It's Canada's most beautiful journey: drive from Vancouver through the Rocky Mountains (the most spectacular mountain/driving experience) to Calgary, and stop off at the Icefields, Sulphur Mountain and Peyto Lake to soak in all the glories of the Canuck wilderness. There will most likely be bear and definitely deer and elk spottings too, which the kids will like.
Easter aside, another great time to be in Calgary is July, when the Stampede features six massive rodeo events and chuckwagon races. How can you refuse real cowboys in chaps, deep-fried Twinkies with Coke and generally calorific Western fun? Calgary is reknowned for not only its oil industry but the best beef in Canada, so steak all round.
Go to America. Then bear north.
For those of you who need to pinch the pennies this year, I'll let you in on a little tip.
The full-on party resort of Laganas in Zante is often top of the list for cheap and cheerful package bargains with tour operators, but it is also a little too hectic and youthful for those of us who are after a relaxing break away from it all.
However if you want to take advantage of low prices and have a civilised holiday experience simply take a short and scenic walk west along the beach, around a headland and past a tiny islet, to discover a small, welcoming and attractive village with its own beautiful beach and a much more authentic feel.
An uninhabited island called Marathonisi, or Turtle Island, lies opposite Aghios Sostis' bay and is named after the creature its shape resembles - the Loggerhead turtles that nest their eggs on the pretty beaches surrounding the island. The rural setting of Aghios Sostis is set against the peaceful countryside of olive groves and pine trees and an imposing mountain backdrop.
If you want to get out and about in Zante there is plenty to see and do: Navagio (Smugglers) Cove with its impressive white cliffs and pale sands is a sight to behold; the Blue Caves, discovered in 1897, are breathtaking for snorkelers and sightseers alike; the Byzantine and Venetian capital of Zante, Zante Town, is the island's cultural and commercial centre with many shops, museums and churches; and last but not least, there are many tiny and traditional mountain villages to be explored.
So for a credit crunching holiday - stay in Laganas but holiday in Aghios Sostis!
Aghios Sostis, Laganas Bay, Zante, Greece.
A fantastic beach, about a two hour walk from Karlovassi. The beach can only be reached by foot or boat and there are no facilities whatsoever. The walk although difficult in places offers outstanding views but make sure you take plenty of water and sun lotion especially if walking in the summer months.
From Karlovassi head towards Potami and follow the track up the hill at the end of the beach road.
A great restaurant with fabulous views situated in small town of Glossa in the NW of the island of Skopelos (recently made famous by Mamma Mia). Excellent food, wine and olive oil with locals and tourists equally welcome. See photo of view from one of the balconies.
Tel: 0030 24240 33076
Address: GLOSSA, SKOPELOS 37004, GREECE
Paros Heaven is set on the Greek island Paros in the Aegean Sea.
We stayed there for two weeks in June and felt really part of the Greek Nature and Culture. It has amazing views over Anti-Paros and Angeliki made us feel really at home.
This tiny secluded and perfect beach has clear turquoise water and beautiful multi-coloured pebbles. The climb down was steep but worth the effort and the fact it was a little out of the way meant it was almost deserted.
2 miles east of Potami on the north coast of Samos
The Bozburun peninsula is largely a conservation area, perfect for nature lovers and exploring uncrowded, pretty bays with crystal clear water and for enjoying stunning views (car essential!). You can see gulets being built in Bozburun, a lively harbour town.
We stayed in the traditional village of Bayir, known for its ancient plane tree, up in the hills above the coast. The hosts of our stone villa, set in a wild, organic garden overlooking a valley, were charming. Ayhan, the owner, an energetic and qualified archaeological guide can take you on hikes or tours around the region.
Follow signs to Bozburun from Marmaris, you will find other towns and villages (e.g.Turunc, Sogut and Bayir) signposted. The drive down to Turunc has beautiful views. Explore from there... The Chalet Vista in Bayir can be booked through the owner, Ayhan, directly: email@example.com (or the villarenters website, which has photos).
If it seems like the whole town has turned out for the Santa Semana (Easter Week) parades, that's probably because they have. A wonderful place to view this spectacle and enjoy the Andalucian sunshine in Spring.
Fly from Almeria or Murcia
But what a countryside. Trust me, if you are willing and able to make the effort, an amazing array of beaches, flora and fauna await you at Wilson's Promontory.
We travelled from Melbourne by coach to a small town called Foster where we stayed in a nice little hostel. The lady that ran the place was kind enough to drive us to the 'base camp' which is where we got the necessary permits to access the Prom.
We stocked up with as much as we could carry and set off. You must do your homework before you even get there. Know where you're heading and don't stretch yourself too much. When you find a nice campsite, pitch your tent and explore the locale.
The chances are, you may even have an entire beach to yourself overnight if you catch it in the right season and it's not too busy. We once spent an entire evening in one of the places called Oberon Bay with a beach about five times the size of Bondi all to ourselves. Truly magical but as I said before, it's a lot of effort because everywhere can only really be accessed by foot and you must carry everything with you.
The facilities at most the campsite are basic so you need to take water with you and also water purification tablets for any top-ups you get while you're exploring.
We followed a circuit around the coastline which took us about three days which I think was enough. It meant we had access to all of the bays and beaches that were on offer.
Wilson's Prom is a very remote part of Australia but is very lush and green which is an amazing contrast to the red dust and rocks of other less accessible parts of Oz. Even though the Great Ocean Road is in itself a very nice place to head to, make the effort to head towards Wilson's Prom and you will not be disappointed.
Possibly one of the greatest beaches in Australia. One of the only beaches I have been on where you have to wear sunglasses to look down as well as up! The white silica sand stretching along the coast makes for an awesome sight. Of course, unlike some places, you won't be alone but the beach is big enough to find your own quiet spot. There is no shade of any kind so make sure you dress appropriately and take lots of sun block!
The beach can be reached either from nearby Hamilton Island or even from Airlie Beach on the mainland. Both of these places are a little bit too swamped by tourism in my opinion so you should really only go for the Whitehaven experience.
Remember to make sure you take only photos and leave only footprints as this place is truly unspoilt by the modern world.
Google map: tinyurl.com/npam7x
A friend and I drove a budget rental car from Sydney to Uluru (Ayres Rock) after signing to say we would stay on sealed roads and intimating that we'd be staying around Sydney. It's a long way between 'attractions' in Australia's interior so there was plenty of driving.
Highlights included picking up a didgeridoo toting hitch hiker. It turned out he was from Coventry and was teaching didgeridoo in Australia! Also seeing Uluru in the rain. I was so excited because EVERYONE sees it with a blue sky. We camped overnight and saw it with sunshine the next day so we were properly spoilt.
Breaking down and fixing the car ourselves because we didn't want to tell the rental company we were 100's of kms from the nearest tarmac added to the fun.
Opals, a space centre, road trains, sunsets, the Blue Mountains - a great trip.
My top tip would be to start out with a workable plan and be cheerful and eager to change the plan to grasp unexpected opportunities as you stumble across them.
Also, pair up with someone with an opposing body clock. My friend could drive at night and I do early mornings so we covered plenty of miles.
On clear days, it's hard to beat the view from the Nanpu river in the South of Shanghai.
Tickets cost 68RMB to go up the elevator to the start of the bridge's arch. From there it's some 360 steps to the observatory deck at the top.
From this point you can see the Expo site (opens in June 2010), and the city laid out like a map as far as the eye can see: The Pearl Tower, the Financial Centre, People's Square, and miles of skyscrapers in every direction.
Ticket office at the very end of Lujiabang Lu (near Xietu Lu).
It's the second highest motorable road in the world, crossing several passes, including two over 5000m. Snaking right through the middle of the Himalaya in North West India, it's closed over the winter due to snow. In the summer though, driving it is an incredible experience as you can see snow capped mountains high above you and below, valleys becoming increasingly green as you cross from Leh at 3600m in Ladakh which is very dry, high up on a plateau above the monsoon's reach, to Manali in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
Depending on how many stops you want to make, the journey takes up to two days and can be done by car, jeep or public bus.
Leh, Ladakh and Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India.
Cuddle up and make some Aussie furry friends at Australia's biggest Koala Sanctuary.
There are over 130 Koalas and a host of other marsupials in this beautiful natural park, all roaming free in their natural habitat. Get snapped with one of the furry beasts in 'Koala Hug' photos and hand feed the kangaroos, or wander round the peaceful grounds and watch them hang from the trees.
There's a souvenir shop with all the usual stuffed toys and Koala paraphenalia, but the Koala Enclosure cafe boasts 360 degree views over the sanctuary while you sip your coffee.
One of the most scenic ways to get to the sanctuary is by boat, and a cruise departs from Brisbane's cultural center, sailing past the city's historic buildings and lush islands.
708 Jesmond Rd, Fig Tree Pocket, QLD 4069, Australia
Google map: tinyurl.com/m3gjyq
A bus from the centre of Marseille will take you to the head of the trails (through some unsalubrious bainlieues) that lead over craggy limestone peaks to one of the Mediterranean's most beautiful coastal features, the calanques. A little under an hour's walk will lead you to beautiful Sormiou and Morgiou, with pint sized beaches and tiny hamlets sandwiched between dramatic cliffs strewn with shrubs, cedars and maritime pines. The water is crystal clear and sheltered so that it is calmer and warmer than the open sea. On summer weekends, the calanques can get busy with daytrippers, but the rest of the time they are a picturesque treat to enjoy with only a few other people. There are other calanques more easily accessed by boat or from the neighbouring town of Cassis.
Calanque de Sormiou and Calanque de Morgiou, south of Marseille. You can drive the whole way along winding, precipitous, unpaved roads, but as the weather is usually good, it's best to walk - though remember to bring lots of water in summer time! Buses no22 & 23 run to Morgiou and Sormiou respectively from the Rond Point du Prado metro stop.
One of the best views in Lisbon. The newly renovated gardens have two levels with views across to Castelo de Sao Jorge, the Tagus, Alfama, Rossio, Avenida de Liberdade etc. It's an oasis of calm which is lit up by the sunset each evening.
An azulejo (tile) map shows you what's what.
Rua Sao Pedro de Alcantara (at the top of the Elavador da Gloria)
Just on the road to Humahuaca Gorge, Yala is a small village, famous for its lagoons, surrounded by the amazing landscapes of Las Yungas.
By the Yala River, La Casona del Camino Real offers lodging in comfortable private rooms and the services of Gourmet restaurant.
Adress: Pedro Ortiz de Zarate sn , Yala, Jujuy .
+54 388 4909263
13 kms fron San Salvador de Jujuy
Nestling in the hills, with False Bay and Table Mountain in view, a very pleasant place to have a very good and cheap lunch and drinkable wine starting at around 30 ZAR/bottle, which is almost cheaper than water.
The food is simple, with Cape Malay dishes the speciality.
Booking at weekends is recommended
Stellenbosch, 7599, South Africa
The best way to see the "Green Coast" of Northern Spain is on foot. Walk between historic villages along ancient pathways, discovering an unspoilt coastline and pristine mountain views. You'll find great family-run hotels and wonderful local restaurants. It's possible to arrange a self-guided holiday where your luggage is transported from one hotel to the next.
It is hard to get more remote and stay in Europe. El Hierro is the smallest and furthest of the seven inhabited Canary Islands, and there are only perhaps four hotels on the whole Island. The Parador is at the end (yes, it really is the end) of a long road, through a long tunnel, and stands between high cliffs and the sea.
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