Yosemite Valley may have the famous sites - Half Dome, El Capitan, and of course the waterfalls. But it also has the tourist hordes and the intense heat. It shouldn't be missed but once you've been and seen, head out of the valley and then north-east toward Tuolumne Meadows. About an hour's drive through the spectacular Sierra Nevada scenery, the road skims the shores of Lake Tenaya. Instead of passing it by like the majority of the park's visitors, park your car and get out. The clear mountain air and almost complete absence of sound or other human presence, makes this remote, crystalline lake a supremely tranquil location. I visited in late summer, when the valley was suffocating in 100-degree heat, but Lake Tenaya, at a considerably higher altitude, was pleasantly warm, and it's shallow waters cool but not freezing. Standing waist-deep in its waters, surrounded by white-sand beaches, pine forests and silver mountains, I could not imagine anywhere closer to paradise.
Yosemite National Park, ask at the visitor centre for a map and/or directions.
A real hidden gem of a hotel sitting on the edge of Scotland's only lake - the rest are lochs. Newly refurbished in a low key New England style, the views are to die for, the service is friendly but unobtrusive and the food is exceptional. It's only an hour from Scotland's big cities but you truly feel like a million miles away. The setting has incredible feeling of peace and tranquility about it that revives the soul and feeds the spirit (or perhaps that's the great whisky collection!)
Crows Nest Cottage is one of the prettiest Victorian cottages in the New Forest. The cottage is set in Lyndhurst which is known as the capital of the new Forest.
The open forest is but a few strides away, where New Forest ponies, donkeys and cattle graze just yards from the front door.
Lyndhurst village centre with its wide choice of cafes, pubs and restaurants is only a few minutes walk away. Terra Vina and Les Mirabelles, two of the top restaurants in Hampshire are closeby and are highly recommended for the discerning diner.
Crows Nest Cottage is ideally located for many interesting walks which start directly from the cottage. One of our favourites goes north up to Fox Hill, then across through Dockens Wood to the New Forest Golf Club, up onto Bolton's Bench, along the Ridge, down to the very beautiful Longwater Lawn and back to the cottage via Lyndhurst High Street - not forgetting to stop for a coffee in La Parisienne cafe on the way back.
Lyndhurst is the ideal base from which to explore the many local attractions such as the Beaulieu Motor Museum and Broadlands, the home of Earl Mountbatten.
A good day out can be had by taking the ferry across to the Isle of Wight, walking directly across the Island from Yarmouth to Freshwater Bay where you literlly seem to step back in time. If you feel energetic, you can continue to walk along the cliffs up to the Tennyson monument and along to see a stunning view of the Needles.
Lyndhurst, New Forest,
It's a restaurant/bar on the fifth floor of the old Customs House (which also includes a library with a scale model of Sydney under a glass floor). It's not that expensive and you get a fantastic panoramic view from the Bridge to the Opera House & beyond.
It's not open that late, however only until about 11pm.
31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, NSW 2000
Telephone: 02 9242 8551
Neraest Station/ bus stop/ ferry stop is Circular Quay.
Google map: tinyurl.com/qmqk8h
This is a fantastic little French bistro in the relatively unknown neighbourhood of Potrero Hill. Fantastic views reward the climb to the top (or drive), and enjoy perhaps the best burgers in the city, with perfect french frites.
1453 18th St
San Francisco 94107
Btwn Missouri & Connecticut St
Loch Ness is a short drive from the city centre of Inverness and a cruise offers you a chance to relax and enjoy some breathtaking scenery.
There are plenty of beautiful towns and villages around the area such as Fort Augustus and Drumnadrochit that are worth a detour and Inverness offers a perfect base for exploring the area.
www.hotelsininverness.net - Great for finding a place to stay in Inverness
Relaxing, leafy historic neighbourhood of small parks and restored late Victorian/early 20th century houses, all intriguingly different and painted funky colours, right next to the U.S. Capitol. Plus a great open-air flea and gourmet food market.
Walk due East from the Capitol down East Capitol Street to Lincoln Park (great statue of Lincoln emancipating the slaves) and take North Carolina Ave. down to Eastern Market. Or get the Metro (Blue/Orange Lines) to Eastern Market. Check it out on www.easternmarket.net
A superb hiking track, historic buildings and battlements, natural forest and amazing views, and all right in the centre of the city. The Monschberg track runs around the waist of the eponymous mountain, taking in the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Museum of Modern Art.
Getting there: There are various points at which to join the track, including the steps from the old town and the elevator from below the museum.
Take the elevator up to the bar on the roof of the Hotel Stein, order a cocktail, sit down and enjoy the view over the river, old town and Hohensalzburg Fortress. Treat yourself.
Austria suffers from no shortage of beer kellers, but drinking underground is not everyone’s mug of beer. But the Stiegl Keller, located below the walls of the Hohensalzburg, lets you to sup while seated outdoors, enjoying some of the best views the city offers.
Cachilas is worth a visit for the ferry ride across the estuary alone. But take the time to have a look around (it’s not too pretty, but very different from Lisbon) and sample some of the excellent seafood down at the port while you are there.
Ferries: Every 20-40 minutes from Cais do Sodre.
Boasting one of Lisbon’s best views, at U Terracao you can enjoy the panorama of this elegant city from a comfortable chair with the beverage of your choice at hand. Take a break from the climb up to the castle and have a look at where you are.
Address: Calc. Marques de Tancos No. 3, Lisbon.
Telephone: (351) 508507413.
It is the undiscovered sister of Ha Long Bay. We sailed through its green waters and looming limestone karsts and saw only a handful of boats - all local fishing boats. If you want to sail on unpolluted waters and avoid touts book a trip through Ethnic Travel. They can arrange a homestay on quiet Van Don island where you cycle from the port. We had a boat between five passengers and was served delicious freshly cooked food on board.
Relaxed, leafy neighborhood of charmingly restored Victorian houses, all intriguingly different from each other. Certified historic distict, if that helps. I live here, and I love it. Magnificent views of the Capitol
Go to the U.S. Capitol and walk due East down East Capitol Street as far as Lincoln Park. Then turn down N. Carolina Ave. towards the Eastern Market on 7th St. (Open air, genteelly boho). Or get the Metro to Eastern Market (Blue/Orange lines)
Situated on the shoreline between the marina and the bay, Rìva really makes the most of its bayside location. There are views across the bay, the marina and the Melbourne skyline and the outside decks sare great. The menu and wine list are pretty good. Rìva was packed when we went and although it's a bit different, it's still a great place for a night out.
Off the beaten track, but easy to get to - an unbeatable combination!
The Moorish "white villages" that nestle in spectacular scenery up in the mountains of the western Axarquia, are actually only a short drive from the almost deserted Mediterranean coves east of Nerja. The best of both worlds! The village of Cutar is a tangle of white-washed alleys and doorways. We've been there 3 years running now, sitting on the balcony watching swifts and kestrels hawking below us. It's genuinely untouched, with the dry river bed in the valley still being used by locals as their preferred route to the nearest (small) town.
We stay at a little one bedroom finca on the edge of the village which is charming and has hosts who are knowledgable & welcoming, but don't get in the way. The walking around there is just great - and many local customs survive & flourish, from village celebrations like the Verdialis to the spectacular Santa Semana processions in the city of Velez Malaga half an hour away. Strongly recommended!
The Christmas window display in Galeries Lafayette is a must for all ages, but especially if you are travelling with children. The clever French even provide a little wooden platform with steps for the children to stand on. This year it is a pink Alice in Wonderland theme. While you are there don't forget the souvenir shop on the 6th floor which is surprisingly good value, and from there walk up the steps on to the roof to see all of Paris for free.
Galeries Lafayette, Boulevard Haussman, Paris 8
A very stylish hotel if you're willing to splash out. Think white box with glass walls inside the shell of an ancient farmhouse. Not cheap by any stretch of the imagination but you're in a glorious clifftop location with amazing grounds. There is a great pool and outdoor hot-tubs with views over the sea. The breakfast is amazing and the dinner tasty though not exactly value for money.
Carretera Artà-Canyamel Km 8
Finca Torre Canyamel
T. 0034 971 81 61 10
F. 0034 971 81 61 11
The Rockefeller Centre is an extraordinary and wonderful place to visit. Built in the mid-1930's it is a pure example of Art Deco architecture, both inside and out, right down to the smallest details of its interior, such as light fittings and switches.
Go early (or book online) and go to The Top of the Rock, the viewing area on the roof of the building, which is reached by high-speed but not frightening lifts. At the top you'll have a panoramic view of all of New York and as far as the Atlantic Ocean in clear weather.
It's not quite as high as the Empire State Building but that's included in the view from the Rock, so no problem. There is a charge for entry but it's well worth it.
We've just spent four nights at Five Acre View and it was simply wonderful. A big kitchen/communal area, a sun trap garden with views to die for and recently refurbished rooms (also with the view).
Very family orientated, dogs welcome (they get a sausage each for breakfast) it is the perfect place to explore the North York Moors.
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