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World view: camping in Mount Rainier national park, Washington state

Sun, 23 Nov 2014 23:30:05 GMT

'We were planning to overnight at one of the campgrounds in Mount Rainier national park in Washington state, but when we got to the park, they were all full. We then had to get a backcountry permit to spend the night in the park, so we got one for Snow Lake. After a few miles of hiking, we reached the edge of this beautiful mountain lake where we spent the night. This is one of a series of views from my tent that I captured on my travels in the Pacific Northwest this summer. It's a beautiful region of the US, the one I am blessed to call home.'
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Madrid city guide: what to see plus the best bars, restaurants and hotels

Sun, 23 Nov 2014 06:00:03 GMT

The Spanish capital teems with fun places to eat and drink, chic hotels and vivid historical sights. Here are our local’s tips for getting the max out of Madrid

The Rastro Flea Market
Madrid’s centuries-old Sunday morning flea market is on every to-do list. But to enjoy it like a local, give the tourist-tat main road a miss and dive into the snarl of side streets, where wheeler-dealers hawk everything from rusty doorknobs to 17th-century art. By midday you should be beer-in-hand at a local dive bar – try the legendary straight-off-the-grill sardines at Santurce – and by 4pm cradling fishbowl gintonics in adjacent barrio La Latina.
Every Sunday from 8am, Plaza de Cascorro

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The foodie traveller: tripe sandwiches in Florence

Sun, 23 Nov 2014 06:00:03 GMT

For centuries Florentines have filled their bellies with cheap, nutritious lampredotto (tripe) rolls – blissfully unaware that one day it would become a hipster snack

What did Michelangelo eat for lunch? It’s a good bet that, as an apprentice in 15th-century Florence, he would have snacked on typical workman’s food, lampredotto (tripe). Generations of Florentines have filled their bellies with cheap and nutritious lampredotto rolls from chioschi (street carts) all over the city, but they probably never dreamed this would one day become a hipster snack.

Forget the white slimy stuff you may have seen your grandad eat; Florentine tripe is brown, meaty and surprisingly tasty. And in recent financial crises, this fine wallet-friendly fare has had locals and visitors reverting to tripe, as it were.

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Milan travel: Love me Tinder

Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:05:10 GMT

Finding romance online is never easy. So Morwenna Ferrier takes to Italian Tinder on a trip to Milan and checks out the local talent

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YHA voted best UK hotel

Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:14 GMT

En suite bathrooms, Wi-Fi and cool decor are no longer strangers to youth hostels, which still offer great camaraderie – perhaps why Guardian readers voted the YHA winner of the best UK hotel in this year’s travel awards
Five of the best YHA hostels in the UK

In my teenage years, a summer spent youth hostelling with friends was one of the only holiday options that met with universal parental approval. A painstakingly wholesome, budget-friendly dose of communal self-catering, making new chums over a couple of jolly rounds of cribbage, then going upstairs to sleep with them. No, mum, not like that.

But single-sex dormitories filled with snorers and mud were a tough sell to those of us who’d moved on from Enid Blyton to Hunter S Thompson and feared sharing a bunk bed with some prematurely bearded, Kumbaya-humming hostel stereotype of the age.

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Five of the best British youth hostels

Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:13 GMT

The YHA’s finest, from a 19th-century shooting lodge to a Norman castle and a solar-powered mountain hut
YHA voted best UK hotel group in Guardian Travel Awards

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On safari in Zimbabwe – with poachers turned gamekeepers

Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:13 GMT

Mark Butcher, winner of Guardian Travel’s Ethical award for 2014, is helping to rebuild tourism to Zimbabwe by solving local issues in concert with conservation at his Imvelo Safari Lodges
Video: how elephants are being protected by ex-poachers in Zimbabwe

At dawn the bush comes to life. Birds sing, a lion roars and a tiny deer steps gingerly past my veranda. As the first rays of light touch the acacias, there is a soft voice by the canvas and a tea tray is set out. Soon after sunrise, I grab my camera and climb on an open-top Land Rover to set out on the hunt for animals. The safari experience is underway.

I’m in Zimbabwe but you could apply the same paragraph to any one of a dozen African countries and thousands of safari trips. It’s a gorgeous thing to feel so deep in the wilderness, with nature in the raw just a whisker away. But what we don’t see, not very often, is the underpinning behind this ravishing image. Who works there? Where does the money go? What, if anything, does the operation contribute towards the preservation of the wilderness it exploits? And how secure is the long-term future of that wilderness? I had come on a trip that offers just that: a chance to see, clearly, what lies beneath.

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Travel Awards 2014: the winners

Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:11 GMT

The full list of winners from this year’s Guardian and Readers’ Travel Awards

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Canowindra, Portree, Isle of Skye: B&B review

Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:11 GMT

This B&B is pretty much faultless – a perfectly lovely place to stay, in a handy location in the middle of Skye – yet it doesn’t quite go the extra mile and lacks a bit of personality

There’s a lovely coincidence to welcome us to Canowindra when we arrive late one sunny September afternoon, after a day’s swimming in Skye’s Fairy Pools. It’s the first birthday of Olivia, baby daughter of the B&B’s owners, Georgie and Rick. Snap, ours is one today too. A personal connection is established, which is nice when you’re staying in someone’s home.

Theirs is a large purpose-built new house masquerading as a country cottage decades old, with tall trees surrounding it, a slate roof, two cosy lounges and just four guestrooms.

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The UK’s best city: in praise of Newcastle upon Tyne

Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:10 GMT

That their friendly, fun-loving ‘toon’ is Guardian readers’ top city was no surprise to Geordies. Tynesider Harry Pearson looks afresh at its ancient institutions and new bars and galleries

One February night a few years ago I found myself standing on the bank of a wide, dark river. Pastel-coloured lights melted across the glossy surface of the water. The rainbow arch of one great bridge was echoed downstream by the blue-green span of another. The glass of great buildings glimmered and a cool wind blew from the east. I felt as I had in other great cities at night - as if I was in a timeless and magical place. It took me some while to reconcile this with the knowledge that I was in Newcastle.

I say this not from lofty metropolitan disdain. Newcastle is the nearest city to where I was born, the nearest city to where I live now. I have been visiting it for long enough to remember when it looked like it does in the film Get Carter – all brick, slate and smoke. I have come here to watch football and see bands, to eat and drink, and to shop for goods from Airfix kits years ago to prams and pushchairs more recently. But until that winter evening I had never really noticed Newcastle. Familiarity had bred indifference. It was like that moment in a corny Hollywood movie when the frumpy girl next door takes off her glasses and – aw, gee! – it’s Grace Kelly!

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Anna Peuckert on Kampin kappeli, Helsinki

Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:08 GMT

The co-founder of 12hrs Travel Guides finds tranquility at the stunning, modern Chapel of Silence in Helsinki

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Iceland through an Instagrammer's eyes

Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:08 GMT

Our readers have voted Iceland their favourite European country – drawn by its epic vistas, otherworldly remoteness. It’s a landscape that Icelandic graphic designer Siggeir Magnús Hafsteinsson – aka sigvicious – never tires of sharing with his 24,000 Instagram followers

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• Share your travels in Instagram pictures with a series of three snaps, plus captions, by adding #guardiantravelsnaps

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How elephants are being protected by ex-poachers in Zimbabwe – video

Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:00 GMT

In Zimbabwe, as in the rest of Africa, elephants face a major threat from poachers – in 2013 130 were killed in one night. Kevin Rushby meets Zimbabwean Mark Butcher, founder of Imvelo Safari Lodges and winner of the 2014 Guardian and Observer Travel ethical award, who employs ex-poachers to help protect wildlife from further destruction – and follows him as he rescues a baby elephant from a mud hole in Hwange national park

On safari in Zimbabwe – with our Ethical travel award winner
• The trip was provided by Rainbow Tours, which offers an eight-day Zimbabwe trip from £2,799pp all-inclusive Continue reading...

Please don’t fine me, I’m a journalist: a night in Blackpool’s Broadway hotel

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:38:49 GMT

The Broadway hotel fined a couple £100 after they wrote a bad review on Tripadvisor. How would Helen Pidd fare on her stay? Continue reading...

World view: Helvellyn off piste, the Lake District

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:30:00 GMT

For its drama and epic scale, this shot could easily be mistaken for one snapped in the Alps or the Pyrenees – rather than the Helvellyn summit plateau in the Lakes. The image, taken by photographer Stephen Ashworth, captures local mountaineer Paddy Cave making the most of the perfect conditions as he tackles one of the region's classic steep ski descents, the Helvellyn Headwall.
• This is one of 15 images shortlisted for the Kendal Mountain Festival annual photography competition. The winners will be announced on Saturday 22 November Continue reading...

Travel quiz: the world of music

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:30:00 GMT

Where was the ashram the Beatles visited, where does Calypso come from, and where is Jim Morrison's grave? Our quiz tests how much musical knowledge you've picked up on your travels Continue reading...

Wham! Saas-Fee turns the clock back to ‘Last Christmas’ for ski deals

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 06:00:01 GMT

George Michael and his ex may have been (ski) poles apart in Wham!’s Last Christmas video, shot in Saas-Fee, but the Swiss resort hopes to make up with retro prices and special events

As a pop-obsessed 1980s teenager, I never fancied winter sports much: all that hairstyle-compromising exertion, ghastly knitwear and sub-zero temperatures. Then came the video for Wham!’s fondue-fragranced festive classic Last Christmas, a soft-focus saga tracing George Michael’s doomed love – his blow-dry the size of a snow-laden chalet roof – for a C&A-clad ice-maiden among the snowflakes of the Swiss ski resort Saas-Fee.

That was 30 years ago this winter. To celebrate, the scenic Valais village has gift-wrapped a range of 1980s-themed events and holiday deals to make this season special (special). From 6-19 December and 10 to 23 January, the resort is offering packages in apartments and hotels at prices they say are rewound to 1984: for example, seven nights B&B in a two-star hotel for £517 including lift-pass.

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Top 10 nightlife venues in Singapore

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 06:00:01 GMT

Whether you want a few beers with mates or a top DJ, Dean Chew, co-founder of record label Darker Than Wax, selects Singapore’s best night spots

One of the newest microbreweries in town, 1925 opened in May, but is already a hit with the locals. It’s just down the road from Suprette (see below) and tucked away on the second- and third-floor spaces, but the building itself is bright yellow, so you won’t miss it. Decor is industrial chic, complete with concrete walls and exposed lightbulbs – a bit too hipster for some, but the dark and pale ales brewed in their three huge canisters are seriously good. The food is decent, but the star of the place is the delightful monthly line-up of tipples.
369 Jalan Besar, +65 6294 9215, the1925.com.sg. Open Mon-Sat 10am-12am, Sun 10am-10pm

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Great little ski resorts: Morillon, France

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:33:02 GMT

Away from the hubbub of Chamonix, the French Alps has another piste-perfect resort in Morillon, a pretty, family-friendly village close to charming shops – and bags of snow-related fun

Morillon, just 50 minutes’ drive from Geneva, lies in the Haut-Giffre valley in France’s Haute Savoie region. It’s one of five interconnected resorts within the Grand Massif ski area. Flaine, the most well-known, is purpose-built up the mountain, with 1960s Bauhaus architecture by Marcel Breuer. Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval is quiet and pretty, Samoëns has unusual cafes and shops, Les Carroz is small and handy for some steep off-piste tree runs, and Morillon is central to it all. It’s a traditional village, with good nursery slopes and links to a huge ski area. It’s the cheap, family-friendly option of the five.

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Margaret River wine route: top 10 guide

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:00:07 GMT

Western Australia’s reputation for wine is based mainly on the cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay grown in Margaret River region. Here’s how to taste the best of its vintages, plus where to stay and eat

Although winemaking in the Swan valley, just outside Perth, has been established for 180 years, Western Australia is becoming better known for the newer Margaret River wine region, named after the town at its heart. Here, in just a few generations, a reputation for cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay has been established from the fertile soil of this 100km strip between Cape Leeuwin to the south and Cape Naturaliste to the north, which is just over three hours’ drive from Perth. Buffered by pristine Indian Ocean coast from cape to cape, the region is as popular with surfers as it is with oenophiles.

You’ll find over 150 wineries – ranging from the grand estates such as Leeuwin and Voyager, with their fine dining, well-tuned cellar door service, art galleries and summer concerts – to smaller operations where the cellar door is staffed by those who are hands-on during vintage. It may even be their name above the door.

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TripAdvisor: a history of complaints

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:11:07 GMT

As a Blackpool hotel gets caught fining guests for leaving negative reviews online, we take a look at TripAdvisor’s fraught relationship with the travel industry

When it comes to reviews, the travel industry is late to the game. It’s only really since the rise of websites such as TripAdvisor that hotels, B&Bs, hostels and guesthouses have had to face up to the kind of public criticism we’re used to seeing for film, music and literature. TripAdvisor may only have been around for 14 years, but in its brief history of publishing user reviews, it has forged a fraught relationship with the hospitality industry. This came to the fore on Wednesday when it was revealed that a Blackpool Hotel had charged a couple £100 after they posted a critical review on the site. It’s just the latest in a string of incidents and disputes that TripAdvisor has found itself in .

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Vienna: send us your travel tips

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:01:08 GMT

A key city in European history and home to icons of literature, music and art: send us your tips on Vienna and you could win a £200 hotel voucher

A grand city with an opulent history and a rich cultural heritage in literature, music and art – Vienna has a wealth of highlights to explore. From walks to bars, parks to museums, what are your best travel tips from the Austrian capital?

The best tips will appear in print in next weekend’s Travel section and the winner, chosen by Tom Hall of Lonely Planet, will receive a £200 hotel voucher from Hotels.com, allowing you stay in over 260,000 places worldwide. Submit your tips by clicking on the blue button and using the text tab. Try and include as much detail as possible – location, any website addresses etc – and feel free to add a photo if you own the copyright to it, but it will be the text we’re judging! Your tip should be around 100 words long. Terms and conditions.

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Instagram snapshots: Beirut

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:04:20 GMT

Local food, card games and retro mens’ saloons … Faisal Al Fouzan explores Beirut

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Faisal Al Fouzan is a Kuwaiti photographer. Follow him on Instagram at instagram.com/faisalthef

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Northern lights photography: the aurora selfie snapper

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:30:06 GMT

Native Laplander and Aurora Zone photographer Antti Pietikainen uses carefully positioned cameras to place himself within his images of the northern lights, creating a new take on the spectacular natural occurrence

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Top 10 budget restaurants and cafes in Oxford

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 06:00:09 GMT

After you have admired its dreaming spires, where can you eat well for under £10? Tony Naylor updates his 2010 budget eats guide to Oxford, including the city’s new street food scene

You cannot eat well and cheaply in Oxford without heading out of town down the studenty Cowley Road. However, as I soldiered on to this cool, minimalist neighbourhood Thai (a 30-minute walk from central Oxford), I did wonder if it was going to be worth the shoe leather. Could those who rate Oli’s Thai as Oxford’s best restaurant be overegging it? Is Laddawan Thurston really turning out, as her fans insist, pin-sharp dishes for under £10, lunch and dinner?

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