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10 of the best tapas bars and restaurants in Almería, Spain

10 of the best tapas bars and restaurants in Almería, Spain As Spain’s gastronomic capital for 2019, Almería will be in the spotlight. Here, the author of a new book on Andalucían food picks her favourite places to eat Some find it a bit of a mystery that Almería has been named Spain’s gastronomic capital for 2019. The modest city in the south-eastern corner of the peninsula is often overlooked and draws fewer visitors than the rest of Andalucía. Yet it boasts Europe’s largest Islamic fortress, after Granada’s Alhambra, with 10th-century walls clambering over two rocky hills, peering down over the compact city below. Islamic flavours don’t stop there as, following centuries of connecting Almería’s traders with the Arab…

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Six of the best spring breaks in rural Europe

Six of the best spring breaks in rural Europe With the countryside blooming but tourists crowds yet to, spring is the ideal time for a European adventure, from sea kayaking in Sardinia to cycling through the tulips near Amsterdam Millions of tulips turn the landscape of the Netherlands into a carpet of colour each spring – usually between the beginning of April and mid-May, and particularly between Haarlem and Leiden to the west of Amsterdam. The best way to explore is on a bicycle, along well-kept cycle paths that thread their way through a sea of colour – and with such a flat landscape, it’s not strenuous. The Keukenhof Flower Gardens, to the south-west of Amsterdam, are a highlight,…

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Spring adventure: trail running on Madeira

Spring adventure: trail running on Madeira Madeira may have a sedate reputation but the wild, rugged landscape is the perfect place for hiking and trail-running in the spring sunshine Having found a bench in the hot spring sunshine, I was unwrapping my bolo de caco – an excellent toasted sweet potato sandwich, slathered in garlic butter – when “Michael Jackson” walked past. He was dressed Thriller era, and accompanied by a few pirates and a brass band in orange Afros. The band struck up. Michael strutted. The bystanders on Funchal’s lively Avenida Arriaga cheered. That evening, the fancy dress and frivolity were fully unleashed. It was Madeira Carnival’s main parade – one of the Portuguese island’s biggest celebrations (10…

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A father-and-son ski trip to Andorra

A father-and-son ski trip to Andorra Returning to the Pyrenees for a family skiing adventure many years after a stag-do, it’s not just dad who has grown up. So has Andorra … It is 10am and I’m trying to engage my two sons in their first skiing lesson. My vow to be a patient teacher and never raise my voice to Rafa, 16, and Luca, 14, has already broken. “Get that bloody foot up,” I yell as an outraged professional instructor and his junior students serenely practise snowploughing nearby. It’s day one, we have only been on the nursery slopes for 20 minutes. I watch groups of young men on the piste ski past me and can’t help feeling…

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20 of the best activity holidays in the UK and Europe

20 of the best activity holidays in the UK and Europe Lying by the pool not your thing? We’ve got everything from horse riding to multi-activity beach breaks to get your endorphins going Inntravel has a new three-centre, self-guided walking holiday to Senja, an island sometimes called Norway in miniature, north of the Lofotens. The trip starts with two nights on the smaller island of Sommarøy in the “Arctic Caribbean”, so-called because of its white beaches and azure sea. The next stop is the fishing village of Mefjordvær, for coastal walks and an ascent of Segla, the island’s sail-shaped peak. The final three nights are based in a waterside wooden cabin at Hamn i Senja, on a spit of…

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Cycle and surf from Bordeaux to Bilbao

Cycle and surf from Bordeaux to Bilbao A 300-mile bike ride from France into Spain, with surfing and beach yoga interludes along the way, proves exhilarating – if exhausting When I heard about Ticket to Ride’s new “cycle surfari” from Bordeaux to Bilbao – cycling 300 miles over seven days and surfing en route – I jumped at the chance to join. OK, so I only ever cycle a few miles to work. And sure, I’ve never been on a surfboard. But how hard can it be? Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Rachel Dixon Tweet

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10 of the best cognac distillers, tours and tastings, France

10 of the best cognac distillers, tours and tastings, France Exploring Cognac and the Charente region gives an insight into a brandy rich in history – with a barrel full of tastings on offer Cognac is one of France’s most iconic products, yet little of it is consumed at home: 98% is exported. Authentic cognac can only be produced from a specific region but this vast vineyard stretches from the grand town of Cognac itself inland across the Charente region and over to the Atlantic coast. It is a delight to explore, with winemakers, distillers and the famed maisons de négoces (cognac merchants) open for visits. Most people begin in Cognac with one of the multimedia tours (around €20)…

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Amid lava fields and lizards: a walking trip on El Hierro, Canaries

Amid lava fields and lizards: a walking trip on El Hierro, Canaries Before Columbus, the island of El Hierro was the ‘edge of the world’. Today, its volcanic peaks and forest offer superb family trekking Clouds of volcanic dust envelop the car as we judder down the track through the Malpaís – the badlands. Contorted lava fields and cinder cones surround us in a fierce display. This was once believed to be the end of the Earth. Before Columbus voyaged to America, El Hierro – the smallest and least-visited of the Canary Islands – was the westernmost edge of the known world. Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Kari Herbert Tweet

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Milan art tour: fresco heaven, without the crowds

Milan art tour: fresco heaven, without the crowds Resist the urge to splurge in the city’s chic shops and instead lose yourself in its transcendental art Think of Milan and you think of fashion. The first time I spent more than a few hours in the city, I roamed the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – Italy’s oldest shopping arcade, built in the 1860s and still home to the original Prada store, which was opened by the designer’s grandfather Mario in 1913 – wishing that I was rich (or at least, not quite so broke). What on earth is a girl with an overdraft and a fierce lust for buttery leather supposed to do in a place where everyone is…

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10 great European art anniversaries in 2019

10 great European art anniversaries in 2019 From 100 years of Bauhaus to 500 years since Leonardo’s death, a host of landmark art events and exhibitions open around Europe this year It is 350 years since the death of Rembrandt van Rijn. There is a year-long programme of events in nine Dutch cities, focusing on Rembrandt and the Dutch golden age (listings at holland.com). In Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum (15 Feb-10 June) will display all of its 22 paintings, 60 drawings and 300 engravings – the biggest Rembrandt collection ever seen in a single exhibition. Later in the year it has a Rembrandt and Velazquez show (11 Oct-19 Jan), while the Rembrandt House Museum has three exhibitions and the City…

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