Brightest attractions for the coming year

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 and cultural 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.

Go back to the source of the world’s favourite pick-me-up

ithin sight of the countryside’s magnificent hills and mountains.

Get a taste of the future as the world’s first

by exploring the Coffee Route. El Salvador’s dense coffee forests are opening up to tourism and are full of exciting opportunities for extreme sports, wildlife spotting and a chance to cultivate the beans themselves, all w3D printing restaurant (foodink.io) embarks on a world tour this year after a successful pop-up in London. Combining fine dining with the latest in technology, the results are visually stunning gourmet feasts. If you can’t book in for a full meal, you can visit

Taking the ultimate travel plunge

India packs a lot into a massive space, and you’ll never have time to see it all on one trip. Think about what interests you, what you like doing and how much time you have, and tailor your trip accordingly. Be realistic about how much you can fit in. Rather than trying to see the whole country, you may get more out of your trip if you concentrate on the south of the country, or on the north. However, internal flights are plentiful and inexpensive so you can hop from north to south if you want a taste of both worlds. The itineraries section at the front of Lonely Planet’s guidebooks to India can be a great help, but here are some possible itineraries to get the ball rolling.

The classics: The most popular India tour is the all-time classic Golden Triangle. If time is short this is a fantastic introduction to three of India’s top destinations, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, and you can squeeze it into a week if you don’t mind moving every couple of days. Start in Delhi, with sights such as

Modern megacity in India

A gargantuan, pulsating metropolis that reinvents itself every time you blink, Mumbai is India’s most modern and most happening city. The best entertainment spots, the liveliest cultural melting pots, the yummiest meals at the most trendy cafés or the latest designer threads gracing the most beautiful people – Mumbai is where you’ll find them. Indeed, the city is getting a make-over unlike anything India has seen before, with more than 15 ‘supertalls’ – trade slang for skyscrapers over 300m – under construction in the northern suburbs.

Many travellers limit themselves to the historic neighbourhoods of south Mumbai and miss out on Mumbai’s modern cutting edge. Here’s a look at some of the sights and activities that help you to get under the cosmopolitan skin of India’s ‘Maximum City’.

 

Shop like a fashionista

Rising from the ashes of what was once a colonial cotton mill, High Street Phoenix (highstreetphoenix.com; 462 Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel West) is Mumbai’s top destination for shopaholics, particularly those with a weakness for premium designer labels. Appealing to Mumbai’s icons of film, fashion and finance, this luxury shopping complex – the largest of its

Travel resolutions

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: Read up on how to take a decent smartphone snap; enrol on a photography course; join a photographer’s meetup while you’re on the road; or take a tour that combines travel and tuition.

 

Stop

Amazing year for travel

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 to get a sense of his work process, while also immersing themselves in the city of haute couture. Or take a trip to Morocco to drink in the electric blue of the designer’s Jardin Majorelle, which he bequeathed to Marrakesh, and where the new museum will display his work. But why not make both pilgrimages? I know I will.

So much of St Petersburg’s allure lies in its wealth of history. But for me, New Holland Island, with its focus on public space and the arts, is a perfect addition to Russia’s cultural capital. The project seems poised to bring a burst of modernity to the historic city, providing a place

Ultimate romantic honeymoon

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.

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.

Why pick one island when you can have 30? That’s about how many specks of wonderful white sand make up this Indian Ocean archipelago. Among them is Ibo, home to the 16th-century Portuguese trading settlement of Ilha de Moçambique – a must-see. After a dose of culture here, sail between the islands – remote Vamizi, luxe Quilalea – stopping off on nameless cayes for lobster barbecues en route.

Huahine, a 40-minute flight from Tahiti, is Polynesia at its most sublime (and that’s quite a feat). Slopes of tropical abundance sink into eye-searingly blue lagoons; there’s culture aplenty, including the highest

The reason of family travel

Travel has never been so kid-friendly. Long gone are the days when in-flight entertainment was limited to one communal screen, museums hid all their fascinating wares behind glass, and dining out at fancy restaurants was an adult-only affair.

The experience of travelling as a child has dramatically improved in the last 30 years. Here are five reasons we’re envious of today’s young explorers.

Travel has never been so kid-friendly. Long gone are the days when in-flight entertainment was limited to one communal screen, museums hid all their fascinating wares behind glass, and dining out at fancy restaurants was an adult-only affair.

The experience of travelling as a child has dramatically improved in the last 30 years. Here are five reasons we’re envious of today’s young explorers.

Travel has never been so kid-friendly. Long gone are the days when in-flight entertainment was limited to one communal screen, museums hid all their fascinating wares behind glass, and dining out at fancy restaurants was an adult-only affair.

The experience of travelling as a child has dramatically improved in the last 30 years. Here are five reasons we’re envious of today’s young explorers.

The dream honeymoon

With these top ten budget-friendly getaways you can count your pennies without compromising on all the once-in-a-lifetime experiences, dynamic culture and delicious cuisine you could want for your first adventure as newlyweds.

 

Morocco

Arabian exoticism, fragrant spices – and lovely low prices. Morocco’s hard to beat for bargain romance. Marrakesh, Fez and Essaouira offer time-warp medinas chock-full of character and cheap cafes. Eschew your sense of direction to get lost in the maze-like souqs – the shopping possibilities are plentiful, with everything from carpets to babouches to be snapped up. Converted riads (traditional courtyard houses) offer accommodation with oodles of atmosphere; some are pricey but many are astonishingly reasonable, enabling palace-like stays on a pauper’s budget.

 

India

Long-favoured by the impecunious, India has become more expensive – but, mostly, it’s still amazingly cheap. For instance, opulent Palace On Wheels trains might be dear, but even budget ’mooners can afford first-class on India Rail – a Delhi-Udaipur overnighter costs around US$20 second-class, and only US$10 more in first-class sleeper.

 

Vietnam

You could get by for less than US$10 a day in Vietnam and still eat like a king – it’s street-food heaven. Make sure to sample the city’s signature dishes: beef pho, bun cha (barbecued pork with rice

The worlds best spice markets

Rahba Kedima, also known as Spice Square, is the obvious place to head to for brash, bright and brilliant flavourings when in Marrakesh. The mixed spices for flavouring fish and meat are a must for adventurous cooks, while you can also snap up anise, mace and fresh cinnamon for a snip of the cost back home. If you want good saffron, don’t buy the ground stuff – ask to see the fresh strands. It can get pricey, so make sure you shop around before parting with your cash.

Try before you buy: take a break from the busy crowds at Café des Epices. The mint tea here is particularly good.

 

Long Bien Market, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi’s labyrinthine Old Quarter is home to a wide variety of spice stalls. But for something a lot more visceral, set your alarm for 4am and head to Long Bien Market on the banks of the Red River. This pre-dawn, wholesale spot is the place to buy the freshest mint, lemongrass, cinnamon, coriander and ginger. This is a working market, meaning tourists are few and far between, so be respectful when taking pictures.

Try before you buy: vendors selling steaming bowls of pho (noodle soup) are easy to find.

Step into the real life Jungle Book

Exploring the life of the writer who almost single-handedly conjured the popular image of ‘British India’, we look at the legacy of the Raj in other locations close to his heart: from the magnificent architecture of Mumbai – where he was born in 1865 – to the hill station of Shimla, former summer capital and colonialist playground, in the foothills of the Himalayas.

 

Where to find Kipling’s jungle

We all know Kipling’s jungle. Whether you first encountered it in the pages of his short stories, or found it in Disney’s adaptation, you are no doubt familiar with its steamy layers of leaves, its sun-warmed pools, its ancient temples overrun by monkeys and creeping vines.

It is the living backdrop for a cast of animal characters whose names are as familiar to us as childhood toys – from the sleepy brown sloth bear Baloo to the fearsome tiger Shere Khan; the panther Bagheera, his voice ‘soft as wild honey’, and the quixotic python Kaa. And of course it is home to Mowgli, the orphaned man-cub raised by wolves.

With the possible exception of a resident wolf-boy, the jungle 
so vividly described in Kipling’s fiction does indeed exist – but it was not a place the

Exploring the capitals eclectic

Delhi’s onion-layered history is mirrored deliciously in its diverse and dynamic cuisine. Cosmopolitan Delhi-ites crave fine food like plants crave sunshine, and the city’s food scene trots the globe. From tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurants to fine dining and quirky cafes, this really is a city with something to please everyone. Here are some eateries in the Indian capital that reflect its eclectic personality.

 

Cafe culture with a twist at Cafe Lota

The leafy cul-de-sac beside the Crafts Museum at Pragati Maidan has been reinvented as an indoor-outdoor eatery, and a calm retreat from the city crush. A huge hit with Delhi’s arty set, Cafe Lota (Crafts Museum, Gate No 2, Bhairon Marg) charms with an innovative menu of regional Indian flavours and surprise twists on traditional favourites. Reserving ahead will allow faster access to some of the capital’s tastiest food. Otherwise, you may have a long wait for your crunchy palak patta chaat (spicy spinach salad), apple cinnamon jalebi, or filtered coffee.

 

Continental creations at Le Bistro Du Parc

When Delhi-ites crave European flavours, they head to Le Bistro Du Parc (lebistroduparc.com) in Defence Colony. Capturing just the right Parisian mood, this little piece of La Belle France serves fine French fare, with a live

How to Find Entertaining kids

The trick to family travel in Delhi is escaping the crowds. Try crossing Connaught Place, amid careering traffic, in the heat, whilst gripping the arms of several toddlers, and you might find yourself racing back to the cloistered sanctuary of your hotel room. Relax in the calm confines of a Mughal garden however, and you might see the city in a very different light.

 

A good hotel is worth its weight in Mr Men books

Getting the best out of Delhi with kids in tow requires a certain amount of forward planning. Rather than staying in the busiest districts, life will be infinitely less stressful if you choose one of the quieter corners of South Delhi, where guesthouses and hotels offer a bit more room to breathe. Some even have enclosed gardens. As an added bonus, most of these hotels are also close to Delhi’s surburban district ‘markets’  upscale retail complexes with shops, restaurants and supermarkets selling familiar European and American imports (breakfast cereals, wet-wipes and the like), plus, in many cases, decent kids’ playgrounds. Perhaps the most ideal base for families is the Lutyens Guesthouse, with parrot-filled grounds, sprawling lawns and a swimming pool.

However, if you prefer to stay in the

Love to pack our bags and travel the world

I traveled to Vienna and Salzburg right before Christmas in 2010 and it was the most magical Christmas experience of my life. It had snowed heavily right before our plane landed, so the whole country was covered in a soft blanket of white – a perfect backdrop for its numerous bustling Christmas markets, where we drank a fair amount of gluhwein and ate too many holiday sweets. This American also had her very first run-in with the European-style St Nicholas and his more threatening counterpart Krampus; both happened to be walking down the streets of Salzburg like old chums, and I had to consult a local pretzel maker to figure out who Santa’s terrifying monster pal was.

I traveled to Vienna and Salzburg right before Christmas in 2010 and it was the most magical Christmas experience of my life. It had snowed heavily right before our plane landed, so the whole country was covered in a soft blanket of white – a perfect backdrop for its numerous bustling Christmas markets, where we drank a fair amount of gluhwein and ate too many holiday sweets. This American also had her very first run-in with the European-style St Nicholas and his more threatening

February for wildlife and nature TIPS & ARTICLES

For land-lovers, snow leopards and huge vistas of ice await in India; underwater explorers can swim with whale sharks in the balmy waters of the Philippines; and there’s a special treat for spotters who can bear witness, not only to spectacular birdlife in Japan, but to the spectacle of millions of monarch butterflies taking flight in Mexico.

 

Head to Ladakh, India, for snow leopards and ice trekking

Brrrrrrr! It’s not warm in the Himalayan heights of northwest Indiaright now (days around 21°F; -6°C). But it’s worth braving the cold for a couple of very special experiences. Wildlife fans should head for Hemis National Park, home to a 400-year-old monastery, and one of the few places on the planet where the elusive snow leopard isn’t quite so elusive. During winter mating season – which peaks in February – the high-dwelling big cats descend to the valleys here to find mates, making them easier to spot. Alternatively, trekkers can check out the Chadar. This challenging winter hike starts near Leh, and uses the frozen Zanskar River as its path – walking on this icy meander is the only way to access the highland villages at this time. February is when the ice is at its

Perfect wedding day

With these top ten budget-friendly getaways you can count your pennies without compromising on all the once-in-a-lifetime experiences, dynamic culture and delicious cuisine you could want for your first adventure as newlyweds.

 

Morocco

Arabian exoticism, fragrant spices – and lovely low prices. Morocco’s hard to beat for bargain romance. Marrakesh, Fez and Essaouira offer time-warp medinas chock-full of character and cheap cafes. Eschew your sense of direction to get lost in the maze-like souqs – the shopping possibilities are plentiful, with everything from carpets to babouches to be snapped up. Converted riads (traditional courtyard houses) offer accommodation with oodles of atmosphere; some are pricey but many are astonishingly reasonable, enabling palace-like stays on a pauper’s budget.

 

India

Long-favoured by the impecunious, India has become more expensive – but, mostly, it’s still amazingly cheap. For instance, opulent Palace On Wheels trains might be dear, but even budget ’mooners can afford first-class on India Rail – a Delhi-Udaipur overnighter costs around US$20 second-class, and only US$10 more in first-class sleeper.

 

Vietnam

You could get by for less than US$10 a day in Vietnam and still eat like a king – it’s street-food heaven. Make sure to sample the city’s signature dishes: beef pho, bun cha (barbecued pork with rice

Safari alternatives for nature lovers

From tracking down tigers to watching wrestling dinosaurs (okay, not quite – but close), here are a handful of alternative ways for travellers to admire the unparalleled spectacle of the natural world.

 

Looking for tigers in northern India

Tiger numbers have crept up in recent years according to official statistics from the Indian government: in 2016, India was estimated to be home to 2500 of them – 70 percent of the global population. But in a country this vast, it’s still hard to see one.

With accredited naturalists working as guides, Himalayan Footsteps (himalayanfootsteps.com) offers a 13-day trip taking in the Bandhavgarh and Kanha national parks. Sightings are by no means guaranteed, although it’s said the best time of year to see tigers is between February and April, so it’s smart to plan ahead. If you don’t spot one, you’ll stand a better chance of seeing sloth bears, jackals and grey mongoose. Bandhavgarh is also home to 250 species of birds, so make sure you pack your binoculars.

 

Birdwatching in Peru’s Islas Ballestas

Don’t listen to anyone who dismisses Peru’s Islas Ballestas as ‘the poor man’s Galapagos’; these uninhabited islands might not have inspired Darwin when HMS Beagle passed this way in the 1830s, but

March for wildlife and nature

Visit thundering waterfalls in South America or spot kaleidoscopic birdlife in the Caribbean; try your luck tracking Shere Khan through the Indian jungle; or coo over baby Pandas and admire the spring blossoms in China.

 

Spot dazzling birdlife and watch nesting sea turtles in Trinidad and Tobago

This emerald isle afloat off the coast of South America is everything you’d expect from a Caribbean paradise – palm-fringed beaches, relaxed pace of life, sunshine – and plenty you might not expect. Rather than big cruise ships and package tourists, little Tobago attracts nature-lovers, snorkelers and divers.

March has the fine weather you’d want on a beach holiday, but also brings nesting sea turtles – green, leatherback and hawksbill – who return to the patches of sand from which they hatched to lay their own eggs. Watch – with care – as the lumbering females haul themselves ashore, or join monitoring and conservation programs to help these threatened beauties. Sprawling across the eastern end of the island, Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve is bustling with birdlife – more than 200 species call the island home, including dazzling hummingbirds – and spectacular snorkelling can be enjoyed at various points around the coast.

  • Trip plan: Tobago’s international

The best free things to do in India

This lotus-shaped temple was conceived and created by architect Furiburz Sabha in the suburbs of South Delhi, close to the burgeoning commercial district of Nehru Place.  In step with the tenets of the Bahai religion, the house of worship is open to all and everyone is invited to worship according to their own customs. Reflected in nine encircling pools, the gleaming marble structure is set in expansive gardens that teem with visitors, yet it retains a peaceful air of prayer and contemplation. Dusk finds the monument painted in surreal colours by floodlights as the sun sinks over the cityscape.

 

Soulful stirrings at the Nizamuddin Auliya shrine

You can step back seven centuries at the shrine of Delhi’s most beloved Sufi mystic. Every Thursday evening, singers fill the air with soulful qawwalis (spiritual songs) honouring both the Sufi mystic Hazrat Khwaja Syed Nizamuddin Auliya and his disciple, the poet Amir Khusrao, also buried here. A warren of narrow streets lined with hawkers, mendicant holy men and snack stands leads to the shrine, which is a riot of colours, fragrant with heady incense and sweet-smelling rose petals.  Irrespective of faith, gender, or age, the Nizamuddin Dargah is one of Delhi’s most emotive and stimulating

How to find craft brews in India

Bengaluru is a city that loves its pint. Ever since the British arrived here in the early 19th century the capital of Karnataka has enthusiastically embraced the culture of grabbing a drink at the end of the day. Today Bengaluru is chest-thumpingly proud of its drinking culture and home to a roaring craft beer scene with an ever growing number of microbreweries. Visit our pick of Bengaluru’s best bars and you’ll soon understand why.

The Bengaluru drinking scene spans the spectrum, from nostalgic holes-in-the-wall to chic cocktail lounges that could hold their own in Paris or New York. Keep a particular eye out for the city’s craft beers – local brewers create everything from wheat beers to pale ales and stout – and Bengaluru mixologists who add Indian herbs and spices to the standard cocktail palette. Here’s our pick of the best places in Bengaluru to wet your whistle after hours.

 

Daytime tipples at Noon Wines

The appeal of Noon Wines & Scottish Pub (No 17/21, Vasavi Complex, St Marks Road) lies in its nonchalance. This ‘hole in the wall’ outpost of colonial-era Bengaluru is open for only five hours in the day (12-5pm), but nostalgia seekers flock here for inexpensive wines and

Where to cool off in Africa

Adventurous souls should head for these wild spots for a picturesque dip, the chance to get up close to nature and to feel a sense of freedom you just can’t find indoors.

 

Lake swim at Refugio Frey in the Argentine Andes

The well-marked trail from Cerro Catedral in the Nahuel Huapi National Park up to the climbers’ hut at Refugio Frey offers relentless views of the Andes. These become truly stunning once you reach the hut itself, where a small mountain lake sits beneath vertiginous peaks.

The water here can get icy in the off-season, but during the summer months of January and February, swimming out from the shallows and lying on your back to take in the view is the ideal way to end one of Argentina’s finest walks.

 

Hampstead Mixed Pond, London

One of three bathing holes on London’s vast Hampstead Heath, the pond is the ideal haven when the searing heat of the city gets too much. Its freshwater is tested daily, and lifeguards provide reassurance to those feeling nervous about stepping into the depths from the metal steps.

Swim out a few metres and you’ll find yourself in your own bubble, quickly forgetting that central London is just a short Tube ride