A magical seafood restaurant perched on the cliff side at Cala D'Hort beach in the south.
Overlooking the breathtaking Es Vedra island, the paella is the business and the view at sunset is a suitably fitting dessert.
tel: 626 494 537
Budapest has three metro lines that are great for getting about, but spend a few moments enjoying the look of them too. Line 1 is the oldest (as far as Hosok Tere, anyhow - the extension to Mexicoi Utca was completed in 1973) and is undoubtedly charming (even the little cartoon fanfare noises that signal imminent arrival or departure sound chipper), but I also became quite obsessed with the grimy space-age look of the other two lines, particularly the Dr Who/Kubrick/James Bond look of the Deak Ter station on lines 2 & 3. It's all in the lights, it seems - very photogenic, in it's own brutal fashion. Deak Ter station - as someone else said, it's the Kings Cross of the Budapest system. If you can't find it, you're hopelessly lost, and perhaps in the wrong city.
This is a very cheap (approx $0.25) and exciting tram service that starts just beyond the white viaduct arches of Lapa and winds its way up into the hills around the glorious Cristo, into the area known as Santa Teresa, and is the last remaining tram service in South America.
Jump on and buzz through the scenic backstreets as schoolchildren jump on and off for free in an excited frenzy. Its a great journey which takes about thirty minutes from bottom to top and shows you the very best of the old Rio. At the top you can take the walk back down via craft and antique shops, wonderful little eateries, museums and the occasional art exhibition.
Truly a magnificent mini trip to fill an afternoon away from the beaches, amongst the true and vibrant spirit of Rio, with the added bonus of some of the best views of the city.
Estação Carioca is found near the city centre opposite the Petrobras Building. It is a bit tough to find but persist and it will pay off.
Cafe Mambo is a legend in it's own cocktail hour. Expect to rub shoulders with the celebrity set while taking in Ibiza's legendary sunset. It's also where to catch the world's biggest DJs playing their warm up sets before heading on to Pacha.
This July it will be hosting guest DJ sets from Satoshi Tomiie, Hector Romero, Wally Lopez, Lisa Lashes (exclusive Dirty Breaks set), Axwell, Roger Sanchez and special guest Tom Novy. Be there and be the envy of your mates back home.
C/ Vara de Rey, San Antonio, Ibiza;
Even if you only spend a few days in the "Venice of the North", I would still advise you to get on a boat and go out to the beautiful archipelago surrounding Stockholm.
The closer islands in the archipelago, such as Waxholm, Finnhamn and Fjäderholmarna, are only an hour or two away and are nice places to wander around for a couple of hours.
It's a lovely way to spend a nice day or half-day out, and if you go during summer, the archipelago is a great place for a summer picnic and swimming - that's what the locals do.
You can catch boats from the ferry terminals at Slussen and Strömkajen, below the Grand Hotell. www.stockholmtown.com/templates/substartpage____2409.aspx?epslanguage=EN; www.waxholmsbolaget.se/
Norrmalm isn't the most interesting or pretty area, but it's the main shopping district and good department stores such as NK, PUB and Åhlens are here, and so is the Central Station. There's a nice bar/brasserie at the top end of the main shopping street, Drottninggatan, called Grill.
Designtorget is a great design shop at the bottom of Sergels Torg, which is a big square near the central station. Kulturhuset – called 'the living room in the city' - is here, with interesting exhibitions/plays, nice café/restaurant with great views, and a good shop downstairs.
Another good cafe is Vetekatten, which is on Kungsgatan. Hötorget has a good outdoor market selling lots of nice things including handicraft. Kungsgatan is a long long street with lots of shops, and leads down to Stureplan which is a major meeting place. Kungsträdgården has many cafes and restaurants, and leads up to the Opera, the Royal Castle and the Parliament.
A few good bars/restaurants:
KGB Bar and Restaurant on Malmskillnadsgatan – nice friendly bar with classic Soviet theme.
Halv Trappa plus Gård on Lästmakargatan – good food, good tunes, good cocktails.
Operakällaren/Bakfickan in Karl XII’s Torg near Kungsträdgården – food in the main restaurant is very expensive, but Bakfickan is good value with excellent food.
Sophies Bar on Biblioteksgatan – usually a good nightspot for some good cocktails, but sometimes full of people with way too much money, which tends to affect the atmosphere.
Fasching on Kungsgatan is a great night out - it's a jazz club that's been around for ages, and has a great soul night on Saturdays if you're up for some dancin'.
If you're after Asian food, a good bet is to check Luntmakargatan, which runs parallel to Sveavägen, which is like a mini-Chinatown. There are a couple of good Korean and Japanese restaurants there.
Gamla Stan is the old town of Stockholm, with narrow cobbled little streets. Lots of medieval history and the Royal Castle, Storkyrkan (oldest church in town), and Stortorget (where the bloodbath of Stockholm took place in the 16th century. Check out the red brick building with white stones on one side of the square - the white stones denote how many people got their head chopped off. Nice!).
There are plenty of medieval cafes to head into for lunch or fika (morning or afternoon tea/coffee break) - sitting sipping hot chocolate in a medieval stone cellar complete with arches and stuff is exciting for most people. Chokladkoppen on Stortorget is always good, and so is Kaffegillet on Trångsund.
Västerlånggatan is the main drag, but sadly quite touristy these days. But if you're in the business of getting some reindeer slippers or the like, this is where to go. Österlånggatan is nicer, with little antiques shops and galleries. Next to Gamla Stan is Riddarholmen, which also has lots of history. The Parliament and the beautiful Riddarholmskyrkan church are located here.
Good places for food/drink:
Pontus in the Green House on Österlånggatan (good for lunch) - traditional Swedish cuisine but with an exotic twist.
Pontus by the Sea on Skeppsbrokajen (good for lunch) - see above.
Grill Ruby on Österlånggatan (lunch) - brasserie.
Källaren Movitz on Tyska Brinken – doesn’t look that special, but the restaurant downstairs is good for Swedish food.
Järnet Matsal & Bar on Österlånggatan is cosy and does good food.
Engelen/Kolingen on Kornhamnstorg - a nice old-school type of place where you're pretty much guaranteed to get a good night out.
Walk from Norrmalm along Drottninggatan towards the Houses of Parliament, or northwards from Slussen.
Södermalm (normally just Söder) - old working class area that has seen a revival in the last 10-15 years or so and is now oh so trendy. It's a very expensive area to live, but a good place for going out. The district commonly known as SoFo (south of Folkungagatan/east of Götgatan, two of the main roads in Söder) has many funky shops, good bars and nice restaurants, especially close to Nytorget which is a cute little square.
Folkhemmet on Renstiernas Gata is a nice bar/restaurant and generally the streets around Bondegatan and Skånegatan are filled with shops and places to go out. Götgatsbacken (leading up from Slussen) also has good cafes, bars and shops. A nice walk is to start at Mosebacke Torg and walk along the waterfront to Fjällgatan for spectacular views and a bit of cultural heritage.
Or turn the other way (i.e. westwards) and walk along Söder Mälarstrand and end up in Skinnarviksparken which has one of the highest points in Stockholm from where you can take some great touristy photos of the view.
Also, a must! Gondolen is a very posh restaurant at the top of Slussen, which is between Söder and Gamla Stan. You take the Katarinahissen lift up to the restaurant from Slussen, and the views are spectacular. The food is excellent but quite pricey, but I normally take people there for a drink just to admire the view. Vinbaren, which is downstairs from Gondolen is a good little place offering a more reasonably priced menu, especially for lunch. At the top bit (i.e. where Gondolen is) there is a place called Mosebacke (in Mosebacke Torg), which is a great club/hang-out place. Most Saturdays, there's a club there called Blacknuss which is really good. Kind of jazzy/funky. Great views as well if you sit outside. They also do jazz brunches on Sundays.
Kvarnen on Tjärhovsgatan is a classic old beerhall with good food, and has two good bars/clubs at the back and downstairs.
Other good places:
Pelikan on Blekingegatan – reasonably priced Scandinavian food.
Hannas Krog on Skånegatan – good lunch menu and good DJs after dark.
La Cuccaracha on Bondegatan is a good Spanish restaurant with good atmosphere.
WC Bar & Diner on Skånegatan – good food and good drinks. Gets very busy so get here early.
Street Restaurant by Hornstulls Strand (Hornstull tube) - bit of a trek, but worth it. Street itself is 'Stockholm's version of Camden Lock' so there's lots of fun things going on. It's just by the water which is nice and the food is good too.
South of Gamla Stan/Old Town, above the Slussen area, or take the tube to Medborgarplatsen.
A Unesco heritage site, the city is overlooked by a unique medieval citadel. Climb up the clock tower to get a birds eye view, or up the covered wooden stairs to the German church, school and graveyard. Ask in the local shops for a private room to stay the night, and experience the spooky atmosphere within the old city walls. This is the city where Vlad Tepes was allegedly born (Dracula was loosely modelled on him.)
A very swanky bar which boasts a fantastic view over Stockholm. It is quite pricey and gets very busy in the evening, but go there for an afternoon drink and you can enjoy the magnificent view pretty much alone.
Blue is the colour. But, relax, this is nothing to do with unlovable football millionaires, Chelsea. Although, it would not be a surprise to see Roman Abramovich’s yacht bobbing around smugly in nearby Monte Carlo marina.
No, blue is the colour of the sea at Nice. The Côte d’Azur could not be more fittingly named. Park yourself on one of the many benches along the Promenade des Anglais and just gaze out at the ocean. It is seriously blue and in a stunning variety of shades: azure, lapis lazuli, turquoise, indigo…(pause while writer surreptitiously consults Dulux colour chart)…Deep Ultramarine, Paradise Blue, Sea Blue [Sea Blue? Nah!].
Anyway – you get the picture. As, indeed, did Matisse. It is little wonder that the great painter – born in damp, grey, Picardy in the north – responded to his move to the Riviera by unleashing on the world his wild, splashy yellows, reds, lavenders and, yes, above all, blues. (Visit the Matisse Museum which stands in the Cimiez park a little way out of the city centre).
And, surveying the vista from your woody vantage point, you may be moved to something in the poetic line yourself. “It’s bluer than Paul Newman’s eyes!”, the star-struck may sigh. “It’s bluer than a Bernard Manning gag”, the vulgar may retort. “It’s bluer than Billie Holliday singing a, um, sad song about something, er, sad”, the game but analogically-challenged might utter.
A possible drawback of the Promenade des Anglais for some may be the number of roller-skaters/bladers. In scenes oddly reminiscent of an English suburban street on Christmas morning an (un)steady stream of knee- and elbow-padded kids trundle by – often accompanied, wobbling alarmingly, by those old enough to know better.
But, if you can bear your bench’s status as a miniature traffic island, there is the potential pleasure of seeing some middle-aged bloke, all wealth and wraparound shades, tan and teeth, come a Bambi-esque cropper.
What’s the French for schadenfreude?
When I went two years ago with a friend, I decided to dish out the €40 to go parasailing. I went in the afternoon when it wasn't too hot (30 during the day on average) and the sun was slowly beginning to set.
It only lasted a few minutes, but what minutes they were. The views were amazing and I wished I could stay up there forever. Worth every cent and more.
Everywhere along the beach
What's left of the old castle is perched on top of the hill that separates Nice Town from Nice Harbour. The views from the top of the hill are arguably the best in Nice and the cemetery has some beautifully carved mausolea.
Walk to the eastern end of the beach and either climb the steps, or take the lift part of the way and climb the rest.
Some visitors to Sydney would prefer to see the city from the Harbour Bridge for free, along the public walkway, but the Bridgeclimb tour takes you much - MUCH - higher.
The ascent right up to the aviation light, at the apex, is surely as good as an exposure treatment for vertigo as it is for the views. I had forgotten, or put out of mind, my fear of heights, and although much of the climb was, for me, dominated by mortal terror, I also could not ignore the vista.
The view from the top gives you a nice sense of the layout of some of the beaches in Sydney as well as how the whole city gradually expanded outwards from the harbour.
The fainthearted might think twice about the climb, although the organisers have obviously made safety a primary concern.
5 Cumberland St, The Rocks
61 2 9255 8210
Gien is a small village on the tip of a penisular.The Hotel Provencal in Giens has the most wonderful views looking out towards the Iles de Hyeres.
The hotel has a private beach complemented with a seawater swimming pool you could say it’s shabby chic.
The food complements the fantastic views. It’s got restaurants to cater for all ages and tastes, easy access to the main town and not far from Toulon or follow the coast road to the expensive part of the south of France.
This is a real hidden gem.
You can fly to the local airport Toulon-Hyeres, it's a fifteen minute taxi ride to the airport.
The best way to get to Mendoza is by bus from Santiago in Chile over the Andes and across the border into Argentina. It takes about 6 hours and you will drive through mountainous scenery reminiscent of Central Asia and past the vineyards that surround Mendoza.
Villefranche is a 15-minute ride on the No 100 bus from the Gare Routier.
The views as you leave Nice and curve around the Cap de Nice into the Rade de Villefranche are spectacular.
Loads to do when you get there whatever your tastes. Sightseeing: the Citadel, Rue Obscure, the old Port; culture: four museums/galleries, all free entry; relaxing: two beaches, one coarse sand, the other stony; and loads of bars and restaurants.
There's a food market with local produce on Saturdays, antiques (well bric-a-brac) on Sundays, and above all it's a nice, relaxing, cosy place after the brashness of Nice.
PS don't take a car!
A plush residential neighbourhood located around a hill in the north-east of Nice. This is where the Brits and Russians came to stay and built villas during the Belle Epoque, hence the exotic architecture, notably the Regina Palace, previously a hotel and the location of Matisse's workshop.
The park at the top of the hill (just after the statue of Queen Victoria) houses a nice olive grove, Roman ruins (with the associated archaeological museum), the Matisse Museum and the monastery with its phenomenal gardens (and nice views).
All in all, a great place to chill out for an afternoon, mingle with the locals on a weekend and wander around.
The park is also where the jazz festival takes place every summer - www.nicejazzfest.com - which is why the alleys are named after the jazz musicians who have performed there (Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie among others).
A pleasant walk of about 20 minutes slightly uphill from the train station, follow Boulevard de Cimiez.
Otherwise Bus No 15 from Place Massena, direction Rimiez. Timetables at www.lignedazur.com.
The park is open until around 8pm in the summer; closes earlier in the winter.
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