A great free thing to do, and a chance to escape from the overcrowded resorts.
Corfu’s highest mountain is a giddy 1000 meters high in the north of the island, and the views from the top are breathtaking. On a clear day you can spot the southern tip of Italy, and see neighbouring islands like Paxos.
Rent a car and take the scenic drive, or if you're feeling adventurous hike to the top - remember to pack lots of suncream and wear comfortable shoes.
A cobbled path uphill from the port town to the hilltop Monastery, via the Convent of the Apocalypse. Shaded in parts, it's not too taxing, although best avoided in the midday heat.
The higher you go, the better the views get - you can easily make out nearby islands, approaching cruise ships and abandoned windmills.
About a kilometre out of Skala, along the Chora road (it's signposted)
The Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland is too big to cover in a few lines. It seems to be largely overlooked on most travellers’ itineraries and hardly gets a mention in the guidebooks. The reason for the omission might be the perceived difficult access to the region. This is a myth! The road in the dry season is a cakewalk with a 4WD and the tricky bits have bypasses should you wish to use them. If you’re prepared to take the road less travelled you will find a part of Australia seldom visited and with exceptional beauty. The road I took commenced in Cairns: I followed the Cook Highway north to the Daintree rainforest, then took the scenic Bloomfield track via Cape Tribulation to Cooktown. From Cooktown, the Battle Camp road went through the Lakefield national park to Laura. The road north via Fruit Bat falls eventually led to the Northern most tip of Australia. The trip didn’t end there: I ventured into the Torres Strait islands before returning south. The trip took two weeks during which I spent time on secluded beaches (so secluded that no one would know what you got up to on them!), lush rainforest full of wildlife, Aboriginal rock art sites, pubs in the middle of cattle farms in the outback and luxury hotels. Do your research, I recommend buying a copy of Ron and Viv Moon’s guide to Cape York before you make the trip.
Rent a car in Cairns. Britz lets you take vehicles up to the cape. Ring them on 1800 331 454 for more information.
Melbourne is getting a collection of great little restaurants along its bay and Vincents is another one. It has fantastic views across Port Phillip Bay and the surrounding bayside suburbs from the upstairs dining room.
The menu is mediterranean based and of course offers lots of fish choices.
The pastas were great as were the home made dips. Service was smart and efficient. BYO and also licenced, Vincents is just a nice place to go and have a meal
The Liébana area of the Picos de Europa is one of western Europe's last natural Edens and refuge of the wolf and Cantabrian brown bear. Cork oak forest and vines make clear a Mediterranean climate, but the cable car at from Fuente Dé takes you 800 metres up to spectacular Alpine scenery and great hiking.
Afterwards, on the way back to Potes from Fuente Dé, hungry walkers can satisfy body and soul at the Restaurante del Oso in Coslaya. The portions are huge and the local beef and vegetable stew ("cocido lebaniego") is simply wonderful.
Fuente Dé is reached from Potes, the toruism hub for the Picos de Europa in Cantabria.
More information and guide to the area:
A beautiful setting to sit and relax tasting some of the best wine in South Africa. My wife is not normally a red wine person but she loves the Three Cape Ladies, a delicious red wine, while my preference is for the Trilogy with its richer more complex flavours.
If you join the Warwick Wine Family, they will arrange to send you a mixed case of wine every six months in the UK, and you get invited to their Garden Party in December, where you can get very drunk on the finest white and red wines for free. Another benefit is the 20% discount on buying wines at the estate
On the R44 between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts/Paarl
The location has to come first, only 30 minutes from the Lakes but nowhere near as over run. This part of the North Lancashire coast is relatively undiscovered - an spectacular area of natural beauty - and you can have the beach all to yourself.
The Holgates park is wooded, with lots of wildlife, including rare birds that nest at the nearby RSPB site. We stayed in a very luxurious caravan that we hired, but you can take your own and there is also some space for tents. On the day that it rained, we used the truly luxurious swimming pool and spa - incredibly clean changing rooms and decent lattes in the cafe.
The village of Silverdale is a short walk away and had a great butcher and greengrocer as well as a couple of good pubs. There is also an art and pottery gallery with a good cafe attached.
The kids were happy running wild - the park is about 24 acres I think, but feels rural and safe with a great play area. We were happy outside the van with a glass of wine watching the most amazing sunset I have ever seen in my life. It takes quite something to get me to relax so quickly but this place certainly has it.
Glendalough in Ireland is one of the most serene places imaginable. A deeply glaciated valley (the water is cold!) with towering mountains, monastic ruins and an ever changing sky. Although its proximity to Dublin means it can be busy at the weekend , during the week it's usually all yours. The upper lake boasts crystal clear water and a shingle beach. We stayed in Aughavannagh Cottage, a short jaunt over the mountains in the next valley. Almost every morning we managed a swim before breakfast - the one exception was when we climbed Lugnaquilla, at just over 3000 feet, the highest mountain in Leinster.
This place is gorgeous and we go every year since we discovered it. It's a really easy and unstressful drive from Faro airport and has a perfect location, perched up on a hill above the small village of Estoi with views down to the sea. Easy acess to all the great fishing villages and good shopping in Faro, as well as amazing wildlife, walks etc.
Though, during my brief stay in Bled, the weather wasn't all that consistent I would absolutely recommend going there to see the sights and swim in it's beautiful lake. While there I stayed in the affordable campsite on the lake's edge. I arrived just after dawn and, the walk down from the train station, as the morning mist curls off over a carpet of conifers which trail towards distant mountains, must be the best introduction to this painfully picturesque location. The Baroque church on an island in the blue-green lake offsets the natural beauty with an air of mysticism; this, coupled with the cliff-top castle looking over the lake, give the feeling that you're in a sublime, fantasy film set. Expect to see others swimming and rowing in the azure waters and, I urge you, don't think twice about jumping in to join them.
The perfect place for a late afternoon or evening drink is from one of the terrace cafes by the castle overlooking Zante town. Great view and you can see the lights of the town twinkling and the whole bay stretching before you.
There's a beautiful little church there which isn't always open, but if it is take a look inside at the gilding and chandeliers - it's a favourite for weddings and christenings.
You can also climb the cobbled lane up to visit the stone Venetian fortress perched on the hill. There's a rather trendy nightclub on the way up if you want to mix with the beautiful people.
Take a taxi or drive up the hill at the back of Zante town and follow the signs - there's a big car-park nearby.
Raiatea is the second largest of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. Raiatea means approx 'bright soft sky' in Tahitian and this island was the centre of Tahitian culture and religion for more than 1000 years.
It is thought that the migrations to Hawaii, New Zealand and other parts of Polynesia started from here. The main town on Raiatea is Uturoa. The best way to have a look around is to take the Island Drive which leaves from the end of the pier in Uturoa.
Stops along the way give access to the Botanical Gardens, views to Mt Temehani (the only place in the world where the white petalled Tiare Apetahi flower grows), visits to the pearl farms, motus in the lagoon and the various marae (traditional walled meeting places).
Far less touristic than Tahiti, Raiatea is defintely worth a visit.
I saw your piece on 'boutique' hostels and that you had recommended 41 Below. I've been in Bariloche for the last few weeks and can tell you that the best hostel in town is actually 1004.
It's on the top floor (10th) of the tallest building in town, which is, frankly, a bit of an eyesore from the outside. But the views from inside are something to behold, especially at sunrise and sunset.
Aside from that, it has a fantastic lounge area, balcony overlooking the lakes and mountains beyond, a really warm atmosphere and great staff. And a near-restaurant quality kitchen.
San Martín 127 (Pagano's corner) - Bariloche Center Building - 10th floor - Apartment 1004.
San Carlos de Bariloche (CP 8400) - Río Negro - Patagonia Argentina
Much more peaceful after the bustle of Tahiti. Moorea is astonishingly beautiful, and the best way to see it is to take a bus tour.
The Circle Island Tour takes you past pineapple fields, coffee plantations and flower-filled villages up to Belvedere Lookout, where you can see Opunohu and Cook's Bays.
One of the highlights is a stop off to see the little rectangular 'Marae', ancient structures which used to be sacred buildings, used as open-air temples and funeral sites.
(Picks up from all the main hotels)
A great way to see the exotic marine life if you aren't quite ready to take the plunge into the deep blue.
We went on a 'snorkel-safari' around the island, and stopped off at the Barrier Reef to snorkel around the coral. The water is crystal clear, and you also get to swim (safely) with sharks and manta-rays.
If you don't fancy getting your feet wet, try the glass-bottomed boat tours around a lagoon- you get the glorious mountain scenery above, and the colourful fishes and coral below.
Named 'trou du souffleur' by the locals, this is a fun natural landmark to visit, and is easy to spot from the coastal road.
If the sea's rough, water rushes into a cavern and shoots up through a hole in the rocks, like a geyser!
Watch out if the sea is extra fiesty - you could get wet on the viewing platform!
PK 22, Coastal road, Tiarei, Tahiti
This is a totally preserved preVictorian stone and slate village around the shores of Kames Bay with a lifestyle of 50 years ago. Langoustines are caught here. Kames Castle at one end has period holiday cottages in the Estate. There is a small marina, highly eccentric ancient golfcourse, old tramtrack to Ettrick Bay - a great bit of sand with 200 seals, two pubs, fish and chips, Post Office/shop, a Petanque piste and a Russian Tavern run by Russians serving Russian specialities and Russian beers, wines and vodkas. They have four guestrooms too.
The scenery of seascapes, mountains, forest and islands is simply spectacular. Curlews, oyster-catchers and seals share the beach while wild deer graze the golfcourse. This is a very peculiar place to find in the UK!
Ferry to the Isle of Bute from Wemyss Bay (pronounced "weems") on the A78 between Greenock and Largs at the mouth of the River Clyde. Trains direct to Wemyss Bay from Glasgow and either Glasgow Airport. Ferry every 45 minutes, ferry time 35 minutes.
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