Azenhas do Mar ("Watermills by the sea"), in the region of Sintra, is a charming village of whitewashed houses, trimmed in blue, built on the slopes of the cliff and a small river with waterfalls running down through gardens to the sea.
There are Interesting rock formations and natural seawater pools, plenty to keep the kids amused.
The watermills were a popular seaside retreat in the 1950s. They have recently been carefully restored, offering a restaurant, bar and swimming pool arranged on different levels.
The restaurant has a stylish seaside wood panelled interior with magnificent views to the Atlantic Ocean. It offers a great selection of fresh fish and seafood caught locally by one of the owners, and is complemented by an excellent wine list.
The snack bar, Terraço da Azenha, situated above the restaurant and swimming pool, has a series of small terraces with great views. Inside the bar, through a glass section in the floor, you can see the old workings of the mill. It offers a good selection of snacks including sweet and savoury crêpes.
Well worth a visit, and you will find great walks that will take you along the cliffs to the beaches of Praia das Maças and Praia Grande.
Off the N247.
Individual service, fine dining, a pleasant living ambience created by fine wooden surroundings, warm colors and original fabrics.
Cosy rooms with an overwhelming panorama view over the valley.
Beautiful mountain spa with treatment areas, pool and different saunas.
Alpine and cross-country skiing, hiking, mountain biking, wine-tasting, shopping in and around the loveliest high valleys in the very heart of the Black Forest National Park, located within the region of Feldberg, Schauinsland and Belchen.
Ideal for round-trips as in the border triangle close to Freiburg im Breisgau (25km), the sunny capital of the Black Forest and to the French and Swiss borders.
For activities, unspoilt nature and dramatic scenery.
A 16km lake nestled into the lower Alps, with the largest inland Island in Europe.
Ferry boats, windsurfing, golf, canoeing, multi-pool complex and many other activities.
Value for money and no tourist bussle.
Just north of Bergamo (Milan Bergamo airport is a Ryanair hub). Activities guide www.monticolo.it/activitieslakeiseovallecamonica.html
Beautiful forested national park up in the Apennines.
In late June we felt we virtually had the national park to ourselves.
Wildlife is protected here so, unusually for southern Europe, you will (if you're quiet and alert!) actually see wild boar, deer, as well as numerous butterflies, wild flowers...
Refreshingly cooler up in the mountains too.
40km east of Florence. You can fly Ryanair to Forli then drive 30km south to pretty town of St Sofia which is on the edge of the national park.
Directions on the official website: www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.for.casentinesi/Earr.html
This is a beautiful guesthouse which is really close to Brussels but in a beautiful countryside area, ideal for cycling and hiking.
The landlady, Caroline, was a very caring hostess and made our weekend perfect.
The prices are a real bargain.
Vlezembeek, 10km from Brussels at Bekersveldstraat 3.
mobile: 0032 476949118
If you hate the hordes of screaming children and other assorted hazards of your average beach, head to the North Norfolk Coastal walk where I found miles of marshland and sandy beach. The sea was too rough to swim in but the beach is long, wide and sandy allowing for walks, taking in the views and comtemplating. And if you get bored of it all, the hustle and bustle of the beaches at Hunstanton are merely a stones throw away.
take the A149 from King's Lynn northbound, go past Hunstanton, at the village of Thornham, turn left off the A149 onto a very small road called Staithe Road. This should take you straight to the marshes, over which there is a path that'll lead you to the beach.
Really nice to be able to find walks and country routes when you are off the main drag.
The Map Shop is run by a very helpful man who will match a map to your requirements and it is always surprisingly cheap (think we paid about six pounds per map and they always arrive the next day, which has proved v useful!)
We found the
Mapa Provincial Granada, Direccion General del Instituto Geografico Nacional, Ministerio de Fomento useful, but also bought Parque Natural, Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama.
It is in Upton on Severn, UK
Freephone: 0800 085 40 80
Tel: +44 (0)1684 593146
A lovely inn/hotel nestled in the above hamlet, a few hundred yards from the edge of Dartmoor proper. The food is exquisite, service friendly and fantastic, with a beautifully tranquil beer garden to soothe those aching legs after a hike on the moor.
I got up early one morning in April and walked through the woods below the hotel which were stunning in the light of early dawn. And sitting atop Hay Tor at 7am is simply breathtaking.
There is a very interesting and innovative tour in Seville. It is a GPS audio/visual tour guide system.
You carry a handheld GPS with you as you walk anywhere. It shows you where you are and what is exciting and interesting near your location.
It is tailored to individual visitors. You are free to create your own GPS tour without the aid of an escorted guide.
My husband and I had the pleasure of staying at La Barde B&B in May 2007. It was our first visit to France (from Canada) and we really didn't know what to expect.
The B&B was perfect in every way from our beautiful room with an amazing view of the local chateau, to the fabulous French breakfasts with more choices than any of our other accommodations provided, to the very friendly and helpful owner, Steve.
Our only wish was that we had known in advance how much we would love the area, as we would have planned a longer stay.
Bronwen and Steve HOUGHTON,
Phone : (0033) 5 53 28 24 34
mail : email@example.com
In Sicily there are three big natural areas and other little ones.
The first one in the Etna Park. Mount Etna is not only a volcano - it also has a lot of paths and trekking opportunities. The best ones are the excursions on the summit craters on the south side starting from Rifugio Sapienza in Nicolosi (Catania).
The second park is the Nebrodi Mounts. This is between Messina and Catania. This park is full of forests the most known is the "Bosco di Malabotta". The park is a little less accessible so it's advised to use a four-wheel drive vehicle and take a good map.
The latest park is the park of the Alcantara river. This is a river formed in a lava eruption thousand years ago. The river is walkable.
Etna Park - Nicolosi (Catania)
Nebrodi Park - Between Messina and Catania
Alcantara River - Near Francavilla di Sicilia (Very near to Taormina)
The nearest station for Etna Park is the Circumetnea. From here, a rail road goes around Etna and its villages. You can take it in the Catania central railways station (Piazza della Repubblica) or in the Station of Giarre if you come from Messina by train.
More info here:
Woody Bay is a remarkably secluded, peaceful spot. It does require a long, winding walk down a cliff to get to it - but do not let that deter you.
Every minute you spend with the kind of quiet you will find there makes it worth the effort.
This is a little nature treat off the beaten track about 30 minutes south of Cape Town.
Hike to 'Elephant's eye' and enjoy stunning views over Hout Bay or go for a swim in the dam.
Take the M3 South to its end, turn right and take the Oulde Kaapse Weg left into the mountain. At the mountain top, turn off right (follow signs for Silvermine).
Burgh Island is a tiny lump just off the south coast of Devon, opposite Bigbury on Sea. At low tide the island is connected to the mainland by a strip of sand but this disappears at high tide.
A tractor on stilts (seriously) ferries visitors across the waves to the now remote island. A happy couple of hours can be spent exploring the ragged coastline, excellent ale house and art deco Burgh Island Hotel.
Bigbury on Sea, south Devon
If you have already explored the beaches and Moorish antiquities of Andalucia, why not go inland and rural.
In the west of Andalucia in the province of Huelva is the area of the Minas de Rio Tinto - lunar geography, deserted old railway-line walks, dolmens and Roman remains: great walking territory.
We would particularly recommend the walks along the Rio Tinto and Rio Odiel, full of archaeological interest and natural beauty.
Best of all stay in a village such as Zalamea La Real, friendly, pretty and hardly a tourist in sight. For three years we have stayed in a Casa Rural, el Cortijo Zalamea, in fact the fully modernised barns of an old farm with orange groves. It is run by Marta and Mario who speak good English and are very helpful.
Furthermore, National Parks (Las Marismas in the South and Aracena in the North) are within easy driving distance. Buy a locally cured Jamon at El Villar before returning home.
Reconstructed, re-opened, and smoothly re-surfaced, Dongcheng District's Nanluoguxiang is one such hutong.
The flood of tasty restaurants, cosy bars, and unique shops that run up and down the hidden street will no doubt remove the lane from the list of Beijing's best- kept secrets. Still, despite the renovations and ongoing grand openings, this area has retained its original essence of an inner-sanctuary. The fact that public toilets outnumber the private ones also add a certain cultural authenticity.
If in the area, this hutong is definitely worth wandering around aimlessly, day or night, ohhing and ahhing along the way.
Great views from the hotel, ask beforehand, and a quiet but excellent museum of art with some stunning paintings. Dine in the sqare, view the fountain and leave. A pleasant stay, half day tour and move on. Take a taxi from the railway station. Do not walk or you will regret the decision.
This B&B is charmimg and on the web (phone as they speak English) but out of town where it is quieter. The breakfast is excellent and drinks during the day are very cheap. The rooms are remarkably good and there is a small pool. A great relaxation venue.
You could walk up the hill (an hour is fair and it is pleasant in the evening) but take a taxi down. Dine, sightsee and come back down for a quiet sleep. There are no taxis around for some reason so do not get stranded in town at night.
The restaurants are OK but not that impressive if you eat a great deal in Italy. This is a very pleasant but tourist saturated town made famous by a novel and romanticism. There is no fountain, OK!
Ring from the train as they will book a taxi (10 Euros). You cannot walk from the station to Cortona or the B&B.
There's very little in this life for free and this has got to be one of the best of them. A breathtaking walk taking in some of the city's most amazing beaches.
Bring your walking shoes though, it's a good 90 minute walk along the coast so stilettos are not advisable!
Oh, and for accommodation for when you're in Sydney, look no further than www.hostelworld.com. I use it all the time and love it.
Europe's biggest natural lake and home to the second largest colony of breeding flamingos after the Camargue in France.
A lovely, peaceful place with excellent facilities for walking or hiring bikes and cycling round the lagune to the hides.
Off the A92 Autorovia 29km north-west of Antequerra; 71km north of Malaga.
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org