, but it's better to walk anyway.
In the heart of China Town there is an oasis. The Chinese gardens are the biggest replica outside of China (I think) and are beautifully kept.
In the summer you can see turtles floating in the ponds and the flowers are stunning.
The guided tours are free and really interesting.
Well worth popping into especially if you happen to be in China town.
578 Carrall Street;
tel: 604 662 3207;
The Galata Tower in Beyoglu was built in 1348 as part of the Genoese fortifications. It has been used as a watchtower and observatory and is now a tourist attraction with a nightclub and restaurant on the top two floors.
Having seen it stand out as one of the defining images of the Galata skyline it was great to go up it and see the wonderful vista of the city spread beneath and around us. A lift then a short flight of stairs takes you to the observation deck with its fantastic views. Look out towards the Bosphorus, The Goldern Horn or the minarets of Aya Sophia and Suleymaniye Mosque. Look down at the intricate network of narrow streets surrounding the tower.
Buyuk Hendek Sok., Beyoglu
The summit of the railway shows you the city in all its glory - from the beautifully crafted government buildings, hidden churches, right the way along the river and even into the slightly more “suspect” areas of the city. Buy an ice cream at the top and enjoy the view.
I Clark Ádam tér; Bus 16, 86, 105, Tram 19; Open: 7:30am-10pm daily; Closed for maintenance every second Monday
Go up the TV tower and you'll get a fantastic view of the city. Enjoy the Soviet-era fun of the space race style building and wonder about the strange giant babies crawling up the side of the tower.
In Zizkov, a residential area to the east of the city. Take the tram straight from Wencelas Square.
If you go to Lisbon then go to Sintra. It's less than an hour out of Lisbon on a suburban train. Climb the hill to the Moorish castle. It's a different world, and the view is beyond stunning.
Regular trains from Sete Rios station or Entrecampos station (Estação Rossio closed at time of writing). Journey time is less than an hour
The Day Tripper Fare ($15 - about £6) allows use of ferries, trains and buses. It's a great way to see Sydney from the water. Use it to nip round to Darling Harbour. Use it to scoot over and explore the various creeks and landing stages where the rich folk live. When you want a change, ferry back to Circular Quay and just jump on the next route! And when you need a coffee - just take the big Manley Ferry (it has a cafe/kiosk on board). Be sure to take a late afternoon ferry across to somewhere and come back to circular Quay when it is dark to see the buildings all lit up. The view by day and by night are excellent. AND the ticket is valid up until 4am the next morning after the day you buy it. A GREAT way to spend a day exploring!
The perfect place for a mid-morning vermut (martini rosso) with obligatory free bowl of green olives. Sit at any of the historic bars and admire the views of this beautiful square and the Teatro Espanol. Don't miss the heladeria next door serving delicious dulce de leche ice cream.
Plaza Santa Ana
Chapman's Peak Drive has only recently opened after being closed for a number of years for safety repairs. The drive takes you along the coast where you'll enjoy the most breathtaking scenery in Africa. The best way to approach it is from the South as it's much easier to stop at the viewing points. This drive should definitely be in your top ten list of things to do in Cape Town.
A good and most importantly, free view over Central Park is notoriously difficult to come accross, unless you live in an apartment overlooking it. However, on a recent trip, I was delighted to find that the excellent Metropolitan Museum of Art has just such a novelty. Notwithstanding the cornucopia of exhibits to look at there is also a staggering view accross the park towards midtown. Especially good if there's a lightning storm approaching - you can take shelter behind one of the dodgy pieces of 'Modern Art' that are sure to get struck before you do. And they serve Mojitos up there too...
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. Take 4, 5, or 6 train to 86th Street and walk three blocks west to Fifth Avenue
The blazing white, sea creature-like buildings designed by golden-boy local architect Santiago Calatrava. Housing the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences), these futuristic constructions rise up at the very end of the Turia river gardens, surrounded by pools of cooling turquoise water. The almost-finished Palau de les Artes (to be a state-of-the-art concert hall) is half-ship, half-sea snail, apparently in full sail/crawl down the dry Turia. Just beyond, the curved, spiky science museum squats like a nesting sea urchin. In the distance you can see the undulating blue curves of the Oceanogràfic (oceanarium).
Avenida Autopista del Saler, 1, 3, 5 y 7; Buses: Take the 95 from the Torres de Serranos or the 35 from the Plaza del Ayuntamiento; unlike nearly everything else in Valencia, there is ample on-site parking; www.cac.es
Less than an hour outside Tokyo, the Mount is popular with weekend hikers, so go during the week to escape the crowds. Visit Yakuoin temple near the summit or simply wander through the densely wooded foothills. The peak, 600 metres above sea level, offers views of Tokyo, Yokohama and, of course, Mt Fuji.
Take the Keio Line from Shinjuku Station; www.japan-guide.com/e/e3029.html/
On the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt hotel in Shinjuku. Made famous by the film Lost in Translation, this rather pricey venue nevertheless offers fantastic views of the city, 235 metres above ground.
Park Hyatt Hotel; 52F Nishi-Shinjuku 3-7-1; Tel: 00 81 3 5323 3458
For an unrivalled eye-feast of the Parthenon on its pedestal of limestone rock, head for the pine-clad Hill of the Muses – marble seats erected close to its summit make the experience all the more heavenly. From the network of little pathways along the hill you get spectacular glimpses of all the Acropolis temples and, beyond the urban sprawl, the sea. From here you’ll understand why the ancients elected this part of Attica to build their 5th century BC Golden Age wonders.
Nearest metro: Acropolis or Thissio
When I'm feeling flush, I like to treat myself to a dinner on the eighth floor of the OXO Tower and marvel at the views of the city from the huge summer terrace - summer weather permitting!
The British-Asian fusion cuisine is pretty tasty too.
As a true Blue Jackeen (native of Dublin) I love Dublin, but the one thing I always tell visitors (the term "tourist" is very rarely used in Ireland) is by all means enjoy a day and maybe one night in Dublin, have a pint or two in one of the last few remaining decent tradtional pubs (Kehoes, Toners, Dohney & Nesbitts etc) but after that get out of Dublin and head west. Nothing will prepare you for Connemara. The spectacular scenery, the friendly locals, the great pubs and traditional music, fantastic beaches and just a general feeling of being away from it all out on the farthest tip of Western Europe you can get to.
From Galway head for Clifden but make sure to take the road through the Inagh Valley. Spectacular 360 degree walled valley with the beautiful Lake Inagh running through it.
If you have time, take a trip out to Inisboffin Island for a day, wild and unspoilt with two bars and about 80 local residents and a former hideout of the 16th century great Irish Pirate Queen herself Grace O'Malley.
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