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The cultural highlights of Le Marche

The cultural highlights of Le Marche

From left to right, the band of regions crossing central Italy begins in Tuscany—which hardly needs an introduction. Landlocked Umbria, “Italy's Green Heart”, is sprinkled with forests and olive groves and art towns that have been destinations for tourism and pilgrimage for centuries.By Donald

Insiders’ Paris: Rambling Around the Palais Royal

Insiders’ Paris: Rambling Around the Palais Royal

Short quiz: where in Paris can you admire the sun casting a warm glow on the opulent details of a 17th-century palace, browse quaint little boutiques, roam through elegant shopping arcades, and enjoy a glass of wine or gastronomic meal at a restaurant tucked away from the street? Just a block north of the Louvre Museum and its throngs of tourists lies an area that few visitors to Paris ever see: the Palais Royal and its quiet, arrestingly charming corners. Spend an afternoon exploring the area, and you’ll discover why locals prize it—and would prefer to keep it secret.By Courtney

Dog friendly beaches

Dog friendly beaches

It’s often surprising how many beaches disallow dogs – especially when you believe your pooch to be the best behaved of his ilk. My basset hound is, I’m sad to say, no such companion (begging, stealing, slobbering – yeah, she’s got bad behaviour pretty much covered), but she’s still this woman’s best friend, and I love my time at the shore with her. By Sophie

Gran Sasso National Park

Abruzzo's Gran Sasso National Park

If you tell any Italian that you are headed to the region of Abruzzo, the very first thing they will ask is, “Are you visiting Gran Sasso?”. Gran Sasso is shorthand for Abruzzo’s sprawling Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga (Gran Sasso and Laga Mountain National Park), one of Italy’s largest national parks—indeed, covering almost 350,000 acres, one of the largest protected areas in all of Europe. By Rebecca

Walking holidays in France

Walking holidays in France

I will be so bold as to say that it's been established, at this point, that France's beaches are among the crème de la crème of European holiday destinations. But France in fact caters for more than just the sun and sand set: from Provence's jaunty purple fields of spicy lavender, to the lush vineyards of the Loire valley, to the majesty of the Alps, France is a country of endless geographical variety. And as such, it offers a veritable cornucopia of walking trails, vistas, and points of interest both cultural and natural to the active vacationer. By Russ

Italy's craft beer revolution

Italy's craft beer revolution

The first week in March is a big one for Italian drinkers: the annual Settimana della Birra (“Beer Week”) sees breweries, bars, and bottle shops across the country run events for Italy's growing army of beer lovers. But, wait: “Italy” and “beer”? I must mean Peroni, right? Oh, no. In fact, the country now has over 600 artisan brewers, most of them small and a huge proportion less than five years old. There is a craft beer revolution in full swing. And whatever week of the year you visit, you'll find plenty to celebrate. By Natasha

Paris: A Contemporary Art Itinerary

Paris: A Contemporary Art Itinerary

Paris has always been a magnet for art and artists, with its world-class collections, lively gallery scene and constantly changing programme of exhibitions. The cultural season here runs from September to mid-July, so look for major openings in September, February, April and May, and a whole set of busy art fairs and salons in spring and autumn. International collectors flock into town for the FIAC international contemporary art fair at the Grand Palais in October (with a new offshoot in 2014 at the Cité de la Mode et du Design), and the Paris Photo salon in November. Private galleries are concentrated in Le Marais and St-Germain-des-Prés, along with a cluster of young art galleries up in Belleville. By Natasha

Five Best Pub Lunches in the Cotswolds

Five Best Pub Lunches in the Cotswolds

After a busy morning in the Cotswolds, exploring villages, visiting gardens or walking on footpaths, lunch in a village pub provides a welcome break. On warm summer days, sit outside and enjoy the beautiful countryside; on cold days, get a table by the open fire and warm up. Many pubs in the Cotswolds are in historic buildings with low ceilings and stone floors, and have been inns and pubs for hundreds of years. Most of them also offer real ales from local breweries – Hook Norton, Donnington, Uley, and Butcombe, to name a few. And that's not all – pubs pride themselves on their good food, made using locally sourced products, too. By Pauline

Santorini's Cultural Highlights

Santorini's Cultural Highlights

Anyone who believes that all Greek islands are the same simply hasn't visited enough of them. And there is no island in the world like Santorini. Also known as Thira – or Fira in the original Greek – it's a spectacular and beautiful island. You'll never forget your first sight of it whether you arrive by ferry, on a cruise ship or on one of the direct flights that operate from Athens in summer. If you like dramatic scenery, history, culture, fine food and wine, or simply relaxing on beaches of strangely coloured sand, you'll love Santorini. By Mike

Music Festival Holidays

Music Festival Holidays

What could possibly be better than combining music, partying and sightseeing? Well, that’s exactly what music festival holidays offer: a fantastic balance between seeing your favourite bands, discovering new ones, and enjoying the sights and sounds of another country. Whether you’re into Rock, Pop, Drum and Bass or Jazz, there are hundreds of fantastic music festivals around the world; all you need to do is decide whether to opt for a small, locally run event showing the very best in lesser-known artists, or go all-out by attending one of the world’s largest and best-known music experiences. By Sophie

Le Marche's hidden art

Le Marche's hidden art

Most visitors to Le Marche come for its beachside resort towns, which line the almost 200 kilometres of coastline lapped by the waves of the placid Adriatic sea – but this pretty (and largely unsung) central Italian region has much more to offer. The dramatic Sibilline mountains which border the region to the west boast some of Italy’s most breathtaking scenery, and the rolling hills which tumble eastward toward the sea are covered with tidy vineyards, pretty villages, and isolated castles. By Rebecca

Gastro Guide to Santorini

Gastro Guide to Santorini

Sitting in the southern Cyclades, Santorini is magical, romantic and perhaps the most quintessentially ‘Greek’ of all the Hellenic islands. It is also quite special in that is is home to a vast volcano; indeed the islands which make up Santorini form the ring of the caldera. Why is this important to food lovers? Well, all of that volcanic activity and ash has created a unique ecosystem with porous volcanic soil, which – combined with an almost perpetual state of drought – produces utterly distinctive flavours in all of the produce grown on the island. By Russell

Cultural Amsterdam

Cultural Amsterdam

Many know that there are more bikes than people in Amsterdam, but it's a lesser-known fact that there are more museums per capita in Amsterdam than any other city in the world. That's a whole lot of culture. Thanks to Amsterdam's compact size you can easily navigate your way through history and the canals from the Rijksmuseum and Rembrandthuis to the Anne Frank House on two wheels, on foot or by public transport. By Frankie Thompson

National Parks in Croatia

National Parks in Croatia

At one time, Croatia might not even have appeared on your shortlist of dream destinations. Nowadays, though, much of the country’s economy is founded on a booming tourist trade: backpackers continue to sample its chic cities and coastline, families bake in the sun-blessed oasis of Hvar, and adventurers flock to the Plitvice Lakes for a week of exploration in the mountains. So what’s stopping you? Go for the culture and festivals, the medieval settlements, the stone-built villages residing on the Adriatic coastline. The cuisine isn’t lacking, either, with everything from roasted lamb and suckling pig to Skrandinski rizot – a slow-cooked, meat-based risotto – on the menu. By Ronnie

Cottages with hot tubs

Cottages with hot tubs

What is it about hot tubs? Everyone wants one. According to one recent survey, more homeowners desire a hot tub in their garden than a greenhouse. While it should be noted that the two products perform slightly different roles (tomato plants don’t take too well in a hot tub), it’s telling that in recent years the hot tub has become so desirable once again. By Kai

Where to go on holiday in 2014

Where to go on holiday in 2014

What are your goals for 2014? To stop smoking? Eat healthier? Stick in at the gym? See the world? With most of these objectives you’re on your own, but in the case of the latter, we’ve got your back. If one of your 2014 resolutions is to travel more, we’ve got an array of great ideas to share. Ideas involving hot destinations, trendy destinations and must-see destinations. By Kai

UK National Parks: Meadows, moorlands and mountains...

UK National Parks: Meadows, moorlands and mountains...

Did you know there are no less than 15 National Parks in the United Kingdom? Think about it: in a country so small, that’s 15 officially recognised areas of outstanding natural beauty, each of them bustling with activities, adventure or relaxation opportunities, as you see fit. Although our country is blessed with such areas from coast to coast, the beauty of the National Parks is that they have been designated as protected areas in an effort to preserve them for future generations, ensuring that everyone can make the most of their visit. By Ronnie

The Italian Lakes, wine and wineries

The Italian Lakes, wine and wineries

When thinking of Italian wine, it is most often the central and southern regions of Italy that come to mind. The crowd-pleasing super-Tuscans, the bold Sicilian Nero d’Avola, and the mouth-tingling tannic Sagrantino from Umbria all seem to dominate the collective wine consciousness (and worldwide menus), encapsulating in their deep red hues the Italy of long, languishing afternoon meals warmed by the Mediterranean sun and serenaded by sweet sounds of mandolins. By Rebecca

 

 

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