Five of the best castle stays in Scotland

Five of the best castle stays in ScotlandThere's no more Scottish an image than that of a castle surrounded by swirling mist, and most of Scotland's castles ooze a colourful and turbulent history ... the stuff of swashbucklers, legends and ghost stories. All the classic imagery can be found in abundance: secret passageways, spiral staircases, dungeons, haunted rooms, four-poster beds, old oil…

Everything you’ve ever heard about Paris is true

But like a flirtatious mistress, she will drive you to distraction while capturing your soul

Everything you’ve ever heard about Paris is trueEverything you’ve ever heard about Paris is true: Expensive. Unfriendly. Grimy. Noisy. Gaudy. Congested. So why do I ache with longing whenever I hear the name? And why do I spend every cent I can spare to fly there again and again when there are a thousand-and-one other places in the world I’ve yet to…

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 TuscanyThe 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. And crowning this mountainous micro-state is the medieval…

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 MateraOn 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 later, I reached for my daypack and realized…

Onwards to St. Michael’s Mount, across fields and marsh

We had a destination draped in history and instructions on how to get there offered with a smile and pride of place

Onwards to St. Michael’s Mount, across fields and marshWe were on foot on our first morning in Cornwall, walking from the tiny village of Ludgvan in search of St. Michael’s Mount. At Crowlas, we turned right onto the motorway headed to Penzance. A narrow paved footpath followed the right side of the road, which cut through the green fields on either side of…

Looking for the Pirates of Penzance in Cornwall

With St. Michael’s Mount on the horizon, a grand walking tour awaits

Looking for the Pirates of Penzance in CornwallPenzance! Already associated in our minds with the famous Gilbert and Sullivan 1879 operetta The Pirates of Penzance, it’s also the last town of any size on the southwestern tip of the British isles. I was alerted early on by my Cornish-born grandfather to its magnificent white sand beaches, mild, sunny weather, and a human…

Ireland’s local storytellers spice up the discovery tour

There are plenty of Irish storytellers to guide you through a tapestry of intrigue, battles, and years that were, by turn, lean, hungry and ultimately triumphant.

Ireland’s local storytellers spice up the discovery tourLong tales and reimagined truths create a theme for your journey through Ireland set on a stunning backdrop of rugged coastlines and emerald foliage. There are plenty of Irish storytellers to guide you through a tapestry of intrigue, battles, and years that were, by turn, lean, hungry and ultimately triumphant. Two kings briefly raged a…

Put down your tech and Travel Like This

Put down your tech and Travel Like ThisTake our advice, and travel like this. We live in the golden age of travel. Never have so many world destinations been more accessible and more affordable. Budget-minded travellers can find affordable alternatives to hotels through internet-based services, like VRBO and AirBnB. Uber and Lyft have cut the price of ground transportation. And discount airlines…

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…