Travelrss

Let there be light: Saint Peter’s at dawn

Rise early to see the Vatican at its best

28 March 2015

The sun has only just risen in Rome and we are standing bleary-eyed in a short queue outside the Vatican. Our guide, Tonia, takes us through security, and within minutes… Read more

The Ceremonial Funeral Of Former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher

Jeffrey Archer

14 March 2015

This last week, in India, I visited six cities in seven days: Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Calcutta and New Delhi. This is my 11th trip to India and from the… Read more

Manet would recognise it: the Jardin des Tuileries

Seeing Paris through Impressionist eyes

14 March 2015

The spectre of the Charlie Hebdo killings still hangs over Paris. Outside the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, opposite the Louvre, there’s a big poster of Cabu, one of the… Read more

A reliable escape: Mikrolimano

Grim, generous, decaying and hip: the paradoxical charms of Athens

7 March 2015

My first visit to Athens as a student gave me a set of impressions that the present crisis has only validated. The man designated to meet us at the airport… Read more

28 February 2015

Golden league Some MPs who earn Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s rate of £5,000 a day: — Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury): £3,333 for four hours work as deputy chairman of Woburn Energy.… Read more

Dramatic mountains and hidden bays

A cruise around Cleopatra's wedding present

28 February 2015

Legend has it that Mark Antony considered Turkey’s Turquoise Coast so beautiful that, in about 32 bc, he gave it to Cleopatra as a wedding present. The country’s southernmost shore… Read more

The Piazza Duoma in Syracuse

An earthquake with a Baroque legacy in Sicily

21 February 2015

Syracuse is a handsome place, steeped in a rich historical broth. At the tip sits Ortygia, an island offshoot, which has been the backdrop to many Mediterranean sagas: Hellenic, Christian,… Read more

A sniff of the ancient world: Fez’s tanneries

A walk through Fez is the closest thing to visiting ancient Rome

14 February 2015

Fez is one of the seven medieval wonders of the world. An intact Islamic city defined by its circuit of battlemented walls, it is riven by alleyways. You pass doorways… Read more

Calm and colourful: Burano

How to walk along canals in Venice without feeling like a tourist

7 February 2015

I arrived in Venice believing it would reek of sewage. It didn’t. The walk into the centre went through cobbled alleys packed with loud Americans in sandals and Italian ladies… Read more

Old mill boards and sea-green slates: Yeats’s tower

On the Yeats trail in Galway

24 January 2015

The Go Galway bus from Dublin sounds an unlikely pleasure, but it is both comfortable and punctual. There is free Wi-Fi if you want it, but it would be criminal… Read more

24 January 2015

Q. A neighbour is hosting a party for his daughter’s 21st birthday. Adequate provision has been made for anyone who wants to sleep over but I won’t be taking up… Read more

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Good news! The eurozone is now strong enough to split

10 January 2015

Ever since European Central Bank president Mario Draghi declared himself ready, in July 2012, ‘to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro’, the likely disintegration of the single currency… Read more

Winter Hits Germany

The charming little airport that ruins thousands of holidays

10 January 2015

Horror films occasionally use the device of the deceptive idyll. An apparently restful place — a clearing in the woods, a pretty cottage — is the site of a fiendish… Read more

Incredible shrinking county: the tides at Freshwater Bay

A museum of dirty postcards and Britain’s coolest bulldog: visit the strange side of the Isle of Wight

10 January 2015

Every day the Isle of Wight becomes England’s smallest county: when-ever the tide comes in, the island steals the crown from Rutland, if only for a few hours. Taking the… Read more

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Onsen: dive into another side of Japan

3 January 2015

I’m hovering starkers beside a hot spring, or onsen, in a faded resort in southern Japan, while the Japanese grandmother standing naked next to me explains the form for the… Read more

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The beautiful Balkans on horseback

3 January 2015

My husband and I decide we are up for a horse-riding adventure. We’ve done a few and have realised it’s the only way to travel: the truest way to experience… Read more

maldives

My perfect island – and the posher one next door

3 January 2015

The Republic of Maldives is the lowest country in the world and has the highest divorce rate. Is there correlation between altitude and fidelity, I wonder? Male, the capital, is… Read more

Dallas’s art deco Fair Park

Dallas, city of culture

3 January 2015

When George W. Bush was outed as an artist, after a computer hacker uncovered his nude self-portraits, jaws dropped around the world. Could Cowboy George, a man whom even Kim… Read more

Johannesburg: a city trying hard to revamp its image

Low life’s Limpopo legend

3 January 2015

‘You’ve got a lot to live up to,’ said the ranger. ‘The last Spectator journalist who stayed here was Jeremy Clarke. He made quite the impression.’ Like some sort of… Read more

The parks are empty and the landscapes are yours

If you want a real safari, head to Botswana

3 January 2015

As a boy camping with my father on safaris deep in the African bush, there were no tents involved; we just slept by the fire like cowboys in the open… Read more

Photo: David Benett/Getty

Joan Collins

13 December 2014

Every year Christmas comes earlier and earlier in America. Cards, baubles and imitation trees were being sold in the big department stores in August, and the street decorations have been… Read more

Bridge on the 3,798-metre-high Baroghil Pass, leading from Badakhshan in Afghanistan to northern Pakistan

The powerful steppe empires of Central Asia were bound together by silken thread

13 December 2014
The History of Central Asia, Volume II: The Age of the Silk Roads Christoph Baumer

I.B. Tauris, pp.398, £25, ISBN: 9781780768328

It is difficult to fault this remarkable volume. The publishers have created a book of quality with stunning illustrations and lucid maps. It will, I believe, become a standard reference… Read more

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Fortune tellers, pound shops and Orville: why I love Blackpool

13 December 2014

‘Jesus is the light of the world,’ reads the sign outside Blackpool’s Central Methodist Church, but all along the promenade the lights are going out. I’d returned to my favourite… Read more

The Old Coastguard

The hotels trying to turn Cornwall into Kensington

29 November 2014

Mousehole is a charming name; it is almost a charming place. It is a fishing village on Mount’s Bay, Cornwall, beyond the railway line, which stops at Penzance, in an… Read more

Three glamorous guests, 1921

A miracle: French hotels actually like dogs

22 November 2014

The first time I checked in to a French hotel with a golden retriever — his name was Gregory, predecessor of the incumbent Douglas — I left him, clearly unhappy,… Read more