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.
This was a wonderful place to stay, it was somewhere we stubbled upon when scouring the web frantically looking for somewhere in the mountains.
Its in a wonderful spot, right on the edge of the mountains, with amazing views. The staff were so lovely and it was nice to be cooked for every night after a long day of walking. With no electricity, the place turns into a candle lit palace at night, where you can relax and take in everything. Its really felt like you were in the middle of nowhere, living like a local. I couldnt recommend it enough.
Setting is fabulous, looking out over St. Brides Bay. Rooms are very homely, ambience is very, very relaxed indeed - you can go into the kitchen and make yourself a cup of tea, the food and wine are fabulous and so is the walking. Hotel and self-catering, the best in Wales!
Hosts are just the best. It's like being in a ramshackle but very comfortable large old family house.
Haverford West then the coast road to Broad Haven
It's a hostel for hiker and climbers near Soto de Sajambre in the Picos de Europa. You can only get there by foot - it's about an hour from the nearest village. Right in the heart of the Picos de Europa National Park with has some of the most stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It's set beside some mountain pastures and in between centuries old beech and oak woodland. The facilities are simple - shared dormitories and probably best to take your own food but definitely worth it as the views are out of this world.
For the location: maps.google.com/?q=43.166046,-5.005045
For the views: www.mallorcaweb.net/estebanmk/SantaCastilla/SantaCastilla002.jpg
One of the best things about Perth is you’re only ever a train ride from the beach. If you can’t be bothered to make the day trip to the wine regions of the Swan Valley and Margaret River, spend a morning stretching out on this secluded patch of sand, and take a dip in the Indian Ocean. There’s a free shuttle bus that runs between the city and the sea, but it’s only a fifteen minute walk from the train station if you want to soak up the scenery.
Google map: tinyurl.com/qgf5g9
This sprawling 400 hectares of bushland is only five minutes away from the city centre and is a great place for a bush walk or barbecue. There are guided tours through the botanical gardens, filled with exotic birds and wild flowers, but it’s more fun to make your own trail up to the State War Memorial, for picture-perfect snaps of the Swan River. Climb further up the DNA tower for a 360 degree view of the city, and take a tram back to the bottom is you’re feeling weary.
On the slopes of Black Mountain are the Australian National Botanic gardens. They are home to a variety of Australian habitats from temperate rainforest to desert plants. Admission is free (although there is a charge for parking). There are great views across the city.
There are also free guided walks twice a day.
The view from the top is fantastic, overlooking the city plus Bruny island and the outlying areas for up to 50 miles on a clear day. Be aware that as this is a mountain the weather can and does change very dramatically and quickly, so be ready to don waterproofs etc.
Well worth the trip up and for the energetic lots of trails along the mountainside.
Google map: tinyurl.com/n9v68a
A small town nestled at the base of the Strezlecki ranges , Yarragon has a range of speciality shops covering arts and antiques, bookshops and places to taste the local cheeses and wares. We stayed at the Yarragon motel, a small neat and tidy place just off the main highway (it was cheap accommodation too.)
about 130km SE of Melbourne on the Princes Hwy
Google map: tinyurl.com/pf36vv
We had a thoroughly enjoyable week at this attractive townhouse in the historic heart of Lanciano, Abruzzo. If you want an authentic Italian getaway then this is the place for you. Lanciano is centrally located for both the beach and the mountains and has plenty of bars, restauraunts and shops to entertain too. We had the most blissful week eating breakfast on the roof terrace overlooking the town, pottering about the alleyways and eating at the most authentic (and cheap) trattorias in town. There are a wealth of beaches and coves only a 15 minute drive away and yet we could be up in the mountains in only half an hour. The house is really well equipped and with lots of much appreciated touches such as wine and water in the fridge and the basics for our first meal should we have needed it. The owner took her time to meet up with and give us a quick guided tour of the town which really helped save time on the first day and were always on hand if we needed more information about what to see and do. This area is virtually unspoilt by tourism and the people genuine, warm and friendly. We will be back soon.
Greenest City in the UK (maybe the world!),one third in the Peak District, Sheffield has a stunning array of parks allowing the countryside to reach deep into the urban area. Many are the historic legacy of its industrial fathers and benefactors, some lovingly restored by the City and many friends groups. Amongst the historic best are Abbeyfield, Norfolk Heritage Park, Weston Park, and with its restored Paxton pavillions the beautiful and intimate Botannical Gardens. More esoteric, theres the General Cemetary, and for the C21st Devonshire Green and the forthcoming Sheaf Valley Park between Park Hill and Station.
all over Sheffields hills and valleys
An historic Inn 15 mins from downtown San Francisco across the Golden Gate bridge with stunning views of the city and the Bay. Just a five minute walk to the ferry crossing through streets of funky boutiques, museums, eateries and scented gardens. Finely furnished historic Inn with wonderful touches of detail.
This is the absolutely ideal place - as originally recommended by the Guardian. Perfect and funky attention to detail, great and helpful service, the right balance of privacy and community if you want it, easy access to the best of both worlds - old and new city; stunning views, no traffic noise as it's in the middle of the UNESCO world heritage pedestrian zone of the Arab old city, the Albaicin. And it turns out to be the absolute cheapest option in town - if there are more than two of you travelling together, it even works out cheaper than a bunk in a backpackers dorm. So with the individual kitchen in each apartment this is an ideal budget location, too. Or use it as a hotel, don't even bother cooking, and dine out in style in the fab tapas bars and restaurants all around.
I took my kids camping during half term and we spent an afternoon catching crabs. And then put them back.
We stayed at the only campsite open in this part of the New Forest called solent view camping.
Lovely B&B near Point Reyes which is a little way out of San Francsico (oh ok, about an hour's drive) but worth it for the absolutely stunning views.
The Inn looks like a giant treehouse and set in a forest it feels like one. Big open fire, huge windows and fantastic breakfasts. I stayed in the Lupine room which was beautiful - slanted ceilings, peaceful and the sort of place you felt the impulse to write a best-selling novel in!
No, not cheap - if you want that stay in a crusty motel. But a real experience.
We stayed in this apartment during a recent trip to Italy and wished we had been able to stay longer. It's in a lovely little village called Loro Ciuffenna and is a perfect base for anyone wanting to live the Tuscan experience. Best for longer stays (a week or more) and for people who have access to a car to be able to get around to all the fabulous tiny places that nobody gets to see. Run by an American woman, Barbara (she lives in the apartment below), who took such wonderful care of us and knew all the best places to see and things to do. Fabulous hiking and nature experiences if you tire of all the antiquity. Generally, just a wonderful place to recharge the batteries and forget the world for a little while.
Loro Ciuffenna, Arezzo
A great walk in Marvão, Alto Alentejo, Portugal with fantastic panoramic views, wonderful countryside and interesting historical sites.
This walk is 7.38 km and is easy to moderate. The map/guide we bought earlier from the tourist office in Marvão, and the start is from Portagem near the public swimming pool.
The four of us, two adults and two children aged 12 and 14, set off from the 16th century bridge and tower in Portagem. The guide informs you to follow the trail by posts with green markers and we realised after a few kilometres there are none. Instead follow the normal markers of a red and yellow rectangles.
This walk took us about two and a half hours with regular stops to see the sights such as:
The 16 century bridge and tower next to the river Sever.
The mediaeval cobbled road, possibly of Roman origin.
Views of the imposing town and castle of Marvão, the mountain range of Serra de São Mamede and the granite plains of the Alentejo countryside.
The Convent and Church of the Lady of the Star (Igreja do Convento de Nossa Senhora da Estrela).
Typical small Alentejo hamlets.
The 16 century derelict chapel and mediaeval tombs cut into the rock at Fonte Souto.
Oak, Walnut, Olive,Chestnut and Horse-Chestnut trees.
Plenty of farm animals and the wonderful fauna and flora of this region.
At the end of the walk why not have lunch at O Sever restaurant at Portagem for a hearty typical Alentejo lunch washed down with a bottle of Conventual Red wine.
This is a perfect day out in this great region of Portugal.
I have never in my life had such a great view eating dinner like I had at this restaurant, located on the 65th floor of the State tower on Silom Rd. Just the view is worth the trip to this restaurant. The service was poor for such a high end place, not rude, but just not attentive given the fame that this restaurant has gathered in the world since it's opening. The food has everything you could think of, fresh seafood, great steaks, and a dessert table to die for.
A live band with a soul singer was a pleasant touch as we ate and afterwards she came down and introduced herself and spoke to us for a couple of minutes. Afterwards stick around and have drinks at the ultra cool bar, drinks run from 200 bahts (about $5 US dollars) to 20,000 bahts about $500 US dollars for Cristal Champagne. If it wasn't for the poor table serivce this place would get a 10 out of 10 but I'll give it nine out of 10.
Address: 1055/111 State Tower Bangkok, Silom Road
hone: (02) 6249555
The Portland Rose Gardens is another local landmark site - with gorgeous views of Mt. Hood and the downtown city proper.
The 'test' gardens are literally that - experimental buds abound and many award-winners at that. Row after row after row of botanically-engineered beauty, and not just for enthusiasts.
Located in the winding playland that is Washington Park - The Rose Gardens sit within one of the best walking tours Portland has to offer - stroll up to the Japanese Gardens for an authentic cultural experience (it has been called the most perfect replica of a Japanese tea garden outside of Japan), or keep strolling up the park - playgrounds aplenty for the young ones and gorgeous picnic spots - if you make it to the top you can visit the Portland Zoo, Children's Museum, the Hoyt Arboretum or Forestry Center. Watch out for stray foxes.
Washington Park is Portland's largest and most exemplary - it is quite tourist friendly with plenty of buses, but the best way to experience it is on foot. The Washington Park Zoo train is also a refreshing option, taking you up on narrow tracks through the heavily wooded hills on an old-fashioned locomotive.
Family friendly - absolutely - but romantic enough for adventurous couples. With good trainers. A walking stick wouldn't hurt, either. Spread over 400 acres - long rests are encouraged.
Off of Hwy 26, from Burnside to Vista Avenue.
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