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Driving up to Jebel Akhdar

continent
Middle East
country
Oman
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
$ 130
Time of year visited
December
Primary Tags
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
65

Summary

Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain) is the second highest point in Oman and is famous for its otherworldly feel as you rise far above the main Omani valley floors up to the large Saiq plateau 2000m /6560ft above sea level. The experience itself is all about talking short walks through the…

Exploring Nizwa Fort and Souq

continent
Middle East
country
Oman
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
$ 10
Time of year visited
December
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
52

Summary

The town of Nizwa is famous for its Fort, high walled Souq and wonderful location on the valley floor surrounded by palm trees and the daunting Hajar Mountains.  Probably doesn't justify the 2 hour drive from Muscat on its own, but its very much worth an extra hour or so if…

4WDing across the Hajar Mountains via Hatt

continent
Middle East
country
Oman
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
$ 150
Time of year visited
November
Primary Tags
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
92

Summary

The Hajar Mountains, with their spectacular peaks, hidden hill towns, mini luscious oases and dramatic canyons are some of the most striking mountains in the world and by far the highlight of Oman.  Most people visit the forts of Bahla, the Wadi Ghul canyon and drive up to the plateau…

Walking Jebel Sham’s Wadi Ghul canyon

continent
Middle East
country
Oman
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
$ 100
Time of year visited
November
Primary Tags
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
70

Summary

Jebel Shams is regularly listed as one of the highlights of Oman, and rightly so - the view down into the immense Wadi Ghul is impressive and justifies its tag as the “Grand Canyon of Arabia”.  You've also got the drive up there with a spectacular mountain landscape that makes…

Turtles laying and hatching at Ras Al Jinz

continent
Middle East
country
Oman
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
$ 15
Time of year visited
November
Primary Tags
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
27

Summary

Ras Al Jinz is a beach and wildlife centre that is at the far eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula and is an important protected site for the Green Turtle species to lay their eggs.  What these turtles go through in their migrations and nesting techniques to secure the next…

Hiking and swimming Wadi Shab

continent
Middle East
country
Oman
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
$ 10
Time of year visited
November
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
72

Summary

Wadi Shab is a large gorge that makes its way from the Eastern Hajar Mountains to meet the Arabian Sea.  Purely for looking at it is beautiful - steep arid dramatic sides rising above and crystal clear turquoise water rushing through the streams and irrigation channels that cross all through…

Riding a moped around the El Nido Peninsular

continent
Asia
country
Philippines
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
$ 20
Time of year visited
November
All Tags
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
75

Summary

Most people visit El Nido for the stunning Bacuit Archipelago, or for the sensational boat trips through the island chains to Coron.  These are for sure amazing, but another option is to rent a moped and ride the loop around the El Nido peninsular for something that is a little…

Wreck diving in Coron

continent
Asia
country
Philippines
Length of time
1-2 days
Rough cost
$ 200
Time of year visited
November
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
72

Summary

On 24th September 1944 over a period of only 15mins, 120 American Navy fighters and bombers attacked and sunk the Imperial Japanese Navy support fleet in the sheltered harbours near Coron. 10 ships ranging from 160m / 525ft oil tankers and sea plane tenders to smaller 25m / 80ft gunboats…

10 day itinerary for Andalucia

Summary

Andalucia is the jewel in the crown of Spain.  There are various stella attractions that help this region claim that title - the Alhambra, Seville, Cordoba, the striking pueblos blancos (white towns), the flamenco dancing, the Sherry Triangle.  There are also natural spots that are worth the trip alone, such…

Malaga

Summary

Malaga gets a bit of an unfair reputation because of its association with the soulless and tacky Costa del Sol nearby and, to be fair, it doesn't help itself that its right next to an industrial port!  But, the central area in amongst the beautiful Cathedral and historic Alcazaba Castle…

Ronda

Summary

Ronda is all about the dramatic gorge and how the pretty white old town, complete with one of Spain's oldest bull rings and sensational bridge, is built impossibly around it.  Certainly worth the day trip from the likes of Seville and Malaga as the surrounding scenery is just gorgeous and,…

Staying over night in Vejer de la Fontera

Summary

Vejer de la Fontera, with its bright white houses perched on its hill-top with views looking all across the surrounding mountains and beaches of Adalucia, is the most beautiful town in the most beautiful part of Spain.  To quote the Lonely Planet, "the jaw drops, the eyes blink, the eloquent…

Driving through the White Towns of Parque Natural Sierra Grazalema

Summary

Picture-perfect, bright white Andalucian towns dramatically wedged in to the rugged peaks and sharp valleys of the Parque Natural Sierra Grazalema make this one of the most achingly beautiful places in Europe, if not the world.  Being able to drive through it, as you stop repeatedly to gorp at the…

The beaches of Tarifa

continent
Europe
country
Spain
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
$ 30
Time of year visited
September
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
62

Summary

Tarifa's beaches are some of Spain's finest.  Stretching all the way from Tarifa town, the most southern point of Continental Europe, westwards to Cadiz are long, wide, fine-sand beaches that are enhanced with the dramatic backdrops of mountains behind.  Whilst they can get crowded in the weekends, the sheer number…

Cadiz

continent
Europe
country
Spain
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
$ 20
Time of year visited
September
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
57

Summary

Cadiz is the dirtier version of Seville that also lacks the stellar individual attractions.  For sure, its good fun to get lost in amongst what is supposed to be Europe's oldest city streets and to look out at the beaches and lighthouses from the sea wall views, but Andalusia has…

Historic Seville

continent
Europe
country
Spain
Length of time
1-2 days
Rough cost
$ 150
Time of year visited
September
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
65

Summary

When you think of the major historic cities of the world, you naturally think of the likes of Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Delhi, Beijing etc., but not necessarily Seville in that top bracket.  Yet it really should be - consider a few factors: 1. Huge variety of history -…

Salamanca’s Old Town

continent
Europe
country
Spain
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
$ 30
Time of year visited
September
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
62

Summary

There are so many pretty towns all across Spain with their magnificent Cathedrals, windy Old Town streets and snapshot views straight from a fairy tale . . . but they often feel either super touristy or half deserted as they are no longer a functioning non-tourist town.  Salamanca is different…

Valladolid

continent
Europe
country
Spain
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
$ 10
Time of year visited
September
Primary Tags
All Tags
4WD Canyons Cliffs Driving Fabulous hotel Hiking Hilltop towns Local villages Mountains Rice terraces / terraces Castles / Fortresses Market Mountains 4WD Adrenaline rush Adventure Canyons Castles / Fortresses Cliffs Driving Hilltop towns Islamic site Isolation Local villages Mountains UNESCO world heritage site 4WD Canyons Cliffs Driving Hiking Hilltop towns Mountains Beaches Stargazing Wildlife - Sea Turtles Canyons Caves Cliffs Desert Hiking River swimming UNESCO world heritage site Waterfalls Beaches Boat trip Islands Scuba diving Sunsets Ancient ruins Beaches Big city Bridges Bustling restaurants Castles / Fortresses Caves City Walls Cliffs Driving Fabulous hotel Forests Hiking Hilltop towns Islamic site Local villages Mountains Old town Palaces Romans Rooftop Bars Sand dune Stadiums Thermal Baths UNESCO world heritage site Wildlife - Eagles Wine Ancient ruins Big city Castles / Fortresses Romans Thermal Baths Bridges City Walls Hilltop towns Local villages Stadiums Vineyards Wine City Walls Fabulous hotel Hilltop towns Local villages Old town Restaurant recommendations Unusual hotel Bridges Caves Driving Forests Hiking Hilltop towns Lakes Local villages Mountains Old town Stadiums Wildlife - Eagles Ancient ruins Beaches Castles / Fortresses City Walls Driving Romans Sand dune Ancient ruins Beach promenade Beaches Market Old town Ancient ruins Bustling restaurants City Walls Islamic site Old town Palaces Restaurant recommendations Stadiums UNESCO world heritage site Fabulous hotel Old town UNESCO world heritage site
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
27

Summary

It has some nice spots like the Plaza de San Pablo, the Cathedral and the Campo Grande Park, but overall Valladolid is a far less impressive version of the nearby pretty towns of Burgos and Zamora, the wonderfully atmospheric Salamanca (see travel entry - Salamanca’s Old Town) with its Old…

The Rioja Wine Region

continent
Europe
country
Spain
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
$ 40
Time of year visited
September
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
67

Summary

Whilst the wines from Rioja are known throughout the world, the wine region itself is relatively underrated compared to other regions with such a famous name.  This is a real plus, because, in addition to the spectacular views along the mountain ridge-line and the oh-so-pretty small villages perched on top…

Eating pintxos in San Sebastian

continent
Europe
country
Spain
Length of time
1-2 days
Rough cost
$ 200
Time of year visited
September
All Tags
4WD Canyons Cliffs Driving Fabulous hotel Hiking Hilltop towns Local villages Mountains Rice terraces / terraces Castles / Fortresses Market Mountains 4WD Adrenaline rush Adventure Canyons Castles / Fortresses Cliffs Driving Hilltop towns Islamic site Isolation Local villages Mountains UNESCO world heritage site 4WD Canyons Cliffs Driving Hiking Hilltop towns Mountains Beaches Stargazing Wildlife - Sea Turtles Canyons Caves Cliffs Desert Hiking River swimming UNESCO world heritage site Waterfalls Beaches Boat trip Islands Scuba diving Sunsets Ancient ruins Beaches Big city Bridges Castles / Fortresses Caves Christian site City Walls Cliffs Driving Fabulous hotel Forests Gardens Hiking Hilltop towns Islamic site Local villages Mountains Palaces Romans Rooftop Bars Sand dune Stadiums Thermal Baths UNESCO world heritage site Wildlife - Eagles Wine Ancient ruins Big city Castles / Fortresses Christian site Romans Thermal Baths Bridges Christian site City Walls Hilltop towns Local villages Stadiums Vineyards Wine Christian site City Walls Fabulous hotel Hilltop towns Local villages Unusual hotel Bridges Caves Christian site Driving Forests Hiking Hilltop towns Lakes Local villages Mountains Stadiums Wildlife - Eagles Ancient ruins Beaches Castles / Fortresses City Walls Driving Romans Sand dune Ancient ruins Beach promenade Beaches Christian site Market Ancient ruins Christian site City Walls Gardens Islamic site Palaces Stadiums UNESCO world heritage site Christian site Fabulous hotel UNESCO world heritage site Christian site Gardens Local villages Vineyards Wine Beaches Christian site Cool neighbourhoods
OVERALL SCORE The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
80

Summary

San Sebastian is widely considered to be one of Europe, if not the world's, gastronomic centres with its array of Michelin Star restaurants often competing for the world's title of best restaurant.  But it is the Pintxos (Basque-style tapas) scene in the Old Town that undoubtedly steals the show and…