News

Home  >>  News

Weed and wine tours in California

With recreational use becoming legal in January 2018, visitors to the state can join trips matching cannabis with the more established grape-based legal high of the region

The wine was pale garnet, with notes of smoke and blackberry giving way to a lingering, slightly tart, finish. One sip sent my head spinning.

But then this particular vintage was more potent than your usual Californian red. The grenache, from Know Label wines in Arroyo Grande on the central coast, is infused with cannabis flowers.

Continue reading…

Dunking sweet and salty osmania biscuits in Hyderabad, India

Fresh from the ovens, osmania butter cookies are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of Irani chai. At Nimrah bakery, thousands of both are consumed every day

In front of the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, India, is an ordinary-looking bakery selling cakes, bread and biscuits.

It’s easy to miss: all around is the bustling Laad Bazaar, with locals selling everything from cheap bangles and strips of gum to piles of pomegranates. The air hums with the call to prayer. Scooters purr around the 16th-century Charminar – a monument built by the architect of Hyderabad, Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah.

Continue reading…

Tallinn, Estonia: A very Baltic Christmas

For an authentic Christmas market, Tallinn is hard to beat. But it’s not the only reason to go

Snow is falling in Tallinn’s Town Hall Square and at its dinky Christmas market a blonde woman in furs sits beneath a food stand, tucking into black pudding and fried potatoes. Dean Martin’s White Christmas echoes over the wooden chalets, and at the grog hut there’s a queue for hot, rum-based Vana Tallinn liqueur.

Christmas market season is here, and for authenticity Tallinn pips its European rivals. Added to that, tourists are thin on the ground – though maybe not for long: Lonely Planet recently tipped Tallinn as the best-value destination for 2018. Then there’s the appeal of its impressive Christmas tree – a tradition that goes back to 1441 when the city’s was one of the first trees to be displayed in Europe. The setting is fabulous, too: a pastel-toned wrap-around of gabled houses dominated by an impressive town hall.

Continue reading…

La Paz, Bolivia guide: what to see plus the best bars, restaurants and hotels

High in the Andes, Bolivia’s de facto capital is having a moment, thanks to local artists, chefs and cafe owners on a mission to breathe new life into the historic centre

There are few cities with such an extraordinary setting as lofty La Paz. At 3,640 metres above sea level, Bolivia’s de facto capital has serious altitude. Fly in and you’ll see the pancake-flat Altiplano (high plain) fall into a steep-sided bowl lined with a maze of adobe and red-brick buildings, which mix with modern skyscrapers at the base. And towering above it all is the jagged, glacier-topped Cordillera Real.

Continue reading…

Top 10 budget beach hotels and B&Bs on Mexico’s Pacific coast

Enjoy ocean views from rooftop bars or just step out and get the sand between your toes. From Mazatlán to Pochutla, here are 10 charming beachside escapes

Mexico’s Pacific coast, more than 1,000 miles of it, is renowned for its beaches, as well as the resorts which have attracted Hollywood royalty. However, it’s also an area that can experience tropical storms, usually between June and December. The most recent was Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded at sea, which swept across the region at the end of October, but caused less damage than anticipated. Hotels are now operating as normal.

Continue reading…

Top 10 budget beach hotels, guesthouses and hostels on the Yucatán peninsula, Mexico

Well-known and deservedly popular for its jungle, coast and ancient ruins, the Yucatán peninsula can be a pricey place to stay – unless you pick one of these brilliant budget hotels and hostels

On the surface, this mid-size hotel in Cancún’s hotel zone is pretty unremarkable. The tile-floored rooms are big and clean, with terraces or balconies – though they’re not notably stylish. The restaurant is good, not gourmet. The pool is a sensible size. But set this against its glitzy, high-rise neighbours and check the rates, which are often lower than similarly appointed hotels on the mainland, 30 minutes from the water – and Beachscape starts looking pretty good. Then walk out on to the palm-shaded beach, one of the prettiest stretches in the hotel zone, and the place becomes a minor miracle.
• Doubles from $109, +52 998 891 5427, beachscape.com.mx

Continue reading…

Top 10 budget beach B&Bs in the Seychelles

The Seychelles islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue may be known for their luxury resorts but there is also a great selection of family-run, more affordable guesthouses just as close to the archipelago’s famous, world-class beaches

For a room with a five-star view, Colibri is hard to beat. Nine rustic rooms – all wood and stone – ensconced amid tropical foliage that tumbles down a hillside to the turquoise waters of Baie Sainte Anne. There’s no beach but you can use the small infinity pool overlooking the bay at neighbouring B&B Chalets Cote Mer, also owned by Sylvie and Stephan, and costing about €10 more a night. You also share the waterfront creole restaurant. The owners can help with car hire but it’s a five-minute walk to a bus stop – which will take you to Praslin’s most famous beach Anse Lazio and the Unesco-protected Vallée de Mai nature reserve – and the jetty for ferries to Mahé and La Digue.
Doubles from £112 B&B, +248 429 4200, colibrisweethome.com

Continue reading…

Top 10 budget beach guesthouses and B&Bs in South Africa’s Western Cape

From Cape Town and its peninsula to the Garden Route and the West Coast, the Western Cape is a dazzling part of South Africa, and its beachside accommodation doesn’t have to break the bank

Continue reading…

Frankfurt city guide: what to see plus the best bars, restaurants and hotels

Goldman Sachs’s CEO tweeted that he’ll be spending more time in the city after Brexit. He won’t be the only one. We asked a local journalist to show us around

As someone who grew up in this city, I’m familiar with what you think you know about it: it’s dull, it’s cold, everybody talks about money, there is no subculture, no real nightlife, and why aren’t you in Berlin already?

Let me stop you there. First, we are a good-humoured, friendly bunch, who are interested in getting things done without being pretentious about it. That’s why there are always new places popping up. The Museum of Romanticism is being built right next to the poet Goethe’s birthplace and is due to open in early 2020. The Altstadt, the old town destroyed in the second world war, is being reconstructed – not as a Disney fantasy but as a modern version of its former self.

Continue reading…

Bologna city guide: what to see plus the best bars, restaurants and hotels

The opening of a foodie theme park will further elevate Bologna’s reputation as Italy’s culinary capital but the city has plenty more to offer, including superb art, music and medieval architecture

Europe’s oldest university town (it was founded in 1088) has been a haven for intellectuals and creative types since luminaries such as Dante and Petrarch passed through in the 14th century. Cultural capitals can ossify with time, but the constant influx of young blood into Bologna has kept the city alive. In the evenings, cafes flood with Bolognesi, from high-society ladies to stylishly scruffy undergraduates arguing politics and sipping Aperol spritzes.

Piazza Verdi attracts musicians and dreadlocked punks, while bars under the arches of Piazza Santo Stefano are a lovely spot for a sundowner. At weekends the central Via Ugo Bassi and Via Rizzoli, along with perpendicular Via dell’Indipendenza, are pedestrianised and fill with shoppers and street performers. At nightfall, crowds from the student bars along Via Zamboni and the more upscale options on Via del Pratello spill into the streets.

Continue reading…

Bilbao city guide: what to see plus the best restaurants, bars and hotels

In the 20 years since the Guggenheim opened, the Basque port city has not looked back – the museum acting as a magnet for great art and architecture as well as buzzing nightlife and restaurants

This year sees Bilbao celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Guggenheim museum, an institution that brought art and its lovers to the north coast city, and started an urban relaunch in which its industrial past was overlaid with fluttering palms, promenades and a proliferation of wonky, asymmetric, eye-popping glass and steel buildings by many of the world’s best architects – Norman Foster, Philippe Starck, Santiago Calatrava and Arata Isozaki among them. Thankfully, Bilbao’s old Basque soul remains intact. The additions enhance the old city, and tourism hasn’t disrupted the enviable lifestyle of its inhabitants, in which lifelong friendships, culture, pintxos (Basque tapas), and the spirit of football figure large.

Continue reading…

Denver city guide: what to see and do plus the best restaurants, bars and hotels

The Mile High City gets a little closer with new direct UK flights giving visitors the chance to soak up a wild west boom town with a roaring food and nightlife scene

‘Gold!” went the cry in the summer of 1858 after a party of prospectors rolled into what is now Denver’s Confluence Park and discovered the kind of shiny stuff that makes hearts and bank balances leap. Sadly, there wasn’t enough of it to sustain a gold rush, and bigger deposits had to be drawn from “them thar hills”, such as Pike’s Peak and Leadville. The find did, however, signal the founding of Denver. And while there have been as many ups and downs as there are peaks and valleys in the Colorado Rockies, the city has become a jewel on the edge of the mountains that dominate its western skyline.

Continue reading…

Holiday guide to Somme, France: what to see plus the best restaurants, bars and hotels

The area of northern France known for battlefields and memorials also has pretty landscapes, unspoilt beaches and some of the country’s best cuisine – all just a short hop from the UK

This bucolic region of northern France is forever associated with memorials of the first world war, but it has a lot more to offer visitors, from unspoilt countryside to quaint coastal resorts that even few French people know about. The Somme is named for its river, with an immense estuary where it empties into the Channel. The Baie de Somme, as it is known, was where William the Conqueror gathered his army before setting off to fight the English at Hastings, and today these unique wetlands offer a host of ecological and wildlife holiday activities.

Continue reading…

Portugal’s top 10 hidden beaches

Catch some late summer sun on Portugal’s stunning coast. The author of the new Wild Guide to the country, picks 10 beaches for adventure and solitude

Continue reading…

Galicia coast holiday guide: the best beaches, bars, restaurants and hotels

White sandy beaches, epic Atlantic scenery and supreme seafood combine to great effect on Spain’s most beautiful coastline

Lush green valleys and rugged mountains, sheer cliffs and wild, frothing, slate-grey seas. Bagpipes, baroque cathedrals and the smell of grilled seafood. The architectural grace of Santiago de Compostela and the industrial churn of Vigo. Galicia, the north-west corner of Spain, is a diverse region, but amid the variety there are two constants: first, it’s one of the best places to eat seafood in the world; and, second, its wild landscape, seemingly more Scottish than Spanish, is the most beautiful on the Iberian peninsula.

Continue reading…