To say that the Italian lakes are picturesque is a mighty understatement, but if you can imagine that the essence of the beauty and romance of all of the lakes could all be condensed into one small town by the side of one of the smallest lakes, then you can begin to conjure up a picture of Orta San Giulio.
Whilst many of the popular resorts on larger lakes suffer traffic problems, cars are banned from the streets of Orta San Giulio, indeed many of the streets are too narrow for anything other than scooters. Day visitors and residents alike have walk down medieval streets and alleyways, which all lead to the main square and the stunning view across to Isola San Giulio.
www.ortasangiulio.com (in Italian)
The Malvern Hills are fantastic for a gentle walk with really satisfying veiws. From the tops - which only take about half an hour or so to get to you have a 360 degree panorama for miles and miles. Then you can walk along the ridge as far as you want. Absolutely brilliant - maximum result for minimum effort. Although if you're not used to walking up hill you will also feel like you've had a good work out.
Malvern Hills, Worcestershire
Great Malvern Station
Every summer we set off from my family home on Lake Como, for excursions on the pre-Alps surrounding the lake, particularly the branch of Lecco up to Bellagio. Our favourite is the walk to Monte S.Primo, a gentle walk through the woodlands and pastures; eager to race to the top and stop to look at the breathtaking view of the whole lake and Alps. The prize is a family Trattoria where we eat local salame and cheeses, brasato stew, deer and polenta, and drink wines from Valtellina. Beautiful!
Leave the car and use the excellent public transport to the Seiseralm - a fairyland plateau of mountains, water and meadows. Great food, hospitalty and suites at the Lamm. At night listen to the witches lob thunderbolts from mountain to mountain!
Stay in Santa Margherita Ligure (which has cheaper accommodation than Portofino itself) and take a scenic boat trip to Portofino. Climb to the top of Castello Brown for the most amazing views of the Marina and bay. Lunch at one of the many open air restaurants on the quay.
We stayed at Dyfiview in early February, as friends of the owners, as they prepared to launch their B&B business.
We were very impressed. Dyfiview B&B has a superb location overlooking Machynlleth and a short walk takes you into the centre where there is a good choice of places to eat and drink.
Our room (Room 1) was very spacious, newly and tastefully decorated and well appointed with a large en-suite bathroom, a very comfortable bed, roomy wardrobes, a flat screen TV, together with tea/coffee making facilities, toiletries etc.
There are fantastic views over the Dovey Valley from the bedroom and from the large dining room and terrace where we also enjoyed watching a wide variety of birds, which were attracted by the bird table and feeders.
Gill and Mike are most welcoming and helpful to visitors: while relatively new to the area they are very enthusiastic about the many opportunities this part of Wales offers. While we were there we enjoyed some local walks and a visit to the nearby Centre for Alternative Technology.
21 Ffordd Mynydd Griffiths
Telephone: 01654 702023
Mobile 07952 370569
Chanced upon this hotel a few years ago, the AC chain is Spanish owned and there are a lot around Spain. This chain nails it. Modern and chic rooms, in Malaga you get a roof top pool, overlooking the old town which is beautiful. Crisp and clean and uber stylish, and, best of all, very reasonable. You get free beer (in bottles) and small snacks all day too, an incredible find, highly recommend.
Villa Sunrise was amazing. For a very reasonable price we got more than in some 4-four hotels we visited during our stay in Croatia. It was a combination of breathtaking views, being able to relax and enjoy the holiday or walk down to the nearest beach.
It is the perfect place to spend a few weeks, taking trips to other parts of the country , relaxing on the beaches just 300m away and exploring the many islands and attractions in the surrounding area.
+385 98 9666 820
Stunning little town. Good food, really friendly people and a fair amount of ex-pats to talk to. Lots to do too. Hillwalking, coastal walks, boat trips, sea kayaking, an ancient amphitheatre to visit. Simply amazing. Even the drive to the town will blow you away.
A short drive along the coast from Kalkan. Or there are plenty of hotels in Kas itself if you fancy a stay. Dalaman Airport is closest.
Without a doubt one of the finest vantage points Istanbul has to offer. We took the free shuttle service from Taksim Square to SantalIstanbul (a former power station, now the Museum of Energy/gallery space on the Golden Horn, www.santralistanbul.com), spent the morning there, then hopped in a dolmus down to Eyup. A cable car brings you up to the shady, hillside cafe. It's a little touristy, but get a good seat and with cay pretty much on tap, you will be well and truly rooted. The Halic (Golden Horn) ferry snakes back via Haskoy. Look out for the partially submerged submarine, an exhibit belonging to the Rahmi M. Koc transport museum.
Pierre Loti Cafe, Eyup
Karyagdi Sok., EYUP
Phone: +90 (212) 581 26 96
Google map: tinyurl.com/ycz2aee
A beautiful and remote coastal region, amazing roads, quiet and great fun for motorbikes and bikes.
There are also really good places to stay or camp, total variety of eateries, really good local seafood, venison and lamb as well as award winning local beers. Add this to stunning views and you have the perfect area for a meeting of bikes ... actually there are quite a few bikers who already come every year!
Tighnabruaich, and Argyll's Secret Coast lie at the end of the Cowal Penninsula, about two hours west of Glasgow. Visit by Bike, sail into the moorings and Portavadie Marina, let the Waverley bring you in style, or the seaplane from Loch Lomond; just come and see for yourself!
Pokhara to Katmandu, and then just ride round Nepal (maybe visit Chitwan, or check out the mountains)
You can do it in a day, it's without a shadow of a doubt one of my favourite parts of a five month motorbike adventure across North India
I arrived in style in Pokhara on my Royal Enfield Bullet, with its head-gasket blowing, and being towed by my Spanish Comrade's older 1972 Enfield! It was raining I had resorted to 'monsoon surfing'- this is the practice of being chased by a vengeful monsoon - and it was dark by the time we found a hostel. We awoke to a balcony with stunning views over the mountain peaks, (ok I lie, it was monsoon, so there was a massive cloud, but it really is perfect the rest of the year.)
Five days of near peace and perfection in Pokhara, both bikes sorted and 100 dollars poorer, we followed the scent of Raju the mechanic to Katmandu, about 200km west and one of the craziest cities in Asia.
Rock music, nightclubs and coffee and a great, friendly atmosphere. However, after five days on my shoe-string budget it proved to be a little too indulgent and expensive for me.
I headed south taking me through Chitwan to Lumbini, the sacred birth site Buddha.
I spent just shy of £2000 over five months, however you could spend this on a holiday, rent a good Enfield from the Hearts & Tears club, eat well and sleep in luxury. Stay at Chitwan nature reserve, climb some mountains, it's all beautiful.
Tip: Spare fuel! Ran out of fuel a few times, Spanish comrade ran out more times than me, biggest bonus was during the fuel strikes.
While Grand Central station is a must see in itself there is quite a quirky feature that people should experience.
The archway outside the Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant creates a neat trick with sound. Simply stand in one corner of arch and whisper something into the wall. A friend who is standing diagonally across from you in the other corner will hear you as if you were standing next to them.
Rent a scooter (USD10 per day) to see a striking world of culture, history, architecture and astonishing natural beauty that is a sharp contrast to commercialism of Southern Bali resorts. A two day adventure will take you to the old cultural capital, monkey rain forests, dormant volcanoes, azure blue lakes, terraced rice fields, botanic gardens, waterfalls, hot springs, temples: the holiest one, one in the lake and another in the sea and through villages that changed little in the past 50 years – all that while air perfumed with cloves and roast coffee blows in your face. Or take a bike and the guide for USD30 per day – try Teguh or his brother, hell’s angels with heart of gold!
Gobang Tattoo Studio, Poppies Lane 1, Kuta +62 81 353 376 600, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rising up through the magnificent Cairngorm mountain range was the most beautiful sight I have had the privillege of experiencing in my short lifetime! Situated just a 45 minute drive from the main city of Inverness, lies a hidden gem of picturesque paradise. In my case, I was visiting my father, who lives in a small village on the outskirts of Inverness. He suggested we visit the Cairngorm mountain range as a pass time. Being only 13 at the time, my initial reaction was somewhat lacking in enthusiasm. However, with the proposition of an ice-cream or two, I was all set to go! Finding your way to the national park is relatively easy and well signposted. If you do struggle to find it however, simply stick your head out of the car window, and search for striking peaks, luscious scenery and the occasional free roaming deer!
After a relatively stress free journey, we arrived at the make shift car park. On a negative note, navigating your vehicle in the attempt of finding a space was quite tricky. However, the car park has been vastly improved since my last visit. The luxury of visiting a national park is that a vast proportion of public services are free of charge, although if you are feeling generous, you may wish to make a donation which would go towards the preservation of the park and its wildlife.
The true magnificence of the park, concerns the numerous activities which are available to the public. These range from walking with a ranger led group through the woods discovering new plants and animals, to mountain biking, canoeing and climbing. During my visit, we chose to simply take the small tram to the summit of one of the mountains in order to admire the parks aesthetic value. There was a small queue for the tram, but we waited no more than 10 minutes. The seating on the tram was comfy and the views on the way up became progressively more unbelievable. Stepping outside the tram station onto an uneven grassy plain was the beginning of a new interest. Watching a bold eagle fly in its natural habitat, set against the setting Scottish sun was utterly breathtaking. Suddenly the ice cream which was promised to me earlier in the day seemed a tad inferior to the sight in front of me. Being at such a high altitude, the lack of oxygen played a part in the overwhelming sense of relaxation. I felt at one with nature and with being only 13, in hindsight, this was a massive achievement!
A day trip to the Cairngorms is a fantastic opportunity to appreciate nature in its most powerful state. For those who enjoy a touch of thrill seeking, that to can be arranged. Very little money is needed, except for petrol and food; as there is a small restaurant and gift shop on site. I guarantee that when you leave, your understanding of nature will be greatly improved. For anyone living a great distance from the park, or for that matter, from Scotland itself, i would still highly recommend visiting the Cairngorm National Park.
We’d been to Gib a few times before, mainly to go to Morrisons to buy veggie sausages. But this time we decided to ‘do the whole tourist thing’. So we did; we shivered in the siege tunnels, meandered through the museum, clambered round the caves and visited the A&E for monkey bite treatment.
Gibraltar is a truly unique place, a mix of numerous peoples and myriad cultures all rammed into a very small area. Nearly 30,000 people live in less than six square km, most of which is taken up by the rock itself. Here you can spend pounds sterling, Gibraltar pounds or euros on tax free goods or in scaled down branches of British high street staples. We normally leave with a £2.50, litre bottle of ‘French spirit’ and a four pack of Early Learning Centre ‘Soft Stuff’.
The English street names and red post boxes remind you of being in the UK, as does the price of the tourist attractions. We bought a combined ticket for the main draws as it was slightly cheaper, I can’t remember exactly how much it was, just that it was a big chunk out of our (limited) budget.
Most of the historical stuff wasn’t really to my taste, being related to Gib’s past as a strategic military outpost. I only went round it to tell my dad I had, as the salty old sea dog was once stationed here. We did learn one interesting fact though. In the 1800’s a skull was found in a quarry here, but its significance was not realised at the time. Only later when similar specimens were found in Neander, Germany, was it understood to be from a separate species. Other sites of occupation by what we now know as Neanderthals have been found on Gib since.
St Michael’s caves are gorgeous, easy to navigate and the stalactites etc. atmospherically lit. I think they have performances in them sometimes which must be spectacular. Our young kids didn’t like them much though, so we headed up to the nature reserve at the top of the rock for the main event, the Barbary apes.
The arm biting incident was totally our fault, these are after all wild animals and should be treated with due respect. It’s easy to forget this once you’ve strolled around among them for a while, watching people feeding the cute ones and the subsequent bullying the youngsters receive from the dominant males. It really is a singular experience and a good vantage point to look down on the main town and see just how crowded it really is.
As we walked back to our car, I smugly observed an American woman lose her sandwich to a primate pilferer. “Fancy walking round with food in your hand” I thought as I strapped my kids into their seats “what does she expect?” I reflected as I handed them an apple each and opened the sun roof. “****” I said as the Barbary snatch squad was suddenly in the car. What big teeth you have! The better to bite your baby’s face off my dear.
Fortunately the back door was still open and my partner instinctively reached in, grabbed the equally freaked ape and pulled it out, fangs embedded in forearm. It was only a juvenile and ran off, but it still makes me cold to think what could have happened, especially if it had been an adult.
The ensuing hospital visit meant we didn’t have time to visit my favourite place on Gib, Europa point. This is the quietest spot I have found here, where on a clear day you can see the coast of Africa. There is a large mosque here as well as a catholic shrine, embodying, for me, Gib’s distinctive identity, of and between cultures and continents. And you can eat a picnic here without watching your back!
Simon's Town is a useful staging-post for coffee or lunch on the drive from Cape Town to Boulders Beach (penguins) or Cape Point. The base of the South African Navy since 1957, and the home of the Royal Navy before that, the main street is worth a tour of its antique and art shops. For lunch, we took the advice of a local shop owner and headed to Bertha's, which is right on the dockside, so close you could dangle your toes in the harbour waters. We watched a flotilla of novice canoeists paddle edgily around the harbour while we sampled delicious sushi from the extensive list of seafood on the menu.
This upmarket Cape Town Hotel, spa and restaurant offers uninterrupted sea views of the Atlantic Ocean and is positioned beneath the slopes of the Twelve Apostles mountain range on the Cape peninsula amidst a backdrop of unspoilt fynbos vegetation. The Twelve Apostles Hotel has no immediate neighbours yet is less than a 30 minute drive from the heart of bustling Cape Town along one of this coast's most scenic roads.
The location caters for those seeking tranquillity and offers every comfort including five star facilities and a private cinema for after dinner screenings. Besides the Leopard Room bar, popular for sunset cocktails and an envious collection of vodka and port, a café offering light meals, or the option of afternoon tea, the main draw card is the Azure Restaurant which promotes cape-fusion cuisine utilising indigenous plants known as fynbos, herbs, seasonal ingredients and local seafood. It also offers visitors the opportunity to sample pickled fish, incorporating Cape Malay style cooking, a favourite of the BoKaap. It has won acclaim as one of the best places to stay in the world and is on the Conde Nast Traveller Gold list for 2010.
The view of the ocean, Lion's Head and the craggy Twelve Apostles to the rear in wild surroundings makes this luxurious establishment well worth a visit.
+27 (0) 21 437 9000
Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
La Petite Ferme is a beautiful restaurant/winery with guest suites in the heart of the Winelands of the western cape. Tucked away on a road leading away from Franschhoek, this is the most stunning place comprising of lodges and guest suites with a divine restaurant which delivers innovative food in the most wonderous laid back way. You feel you are dining in someone's home not a restaurant. The view is to die for and the food, wines and whole ambience is made of stuff which makes you feel you have died and gone to heaven. I loved this place more than anywhere else I have been in the world. A comforting place, full of inspiration from the people who run it, the food, the atmosphere is second to none. Without the OTT prices or the snobbery that often accompanies places such as this. A beautiful place to eat and stay in the Rainbow Nation.
Small village on the West Coast 25 mins from Franz Josef. A great place to spend a few days relaxing- local walks along beautiful beaches; to viewpoints over the lagoon and the mountains inland; home to the brown kiwi and the white heron. Kayaking, boat tours, fishing also available. The Franz Josef glacier is an easy 25 minutes drive away.
It was beautifully sunny when we were there, while 15 mins inland there was torrential rain.
On the coast 25 mins from Franz Josef.
Range of accommodation available, recommend this one with its outdoor fire bath.
No public transport, and need to bring your own provisions.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com