A totally flat 5km track for runners, cyclists and walkers that runs along the hills at the back of Barcelona and offers the most stunning views of the city spread out below you with the sea beyond. The track sometimes winds through the trees but is mostly out in the open. If you need a break or want a different perspective on the city take a couple of hours and refresh your mind in this oasis with a view.
Despite its wonderfulness, the track is often almost totally deserted, though is busier on Saturday and Sunday mornings as Barcelona exercises itself. This track is a runner’s paradise and if you are there just after sunrise (the best time to go) you may see me plodding along.
To get there take the Ferrocarillis Catalana, which starts in Plaza Catalunya, towards San Cugat and get off at Peu de la Funicular. Take the funicular to Vallvidrera but get off at the half way stop. As you exit the halt turn left along the track and keep walking for as long as you want. Once you have walked enough either retrace your steps (literally) and return to the funicular or after 4 km you will get to Placa del las Maduixas (sadly lacking in strawberries) and here you can take the road back down into Barcelona stopping for refreshments at the Bar Miramar (a bit expensive and you've already had the views) beside the funicular station up to Tibidado and the Tramvia Blau if you wish
The monument itself is not the attraction, but the fact that you can go to the observation room at the top by lift makes it worthy of mention. The views of both the city and the bay are quite spectacular from here – but I wouldn’t recommend it for sufferers of either vertigo or claustrophobia.
Placa del Portal de la Pau (at the bottom of La Rambla)
The view from the bell tower of the cathedral is awe-inspiring. You can see the entire city, which is not very big, and the surrounding hills and mountains against the backdrop of the permanently clear blue sky. It really makes you feel like you are 4070 metres above sea level!
The shady side of the central plaza
When Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi tried to fly from the top of the 62-meter-high Galata Tower across the Bosphorus to Asia in 1638, most thought it the improbable hallucination of a mad scientist. Yet it was a dream befitting a period in which the Ottomans' imperial aspirations were truly astounding - and, like the winged Celebi, successful.
Standing atop the tower today, with all of Istanbul spread out 360 degrees all around, one appreciates the incredibleness of the feat, even while hoping to avoid trying to duplicate it oneself.
Although venturing onto the uppermost cylindrical ramparts of this narrow tower built by the Genoese in 1348 induces vertigo for some, it is a truly magical experience, especially at sunset, when the low haze of smog hanging over the western horizon turns the sky copper-red, as the distant mosques start to wail mournfully, seabirds circle down over the boats of the Golden Horn, and the bridges below resonate with the burden of traffic. Indeed, it is at the Galata Tower where one can truly experience this sprawling city in all its unfathomable glory, briefly attaining the tranquillity to take it all in, far above the massed multitudes of Istanbul's streets.
Galata Tower- Büyük Hendel Sok, Beyoglu, up from Karakoy
A symbol of the clash between the Incas and the Spaniards, Qoricancaha was once the religious centre for the Incas and legend has it that the “Court of Gold” was so named because the area was literally covered in the stuff when the conquistadors arrived. Imagine what happened next.
The Spaniards actually built a church on top of the old walls (Santo Domingo), but when an earthquake brought some of the European-engineered walls crashing down, there stood the famous Inca stonework intact underneath.
A truncated Temple of the Sun at one end of the church overlooks a grassy area, below which is an interesting little museum displaying skulls that were deformed by Inca surgeons. A must, hence the removal of Qoricancha from the Cuzco Tourist Ticket...
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 8:30 am – 5:30 pm; Sunday 2-5 pm;
Plaza Santo Domingo;
tel: 51 84 222-071;
Prices: Not included in Tourist Ticket. Costs S/6 for adults, S/3 for students
This tiny café offers one of the best views in Cuzco, great coffees and enormous juices. If you can secure one of the seats outside, you get to look past the nearby San Blas Church and down onto the red roofs of the city while enjoying the sun and a latte. Of course you will be asked to invest in cigarettes, paintings, postcards and so on, but it’s worth putting up with.
Above the waterfall, Plaza San Blas;
Tandapata 684, Plaza San Blas
One of the best things to do in Cuzco is to grab (it may involve inflicting minor flesh wounds) a table in one of the balcony cafes overlooking the Plaza de Armas, order a Pisco Sour and just take in the view. The Cathedral, La Compania, San Blas, laughing local children harassing tourists in quick-dry clothing … what more could you ask for?
One of Istanbul’s most photographed monuments which incredibly dates back over 2,000 years, you simply cannot miss the iconic Kiz Kulesi or Maiden’s Tower, out on its own little island at the mouth of the Bosphorus.
In its capacity as customs control, defence tower, lighthouse and now restaurant, you can’t help but wonder what this intriguing structure has bore witness to over the centuries. This is truly a unique dining experience in what is itself a one-of-a-kind city.
The food is good, but who cares? It’s the view of the sun setting over old Istanbul from the tower’s summit that people really come here for.
Transfers from Salacak (Asian Side) and Ortakoy (European Side) daily – check the website for times. Booking recommended.
Tel: 0216 342 47 47
From a small park next to the Sherazade mosque, find the start of the remaining part of the aqueduct. There should be a hole in the fence it's possible to crawl through. Do so and you can then climb to the top of the aqueduct itself. Walk or crawl along the top for breathtaking views of the city and the Golden Horn. Jump off the other side and you're almost next to the Fatih Camii, a gem although off the normal tourist route.
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 bar at the top of Ceylan International Hotel is wonderful for sipping classy cocktails while watching the Bosphorus. It’s especially great at night when, because the hotel is high enough to avoid the city’s lights, the only lights that pierce the darkness of the sea are those of the ferries and the floodlights of the mosques and palaces. Drinks are not cheap by Turkish standards but then neither is the view.
The hotel is towards Harbiye from Taksim Square
No matter how little time you have for visiting Istanbul, you have to take a boat trip along the Bosphorus. All boats zigzag the Bosporus stopping alternately at a European and an Asian port. The best time to take the boat is on a warm summer’s evening so that you get to see the sunset and, if lucky, full moon over the city.
There is a public service ferry that does the full length or privately run boats that also offer shorter routes
If you have more than a few days, I recommend taking the ferry to one or more of the Princes' Islands.
There are no cars, hardly any other city life noises and the air is definitely cleaner. They are my favourite spot for peace and quiet especially in winter, early spring and autumn as there is hardly anyone visiting and the beautiful wood-clad houses from late 19th century are empty and serene in all their glory.
You can walk around or take a tour in a horse drawn open (covered in winter) carriage and have a glass of tea by the port.
There are regular ferry services to the islands from Eminonu on the Golden Horn and Bostanci on the Anatolian side
The corner terrace of Topkapi Palace. I don’t think this is the official name but you can’t miss it. It’s on the Sea of Marmara side. At the end of the terrace, you will be standing right above where Marmara and Golden Horn meet and the Bosphorus starts. You can stand there for ages, watching the commuter ferries criss-cross from one continent to another, dodging the massive tankers and trying not to ram into all manner of small boats carrying commuters or fishermen.
Whenever I miss Istanbul, my hometown, I close my eyes and imagine this view of where Istanbul comes together.
The Palace enterance is behind Aya Sofia
We rented bikes when we were there and rode out into the country for a few miles. This way we saw some local culture, kids swimming in a pond (they got a kick out of us and our bikes) and some beautiful views. We tried to ride out to the waterfall but it was too far and got picked up by a taxi. The waterfall near the city is worth it though. As is the market and climbing up on the hills for some views and the sunset. It's a beautiful place.
It's Salzburg's answer to the Tower of London. There are no crown jewels but there are great views over Salzburg and there's a nice museum. It's on a crag above the Old Town and can be reached by a funicular railway near the Domplatz, or by paths (much cheaper, although steep).
The funicular station is near the Domplatz (there are signs to it). You can get a map from the Tourist Office in Mozartplatz. I don't really know where the paths begin from, but they are near the mountain's base.
Stand on the Erzsebet Hid and look east towards the parliament building. It gives a fantastic view of the city, and is one of the most beautiful sights in the whole world. Alternatively, get on any train out of the rat race that is Budapest to any of the other cities in Hungary, where the pace is slower, calmer, and less touristy.
Crossing the Duna (Danube) river
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
Of the more southerly fjords that I’ve visited, this in my opinion is the most beautiful. It’s certainly one of the deepest and the granite rocks that rise out of it are extremely pleasing in their variety of formation and colour. Even the journey by boat from Stavanger is spectacular, passing towering islands and water-side villages on the way. Two landmarks of the fjord are the pulpit rock – a huge slab that overhangs the fjord from way above and from where the view is legendary – and the Kjerag Mountain at the end of the fjord. With the gushing waterfalls and the dramatic Baltic light this is a trip to remember.
Boat trips from the harbour
Vientiane's very own replica of the French monument, with a Laotian twist, of course. Built from concrete donated by the US government, intended for a runway. Beautiful at sunset, as the lights begin to illuminate the facade.
On Lane Xang Avenue, the Laotian Champs Elysee
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