Vanessa Thijs

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The essential guide to backpacking China's Silk Road

The section of the ancient Silk Road that runs through China is an epic journey through desert dunes to the end of the Great Wall, a length of pink mud that ends abruptly in the magnificent beige towers of the Jiayuguan Fort.<p>This is not a voyage that many travellers experience; it's often and …

Barcelona GO!

Oregon's secret surprises

Known primarily for the quirky city of Portland, Oregon is a mostly rural state that holds a landscape diversity to rival anywhere in the US. Big hitter destinations like Mt Hood, Crater Lake, Cannon Beach and the Columbia Gorge get heavy fair-weather traffic but there are plenty of other amazing …

California's best coastal walks

From its wild and rocky coast in the north to the south coast’s vast, sandy shores, the California coastline lures many to walk along the edge of the continent to gaze at the ocean. Sweeping coastal views are blocked in many cities, but wide-open hiking spaces abound nearby where anyone willing to …

America's Favorite Beach Towns (PHOTOS)

For a good lobster roll, Kristin Francis is willing to drive a few extra hours.<p>"It would make more sense for me as a New Yorker to hit the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore each summer," says the souvenir-shopping blogger. "But I skip these spots and take the longer drive to Chatham."<p><i>Travel + Leisure</i> …

Canada's wild side: the Great Bear Rainforest

For wildlife spotters, it's the score of a lifetime: a creamy white kermode bear roaming its home in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. Not a polar bear, but an offshoot of the black bear, there are only about 400 kermodes (which can stand up to six feet tall) in the wild; and only one …

Here Are All The Private Islands You Should Visit This Summer

"Luxury is a private island." We're not sure who actually said that, but we know it's definitely true. Whether you're just casually stopping by during a budget cruise or treating 29 of your closest friends to tricked-out villas, private islands take beach vacations to the next -- and highest -- …

Road Trip Bliss: Long Island

TravelIntelligent Travel<p>The east end of <b>Long Island</b>, New York, looks like the gaping jaws of a crocodile. I’m at the back of the animal’s throat, driving northeast on County Road 105, when I see the mouth opening wide in front of me. Here the reptile’s smile spreads around the Great Peconic …

Stunning Mountaintop Views You Need to See Now

Armed with a pair of quality boots and some water, pretty much anyone can hike. It's not hard to find new appreciation for the outdoors when your boots are treading the ground on a mountain that formed long before your ancestors were born. The sweet smell of fresh air, an escape from the daily …

Hiking

Letter From an Electric Bus in Rome

After living outside of Italy for the past eight years, I moved back to Rome four months ago with nostalgic eyes. I naively hoped to find much of what I had left untouched or, simply, authentically Roman in its inertia. As I observe Rome's quirky corners that were familiar to me long before being …

Where to Stay at Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, putting the park in the spotlight more than ever. But figuring out where to …

Ten planes that changed the way we travel

To mark Lonely Planet’s sponsorship of the iconic 1917 Curtiss JN-4 ‘Flying Jenny’ Biplane’s commemorative air tour this summer we’re exploring aviation's history and continued impact on travel. Here’s our run-down of planes that have changed they way we travel.<p>You can find out more about the …

Chinese architecture: Best new hotel designs (photos) | CNN Travel

Insanely Cool Hotels You'll Have To Stay In To Believe

Now that 7-star hotels are a thing and personal butlers are becoming a staple at certain London hotels, things are getting a little outrageous in the hotel world.<p>So what better way to embrace the insanity then by taking a look at a few stays we think are crazy cool:<p><b>This 7-Star Hotel Dominates The</b> …

A Completely Unsanctioned Chocolate Tour of Paris

Our seven-year-old daughter loves chocolate. She also loves Paris.<p>Put the two together, and you don't just have the totally unsanctioned, sugar-laced, chocolate tour of the City of Light. As a bonus, you also settle the eternal argument of which is better -- dark chocolate or light chocolate?<p>Erysse …

France

Five Roads Less Traveled In The USA

Everyone knows a road trip is the classic way to see the grand ol' USA. But what if you've already cruised the Pacific Coast Highway, rolled along the Blue Ridge Parkway and gotten your kicks on Route 66? Take a spin on any (or all) of these scenic drives, which rightfully should be much more …

National Parks

Zürich: more than finance and fondue

Ask the average person to name the party capital of Europe and Zürich probably would not top the list. What's in Zürich? Erm…bankers, fondue, chocolate, chalet-style cuckoo clocks. Think that covers it? Think again.<p>Switzerland’s largest city may not have the glamour of Paris, the hedonistic party …

Switzerland

Lakeside treks in a geothermal land

North Island’s Rotorua Lakes are an unrivalled natural landscape with absinthe-bright forests, bubbling springs and active volcanoes – all easily explored with a new network of trails.<p>Travellers to New Zealand, especially those with an eye for adventure, often flock to the country’s South Island. …

New Zealand

Kaank'uun to Cancun: The Backstory of Mexico's Blockbuster Resort

In late 1974, an eye-catching ad started popping up in newspapers and magazines for a place the readers likely never heard of. It showed a pristine, palm-lined beach mussed up only by a single line of footprints -- but without showing who made them -- moseying down the sands as far as you could see.<p>…

What Not to Do in Paris

Feeling like you're being judged by locals every time you visit Paris? You're probably right. But know this: Every time a Parisian shoots you a dirty look for talking too loudly or wearing shorts to dinner, they are doing you -- and everyone else who loves Paris -- a favor. Of the three …

France

What Natural Wonders Do I Need to See Before They Are Lost to Global Warming?

<i>A:</i><p>It seems like the list of natural wonders withering under the ravages of climate change gets longer every day—from the shrinking snow atop Mount Kilimanjaro to the dying Great Barrier Reef. Many will be gone, or nearly extinct, within the coming decades, so the clock is ticking on your chance to …

A traveller's guide to India's festivals

Earlier this year the Maha Kumbh Mela, held in the north Indian city of Allahabad, was touted as the biggest religious gathering on Earth. More than 100 million pilgrims are estimated to have washed away a lifetime of sins by taking a dip at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical …

27 Reasons Iceland Is The Most Wonderful Country To Ever Exist

Legend (probably a false legend) has it Iceland was named by some sneaky Vikings who, in a quest to keep it all to themselves, tried to hide the fact that their new settlement was actually a lush, green wonderland worthy of envy from the entire Nordic world.<p>Indeed, Iceland is so striking beautiful …

It's Official: Women Are Way Worse At Packing

We all know the rules of suitcase packing, but who follows them more closely: guys or girls?<p>Women might not be so happy with the answer.<p>Ninety-one percent of females <i>never</i> wear all the clothes they bring on vacation, according to a recent survey.<p>For the typical weeklong trip, they lug along an …

Set-jetting: top 10 movie and TV destinations for travellers

Rather than dreaming about the sometimes stunning, often gritty destinations in your favourite flick, why not get off the sofa and experience it yourself?<p>Set–jetting, visiting the places where movies and TV shows are shot, is easier than ever thanks to dedicated tours and heaps of rabid fans …

National Parks

Europe’s best summer festivals for 2014

Europe has all the best tunes over the coming months, whether you want to shake your skirts, bang your head or dance until dawn. Experience sensory overload at these European festivals - sun, sounds and jaw-dropping locations guaranteed.<p>Sónar Festival, Barcelona, Spain<p>Sónar is Barcelona’s massive …