If the idea of 17 hours stuck inside a plane makes you feel a little nauseous, you might want to stop reading now.
Ryanair pilot have begun a 48-hour strike over pay and working conditions – the second of seven walk-outs planned for September.
For a city with so much mythical and cultural baggage, Athens is surprisingly modern. Sure, there are Byzantine churches tucked among the tightly knit apartments and the Parthenon looms into view around nearly every corner. But come expecting a living postcard and you’ll be in for a shock. Three million people are crammed into this hectic, 24-hour city. Yet there’s an intimacy to the way life is lived outdoors in neighbourhood squares, rooftop bars, and balconies where neighbours gossip in their nighties. And there’s an irrepressible energy that has propelled Athens through a decade of austerity to become southern Europe’s most happening cultural capital.
Las Palmas is the only true city in the Canary Islands, with the benefits of fine weather and an urban beach that elicits positive comparisons with Rio de Janeiro. Cruise ship passengers can chill on the sands, explore the picture-postcard old town and enjoy superb cuisine in this Gran Canarian city’s excellent tapas bars.
Belém is the ultimate port city, on the edge of the Atlantic and at the entrance to the mighty Amazon. As well as occasional cruises, passenger riverboats heading west to Manaus/Iquitos depart from here and the city’s docksides are a whirl of activity. As it lies some 60 miles inside the delta, Belém is used more by Amazon-bound cruises than those passing the rivermouth on Atlantic voyages.
With usually plentiful snowfall and generally quiet slopes, Canada offers huge attractions for skiers and snowboarders coming from the UK. Piste grooming is great, and anyone going off-piste can do so without a guide.
Autumn is a glorious time of year, brimming with misty mornings, dramatic russet colours and best of all, leaf peeping.
In an effort to highlight this, one of the world’s leading snow-sports brands, Burton Snowboards, has announced it will be joining millions of students and workers from around the world in support of the Global Climate Strike, which is taking place over the next two weeks on September 20 and 27.
Acropolis views, rooftop bars, designer décor... you’ll find all this and more in the new wave of boutique hotels cropping up all around downtown Athens. The Psirri neighbourhood, with its graffiti-lined alleys and pavement café scene, is the heart of the new scene in Athens. But there are also plenty of stylish boltholes around Koukaki, Kolonaki, and the Historic Centre, where historic buildings are being converted into modern hotels within strolling distance to the major archaeological sites. Here's our pick of the best boutique hotels in Athens.
The Savoy Palace has, quite literally, filled a gap on the island of Madeira. Its predecessor, the Savoy Classic, was built in 1912 – some 500 years after the Portuguese discovered the island – in the capital Funchal, so called because of the fragrance of wild fennel (or funchal) which filled the air.
You certainly don’t have to spend money to enjoy Bruges. Although there’s an admission fee for most of the top sights, many others are accessible for free, including the Burg square, the Begijnhof, the cathedral and churches. Then there is the sheer pleasure of just wandering about, drinking in the views, and the spires and step-gables mirrored in the canals. It is very easy to get deliciously off the beaten track, just a street or two away from the main thoroughfares and squares.
There is plenty about Brussels that makes it like no other city. It’s the capital of the European Union for a start (but you wouldn’t necessarily sense it), operating in two native languages (French and Dutch/Flemish). The historic centre is like a reverse donut, with the imposing Grand Place in the middle, surrounded by mundane, often tawdry streets that in any other European city would be prime real estate. In among these, all within walking distance, are sublime and surreal art collections (Brueghel, Rubens, Magritte), impressive churches, alluring shops, high-quality eateries (including the legendary chip stands), and splendid eccentricities such as the Manneken-Pis and a comic-book museum (Tintin et al.)
Sprawling on a sun lounger is all well and good, but the best way to see the Canary Islands is to explore them on foot. Here are six cruises perfect for keen hikers.
When I first started going to Israel in the early 2000s, there was a curious gap between the food and drink scene (outstanding) and the hotels, which were… embarrassingly dated. Even in Tel Aviv, the lifestyle centre of Israel, the offerings, especially in the luxury sector, amounted to American-branded concrete behemoths lining the beach.
Claire Bassi wins £250 and this week’s Just Back travel writing competition for her account of immersing herself in Eid in Morocco.
The capital of Flemish style offers a cultured, fashion-conscious port stop for both ocean and river cruisers. Regular ocean cruise calls include Fred Olsen, Cruise & Maritime Voyages and Holland America Line, while Crystal River Cruises and Viking River Cruises offer regular river cruise options. The city combines the maritime heritage and regeneration of the former industrial docklands with the chocolate-box sidestreets of the medieval old town — all within a compact city centre, which is easy to explore on foot.
What do we look for in an autumn break in Britain? Warmth and cosiness, log fires, comfortable beds and beautiful views, certainly. And menus based on local, seasonal produce including mushrooms and game, as well as long, lazy afternoon teas, with papers and books and maybe a board game by the fire. And if we can find a hotel close to a sight – a garden, park, arboretum or forest, famed for its glorious autumn colours, so much the better. The following hotels answer all these requirements and more.
Autumn is a splendid time to visit Britain's finest hotel gardens: think carpets of crisp leaves, pumpkin gardens, apple orchards, russet-coloured forests and saffron hills. Here are a selection of the best hotels for autumn colours, where vibrant views can be enjoyed on heart-racing estate zip wires, from four-poster beds with a glass of sherry, in outdoor infinity spa pools or simply on a walk around the grounds.
Little Bruges, the perfect pocket-sized medieval city, was a Sleeping Beauty. Laced with canals, it was one of the great North European trading ports in late medieval times. The magnificently detailed paintings of its artists, such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling, record its wealth in clothing, jewellery and ornament. Then it fell rapidly into decline and slept until rediscovered and restored to glory in the 19th century.
Come autumn, New England is a riot of red, orange and yellow hues as the abundance of trees across these East Coast states change colours and their leaves blanket the ground. Naturally, this makes for a wonderful time to explore the great outdoors here, and so popular is this annual pilgrimage to see the autumn foliage, that it has it's very own verb – to leaf peep.
"I’m going to ask you to keep your head torches switched off,” my guide Tony stated as our little boat slowly drifted towards what I hoped, in the darkness of predawn, was a stable river bank. It was a little after 5am and the only light came from the pinpricks of the stars.
Always tired half way through your ski or snowboard holiday? The answer is to prepare your body during the weeks leading up to your trip - it will also improve performance and reduces the chance of injuries and falls.