• Travel Supplement

    Italy's cocktail of delights! Author Wendy Holden takes a Grand Tour by train to Venice for punchy negronis and heads on to Rome for its museums

    'A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.’ The poet Keats could have been talking about a really good Negroni. We were in Rome, where the poet’s life ended, and about to walk into the bar of a leading, long-established hotel. How would the Inghilterra score on the Negroni-ometer?Rome was our third stop on a Grand Tour by train. We Eurostarred from London to Paris where, having shoved our rucksacks in Gare de Lyon’s handy left luggage office, we spent a day wandering and lunching before getting the overnight sleeper to Venice. Ancient wonders: The magnificent ruins of the Roman ...

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    Malta? I'll be back... Revealing why fans of this magical Mediterranean island keep returning every year

    A wish to return is the best compliment a tourist can offer. Asking friends about Malta, I discovered they’d all become regular visitors to this tiny, beautiful and heroic island perched south of Sicily at the centre of the ancient trade routes of the Mediterranean.One of the island’s fondest fans is a former pilot who first arrived there during the Second World War, when Malta - an essential British naval base and under constant attack - won the George Cross for bravery. Chums joke he’s still looking for the leg he lost in Valletta’s Grand Harbour. He just says he loves ...

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    Catch a piranha, dance a polka or dine in Provence! How to have a REAL adventure with some of the best new boats and cruising itineraries around

    River travel can show you the world. Here are some of the best new boats and itineraries on cruises to book now.Amazing AmazonThe dense Amazonian jungle, teeming with wildlife, is best explored by boat. From your luxurious base, Delfin III for just 44 passengers, you’ll set out in skiffs with naturalists on tributaries of the mighty Amazon in Peru.See sloths, toucans and howler monkeys in the tree tops, watch out for rare pink dolphins, and go fishing for piranhas. On nocturnal walks, you’ll look for bats and boa constrictors. Avalon Cruises run tours that take in Cusco, the capital of ...

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    Falling for Ibiza's chic and starry neighbour Formentera - where nudity is rife and Sienna Miller holidays

    Where do we stand on nudity? I quite like it myself, when traipsing from the bathroom to the bedroom on a balmy night or swimming in a moon-lit sea when no one else is around.But that’s not the Formentera way. After a superb lunch at Gecko - our Migjorn beach hotel on the island’s southern flank - we head off for a leisurely postprandial but are soon distracted by a couple lying naked in the sand.The man is all legs akimbo, his female companion spread out as if slumber has taken hold midway through a yoga stretch. They are far ...

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    The rebirth of Perth! How direct flights to Australia will help put this vibrant city on the map

    The best programme on Australian TV is the weather forecast. An impossibly tanned presenter in a floral shirt flashes his bleached teeth, smiles at the camera and waves his hand airily about a map of the huge land mass with barely a cloud on it.‘It’s a beaut in Adelaide today!’ he exclaims and slaps the word BEAUT across the south coast. Ready for action: Perth is now only 17 hours away thanks to a new direct flight with Qantas ‘It’s gonna be a bottler in Alice Springs,’ he continues, sticking BOTTLER (Aussie slang for muggy) in the centre of the country. ‘And ...

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    An Inspector Calls: The Pear Tree won't lure the Chipping Norton set with stale bread rolls and ill-fitted curtains

    Rating: The Pear Tree is a family-run concern on the edge of the Cotswolds that, says its brochure, ‘specialises in making memories’.My memories are of a hotel that could do with a make-over, but one where there is no particular imperative to do so as long as its loyal following remains intact. It has the air of a smart old people’s home, with pleasant staff, a pleasing garden and an endearing back story. Family-run: The Pear Tree, located on the edge of the Cotswolds, ‘specialises in making memories’The owners for the past 30 years have been Francis and Anne Young, who ...

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    A French island thriller! Volcanic Reunion in the Indian Ocean will take your breath away

    We could be entering a kingdom imagined by Tolkien. My fists clench as the chopper surges down a sheer gorge, skimming past the forested edges, a waterfall bubbling away beneath.For such a small island - it’s the size of Dorset - Reunion makes you feel tiny. No wonder the French snapped it up in the 17th century. In the Indian Ocean, 1,300 miles off the east coast of Africa, it is the EU’s very furthest outpost. Reunion is located in the Indian Ocean, 1,300 miles off the east coast of AfricaIt shares a bloodline with Mauritius, 140 miles away. Both burst ...

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    Austria's ski sweet spot! The little-known triptych of villages boasting groomed pistes and spectacular slopes

    You know you are on to something special when the well-travelled couple sitting opposite you in the cable car lean forward and say intently, ‘Please don’t tell anyone about this...’We are in the high-speed gondola heading up to the 2,770m Pezid peak. From there, you savour the views of Switzerland and Italy, before choosing from two hairy-chested black runs or taking the scenic, long blue.Spoilt for choice, in other words - and virtually unknown in the UK. The three historic villages of Serfaus, Fiss and Ladis sit on a plateau in the Austrian Tyrol high above the Inn Valley. The ...

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    Let's raise a glass to Madeira! Why the Portuguese region is sweet like the wine it's known for, says Frank Barrett

    Tenerife is like fizzy pop: sweet, delicious but generally unremarkable. Madeira, on the other hand, is like a fine wine which you can savour and enjoy long after the first taste. It’s an interesting comparison. Tenerife is the best known of the Spanish Canary Islands, famous as a package-holiday haunt. Portuguese Madeira occupies a similar stretch of the Atlantic – 300 miles off the North African coast – but has a different vibe.   Beauty spot: Portuguese Madeira occupies a 300-mile stretch off the North African coastIt doesn’t really do ‘sun and sand’, for a start – it has a couple of beaches ...

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    Sicily at its swishest! Following on the heels of Emma Watson and Prince Harry to one of Italy's hottest luxury resorts

    Did Hermione really stay in our room?’ yelped my ten-year-old daughter Alice, eyes like saucers. For a Harry Potter nut like her it was almost too much to contemplate.I’d just discovered that a week before we arrived at the Verdura Resort on the west coast of Sicily, the entire place had been hired by the top brass at Google and Emma Watson (who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films) was one of the guests along with Elton John and Prince Harry.It was a coup for the hotel, and I got the feeling those stellar guests would have left ...

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    A family stay in Rudyard Kipling's Vermont home is Just So... instantly enchanting

    When I was ten, my father challenged me to learn Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ in exchange for a pound. I memorised all four verses. Fast-forward 30-odd years and I’m in Mr Kipling’s southern Vermont home with my three children. I’m at the desk where he wrote the Jungle Book next to a shelf with dozens of first editions: Captains Courageous, Kim, Just So Stories — it’s goose-bump inducing.Better still, this isn’t a whistle-stop visit. The Landmark Trust USA now allows the public to stay, and we’ve booked three nights. Jo Kessel stayed at Rudyard Kipling’s house with her family. The Landmark Trust USA ...

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    Choices, choices! 3,300 islands, one million square miles and a ship - but Sicily, Corfu, Malta and Gibraltar get the vote

    A modern-day cruise is about the closest we get to the old Blue Riband days of stately ocean liners. If you choose carefully, you can still sample some of that lost gentility. My wife and I are intermittent rather than inveterate cruisers. Our last foray was to the Mediterranean, that sea of almost one million square miles and more than 3,300 islands, of which we visited four. Land ahoy: During a 17-night Mediterranean cruise, the Mail on Sunday's Stephen Robert's hit four different spots (above, Malta’s Valletta harbour seen bustling with boats)Messina, in Sicily, is notable for its clock tower, but the ...

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    Sian Lloyd follows in Joanna Lumley's footsteps by ticking off her ultimate bucket list adventure on the Trans-Siberian Railway

    It's thanks to Joanna Lumley that I ticked off the very top item on my bucket list and took the ultimate long-distance train ride. Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest line in the world, and the charming Ms Lumley had been dispatched by ITV to travel seven time zones and several landscapes, from east to west across Russia.I was seduced by her joyous enthusiasm as she crossed some of the harshest, yet most beautiful terrain on Earth. By the middle of the series, I had booked myself a cabin on the ...

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    France's family favourite: How Ile de Re always works its magic on lively children and stressed-out parents

    There were moments during what was supposed to be a gentle family bike ride around Ile de Re where we felt that, just maybe, we d bitten off more than we could chew.One was when I managed to wedge the bright blue trailer carrying our toddler girls between a wooden fence and a thick hedge.The next was when my husband forgot about our four-year-old on the back of his bike as he jumped off to help. Divine: The Daily Mail's Caroline Gammell went on a bike ride while in sunny Ile de Re with her family, they later cooled off ...

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    A front seat to the best wildlife show on earth: Inside the lavish fenceless Botswana safari camp where hunting is banned and guests include Prince Harry

    There are plenty of places in Africa to go on safari, but seldom few can get you as close up and personal with the Big Five as those in Botswana.As of 2104 it's been one of the only African countries to have banned game hunting - so is thus fully focused on the art of viewing rather than gunning down animals - and the jewel in its crown is Wilderness, which operates 19 scenic camps scattered around the Okavango Delta.With former guests including Prince Harry, this operation of small camps is unfenced, with off-road allowances that allow you to trail ...

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