Sintra remains relatively untouched by the large numbers of visitors and sustainable tourism is a watchword for this UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are a variety of hiking trails – from the coastal paths to tracks that allow visitors to discover the wide range of botanic species and the mysterious monuments that inspired Lord Byron when he lived here.
As hotels around the globe vie amongst themselves to provide guests with the latest in luxury travel, all too often opulence comes at the expense of their environmental and social responsibilities. However, Peruvian boutique hotel chain Inkaterra turns that idea on its head.
With many new buildings, especially those a community hold dear, there is always a settling period before people grow fond of them. I didn’t need that.
Grianán of Aileach (Fortress of the Sun) is a wonderful sixth century stone fort, which sits atop a 244 metre high hill in Burt, Co. Donegal. As an angst-ridden teenager it was my own fortress of solace. Revisiting the site this year left me with new feelings.
Long overlooked in favour of the world’s most popular tourist sites, the tiny state of Montenegro guards its wonderful natural charms quietly. This small country is bursting at the seams with beautiful scenery, including vast national parks, snow capped mountains and clear turquoise lakes.
Australia’s Great Ocean Walk is a newbie in the ‘great hikes of the world’ stakes but it has every appearance of bursting through the rankings soon. A seven-day meander along the stunning “Shipwreck” coast of Victoria, it is an opportunity to experience natural Australia.
Perhaps it’s not the top of everyone’s ecotourism ‘must-see’ list, but the tourist ministry of Iraq is working hard to lure visitors back to the ancient kingdom.
The irreplaceable historic and architectural treasures of Mali’s great desert city, Timbuktu, are under threat of destruction by Islamist rebels occupying the city. Timbuktu, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988, has already suffered several attacks on its religious monuments, including the destruction of several ancient shrines of Muslim saints that the fundamentalist attackers consider to be idolatrous.
Like great grey fingers reaching for the sky, the basalt columns of The Organ at the Giant’s Causeway held me totally captivated as a child. I would stand as close to the columns as possible, lean my head back and stare skyward up along the length of hexagonal stones stacked neatly, one upon the other.
The Alhambra, located in the Andalucían city of Granada, was once home to the ruling Emirs in Spain, and it was for them most of the Moorish-style additions were made. The flourishes, arches and curves inspired by Arabic writing influence every structure and space; Islamic architecture at its best.