Holidays

Amsterdam: Bank on culture and art down by the river

By Jessica Elgot, February 24, 2011

Like a prize-winning tulip, Amsterdam's canals have been carefully cultivated. The voluptuous curves of the river and the shape of the land between, reminiscent of floating petals, is artificial.

More..

My journey to Greece by the inside track

By Ivor Baddiel, February 17, 2011

Commonly held wisdom says that if you see Chinese people eating in a Chinese restaurant, it must be a fine establishment. But does this apply to holidays?

There were a large number of Greek tourists holidaying in the South Pelopennese when I was there, something I did, indeed, take as a sign of its quality as a destination.

But then it occurred to me that resorts such as Margate and Blackpool are full of Brits in the summer and, wonderful as they are, I'm not sure that the glut of indigenous tourists quite qualifies them as top-notch holiday spots. I had two weeks to find out.

More..

In Cyprus, love is never on the rocks

By Sharron Livingston, February 10, 2011

Love is one thing, and passion quite another. And when both are present, life can seem like a honeymoon. Alas, it's inevitable that the time will come in a couple's relationship when passions wane and the dimming embers need to be fanned into life. I suggest you find somewhere romantic to do this and I believe that I found the perfect place.

Seduced by the ancient cult history of godly love of Cyprus, we flew to Lanarka airport. From there, we taxied to Pissouri about an hour away - a peaceful but burgeoning hill-top village perched half way between Limassol (Lemesos) and Paphos.

More..

The Danube: Find your heritage with tales of the riverbank

February 3, 2011

One of the more unusual facts I learnt during my Danube waterways cruise was told to me in Budapest. As we passed the University, our guide, Cathy, pointed out that Ernõ Rubik, who invented the Rubik's Cube in 1974 originally to teach three-dimensional applications to his architectural students, is an occasional lecturer there. Ernõ was born in 1944 while his Jewish parents were in hiding from the Nazis.

More..

Across a blue ocean ... an oasis of green

By Judith Baker, January 27, 2011

Peeking out of the Atlantic somewhere between Lisbon and New York, Sao Miguel forms one of the nine Azorean islands which mix romance, myth and geology. Still relatively unspoilt by mass tourism, the autonomous Portuguese Azores archepelago remains quaint and slightly old fashioned.

Its mild climate means it can be a year-round holiday destination, yet many people couldn't even tell you where they are. In fact, they form Europe's most westerly outposts and the nine islands are scattered in the middle of the Atlantic 950 miles from Lisbon.

More..

How I tried to get the most out of Africa

By Sharron Livingston, January 20, 2011

'I'm afraid I can't land the plane," announced the pilot. "Because there are animals on the runway."

We had left Nairobi's Wilson airport 45 minutes earlier on a 13-seat Safari Link plane but no one minded the short delay circling the skies before touchdown at Kenya's Masai Mara because we were enjoying the floor show below.

The runway was a strip of mown field and we had a bird's eye view of the loitering zebras and giraffes who were being shooed away.

Landing was smooth and we were met by the drivers of the waiting trucks from our hosts from a tour company called &Beyond.

More..

Going down, but I managed to keep up

January 13, 2011

Toppling over the edge of a ledge of the black piste at Brévent, skis asunder, was a little demoralising for my holiday companion, Samson. He was one of a party of six in the top-level grade four ski group, speeding down the Charles Bozon slope from a height of 2,525 metres, so perhaps he should have known better than to hang back from the posse.

More..

A magnificent land full of memory lanes

By Julie Burchill, January 6, 2011

I always love the feeling of voluntary solidarity with Israel which I experience when going through security with El Al. When the young man or woman says "There is a reason I am asking you these questions", tears spring to my eyes and I really have to stop myself from blurting "I know. I know it all. My life for you, Israel!" in case they think I'm a loony and stop me from boarding.

But this time I had been mucked about so much by the Fattal Hotel chain PR, that my brain was experiencing turbulence before I even set foot on the plane.

More..

Enjoy the white slopes - but do keep it green

By Kathy Carter, December 29, 2010

Flanked by Courchevel and Val Thorens, Méribel turns from a picturesque mountain village in summer into a thriving winter ski resort by December. The pretty alpine flowers give way to crisp, white snow as the temperature drops.

Hikers hang up their boots and winter sports enthusiasts flock here for some of the world's best skiing and snowboarding.

Since being founded by a Briton just over 70 years ago, the resort has stayed popular with British skiers and has managed to retain its reputation as a discerning destination.

More..

This Titanic certainly floated my boat

December 22, 2010

The landscape was unremittingly Yorkshire. Bruise coloured hills and lush green dales speckled with old stone houses and relics from the area's industrial past. Having escaped the family home with my husband for a child-free mini spa break, it was a that the drive itself was so broodingly picturesque. It's fair to say that my other half is not a man who puts pampering high on his to-do list. Let's just say his idea of grooming is cold water, a rough towel and that old bottle of aftershave he picked up at Ben Gurian duty free.

More..