It starts as soon as the ferry pulls away from the quay. Heading out from the bustle of the main island of Malta into the shimmering blue waters of the Gozo Channel, the Mediterranean sun warm on your skin, tensions just ebb away. Sliding past the tiny island of Comino, its solitary defensive tower giving a gentle thumbs up, the pretty little port of Mgarr is already in sight.

It’s only 25 minutes on the water from Malta to Gozo, but it’s time enough to slip back a few decades, throw off the stresses of modern life and prepare for a holiday on GMT.

No, not Greenwich Meantime, Gozo Maybe Time, the island’s default setting and the ideal time zone for a truly relaxing break.

Gozo is rural in a way Malta no longer is. Terraced flat-top hills punctuate fertile valleys, mosaics of tiny fields surrounded by dry-stone walls. The local limestone – honey-coloured and glowing – is everywhere, the island’s building material for everything from Neolithic temples and farmers huts to the towering Medieval Citadel that rises dramatically from the centre of the island, popping up in almost every inland view.

Each village square on the island has its shop or café and most have a red letter box or phone booth and a tiny police station hung with a traditional blue lantern – a colourful dash of leftover Britishness.

Malta, Gozo, Ramla Bay, sandy beach and sea

Take your time

In Gozo everyone seems to have time. Time to sit beneath the citadel in It-Tokk (literally ‘the Meeting Place’), the main square of Gozo’s charming little capital, Victoria. Time to chat in the shade of an oleander tree or the oversized Parish church that dominates every village square.

Gozitans make time for visitors too. Ask the way, and you may find yourself accompanied rather than told. That is not to say they intrude; they don’t – not even on celebrities. Which is one reason the likes of Gary Neville and Billy Connolly escape here.

Follow in Brangelina’s footsteps

One of Connolly’s haunts is secluded Mgarr Ix-Xini. He comes here to eat at the peaceful little fish restaurant that sits at the head of this steep-sided rocky creek from March to November.

A narrow path, flanked by sweet-smelling wild fennel and rich aromatic thyme, winds up the rock above clear waters. The sea here is perfect for swimming, snorkelling and diving, protected from the prevailing northwesterly winds.

Until recently it was truly off the beaten track, but Mgarr Ix-Xini has just landed on the map as the place where Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt filmed their latest movie, By the Sea. In the film this is the South of France in the 1970s and the restaurant’s tiny interior is the French village shop. Colourful shelves and a few props remain and you can now sit on the Tamarisk-shaded terrace sipping wine ‘mis en bouteille par Jolie-Pitt’.

Malta, Gozo, Ta Cenc cliffs

Marvel at Gozo’s magnificence

Mgarr Ix-Xini is just one of Gozo’s many coastal attractions. Edward Lear, master of the nonsense rhyme, who came here to rest, walk and paint, described the island’s landscape as “pomskizillious and gromphiberous, being as no words can describe its magnificence”.

The landscape is indeed amazing; from the dramatic Ta’Cenc cliffs plunging 145m into the sea to a strange clay hill like a giant grey doorknob, and the rich red sands of Ramla Beach – arguably the best beach in the country.

At ‘Calypso’s Cave’, meanwhile, Homer’s Odysseus is said to have been held willing hostage by the charming sea nymph. The collapsed cave isn’t much to look at but the view is stunning and it isn’t hard to see how Odysseus might have fallen into GMT and forgotten to go home.

Malta, Gozo, salt pans along a strip of Gozo's northwest

Get salty

Gozo has been feeding a human population for 7000 years. In fact, it may have been the first place in Malta to be settled, with farmers arriving by sea from Sicily just 90km to the north.

Evidence of this can be seen on the stretch of coast just west of the little resort of Marsalforn. Scooped out cliffs of smooth golden sandstone, like desert dunes, form the backdrop to chequer-boards of seaside salt pans.

It’s a place that time forgot, where a few families still produce salt as it has been made since Roman times, storing it in rock-cut rooms behind the bright-painted doors tucked into the cliff face.

You can buy salt at Jubilee Foods in It-Tokk, which also offers tastings of other local produce like sweet prickly pear jam and tangy dried Gozitan goats cheese.

Malta, Northeast Gozo, Ggantija Temple

Go back in time

By the middle of the fourth millennium BC – before the creation of Stonehenge or the Great Pyramids – people on Gozo were building sophisticated stone temples, with monumental facades, semi-circular rooms, plastered walls and carved decoration.

The best remains can be seen at Ggantija, pronounced “Ji-gan-tee-ya” – as in, “gigantic”. Constructed of limestone blocks up to fifty tonnes in weight, it is little wonder that locals long-believed the temples were built by giants.

You can learn about the people who actually built them in the excellent exhibition at the Ggantija visitors’ centre, which also houses some remarkable prehistoric statuary including a few of ‘The Fat Ladies of Malta’ – big-bottomed women in pleated skirts – and phallic symbols, probably both part of an ancient fertility cult.

The temples are built on one of Gozo’s characteristic plateaux above a rural landscape probably little-changed since the Temple Period. The temple terrace was originally paved and was perhaps the ‘It-Tokk’ of Neolithic Gozitans, chatting away their own GMT.

When you come to leave, you’ll find aeroplanes do not run on Gozo time. Instead, laze in the Mediterranean sun on the deck of the Gozo Ferry – that precious 25 minutes feels like a crucial final burst of GMT to fortify you for a return to the twenty-first century.

Malta International Airport is just a 45 minute drive (or 1hr 15mins by bus) from the Gozo Ferry and nowhere on Gozo is more than half an hour from the port. Tickets are only required on the return ferry and cost just €4.65. Compare flights, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

A resident of Hawaii, photographer Dustin Wong has always been in awe of his home island’s natural beauty. Here he shares some of his best pictures of Hawaii

“Growing up on the island of O’ahu teaches one many things. For me, those lessons include: land is a limited resource; life can be simple; and within nature there is profound beauty.

“Each year I travel back to the island to reconnect with family, and explore the land and sea. There has been rapid development and change in recent years, however there are still many places to experience the unique beauty that the island has to offer.

“There is a rich natural history to the three-million-year-old island, which for many years remained untouched by human hands. The island weather and Pacific Ocean have shaped the landscape in diverse ways; the paradise that is Hawaii was indeed carved by nature’s whim.”

Bellows Beach in the Morning

Bellows Beach in the Morning, Hawaii, USA

A fiery sunrise over Pearl Harbor

A fiery sunrise over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA

Cruise ship sailing in Hawaiian waters

Cruise ship sailing in Hawaiian waters, Hawaii

Surfers in the lineup on the North Shore

Surfers in the lineup on the North Shore, Hawaii

The reef at China Walls

The reef at China Walls, Hawaii, USA

Moisture in the air from a rainstorm glows during a sunset

Moisture in the air from a rainstorm glows during a sunset, Hawaii, USA

A family leaving Kaimana Beach at the end of a beautiful day

A family leaving Kaimana Beach at the end of a beautiful day, Hawaii, USA

Clouds hover over the steep ridges of the Ko’olau Mountain range

Clouds hover over the steep ridges of the Ko’olau Mountain range, Hawaii, USA

A sea turtle swimming on a clear day

A sea turtle swimming on a clear day , Hawaii, USA

The newly renovated rainbow mural at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki

The newly renovated rainbow mural at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Hawaii, USA

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay, Hawaii, USA

The beautiful remains of a sea urchin found along the shore

Sea urchin, Hawaii, USA

A stream in the Nu’uanu Valley

A stream in the Nu’uanu Valley, Hawaii, USA

A wave crashes along the lava rock

A wave crashes along the lava rock, Hawaii, USA

Moon rays shine over the Mokulua Islands

Moon rays shine over the Mokulua Islands, Hawaii, USA

A full rainbow beams across Makua Valley

A full rainbow beams across Makua Valley, Hawaii, USA

Yoga in the forest of Nu’uanu Valley

Yoga in the forest of Nu’uanu Valley, Hawaii, USA

A panoramic view of the East side of O’ahu

A panoramic view of the East side of O’ahu, Hawaii, USA

A surfer anticipating clean conditions at Rocky Point on the North Shore

A surfer anticipating clean conditions at Rocky Point on the North Shore, Hawaii

Powerful shorebreak at Sandy Beach

Powerful shorebreak at Sandy Beach, Hawaii, USA

You can see more of Dustin’s photography on his website, Facebook, and Instagram

While the American lobster is found all along the east coast of North America, from Newfoundland to North Carolina, it is most commonly associated with Maine, where the crustacean is abundant and devoured in a number of dishes and numerous restaurants.

Maine’s lobster industry contributes more than $1 billion to the state’s economy – 2014 saw an epic haul of more than 120 million pounds. The lobsters are 100 percent hand-harvested by more than 5600 lobstermen who use small day boats to retrieve one trap at a time, the better to protect their quality and the marine habitat.

Visitors to the state can enjoy lobsters in any number of ways; the state’s most creative chefs apply the protein into wickedly inventive concoctions, while dozens of rustic lobster pounds offer a classic, straightforward experience that hasn’t changed for decades. Here’s a look at the best places to enjoy Maine’s most famous food.

Young’s Lobster Pound, Belfast

Those who have never experienced a proper lobster pound should head straight to quiet Belfast, where Young’s Lobster Pound offers a quintessential experience. Visitors peruse giant tanks and have a variety of lobster sizes to choose from. Once their lobster is steamed-to-order, guests grab a seat on a picnic bench and enjoy water views.

Lobster rolls, Camden Harbour Inn, MaineImage courtesy of Camden Harbour Inn

Red’s Eats, Wiscasset

One of Maine’s most famous lobster rolls can be found in the tiny town of Wiscasset, where Red’s Eats – a family-run business that has been nestled at the riverfront since 1938 – lures a steady stream of foodies in search of lobster heaven. Each roll is stuffed with the meat of more than one whole lobster; whole claws are placed at each end of the roll and an entire split lobster tail rests on top. Each roll comes with hot drawn butter and/or mayonnaise on the side.

The Camden Harbour Inn, Camden

Operated by a pair of Dutchmen, the Camden Harbour Inn resides in the idyllic town of Camden. Guests of this decorated, Relais & Chateaux property stay in-house to enjoy the lauded restaurant Natalie’s. The kitchen puts the classic lobster roll on its head by offering offbeat varieties such as a tempura lobster roll with miso aioli and a traditional option with tart citrus aioli. Natalie’s offers perhaps the state’s standout lobster experience: a four-course lobster tasting menu.

The Black Point Inn, Scarborough

The Black Point Inn has been an institution in quiet Scarborough since the late 1800s. The inn offers a pair of dining options: the casual Chart Room and the classy Point Restaurant. When guests are able to tear themselves away from the dramatic views of the Atlantic ocean, they can enjoy classic preparations of fresh local lobster.

Lobster roll, Chebeague Island Inn – best lobster in MaineImage courtesy of the Chebeague Island Inn

Chebeague Island Inn, Casco Bay

Situated along the shores of Casco Bay, the Chebeague Island Inn can only be reached by ferry. The inn puts an earthy twist on a traditional lobster roll by using seaweed-infused butter. Guests looking for a more immersive lobster experience can opt for the “Lucky Lobstering” package. The two-hour excursion around the bay allows visitors to catch their own lobster and then enjoy the fresh catch back at the hotel with all the fixings and wine pairings.

Union Restaurant, Portland

Portland – the state’s biggest city and culinary hub – offers a dizzying array of dining options for lobster lovers. Those looking to get the most out of the city, which has often been named the American small city with the best dining scene, can stay at the the Autograph Collection’s Press Hotel, which is housed in the city’s old newspaper building. The in-house Union Restaurant offers a stylish spot in which to enjoy local lobster. Executive chef Josh Berry serves an upscale lobster roll featuring house-made lemon mayo and “snipped” chives.

Café Miranda, Rockland

In the scenic town of Rockland, Cafe Miranda lures foodies looking for an unparalleled lobster experience. Chef/owner Kerry Altiero is a big fan of Maine Lobster, incorporating it in unique dishes throughout the year. Altiero’s standout “Vacation in your Mouth” dish puts a spicy spin on mild, sweet lobster meat by adding chilli peppers, scallions, lime, Thai fish sauce, cilantro, kimchi flakes, black sesame seeds and more.

MC Perkins Cove, Maine USAImage by Patrick McNamara

Hugo’s, Portland

One of the state’s most decorated restaurants, Hugo’s has been a mainstay of the Portland dining scene since 1988. Guests enjoy inventive lobster preparations such as a lobster sashimi, which comes to life thanks to sea beans, ginger, scallions and fried garlic.

MC Perkins Cove, Ogunquit

Two of the state’s most famous chefs, Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, have won plaudits for their creative lobster dishes at MC Perkins Cove in the popular tourist town of Ogunquit. The chefs surprise diners with inventive creations such as lobster shortcake with rum vanilla sauce, and lobster in a “paper bag” with fresh green curry, lime, and coconut.

Eventide Oyster Co., Portland

In Portland, the trendy Eventide Oyster Co. wins raves for its lobster roll, prepared with a choice of hollandaise, homemade mayo, or the crowd favourite, brown butter vinaigrette. The fresh Maine lobster meat is served on a Chinese-style steamed bun.

Bite into Maine, lobster shack – best lobster in MaineImage by John Ewing

Bite into Maine, Cape Elizabeth

In Cape Elizabeth’s popular Fort Williams Park, Bite into Maine is a “Maine-centric mobile eatery.” Parked in the shadow of one of the state’s most famous lighthouses, the Portland Head Light, the food truck offers three styles of lobster rolls: “Maine” with light mayonnaise and fresh chives, “Connecticut” with hot butter, and “picnic” with coleslaw, hot butter, celery salt, wasabi, curry and chipotle.

Bob’s Clam Hut, Kittery

Located in the shopping haven of Kittery, Bob’s Clam Hut has been offering a classic seafood shack experience since 1956. The friendly restaurant serves up award-winning lobster rolls packed with fresh local lobster. Those looking for a more refined experience can cross the street, where Robert’s Maine Grill offers a welcoming environment for enjoying locally-caught lobster meat and views of picturesque Spruce Creek.

Robert Maine Grill and Bob's Clam Hut, best lobster in MaineImage courtesy of Bob’s Clam Hut

The White Barn Inn, Kennebunk

In the coastal town of Kennebunk, the White Barn Inn provides out-of-towners with an upscale home-away-from-home. The classy, timber-frame barn wows guests with its eponymous, in-house restaurant, where smoked lobster is served with paprika butter sauce on corn puree. The key to this dish is the presentation; the plate is covered and filled with applewood smoke, which is then released at the table in front of the guest to enliven the senses.

Festivals

Lobster fans not content with a dining experience can seek out one of the many lobster-centric community gatherings and festivals held throughout the year. The biggest of them all, the Maine Lobster Festival, is held in Rockland every year in late July/early August. This year’s festival, the 68th annual gathering, will see some 20,000 pounds of lobster consumed, plus lots of fun events such as a lobster crate race, lobster cooking contest, and the coronation of the Maine Sea Goddess.

Explore more of Maine with the Rough Guide to the USA.  Compare flightsbook hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Kiki Deere, co-author of the Rough Guide to the Philippines, heads off the tourist trail to Batanes. This cluster of islands, located almost 150km off the northernmost tip of Luzon in the Philippines, sees just thirty or so foreign visitors a year.

“Batanes? Batanes? Up there?” was the reaction of most Filipinos when I told them I was catching a plane north to the remotest province of the country. This was coupled with a puzzled expression, followed by a long “Oooooooh”.

Only 190km south of Taiwan, the islands of Batanes are closer to the Taiwanese coast than to the Philippine mainland. The archipelago was created following a series of volcanic activities when Mount Iraya erupted around 325 BC – today a dormant volcano that stands 1517m above sea level.

The province comprises ten islands of which only three are inhabited: Batan Island, the largest in the group; peaceful Sabtang Island; and the less accessible Itbayat. Their isolation has resulted in a unique culture and distinct traditions; the language, cuisine and climate have little in common with the rest of the country.

A beach on the Batanes Islands, the Philippines, AsiaImage by Kiki Deere

Rolling hills, windswept massifs and sheer cliffs

Our little six-seater plane rocked back and forth as we struggled to land on wind-swept Batan Island, whose capital, Basco, is named after Governor José Basco y Vargas who brought the islands under the Spanish Crown in 1782.

Below us stretched verdant rolling hills, windswept massifs and sheer cliffs rising 70m above sea level. The topography of the islands varies dramatically from the mainland – with grazing cows, undulating hills and strong winds. I felt I could have easily been in Ireland, not in the tropical Philippine archipelago I had extensively travelled, with its powdery, white-sand beaches shaded by coconut trees.

“Today we will visit Marlboro County, and then on to Sabtang Island” my guide announced as soon as I’d settled into Fundación Pacita, the former home of artist Pacita Abad today a surprisingly upmarket hotel. His voice was calm and composed; he spoke in musical tones, rolling his “r” in a pleasant lilt.

Like Filipino, the Ivatan language is peppered with pidgin Spanish words. The Ivatan are the native inhabitants of these islands, and trace their roots back to Formosan (Taiwanese) immigrants as well as Spaniards who travelled here in the sixteenth century.

Coastal Batanes Islands, Philippines – the remotest islands in the countryImage by Kiki Deere

A testament to the trusting nature of the locals

We drove up and down the island’s many hills, the engine of our little car calling out as it climbed a slope, letting out a groaning sigh of relief as we reached the top and zoomed down the other side, only to grate again as we clambered up the next.

As we came over the brow of the first hill, there before us were green pastures being grazed by horses and bulls, with Mount Iraya and the roaring Pacific Ocean as backdrop.

Locals make a living by raising goats and cows, and plant root crops that are able to cope with the islands’ harsh environment, including yam, garlic, sweet potato and onion. Fish, livestock and root vegetables form the mainstay of the islands’ cuisine. During most of the year provisions are flown in or shipped over from the mainland, but during typhoon season ships and planes are often unable to reach the islands.

We continued south along the coastal road to the Honesty Café, an unmanned coffee shop selling t-shirts, beverages and snacks where customers drop payment in designated boxes, serving as a testament to the trusting nature of the island’s inhabitants.

A small Batanes town, PhilippinesImage by Kiki Deere

Life has changed little over the last few centuries

A rocky thirty-minute boat ride across the treacherous waters of the Balintang Channel took us to Sabtang Island, home to steep mountains and deep canyons where life has changed little over the last few centuries.

This peaceful island is peppered with Ivatan stone villages, and the picture-perfect town of Chavayan is home to some of the best-preserved traditional homes in the Philippines. Unlike in the rest of the country where nipa huts are a common sight, the houses in Batanes are made of limestone to withstand the destructive force of typhoons that so often strike the islands.

I strolled along the town’s streets, my guide encouraging me to occasionally pop my head into the stone houses, whose wooden floors are traditionally polished with banana leaves. Their cogon-thatched roofs are sturdily built, lasting up to two or three decades. Street names are chiselled in stone plaques.

At the Sabtang Weavers’ Association, women sold small artefacts and offered me homemade biscuits that they had lovingly prepared in their humble homes. Intrigued and surprised at the sight of a foreigner, they questioned me as to my provenance, proudly showing me the small trinkets they had painstakingly made.

Batanes woman, Philippines, AsiaImage by Kiki Deere

An elderly lady with a mustard yellow cardigan wore a rain cape called vakul, traditional Ivatan headgear made from stripped leaves of voyavoy palm to protect her from the strong sun and frequent rainstorms that so often hit the islands. Her coarse hands fingered a small hand-woven souvenir that she encouraged me to buy.

When I flew back to the province of Luzon a few days later, where thick jungles and bustling beach resorts justifiably attract their fair share of tourists, the far-flung islands of Batanes, with their thirty or so foreign visitors a year, suddenly seemed like a distant dream.

Explore more of the Philippines with the Rough Guide to the PhilippinesCompare flightsbook hostels or hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.  

From dramatically rugged coastline scenery, to great sweeps of golden sand and lovely white coves, Bali’s beaches have long drawn visitors to its shores. The beaches here tick all boxes, whether you’re after world-class waves to surf, crystal clear waters for diving, or simply days digging your toes into fine sand and lazy evenings watching the sun set over the ocean.

Nusa Dua

Bali’s most carefully designed high-end beach resort luxuriates along a coastal stretch of reclaimed mangrove swamp some 14km southeast of Kuta. What draws most visitors to Nusa Dua is the beach: a long ribbon of mostly pale gold sand, though a reef is exposed at low tide if you’re swimming. Halfway down the shoreline, the land blossoms out into two little clumps, or “islands” (Nusa Dua means “Two Islands”), with a temple standing on each one.

Crystal Bay

A postcard-perfect nook of white-sand beach and outstandingly clear water, Crystal Bay is a popular dive site with operators from Nusa Lembongan. Most come in the morning, so if you are here in the afternoon, you’re likely to have the water to yourself – there’s good snorkelling here, too, and a shrine on an offshore islet. That said, currents in the bay can be fierce in certain tide states.

Kuta Beach, Bali, Indonesia, AsiaPhoto Credit: melfoody via Compfight cc

Kuta beach

The reason everyone comes to Kuta is the beach. Vast and if not quite so glorious as it once was, it’s still a gentle curve of pale sand that stretches for 8km from Tuban to Canggu, its breakers luring amateur and experienced surfers alike. It’s also the venue for the much-lauded Kuta sunsets; at their blood-red best in April, but streaky-pink at any time of year and the stuff sundowners are made of – whether you choose cocktails in a hip bar or just a cold Bintang on plastic seats.

Yeh Gangga Beach

The coast west of Tabanan is a barely-touched stretch of black sand notable for weird rock formations offshore. The most appealing (and developed) section is at Yeh Gangga, which has emerged into something of a luxury hideaway in recent years. The currents make the sea too dangerous for swimming, but it’s a dramatic scene, punctuated by huge rocks, and the beach stretches for miles in both directions.

Padang Padang

Padang Padang is a gorgeous beach notched in the Bukit’s high cliffs that’s safe for swimming. Nothwithstanding its use as a location in the film Eat, Pray, Love (Julia Roberts meets her beau here), its fame – and the reason for all the restaurants and guesthouses – is the eponymous surf break, one of the most exciting waves in Indonesia, not least because of a kink in the final section. And not far off, at Pantai Suluban, lie the legendary Uluwatu waves.

 Padang Padang Beach, BaliPhoto Credit: Tranquility To The Tired Soul At Padang Padang Beach, Bali (DSC_0723) via photopin (license)

Pasir Putih

Nine kilometers northeast from Candi Dasa lies the famously beautiful Pasir Putih (White Sand Bay). The less than straightforward access, via a steep and rutted track, is part of the appeal: the black-and-whitish-sand bay feels wild and remote, backed by palms and forest remnants, and sheltered by rocky headlands. The aquamarine water is perfect for swimming and the reef just offshore offers decent snorkelling.

Balian Beach

As ever in Bali, surfers got here first – Balian Beach has the most consistent left-hand breaks in West Bali, with larger waves breaking behind off a shelf and gentler peaks inshore. But whether surfer or not this mellow village may well be the most relaxed escape on the west coast; there’s no hustle, no tourist shops, just low-key accommodation, a few warung and a beach bar, and the sense of a shared secret. Get here soon – building is on the up. The caveat to all this is that a vicious rip inshore makes; heed local advice or be content to paddle at low tide.

Jungutbatu Beach, Bali, Indonesia, AsiaPhoto Credit: Fajar Nurdiansyah via Compfight cc

Jungutbatu

Strung out along the northwest coast, the village of Jungutbatu spreads out along the beachfront from its core of accommodation and restaurants. The beach may be no great shakes for swimming but it looks gorgeous: a strip of white sand that arcs before an aqua sea filled with wooden boats and rectangular seaweed plots. It’s an ideal place for sunset drinks or just for losing days gazing out to Bali’s Gunung Agung on the northwestern horizon.

Pemuteran

A Lovina before tourism took hold, Pemuteran lives a double life as a fishing village and a low-key holiday getaway. Alongside idling on the beach – a ribbon of black and biscuit-colour sand which arcs for a kilometre or so – Pemuteran is known for its snorkelling and diving. More than a dozen reefs are within easy reach of the shore – Pemuteran has the largest shallow-reef area in Bali – and seas are calm so there’s a site to suit all abilities. The marine life is varied, too; from turtles, giant clams and manta rays, to the very occasional whale shark.

Rough Guide to Bali and Lombok coverExplore more of the Bali coastline with The Rough Guide to Bali & LombokCompare flightsbook hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Crete has easily the longest summers in Greece, and there are plenty of beaches with which to fill those long, lazy summer days. Whether you’re into watersports, skinny dipping or good old-fashioned sunbathing, the island almost certainly has a stretch of sand to suit your tastes.

Elafonísi

Elafonísi Beach comes as an exotic shock. The almost tropical waters (sheltered by the islet of the same name) boast white sand tinged pink by coral, aquamarine waters, salt-encrusted rock pools and bright-red starfish. The water is incredibly warm, calm and shallow and the islet itself is a short wade across the sand bar.

Koureménos Beach

Koureménos Beach is one of Crete’s top windsurfing spots. Not surprisingly, it can be windy (a funnel effect creates ideal windsurfing conditions; nearby Hióna Beach is far more sheltered), but it’s a fine, long sand-and-pebble beach, with several tavernas and places to stay – even a bar – directly behind. There’s also quite a community of camper vans in summer, and an excellent windsurf centre, too.

Mátala

While Mátala was once known for its cave-dwelling hippy community, now the town never feels anything less than touristy. That said, the beach is excellent, the atmosphere is boisterous and you’ll never be short of somewhere to enjoy a cocktail at sunset; with the caves lit up at night, the beach is an impossibly romantic setting. If the crowds get too much you can scramble over the hill to Red Beach, which, with its reddish-gold sand, nudists and scruffy, seasonal kantína, does its best to uphold Mátala’s traditions. Vai beach, Crete, Greece, Europe

Vái

The palm-lined beach at Vái makes for a thoroughly secular contrast to the spiritual tranquillity of nearby Toploú monastery; as you lie on the fine sand in the early morning, especially in early spring or late autumn, you could almost imagine yourself to be on a Caribbean island. In summer the beach fills to overflowing, but even then, for a couple of hours at each end of the day, you should be able to enjoy Vái the way it ought to be.

Mýrtos

Mýrtos is a charming, white-walled village with a long shingle beach. Even in August, when the place can get pretty full, the pace of life remains slow, the atmosphere pleasantly laid back. Apart from topping up your tan, swimming, renting a boat or lingering over a drink, there’s not a great deal to do in Mýrtos, but the surrounding countryside offers a couple of important Minoan sites, as well as the opportunity for mountain hikes.

Stavrós

Just 3km beyond Horafákia is Stavrós and its near-perfect beach, an almost completely enclosed circular bay. The sea is dead calm with gently shelving sand underfoot, making it ideal for kids. It’s an extraordinary-looking place, too, with a sheer, bare mountainside rising just 100m away from you on the far side of the bay. It’s also the site of a cave, whose entrance can just about be seen from the beach, in which there is an ancient sanctuary. Stavrós beach is often crowded, but even so it’s a great place to bask for a few hours, and there’s also a far less visited patch of sand facing directly out to sea.

Gaidhouronísi

The most popular way to escape Ieráetra’s often stifling summer temperatures is to take a boat trip to Gaidhouronísi, some 10km offshore. A real desert island a little over 4km in length, with a fine cedar forest, some excellent sandy beaches, a couple of tavernas and the fabulous “Shell Beach”, covered with discarded shells from countless generations of molluscs.

Frangokástello

For peaceful lassitude the beach at Frangokástello is among the best spots in Crete, with fine sand and crystal-clear water (with good snorkelling opportunities). If you want company you’ll find it around the castle, where the best part of the sand is sheltered and slowly shelving; for solitude, head west along the shoreline. There are beaches to the east too: follow the coastal path for ten to fifteen minutes and you’ll arrive at the top of a low cliff overlooking perhaps 1km of beautiful, deserted sand and rocks.

Frangokástello beach, Crete, best beaches in Crete

Sweetwater Beach

From the sea, Sweetwater Beach appears as a long, extremely narrow slice of grey between sheer ochre cliffs and a dark, deep sea. Closer up, the beach seems much larger, but there’s still a frightening sense of being isolated between unscaleable mountains and an endless stretch of water. The beach takes its name from the small springs that bubble up beneath the pebbles to provide fresh, cool drinking water – you can dig a hole almost anywhere to find water (take care not to pollute the groundwater with soap).

Kamaréles, Gávdhos

Gávdhos is the largest of Crete’s offshore islands. Its attraction lies in an enduring isolation that its inaccessible position has helped to preserve; if all you want is a beach and a taverna to grill your fish, this is the place for you. Kamaréles – the beach at Tripití, the most southerly point of Europe –is pebbly with little shade, but the water is brilliantly clear and a snorkeller’s paradise, with plenty of aquatic life. When you need a break, you can do what everyone else comes here to do: climb the famous three-holed rock, sit in the giant chair, and dangle your feet off the edge of a continent.

Explore more of the best Greek coastline with the Rough Guide to The Greek IslandsCompare flightsbook hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Pre-conceptions are a funny thing. If someone told you about an archipelago of islands set adrift off the coast of Africa, an oasis that boasts superb beaches and perennial warmth, which is home to the world’s second largest Carnival, award-winning wines and Spain’s highest mountain, you’d probably want to visit.

If they revealed they were in fact talking about the Canary Isles, though, some of your thoughts might start to cloud with images of sunburned Brits, dodgy fried food and all-things tacky.

It’s time to set aside these anachronisms about the Canary Islands and explore these seven isles in the spirit of Christopher Columbus, who famously stopped over, en route to sailing off the map of the known world in search of the New World.

For a little bit of everything: Tenerife

The largest of the Canaries is also the most popular with tourists. The parched southern strip of Tenerife might be stuffed with a swathe of tourism development, but this string of resorts is just one part of a diverse and remarkable island. Most island inhabitants live elsewhere and although the Costa Adeje has added a touch of class to proceedings in the south, Tenerife’s most interesting towns and sights lie beyond this tourist enclave.

Head north and you’ll find a lively carnival that takes over the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife for three weeks in February. Push inland and pine forests soon give way to the jaw dropping Teide National Park, home to the eponymous volcano, Spain’s highest peak at a whopping 3718. Then you can swirl in superb seafood and excellent wines in picturesque towns like Garachico and La Orotava. Last year also saw the island’s first ever walking festival recognise its top-notch hiking. Tenerife is the Canary Island with it all.

Spain, Canary Islands, Tenerife, Parque Nacional del TeideTeide National Park

For wind-sport lovers and beach bums: Fuerteventura

The second largest of the Canary Islands lies less than a hundred kilometres away from the African coast and is one of the least developed. Fuerteventura is a parched desert-like escape whose east coast is the main attraction, where the shifting sands of Corralejo and Jandia blown in on the Saharan breeze.

Corralejo, in the north, is the stand out resort. Here British families mix – in a resort that is also a real Spanish town – with locals, surfers and windsurfers from all over the world. There are little tapas bars, fancy restaurants and proper beaches right in town. Jandia, in the south, is more popular with German visitors. The main resort Morro Jable is home to an epic 4km beach, but beware there are stretches where clothes are most definitely optional.

Elsewhere on Fuerteventura you’ll find volcanoes to climb, little whitewashed inland villages and the delicious Majorero cheese, best enjoyed grilled with a little palm honey.

Spain, Canary Islands, Fuerteventura, Playa de SotaventoPlaya de Sotavento

For a spread of landscapes: Gran Canaria

The “Continent in Miniature” tourist office epithet for this neatly round island is, for once, no hyperbole; Gran Canaria offers more scenic diversity than any of the other islands.

There are the epic sands of Maspalomas in the south, the subtropical forests of the interior, rugged mountains and, in Las Palmas, the most beguiling of the island capitals with its buzzing nightlife and sandy beaches. Gran Canaria is a big hiking destination, too, with a network of well-marked trails and a walking festival. The island also produces decent wine and the excellent Tropical lager – perfect to end a long hike.

Sunset on Gran Canaria, Canary IslandsSunset on Gran Canaria

For the cool Canaries: Lanzarote

The youngest of the seven main islands, stylish Lanzarote is also the most aesthetically pleasing – largely thanks to one man. César Manrique was a visionary architect who stamped his creative architectural style (which has echoes of Gaudi’s Modernista movement) on myriad local projects, as well as fighting doggedly to stop high-rise buildings being built. Lanzarote-born, he spent most of his life on the island and created a legacy that visitors can learn more about at his old studio home, which now houses the César Manrique Foundation.

Volcanic activity has also led to a unique viticulture that sees delicious Malvasia grown in the island’s volcanic craters. You can visit the handful of well-kept wineries to pick up discounted bottles or enjoy them in the rich spread of restaurants that have made the island popular with foodies.

Elsewhere you’ll find an otherworldly volcanic escape in Timanfaya National Park, while the island of La Graciosa is a laidback road-free hideaway. Lanzarote’s most attractive resort is family friendly Playa Blanca in the south, with the main attraction the famous white-sand beaches that give it its name.

Spain, Canary Islands, Lanzarote, La GeriaVines growing in La Geria

For jaw dropping scenery: La Palma

It is no wonder that the most northwesterly of the isles is known as the “Beautiful Island”. The entire island has been declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve for its swathe of remarkable scenery: some parts are dramatically volcanic and others lush rainforest.

The scenic highlight is the Caldera de Taburiente National Park where the finest views of the archipelago can be seen from Roque de los Muchachos at 2396m. You can drive most of the way up and then ramble around this volcanic mound on foot. The capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma, is an attractive historic bolt-hole on the ocean that is well worth a day or two of exploration.

Spain, Canary Islands, La PalmaUp in the clouds above La Palma

For world-class hiking: La Gomera

Arriving on a ferry from Tenerife’s southern resorts, San Sebastian de la Gomera feels like another world. (You can catch ferries from La Palma and El Hierro too.) You’ll want to get your walking boots on: mountainous La Gomera is less of a beach escape and more suited to those looking to get away from other tourists and enjoy the myriad hiking trails.

The island’s routes really are spectacular, with a well-marked trail network snaking out across the whole of La Gomera. The local wine is spot on too, as is the Almagrote, a spicy cheese paste that is highly addictive.

Spain, Canary Islands, La Gomera, Garajonay National Park,Garajonay National Park

For a total escape: El Hierro

This semi-mythical island is the hardest to get to and the least well set up for visitors. It is where Columbus said goodbye to Europe and it still feels a deeply dramatic place, all sheer cliffs, rugged hills and twisting roads. Nature is at its rawest on this Canary Island.

You won’t find bustling resorts with raucous pubs and clubs here. Instead, come for the great diving or to indulge in some serious soul searching. If you crave solitude and want to escape modern life, then El Hierro is the Canary Island for you.

Spain, Canary Islands, El Hierro, La Restinga, lava fieldsLava fields, La Restinga

Getting around: Ferry companies Armas and Fred Olsen, plus local airline Binter, offer connections between all the islands.

Picturesque Wales has long drawn holidaymakers to its unspoilt countryside, rugged mountainous terrain and long, lonely coastline. Whether you’re after a dream-like hike or scenic drive, beautiful views aren’t hard to find. Here are some of our authors’ favourites – walks, nature reserves, beaches, railway journeys and much more – taken from new Rough Guide to Wales.

Wye Valley wonder

Walking or driving through the Wye Valley, especially near Tintern’s towering ruins, it’s easy to see why Wordsworth was so inspired.

Tintern Abbey, Wye Valley, Walesphoto credit: tintern abbey hdr arty via photopin (license)

Styles and starry skies

A vast area of rocky moors, Brecon Beacons National Park is not just perfect walking country – it’s also one of the world’s first “dark sky reserves”.

Brecon Beacons, Walesphoto credit: IMG_7253 via photopin (license)

The end of the world

The Llŷn Peninsula excels in escapism, whether the panorama from the summit of Tre’r Ceiri or the lovely seaside village of Aberdaron.

Llyn Peninsula , Walesphoto credit: Sun going down over the Llyn Peninsula, North Wales via photopin (license)

Snowdonia’s finest scramble

Snowdon’s splendid, but the north ridge of Tryfan gives wonderful exposure and views, and the scramble up borders on rock-climbing.

Snowdon, Walesphoto credit: SANY0400.JPG via photopin (license)

Coastal escapes

You can’t beat the glorious views of Worms Head and Rhossili Bay from the head of the Gower Peninsula.

Rhossili, Walesphoto credit: Rhossili via photopin (license)

On the rails

Hop aboard Ffestiniog Railway, the finest of Wales’s narrow-gauge railways, which climbs 13 miles from the coast into the heart of the mountains.

Ffestiniog Railway, Walesphoto credit: Ffestiniog Railway at Ddaullt via photopin (license)

Wales at its wildest

Covering 240 square miles, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park encompasses wooded estuaries, rocky cliffs and isolated beaches

Pembrokeshire Coast National Parkphoto credit: Wooltack Point – Pembrokeshire via photopin (license)

Skeletal grandeur

Newport’s Transporter Bridge, a remarkable feat of engineering, was described as “A giant with the might of Hercules and the grace of Apollo when it opened in 1906.

Transporter Bridge, Newport, Walesphoto credit: Transporter Bridge via photopin (license)

Small-town splendour

There’s a superb view across the Menai Strait to the Snowdonian mountains in Beaumaris, plus a picture-postcard castle and lovely Georgian townscape.

View from Beaumaris, Walesphoto credit: nature-trail-lighthouse-110.jpg via photopin (license)

Flocks away

Gigrin Farm is one of the best places in Europe to watch red kites feeding. As many as five hundred of the magnificent birds descend at any one time – a fantastic sight.

Gigrin Farm, Walesphoto credit: Red Kites – Gigrin Farm via photopin (license)

A pass to the past

An ancient drovers’ road, the magnificent Abergwesyn Pass twists its way through the forests and valleys of the Cambrian Mountains.

Abergwesyn Pass, Walesphoto credit: Llyn Brianne via photopin (license)

Explore more of Wales with The Rough Guide to WalesCompare flightsbook hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Greece offers well over two hundred inhabited islands of all shapes and sizes, set like gems in the sparkling Ionian and Aegean seas – so you’re really spoilt for choice when planning a visit. Former resident and Rough Guide to Greece author Nick Edwards picks five of the best Greek islands for exploration.

For archaeology: Crete

As Greece’s largest island, Crete is something of an all-rounder, boasting the dramatic White Mountains, kilometres of fine beaches, the delightful Samaria Gorge and several interesting cities, not least the island capital of Iraklion. For anyone interested in archaeology, however, it’s the obvious place to combine the joys of an island with a variety of ancient remains to rival the mainland.

Just 5km outside of Iraklion lies Knossos, the island’s preeminent ancient site, with its grand, second millennium BC Minoan palace, where King Minos once kept the legendary Minotaur. The layout of the interconnected halls and rooms is truly labyrinthine and much of the palace amazingly well preserved. Here you can marvel at superb ancient art, such as the famous dolphin fresco. Iraklion’s archaeological museum, meanwhile, is also one of the country’s finest, with a host of fascinating Minoan treasures. East along the coast, Malia Palace is another great site from the same era.

Best Greek Islands

Other star Minoan attractions near the south coast are the Palace of Phaestos, which enjoys a splendid hillside location and view of Mount Psiloritis, and the smaller remains at Ayia Triada. In the same region, the ruined capital of a Roman province that encompassed Crete and a chunk of north Africa can be seen at Gortys, while further afield the Dhiktean Cave and Palace of Zakros are yet more ancient sites to be enjoyed.

For beaches: Milos

Despite being one of the lower profile Cyclades, most beach connoisseurs rate Milos as the best in this most famous island group. Perhaps that is not so surprising – thanks to its volcanic nature and horseshoe shape, it boasts an impressive seventy-five beaches, yet is barely 20km across. Rarely crowded except in the height of peak season, Milos has a laidback feel and offers plenty of choices in accommodation and eating.

One of the best beaches on the south coast is sandy Paleohóri, gently heated by underground thermal currents and linked to a second strand, hemmed in by colourful cliffs, via a tunnel through the rock. The headland that encompasses the northern settlements of Adhámas and Plaka is punctuated by a variety of coves, while the long sandy stretch at Pollonia in the northeast is shaded by tamarisks. It is the rugged west coast, however, that offers the purest beauty and most undeveloped beaches of Triadhes, Ammoudharaki and Kleftiko, the latter accessible only by boat.

Best Greek Islands

For spirituality: Pátmos

Given the ever-present significance of religion in Greece, diminutive Pátmos is regarded as one of the most important islands: it’s where St John holed up and received the visions that he dictated to his disciple Prohoros as the Revelation, the final book of the New Testament. Hike up early in the morning to the cave where this took place, now enclosed in an eleventh-century chapel, to have the best chance of getting the place to yourself and even being able to rest your head in the niche where the saint laid his. Gazing out across the sea to the surrounding islands is enough to get even hard-nosed cynics feeling spiritual.

Chora, Patmos, Greece – best greek islands

Further up the hill, another eleventh-century monastery, that of Ayiou Ioannou Theologou, commands more wonderful views and is home to a community of monks. Much of the solid structure is off-limits to visitors but the church is delightful and the museum displays some dazzling Orthodox paraphernalia, dark and brooding medieval icons, and some parchment manuscripts. Needless to say, there are some fine sandy beaches and plenty of secular delights to detain the visitor back down at sea level.

For ocean activity: Lefkada

Mid-sized Lefkada has one of Europe’s largest windsurfing centres (near its southern tip) and a gleaming new marina on the edge of the island capital, making it a magnet for those who love to spend time on the water. It also boasts easy accessibility, being joined to the mainland by a causeway, some dramatic mountain scenery and a few of the most stunning beaches in the Ionian Sea on its west coast. In addition, Lefkada Town is an attractive and cultural place, with some fine old churches.

Yachties flock here for the great facilities at the marina, the large dry dock at Vlyho and ease of mooring at the various bays on the east coast, such as Dessimi, Rouda and Syvota. The satellite islands opposite the main resort of Nydri constitute good sailing territory too, while Nydri itself offers the usual range of watersports. Meanwhile, at Lefkada’s southern end, the bay that stretches from Vassiliki to Pondi draws a youthful crowd, who take advantage of the favourable wind patterns and shallow water that are ideal for windsurfing. At any one time, you might count literally hundreds of colourful sails flapping in the breeze.

Windsurfing in Lefkada, Greece

For a little bit of everything: Lésvos

The third-largest island behind Crete and Evvia, versatile Lésvos (often referred to as Mytilini after its capital) is, surprisingly, little visited. Mytilini itself is a large town with a rather grand seafront, an extensive fortress and several absorbing museums, plus plenty of places to eat and drink. Among the smaller towns that impress architecturally, Molyvos (aka Mithymna) and Ayiassos stand out. The former sits on a north coast headland crowned by an imposing castle, while the latter straddles a mountainside valley and has a warren of streets around the picturesque central church. Various other beautiful monasteries are dotted around the island.

The coastline is blessed with numerous excellent beaches, none better than the 9km-long stretch of pebble and sand at Vatera on the south coast. But there are more geological features than just rock and sand: the large shallow Gulf of Kalloni includes salt marshes that are a birdwatcher’s dream; over in the west there’s a petrified forest; and thermal spas punctuate the eastern half.

Lesvos, Greece, Europe - best greek islands

As the home of Greece’s most highly rated ouzo, there are a fair few lauded distilleries, such as Varvayianni and Samara, yet the island also produces great wines, such as Methymneos, and olive products.

Finally, there is a strong cultural aspect to Lésvos, which has had a literary reputation since ancient times, as the birthplace of the poets Sappho, Aesop and more recently Elytis. It is also the birthplace of the twentieth-century artists Theriade and Theophilos, who have museums in their honour on the island. A lot of Sappho’s erotic poetry was addressed towards other women (quite a thing for the sixth century) and her legacy is perpetually sustained at lively Skala Eresou, which draws lesbians from all over the world.

Explore more of the best Greek islands with the Rough Guide to The Greek IslandsCompare flightsbook hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Tasmania has shaken off its reputation as a sleepy backwater. Australia’s smallest state is buzzing with art, nurturing an exciting foodie scene and cutting the ribbon on new hiking trails – all against a backdrop of rich history and remarkable wildlife. Here, Anita Isalska gives ten reasons why you should give in to the island’s lure. 

1. To be awed and appalled at MONA in Hobart

A ferry ride up the peaceful Derwent River doesn’t seem like the obvious start to explore your dark side. But in the subterranean galleries of Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art you’ll find some of the most confronting creations in Australia. Passion, death and decay are explored in unflinching detail in this controversial museum in the northern suburbs of Tasmania’s capital, Hobart. Test your limits with maggot ridden installations, X-rated sculptures and obese automobiles, all from the private collections of arty eccentric David Walsh.

Australia, Tasmania, view of Hobart from Mount Wellington

2. To raft the Franklin River

Quicken your pulse in Tasmania’s wild west on a white water rafting adventure. In this glacier carved terrain, thick with Huon pine forests, experienced guides will navigate you down the frothing Franklin River. You’ll stop to cook on open fires and pitch a tent under the stars. There’s nothing like being part of a crew paddling a raft through the Franklin’s thunderous rapids to instil a lasting respect for Tasmania’s formidable wilderness.

3. To meet Tasmanian devils

Tas’ most famous critter is most often experienced through its nocturnal scream. But Tasmanian devils can be seen up close at sanctuaries across the state, like Bonorong. Don’t be fooled by their puppy-like appearance and lolloping gait. Time your visit for feeding time and you’ll see these marsupials screech, squabble and chomp straight through wallaby bones. On a more serious note, make sure you spare some time to learn about the devastating facial tumour disease threatening these Tassie natives.

Tasmanian devil sign

4. To feast your way around Bruny Island

Mainland Aussies flock to the annual Taste Festival in Hobart. But you can undertake a year-round gastronomic extravaganza on Bruny Island, an easy day-trip by ferry from Hobart. Start by slurping fresh oysters at Get Shucked, before perusing the unctuous delights of Bruny Island Cheese Company. You’ll want a bottle or two to accompany those garlic-marinated, vine leaf-wrapped delights, so stop for pinot noir at Bruny Island Premium Wines. Finish off with jams and ice creams at the berry farm.

5. To explore the wilderness at Cradle Mountain

The silhouette of Cradle Mountain, reflected in mirror-clear Dove Lake, is one of Tasmania’s greatest natural icons. Lace up your hiking boots in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and discover Pencil Pine Falls or the neck-craning Ballroom Forest. Some are easy wooden walking trails that spiral around picnic spots like Wombat Pool; others vertiginous hikes that require experience. For hardened adventurers, there’s the six-day Overland Track.

Dove Lake. Cradle Mountain. Tasmania. Australia. : Stock Photo View similar imagesMore from this photographerDownload comp Caption:Dawn reflections on calm fresh water lake. Mist over mountain peak. Dove Lake. Cradle Mountians. Tasmania. Australia. Dove Lake. Cradle Mountain. Tasmania. Australia.

6. To pace the brand-new Three Capes Track

One of Australia’s most hotly-tipped new attractions for 2015 is the Three Capes Track. Due to open in November 2015, this 82km coastal trail promises a touch of luxury for bushwalkers. Instead of stooping under the weight of your camping gear, you’ll be able to bed down in furnished huts at three different spots along the track and make use of on-site cooking facilities. That leaves more time to focus on what’s really important: jaw-dislocatingly good views of Australia’s tallest sea cliffs.

7. To see pint-sized penguins in Bicheno

Each night at dusk, a parade of little penguins pops out of the waters of Bicheno Bay and waddles ashore to their burrows. A guided walk is the best way to admire these dainty seabirds without disturbing them. They’ll hop between your legs, preen their inky black coats and jab their beaks at toes (don’t wear open-toed shoes).

8. To admire gorge-ous views near Launceston

Stomach-plummeting views await at Cataract Gorge, just 15 minutes’ drive from Tasmania’s second city, Launceston. Tiptoe over the suspension bridge or enjoy a bird’s-eye view of forested hillsides from the longest single-span chairlift in the southern hemisphere. Picnic spots are scattered around the gorge’s First Basin (and stalked by curious peacocks), ideal for you to soak up some rays and the tranquil atmosphere.

Australia, Tasmania, Launceston, Cataract Gorge,

9. To explore dark history at Port Arthur

Two centuries ago, a ticket to Australia was a terrible fate. The most harrowing final destination was Tasmania’s Port Arthur, one of Australia’s 11 penal colony sites. Port Arthur was thought inescapable: only a narrow band of land, Eaglehawk Neck, connected it to the rest of the island, and this was fiercely guarded by dogs. Today, Port Arthur has been conserved as an open-air museum. You can explore the former prison wings and convict-built chapel, board a boat to the lonely graveyards on Isle of the Dead and linger for a ghost tour if you dare.

10. To bliss out at Wineglass Bay

There’s an unforgettable reward for taking a steep forested trail on the Freycinet Peninsula on Tasmania’s east coast. At the Wineglass Bay overlook, you’ll see a perfect arc of sand glowing against the vibrant turquoise of the Tasman Sea. Cool off from all that bushwalking with a dip or kayaking trip, or simply gaze out over the dusky pink granite boulders dappled with lichen, one of Tasmania’s most surreally beautiful sights.

Explore more of Tasmania with the Rough Guide to Australia or our Tasmania Snapshot. Book hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. Compare flightsbook hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

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