Sintra, Portugal, is simply magical

Sintra is one of those places where there is so much packed in that you'll say to yourself: "Wow! How come I never knew about this before?"

Sintra, Portugal, is simply magicalSintra, Portugal, is one of those places where there is so much packed in, so many fairy tale castles and brooding fortresses that you'll say to yourself: "Wow! How come I never knew about this before?" From Lisbon, a trip to  Sintra is a simple day trip, although you could easily spend a couple of…

Guernsey is a hot spot for Second World War buffs

Channel Islands were only British territory occupied by Nazis

Guernsey is a hot spot for Second World War buffsIn Guernsey’s darkest hour, Canadians rushed to help. Today’s visitors to this lively, lovely Channel Island, just off the Normandy coast, can’t help but be reminded of that. The Channel Islands were the only British territory to suffer Nazi occupation during the Second World War. For German leader Adolf Hitler, the islands – which include…

Romance is in the (alpine) air in Zurich

Behind its business persona is a romantic setting complete with snow-capped mountains, pristine alpine lakes and dreamy architecture

Romance is in the (alpine) air in ZurichDon't be discouraged by Zurich's identity as the financial capital of Switzerland. Behind the business persona of the city is a romantic setting complete with snow-capped mountains, pristine alpine lakes and dreamy architecture. Zurich is nestled within the Alps on the banks of Lake Zurich. This strategic location provides a beautiful backdrop for the city,…

Christmas dream routes through East Germany

Erfurt, Potsdam and Rostock, in East Germany, rival many of their big city cousins, especially during the Christmas season

Christmas dream routes through East GermanyLike Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, emerging from a world of black and white, East Germany has been transformed into a Technicolor version of its former self. While relatively unknown to those outside of the country, the cities of Erfurt, Potsdam and Rostock have been transformed into vibrant tourist hot spots that rival many…

Holiday reading: Get lost in Lands of Lost Borders

Kate Harris’s book is a must for the travellers on your gift list; discovering Norway and Iceland; indulging in a wellness weekend

Holiday reading: Get lost in Lands of Lost BordersModern explorer Kate Harris’s story may not compel you to follow in the skinny tire tracks she left on an often-gruelling bicycle trip on the ancient Silk Road trading route. But one thing is for sure: She’ll leave you breathless with her beautiful writing about her 10,000-kilometre cycling odyssey through 10 countries in her book…

Visiting Liverpool in search of John Lennon’s first muse

Sixty years ago, John Lennon’s mother Julia was killed. He never got over the loss and you can find echos of her influence in Liverpool

Visiting Liverpool in search of John Lennon’s first museThe city of Liverpool has intrigued me ever since I heard my first Beatles record and my youthful idolization of John Lennon always made me want to go there. But what tipped the scale was reading the 2007 book Imagine This by Julia Baird, his younger sister, and seeing the 2009 movie Nowhere Boy, made…

The meaning is sometimes lost in translation

The tradition of mangling English in restaurants, hotels and public places continues

The meaning is sometimes lost in translationPARIS - Gerard Hoffnung was a raconteur and wit on the BBC in the 1950's. His speech to the Oxford Union, available on iTunes, is a classic piece of period of humour - a must listen to recording. Amongst the gems on that CD is a selection of letters received after inquiring about hotel accommodation…

A town-to-town hike along the Ligurian Sea

Cinque Terra offers astonishing vistas of beauty and a rigorous test of your hiking fitness

A town-to-town hike along the Ligurian SeaWhen I was first asked about going to Cinque Terra, I didn’t have a clue where it was. “Northern Italy – on the west coast, north of Pisa,” I was told. “Not quite on the French border. At the top of the boot!” I consulted my iPhone Google atlas and read some travel essays. What…

Riding in Riccione and the unsurpassable beauty of Tuscany

The beauty and hospitality of Italy soon becomes apparent whether astride a bicycle or driving down its twisting, narrow country roads

Riding in Riccione and the unsurpassable beauty of Tuscany[slideshow_deploy id='112502'] CENTRAL ITALY, Spring /Troy Media/ – The Most Serene Republic of San Marino is located in the middle of Italy. At 62 square km, it's one of the smallest nations in the world. Although only a few dozen kilometres from Italy’s Adriatic Coast, San Marino’s summit is almost 800 metres above sea level.…

Overwhelmed in Rome, overfed in Matera

Basking in the splendour, charm and hospitality of southern Italy, particularly when you wander off the beaten track

Overwhelmed in Rome, overfed in Matera[slideshow_deploy id='112151'] SOUTHERN ITALY, Spring /Troy Media/ – On a lonely country road near Ostuni, in the province of Puglia – the heel of Italy’s boot – I stopped to photograph a field of poppies in an olive grove. After a few happy snaps, I jumped back in the car and motored on. Fifteen minutes…