News

Home  >>  News

British Columbia road trip: the art of getting lost

This epic Canadian landscape is best enjoyed on a meandering, unplanned overland tour – in a Jeep with a bed on the roof
Plus four more overland adventures in Canada

The best road trips have few set plans. They’re about the thrill of discovery, of not knowing what comes next. Forget detailed itineraries that look like a shopping list. As Kerouac said: “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep rolling under the stars.” That’s my kind of road trip.

This is why I was so excited to find out about overlanding, defined as self-reliant adventure travel, usually in 4×4 vehicles, where the journey is as important as the highlights visited along the way, and the emphasis is on exploration and the freedom of the back roads. It’s been big in Africa for years, but a new company, Hastings Overland, has just launched the concept in western Canada.

Continue reading…

Holidays: Europe’s cheapest and costliest destinations revealed

Britons are struggling to find good-value holidays – but there are still bargains to be had

Turkey is the best value holiday location in Europe this year, but the Costa del Sol is the cheapest in the eurozone, with prices in most Spanish resorts little more than half those charged in France and Italy, according to research by Post Office Travel Money.

Although sterling has been weak against most international currencies, it has risen strongly against the Turkish lira over the past year. In summer 2017 holidaymakers were getting around 4.5 Turkish lira for a pound, but now tourists will pick up around 6 lira to the pound.

Continue reading…

A motorbike road trip in Bohemia, Czech Republic

Driving south from Prague on his custom-built motorbike our writer rhapsodises about the Bohemian scenery by day, then gets stuck into its famous beer each evening

Two days’ ride will take you from the ferry terminal at the Hook of Holland to the Czech Republic via Amsterdam and Hanover. Here the trip really begins. Day one is Prague, a capital that’s among the best for stop-and-stare architecture. Standing on the 14th-century Charles Bridge, spanning the Czech “mother river”, the Vltava, looking up at the city’s castle, is a truly memorable experience.

Continue reading…

Screen break: a digital-free family holiday in Portugal

As ‘download day’ sees UK parents hurriedly filling tablets with videos to keep kids quiet, one family decided to mix traditional fun with activities on a break in Portugal

The nine-year-old is a screen addict. His perfect day would consist of nothing more than watching YouTube, playing Five Nights at Freddy’s or bingeing on Gumball until his eyes fall out of his head. So, when I tell him of our planned four-night family holiday at Cerdeira Village in Portugal, a wifi- and TV-free zone, the thought of 100 hours without access to video-sharing sites or television renders him speechless.

“But what will we do?” he asks, eventually. “It will be so boring.”

Continue reading…

Top 10 budget beach hotels and B&Bs on Mexico’s Pacific coast

Enjoy ocean views from rooftop bars or just step out and get the sand between your toes. From Mazatlán to Pochutla, here are 10 charming beachside escapes

Mexico’s Pacific coast, more than 1,000 miles of it, is renowned for its beaches, as well as the resorts which have attracted Hollywood royalty. However, it’s also an area that can experience tropical storms, usually between June and December. The most recent was Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded at sea, which swept across the region at the end of October, but caused less damage than anticipated. Hotels are now operating as normal.

Continue reading…

Top 10 budget beach hotels, guesthouses and hostels on the Yucatán peninsula, Mexico

Well-known and deservedly popular for its jungle, coast and ancient ruins, the Yucatán peninsula can be a pricey place to stay – unless you pick one of these brilliant budget hotels and hostels

On the surface, this mid-size hotel in Cancún’s hotel zone is pretty unremarkable. The tile-floored rooms are big and clean, with terraces or balconies – though they’re not notably stylish. The restaurant is good, not gourmet. The pool is a sensible size. But set this against its glitzy, high-rise neighbours and check the rates, which are often lower than similarly appointed hotels on the mainland, 30 minutes from the water – and Beachscape starts looking pretty good. Then walk out on to the palm-shaded beach, one of the prettiest stretches in the hotel zone, and the place becomes a minor miracle.
• Doubles from $109, +52 998 891 5427, beachscape.com.mx

Continue reading…

Top 10 budget beach B&Bs in the Seychelles

The Seychelles islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue may be known for their luxury resorts but there is also a great selection of family-run, more affordable guesthouses just as close to the archipelago’s famous, world-class beaches

For a room with a five-star view, Colibri is hard to beat. Nine rustic rooms – all wood and stone – ensconced amid tropical foliage that tumbles down a hillside to the turquoise waters of Baie Sainte Anne. There’s no beach but you can use the small infinity pool overlooking the bay at neighbouring B&B Chalets Cote Mer, also owned by Sylvie and Stephan, and costing about €10 more a night. You also share the waterfront creole restaurant. The owners can help with car hire but it’s a five-minute walk to a bus stop – which will take you to Praslin’s most famous beach Anse Lazio and the Unesco-protected Vallée de Mai nature reserve – and the jetty for ferries to Mahé and La Digue.
Doubles from £112 B&B, +248 429 4200, colibrisweethome.com

Continue reading…

Top 10 budget beach guesthouses and B&Bs in South Africa’s Western Cape

From Cape Town and its peninsula to the Garden Route and the West Coast, the Western Cape is a dazzling part of South Africa, and its beachside accommodation doesn’t have to break the bank

Continue reading…

Cantal, France, holiday guide: what to see plus the best restaurants and hotels

In central France, the Auvergne’s volcanic landscape offers year-round activity holidays, with peaks to climb, lakes to swim, restored farms to stay in and great value mountain cuisine

The Cantal is the rural heartland of France’s wild Auvergne region, right in the centre of the country and part of the Massif Central. Locals joke that there are more cows here than people and there certainly are not many tourists, despite a range of adventurous outdoor activities in summer and winter. Hotels and B&Bs could not be more reasonably priced, and the hearty regional cuisine – rustic rather than gourmet – comes in formidable four- or five-course bistro set menus, ideal for big appetites and small budgets. The Cantal also boasts some of the most spectacular sites in La Chaîne des Puys, the 80 or so extinct volcanoes that have just been recognised as a Unesco world heritage site.

Continue reading…

Holiday guide to Basilicata, Italy: what to see plus the best restaurants and hotels

‘Tourist hordes’ is not a phrase you’re likely to hear in Basilicata but given its rich cuisine, stunning national parks, ancient towns and great beaches, it’s hard to fathom why this seductive region remains so quiet

Imagine a region that has miles of white sand beaches on one coast, picturesque rocky bays on the other, two mountainous national parks, and one of the world’s oldest cities. Add lots of warm sunshine plus fine food and wine and you might expect the area to be a tourist mecca, busy with hotels and tour buses. However, Basilicata, the arch and instep of Italy’s boot, has all the above but – thanks admittedly to a history of poverty and difficult access – little mass tourism.

Continue reading…

Holiday guide to the Llŷn peninsula, north Wales

A haven for surfers and adventurers, ‘a timeless island feel pervades this often-overlooked peninsula’. Writers of the new Wild Guide Wales select the best coves and beaches, places to eat and seasonal campsites

With tiny lanes lined with wildflowers leading to empty coves and rugged cliffs, this magical, often-overlooked peninsula has a timeless island feel – some say the Llŷn is like Cornwall 50 years ago. Welsh is spoken more often than not, and sacred places abound. But it’s not stuck in the past: there’s a strong surf culture around Porth Neigwl (Hell’s Mouth), and you can taste the beginning of a good-food revolution.

The coast starts in rugged fashion on the north side with the towering peak of Yr Eifl, home of Tre’r Ceir, an iron age settlement with some of Wales’s best roundhouse remains. To the south, the coast is gentler – a string of pearly coves with tiny seasonal campsites. And at the distant tip sits Bardsey Island, glimmering across the tidal waters.

Continue reading…

A local’s guide to Chicago: 10 top tips

The city’s bars and music scene are among the most vibrant in the US. And with Lake Michigan beaches to relax on and two new budget flights from the UK, now is the time to go

Traditionally overshadowed by coastal powerhouses New York City and Los Angeles, Chicago is on the rise, with a record 55 million visitors in 2017 – and new direct flights from the UK with Norwegian and Wow making the US’s third-largest city more accessible. While visitors tend to congregate around the downtown and lakefront areas to admire the city’s world-renowned architecture, there’s a thriving music and bar scene that shouldn’t be missed.

Continue reading…

Dordogne holiday guide: what to see plus the best restaurants and hotels

The food, wine and idyllic lifestyle of this region’s villages have always appealed to Brits – and with Brexit looming they’re settling in record numbers – but that has not dimmed its thoroughly French allure

The Dordogne comes close to offering everything that travellers head to France for: beautiful chateaux, traditional French gastronomy, a bucolic landscape of vineyards, forests and rivers. Picturesque fortified villages, such as Beynac, La Roque Gageac and Eymet (site of an unexpected pre-Brexit boom for UK settlers), and charming towns such as Bergerac, Brantôme, Bourdeilles and Ribérac, have long been popular with Brits wanting to settle in France, and this is one part of the country where they have always been warmly welcomed into local communities.

Continue reading…

Antigua Guatemala city guide: what to see plus the best bars, hotels and restaurants

Thousands of visitors descend on Antigua for its famous Semana Santa celebrations over Easter, but this colonial gem is worth a visit at any time of year

Cobblestone streets lined with brightly coloured colonial buildings, a jacaranda-wreathed central plaza, 16th-century ruins and with volcanoes surrounding it … Few cities in Latin America can match Antigua Guatemala (usually referred to as just Antigua) for postcard prettiness. But this Unesco-listed city is about much more than surface-level charm and Instagram opportunities.

Founded in 1543 as the seat of Spanish power in the region, it served as its cultural, religious and economic centre for more than 200 years. The city was largely destroyed by earthquakes in the 17th century but many of the colonial buildings were rebuilt and have since been renovated. The remnants of others dot parks and gardens across the city.

Continue reading…

A local’s guide to Perth, Western Australia

As Qantas launches London-Perth, the first non-stop flights between the UK and Australia, Anna Reece of the Perth Festival picks her favourite cultural venues, restaurants, bars and beaches in the city

It’s among the most geographically isolated cities in the world, and sits on the edge of the Indian Ocean, so it’s only natural that the bright lights of Perth come from the sun and the sky. And that’s what gives Perth its sense of openness, endlessness and possibility.

Drive in any direction out of the city and the diversity of the Western Australian landscape is at your fingertips. Head north to Coral Bay, Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef and it’s possible to walk from red dirt tracks on to white sand and into turquoise water. Venture south, and it’s the rolling farm land and vineyards of Yallingup and Margaret River, the towering karri and tingle trees of the Valley of the Giants and the rugged beaches of Denmark, Albany and Walpole.

Continue reading…