A 14 hour round trip from Oslo to Bergen, taking in all Norway has to offer. During the initial five hour train journey from Oslo to Myrdal the scene from the window gets whiter and whiter as the journey takes you high through the Langfjellene and Hardangervidda mountains. By the time you reach Myrdal station, it’s so snowy icicles have formed the length of the ticket offices. The Flam railway then descends down the Norwegian landscape, stopping briefly by the (often frozen) Kjosfossen waterfall allowing passengers to get out and take photographs. From Flam you take a boat through the breathtaking Aurlandsfjord before a bus takes you the final length of your journey from Gudvangen to Bergen, just in time for dinner. Bergen has one of the world’s most famous fish markets, so trying the local produce is highly recommended. If you still haven’t quite got enough of a snowy mountain fix, Bergen’s funicular railway takes you to the top of Mount Floyan for some outstanding views and vast walking opportunities. Completing the round trip is a direct train journey from Bergen back to Oslo, including a stop at Finse with an altitude of 1,222 meters, it’s the highest station on the journey.
1-Altitude Gallery is the highest observation point in Singapore at 282 metres. Opened in 2010 at the rooftop of OUB Centre in the business district offers unparalleled, unobstructed 360-degree view of the city-state. All visitors are equipped with hi-tech iPod devices showing information about 19 points of interest visible from the rooftop. At the end everyone receives a souvenir photo taken with a stunning view of Marina Bay as a background. Highly recommended!
The most popular place to see Riga from the height of birds is the Tower of St. Peters Church. The church is located in the Old Town, it’s included in the UNESCO World Heritage and from there you can enjoy romantic views to the old buildings, the river Daugava - which divides the city into two parts, and bridges. It’s a postcard worthy sight.
This is how motorway service stations ought to be. Banish the garish signs, 60s concrete structures and ubiquitous fast food 'restaurants' and replace them with attractive log cabin buildings overlooking fields and a duck pond. Tebay service station has been around for a while but strangely the concept doesn't seem to have caught on in many other places. Family-run by farmers who sold land for the M6 construction, but who wisely retained the bordering land to develop at a later date. It offers a beautiful cafe with views away from the traffic, a home-made ice cream bar, a farm shop and a butchers counter and free wifi. And it's one of the few retailers I've found who stock V Pud - a vegetarian black pudding - so any family members visiting my nephew at university in Glasgow are not allowed to drive home without stopping off to pick some up for me.
Pop your bike on the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe, head east onto the 35km Avenue Verte for awesome tracks, villages, local food and cider, stay in a chateau, canoe chalk streams past watermills under trees full of mistletoe, an ultimate weekend get away.
From the village of Lehon, with its fantastic open air swimming pool, you can walk 2km along the River Rance, to the Medieval town of Dinan. The walk is shaded by trees full of mistletoe, and along the way is a cottage, where you may find a lady carving intricate Pre-Raphaelite figures into sicks of chalk. The river flows through a gorge as you reach Dinan, and you pass under the majestic viaduct. From here, you can walk up the steep cobbled streets into the walled town, or stop at the waterfront restaurants, and hire a boat from the little port.
Google map: bit.ly/riW1w0
There are a few spots on the Spanish coast that remain undeveloped and the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata-Nijar just east of Almeria is one of them. An area of cliffs, arid hills, spectacular beaches and picturesque fishing villages, although not undiscovered this area has a wildness and a sense of space for those seeking a more elemental seaside holiday. Stay in San Jose if you want a small taste of nightlife, otherwise stay at Los Escullos, either at the hotel or the campsite and during the day take a walk to the centre of the extinct volcano and spend the evening lying on the warm rocks by the sea watching the stars.
Los Escullos, 04118 Almeria, Spain
+34 950 389 811
Google map: bit.ly/jFdyTB
Los Escullos, 04118 Los Escullos Nijar Almeria, Spain
Google map: bit.ly/iIp4Kp
+34 950 38 97 33
Alhama de Granada is one of the most beautiful locations in Spain, in the fertile land of the Poniente Grandadino in Southern Andalucia. This is the 'real' Spain - incredible light, authentic fabulous food, great people and hardly any English spoken. It isn’t far from the airport at Malaga, but it is a million miles from the pubs and full English breakfasts on the coast. There are churches, lovely squares, a spectacular gorge, a red Moorish fort, an Arabic quarter, fresh food shops and 38 cafe bars and restaurants all in easy walking distance. Perched nearly a thousand metres above sea level on the edge of Tajos Gorge. Famous throughout Spain for the thermal baths - hot therapeutic water bubbles up in to four thermal pools next to the river. 12km from town is the spectacular Bermajales lake with sandy beaches. There is great walking, sailing, abseiling, kayaking, quad biking, mountain biking and skiing activities all within easy reach of the town. Granada and the spectacular Alhambra are a mere 45 minutes car drive or an hour on the bus. There are a number of good quality yet inexpensive hotels and hostels in the town.
Travelling through the Mont-Blanc tunnel and emerging in the Aosta valley brings you en route for the classic Italian cities. First of all, you pass through Turin before experiencing the Levantine Riviera as you travel along side the Mediterranean. From here you can continue further down to visit the famous leaning tower of Pisa or head back up to Milan. The majestic city of Venice is on a direct road from here and on the way you can stop by historic Verona and get in touch with your romantic side by leaving a letter to Juliet.
Google map: bit.ly/iRuNcu
Murni's is an institution. Location is beyond compare, this restaurant has four open-air levels that step down the steep hillside overlooking the river. Balinese ambience is tasteful but not over-styled, many nice details in decorations and furnishing. Go there for the pleasant atmosphere and view, the good International food and maybe for a cocktail or coffee and cake.
The beautiful and peaceful Island of Ithaca can be reached via Kefalonia for a day trip but better to spend a night or two (or longer). Travel up into the cool of the mountains and view the capital Vathi and it's horse-shoe shaped harbour from way up above. Then cool off on one of the island's quiet pebble beaches - the crystal clear waters make up for the lack of sand. Maybe head to the pretty village of Frikes which is about as touristy as it gets on Ithaca- then back to Vathi for dinner at one of the many tavernas on the harbour front where you can indulge in a spot of yacht envy. If travelling back via Kefalonia get the late evening ferry and watch the sun set over the Kefalonian mountains which is just breathtaking.
A beautiful and not too strenuous hill walk leading to the Iron age fort of Tre'r Ceiri with the option of visiting the National Welsh Language centre.
The site of Tre'r Ceiri a name that probably means Town of the Forts, is a sprawling hill top settlement with significant stone ramparts. It has been described as the most 'dramatic and impressive Iron age hill fort in Britain'.
The site is indeed impressive, due to the fact that remnants of around 150 Iron age huts can be explored. The huts are extremely well preserved with some huts standing at over one metre high.
The drama is provided by the setting; Yr Eifl is the name of the highest peak of the mountains that form the backbone of the beautiful Llyn Peninsula.
This site is ideal for those that enjoy combining a walk with an interesting goal. A not too strenuous hill walk at 574 metres along fairly easy terrain through hills covered with heather and gorse will be rewarded with a fascinating historical site and stunning views.
The summit offers views of the Snowdonia mountain range to the north, to the west the Irish sea and at your feet a birds eye view of the beautiful Llyn Peninsula. On a clear day Ireland itself can be spotted.
For refreshments and further interest this exploration can be combined with a visit to the Welsh National Language centre in "Nant Gwtheyrn' a village that closely hugs the coast beneath Yr Eifl. The village housed the families that quarried the Port Y Nant stone quarry that produced granite suare cobbles or sets.
After the decline of the quarry the last residents left in 1959. The village was deserted throughout the 60's and 70's except for a period when inhabited by hippies. In 1978 work started on improving the steeply inclined road that leads to the village and the houses, the chapel and community hall were modernised. The modern facilities now house accommodation for up to 58 educational residents and the chapel is now also used as a local community centre. There is a cafe bar and restaurant in the village and a pub called the 'Tafarn Y Fic' in Llithfaen.
Take the A499 north of Pwllheli. At Llanaelhaearn, take B4417 towards Nefyn. Less than a mile from the junction for the B4417, there is a footpath on your right,
alternatively carry along the B4417 until arriving at the village of Llithfaen here you will see a sign to Nant Gwrtheyrn National Welsh learning centre here you will find Upper Porth Y Nant car park, it is possible to take a different path to the summit and ideal if you want to visit the centre.
Tre'r Ceiri hill fort
NPRN: 95292; Map Reference: SH34SE; Grid Reference: SH3734044670
Nant Gwrtheyrn, Llithfaen, Pwllheli, Gwynedd LL53 6PA
Google map: bit.ly/i0h67u
This pub is the most picturesque in Scarborough. Converted from an old 17th century watermill into an exclusive pub, it is set into the sea wall with panoramic views of Scarborough's beautiful North Bay in front and a river running by the side.
The walks located around this area are equally beautiful, from three-mile walks around from the South to North Bay or if you fancy a bit of a longer trek, the Cleveland Way passes by this wonderful spot.
Scalby Mills Road, Scarborough YO12 6RP
Google map: bit.ly/hzqvju
Probably the best beach area in Dubrovnik.
As with most beaches in Croatia, very little if any sand with pebbles the order of the day.
However views are great and water is clean and clear.
Loungers and sun umbrellas can be hired.
No 4 or No 6 bus from Pile Gate will take you near the beach.
Beach is located at bottom of Kralja Zvonmira.
Google map: bit.ly/cMYVSl
The city centre beach Banje is just a short walk from the Ploce Gate. As with most beaches in Croatia, the water is clean & clear but the beach itself is pebbly rather than sandy. Most of this beach has been sold off to the East - West bar / restaurant. Sun loungers & umbrellas are available for hire at 120KN for two loungers and one umbrella.
The locals tend to congregate in the half that still is under municipal control.
Banje beach outside Ploce gate
Google map: bit.ly/bdjbOy
The food is standard fare but also standard prices. However the reason for the tip is that the setting for the restaurant is wonderful, especially sitting out al fresco in the summer.
Only a stones throw away from the Cathedral.
Poljana Grgura Ninskog 5
Google map: bit.ly/aBQknD
This is a 9.5-acre luxury eco-resort that is 450 feet up a volcano overlooking the Caribbean Sea. 10 mins from the town of Portsmouth and 5 mins from the beach.
A fresh water river runs along one side that has amazing swim holes and mini waterfalls. You can walk all the way up the river to its source.
The London couple that own it have built the most incredibly stylish and elegant wooden houses from trees from the land. The best time to be there is at sunset when the glow hits the Red Cedar of the houses and set them on visual fire.
The 320 degree views from the decks take in Morne Aux Diables to the French Islands of Les Saintes and Guadeloupe. The furniture that has not been made on site is super chic Roche-Bobois. This resort is unspoiled with only one access road and foot paths through the layers of woodland, from sub-tropical to mini forest higher up.
The houses are cool and very spacious with full kitchens and private bathrooms. They have huge extra-king sized water beds that add to the nature experience.
They are just opened so have a really good cheap deal at the moment. The cheapest in the area and best value on the island.
The resort is off grid & uses filtered rainwater.
The distinctive red sandstone ruin of Edzell Castle in Angus is perfect for exploring, but the real treasure is finding an Italian Renaissance garden nestling at the foot of a Scottish glen. This walled garden or pleasance was originally built in 1604. Triangular beds of dwarf box hedging create amazingly intricate designs while the wall is home to 16th century German carvings using heraldic and symbolic imagery, plus flower-filled recesses. You won’t meet one of the former guests – Mary Queen of Scots – but will you encounter the ghost of the White Lady?
It may not be the warmest place around, but for sheer grandeur of scenery, there's little to beat Skye. Dark, muscular mountains, rising vertically from frothy waters, hauntingly beautiful drives along precipitous coastlines, skies that darken and light up at the will of a wickedly fierce wind. This is a land where you feel Mother Earth is on testosterone - it' s butch alright, but very, very beautiful. With wonderful accomodations (choose from delightfully homely B&B's, hostels and charming, boutique hotels) and great grub (as vegetarians our options were limited to wholesome soups and deliciously creamy jacket-potatoes, but sea-food lovers, I'm assured, are in for a feast), crumbling castles perched on glorious cliff-tops, there's really no reason to go to New Zealand to admire landscapes that haven't changed a jot since the last ice age. Travel to Skye by train (nearest stations - Kyle of Lochalsh, Mallaig or Inverness) after which a choice of bus/ferry will zip you across to the (in my opinion) most beautiful spot on earth.
Take the (free) Staten Island ferry and go to a baseball game. The Staten Island Yankees ballpark is an easy walk from the ferry terminal. For $16 you get over two hours' sport and fun - we laughed for the whole event (3rd base seating is recommended). The sight of men trying to get into frozen t-shirts between innings will stay with us.
Other top tips for NYC:
Travel from JFK - for parties of three or more take a yellow cab ($55ish to your hotel door).
Breakfast - Grand Central Station
Lunch/Dinner - Whole Foods market, excellent value and choice (avoid busy 6pm - 7pm period) 10 Columbus Circle, basement of Time Warner Center. Very convenient for Central Park.
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