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How to choose between Thailand’s classic gulf islands

With hundreds of dreamy tropical islands scattered along Thailand’s extensive coastline, choosing your ideal island escape can be overwhelming. Each one of those specks in the ocean is a tantalising composition of turquoise water, lush jungles and divine beaches – so how's a traveller to …

asiatraveldlda

Top things to do in Rome

Few cities evoke the sheer wonder and amazement of Rome. Ancient history, outstanding art and religious icons are around every corner and when it all gets too much you can just join the locals in sipping espresso in one of the city's many squares. With so much to see and do, the real test will be …

Italy

Tiny countries that pack a big punch

Size isn't everything. Here are ten of the smallest countries in the world. Some of them are rarely visited, except by travellers collecting visa stamps. Most are islands, often far flung. Their wealth varies, from nearly the highest per capita GDP to nearly the lowest, but all still manage to …

European Travel

Italy's top attractions: taking the 'trap' out of tourist trap

Across the globe, lucky souls are packing for Italy to explore the famed marvels of ancient Rome, find romance along Venice's teal-blue canals – and well-meaning friends are still trying to talk them out of it. 'You're going where? When? But it's a tourist trap!' they gasp.<p>This popular wisdom may …

Italy

Tour de dessert: Europe’s most delicious pastries, cakes and tarts

American cafe culture has come a long way in the last two decades: corporate coffee has spawned near two generations of independent cafes that offer more than the old standby of roadside diner joe and pie. But in Europe, grand salons with wrap-around pastry cases have more in common with jewellery …

Dessert

Palma on a plate: where to eat in Mallorca's capital

Once ignored in the frantic dash to the coast, Palma has grown into a destination in its own right in recent years, not least because of its burgeoning food scene. With the Med on its doorstep and consistently excellent local produce, restaurateurs and chefs have woken up to the fact that the …

Sleeping inside a landmark: seven historic buildings reopen their doors

What's old is new again – in New York and in Cusco, on the beach in Uruguay, on a Venetian island – as historic landmarks are reborn as contemporary hotels. While the interiors now feature futuristic amenities from glass-topped spas to Instagram stations, the buildings' colourful pasts remain. You …

newyork

The real ragù: 10 things you didn't know about authentic spaghetti bolognese

Slurping an authentic spaghetti bolognese in the city of its origin, Bologna, is on every gourmet traveller’s bucket list. But there are many misunderstandings about this world-famous Italian dish.<p>1. It’s not served on spaghetti<p>The true vehicle for bolognese sauce is tagliatelle, a ribbon-like …

Italian Food

Ten of the best food and drink secrets in Europe

With its momentous history, cutting-edge culture, and breathtaking landscapes, Europe comprises an extraordinary wealth of sights, sounds, peoples and parties. But it’s the endlessly varied cuisine that makes us reach for our passports again and again. Whether you’ve been to Europe once or 100 …

European Travel

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

A craft beer lover's guide to London

In the last 15 years, London has seen incredible growth in its brewing industry from a mere two breweries in 1999 to more than 50 today. Almost all of these new enterprises are small, independent and produce high-quality, innovative styles of beer – an approach to brewing that’s been given the …

Beer

What an eyeful: the world's most beautiful buildings

Straight away we'll say that this isn't a top 10 list. There are just far too many styles of buildings, each worthy of a top 50: sacred buildings, homes, skyscrapers, theatres...<p>Instead, this is a list showing the variety of architectural beauty across the globe - and pointing you in the direction …

Creative Commons Attribution

Norway's stunning landscapes in summer – in pictures

From sheer-sided fjords and rugged mountains offering world-class hiking to wooden fishing villages, Norway is famous for its dramatic landscapes – and in summer the sun never really sets<p><b>• Read more in tomorrow's</b> <b>Guardian Travel</b> <b>Scandinavian special</b>

Walking in Inca footsteps in Peru's Sacred Valley

Encompassing what was the fertile homeland of the Inca Empire, the transcendent region – often overlooked en route to Machu Picchu – is steeped in Andean history and culture.<p>Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas stretches between Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire, and the legendary …

A South American snow-hound’s paradise

Within a short distance of Chile’s capital Santiago, there are several top-notch ski resorts that make for a perfect day trip – or a few days’ snowy getaway.<p>Sunny winter days, wide open horizons and acres of groomed ski slopes, all within hours of the city. Although this may sound like a North …

The adventure playground of the Azores

The remote Portuguese archipelago is finally getting the recognition it deserves – with jewel-coloured lakes to kayak, misty laurel forests to hike and sparkling lava tubes to explore.<p>Asking someone to find the Azores on a map would probably have drawn a blank look a decade ago when the remote …

Hot Springs

Iceland’s feisty capital of the north

Nestled at the head of the country’s longest fjord, Akureyri’s gourmet restaurants, unique art galleries and late-night bustle set it apart from other towns in rural Iceland.<p>Over the last few years, Iceland has been carving itself a niche in the collective global conscience, thanks to plane-halting …

Five heavenly country house hotels

From a 16th-century castle in the Austrian Alps to a rustic hideaway on a Tuscan hillside, escape the city heat at these secluded summer bolt holes.<p>There are few things more relaxing than escaping to the countryside. From historic mansions to rustic retreats, here are a few of the best secluded …

Zimbabwe, a side you've never seen

Slowly leaving behind its days of violence and corruption, the southern African nation is back in the business of offering travellers thrilling, up-close animal adventures.<p>We were eating lunch in the central tent, washing down slices of tasty wood-fired pizza with glasses of gin and tonic, when a …

Trekking Peru’s Santa Cruz trail

Famous for cutting through the Cordillera Blanca – the world’s highest tropical mountain range – this lesser-known alternative to the Inca Trail could be crucial to locals’ survival.<p>Hearts pounding, lungs gasping for air, and with barely the strength to put one foot in front of the other, even …

Hot springs and hummingbirds in Ecuador

A far cry from its origin as a potato-growing centre, Papallacta, Ecuador's highest town, has become famous for its wondrous natural treasures.<p>In the Ecuadorian town of Papallacta, water is everything. Trout farms supply local restaurants with the steamed fish that headlines almost every menu, and …

Tallinn’s story, written in the sky

Spiked with spires, Tallinn’s skyline provides fascinating tales and haunting legends detailing the Estonian capital’s history.<p>It is hard to miss Tallinn’s multitude of towers. Along with the city’s soaring church spires and distinctive orange roofs, they are a key element of the Estonian capital’s …

Step back in time in Guatemala

A strong Maya tradition pervades this Central American country, where women weave traditional textiles and men make offerings to mystical wooden idols.

Maine’s most charming lighthouses

With more than 60 beacons dotting its seacoast, the US’ easternmost state is the best place to admire these romantic reminders of New England’s past.

The perfect trip: Norway

This country does not do nature on a small scale. It is a land of earth-shattering glaciers, fjords of epic proportions and countless coastal islands scarcely touched by civilisation.<p>Traverse Norway'­s dramatic landscape in this ideal excursion, taking in one of the world's great rail journeys from …

Sleep at the base of a Maya temple

Glamping has taken on an ancient air in Guatemala, where couples willing to pay the price can make camp in the ruined city of Yaxha.<p>The Ka’ana Resort’s Maya City To Yourself package includes an entire evening exploring the ruins of Yaxha, located on Guatemala’s border with Belize. The exclusive …