New Year’s celebrations have come and gone, but there’s life in the old girl yet as February brings with it all the colour and chaos of carnival season – with Brazil, Haiti and Venice leading the sequin-clad charge.
And when you’re all partied out, or just in need of a tempo change, we’ve got some quieter cultural offerings in store, from cruising Cambodia’s waterways to exploring Venice when it’s crowd-free.
Party, party, party in Rio de Janeiro
There is no party on the planet like Rio Carnival. Two million people sequinned-up, samba-ing, cavorting, dancing and drinking in one of the world’s best-looking cities – celebrations don’t come much brighter, brasher or rowdier, or more unforgettable. For some, joining this massive melee might sound like hell on earth; for others this is bucket-list stuff. Early booking is key, as is deciding how to participate: a ticketed seat in the Sambodrome grandstand, watching the parades? Signing up with a samba school to take part in the action? Joining theblocos (street parties) for more informal fun? Also consider different Brazilian cities,
If your New Year’s diet is leaving a gap, we’ve got just the thing for you with our fill of foodie adventures.
Prime climes mean that wine is the star of the show this time of year with New Zealand, Australia and Argentina beckoning with delicious bevvies aplenty, but we’d be remiss not to mention balmy Singapore and it’s burgeoning Michelin-starred eateries. There’s never been a better time to loosen that waistbelt and indulge.
Feast with fewer people on New Zealand’s South Island
February is a New Zealand sweet spot. It’s one of the hottest months (20-30°C; 68-86°F), yet Kiwi families have taken the kids back to school. This makes it a good month for popular, weather-sensitive places, such as Abel Tasman National Park – far better to walk, kayak and camp amid the golden sands and forested headlands here when it’s sunny and quieter. While you’re in northern South Island, tag on the Marlborough region too. It’s home to more than 150 wineries, which will be thickening with grapes, before the March-May harvest; utilise February’s good
Tropical islands, sandy beaches and swaying palms have become the perennial motifs for the ultimate romantic honeymoon getaway. But not every couple wants to simply kickback with a cocktail on the beach (at least not everyday).
From cruising across turquoise lagoons to hiking otherworldly coastlines, exploring ancient temples and well, just doing nothing at all, these island escapes offer something for everyone. Find your perfect slice of honeymoon paradise.
For… Hikes, hills, haute cuisine, hidden sands
This chunk of France, afloat in the Mediterranean, deserves its monicker: L’île de Beauté. The rumpled, maquis-cloaked interior – where you can easily forget the world – tumbles to perfect golden crescents, some touristy, some seemingly unfound. There’s wildness if you want it (the hiking is some of Europe’s best), but also fine food and indulgent retreats, not least Domaine de Murtoli (murtoli.com) – possibly the continent’s most romantic hideaway.
Qurimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
For… Dhow cruising, culture
Why pick one island when you can have 30? That’s about how many specks of wonderful white
Whether you’re planning to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid Milad ul-Nabi, New Year, the solstice, or just the happy holidays, this is a time of year for giving. So why not whip up the wanderlust of a globetrotting relative or friend with one of these perfect presents for travellers?
North Street Scout 21 duffle bag
Effortlessly mixing cheerful looks and functional design, the Scout 21 from North St Bags is ideal for travel, whether you’re heading for the beach in Bali or mooching round the markets in Marrakesh. With a simple shape and single main compartment, it’s the antithesis to multi-zipped high-tech backpacks.
The outer layer of canvas-type fabric (Cordura) is tough, and a waterproof lining on the inside protects your stuff when it rains. Also on the inside is a small internal pocket with zip and key tape. North Street bags are made to order in a range of colours, and custom shades are also available for a totally bespoke gift for your luggage-toting significant other.
Plus points: no-frills style, retro looks, fun
Worth noting: inner lining is waterproof but zip is not, so this bag isn’t for total immersion on kayak trips
Australia’s East Coast offers plenty to get excited about for road-tripping explorers. Along sun-bleached blacktop, you’ll find picture-perfect beaches, hip cities, lush rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef and abundant native wildlife. Driving routes can meet any interest and range from epic long-haul adventures to pinpoint itineraries of must-do experiences. So pack your surfboard, your hiking boots and your appetite and hit the East Coast road.
The Great Barrier Reef Drive: Cairns to Cape Tribulation (1 week)
By embarking on this trip, you’ll journey up the coast in far-north Queensland, passing classic old towns and luxe resort hubs with eye-popping Great Barrier Reef views en route. Starting ebullient Cairns, a snorkelling or dive trip to the Great Barrier Reef is a must. After that, pinball between the city’s botanic gardens, hip restaurants and buzzy bars.
Next up, head inland via gondola cableway or scenic railway to Kurandafor rainforest walks and the storied markets (try some macadamia nuts!). Don’t miss detours to picturesque Millaa Millaa Falls and a rainforest hike in scenic Wooroonooran National Park.
On Cairns’ northern beaches, check yourself into a plush Palm Coveresort, then pull off the road for a photo-op at Rex
Home to more than 50 miles of sparkling white-sand beaches, 100 subtropical islands, and over 270 days of sunshine, you’ll find a mighty fine imitation of paradise lost at The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. Days are spent frolicking in the waves, exploring verdant state parks and strolling the waterline in search of brilliantly hued shells strewn like jewels across the golden sands. By evening, fiery sunsets and waterfront seafood feasts offer their own substantial rewards.
No matter what sort of beach holiday you have in mind – romantic getaway, adventures in the waves or family fun in the sun – you’ll find ample choices in this picturesque corner of the sunshine state.
Gateway to Adventure
On the west coast of Florida, Fort Myers lies near some of the most stunning beaches in America. If you’re daydreaming about white sands, gently swaying palms and the deep blue Atlantic lapping just beyond your deck chair, then you’ve found the right place. Fort Myers Beach is a fine introduction to the region’s coastal allure, with its mix of long entrancing shoreline, easy-going resorts and lively open-air restaurants. It sits on seven-mile-long Estero Island, and the
As a child, is there anything more exciting than staying up when you should be in bed and then doing something really fun to boot? Push back bedtime and give your kids a night they won’t forget with these five ideas from across the globe.
Marvel at the Northern Lights in Finland
It’s true, seeing the Northern Lights inevitably involves waiting around in chilly temperatures, which can be testing for children. However, this is a once-in-a-lifetime activity which will stay with your kids forever and with a little planning it’s entirely doable.
Firstly, make sure you’re travelling to Finland when you have the best chance of seeing the lights: October to March, when the skies are at their darkest. Make the trip about more than just the lights by throwing in reindeer sledding, snowman building and even meeting Santa (if timings fit). Then, when it comes to the big viewing, keep the children warm (with layers, a fire or a snow fight!) and keep their interest up (with stories, games or a decent guide to answer questions). If the wait still proves too long you can always let them nap and wake them up as
It’s no accident Catalonia was appointed the European Region for Gastronomy for 2016: it’s renowned for its fabulous food scene. Combine this with the dramatic mountainous terrain of the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean magic of the Costa Brava beaches, and you have some impressive ingredients for a trip – not to mention plenty of gourmet stops for blissful refuelling.
While Barcelona is the most-visited part of Catalonia, there is so much more to explore just a little further north. A week would be ideal to explore the broad variety of landscapes, some of which are well away from the tourist trail. Having your own vehicle would be handy – but however you get around and wherever you end up, you’re bound to come across mouthwatering cuisine.
Tucked away in the foothills of the Pyrenees is the Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa, which boasts over 35 extinct volcanoes, mostly covered with vegetation. The most impressive is Volcá del Croscat (786m), which is the youngest volcano in the Iberian peninsula and has an exposed area down one side that was quarried until the 1990s. After a steep ascent of nearby Volcá
It’s well known that St Petersburg isn’t a cheap destination, and most of its entertainment comes with a price tag. But there are still many attractions you can enjoy for free. From St Petersburg’s elegant parks and sprawling flea markets to stunning Orthodox cathedrals and cutting-edge art galleries, there’s something for every penny-pinching traveller. Here’s our pick of the best free things to do in Russia’s imperial capital.
Make use of free-admission days
Some of St Petersburg’s top museums organise free-entrance days. For the State Hermitage Museum it’s the first Thursday of the month, and for the Kunstkamera the third Thursday each month. Other museums are admission-free throughout the year, for example the Vladimir Nabokov Museum or the Sigmund Freud Museum of Dreams. In many Orthodox cathedrals you also don’t have to pay an entrance fee. While the church architecture is stunning enough from the outside, just wait until you enter – the icon art is breathtaking.
Relax in parks and gardens
If you love the green spaces, don’t miss St Petersburg’s parks and gardens. There are plenty to satisfy any taste: the small, hiddenYusupov Gardens, the royal Mikhailovsky Gardens, the calm Tavrichesky Gardens, or the famous Summer Garden with its marble sculptures. The recently reopened New Holland Island in the city centre
Ask any Macedonian to elaborate on the goings-on at local festivities and they’re likely to begin by reeling off the delicious dishes that accompany the party. Feasting is ingrained in the culture of this small Balkan nation, and a reliance on agriculture and home producing means that Macedonia has been a haven of organic bounty and slow food long before these became buzzwords for gourmands.
In this fertile pocket of southeastern Europe, Mediterranean influences have intermingled with centuries of Ottoman rule to create a rich menu of local specialities, many of which you won’t find elsewhere. Today, food-loving rural communities are developing grassroots tourism initiatives to offer excellent culinary experiences for travellers. Often they are set in delightful stone villages rooted to the slopes ofMacedonia’s mountainous national parks, and many cater for overnight visitors. Here are five of our favourites – make sure you pack your stretchy pants!
Home cooking in Brajčino
So revered is Milka’s home cooking at bucolic Vila Raskrsnica that bigwigs based in the capital Skopje (3.5 hours away) are known to make pilgrimages out here for lunch. But it would be a travesty just to come for lunch; the five-room guesthouse
Chew it over: brunch is the most gratifying holiday meal. It’s the unadulterated pleasure of pressing snooze; a glorious second opportunity for the weary, hungover traveller. It’s also a city’s chance to loosen its tie each weekend. From communal tables to secluded corners, brunch in Brussels is big news at the moment. Here’s where to get your fill.
Bustling during the week, the darkly dressed Café Luxembourg (cafeluxembourg.be) is a quiet haven at the weekend, where diners have time to pore over its healthy and wallet-friendly brunch menu. Items on offer follow the seasons and produce is always fresh from the market, so expect frothy fruit juices and yogurt and granola as well as cheese and charcuterie boards. Sweet-toothed rascals should opt for the banana-raspberry French toast or the seriously addictive carrot cake.
For a touch of home, indulge in the all-you-can-eat buffet along one of the communal wooden tables at Les Filles (lesfillesplaisirsculinaires.be). Served in big Staub pots on grandma’s vintage china, the comforting cuisine at this brunch spot is all seasonal and all organic. So once you’re done with the Basque country chipolatas, take slabs of
Perth’s dining scene has reinvented itself over the past few years, with small bars championing petite eats, kitchens opening later, and standards shooting skyward. Here’s where you can get a feed well after dark – and we’re not talking about that greasy kebab shop.
Summer vibes and fairy lights at The Standard
When the mercury’s up, the floor is packed at The Standard (thestandardperth.com.au), an airy, light, inside-meets-outside venue inPerth’s Chinatown. Out back is a bar in a sea container pumping out playful jugs of punch. Its roof is an excellent dining spot, not least for the city skyscraper views. You can dine until midnight Monday to Saturday and the big tip here is the caramelised kangaroo with sesame soy custard and pineapple – the chef’s sweet and salty take on a Thai ma hor (AKA Galloping Horses).
Mexican fiesta at La Cholita
If you suffer from vertigo, don’t look down: the floorboards at hip La Cholita (lacholitanorthbridge) are interspersed with perspex, granting a view into the depths of the tequila-obsessed venue. Constantly buzzing, there’s a clever ‘holding bay’ where basic dishes such as ceviche and guacamole can be ordered, keeping
Whether it’s getting close to Icelandic volcanoes, travelling through one of the highest rail routes on Earth or exploring the creative process of one of the world’s most famous designers, there’s an adventure for everyone.
Lonely Planet Travel News has handpicked an essential list of the best new openings and attractions to kick-start your wanderlust for 2017. The toughest part of putting together this list was to pick our favourites – we could have added hundreds more, so keep an eye on travel news throughout the year for loads more inspiration.
1. Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia
Opens April 2017
With the entire world taking an intense interest in US politics of late, Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution (amrevmuseum.org) offers a timely deep dive into a tumultuous and transformative period of the nation’s history. Filled with historic objects and artefacts, the museum will house permanent and special exhibitions, as well as multimedia experiences, including a theatre housing the actual tent that General George Washington used as his headquarters and home for most of the war. Whatever you think of the current political situation, this is an unmissable attraction for anyone who wants
A perfect gateway to the great outdoors, Southwest Florida has a treasure chest of natural wonders. Coastal wetland preserves, forest-lined rivers and an ocean teeming with marine life set the stage for a wide range of activities that exploreFlorida’s wild side. Wherever you go, wildlife is sure to play a starring role, with frolicking dolphins, massive manatees and prehistoric-looking alligators all part of the great Floridian menagerie. This is also a bird lover’s paradise with some 250 species spotted here.
Rivers, mangrove-fringed wetlands and of course the gentle surf of the Gulf make for a fantastic set of watery adventures. Out on Fort Myers Beach you won’t have to go far to find outfitters – you can hire wave runners for zipping out across the sea (perhaps spying a few dolphins along the way) or take it slow atop a stand-up paddleboard and enjoy the scenery while getting a full-body workout. For panoramic views parasailing will take you high in the sky for sweeping vistas of the sparkling coastline. Mid-Island Water Sports (midislandwatersports.com) is a reputable, family-run company that has all the gear you’ll need. It also offers dolphin-watching tours. Holiday Water Sports is
From walking a tightrope above a 3000m drop to tasting gourmet snacks fresh off a 3D printer, Lonely Planet Travel News has sought out the best openings and brightest attractions for the coming year.
Check out the top 10 and numbers 11 to 20 from our New in Travel list if you missed them. And follow travel news throughout the year to make sure you stay ahead of the pack.
Ionad Cultúrtha an Phiarsaigh, Connemara, Ireland
Opened November 2016
The newly opened visitor centre at Patrick Pearse’s Cottage lies in the heart of the Gaeltacht area where Irish is still a vibrant, living language in use by the locals. As well as paying tribute to one of the key figures of the country’s revolutionary history, it celebrates the local history andcultural impact of the native language. Set in the middle of an incredible windswept landscape, it’s a chance for visitors to experience an often hidden part of Ireland.
Ruta de Cafe, El Salvador
Go back to the source of the world’s favourite pick-me-up by exploring the Coffee Route. El Salvador’s dense coffee forests are opening up to tourism and are full
2017 promises to be such an amazing year for travel, it even has our experienced globetrotters excited. Putting together the New in Travel list of the best new openings and attractions for the coming year left Lonely Planet’s Travel News team ready to pack our bags, hop on a plane and do some serious firsthand research.
From temples of haute couture to mind-boggling bird’s-eye views, find out which of the 35 entries on the list had us reaching for our passports.
Fin McCarthy – Global News Editor
Wants to visit: Musées Yves Saint Laurent Paris and Marrakesh, France and Morocco
Two museums dedicated to the iconic French designer are opening in Paris and Marrakesh.
When a trip involves Marrakesh or Paris, two of my favourite cities, I’m always excited. But add Yves St Laurent to the mix – the man who introduced ‘le tuxedo’ for women and whose influence on the catwalk today is still undeniable – and I’m storming the departure gates. This year two new museums are opening, celebrating the designer’s incredible legacy. His former Paris atelier, which is being refurbished to its former glory, allows visitors the opportunity
they’re a joy to keep. So take your pick and make 2017 your best year of travel yet.
Next time you’re stuffing a pair of impractical shoes and a bumper-size shampoo into your bag, stop to consider the feelings of future you: the one sporting a sweaty back patch and a face riddled with regret. The ‘I’ll manage’ attitude dissipates in a flurry of expletives as you drag your luggage up a broken escalator, straining your bicep and stubbing a toe in the process. Worth it? Not so much.
Stick to it: Downsize: restricting suitcase volume soon hinders overpackers. Prioritise: it’s OK to take three paperbacks if you’re willing to forgo the laptop. Enlist a ruthless packing buddy who won’t give in to the words ‘but I neeeeeed it!’.
Take better pictures
Sick of returning home from a trip with thousands of hastily snapped images that you’ll never have the time to sift through and edit, let alone share? Whether you’re shooting for social media, an online portfolio or the family album, investing a little time and effort can take your creations from amateur to incredible.
Stick to it
In a city where the mercury can hit 45C (113F) in summer and stays warm most of the year, cooling off with a creamy gelato is pure common sense. Seville offers the full gamut of heladerias (ice-cream parlours), from old-school to delightfully quirky.
Here are the top 10 places to sample ice-cream and sorbet in Seville, while avoiding those radioactively luminous turquoise and pink bubble-gum flavours.
The original – Helados Rayas
A long-standing heladeria institution in Seville, founded in 1980, Helados Rayas (facebook.com/heladería-rayas) closes down for the colder months – brave the queue from spring to early autumn, and you’ll be rewarded with cream and pine-nuts, dulche de leche and tocino del cielo (crème caramel). Two locations – in Reyes Catolicos near the main shopping area, and close to the contemporary architecture attraction Metropol Parasol and its mushroom-like shades known as the Setas.
Freskura for the boho scene
Catering to the hip Alameda crowd, Freskura (freskura.com) offers favourites including pistachio, chocolate (also available lactose-free) and cremino (mascarpone, hazelnut and cacao); in summer fruit concoctions stretch to passion fruit and pear, while home-made ice lollies in lemon, strawberry and orange will quench your thirst. Take a
Unfolding over seven hills, the Portuguese capital spoils its visitors with viewpoints aplenty. The rugged landscape has you wandering from secluded courtyards overlooking medieval quarters to terraces where you can take in the whole city.
This list of spots to see Lisbon from above includes some of the locals’ favourite places as well as less-known sites and locations that might not initially promise to offer a classic vantage point. All, though, will reward you with a spectacular view.
The whole city from the top of a shopping mall
The classic miradouros (viewpoints) in the old part of the city are the most sought-out for capturing the postcard-perfect image of Lisbon. But from the Amoreiras 360 Panoramic View (amoreiras360view.com), on the rooftop of the Amoreiras Shopping Mall, you have the whole Portuguese capital at your feet. Get whisked up for 15 minutes and enjoy a completely unobstructed view that takes in old and new Lisbon.
A garden overlooking Baixa
The Jardim do Torel (Rua Júlio de Andrade) is a former 19th-century private garden with a playful, quirky personality. Its unusual chaise-longue-style park benches make the most of the soft slope, becoming an open-armed invitation
Whilst the southern Italian city of Naples is well known for the anarchic cacophony of its street life, few visitors are aware that an eerily quiet underworld lurks beneath the surface.
The city’s inhabitants have been tunnelling into the easily quarriable yellow tuff rock beneath their feet for millennia, leaving a veritable honeycomb of crypts, catacombs and air-raid shelters for visitors to explore.
Time travel at Napoli Sotterranea
Illuminating and entertaining, the Napoli Sotterranea guided tour digs deep down, forty meters down, into Naples’ multi-layered history. You will cross through the reverberant cavities of an ancient Greco-Roman aqueduct and squeeze through a constricted channel with only a candle as your guide and the promise of an aquamarine cistern at the other end. Reminders of the underground’s use as a WWII air raid shelter cast a sombre note, whilst an experimental underground vegetable garden shines a light towards the future.
Remember WWII at the Bourbon Tunnel
No one escapes the Bourbon Tunnel tour unscathed. The sheer size and scale of this cavernous 17th-century cistern turned would-be royal escape route are humbling enough, but the cruel reminders of its use as a WIII air raid shelter will chill you to