Whatever your scene, from sweaty electronic music dancefloors to open-air beer gardens, Cape Town has it all. Being a hedonistic city – especially in the summer – Cape Town has plenty of great bars where you can drink and party, especially on Long and Bree Streets where it’s safe and busy, and there are taxis to get you home. In the summer, the Atlantic Seaboard is a great option, and the party starts with the first sundowners. Taken from the new Rough Guide to Cape Town, these are 7 of our favourite places to sample the city’s nightlife.

Bar-hopping in the city centre

For a night out in the city centre, head to buzzing Long Street. This is one of Cape Town’s most diverse thoroughfares, lined with colonial Victorian buildings that house pubs, bistros and nightclubs, from whose wrought-iron balconies you can catch glimpses of Table Mountain and the sea.

For beer-lovers, modern “beer hall” The Beerhouse is an essential stop, with a menu comprising 20 taps and 99 bottles, 75 percent of which are local craft brews. Pick of the cocktail bars is rooftop TjingTjing, thanks to its upbeat soundtrack and mouth-watering drinks menu – expect unusual ingredients like fynbos, candyfloss vodka and balsamic vinegar. End your night at Fiction, host to stand-out electronic music nights by the likes of Skrillex, Diplo, Pendulum and Noisia.

wesleynitsckie via photopin cc

Sundowners on the Atlantic seaboard

Clinging to the slopes of Table Mountain in a dramatic ribbon, the Atlantic seaboard suburbs offer ocean views in spades, along with some of the city’s trendiest outdoor cafés and bars. The best place to embrace the scene is at Café Caprice, a beach-facing hangout in Camps Bay popular with celebs (and wannabes). Pavement tables are like gold dust after sunset, so get there early, order a cocktail and watch the sun sink slowly into the ocean.

Ocean-side drinks at the Waterfront

Head to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town’s redeveloped Victorian harbour, for laidback ocean-side drinks. Best of the outdoor decks is Alba Cocktail Lounge, where the drinks list includes the JellyTot- and Apple Sourz-spiked “Albatizer” – an acquired taste, perhaps. With its private beach, outdoor deck and an infinity plunge pool to boot, nearby Shimmy Beach Club provides a more luxurious option – with the prices and clientele to match.

DanieVDM via photopin cc

Craft beer in Wembley Square

South Africa’s beer landscape has recently undergone a small transformation, propelled by a global microbrew renaissance in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. And if you want one of the best beer selections in the city, there’s only one place to head, the Wembley Tap. A menu of stomach-lining pizzas provides the perfect accompaniment to local brews by the likes of Jack Black, Mitchell’s and Cape Brewing Company.

A night at P&G’s

If you want to see the hipster side to Cape Town, this is the place to go. On any night of the week “PnG’s” (The Power and The Glory) is a magnet for Capetonians sporting neatly trimmed beards, checked shirts, red lipstick and vintage dresses. But don’t worry too much about fitting in, Cape Town is one of the world’s friendliest cities after all.

During the day you can grab a coffee in the well-styled bistro, kitted out with old-school metal chairs and botanical drawing prints, then it blends seamlessly with a smoking room and cosy bar serving craft beers at night.

jon|k via photopin cc

A nightcap at the theatre

As well as offering a real taste of the South African arts scene, the intimate Alexander Theatre also holds an excellent bar. Handsomely furnished in old world decor, this is a good spot for a quiet conversation or nightcap – a much needed addition to Cape Town’s social scene. Old rotary phones in the bar even allow you to call the table next to you while sipping a single malt.

Wine on the rocks at Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay
 might be one of the most southerly and smallest of Cape Town’s suburbs, but don’t overlook it. Head here for drinks at The Polana in the Harbour House complex. The setting, right on the rocks, is spectacular. In the summer you can nestle on battered couches and cushions by the open windows while a fire burns cheerily as the waves crash in winter. Local wines feature heavily on the drinks list and there’s sometimes live music and dancing.

galemcall via photopin cc

 

Explore more of the Cape Town with the Rough Guide to Cape TownBook hostels for your trip, compare flights, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

The oldest tourist destination on Earth, Egypt has a multitude of things to see and do. There are ancient pyramids, crumbling temples and vast deserts to explore – on foot or by camel – not forgetting the great river Nile. Find the top things not to miss in Egypt for your next trip.

Find peace at Buddhist monastery, Nepal

Trim out the religious and/or mystical connotations and Buddhism boils down to something quite simple – brain training. Emptying your mind of white noise in the Buddhist manner – and thereby opening it up to richer focus and awareness – has never been easy. But the digital age is making it even harder, with an ever-billowing storm of information clamouring for our attention. So, retreat – a Tibetan Buddhist monastery might just be the perfect balm to your perpetually flicking and scrolling mind.

Get isolated at Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia

Travel to Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia, a country whose name is a byword for notions of the faraway, and you’ve already made a significant mental leap. You’re certainly not in Kansas anymore here – the nearest wifi is hundreds of miles away in the capital, Ulan Bator. The lodge lets you sample the nomadic lifestyle, except with all the hard bits removed and felt slippers thrown in. Expect snow leopards, bears and wild camels – who needs David Attenborough documentaries?

Stay with the Huaoranis in the Amazon, Ecuador

The Amazon river and its tributaries form one of the greatest natural networks of connectivity on the planet. Digitally speaking, however, it’s a total void. Arrange a stay with the Huaoranis of Ecuador for insights into their culture, from tracking in the rainforest to lessons in their language, which is said to be unrelated to any other on Earth.

Go wild camping in Sweden and Norway

Wifi is not such a rare amenity on campsites these days. But if you’re engaged in ‘wild camping’ – pitching your tent off-piste – then technology begins and ends at a rickety gas stove and a pack of AA batteries. In Norway and Sweden, wild camping is part of the national identity – and with landscapes ranging from the Arctic Circle to island-sprinkled archipelagos, there are myriad reasons to leave the glampsites behind.

Rub elbows with elephants at Jongomero camp, Tanzania

You’re enjoying a precious moment with a spindly dik dik in Ruaha National Park when all of a sudden: "BEEP BEEP, BEEP BEEP" goes your phone, the precious animal does a runner and your fellow safari guests make a mental note to blog about your appalling behaviour once reunited with their devices. Because they, unlike you, have respected this remote, luxurious southern Tanzanian camp’s requests that digital equipment be kept under lock and key for the duration of your visit.

Get deserted in the Cook Islands

That these fifteen South Pacific islands are named after legendary eighteenth-century explorer James Cook is a bit of a giveaway – they’re seriously remote. Rarotonga, the main island, is not overburdened with hi-tech distractions – one popular activity is "jetblasting" whereby you hang out near the airport’s runway and, well, get blasted by the displaced air from descending planes. Better, perhaps, to focus on enjoying the islands’ natural underwater beauty, from black pearl fields to coral lagoons.

Back to basics in a bothy, Northern Ireland

Cast yourself away – or rather, paddle yourself – to this restored stone cottage near Lisnaskea in County Fermanagh, part of the Lough Erne Canoe Trail. The bothy is neat but basic as can be, its list of mod cons beginning and ending at cold running water, a wood-burning stove and south-facing skylights. With life stripped back to the bare essentials, you’re left with the mental space to enjoy Upper Lough Erne’s tranquil bays and sprinkling of lush green islands.

Meet your ancestors at an archaeological dig

Get your hands dirty, cleanse your mind – that’s the basic idea here. A number of operators offer holidays based around archaeological digs, from Ethiopia to Uzbekistan – although you could always purchase the tools of the trade and go it alone. Beware, though: a metal detector’s seductive blipping might be hard to handle for those in technological cold turkey.

Delve into the Krubera Cave, Georgia

The status of the Marianas Trench as the planet’s deepest point is standard pub quiz fodder. But the earthbound equivalent is less well-known. The true vastness of Georgia’s Krubera Cave has only been fully realised since the turn of the twenty-first century, and it took a team of Ukrainian speleologists two weeks to reach the cave’s 2200m deepest point. Down here, you’re guaranteed friend requests from nothing but spiders, beetles and other creepy crawlies.

Cut off in Havana, Cuba

With patched-up old Buicks and Cadillacs stalking its capital’s streets like mechanical ghouls, the idea of Cuba as a time capsule is a familiar notion. What lies under the hood of those US classics is about as sophisticated as technology gets in Cuba – the country has the lowest rate of web access in the West, and what’s permitted is subject to heavy government regulation. Time to disengage the brain from all things digital and enjoy the city’s steamy charms.

Spend a week in Amish country, USA

In populated areas of the US it isn’t easy to escape the digital dimension. But the Amish – whose Mennonite ancestors came over to Pennsylvania from Europe at the turn of the eighteenth century – have long done a very efficient job of escaping the clutches of the modern world. In Lancaster County you can immerse yourself in their simple, rural way of life, where houses are not connected to the grid and travel is by horse-drawn buggy.

Get grounded in Bolivia’s salt flats

In one respect the Bolivian salt flats are money-spinningly hi-tech – beneath the white expanses lie the world’s largest reserves of lithium, used in battery manufacture. But that’s where links to the modern world end. Tours of the mind-bending salar are a Bolivian must-do and whichever accommodation you wind up in – freezing shack, luxury "salt palace" or Airstream caravan – the landscape utterly overwhelms and grounds you in the present moment.

Digital detox at Echo Valley Ranch and Spa, Canada

The internet has expanded at a terrifying rate since its inception, sure, but the Big Bang did it way bigger and way better. There’s nothing like getting out into the light pollution-free wilds and gazing up at giddying bucket-loads of stars to put you in your place. This ranch in British Columbia’s Cariboo region offers crystal-clear star-gazing allied to a digital detox programme – being reminded of your own puny insignificance never felt so good.

Surrender yourself in Chicago, USA

The "windy" of Chicago’s nickname actually refers to a certain loquaciousness associated with the city. But even here you can mute the world with the Monaco hotel’s "blackout" option, which encourages guests to hand in their devices on check-in. Be aware, however, that they also offer free wi-fi, so you can polish that halo even harder should you manage not to succumb.

Stay secluded in Butterfly Valley, Turkey

Somewhere along Turkey’s tourism-saturated Turquoise Coast, where holidaymakers are assured every home comfort, from full English breakfasts to free wi-fi, there’s an enclave of unplugged hippy-dom. Take a water taxi from Oludeniz (the "Blue Lagoon" in English, setting the evocatively back-to-nature tone) to the steep-sided, beach-fronted valley. You might still be able to data-roam, but listening to the crackle of evening bonfires or the strumming of acoustic guitars is far superior to the hum of social media.

Take a survival challenge on a Belize island

"I couldn’t survive without my phone." If you’re this digitally dependent, then perhaps it’s time you addressed your conception of the word "survive" – and that’s where getting shipwrecked on a desert island comes in. You’ll shell out for the privilege, of course, but before being left to your own devices on a Belize caye, the team will train you up and ensure you’re a budding Ray Mears. Fish gutting and fire building ahoy!

Stay in Skiary Lodge, Scotland

If you have ants in your social media pants, make for the unflappable stillness of Lough Hourn and let its tranquility wash over you. The most distracting thing you’re likely to encounter hereabouts is the otherworldly light – though climbing, swimming, seal-watching and star-gazing are all possibilities. This phone-, electrics- and internet-free lodge – two hours by car from Fort William, followed by a hike or a boat ride – is the only survivor from an abandoned fishing hamlet.

Explore Antarctica

Time is running out for Antarctica. And not (for now) in the way that you might think: rather it’s the region’s status as a communications black hole that’s most pressingly threatened. The urgency of the data being gathered in the region is forcing change, expediting improvements in Antarctica’s links to the wider world: "Antarctica Broadband" is on the horizon, promising "fast internet from the bottom of the earth". At least it’ll look impressive when you check in on Foursquare.

Ultima Thule Lodge, Alaska

An ancient term denoting hazily understood lands in the far north, "Ultima Thule" harks back to the early, "here be dragons" days of navigation. And while it’s certainly rugged out here, there’s no chance of it all going a bit Into the Wild, for this is Alaska deluxe – after being flown in, it’s chunky wood cabins, bearskin rugs and saunas all the way. And after an afternoon watching bears catch salmon, Candy Crush will seem a very sorry thing indeed.

From ancient ruins to beautiful beaches, Cyprus has a multitude of incredible things to see and do. Whether you’re after a challenging hike, fancy some wildlife spotting or want to go diving, this sun-kissed country will deliver. Here are our top things not to miss in Cyprus.

From a deserted town to enormous sand dunes and sunset cocktails above the city, here are ten unforgettable things to see and do in Namibia.

Hike Fish River Canyon

Second only in size to America’s Grand Canyon, Namibia’s Fish River Canyon is one of Africa’s unsung wonders. Starting just south of Seeheim, it winds 161km south to Ais-Ais and plummets to depths of 550 metres. Watching the sun rise and set over its layers of sandstone and lava is epic, but fit travellers can up the adventure by attempting one of southern Africa’s greatest hikes: a 85km five-day trek along the riverbed. Talk about off the beaten track.

Explore the deserted diamond-mining town of Kolmanskop

Rise early and drive 10km east of port town Lüderitz to watch the first fingers of sunrise reach across the desert and light up the sands that have piled up high and inhabited every nook of this once-thriving town. The honey-toned beams reveal peeling wallpaper in empty kitchens, ceramic bathtubs waiting forlornly for a filling and empty picture frames dangling from unsteady nails. Pay a little more for a photography pass: it allows you to enter early and beat the tour-group crowds so you can explore this ghost town with soul in peace.

Slurp local oysters in Walvis Bay

Forget springbok steak or biltong, Namibia’s culinary highlight is its homegrown ultra-fresh oysters. Thanks to the cold Benguela current that sweeps up the coast from Antarctica, the nutrient-rich waters means these pearly beauties can be harvested in just eight months instead of the three years it takes to grow French oysters. Join a boat tour to visit the nurseries and nibble them onboard, or order a platter with a glass of chilled white wine at a dockside restaurant.

Climb Sossusvlei

Namibia’s foremost attraction doesn’t disappoint. The sand dunes inside Namib-Naukluft National Park are some of the highest in the world and seeing them light up at sunrise is a sight that shouldn’t be missed. Sossusvlei is in fact only one dune, but the name is often used to collectively describe a handful of others. The most photogenic are the 170 metre-high Dune 45 and Deadvlei, whose dried up clay basin is punctuated with the sculptural silhouettes of long-dead acacia trees.

Explore the remote Caprivi Strip

Few tourists venture northwards to visit this narrow finger of lush land that juts out into Botswana, Zambia and Angola – those that do will be rewarded. The landscape is dotted with rondavel huts, roadside stalls selling fruit, and women in colourful clothes going about their daily business. Plus, two of the region’s national parks – Mamili and Mudumu – are becoming good safari destinations.

Safari in style inside Etosha National Park

Etosha translates as “Great White Place” – an apt description for this endless pan of silvery salt-encrusted sand, which is all that remains of a large inland lake that stood here 12 million years ago. Come dry season, its southern waterholes attract elephant, giraffe, zebra, eland, blue wildebeest, thousand-strong herds of springbok, and even the endangered black rhinoceros. A handful of luxury resorts have views over the pan, so the game viewing can continue long into the night.

Meet the Himba in Kunene

The barren, mountainous landscapes of the northern Kunene region are home to the Himba people – a semi-nomadic, polygamous tribe famed for wearing ochre-stained dreads and copper-wire bracelets. A number of tour companies will run visits to traditional villages, but a more rewarding (and perhaps ethical) way to meet the Himba is to base yourself in Opuwo, a vibrant little town, and wander for more candid interaction with the locals. From here you can also organise visits to Epupa falls.

Feed cheetahs in the Kalahari

Seeing wild cheetahs on safari is unforgettable, but at times viewings are no more than a glimpse of spots. For an up-close encounter, book to stay at Bagatella Kalahari Game Ranch: attached to the property is a 12-hectare enclosure belonging to the Cheetah Conservation Fund and it’s home to three orphaned cheetahs – Etosha, Rolf and Tuono – that are being rehabilitated for release. Seated safely aboard an open-sided Jeep, you can watch their caretaker dole out the evening feed (four kilos of meat each) then enjoy a sundowner atop the famous red dunes.

Find shipwrecks on the Skeleton Coast

This otherworldly strip of coastline earned its named from the treacherous fogs and strong currents that forced many ships onto its uncharted sands. Hemmed in by the high, searing dunes of the Namib Desert and lack of fresh water many sailors perished here. Explore the rusted hulls of stranded ships, marooned whale ribs and kilometre-long stinky seal colonies.

Party on the roof in Windhoek

Namibia’s capital is a city on the move. Take in the sights while sipping a cocktail and watching the sunset at the brand-new Hilton hotel’s Skybar – a rooftop bar complete with heated infinity pool and panoramic vistas overlooking Independence Avenue and the Supreme Court. It’s the perfect way to toast your Namibian adventure.

Get more inspiration from Rough Guides here. Book hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. That’s the traveller’s rule of thumb, but in a metropolis of 11 million like São Paulo, Brazilit’s hard to know where to start. Luckily Paulistanos take their food, drink and partying seriously, so if you want to immerse yourself like a local, follow our lead: 

Join the queue at Bar Veloso

Set in a quiet residential square in the Vila Mariana neighbourhood, this buzzy corner boteco is perennially packed – and for good reason. Its award-winning caipirinhas feature exotic fruits such as jabuticaba and pitaya (dragon fruit) or weird combos like tangerine with chilli peppers, and its bar grub is a notch above the rest. The coxinha in particular – a creamy, chicken-and-cheese-croquette – is the city’s best, and worth the inevitable wait alone. If you’re keen on sitting, veer towards Veloso’s adjacent space next door or try snagging a stool at either side’s bar. But if the (strong) possibility of standing all night doesn’t kill your buzz, just squeeze in with the chatty locals along the sidewalk and let your worries pass you by.

Have a Paulistano breakfast at Café Floresta

Gone are the days when Centro was the focal point of São Paulo, but a step inside the old-school, standing room-only Café Floresta, on the ground floor of the city’s iconic Copan building, inspires visions of downtown’s glory days. Order an espresso shot of their eponymous brew with a pão na chapa (toasted, buttered bread) and a glass of freshly-squeezed OJ, and watch as some of the Copan’s 5000 or so eclectic residents trickle out to start their day.

The fiera at Liberdade, by Juan Cifrian

Sample the local goods at a feira

Once the sugar and caffeine starts oozing out of your pores, lose yourself in one of the city’s abundant open-air feiras (street markets). Few countries can lay claim to the diversity of Brazil’s produce, and with feiras taking place all over the city, 7 days a week, these street stalls are the best place to try before you buy. Those hungry and pressed for time can make a beeline for the crazy-sweet caldo de cana (sugar cane juice) and the saturating pastels (thin-crust fried pies), but street food fans in no rush should sample the variety of typical treats at the popular weekend feiras at Praça República, Liberdade and Benedito Calixto.

Pig Out at Genuíno

Saturday afternoons in São Paulo mean live music and feijoada – a slow-cooked, pork and bean stew – and you won’t find a better pairing of the two than at Genuíno’s. Head straight to the garden out back, where the live MPB (Música popular brasileira) and chorinho is played from the house’s second-story balcony. The feijoada is served in an all-you-can-eat spread alongside three different flavours of batida, a whipped, cachaça cocktail infused with condensed milk. Locals never get tired of their sugary treats, so don’t forget to pre-empt your pig-out fatigue with a caipirinha – there’s plenty more partying to come.

The feast at Genuíno, by Juan Cifrian

Dance all day with Sambistas

Now that you’re properly fuelled up, start your Saturday samba crawl at Traço de União, an expansive samba hall where the restless party crowd starts filing in for the infectious live music around 3pm and stays until well into the evening.

Once you’ve had your fill of Traço’s meat market, take a cab to Vila Madalena for a more intimate vibe at Pau Brasil, named after the same tree as the country (Brazilwood). This steamy, hole-in-the-wall bar packs in tight around the roda de samba (informal style of samba where the musicians share the floor with the crowd), but you’ll be too caught up in the moment to care.

If you prefer having more room to operate, go around the corner and give Grazie a Dio a twirl. Samba rock – an offshoot of the samba genre – is usually in heavy rotation, so the dancing is paired, in a style similar to the turn-happy salsa.

Traço Da União, by Juan Cifrian

People-watch at Lanchonete Charme da Paulista

São Paulo’s tourist trail pales in comparison to the spectacular sights of Rio de Janeiro, but you could find worse than the cityscape that accompanies a stroll down postcard-perfect Avenida Paulista. For full effect, hunker down for a bucket of beers at Charme da Paulista, a humming sidewalk boteco with an unobstructed view of the city’s looming flagship museum, MASP, and the throng of Paulistanos pounding the pavement both day and night.

Get Low-Down and Dirty in Baixo Augusta

A sharp right off the heights of Avenida Paulista onto the lower end of Rua Augusta takes you into the edgier, grittier side of the city’s nightlife known as Baixo Augusta. Paulistanos from all walks of life duck in and out of jam-packed dives and live music venues, or simply hang out on the sidewalk with beer in hand. The remnants of the city’s former red light district are increasingly evident as you journey downhill, and it can get downright dodgy in the wee hours of the night, but the cast of characters and diversity of this unpretentious party scene ensures it’s never a dull night.

Pizza from Speranza

Try a Paulistano Pie

No Sunday is complete without the peculiar Paulistano tradition of having pizza with knife and fork, white tablecloths, and waiters serving your every slice tableside. Whether it’s a famous margherita at Speranza or the frango com catupiry (chicken with soft cheese) at one of the city’s renowned Bráz branches, indulge in the city’s pride and joy and decide for yourself whether São Paulo pies really are the world’s best.

Pedal on Sunday’s Ciclofaixa

The perfect way to balance all this indulgence is to join the droves of Paulistanos on the city’s extensive bike path, known as the Ciclofaixa. Walking around a new city will always be the best way to soak it all up, especially when cycling is as treacherous as it is through as São Paulo, but on Sundays and holidays from 7am to 4pm, these coned-off bike lanes on some of the main roads invite everyone from families to serious cyclists to go for a spin. Rent your set of wheels at the scenic Parque Ibirapuera for R$5/hour and follow the flow of traffic.

Explore more of Brazil here with the Rough Guides website. Book hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

Planning a trip to Croatia and wondering which 17 things you shouldn’t miss? Always thought about Croatia for a holiday but never knew what it had to offer?

Allow us to present our favourite things to see and do in this beautiful European country.

San Francisco is the undisputed home of the start-up. From the Silicon Valley powerhouses to growing tech clusters in Oakland and the Mission, the Bay Area is a hub for digital innovation. Apple, Netflix, Twitter, Dropbox, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and more all hail from this corner of northern California. It should be no surprise, then, that San Francisco is also home to a host of companies that are changing the way we travel. Eleanor Aldridge picks seven of the best. 

Uber

In 2010, it was impossible to find a cab in San Francisco, so Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick came up with an idea. They created an app that would allow users to get a quote and hail a car immediately, track the driver’s arrival using GPS and pay with a pre-registered card. Uber, “everyone’s private driver”, has since controversially re-defined taxi services around the world. There are several levels of service available – the cheapest, UberX, usually works out 20–50% less than a regular taxi. Drivers and passengers rate each other out of five after each ride; if drivers drop below 4.5 stars, they’re in danger of being struck off, while passengers with poor ratings are likely to be passed up.

HotelTonight

The HotelTonight app has been downloaded over ten million times since it launched in 2011, and covers cities across the US and Europe. Each day they offer unsold rooms from a selection of handpicked hotels to travellers looking for a last-minute bed. Prices vary, but are usually at least 20% lower than the rack rate. Aside from the sleek, easy-to-use interface, a big selling point is the quality of the properties, which range from “basic” and “solid” budget options to five-star and design hotels classified as “hip” or “luxe”.

Foodspotting

This “visual guide to good food and where to find it” aims to take the hassle out of choosing somewhere to eat. Rather than writing a review, Foodspotting users upload a snap of a restaurant’s best dish. Think of the app as Tinder for the palate: if you don’t like what you see, then keep on swiping. Even with 2.5 million foods “spotted”, the community is still growing and tips can be patchy in places, but this is definitely one to watch.

Peek

Founded in San Francisco just a year ago by Brit and Oxford graduate Ruzwana Bashir, with backing from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Peek is expanding fast. The website and accompanying app are a visually appealing one-stop-shop for activities and experiences: walking tours, surf lessons, cooking classes, tickets to major attractions and more. They’ve also persuaded “tastemakers” in each city to write a feature on their perfect day; foodies can follow Mark Hix around London, while in LA you can discover how Diane Von Furstenberg or Piers Morgan would spend a day out.

Hipmunk

Hipmunk has been making waves for the last four years, although you’d expect nothing less from a start-up run by one of the founders of Reddit. This new breed of search aggregator allows users to simultaneously trawl through Expedia, Booking.com, Airbnb and more. It’s set apart from the competition by its unrivalled user experience: new tabs open within the page rather than your browser, you can compare multiple flights and hotels side-by-side, results can be refined with intuitive filters and handy price graphs show you the best air fares in the next ninety days. If you register, your results are saved cross-platform, so you can pick up a search on your phone later on.

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Airbnb

Airbnb is the success story many other start-ups aspire to emulate. The site simply allows anyone to rent out their spare room or apartment, with payments made securely through their system. These days browsing the listings can feel more like flicking through a Pinterest board. For less than the price of a hotel room you can usually get your own pad, with cool décor, stunning views and quirky furniture pretty much de rigueur. (We recently picked out some of the most unusual places to stay around the world.) Taking on companies like HotelTonight, Airbnb recently announced last-minute reservations.

Jetpac

Although founded in 2011, Jetpac changed focus at the end of last year launching an app that compiles Instagram-sourced guides to over six thousand cities worldwide. Their algorithms analyze public Instagram photos, pulling out top ten lists for each city such as “ten popular wine bars”, “ten hipster hangouts” and the slightly more dubious “ten bars women love”. The iPhone app has some bugs and the content is thus far somewhat unreliable, but Jetpac is a game-changing idea nonetheless – even if it just gives a flavour of where Instagram-addicts like to hang out. 

Download the Rough Guides World Lens app for a regular installment of inspirational travel photographs. Book hostels for your trip and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

Whether you want to keep fit while on holiday, or just explore new corners of the UK on foot, Jen and Sim Benson – authors of the new Wild Running: 150 Adventures on the Trails & Fells of Britain – have compiled their five favourite running routes in Britain. 

East Cornwall

The south east of Cornwall boasts a wonderful mixture of pretty fishing villages, beautiful beaches – take the three-mile sweep of Whitsand Bay – and the rugged South West Coast Path with its mile upon mile of fantastic running terrain. Following the gently winding River Fowey northwards brings you to the wide-open spaces of Bodmin Moor, punctuated with tors whose granite has been used for millennia to build the towns and villages nearby. A favourite run here takes in the stone circles of the Hurlers and the towering rock stack of the Cheesewring passes close to Golitha Falls, where the Fowey cascades down a spectacular wooded gorge.
Full run details at wildrunning.net/hurlers-cheesewring

The South Downs

The chalk hills of the South Downs extend from the
 Itchen Valley in the west to Beachy Head, near Eastbourne, in the east. Running across these vast, open chalklands on the fine, springy, close-cropped turf created by centuries of grazing is pure joy. We have run many great routes along the South Downs Way, a 100-mile waymarked trail from Winchester to Eastbourne. This National Trail is home to some fantastic races, including the South Downs Trail Marathon. A circular run passing Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters takes in the area’s dramatic chalk cliffs along with peaceful Friston Forest, also a haven for mountain biking.
Full run details at wildrunning.net/beachy-head-seven-sisters 

The Howgills

The quieter, wilder neighbours of the Lake District, Cumbria’s Howgill Fells lie just within the borders of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  Characterised by sweeping, grassy hillsides, craggy outcrops and rambling, stony trails there is a feeling of utter peace and tranquility here.  One of our happiest discoveries when researching for the book, this little-visited area is a true wild runner’s dream.  A fantastic 6 mile loop from Haygarth takes in Cautley Spout – nearly 200 metres of bubbling, tumbling waterfall – and The Calf, the highest point in this range of fells at 676 metres, finishing with an exhilarating descent into Bowderdale.
Full run details at wildrunning.net/the-howgills

Southern Snowdonia

The rugged mountains of North Wales are a perfect arena for walking, climbing and running, from the peaceful Rhinogydd to the high passes of the Snowdon Range. The classic, spectacular Glyder Ridge is an awe-inspiring run, with nearly 700 metres of ascent packed into the first 2 miles. Cadair Idris is a picture-perfect mountain, and home to the legend of Idris, the giant who dwelt here in Welsh folklore and whose great chair crowns its summit.  The run up the Pony Path and back is exciting, adventurous and exhilarating, taking you through some magical scenery with vast views out across the surrounding mountains, whilst being relatively straightforward to follow. Navigation may be challenging in poor weather.
Full run details at wildrunning.net/cadair-idris

Fort William & Lochaber

Fort William is something of a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. Runners, climbers, walkers and mountain bikers flock here
 to explore the wonders of the surrounding landscapes. The West Highland Way, home of the infamous ultramarathon, finishes here. The Nevis Range is startlingly beautiful, from the brooding form of Ben Nevis, its summit often obscured by swirling cloud, to the peaceful, golden valley of Glen Nevis with its cascading waterfalls, woodland trails and bracken-covered hillsides. A run around the shores of remote and serene Loch Ossian, inaccessible by road but a great run from Corrour Railway Station, is a gentler alternative.
Full run details at wildrunning.net/loch-ossian-loop

Runners and writers Jen and Sim Benson are passionate about exploring the wild places of Britain and finding the best places to run. Their new book Wild Running: 150 Adventures on the Trails & Fells of Britain (Wild Things Publishing) is available at £16.99 inc P&P from wildrunning.net.
Explore more of Britain with the Rough Guide to Britain. Book hostels for your trip and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

Brazil’s World Cup city Manaus will have far more than just football to offer this year. Here are the top ten things to do in Manaus while you’re there.

See Italian architecture at the Manaus Opera House

Completed in 1896 at a total cost of over two million dollars, the Manaus Opera House was built at the height of the Brazilian rubber boom. Wealthy rubber barons constructed opulent palatial homes, hosted elaborate parties and attended opera and ballet shows, living in much the same way as their counterparts in Europe. Italian architects and painters were duly commissioned, and virtually all of the materials used to build the theatre were imported from Europe, including Italian Carrara marble and French tiles.

The streets surrounding the Opera House were constructed with a special blend of rubber, sand and clay in order to dampen the noise of late arriving carriages, so as not to interrupt the voices of Europe’s best sopranos. Today the Manaus Opera House hosts regular music and theatre performances from around the world. The Festival Amazonas de Ópera is held here annually April-June, while the Amazonas Film Festival takes places in November. Visitors can see the theatre interior during the day as part of a guided tour.

Discover opulence and politics at the Palácio Rio Negro

This beautiful colonial-period mansion was built in the early twentieth century by German rubber baron Waldemar Scholz. Scholz’s Amazonian dream came to an end with the collapse of the rubber boom, and his residence was soon acquired by the state. The building thereafter became the seat of the government and served as the governor’s residence for a number of years. Today, the Palácio, with its lovely varnished wooden floors, functions as a cultural centre and museum with displays of beautiful period furniture.

Explore the beginning of the Amazon

About ten kilometres from Manaus is the meeting of the waters, where the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimões meet to form the mighty Amazon River. The alkaline waters of the Solimões and the acid black waters of the Rio Negro (literally “Black River”) flow separately for several kilometres before they meet. Black water rivers are born in the central Amazon and have acid waters due to the decomposing organic matter that they carry with them from the forest soil; brown water rivers like the Solimões owe their hue to the large quantity of sediment they carry from the Andes mountains. The muddy brown of the Rio Solimões contrasts sharply with the Rio Negro’s dark black waters, creating a truly unique sight that is well worth experiencing.

Take a panoramic flight over the Anavilhanas Archipelago

Occupying an area of 350,000 hectares, Anavilhanas is one of the world’s largest river archipelagos. It is formed of over 400 islands and lies along the banks of the Rio Negro, the largest black water river in the world. Designated a National Park in 2008, this large equatorial forest is home to truly remarkable biodiversity. A panoramic flight over the archipelago is an unforgettable experience, with spectacular views of flooded forests, navy blue lakes and meandering rivers.

Stay at a Jungle Lodge

Lying at the heart of the Amazon rainforest means that Manaus is entirely surrounded by jungle. There are dozens of lodges here, mostly reachable by boat, to suit all tastes and budgets with accommodation ranging from rustic fan-cooled huts to luxurious air-conditioned chalets. Activities at jungle lodges include piranha fishing, jungle treks, night walks, canoeing through verdant creeks and bird spotting – to name a few.

Shop for crafts and vegetables at Mercado Municipal Adolpho Lisboa

Inaugurated in 1883, this art nouveau iron-cast market was based on Les Halles in Paris. As with most buildings constructed with rubber fortunes, the building structure was entirely shipped over from Europe. Within the market and further along the waterfront, colourful stalls display all manner of goods, including exotic fruits and vegetables, Amazonian herbs, handmade crafts and tropical freshwater fish. East along the river is the lively Banana Market, with heaps of green and yellow bananas and plantains for sale.

Get tribal at the Museu do Homem do Norte

Brazil is home to 220 indigenous tribes, speaking around 180 languages belonging to thirty different linguistic groups. Over seventy uncontacted tribes also call these lands their home. This fascinating museum provides an excellent introduction to the Amazon and its numerous tribes, with informative displays on pre-colonial societies, tribal rituals and medicinal herbs.

Admire the Victoria Amazónica Water Lily

The lakes and backwaters of the Amazon River are home to the giant Victoria Amazónica water lily, the largest water lily in the world. This aquatic plant has leaves that grow up to 2.5 metres in diameter that can sustain the weight of a small baby. The buoyant lilies have beautifully circular leaves with upturned edges, and pretty white flowers that turn light pink on their second day of life. Formerly Victoria Regia, the plant was named in honour of Queen Victoria by Sir Joseph Paxton, head of the Duke of Devonshire’s gardens, who impressed his fellow horticulturalists by becoming the first person to cultivate this exotic water lily in Britain.

Learn the life of a rubber tapper

The open-air Museu do Seringal Vila Paraíso re-creates the living and working conditions of rubber barons and tappers at the beginning of the twentieth century. The museum’s historic townhouse illustrates the luxuries that were available to wealthy rubber barons who lived much like their European contemporaries in the remote Amazonian rainforest. Displays include ancient pieces of furniture and memorabilia, such as a beautiful 1911 piano and a gramophone. Within the grounds is also the replica of a thatched roof shelter of a rubber tapper, along with a rubber-smoking hut where they would spend hours solidifying latex into rubber bales, ready to be shipped abroad.

Get adventurous beneath waterfalls at Presidente Figueiredo

Nicknamed the “Land of Waterfalls”, Presidente Figueiredo is a nature lover’s paradise, home to dozens of towering waterfalls and hidden caves surrounded by jungle. Lying 190km north of Manaus, it’s a popular weekend destination for those living in the city. Meandering paths snake through wild jungle before opening up onto cascading falls with amber coloured pools. This is a great spot for adventure sports including kayaking, caving, rafting and trekking.

With over 27 years’ experience, Select Latin America are specialists in South American travel. The company organises tailor-made and off the beaten track tours of Brazil. Explore more of Brazil with the upcoming Rough Guide to Brazil, out in October 2014. Buy the Rough Guide to South America on a Budget now. 
Book hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

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