Big Read

There is never a bad time to visit Edinburgh

You may not be able to catch the St Andrew’s Day celebrations next week, but there is never a bad time to visit Edinburgh, says Denise O'Donoghue.

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Gorillas in the midst of Africa

An awestruck Geoff Power is smitten after his close encounters with gorillas deep in the heart of Africa.

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A voyage of discovery in lovely Lisbon

The Portuguese capital Lisbon has an abundance of beautiful buildings that hark back to its golden past. Eoghan Cormican stretches his feet to check out the Tower of Belém, Vasco de Gama’s tomb and many other attractions, such as the old town. 

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The Christmas market in Bath.

Magical world of Christmas markets in Europe

The tradition of Christmas markets dates back to the late-Middle Ages throughout the German-speaking regions of Europe, but these days they pop up all over the world. Tony Clayton-Lea chooses the best and most atmospheric to visit in the UK and Europe.

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The Cabot Trail

Nova Scotia, a home from home

Jennifer Hough says Nova Scotia’s Irish immigrant influences are obvious, but it also has its own charm.

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The Alentejo in Portugal is uncrowded and beautiful

Tell someone you are visiting Portugal and they assume you are visiting the Algarve on a sun or golf holiday, or perhaps taking a weekend break in Lisbon.

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Canet-en-Rousillon is a charming old town with the Pyrenees on its doorstep

I AWOKE with techno music still beating in my head. 

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Eating out in Vietnam, literally

Street food is hugely popular in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, but follow the locals’ choice, says Sarah Harte.

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Madonna Di Loreto, Caravaggio

In the Eternal City hoping for a brush with a Caravaggio

Conor Power dodges the pigeons as he pounds the pavements of the Eternal City while visiting its churches and chapels on the trail of the fast and furious Caravaggio — famed as both genius and sociopath.

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Chateau De Cruix, France

Travel Europe by bus for an amazing adventure

Liz O’ Brien ticked off her continental bucket list with a Contiki ‘European Highlights’ tour in London, Paris, Nice, Monaco, the French Riviera, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Rhine Valley, St Goar, Munich, Edam and Amsterdam    

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Hitting the slopes of Meribel in France

Michael Schumacher’s tragic accident at Christmas threw the renowned French skiing resort of Meribel into the centre of an international media storm, but Fiachra O’Cionnaith assures that this shouldn’t convince skiers to steer clear of slopes.

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Lake Enol and mountains at Los Picos de Europas National Park in northern Spains offers mindboggling views for miles.

Basque countryside like a step back in time

Joe McNamee ventures to the provinces of Cantabria and Asturias in North Western Spain where he swops the sun, sea and sangria familiar in the south of the country for some sun, sea and sidra.

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Cannes: Perfect holiday straight from a film – almost

Noel Baker liked classic comedy ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ so much, he decided to base his family holiday around it. Here’s what he found…    

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Alpe d’Huez, for the best skiing fun

VARIETY is the spice of life, is it not? We should be open to new things and seek to experience as many different activities and places as possible.

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Lisbon place is teeming with tourists and bustling with life, with fine food at every turn

Lisbon, a city of history

One of the oldest cities in the world, Lisbon has a captivating history. Reborn in recent years through European funding, it still has enough magic on its streets to leave Brian Canty enchanted.

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Seoul is a modern metropolis with a population of 10 million.

Seoul reborn as a high tech metropolis

GANGNAM style, for me, is something I wind up experiencing by accident.

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Cultural Oslo keeps its cool

From art appreciation to a spell on the slopes, Arlene Harris made the most of what Oslo has to offer on a jam-packed budget trip.

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Large in scale, local in heart, Toronto oozes charm

TORONTO isn’t your average city. Home to more than 100 nationalities, 140 languages and 250,000 immigrants; diversity is both its cultural currency and way of life.

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St Hilarion castle, North Cyprus

Bewitched by beauty of a hidden gem in Cyprus

TAX evaders take holidays too, and they might want to consider Northern Cyprus for their next vacation.

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Castile Leon: A Spanish alternative

IN THESE needy times, you can be forgiven for hunting down value when booking a holiday.

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Cruising through Europe on the river Danube

IT’S not really until you experience Central and Eastern Europe up close that you can fully understand the cause and effects of centuries of warfare.

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a male Bengal tiger walking beside a lake in Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh, India.

How to earn your stripes, tailing tigers in India

Dan MacCarthy is roughing it on a jeep safari in rugged Bandhavgarh National Park in northern India, where he hopes to get a glimpse of an elusive tiger or, maybe, two.

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The heart of the old town in Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a tiny territory that’s big on charm

Since Luxembourg is the capital of a country only the size of Munster, lots can be packed into a weekend, as Louise O’Neill discovered.

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Breathtaking view of Yosemite national park at sunrise in California, which is equally a mecca for active outdoor types, students of nature, and lovers of peace and quiet.

Hike, climb or park yourself in Yosemite National Park, California

WHEN Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant in 1864, he could not have foreseen that the gesture would spark an environmental renaissance across America, resulting in 59 stunning National Parks today.

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Malta is thunder and enlightening

Two decades after visiting a rowdy Malta in his twenties, Dave Kenny finds plenty to explore and enjoy on the island.

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With daily direct flights from Ireland, Malaga already had unique appeal. And now the city boasts a new marina for cruise ships, and museums including, next year, the first Pompidou centre outside France.

Malaga has the art of living

THE CITY air smells like incense. Stall owners prepare for the crowds, turning on the water sprinklers over fresh coconut pieces, and arranging tubs of sweet marshmallow, giant lollipops, plastic horns, drums and cold drinks.

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Caught in Lake Garda’s magic spell

IT IS market day in Desenzano on the southern shore of Lake Garda. Along the waterfront, vendors hawk their wares: clothes, jewellery, handbags and pottery beckon to passersby.

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The Way of St James on the Camino Way.

A journey to the end of the world

Take a walk with Liz O’ Brien to the literal end of the earth at Finisterre, on the rugged Atlantic coast of Galicia in Spain, where for centuries pilgrims have completed the Camino de Santiago.

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Understated Zaragoza

Claire O’Reilly on why you should explore the Aragonese capital before everyone else catches on to its charms.

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A sight-seeing boat passeshouseboats on an Amsterdam canal

Pushing the boat out on holiday

Want to experience a city like a local? Then forget larger hotels and stay in their homes, says David Monagan. Welcome to the world of the foreign rental.

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