The best road trips are where the drive is as exhilarating as the destination, and Mallorca offers one of the finest drives in Europe. Simply hire a car from Palma airport (relatively cheap) and drive due North to Soller where the arid plain of Es Pla (fertile ground for figs, almonds and melons) erupts into the rugged Serra de Tramuntana. Spend a night or two exploring the orange-growing capital of Mallorca and feast on spiny lobster stew before heading west along the spectacular coastal road, where the mountains tower above you and fall off into the glittering azure sea.
Take the first day easy and stop a few miles along the road in the beautiful village of Deia – the spiritual home of Robert Graves and home to some of the best restaurants in the Balearics. Go wild and blow the budget at Es Raco des Teix for some of the best food you’ll ever eat – seriously! There are also lovely walks through the pine-scented forests with spectacular views of the sea, or down to Cala de Deia for a swim and huge plate of frito misto with a beer. Leave Deia and continue West along the coastline for the most dramatic views of land and sea, stopping off at spectacular natural beauties such as the Mirador de Ricardo Roca, which will test your nerve and driving skills on the route towards Port de Andratx.
After a night in the Andratx marina at the Hotel Brisnar you can dash back to Palma along the fast central motorway and rediscover fifth gear (if you’re really enjoying the open road keep going to the Camper shoes sale warehouse in Inca). Palma itself is beautiful and miles away from the Brits Abroad reputation it gained in the 80s. Make sure you visit the cathedral and walk the cobbled streets before a final feast of beans and clams at the historic tapas bar La Boveda - the jamon is so good only one man on the staff is allowed to carve it!
C/SA Vinya Vell 6, Deia
971 63 95 01
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)
For lovers of vintage film posters and stills going back to the early days of cinema, Cinedoc is the place to head to. Drawers of amazing french vintage film posters vie for your attention competing with scene stills and photographs of the stars of all nationalities. The shop is crammed from floor to ceiling - a treasure trove. Cinedoc is in the Passage Jouffroy, a wonderful almost secret network of covered glazed shopping arcades dating from the nineteenth century. Each of the 30 passages has its own architectural style - some like the Galerie Vero-Dodat are very grand with black marble columns and painted shopfronts. Others such as the Passage des Panoramas are a little run down but contain delightful bric-a-brac shops and stamp dealers. The Passages of Paris are hidden gems well worth discovering away from the traffic clogged boulevards.
45-53 Passage Jouffroy
T: 01 48 24 71 36
Located off Boulevard Montmartre
Metro: Grandes Boulevards
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.
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.
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
My partner, baby and I booked a cottage in Lynmouth for a mid-winter break, returning after zooming down here on a scooter for our first date. In December it was more than dead; it was buried and mummified. The furnicular railway linking Lynmouth and Lynton was closed, and although there were visitors wandering during the day wrapped up against the elements, the walks along Watersmeet were beautiful and the beach was suitably blowsy and slate-grey, after dark the only sound you could hear was the wind whistling through the empty streets and the shutters of the closed fish and chip shop and cafes clanging in the distance. Sadly, this isn't so much a village now as a museum piece; there was nowhere to buy a pint of milk or even a newspaper and of the three pubs and bars open there was only one we could take our baby into for dinner and that was just into the empty dining area, not the warm and cosy bar.
If you want to stay here in the winter I would recommend staying up the hill in Lynton, where there were human beings visible after 4pm, open shops to buy food and provisions, a greater selection of eateries and when we visited, a great Christmas shopping festival. We couldn't fault our little cottage on Watersmeet road, but next time we will be visiting Lynmouth for a trip to in the day and making Lynton our base.
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
The Portland Saturday Market is a gregarious mix of public fair, marketplace and food festival.
Located in the heart of 'old town' Portland, right on the downtown 'Max' lightrail, the market is a literal maze of hand-crafted and locally made wares, artwork, jewellery, clothing and more. Live music from diverse local bands and a food court that offers a taste of just about everywhere - American, Thai, Spanish, Greek - including local brews.
Street performers - mimes, living 'statues,' jugglers and magicians stroll the market, but they are not the only entertainment - just watching the diversity of the crowd is one of the major attractions of the market.
Located right off of Portland's Waterfront Park, visiting the Saturday Market is one of the best ways to see Portlanders in their natural element - and not worry about blending in.
Since driving and parking downtown is something of a nightmare, the best way to get around to and from the market will be on Portland's 'Max' lightrail train - it runs from Portland Airport through downtown and will only set you back about $5 for a day pass. The downtown area itself is part of Portland's 'fareless' square, so if you are only riding for a brief distance - its all free.
The market can be used as a jumping off point to explore more of downtown since it is central to the Waterfront and Chinatown - and just a short train ride to Pioneer Courthouse Square.
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.
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.
Lovely little place, located between Kaeo and Mangonui. Run by Lyndsey and football fanatic Stefano, on their fifth-generation Northland family farm. Dorms, singles and doubles with a warm homely feel.
After a trek over the farm to historic Kauri dams where you can bathe in natural rockpools or a day at the beach in beautiful and remote Doubtless Bay, treat yourself to one of Stefano's legendary homemade pizzas - yum yum.
A cut above any other hostel I've ever stayed in - a real gem.
Kahoe Farms Hostel, RD 2 Kaeo, New Zealand. Tel: (09) 4051 804
Great Salkeld is an ancient village within the Eden Valley, Cumbria. It has a number of historic attractions. There are the remains of the medieval Aikton Castle, then there is St Cuthberts church parts of which date back to 880AD. The church is one of only three in Cumbria to have a defensive Pele tower.
The Eden Valley offers great walking, shooting and fishing.
With Great Salkeld the most convenient accommodation is probably Wetheral Cottages.
Public transport is limited, although the Carlisle to Settle railway line runs through the Valley and stops at Lazonby , about 5 miles away.
The address for the village is here
Great Salkeld, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 9NA
This website provides good aerial views of the village
and this website provides details of the accommodation
This service allows curious travelers to be paired up with local residents who want to share the hidden attractions and treasures within Buenos Aires. Each tour can be catered towards your particular interests, perhaps museums, coffee shops or arts performances, and the tours are available in a number of languages. This is a brilliant way of getting to know the capital through the eyes of someone who lives and breathes the city, cannot recommend it enough.
Uluru is undoubtedly a priority on every travellers list when they visit Australia. Although spectacular in its own way Uluru's beauty is eclipsed by nearby King's Canyon in the Watarrka national park. This ancient canyon created by a pre-historic inland sea allows breathtaking views over the Watarrka national park. The scenery is much more varied than at Uluru and the red domes against the azure sky are a visual treat. The walk around the rim of the canyon takes three hours - but is pleasant with lots of variation in incline and scenery. Halfway through the walk you come across the garden of eden which is a permanent waterhole. It's safe to swim here and the experience of swimming in this waterhole surrounded by sheer red cliffs with the sky above is amazing. Sunrise is the best time to visit the canyon when temperatures are bearable and the flies are few in number. Take plenty of water, sun screen and insect repellent. Nearby Kings Canyon Resort offers accomodation and there is a camp site nearby as well.
From Uluru airport Kings Canyon is a 400 km drive (takes about 3-4 hours as the roads are desserted). The drive is well signposted. Kings Canyon can also be reached from Alice Springs. For accomodation see the resort website - www.kingscanyonresort.com.au
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org