Issuu on Google+

Award Winning!

2 5 T R AV E L SECRETS Best New Magazine

FALL 2016

Our experts guide you from America’s most surprising city to the pristine tip of Patagonia



How to Go Now

The Best Things

VEGAS are Free


A Wine Trail in (the Other)


The Cultural Heart of




Editor’s Letter


Want to know a secret?

Then you’ve come to the right place. This issue is jam-packed with insider tips from our travel experts around the world. We’re sharing insider info on lesser-known places that deserve the spotlight – in destinations like Florida and California as well as more exotic locales, including Malta and Honduras. Our list of 25 “Travel Secrets” (p. 38) will give you plenty of inspiration. I felt like I discovered a new country during my recent trip to Bermuda, one of our “Easy Trips” (p. 29). The chain of islands – often overlooked by travelers – is my own personal travel secret: get there before the crowds do for America’s Cup in June 2017. You’ll be rewarded with turquoise waters and pink-sand beaches, and endless denizens eager to share their culture, lifestyle and history with you. My advice if you’re Bermuda-bound: take the bus! It will inexpensively take you everywhere you need to go without need to rent a moped or worrying about driving on the left side of the road. (Tourists can’t rent cars in Bermuda, which is probably a good thing. The whole look-right-first bit is difficult.) The bus tickets are usable on the excellent ferry system as well, and you can get from one end of the island to the city center of Hamilton in an easy 20 minutes for less than your morning cup of coffee. This issue also includes features on the former Soviet republic of Georgia (p. 60), an ancient wine-growing region, and understanding the complexities of Tokyo (p. 50). We’ve also mapped out a journey through central Spain (p. 79) that includes a tapas tour in Madrid. This side of the Atlantic, we’ve got trip ideas for Banff National Park in Canada (p. 30), Santa Barbara (p. 32), New York’s Hudson Valley (p. 34) and more. Lastly, I have some exciting news to share: Lonely Planet was named Best New Magazine at the 2016 min Magazine Media Awards. I’m grateful that our team has been recognized for the original, authentic approach that guides us in the creation of every issue, including this one. Happy travels,

Lauren @laurenrfinney

Alcazar de San Juan in Central Spain

Canada’s Lake Louise

Pink-sand beach in Bermuda

Fall 2016



Travel is in our blood We live for adventure, explore our boundaries and travel off the beaten path.

We are World Nomads. Join Us.

World Nomads Travel Insurance:

    � 

Buy online, even if already travelling

Find out why World Nomads is trusted by:

Claim online and access to 24/7 emergency assistance Cover for a range of adventure activities Expert travel safety advice to keep you travelling safely Give a little back: support a community project

World Nomads, Inc. (15854422), in CA dba World Nomads Travel Insurance Services (0I46621), provides Insurance underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and affiliated companies, Columbus, OH. All of the information we provide about travel insurance is a brief, general summary. It doesn’t take into account your personal situation, what you want or might need. Before you buy, it’s important to consider what product is right for you and you should carefully read all policy documents to understand the limits, terms and conditions which may apply.

contents easy trips

Fall 2016 Volume 2 / Number 3



p. 50

p. 60

25 Travel Secrets Our experts share some of their favorite destinations around the globe, from Pittsburgh to Patagonia and Vermont to Vojvodina.

Tokyo High & Low Journey to Tokyo, a city of many faces, and dig down to find the roots of Japan’s high-rise capital.

A Georgian Wine Trail Visit the former Soviet republic of Georgia and raise a glass to this ancient home of the grape.

p. 70

p. 79

Scenes from Cuba A photographer’s view – plus, what you need to know now about traveling to the island country.

Great Escape: Heart of Spain This inland region is as epic as a tale from Don Quixote. We venture to Madrid, Mérida and more.

// Pictured: The town of Consuegra, in Spain’s La Mancha, is famous for its windmills.

All prices correct at press time. Prices for hotel rooms are for double, en suite rooms in low season, unless otherwise stated. Flight prices are for the least expensive round-trip ticket.




viator mobile


easy trips

Globetrotter p. 9

Easy Trips p. 27

5 Spots Jazz in Morocco, fall foliage in Finland and three other timely destinations you need to know about now.

Ideas for take-them-now trips to Bermuda, Hudson Valley, Santa Barbara and more.

Amazing Places Hotels with outstanding spas.

Sunrise at Joshua Tree National Park, street art in Malaysia and more reader images from around the world.

Gear Essentials for two fall outings.

Mini Guides p. 97

Las Vegas Freebies You don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun in the gambling capital. Check out our list of free sights and activities.

// Above: A visit to dramatically beautiful Lake Louise is a highlight of any trip to Canada’s Banff National Park.

Postcards p. 91

Cover Photo // A view of Spain's ancient university town of Salamanca; Photo by Matt Munro

Florida / Water fun in the Sunshine State. Amsterdam / Tour museums in search of amazing artworks. Munich / A guide to the Bavarian capital’s beer halls.

10 New Ways Rediscover Dublin on the centennial of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Washington, D.C. / Free museums for all ages and interests.

Inside Knowledge A Lonely Planet editor shares tips on traveling solo.

Mexico City / What to eat in this sophisticated city.

San Francisco / Experience the City by the Bay on a budget.

DESTINATION INDEX ARGENTINA Ushuaia / 47 BERMUDA Hamilton / 29 St. George / 29 BRAZIL Ilhabela / 41 CAMBODIA Southern Islands / 40 CANADA Banff National Park / 30 CHINA / 26 COLOMBIA Popayán / 11 COSTA RICA / 112 CZECH REPUBLIC Prague / 48 CUBA / 70

ENGLAND Bath / 16 FINLAND Lapland / 10 FRANCE Paris / 49 GEORGIA Kakheti province / 66 Tbilisi / 63 Napareuli / 68 GERMANY Berlin / 44 Munich / 109 GUYANA / 44 HONDURAS Copán, Gracias / 47 HUNGARY Budapest / 9

INDIA Agra / 93 Shekhawati Region / 47 Udaipur / 112 INDONESIA Lombok / 42 IRELAND Dublin / 24 ITALY Pieve / 48 JAPAN Tokyo / 50 Okinawa / 48 Kyoto / 112 MALAYSIA Penang / 95 MALTA Valletta / 39

MEXICO Mexico City / 101 Northern Mexico / 11 MOROCCO Tangier / 11 Taroudant / 47 NETHERLANDS Amsterdam / 95, 105 Weeribben-Weiden National Park / 43 NORWAY Kjerringøy / 44 PORTUGAL Lisbon / 48 SERBIA Vojvodina / 40 SOUTH KOREA Seoul / 40

SPAIN Consuegra and Castile-La Mancha / 84 Madrid / 80 Mallorca / 46 Mérida / 86 Salamanca / 88 Toledo / 82 SRI LANKA Induruwa / 91 TANZANIA Nungwi / 92 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Dubai / 14 UNITED STATES ARIZONA: Carefree / 14 CALIFORNIA: Joshua Tree / 96

Lost Sierra, Quincy / 43 Santa Barbara / 32 San Francisco / 103 COLORADO: Breckenridge, Denver / 36 CONNECTICUT: Washington / 16 FLORIDA: Stock Island, Key West / 40 Crystal River, Dry Tortugas National Park, Everglades National Park, Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park / 99 MISSOURI: St. Louis / 11 NEVADA: Las Vegas / 20 NEW MEXICO: Albuquerque / 12

Fall 2016

NEW YORK: Hudson, Rhinebeck, Tarrytown / 34 PENNSYLVANIA: Pittsburgh / 45 SOUTH DAKOTA / 47 TENNESSEE: Bristol / 33 Nashville / 28 VERMONT: Champlain Islands / 48 VIRGINIA: Abingdon, Bristol, Floyd, Marion / 33 Colonial Williamsburg / 14 Shenandoah National Park / 92 WASHINGTON, D.C. / 107



Group Editor | Peter Grunert Editor | Lauren Finney

Creative Director | Nan Oshin


Operations Manager | Scott Toncray Copy Editor | Cindy Guier Designer | Kristina Juodenas Managing Destination Editors | Jennifer Carey, Jo Cooke, Evan Godt, Dora Whitaker Destination Editors | Joe Bindloss, Laura Crawford, Megan Eaves, Helen Elfer, Gemma Graham, Alexander Howard, Bailey Johnson, Lauren Keith, MaSovaida Morgan, Matt Phillips, James Smart, Anna Tyler, Branislava Vladisavljevic, Tasmin Waby, Rebecca Warren, Clifton Wilkinson ADVERTISING Vice President, Advertising Sales José Barreiro, josé Advertising Sales, U.S. Clarice Bongolan, Britta Bakos, Cathy Allendorf, Advertising Sales, Europe Melissa Skogman, Sofia Zournatzidi, Advertising Sales, U.K., Ireland & Africa David Read, Advertising Sales, Australia & Asia Adam Knight, Vice President, Business Development & Advertising, Asia-Pacific Andrew Hinshelwood, Advertising Sales, Asia-Pacific Ronald Tjoeka, Director, Account Management | Jennifer Pentes Global Vice President, Client Solutions | Tim Daugherty Senior Manager, Ad Operations | Emily Acker PUBLISHED BY LONELY PLANET GLOBAL, INC. Chief Executive Officer | Daniel Houghton Chief Operating Officer | Naveen Seshadri Chief Financial Officer | Theo Sathananthan Editorial Director | Tom Hall Managing Director, Publishing | Piers Pickard Director of Magazines | Sue Coffin Senior Legal Counsel | Kate Sullivan Finance Manager | Kyle Smith Editor, | James Kay Systems Engineer | David Richardson Office Manager | Lauren Deas

COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING Global Communications Manager | Laura Lindsay Director of Marketing, U.S. | Katie Coffee Senior Public Relations Manager, U.S. | Natalie Nicolson Marketing Manager, U.S. | Ashley Garver Trade Marketing Manager, U.S. | Britney Alvarez Art Director | Adam Moore CONSUMER MARKETING: SHAIN+ORINGER Managing Partner | Harold Shain Consumer Marketing Director | Denise Heller For newsstand inquiries | PRODUCTION: PUBLISHING EXPERTS Director of Manufacturing & Distribution | Catherine Fick Production Manager | Kady Francesconi For ad copy inquiries | WITH THANKS TO Alice Braham, Amanda Canning, Mike Cutting, Rory Goulding, Kali Hudson, Gabrielle Jaffe, Sophie McGrath, Claire Richardson, Oliver Smith, Orla Thomas and Hayley Ward ADVERTISING OFFICES 112 West 34th Street, 18th Floor New York, NY 10120 917-664-9796 EDITORIAL OFFICES 230 Franklin Road, Building 2B, Franklin, TN 37064

SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES Direct all inquiries, address changes and subscription orders to Lonely Planet, PO Box 37520, Boone, IA 50037-0520. You may also access customer service via the web at, via email at or by phone at 800-829-9121. Lonely Planet is published by Lonely Planet Global, Inc. (part of the Lonely Planet Group). The words “Lonely Planet” and the Lonely Planet symbol are trademarks of Lonely Planet Global, Inc. © Lonely Planet Global, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without permission. 2016 min’s Magazine Media Awards, Best New Magazine | Member of Alliance for Audited Media | Printed in the United States

A beat-up old car, a few dollars in the pocket and a sense of adventure. That’s all Tony and Maureen Wheeler needed for the trip of a lifetime, across Europe and Asia overland to Australia. It took several months, and at the end – broke but inspired – they sat at their kitchen table writing and stapling together their first travel guide, Across Asia on the Cheap. Within a week they’d sold 1,500 copies, and Lonely Planet was born. Founded by the Wheelers in 1973, Lonely Planet has gone on to become the world’s leading travel media company, inspiring and informing travelers across the globe. Our expert writers go in search of the best experiences, sharing award-winning travel information in more than 130 million guidebooks printed so far – covering almost every destination on the planet – as well as on, on social channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, in our Guides app and in this magazine.

FOLLOW US Website | Forum |

Mount Bromo, East Java • Indonesia

You will always prefer the scenic route At some point in your life, you will feel that it is time to unwind. With your usual daily vast occurrences, remember to push the reset button. Stop for a second, let go of your worries. Reconnect with the earth and experience our way of relaxing. Be one with our nature, take your pick: endless mountains, infinite beaches, sparkling cities, or historical wonders. Don’t think twice. Because when everyone else is busy living, we celebrate life instead. @indtravel




Budapest, Hungary, will move to the top of travel wish lists this fall after the release of Inferno, the latest film adaptation in best-selling author Dan Brown’s suspense thriller series. Tom Hanks, once again starring as professor Robert Langdon, races through Istanbul, Florence and Budapest (where the majority of the movie was filmed), in an effort to foil a deadly worldwide plot, using clues derived from Botticelli and Dante. The movie opens in late October.



to Talk About Right Now

Lonely Planet’s Destination Editors scour the globe looking for the most authentic and inspiring places, events and trips. Here, they share their favorite spots for the season.

Finland’s forests are bathed in fall colors. The Finns call it “ruska.” The country's northern reaches experience a mini “high season” as locals head outside to forage for berries, be still with nature and experience the autumnal display alongside free-roaming reindeer before winter's onset. Gemma Graham





LAPLAND, FINLAND // In September and early October,




POPAYÁN, COLOMBIA // Top chefs from a different country are invited to the tiny colonial city of Popayán, Colombia, each September to cook at the gastro-fueled Gastronomic National Congress. This year's chefs are from Belgium. Check out the menu at

NORTHERN MEXICO // As temperatures finally cool down, fall is the perfect time to ride the Copper Canyon Railway in Northern Mexico, the country’s only passenger train. Take in epic canyon views and browse local artisan wares.


Clifton Wilkinson


ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI // Check out the newly opened National Blues Museum in St. Louis to learn about one of America's oldest musical traditions; then head over to the Big Muddy Blues Festival, taking place every Labor Day weekend for the past two decades, to see some of the best blues musicians around. Rebecca Warren



MaSovaida Morgan



TANGIER, MOROCCO // Make the most of Morocco’s cooling temperatures by hitting Tangier's jazz festival, Tanjazz (, September 22–25. Concerts are held at night, leaving you free to explore a nostalgic city of souks, cafés and historic cultural haunts by day. Helen Elfer


Fall 2016






HIGH ROLLING For those who have always dreamed of traveling across the country by train, here’s your chance: Pullman Rail Journeys has put together the ultimate Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta trip. The unique excursion departs from Chicago September 29; in Albuquerque, you can see almost 600 hot-air balloons take flight. The package includes two nights' roundtrip travel aboard Pullman’s vintage rail cars (drinks included), two nights at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, eight meals, VIP event passes and more (from $3,479 per person;





Dubai is known for its over-the-top luxuries, but you’d be hard-pressed to find something more posh than this hotel’s Talise Ottoman Spa. The 86,000-square-foot facility holds 42 treatment rooms, including eight hydrotherapy rooms and two thalassotherapy (seawater) pools. The standouts are the men’s and women’s snow rooms, where guests can partake in the Finnish tradition of a sauna and snow – with real snow, of course.


PLUS // This place is a must-do for any spa-worshipper:




The name of the town reflects this luxurious spa’s vibe: think desert living with an emphasis on total Zen at The Boulders. The 33,000-square-foot spa, just outside of Scottsdale, affords views of the region’s 12-million-yearold boulder formations in the Sonoran Desert foothills. The real draw, however, is the list of inventive treatments. Indulge in the turquoise clay body wrap ($210) – the treatment is based on a Native American belief in the color’s positive energy and includes a rainstick ritual – or try a talking tree reading ($155), a shamanic experience designed to offer life insights through ancient symbols.


PLUS // Not Zen enough for you yet? Then head to

The Boulders’ Native American tepee, where you can participate in silent meditation. Upon request, the spa’s therapist can perform a sage clearing there to purify your energy ($125). From $109;


Amazing Places to Stay

there are soaking tubs, slimming rooms, outdoor cabanas, steam rooms, Russian and Finnish saunas, a couples spa and more. More of an outdoors person? Then head to the 193-foot-long infinity pool overlooking the Arabian Gulf, or the private beach, complete with beach butler service. From $260;


History buffs, this one’s for you. Five on-site properties make up the lodgings at Colonial Williamsburg; our pick is Providence Hall, perfect for families. Treatments in the signature services collection are based on historical anecdotes and include a 17th-century detoxifying herbal wrap ($265) and a 19th-century African traditional bath and strengthening massage ($285); both were inspired by healing practices identified through research from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s archives. PLUS // Spa time can be a family affair: there are teen services,

men’s services, a mother-daughter “spa day” experience, and pets are welcome, too. There are two outdoor pools, one indoor pool, access to the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, bike rentals and more. From $95; 14








 PLUS // The exact source of the thermal waters is a mystery, but it is known that the waters contain dozens of minerals, including sulfate and calcium. Many believe a soak in the springs can help with whatever ails you. Architecture fiends, meanwhile, will appreciate the Georgian and Victorian styles throughout the hotel, which was originally built in the 1800s. From $350;





Located on 58 acres in upstate Connecticut, the Mayflower Grace is the epitome of elegant country living. With only 30 rooms, the property feels more like a private home than a hotel. But the real gem here is the spa; available to hotel guests only, it’s internationally acclaimed as one of New England’s top luxury spas. Among the experiences offered is forest bathing ($265), which involves a relaxing walk in the forest while inhaling specific essential oils to absorb the health benefits of trees. In the sound healing ($160) treatment, the pure tones of singing bowls are incorporated with breath work, meditation and intentions. PLUS // There’s plenty more to do if you’re staying at the Mayflower, which is celebrating 10 years of spa-driven euphoria this year. Go for a hike in the surrounding 3,000acre nature reserve, take a dip in the heated indoor pool, test out your putting skills at the five-hole practice green, or enjoy a game of tennis during your stay. From $350; gracehotels .com/mayflower


THE GAINSBOROUGH BATH SPA / BATH, ENGLAND Known the world over for the Roman public baths for which the town is named, Bath has been luring tourists for some 2,000 years. It still retains the famous natural hot springs, albeit in a completely different setting. Try the healing waters at the refined Gainsborough Bath Spa hotel, which was built around the thermal waters of the Hetling Spring. The spa is available only to guests of the hotel; a complimentary hour-long water bathing circuit around the pools is included in accommodations.

Pack & Play


Versant 60L Pack $259.95, Roomy enough for three to five days’ worth of gear

Cooking System $125.95, Comes with push-button igniter

RELAXED WEEKEND CAMPOUT Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offers sweeping vistas of fall foliage and makes for an ideal family-friendly camping excursion.

Women’s Houdini Jacket $99, Folds up neatly into its own chest pocket

Polystriker Fire Starter $17.95, Striking tool snaps into handle




Primus Cutlery Set $15.95, Durable stainless steel knife, fork and spoon pack neatly into leather sleeve


ADVENTUROUS DAY HIKE Lightweight Vest $149, Packs easily and is windproof and water-resistant

Visit Angels Landing at Utah’s Zion National Park for a variety of hikes suited to different skill levels.

Animal Multi Tool $20, Has 7 minitools – including a flat-head screwdriver and a bottle opener – that unfold into animal shapes

Women's GoreTex Hiking Boot $149, Lightweight, waterproof upper layer, shock-absorbing midsole

Super Unit 49mm Watch $200, Shock absorption and rugged housing, perfect for outdoor activities

Iceman Ice Scarf $9.99 each, Soak in water to cool down

Fall 2016



The Neon Museum’s outdoor exhibition space, known as the Boneyard, features more than 200 neon signs.




Sin City FOR A STEAL 0 0


2 km 1 miles


9 #



You could easily spend more than $1,000 a day in Las Vegas, but you don't have to. Here's how to visit the Entertainment Capital of the World on the cheap.

10 10 1 66 88 1 1 22 1



Las Vegas Statistics



1111 1

• Population: 2.1 million • Annual visitors: more than 42 million • Average spent gambling: $579 • County gaming revenue: $9.6 billion



Palace Station

33 1


Las Vegas Convention Center

Wynn Golf and Country Club


w Encore

Fashion Show


Chinatown Plaza


12 12 1

Caesars Palace

1 1

Wynn Golf Club

Las Vegas National Golf Club

Sands Expo Convention Center

55 1 1 44

7 1

_ #



Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Often, Vegas feels way too artificial, with no real greenery or sunlight visible inside its smoke-filled casinos. One refreshingly different spot on the Strip is this opulent casino’s indoor conservatory. Here, show-stopping floral displays jauntily change themes with the seasons and holidays. Some botanical creations are so elaborate that they have to be lowered into position by crane through the glass ceiling.; 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 24 hours; free admission.


Burlesque Hall of Fame For cheaper entertainment than most casinos offer, head to the alternative, arty Fremont East entertainment district, a short walk east of downtown’s “Glitter Gulch” casino row. Pop in the Emergency Arts collective to peruse the deliciously retro photos and sequined, barely-there costumes worn by Vegas’s exotic dancers in decades past.; 520 Fremont St.; 11 a.m.– 7 p.m. Tues.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun.; free admission, but small donation suggested. Fall 2016



You could fork out for the High Roller (; 3545 Las Vegas Blvd. S.), the world’s tallest observation wheel, but why pay? Instead, ride the glass elevator at the Delano hotel (delano; 3940 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) up to the 64th-floor Skyfall Lounge or check out the Strip views from the Mandarin Oriental hotel’s (mandarin; 3752 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) 23rd-floor “sky lobby.” You can’t get any higher than the 1,149-foot Stratosphere Tower (strato; 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. S.); to avoid paying the $20 observation deck fee, go for cocktails in the 107 Skylounge (the elevator ride is free for bar patrons).


Circus acts at Circus Circus You’re not hallucinating. That really is a tightropewalker balancing in mid-air above the blackjack tables and roulette wheels. Welcome to Circus Circus casino, where loads of free entertainment will distract you from your betting losses (or from winning in the first place). There’s no charge to be an onlooker watching the human contortionists, jugglers and clowns.; 2880 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–midnight Fri., 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Sat.; free admission.


Big Elvis At Harrah’s Piano Bar inside the fun Mardi Grasthemed casino on the Strip, Pete Vallee has given more than 7,000 performances as Big Elvis. Although there’s a two-drink minimum for lounge seating, it won’t cost you a thing to stand inside the casino and listen. Bonus: Big Elvis takes audience requests.; 3475 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; show times may vary, usually 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Mon., Wed., Fri.; free admission.


Carnaval Court Right in the middle of the Strip, this outdoor nightclub adjacent to Harrah’s welcomes everybody with no entry fee, except late at night on weekends. Watch flair bartenders expertly juggle flaming bottles of liquor as they mix elaborate cocktails while high-energy cover bands rock out on stage. There’s an anything-goes crowd of all-ages party-people here, from cheapskate students to baby boomers.; 3475 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 11 a.m.–3 a.m.; usually no cover charge.




Fremont Street Experience This five-block entertainment district in historic downtown Vegas is hokey, yet you can’t ignore the Viva Vision light show playing overhead on a 1,500-foot-long canopy that blasts you with 550,000 watts of sound and 12.5 million LED lights. Bands play along the pedestrian mall.; Fremont Street between Main Street and Las Vegas Boulevard; 24 hours, shows hourly from dusk until midnight or 1 a.m.; free.


Las Vegas Strip Copying world landmarks, the Strip’s free attractions include watching the Mirage’s exploding volcano (mirage .com; 3400 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) and the Bellagio’s musical dancing fountains and singing gondoliers rowing the artificial canals (; 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.). Head south for a photo with an Elvis impersonator (tip expected) in front of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Las Vegas Boulevard South, between Tropicana and Sahara Avenues; 24 hours; free.



06 08

Neon Museum’s Urban Gallery This outdoor collection of restored neon signs along Vegas streets will take you back to the city's “Fabulous Fifties” and the Rat Pack era. More signs spiral around the central elevator inside the Neonopolis mall next door, outside which is a giant Aladdin’s lamp. Beware, though: touring the museum’s “Boneyard” of neon signs is not free ($18 by day, $25 at night).; 770 Las Vegas Blvd. N.; 24 hours; free self-guided public art tours.





Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area You could drive for hours and pay $30 to visit the Grand Canyon National Park, or you could save yourself some money by taking a scenic drive through Red Rock Canyon, just outside Las Vegas city limits. In addition to iconic desert scenery, it offers hiking trails, rock climbing, picnic areas and more.; 3205 State Route 159; visitor center 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m., scenic drive open from 6 a.m., closing time varies seasonally from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; $7 entry per car.


Garden Court Buffet Everything is cheaper downtown than it is on the Strip. That rule applies not just for cocktails, but also for all-you-can-eat buffets, such as this popular spread of eclectic cuisines at Main Street Station casino. The Fridaynight seafood dinner costs extra, yet for an endless supply of cracked crab legs and freshly shucked oysters, it’s still a great deal.; 200 N. Main St.; 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri.–Sun.; $8–$15.





First Friday Las Vegas Local artists, musicians, street performers, hipsters and hangers-on gather in their masses for this free monthly extravaganza. Walk through buzzing art galleries, grab a cheap fusion bite from a food truck and listen to live indie bands. It all happens in downtown’s 18b Arts District and the Fremont East district; there are several after-parties too.; Casino Center Boulevard, between Colorado and California Avenues; 5 p.m.–11 p.m. first Fri. of month; free.


World Series of Poker Major players who have perfected their poker faces compete in the popular no-limit Texas Hold ’Em poker tournament, aka the “Main Event.” This series of poker tournaments happens every year at the Rio casino, just west of the Strip. It’s free if all you want to do is watch, but if you want to buy in, it will set you back $565 or more.; 3700 W. Flamingo Rd.; late May–mid-July and mid-November; free to watch.

While you’re gambling in a Las Vegas casino, drinks are on the house. Even if you’re only playing penny slot machines, you’ve still earned the right to free booze. Place your order with a roving cocktail waitress on the casino floor, and don’t forget to tip at least $1 when your drink is delivered. For big gamblers (aka high rollers, or whales), RFB (room, food and board) is complimentary. When checking into a casino hotel, low rollers can ask for promotional coupons (sometimes called a casino “fun book”), which is good for twofor-one drinks, discounted show tickets and more.

See Lonely Planet’s The Best Things in Life are Free ($22.99) to get tips, tricks and recommendations for visiting more than 60 cities around the world on the cheap.

Fall 2016










The alma mater of Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett is known worldwide for its Hogwarts-like Long Room in the Old Library (above) and its most famous resident, the illuminated manuscript known as the Book of Kells, but there’s more to discover around the university. Check out the Museum Building to see Venetian Gothic and Byzantine-style architecture, or head to the Douglas Hyde Gallery for some of the best contemporary artworks in Dublin. There’s also the 200-year old Zoological Museum, which houses more than 25,000 specimens. • Zoology Museum admission $3.50, Book of Kells $12;

St. Michan’s Church was originally built for Vikings in the 11th century and then rebuilt in the 17th century. It’s said that Handel played his first Messiah here. The real draw, however, is down in the basement: mummies. In a vault underneath the church, wood coffins have disintegrated to reveal preserved bodies inside. Be sure to check out “The Crusader,” an 800-year-old, 6-foot-6-inch mummy, whose fingers you can reach out and touch. • Admission, about $7;




Just south of the city center lie the Dublin Mountains, which offer spectacular vistas of Ireland’s capital city. Starting around the corner from The Yellow House pub in the suburb of Rathfarnham, the Three Rock Cycle Loop is a strenuous but worthy ride that takes you through about 10 miles of green mountainside on a little-trafficked road. • Free;




4. EXPLORE THE IRISH JEWISH MUSEUM. One of Ireland’s best-kept secrets is that the land where Catholics and Protestants fought so bitterly has been home to a small Jewish population. There was a “Little Jerusalem” in Dublin at one point, with kosher butchers, Jewish bakeries, tailors and bookstores, and a synagogue, which is the site of the museum. While there are fewer than 2,000 Jewish people living in Ireland today, their history there stretches back as far as the 12th century. • Admission free, but donations are accepted;



Globetrotter 5. TAKE IN SOME TRADITIONAL IRISH TUNES. It’s a good sign when an establishment’s tagline is “a drinking pub with a music problem,” which is true for The Cobblestone, in the small Northside neighborhood of Smithfield. Néillidh Mulligan, a fifth generation bagpiper, plays traditional music in the pub every night, solely in an effort to keep the music alive. Every Wednesday in the pub’s backroom there are jam sessions for amateurs looking to hone their craft. •; for info on informal sessions 6. SIT A SPELL WITH BIDDY. Over in Dalkey, a suburb about half an hour away by train from the city center, is one of the most unique experiences in Dublin. Brighid “Biddy” McLaughlin is a folk artist and storyteller who brings visitors into her cottage for stories about Ireland’s history, superstitions, food and more. The 90-minute chat includes tea and oatcakes and occurs on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the year. Call ahead to make sure she’s there. • About $34; 7. BRUNCH AT THE COOKBOOK CAFÉ. Brunch itself might not seem like a big deal, but what if all your favorite famous celebrity chefs were providing the meal? Chef Audrey McDonald of The Cookbook Café, located in the suburb of Glasthule, takes recipes like Jamie Oliver’s homemade granola and Bobby Flay’s burger and

serves them up to boisterous crowds. The Sunday brunch is the hottest ticket in town. McDonald’s husband, Tom Dunne, a DJ and lead singer of an ’80s and ’90s Irish pop band, keeps the music going. Irish author Marian Keyes is a regular, as are other Irish notables. If you fall in love with your meal, the corresponding cookbook is available to purchase as a souvenir. •


HAVE A DRINK WITH A LOCAL. How’s this for Irish hospitality: register with the civic initiative City of a Thousand Welcomes and a Dubliner will meet you and welcome you to the city. Included is a pint or a cuppa to sip while you and a passionate local chat about the best things to see and do in Dublin. The wellinformed “ambassadors” volunteer their time. Meetings begin at The Little Museum of Dublin (below). • Free;

9. LEARN ABOUT IRELAND’S NATIONAL SPORTS. The national games of Ireland are hurling (similar to field hockey) and Gaelic football (a mix between soccer, football and rugby), and there’s no better way to familiarize yourself with the sports than at the stadium, Croke Park. There’s the Gaelic Athletic Association Museum, with rotating exhibits and interactive games, and 80-minute stadium tours are available. • Admission about $15, including the museum;


EXPERIENCE MODERN DUBLIN AT THE DEAN. Not all of Dublin is “Danny Boy” and Guinness; there’s an undercurrent of cool here too, perhaps best exemplified by hip hotel of the moment, The Dean (left). Located close to Saint Stephen’s Green in the heart of the city, the hotel features stocked SMEG retro-style refrigerators, Netflix-loaded TVs, live DJs, a glassenclosed rooftop bar and more.


• Rooms from $135;

Fall 2016




Inside Knowledge GOING SOLO


YOU CAN GO YOUR OWN WAY. Megan's Top Tips:

Choose a destination you’re comfortable with for your first trip, preferably a place where your native language is spoken.

Go for accommodations that put you into contact with others. Try a mix of hostels and guesthouses where the host might be able to offer tips or serve as a tour guide.

A few months ago, I found myself standing on the side of a highway in western China, watching the bus I was just on drive off into the distance. I was facing a 3-mile walk down a high-desert road, all because I wanted to see what was supposed to be one of the most spectacular “grand Buddha” statues on the Silk Road. Staring at the empty highway, terror began to set in. I allowed myself about 30 seconds of panic before doing what travel has taught me well: getting on with the going. I’d come this far and wasn’t about to miss the whole reason for the journey. Following the road up and down hills offered some breathtaking vistas of a large reservoir rimmed by mountains. A paved path brought me to a huge concave grotto filled with a threestory ancient Buddha looking serenely out over the blue-green lake. I was overcome with emotion, and my eyes began to sting with tears as I looked at him there, ageless and worry-free – unlike me on both counts.



When it was time to begin the journey back to town, an hour’s drive away, I resigned myself to go in search of help, or even hitchhike. Then a voice called from behind me: “Hello!” I turned and faced a Chinese monk clad in a gray robe and toting a huge camera. We began chatting and I soon learned that Deru and his monastic companion, along with two artists, were traveling around in a van they’d driven from southern China. When I finally got the nerve to recount my situation, boxes of tea and pamphlets from countless temples were moved, I was ushered into the back seat, and a bottle of water was thrust into my hands. Two hours later, I was back in my hotel, stuffed with noodles, full of gratitude and wearing a string of wooden prayer beads, a gift that Deru proffered with a smile, saying that Buddha would look after me on my journey. It was the most rewarding of many incredible days on that three-week trip.

Get a comfortable pair of shoes that will last. My Birkenstocks lasted three weeks of desert walking and 55 flights of Great Wall stairs and still made it to dinner every night.

Have a beer. It’s always cheap. It can serve as a conversation starter (or ender) and as a way to kill time waiting for a bus in a strange town. It’s a nice way to toast a new friend, too.

Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel quite right, and you are out there on your own, you have to trust your instincts. This has the added benefit of building a lot of self-esteem, one of the greatest gifts of solo travel.


Megan traveled alone through the often desolate landscapes of Gansu province, China, in search of the area's famous Buddha statues.




Nashville, Tennessee Bermuda Canada’s Banff National Park Santa Barbara, California Southwest Virginia New York’s Hudson Valley Denver

Bermuda (shown here), host of the 2017 America’s Cup yacht race, is a haven for water lovers.

Explore the neighborhoods of NASHVILLE’s creative community.

Nashville is known for its honky-tonks, hot chicken and inviting Southern lifestyle, but these days Music City’s artisans, makers and doers are also in the spotlight. Start a morning off at Barista Parlor (baristaparlor .com), Nashville’s temple to coffee. There are three locations, but the most spacious is the one in historic Germantown. Pick up an exceptional egg sandwich or pastry, and choose from specialty grinds from around the world. Take a stroll around Germantown, a once-neglected neighborhood that’s now one of the city’s epicenters of creativity. Check out local textile brand Electra Eggleston at Wilder (wilderlife .com), an inventive interiors shop, and browse handmade shoes at nearby Peter Nappi ( About a mile west is the Buchanan Arts District. Small businesses in this neighborhood that have earned international acclaim include Emil Erwin (emil, specializing in handcrafted leather goods; Kidd Epps Art Shop (, offering interesting home items and reclaimed woodwork; and the Farmer’s Florist (, where proprietor Christie Craig hosts flower arranging workshops. Next, head a couple of miles south to Marathon Village (, a group of 19thcentury warehouse buildings that house an eclectic mix of shops and studios. You can snack on delicious sugary treats at Bang Candy Company (bangcandy, then stock up on handcrafted, small-batch spirits – spiced rum, quinoa whiskey and more – at Corsair Distillery ( Top off your tour with a stop at the Soda Parlor at Olan Rogers’ apparel shop (, where the menu of soda floats changes daily and an arcade will keep the smallest of visitors happy.

Above: Wilder boutique is located in historic Germantown. Right: Leather artisan Emil Congdon, of the brand Emil Erwin, in his studio in the Buchanan Arts District.

For more information, download the Nashville city guide on Lonely Planet’s Guides app ( or see

GET THERE JetBlue has opened more routes to Nashville, including from Fort Lauderdale and Boston; United now has a direct route from San Francisco. A car is not necessary if you prefer to use on-demand ride apps like Uber and Lyft; most rides are less than $8 in town, and to and from the airport is about $18 each way.



EAT Germantown is a hotbed of culinary standouts, among them City House (, helmed by a James Beard Award-winning chef. Butchertown Hall ( takes smoked meat very seriously, and 5th & Taylor (5thandtaylor .com) offers inventive Southern dishes.

DO When in Music City, go out for live music. A-listers including Carrie Underwood, Beyoncé and Adele are coming this fall, and you can catch indie acts at small music venues like Exit/In and 3rd & Lindsley. The Station Inn ( is always a good bet: bluegrass and roots music acts perform nightly.


Easy Trips


Easy Trips

Get to know BERMUDA beyond the beaches.

There are several popular misconceptions of this 21-square-mile slice of paradise, one being that it’s in the Caribbean Sea (it’s actually in the Atlantic Ocean), and another being that it’s a single island (it’s a chain of 181 islands). The biggest misconception, however, might be that Bermuda is only for the uber-wealthy, given its abundance of sailing, golf and tennis. The truth is that Bermuda can be done any way you like, so long as you like genial locals, pristine pink-sand beaches and 400 years of U.S. and U.K. intertwined history. Start in the eastern city of St. George, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town dates to 1612 and is a goldmine for history buffs looking to learn about life in colonial Bermuda. On the don’t miss list: gorgeous St. Peter’s, Their Majesties Chappell; Tucker House; and Fort St. Catherine. Wandering the lanes is a lovely way to spend the afternoon, too. Moving back toward Hamilton, geology geeks will want to check out the Crystal Caves (, thought to be 30 million years old, for stalagmite and stalactite formations. Across the road is the Swizzle Inn (, home of the Rum Swizzle, a popular party drink in Bermuda (be careful, it’s potent). Explore the beaches on the south shore as you make your way west. The most popular beach by far is Horseshoe Bay, but if you walk along the coves on either side of it you’ll be rewarded with a more secluded experience. Warwick Long Bay Beach is also of note, although you’ll find turquoise water and pink sand seemingly at every turn.

Clockwise from top: Bermuda is known for its pink-sand beaches, like Horseshoe Bay. The Crystal Caves were discovered in the early 20th century. The church St. Peter’s, Their Majesties Chappell dates to 1612.

For more information, visit

GET THERE Bermuda, 650 miles east of North Carolina, is easily accessible from the Eastern seaboard. Many cities, including Charlotte, New York and Washington, D.C., have direct flights. You can’t rent a car, but mopeds are available and taxis are plentiful. Buses and ferries are the most efficient ways around the island.

STAY Aunt Nea’s Inn (from $150, is an excellent B&B-style choice in historic St. George. The structure dates from the 1700s, but the rooms are updated. In centrally located Hamilton, try the Rosedon Hotel (from $300;, where afternoon tea is served on the veranda.

EAT Look for fish specials, like fried wahoo, doused in tartar sauce and hot sauce and served on raisin bread at a homey spot like Mama Angie’s Coffee Shop (441297-0959) in St. George. Try the national drink, the Dark ’N Stormy, made with local Gosling’s rum and ginger beer. Fall 2016



Easy Trips

BANFF NATIONAL PARK brings the wild Canadian Rockies within reach.

Banff, Lake Louise and Peyto Lake in Alberta are the Canadian Rockies at their best: glaciercapped peaks, soul-stirring waterfalls and 1,000 miles of blissfully quiet trails. Begin in Banff Town, a hamlet of restaurants, nightclubs and shops just minutes from the wilderness. Swing by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies ( for an exhibit telling the story of Banff and the pioneers who carved out a home in the Rockies. Then ride up to the summit of Sulphur Mountain via the Banff Gondola ( Take in the alpine views or stick around for lunch at one of the summit restaurants before riding back down. Head north to Lake Louise, where a network of trails spiders out into the sawtooth horizon. Don’t miss the hike-in teahouses, including Lake Agnes Tea House. Less than an hour’s drive from Lake Louise is Peyto Lake. You’ve probably seen the indescribable blue of this lake in a thousand publicity shots, but there’s nothing like gazing at the real thing, especially since the viewing point is from a spot several hundred feet above the water. It’s best visited in early morning, between the time the sun first illuminates the water and the first tour bus arrives. For more information, pick up Lonely Planet’s Banff, Jasper & Glacier National Parks guidebook or visit



GET THERE Calgary International Airport, about 11 miles northeast of downtown, has flights from most major West Coast cities that clock in at under three hours; it’s then 145 miles, or about a 90minute drive, west to Banff. All major car rental firms are represented at the airport; many hotels offer transfer service. STAY The opulent Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (from $350;, on the shores of the lake, is a good option if you’re looking for a splurge with a view. For something more rustic, try Deer Lodge (from $137;, which has renovated rooms in an original 1920s hand-hewn log structure. DO Black and grizzly bears might be the stars of the show here, but the area is also home to elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and birds. Lake Minnewanka is best for spotting bighorns, bears and wolves, while elk hang out at the Vermilion Lakes. Head out early with binoculars to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures.


Glacier-fed Peyto Lake is about 28 miles north of Lake Louise, Alberta, in Banff National Park.

Fall 2016



Get acquainted with SANTA BARBARA’s off-season bounty.

Red-tiled roofs, white stucco buildings and the Mediterranean vibe give credence to Santa Barbara’s claim of being the “American Riviera,” with modern updates: the city has a car-free campaign and promotes electric shuttle buses, urban bike trails and more. It’s heaven for oenophiles and beach-lovers, but also has a surprising craft brew scene and is family- and pet-friendly. Spend some time nosing around the city’s Spanish Colonial Revival buildings, such as the Old Mission Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Hop on a bike to explore the rest of downtown, or expand your cycling trip out to the 3-mile Cabrillo Bike Path, which will take you past three beautiful beaches. Head via shuttle bus or bike to the waterfront district, known to locals as the Funk Zone (funkzone .net). Twelve square blocks east of State Street have a plethora of things to see and do on foot, including the Santa Barbara Surfing Museum (sbsurfing, wineries and tasting rooms. There are almost two dozen breweries now in Santa Barbara County, a region that was previously dominated by wine. At the Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company (, IPAs, pilsners and more are served on a shady porch. For more of a traditional Santa Barbara experience, check out the newest wine growing region to be officially named in Santa Barbara County: the Los Olivos District ( It encompasses the towns of Los Olivos, Ballard, Santa Ynez and Solvang, and includes wineries such as the muchacclaimed Sea Smoke and Blair Fox Cellars. Clockwise from top: Old Mission Santa Barbara was established in 1786. A skateboarder takes a break at Chase Palm Park along East Beach. Sea Smoke vineyard in the Los Olivos wine district.

For more information, download the “Santa Barbara County” chapter from Lonely Planet’s Coastal California book (shop or

GET THERE Alaska Airlines, American and United all have direct flights from various West Coast cities to Santa Barbara, and there is a new American direct route from Dallas/Fort Worth. Another option is to fly into Los Angeles International Airport and drive about 95 miles northwest to Santa Barbara.



STAY The views on the waterfront are unmatched: try the Harbor View Inn (from $260;, a classic beachfront boutique hotel, or the Wayfarer (from $209 for a private room;, a chic hostel-hotel hybrid that offers both private and shared accommodations within the Funk Zone.

DO If you visit in October, you’re in for a treat: the “” event will take place all month, tying together many events, such as the Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest (October 7–10), the Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival and the Santa Barbara Beer Festival (both October 15).


Easy Trips


Easy Trips

See southwest VIRGINIA’s charming small towns and music scene.

Start in tiny Floyd, Virginia (population: a scant 434), where you can enjoy fiddlers’ jams, homey food and artisan crafts. The Friday Night Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store ( is a highlight; the business, open since 1910, attracts crowds from near and far. The music – a mix of bluegrass, gospel and other genres – starts at 6:30 p.m.; get there early to secure your spot and maybe have a bite to eat. Comfort foods like Brunswick stew and grilled cheese are served at the store’s restaurant. Head next to Marion, where the historic Lincoln Theatre ( is the main attraction. Originally built in 1929 for vaudeville performances, it’s one of only three existing art deco Mayan revival theaters in America. Lunch is served at the Dip Dog Stand (dip, where mustard-slathered dip dogs (akin to corn dogs) have become a local icon. Top if off with a visit to Appalachian Mountain Spirits (virginian on Main Street for a taste of awardwinning moonshine. Travel southwest to the main music event: the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion (birthplaceofcountry, set for September 16–18 this year. The festival celebrates Bristol – on the Tennessee– Virginia state line – as the birthplace of country music, features almost 100 music acts, and includes a songwriter showcase. For more information, download the “Virginia Trips” chapter from Lonely Planet’s New York & the Mid-Atlantic’s Best Trips ( or visit Floyd resident John-William Houston crafts a fiddle in his basement workshop.

GET THERE The nearest large airport is in Charlotte; you could also fly into the North Carolina cities of WinstonSalem or Greensboro, or Knoxville, Tennessee, and do the route in reverse. The 140-mile drive from Charlotte to Floyd is about 2½ hours; from Knoxville to Bristol it’s about 110 miles, or an hour and 45 minutes.

STAY In Abingdon, try the historic Martha Washington Inn (from $150; Built in 1832, it’s the former home of War of 1812 General Francis Preston. There’s also the General Francis Marion Hotel (from $144; in Marion; it’s got a 1920s vibe.

DO Martha Washington Inn’s Creeper Trail Express service will take you to the top of White Mountain with bikes and helmets, then pick you up after your three-hour ride down the mountainside. It’s a great way to see the Virginia Creeper Trail (vacreepertrail. us), named for a steam engine that served the area. Fall 2016



Easy Trips

Take a road trip through the HUDSON VALLEY for fall-season fun. Below: Storm King Art Center features an outdoor sculpture garden. Opposite: Bear Mountain Bridge crosses the Hudson River at Bear Mountain State Park.

Anyone looking for a respite from the hustle and bustle of New York City should start their journey in Tarrytown, New York. Lyndhurst (, the 1838 Gothic revival mansion of railroad tycoon Jay Gould, has extensive grounds – a nice spot for viewing colorful fall foliage – as well as an impressive collection of decorative arts original to the house. North of Lyndhurst is Bear Mountain State Park (, where a merry-go-round has 42 hand-carved seats featuring local animals, such as the black bear and wild turkey. Kids and adults alike will enjoy Storm King Art Center (, a 500-acre sculpture park with more than 100 works. A quick trip to nearby West Point, the United States Military Academy (, is doable via a bus tour; stops include the Old Cadet Chapel to see one of the world’s largest pipe organs, and Trophy Point for beautiful vistas. An hour north of West Point is Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park (, the site of the former Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge. It now connects the east and west banks of the Hudson River via a footpath with prime views. Farther north, in the town of Hyde Park, is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s former estate (, where a one-hour guided tour gives you the highlights; the Presidential Library & Museum is also on the property. Wind down the excitement in the town of Hudson. Charming Warren Street is a great place to meander in and out of shops and restaurants; antiques lovers will have a hard time picking out just one souvenir from the trip.

GET THERE New York State Route 9A, beginning in Manhattan as the Henry Hudson Parkway, connects with the Saw Mill River Parkway farther north, which will take you straight to Tarrytown. From there, the Taconic State Parkway will take you to Hudson in about an hour and 45 minutes.



STAY The trip can be done in a single day from New York City, but if you want to stay overnight, the Beekman Arms (from $209; is a conveniently located option in historic Rhinebeck. The inn, which dates to 1776, has 23 rooms in different buildings.

EAT There’s an abundance of excellent food, in part because many graduates of the nearby Culinary Institute of America don’t stray far from their alma mater. Several restaurants are part of the CIA, including the American Bounty Restaurant (ameri


For more, download the “Day Trips” chapter from Lonely Planet’s New York City guidebook (


Collect stories, not selfies. You won’t remember the time you spent staring at your screen, but you’ll never forget your time with us in Hawaii. Stay at our hotels on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island to share your #astonlife moments. 866·774·2924 | | promocode: astonlife

Easy Trips

Grab a bike and check out museums and craft breweries in DENVER.

Head next to the up-and-coming neighborhood of RiNo (that’s River North) to catch artists in residence in action at the RedLine art center (redlineart .org). From there, you’re in the perfect position to take advantage of the breweries that dot the district. There is a long history of beer-making in Denver and the city has a thriving craft beer scene, with at least 100 brewpubs, breweries and tap rooms. Try Beryl’s Beer Co. (, Epic Brewing (epicbrew or Ratio Beerworks (, which are all in the RiNo area. Colorado is packed during ski season. To get a good sense of a traditional mountain town in the off-season, head to Frisco or Breckenridge, about 90 minutes from Denver. Rent a car or take a shuttle. The drive is scenic, especially as the leaves change, and you’ll be rewarded with mountain town charms, including quirky shops, fall festivals and hundreds of miles of biking trails – all without the crowds. Stop for sips at the Breckenridge Distillery (breckenridgedistill or Broken Compass Brewing (brokencom before heading back to Denver.

Clockwise from top: Street art dots the RiNo neighborhood. The Clyfford Still Museum is devoted solely to the American artist’s work. The Denver Art Museum’s angular, modern exterior.

For more information, see Lonely Planet’s Colorado travel guide; you can download the “Denver & Around” chapter at

GET THERE You can take the “Train to the Plane,” Denver’s new ride between the airport and Union Station ($9 one way;, and from there, hop on a B-Cycle ($9 for 24 hours, to get you to most places in the city. Several shuttles run from Denver to Breckenridge.



EAT Avanti Food & Beverage ( consists of seven different restaurant concepts under one roof, including sushi, Middle Eastern shawarma and South American arepas. The Source (thesourcedenver .com) in a former 1880s brick foundry building, houses inventive small plates restaurant Acorn.

DO Denver’s newest attraction is its refurbished Union Station (, a hub for trains, buses and the light rail system. Locals call it the “Living Room” due to its style and utility. Visit Milkbox for a scoop of ice cream, or the Cooper Lounge for an early-20th-century-inspired cocktail.


Denver, the gateway to the Rockies, is as smart as it is pretty. The Mile High City is teeming with interesting stops like the Black American West Museum (black, Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave ( and Clyfford Still Museum ( The Denver Art Museum ( is also excellent, showcasing works from around the world; fall exhibits include Rhythm and Roots: Dance in American Art, through October 2, and Glory of Venice: Masterworks of the Renaissance, opening October 2.




el Secre av




el Secre av




When it comes to finding the most off-the-radar destinations or discovering a surprising take on places you already know, there's no better place to turn than Lonely Planet’s worldwide network of travel experts. Here, our authors and editors share their latest tips for the places that deserve to be discovered.



Abigail Blasi, guidebook author

Throughout Europe, Malta’s reputation is as a cheap, sunny destination, beloved of elderly tour groups, but these small, big-hearted islands have so much more to offer. Valletta already counts among Europe’s most beautiful capitals, with stirring views across piercing blue waters to stout battlements. The face of the city is evolving: there’s a new, ultra-modern parliament building, city gate and opera house auditorium. As if on cue, accommodation choices have become more exciting, too: the city’s 17th-century mansions now house some glorious hotels, such as the classically elegant Casa Ellul (from $245; and the high-design suites of Valletta Vintage (from $115; Valletta has also seen a rush of new restaurants opening: try a dish of pork confit with local snails and pork belly at the Black Pig (main courses from $22; Meanwhile, Malta’s smaller sibling Gozo – an island of steep cliffs and quiet inlets over the water (left) – is home to some of Europe’s best scuba diving.

Fall 2016



When people consider visiting an Asian city, they might think first of Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong or Singapore. But for my money, Seoul is one of the hippest places in the world right now. It has an amazing food scene, craft beer is on the rise, and the city’s huge metro system makes it easy to get around. Within striking distance are a number of outdoor delights; excellent winter sports and summer hiking can be had in the mountains that surround the metropolis. For me, a perfect trip to Seoul would include dinner at Vatos Urban Tacos ( for Korean-style fusion tacos (I like the Galbi short rib ones) followed by a crawl through the microbreweries and bars of Itaewon, known locally as “Craft Beer Valley.” Seoul also has a surprising contemporary art and design scene. A visit to the Mullae Art Village offers the chance to check out the city’s street art, while the Dongdaemun Design Plaza is an architectural wonder with numerous galleries and workshop spaces showcasing the best of South Korean design. I’d top off my visit by spending a night or two at a local temple stay, where you can rejuvenate with Buddhist monks. The Templestay program’s website (templestay .com) has loads of info, including a list of temples within Seoul that welcome visitors. 



3 VOJVODINA, SERBIA Brana Vladisavljevic, destination editor, Southeastern/Eastern Europe

For me, the multicultural Serbian province of Vojvodina is a perfect slow-travel destination. With its laid-back lifestyle and love of gastronomy, it may entice you to stay longer than planned, and it’s so off the tourist radar that you really feel like one of the locals. What I like about travel here is that it’s such an eclectic experience. Artistic and historical highlights range from the Roman ruins of Sirmium to the art nouveau architecture of Austro-Hungarian Subotica, the naive art of Kovačica village and the avant-garde museum Muzej Macura on the Danube. For outdoor adventure, try horseback riding at the 237-yearold stud farm of Zobnatica or bird-watching in the wetlands of Carska Bara. And to completely tune out, pick a spa and go vineyard- and monastery-hopping in Fruška Gora’s forested hills. The convivial Novi Sad, where the citadel of Petrovaradin hosts the rocking Exit festival, is the perfect big-city base for leisurely day trips, but for a true Vojvodina experience, nothing beats the traditional salaši (farmsteads) and bohemian čarde (riverside taverns) dotted around the region. I love their old-world rural appeal, not to mention feasting on local fish specialties. My pick is Salas 137 (

4 STOCK ISLAND/KEY WEST, FLORIDA Rebecca Warren, destination editor, Eastern U.S.

Stock Island is an unexpected but welcome counterpoint to the neon-lit strip of Duval Street on Key West. This is where the locals go when they want the best that the Keys has to offer: fresh seafood, cool entertainment and great access to wildlife and the ocean, without having to deal with the throngs of tourists that can, at times, take over Key West. Whether you stay on the island at one of its “boatels” in Marina Village or opt to set up base just across the bridge on Key West and explore Stock Island by car or bike, your efforts will be rewarded with a taste of what Key West was like 50 years ago. With fantastically fresh seafood enjoyed al fresco at Hogfish Bar and Grill, proper Cuban coffee and food at El Mocho, and an exciting mix of arts (screen-printing and concerts), services (boat and board-sport repairs), and shopping at COAST you can have an authentic Keys experience, completely devoid of retail chains and commercialization.


Laura Crawford, destination editor, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines

With its well-developed resorts and renowned full-moon parties, Thailand has long been the natural choice for island-hopping adventures in Southeast Asia. But to enjoy beach life without the crowds, head across the gulf to Cambodia. The southern coast of Cambodia is the jumping-off point for a suite of getaways – some comfortably equipped with all amenities a visitor might want, others appealingly under-developed. Less than an hour by ferry from port town Sihanoukville is Koh Rong Sanloem, where small-scale bungalow resorts sit between the sands of half-moon Saracen Bay and the jungly interior. Here sea eagles soar and walking trails lead to other beaches (will it be Lazy Beach or Sunset Beach that gets you out of the hammock?). For a vacation featuring even fewer people, consider nearby Koh Sdach Archipelago, where only two islands are inhabited, including tiny Koh Totang, home to just one guesthouse (from $90; nomadslandcambodia .com). When not resting in your eco-friendly lodgings, you can pass the time snorkeling or lizard-spotting.


2 SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA Megan Eaves, destination editor, North Asia



el Secre av

Motoring across the Atlantic a few miles off the coast of São Paulo, we caught our first sight of the archipelago of Ilhabela as several specks of wilderness toppled over the horizon. Approaching the jungle-clad peaks on a rusting raft of a ferry felt like a scene from Jurassic World, except with the tourist crowds swapped for a handful of vacationing Paulistas (São Paulo locals) and the dinosaurs for an abundance of distinctly non-extinct wildlife, from dolphins and whales to a kaleidoscope of birdlife. Arriving in the off-season, we had the run of the sugar-soft beaches, enjoyed exclusive encounters snorkeling with the marine life, and spent evenings watching the occasional windsurfer cut across marigold sunsets. Seventeenth-century pirates have left myriad shipwrecks for diving enthusiasts to explore, while hikers can find a trove of waterfalls and wildlife on the rainforest trails. Although Ilhabela can get busy during the summer and earlier in the year at carnival time, this is the hideout of the locals and so remains relatively undiscovered by international tourists. And the fact that access to the archipelago is limited to ferry or helicopter lends an unspoiled, off-the-beaten-track feel to this lesser-known part of Brazil.


Louise Bastock, assistant editor,

el Secre av





Fall 2016





LOMBOK, INDONESIA Sarah Reid, guidebook author

Right next door to Bali, just a 45-minute flight away with Garuda, sleepy Lombok offers many of the same highlights as Indonesia’s most famous isle, yet still feels largely undiscovered. Down on the rugged south coast, Kuta Lombok is reminiscent of Bali’s Kuta 20 years ago: this sweet little surf town has a smattering of great new cafés (I love The Corner for brunch) that tempt travelers to stick around for more than just the waves and beaches. If it’s luxury you seek, you’ll find it at the handful of boutique hotels clustered on the island’s lush northwest coast, such as Tugu Lombok (from $261; and The Lombok Lodge (from $498; Both are perfect places to relax after tackling the ascent of Gunung Rinjani (12,224 feet), Indonesia’s second-tallest volcano (below), to ogle its stunning turquoise crater lake. Just off Lombok’s northwest coast, the three idyllic, palm-fringed Gili Islands offer some of Indonesia’s most accessible diving and snorkeling. Join the party on Gili Trawangan, or head to Gili Air or Gili Meno to soak up the laid-back vibe – while you still can.





el Secre av

el Secre av

8 LOST SIERRA, CALIFORNIA Clifton Wilkinson, destination editor, California and Mexico

It’s hard to imagine that California has any secrets left to discover, but around two hours’ drive north of Lake Tahoe lies Plumas County, offering High Sierra solitude, luxurious accommodations and a range of outdoor activities. Also known as the Lost Sierra, the region isn’t as dramatically beautiful as Tahoe or Yosemite but still has the mighty Sierra Nevada as a backdrop, a host of lakes to splash around in and attractive small towns. Quincy, the county seat, is the most idyllic of these, and was voted one of the “Coolest Small Towns in America” a few years back. Stop at Pangaea Café & Pub for burgers, burritos and sushi (pangaea Hiking options are plentiful in the region, and mountain bikers can test their skills on several challenging trails. For a gentler type of outdoor pursuit, try a round of golf at the Nakoma Resort before dining in splendor at its Wigwam restaurant, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (




Sara Van Geloven, editor, Lonely Planet Netherlands

This “Venice of the North” features grand houses, wooden bridges and farms with thatched-roof buildings. The village itself can get rather crowded, but when you take to the water in a rented boat and make your way out of Giethoorn through canals fringed with green, you’ll find peace and quiet among the sprawling lawns. The lesser-known villages of surrounding Weerribben-Wieden National Park are well worth a visit. Like Giethoorn, many have canals instead of roads. Summer is the time to visit; that’s when you’ve got the best chance to soak up some sunshine. You’ll also be able to experience the festive gondola parades that take place in Giethoorn, Dwarsgracht and Belt-Schutsloot villages; among those, Belt-Schutsloot’s is the most magnificent: it not only features festive floats, but also fairytale-like illuminated gardens along the canals.

Fall 2016



Anne Coppenrath, editor, Lonely Planet Germany



MaSovaida Morgan, destination editor, South America

Kerry Christiani, guidebook author

A crematorium isn’t high on the list of places you’d go looking for cultural dynamism. This logic, however, doesn’t apply in Berlin, a city with an unsurpassed aptitude for transforming derelict spaces – and now the home of Silent Green, a boho cultural institute set in a century-old crematorium. Having been abandoned for a decade, it’s now risen from the ashes, and behind its wrought iron gates you’ll find modern art galleries, music collectives and artists’ studios. The former mourning hall now rattles to the sound of live music, and there’s an acclaimed on-site café, serving plentiful vegan and vegeterian dishes. Step outside, and in the leafy cemetery surroundings you might spot the final resting place of Ida Siekmann, the first person to die trying to cross the Berlin Wall (she jumped from the window of her adjoining apartment just nine days after the wall was built). From here, take a walk through Wedding, fast becoming one the city’s most fashionable districts, to the nearby Berlin Wall Memorial, a 200-foot-long strip of concrete preserved in memory of all who lost their lives trying to get to the other side.

You realize that the shaky, hourlong plane ride 6,500 feet above the remote jungle has been worth braving when the splendor of Kaieteur Falls comes into view. Protected within 250 square miles of central Guyana's Kaieteur National Park in the Amazon rainforest, the waterfall is among the most powerful in the world and is said to be the world's largest single-drop waterfall. Tannin-stained water from the Potaro River surges over the lip at more than 30,000 gallons per second before tumbling 820 feet to the basin below. This crown jewel of the Guyanese interior is nearly five times the height of North America's Niagara Falls, and the thunder of the water can be heard long before you catch a glimpse of the cascade, which is often clouded in mist. The ancient Guiana Shield, a colossal geological formation shrouded in rainforest and savanna, boasts unbounded biodiversity; if you can peel your eyes away from the waterfall, look out for audaciously showy Guianan cock-of-the-walk birds, tiny golden frogs (whose venom is used for poisonous darts), and the rare bush dog.

Nature is on an epic scale in Norway’s Nordland region, and nowhere more so than in the picturesque community of Kjerringøy. The sense of remoteness on this peninsula north of the Arctic Circle is enhanced by the fact that it’s only joined to the rest of Norway’s road network by ferry. Dark granite peaks razor above a placid fjord and white-sand beaches; sea eagles wheel in the sky. Yet beyond Norway, it remains something of a secret. A community of wealthy fishermen and boat merchants thrived here in the 18th and 19th centuries, a proud heritage celebrated at the well-preserved Kjerringøy Trading Post. The village itself is redolent of an era when time was marked by the tides and changing light, and when neighbors mattered – neighbors like Ulf Mikalsen, whose workshop doors open to reveal the boat builder carving the bow of a smooth-contoured boat. It looks like something a Viking would set sail in. At Markens Grøde farm, organic cheeses, wood-oven-baked bread and elk sausages are lovingly made the traditional way. Nobody here is a stranger, and the longer you linger, the harder it is to drag yourself away.







el Secre av

Pittsburgh regularly ranks on America’s “most livable places” lists. With its skyscraper-strewn downtown skyline and bridges soaring across the Allegheny River, the waterfront looks like an infinitely less-crowded version of New York’s Dumbo neighborhood. Similarly, its best restaurants and bars are Brooklyn-standard cool: menus at Cure embrace nose-to-tail cooking (curepittsburgh .com) and Brew Gentlemen ( offers original craft brews. Such venues, plus the gentrifying Lawrenceville area, are popular with the wunderkinds employed by tech giants Google and Uber, both of which have offices here. Ace Hotel (from $169; has just opened a branch, a sure sign that Pittsburgh has moved on from the industrial heyday that earned it the nickname “Steel City.” It’s during that period one of its most famous sons was born here, and the Andy Warhol Museum explores the artist’s life with appropriate flamboyance ( Ironically, Warhol couldn’t wait to escape Pittsburgh, but this now seems like the sort of city that would have nourished his creativity.


Orla Thomas, features editor, Lonely Planet U.K.




el Secre av





el Secre av



Robin Barton, associate publisher, Trade & Reference

The first time I visited Mallorca it was February and the almond trees were in bloom. White blossoms floated from the orchards as I pedaled past, cycling through the foothills of the Serra de Tramuntana. It is this mountain range, running along the northwest coast, that draws professional cycling teams to Mallorca for winter training sessions. Beyond the Tramuntana, much of the island is flat. Between September and May, Mallorca rewards the cyclist’s cry of “I wonder what’s over there?” with vineyards, monasteries, restaurants, art galleries and miles of quiet roads with signposted routes. With bike rental shops and bike-friendly boutique hotels and agroturismos (rural hotels), Mallorca is set up perfectly for cycling.

el Secre av

15 USHUAIA, ARGENTINA Duncan Craig, contributor

Clinging to the southernmost tip of South America, Ushuaia doesn’t get much passing traffic. Its isolation is legendary; this is a city that’s almost as close to the South Pole as it is to Argentina’s northern border. Locals may require vitamin D supplements due to the lack of sunshine, but there’s no lack of color in the buildings, which advance in neat rows from the placid shore of the Beagle Channel into the forested foothills of the snowdaubed Martial Mountains. You’ll eat well here – the buttery soft, slow-cooked Patagonian lamb is almost worth the journey alone – and will need to: some of the continent’s most majestic hiking awaits a few miles west in the Tierra del Fuego National Park, where Andean condors cast shadows over glaciated valleys and virgin forests of Antarctic beech, and coastal trails offer sightings of anything from penguins and albatrosses to thickly furred sea lions.



Bailey Johnson, destination editor, Central America and Caribbean

Central America is made up of several small, fascinating countries, all shrouded in jungle and bordered by captivating coastlines. While many travelers gravitate to wellknown spots such as Costa Rica or Guatemala, one of the region’s larger countries, Honduras, often gets overlooked thanks to its rough-aroundthe-edges reputation. See colorful quetzal birds at Lake Yojoa, raft down the mighty Cangrejal River, or hike to the top of Montaña de Santa Bárbara in its namesake national park. Alternatively, pearly sands and azure waters make the Bay Islands, off the Caribbean coast, a great place to spend a few days. In western Honduras, visit the World Heritage-listed ruins of the Maya civilization at Copán or admire colonial architecture in the town of Gracias.

houses. My destination was an eccentric hotel set within a fort belonging to descendants of local Rajput rulers (from $100; After I’d risen early to the cries of peacocks and the call to prayer, a night watchman took me on a tour of Castle Mandawa’s wonders: entrance gates clad in iron spikes that once defended against assault by battle elephants; a former harem lit by colorful stained glass; and a room covered floor to ceiling in a mix of intricate murals and mirrors with their silvering long since faded, yet still reflecting glories past and present.

18 WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH DAKOTA Alexander Howard, destination editor, Western U.S. and Canada

Just a short drive south of Rapid City, Wind Cave National Park sits in the center of a park system that makes up the southwest corner of South Dakota. The central feature of the park is, naturally, the cave, which contains 132 miles of mapped caverns and grottoes, but let the other visitors go spelunking; you’re here to spot wildlife. The above-ground park is a sanctuary where pronghorn antelope, bison and elk roam wild pastures, and you’re more likely to see North America’s most iconic animals here than anywhere else in the park. A perfect confluence of the park’s relatively small size, large bison population and wide grassland prairies make for a wildlife-watcher’s dream. The park sees

only a small fraction of the number of visitors that nearby Mount Rushmore gets, so you are less likely to face crowds here than at the state’s other major attractions.


Oliver Smith, senior staff writer, Lonely Planet U.K.

Taroudant is often described as Marrakesh’s smaller, more introverted cousin. Like the big city, there are huge, biblical-looking ramparts; a boisterous souk stocking everything from knock-off RayBans to freshly decapitated sheep; and a lively square where snake charmers ply their reptilebothering trade. But Taroudant, happily, sees a fraction of the tourists to Marrakesh, and as such you get hassled much less. It helps that specific attractions are few: the fun lies in pottering idly among orange- and date-tree-lined squares, or climbing the rooftops to admire the snowy silhouette of the Atlas Mountains rising beyond laundry lines. Inspired to venture among them, I took a trip north of town up the Tizi n’Test pass. North Africa’s most frightening mountain road, it’s an assault course of hairpin bends, sheer drops and crater-sized potholes, made worse by the kamikaze mountain goats fond of ambling into the traffic. I spent most of the journey in the passenger seat with one hand on the door handle, but the views from the cool heights at the top toward Taroudant were worth the effort. lonelyplanet/morocco 


Peter Grunert, group editor

The road trip to Castle Mandawa felt like a long, jolting ride into the unknown, dodging feral dogs, cows and camels along the way. Northeastern Rajasthan’s little-visited Shekhawati region has a rich history of mural painting, and I knew I’d arrived when the first of these appeared on walls edging scrubby farmland and crumbling courtyard Fall 2016




Gregor Clark, guidebook author

Unfolding like a forgotten ribbon just north of Vermont’s capital, Burlington, the Champlain Islands are a 27-milelong stretch of three largely undeveloped isles: South Hero, North Hero and Isle La Motte. The main purpose of a visit here is to meander aimlessly, enjoying the tranquility and easy living. But there are plenty of low-key attractions too: try a tasting at Vermont’s first winery, Snow Farm Vineyard; pick your own apples at Allenholm Farm; go for a bike ride between the islands, all linked by bridge; or tuck into lobster rolls on the deck at Steamship Pier Bar & Grill. North Hero House, a country inn with front-row lake views, is the perfect place to rest your head (from $110;


Mike Cutting, designer, Lonely Planet U.K.

Lake Garda is home to some of Italy’s most glorious scenery: towering rock faces rising over blue waters, little towns perched among leafy slopes. But it’s certainly no secret. At the end of a recent holiday in the town of Malcesine by the lake, I found myself faced with a decision. Should I make the 40-mile trip straight back to the airport, or take a 170-mile detour, circumnavigating Garda before catching the flight home? I went for the latter, and it proved to be the perfect way to find

the less-well-known corners of the lake, where the road clings to cliff edges and plunges into mountainside tunnels, motorbikes thunder past and everyone breathes in as cars squeeze by. Halfway along the journey is Pieve, a sleepy, relatively undiscovered hamlet of small boutiques, wonky buildings and cobbled streets backing dramatically onto a cliff edge. Jutting precariously over this drop is Ristorante Miralago. Anyone suffering from vertigo will look down and feel their lunch churning. But look across from the dining table, and you’ll see one of Europe’s most spectacular panoramas: the foothills of the Alps, the lake full of sailboats, and the wharves and bell towers of Malcesine on the far shore – the place where I began my journey.


Joanna Cooke, managing destination editor

Lisbon’s hillside Alfama district is popular for good reason, with cobbled alleys twisting toward terracotta rooftops and plenty of charming neighborhood restaurants to tempt the tourists. But by heading west to the neighborhood of Madragoa, you can get an Alfama experience with a fraction of the crowds. Situated between Estrela and Lapa, west of the city center, the tiny district of Madragoa has steep streets and rooftop views, with cameraready moments revealed at every corner. But day-to-day life happens at a much gentler pace here than in Alfama. Washing hangs across narrow lanes and children play in the street,

stopping to step out of the way of the vintage streetcars trundling by. Madragoa also has intimate cafés and a small selection of surprisingly upscale restaurants, such as A Travessa and Clube de Jornalistas.


Rory Goulding, sub-editor, Lonely Planet U.K.

The islands of Okinawa are Japan in an unfamiliar subtropical garb of luxuriant green, sandy gold and azure sea. Snorkelers and scuba divers are amply rewarded here. While Okinawa’s greatest underwater secret lies off the island of Yonaguni, where some curiously sharp-lined rock formations have been proposed as the remains of a sunken civilization, it’s the multihued world of corals and reef fish that provides the richest viewing. In 2014, the Kerama Islands became Japan’s first new national park since 1987. This scattering of small islands is a one-hour trip by fast ferry from the city of Naha on Okinawa’s namesake main island, and they remain only modestly developed. Staying on the islands gives you a chance to find your way to more out-of-theway crescents of sand, as well as extra time to explore offshore with your fins.

24 VRŠOVICE, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC Gemma Graham, destination editor, Northern Europe

Visitors have long been drawn to Prague for its Old Town, and there’s no denying that this beautiful city has historic charm by the bucketload. But if you’re looking for where it’s happening now, look no further than Vršovice. The southeastern district is making a name for itself as one of Prague’s coolest neighborhoods, with its epicenter a street called Krymská. Once a hive of industry, Vršovice still has a slightly shabby exterior, but over the past few years it’s seen a proliferation of unique coffee shops, boutiques, creative spaces and clubs. First to blaze a trail here was Café V Lese; stop by for a coffee or a cocktail before heading to Plevel Restaurant for fantastic vegan food. It’s also worth poking your head into Basement Bar, and trying local wine while sitting in the vineyards at Viniční Altán (pictured). Go now, before everyone else gets there.







el Secre av

Kate Morgan, guidebook author





el Secre av

In one of the world’s most visited cities it’s not always easy to find yourself a secret slice away from the map-toting crowds. That’s why I love Parc de Belleville. Located in eastern Paris, it’s a charming patch of greenery frequented by locals who are rewarded with some of the best views of Paris. Tuck a baguette under your arm from famed boulangerie Au 140, grab a wheel of camembert and head on up to join them for a picnic before the secret is well and truly out – Belleville is arguably the city’s next “it” neighborhood. Here you’ll also find coffee roasters Belleville Brûlerie, responsible for some of the best coffee in Parisian cafés, plus world-class street art, creative dining spots, a lively multicultural community and a historic fresh produce market.

Fall 2016



Tokyo’s frequently changing skyline seen from the 52nd floor of the Mori Tower // Opposite: Omoide Yokocho is a warren of small bars and eateries by Shinjuku station.

[ H I G H C I T Y]

[ LOW C I T Y ] Tokyo was once two cities in one, with samurai in the west and townspeople in the east. Today, visitors to Japan’s capital can seek out echoes of this dual personality. By RORY GOULDING @RGOULDINGTRAVEL Photographs by MATT MUNRO

clockwise from top left: the neon-lit streets of eastern Shinjuku // dressing up for the day in Asakusa, the heart of the low-town Shitamachi // a more formal photo session on the grounds of Senso-ji // The temple has been much rebuilt over 1,380 years.

Every day, 3 million people pass through Shinjuku Station. A multitude of its exits point commuters to shopping malls and high-rise office buildings. Others lead to alleyways thick with the smell of grilled food, where shop signs clamor for attention, and walkers on a rainy night have to negotiate clashing umbrellas and other low-lying obstacles. Tokyo never stays still for long, but the balance between its more polished face and its earthier corners has been a constant, one that newcomers to the capital discover for themselves. Edo, as it was once known, was in fact two cities. On the higher ground to the west was the Yamanote (“hand of the mountain”), where feudal lords and their samurai gathered around the castle of the shoguns, Japan’s military rulers from 1603 to 1867. To service these wealthy quarters, the Shitamachi (“lower town”) grew up on the marshes to the east. Ordinary citizens lived in a thicket of narrow wooden houses and shops, soon to become the world’s largest city.



HIDDEN BUDDHAS AND SACRED CAR WASHES In the 150 years since shoguns and samurai held sway, both Yamanote and Shitamachi have blurred into an almost seamless whole, living on more in folk memory than on street maps. Today, the name of the old high town is most often spotted when taking Yamanote Line trains, which run around west-central Tokyo. Shitamachi identity has proven stronger, and one place where it still feels like a reality is the neighborhood of Asakusa. People who grew up around here take pride in being an edokko – a “child of Edo” – with some of the inherited toughness of generations that had to put up with living in cramped quarters, which burned down with dismaying frequency. They even took a certain perverse pride in it, if an old local saying is anything to go by: “Fires and quarrels are the flowers of Edo.”

Clockwise from top left: Asakusa’s five-story temple pagoda // Meiji Jingu is dedicated to Emperor Meiji, who ruled during Japan’s late 19th-century modernization. // A wedding party leaves the shrine. // Ceremonial sake barrels line a wall at Meiji Jingu.

The usual introduction to Asakusa is the avenue of small shops that leads from Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) up to Senso-ji, the city’s oldest and busiest temple. Beyond the snack stalls and trinket stands, worshippers and sightseers buy good-luck charms, light incense in the giant burner out front, and toss coins into the large offering box under the sweeping roof of the main hall. Any meditative thoughts are interrupted at regular intervals by screams from the roller coasters of the neighboring Hanayashiki amusement park, in business since 1853. Then as now, Senso-ji was a crowd-pleaser, not a Zen retreat. The temple traces its foundation to AD 628, when two brothers fishing in the Sumida River are said to have hauled in their nets to find a small, golden statue. Senso-ji was built to house the image, but it was almost immediately declared a hibutsu (hidden Buddha), too sacred to be exposed to public gaze. So while the miraculous temple became the heart of the low town, the golden

statue that forms Senso-ji’s kernel – or whatever lies behind the altar curtain – has been kept from view for more than 13 centuries. At the opposite end of the Yamanote Line to Asakusa is Meiji Jingu, an imperial Shinto shrine, built almost entirely out of wood, without the use of nails and with only sparse decoration. It stands surrounded by more than 100,000 trees, donated from all over Japan to create a pocket of forest in the city’s midst. It’s almost as popular with visitors as Senso-ji, but here the clamor is lost in the green depths. In the shrine’s main courtyard, everyone turns to watch a wedding procession, the bride under a white hood and sheltered by a red parasol. Just outside is an area where the faithful can park their newly bought cars, doors left open, to be ritually purified by a Shinto priest; he waves a paper-streamer wand around the vehicles, to ensure safe and happy driving. *

clockwise from top left: Omotesando’s landmark Prada store // two shoppers on the area’s main street // The Tod’s building, to the right of Hugo Boss, mimics tree branches in its design. // Iriyama Sembei, a rice cracker shop in Asakusa, was founded in 1914.

OCTOPUS ON ICE AND PRADA BAGS Omotesando was built to be the grand approach road to Meiji Jingu shrine. It is still one of the city’s most splendid avenues, lined with zelkova trees, except that pilgrimages here today are almost always shopping-oriented. It’s been dubbed Tokyo’s answer to the Champs-Élysées, and the big brands are fully represented, their stores more like embassies, with some of the boldest architecture of the last two decades. Off the main drag, shops cater to more diverse looks, from boho style to teen trends of mayfly duration. Magazine photographers roam the streets, waiting to pounce on the most eye-catching followers of fashion. Back in low-town Asakusa, a dwindling but still sizable band of small family businesses sell the kind of goods that Shitamachi shoppers might have known: camellia wood combs, dyed cloth, rice crackers grilled over charcoal.



Perhaps the most eye-opening shopping spectacle in the city, however, is one that’s not aimed at the casual customer. Down the river from Asakusa, the wholesale fish market at Tsukiji has become a tourist attraction in a way never intended when it was built in 1935. Tiny electric delivery trucks zip across the wet cobbles, and traders dash along the alleyways. This cavernous space under a corrugated iron roof is where 70 percent of the seafood consumed in Tokyo is traded. At one stall, octopus tentacles curl back to make a kind of bizarre crown. At another, a flounder blinks and mouths impassively in a tank, while ice tumbles from a chute. The fish market is set to move away from the area in November, into newer, more spacious and more visitor-friendly premises. A facet of local life will be gone, although the outer food market will remain, and long lines will continue to announce the most famous neighborhood sushi restaurants.

clockwise from top left: Turret Coffee is a café near Tsukiji named after the market’s “turret” delivery trucks. // The fish market is to relocate later this year. // Mr. Iwai pours out sake at Mitsukoshi. // Okame is one of many sushi restaurants next to Tsukiji market.

Another approach to staying atop Tokyo’s tides is shown by Mitsukoshi: beginning life as a Shitamachi kimono shop in 1673, it evolved into one of the city’s most prestigious department stores. At the art deco branch in the central Nihonbashi district, the morning opening follows a well-honed ritual. At 9:59 a.m., employees are lined up behind the plate glass at the entrance. At 10 sharp, they bow and the doors slide open, the waiting customers streaming in to a chorus of “irasshaimase” (welcome) from every counter. Depachika (basement-level food halls) are a Tokyo institution, and Mitsukoshi has one of the best. In the drinks section, Mr. Iwai is pouring out samples of sake from the month’s guest brewery, Kozaemon. “The family who makes it is now in its 14th generation,” he says. The first sake is offered cold, in wine glasses. A cup of the second is brought to optimum temperature in a warm-water bath; it has a hay-like sweetness on the tongue.

GRIMY LAMPS AND FANCY BASKET FOOD The city that invented sushi, soba noodles and tempura has never lacked in eateries. There are said to be 88,000 in Tokyo today. Among the most prestigious are the capital’s immaculately traditional kaiseki restaurants. These typically command steep prices, unless there’s a lunch deal. Inshotei, inside Ueno Park at the northeastern edge of the high-town Yamanote, is a rambling old building with views over the treetops. A seasonally changing set lunch, served inside a hanakago (latticework “flower basket”), runs to almost 20 different dishes, including tofu served in bamboo, with mackerel and shiitake mushrooms. Each is no more than a few bites; the aim is not to be stuffed, although it adds up all the same. Around Asakusa and east of the Sumida River, a scattering of restaurants also keeps alive Shitamachi tastes, such as stewed loach, small fish from the *

clockwise from top left: Inshotei was founded in 1875. // A selection of small dishes here is served in a “hanakago” (flower basket). // Kabuto has been serving grilled eel in Omoide Yokocho since 1948. // The alleyways press up against the train tracks.

estuary. But for low-town tastes more typical of the city today, it’s best to head west to a small enclave of eateries and bars known as Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane) beside the raised tracks of the Yamanote Line. Night has just fallen, and office workers duck under red-striped lanterns and weave around stacked beer crates to find a popular counter with an empty bar stool, for a quick beer and some yakitori (chicken skewers) before the train home. Most of the establishments here seat barely a dozen customers, and each chef pitches the tone of the place differently, somewhere on a scale between briskness and back-slapping laughter. At the central crossing point of alleyways, specialty eel restaurant Kabuto has a long-disused lamp, with decades of blackened residue on it, above the grill. There is a photo of the same lamp displayed on a shelf behind the counter; it’s an unusual point of pride in this tidiest of mega-cities.



JUNIOR THEATER AND VANISHING MOUNTAINS In the Shitamachi of old, the superstars of the day were sumo wrestlers, swaggering firemen and kabuki actors. Today, Tokyo’s lavishly rebuilt main kabuki theater stands in the opulent Ginza district; with the evening show sold out, people line up from early morning for single-act tickets. The crowds are here to see the acting debut of Kangen Horikoshi, son of Ichikawa Ebizo XI. The greatest kabuki actors pass their titles down in dynasties, and young Kangen is the crown prince. He’s getting only one line in the play, but then he is just 21/2 years old. Edo-era townspeople made the most of their moments of relaxation, and even the simplest pursuit could be turned into something of an art form. The Kite Museum is one of the city’s hidden delights, on the fifth floor above Taimeiken restaurant, signaled by a long line of office workers outside and * *

clockwise from top left: a poster of kabuki scenes outside Ginza’s Kabuki-za theater // The current building, from 2013, is the fifth to be built on the site. // Hamarikyu Teien was originally the shogun’s private garden. // the Kite Museum in Nihonbashi

drifting smells of curry rice. Striking images fill the small space: dragonflies, swallows, sumo wrestlers, even an octopus wearing a headband. Masami Fukuoka, head of the Japan Kite Association, is often at the museum to show visitors around. “There are only two or three artists still making kites in Japan today,” he says. “The kites are partly made with rice paste, and the risk is that rats eat them. There are few very old ones; the earliest examples we have are from the 1920s.” Meanwhile in the Yamanote, the aesthetic sense of the samurai class gifted Tokyo some of its finest surviving treasures: its gardens and collections of fine objects. Most big parks and even many modern hotel grounds began as private retreats for the shogun or his vassals. Amid the green acres of Hamarikyu Teien, contemporary visitors get to enjoy a moment of lordly attention at a lakeside teahouse: as they sit cross-legged to take in the scene, kimonoed

attendants appear with trays and kneel to serve each customer a cup of frothy green matcha and a pastel-colored bean-paste sweet. Outside, a cormorant flies under a footbridge next to a hill signposted as Fujimiyama (Fuji-viewing mountain); it was obviously named at a time before high-rise buildings blocked distant views of Japan’s tallest and most iconic peak. The art of drinking tea developed its own paraphernalia: refined ceramics and utensils, plus hanging picture scrolls and other tasteful conversation pieces to reflect well on the host. At the eastern end of Omotesando’s run of shops, the Nezu Museum exhibits many precious examples beside its collections of statuary and screen paintings from across East Asia. (Its garden is another Tokyo secret.) Ceramic art continues to thrive in Japan today; the Musée Tomo displays choice pieces gently spotlit in its exhibition hall, down a fossil-stone spiral staircase surrounded by silver leaf walls. * *

clockwise from top left: Tea is served in Hamariku Teien’s wooden teahouse. // The Tokyo Skytree rises above Asakusa’s sidestreets. // Manga imagery fills a wall next to the Radio Kaikan building in Akihabara. // a ceramics exhibition at Musée Tomo

Escapism in contemporary Tokyo has evolved beyond kabuki and landscape gardens. The last three decades have seen the rise of the otaku (obsessive fan), an identity that recent surveys claim applies to more than 40 percent of Japanese. In the electronics district of Akihabara is one of the temples of otaku culture: the Radio Kaikan building. This 10-floor emporium is filled with comic book figures, collecting cards, a jump seat from an F4 Phantom II jet and a model of Godzilla stomping on the Japanese parliament. Tokyo’s evolution has taken it from a past of two cities, high and low, to a present where extremes of wealth are less marked than in most major cities. Most big-name development has taken place west of the old divide between Yamanote and Shitamachi, but there are signs the east is on the way up. In 2012, the Tokyo Skytree opened on the far side of the Sumida River. It’s the world’s second-tallest structure, and it borrowed design principles from Asak-

usa’s temple pagoda. The tower had to fit into a triangular space, hemmed in by a canal and a railway line. Taking one of the four elevators, each representing a season, a digital display shows the height increasing rapidly, while a continuous line drawing traces the cross-section of the tower at each level, starting as a triangle and morphing gradually into a circle. Emerging onto the observation deck, you see clearly that Tokyo is a riverside city. Computer screens let visitors highlight and enlarge parts of the panorama. But most intriguing is a copy of a print from 1809 showing a bird’s-eye view of Edo, almost as if seen from the top of the Skytree, had it existed then. Tokyo is a city where you feel any imagination can be turned into reality, even if it takes 200 years. Rory Goulding first lived in Tokyo at age 4 and has returned frequently. *

MAKE IT HAPPEN / TOKYO Map Key 1 Hamarikyu Teien 2 Inshotei 3 Kabuki-za 4 Kite Museum 5 Meiji Jingu 6 Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi 7 Musée Tomo 8 Nezu Museum 9 Omoide Yokocho 10 Omotesando 11 Radio Kaikan building 12 Senso-ji 13 Tokyo Skytree 14 Tsukiji Market

Hotels 1 Courtyard Tokyo Ginza 2 Sukeroku no Yado Sadachiyo 3 Hotel S




Narita International Airport has long been the primary gateway to Tokyo, but Haneda Airport, with its expanded international terminal, now sees more and more long-haul flights. Haneda is closer to the downtown area; there are trains and buses from both airports. Tokyo’s rail network is sprawling but efficient. Trains and subways are run by JR, Tokyo Metro, Toei and a few other companies, though you can use prepaid Suica or Pasmo cards across all of them. Single fares start at around $1.50. Taxis are pricey, but very clean and comfortable.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Lonely Planet’s Tokyo ($21.99) is a full guide to the city, while Pocket Tokyo ($13.99) is ideal for quick visits. Pick up the Japan travel guide ($29.99) for exploring beyond the capital. Tokyo is included in Lonely Planet’s Guides app (, featuring information for travelers on the go. Find more Tokyo suggestions at and ideas for further Japan travel at

From Seattle





WHEN TO GO // Spring (late March to mid-June) and fall (mid-September to early December) are the most comfortable seasons to visit. July and August are hot and packed with big festivals. Cherry blossoms are not 100 percent predictable, but tend to peak in Tokyo around April 1. Autumn colors are best in late November or early December. Japan’s busiest travel period is Golden Week (April 29 – May 5), while most of the country shuts down in the run-up to January 1.

Fall 2016



Murtaz Vatsadze proposes a toast at a gathering of friends and relatives at the family home. Opposite: Wine is taken from a qvevri in a cellar owned by Gela Gamtkitsulashvili, in the village of Napareuli.

GRAPE EXPECTATIONS In Georgia, where wine has been made for 8,000 years, the grape has sacred significance and the annual harvest is a celebration of the nation’s unique traditions. By Marcel Theroux PhoTograPhs By andrew MonTgoMery

Murtaz Vatsadze (right) and his son Murad maintain a family tradition of winemaking that goes back centuries.


Drinking wine in Georgia is always a celebration, and whenever it takes t’s midday in the vineyards above the Rioni River. There’s a sleepy place, a tamada, or toastmaster, will be selected to officiate. Not everyone has hum of insects in the warm air. Murad Vatsadze is negotiating the the skills to be a tamada: you have to be eloquent, funny and able to hold your steep mountain path in a pair of blue flip-flops. Above him, the drink. It’s quite normal for a Georgian man to drink two or three liters of wine cultivated slope thins out into alpine meadows, where the tinkling (as much as 20 traditional 5-ounce servings) at a sitting. of cowbells can be heard on the freshening wind. We are high up in Today, in the Vatsadze house, Arto is the tamada. He’s a balding, thick-set the foothills of Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains. Beneath us lies the man – like a more genial version of Tony Soprano. The first toast he proposes curling valley and mile upon mile of vineyards. is, as always, to peace. The toasts that follow will vary and may honor guests, Vatsadze is showing me the vines that his great-grandfather planted here family, dead loved ones, the hosts, women and children. Georgians always 100 years ago. This south-facing slope gets daylong sunshine, and even at more than 5,500 feet up, grapes still thrive. Vines strung out along wires are heavy include one to the ancestors who had the foresight to plant the grapevines. with two local varieties: alexandrouli and mujuretuli. He then leads me into After a few rounds, Vatsadze brings out a drinking horn, which we take in the cool darkness of the family’s marani, or wine cellar, which abuts their turns to drain. Then his brother-in-law Levan leads the table in a song while sprawling house. Vatsadze’s family has been making wine for as long as anyone two others improvise harmonies. This polyphonic style of singing is a Georcan remember. The wine press is a hollowed-out tree trunk. The grapes are gian tradition too. It’s a melancholy sound, but the message is upbeat, celebrattrodden within it and the juice that flows out is channeled down wooden ing the glory of wine and long life. pipes into holes in the cellar floor. Vatsadze’s year-old red wine is ruby-colored, cool, light and fresh, with Beneath these openings are qvevri, enormous wine vessels unique to a sweetness that is particular to this combination of grapes and the region, Georgia. Made of red clay, they can be 10 feet deep and hold as many as Racha, located in northwest Georgia. When this wine is bottled and sold, 1,300 bottles’ worth of wine. They are shaped like it’s known as khvanchkara. The name is meaningless vases, with wide shoulders tapering down toward and unpronounceable to most, but for 70 years, it was “Wine is a badge of pride the drink of choice for the Soviet elite and, as Geora pointed bottom, and are buried beneath the ground gians will assure you, the favorite of their most notowith only their necks protruding. The floor is covhere, and a symbol of rious son: Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, better ered with slate lids that have been sealed to let the known as Joseph Stalin. wines age. Vatsadze opens the lid of an empty qvevri. It echoes like the opening of a well. There’s a glint of hospitality; it’s central to liquid in the bottom and the faint smell of sour wine. IT’S A JOLTING 20-MINUTE DRIVE down The Vatsadze family members make wine in a way an unsurfaced road and along the valley to a rickety religious worship and their most distant ancestors would recognize. Each wooden flour mill beside the Rioni River. The mill year, their seven qvevris are scraped clean by hand with belongs to Nodar Ratiani. He wipes maize flour from family life.” a photo of Stalin that takes pride of place on the wall a tool made of folded cherry bark. Neither chemicals beside a print of the Mona Lisa. “He was magari,” he nor yeast are added to the pressed grape juice. Vatsadze says: “Strong.” Magari is a favorite Georgian word and is applied approvingly scoops wine from them using a dipper made out of a pumpkin shell. The famto wine as well as people. “He fought the Germans and beat them. Millions of ily lives a life of rural self-sufficiency, raising pigs, keeping bees and growing people died, but he was too smart for them.” tomatoes, corn, figs, beans, apples, medlars and pears. Ratiani has a proud, hawklike face, and is wiry and whip-thin. The pulse of As dusk falls, a dozen family members and friends assemble around a long the engine that drives the millstone fills his shack. The place smells of ground table that’s been laid with a feast. There’s chicken in garlic sauce, salty white corn. “I’m 74,” he says. “I have no complaints. It’s because the air is so good.” cheese, tomatoes, bread stuffed with cheese and beans, and a stew of what I point out the tattoos on his hands. “I had them done in prison,” he says. Vatsadze tells me is braised bear meat. When I suggest that he’s pulling my “When I was young, I wasn’t very calm. I used to fight a lot.” He sweeps a leg, he swears on the health of his children and explains that the bear was shot few loose kernels from the grain bin. “Young men today hardly fight at all,” he a week earlier by a next-door neighbor. He serves homemade red and white adds, with a trace of disappointment. “But sometimes you have to.” wines. I’m eager to raise my glass and taste, but it’s not quite that simple. The Georgian nation has seen its fair share of fighting over the years. It is an ancient place – Kolkheti on the Black Sea is the successor to legendary THE IMPORTANCE OF WINE to this nation of 4 million is hard to exaggerate. Above the capital, Tbilisi, a giant statue of Mother Georgia holds a Colchis, where, in Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts went in search sword to ward off enemies, and a bowl of wine to welcome friends. Every of the Golden Fleece – and it has been invaded many times, by Greeks, house has a trellis of vines outside it, with grapes ripening for the yearly pressRomans, Persians and others. Its recent history has been dominated by relaing. Wine is a badge of pride here, and a symbol of hospitality; it’s central to tions with its enormous northern neighbor: Georgia was colonized first by religious worship and family life. Wine production is a link to the past and an the Russian Empire and then by the Soviet Union. expression of national identity. In Communist times, mountainous Georgia, with its traditions of wine Virtually every Georgian I meet here makes wine, albeit on a more and good food, was seen as a land of mythic abundance. Throughout the modest scale than the Vatsadze family. If they can’t grow their own Soviet Union, the best restaurants were Georgian ones, and the most desirvines, city dwellers buy grapes from seasonal bazaars. Serving their own able wines were from Georgia. Each year, the quantity of Georgian wines sold in the USSR exceeded the amount produced: unscrupulous traders simply homemade wine to guests is a matter of pride, and the act of drinking it has slapped Georgian labels on less desirable Moldavian and Russian wines. been refined to an art form. Fall 2016



Alaverdi Cathedral, near the city of Telavi in Georgia’s Kakheti province. Opposite: a supra, or tablecloth, laden with a Georgian meal at the home of the Vatsadze family


After a hiatus during Communist rule, wine is once more being prohe heart of Georgian winemaking lies in the eastern provduced at Alaverdi. Since 2006, the monastery has been making awardince of Kakheti. It’s only 120 miles as the crow flies from the Vatsadzes’ house, but it’s a full day’s driving to get there, winning wines, some in qvevris, some using modern methods. Brother Geracross twisting mountain roads and the rich agricultural flatasimi Otarashvili has a big chestnut-colored beard, a black robe and a slightly incongruous mobile phone, which he puts to one side as he pours me a glass lands of central Georgia. Here, the Alazani River waters a of the 2009 rkatsiteli. Rkatsiteli is one of the hundreds fertile valley between two dramatic ranges of the Caucasus. At the northern end, a distincof grape varieties unique to Georgia. This is technically “Georgia is proudly white wine, but its time in the qvevri, where it’s been tive turret-shaped spire soars more than 160 feet above in contact with grape skins, stems and seeds, gives it a the valley floor. It belongs to 11th-century Alaverdi Cathedral, part of a monastery complex where wine Christian, and the process striking gold color. It’s dry and citrusy, with a hint of raisins and other dried fruit. has been made for 1,500 years. by which grape juice “The Russians wanted to eradicate the tradition of “Winemaking is a sacred duty given to the Georqvevris,” Brother Otarashvili says. Georgia’s winemakgian people by God,” says Father David Chrvitidze, becomes wine is the leader of the small community of monks at Alaing offended the commissars as it smacked of nationalism and private enterprise. “They passed a strict law verdi. An energetic man in his 50s, he walks through attributed by some to the to abolish qvevri production. Thank God that families the courtyard of the monastery, pausing briefly to bless looked after them. It was the Lord’s wish to promote kneeling supplicants. “That’s why we have 550 native Holy Spirit.” the rebirth of qvevri wines.” species of grape. That’s why all our invaders tried to Georgia is a proudly Christian country, and the destroy our vines.” significance of wine in religious worship is reinforced by superstition and cusArchaeological evidence suggests that by the 12th century, Alaverdi was producing 70 metric tons of wine a year. The monks have restored one of the tom. The mysterious process by which grape juice becomes wine is attributed monastery’s ancient wine cellars, and the openings of qvevri are dotted around by some to the work of the Holy spirit. “The Bible says that God created man the floor like craters. The sound of scrubbing emerges from one of them. Deep out of red clay,” Father Chrvitidze says. “Red clay was blessed with the Holy inside, a man is brushing its walls clean in preparation for the latest vintage. Spirit. Then Adam made wine in pots of red clay.”



From far left: harvesting grapes in Kakheti // clay vessels outside winery door // Georgian white wine fermented underground in qvevri // Brother Gerasimi Otarashvili at Alaverdi Cathedral

Although we’re supposed to be tasting the wines, Brother Otarashvili assumes the role of tamada, proposing toasts to the success of our work. He says that research into qvevri wine suggests that its effect is practically medicinal, with up to 10 times the level of antioxidants found in conventional wine. He pours a saperavi – a red wine. It’s a rich purple color with a deep plum and blackberry flavor. We toast each other some more and swirl the wine around, watching the pectin leave trails on our glasses. This is the wine that the monks use in religious services. When we finish tasting, the sun has begun to set. The cathedral is bathed in golden light. A team of volunteers is using hand tools – scythes and pitchforks – to clear weeds from the monastery grounds. WINE CONSUMPTION MAY OR MAY NOT have divine sanction in Georgia, but its production here goes back much earlier than the birth of Christ. There’s evidence to show that grapes were cultivated in the Shulaveri Hills here as far back as 8,000 years ago, giving the country a plausible claim to being the birthplace of wine. This is a matter of considerable pride to the nation. Georgia is still visibly poor and developing. The roads are generally in terrible condition, and the hardship of life in rural Georgia is shocking. The mountains, ripening crops, thickly wooded hills and golden light: these are all beautiful. But the faces of Georgia’s young farmers look prematurely aged. Georgia has struggled to emerge from Russia’s shadow since gaining independence in 1991. Moscow has encouraged separatist movements in the provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. As Georgia has moved closer toward NATO and the EU, Russia has

tried to bring it to heel by turning off its oil and gas supplies. In 2006, Moscow imposed sanctions, banning, of all things, imports of wine in an attempt to deal Georgia’s economy a crippling blow. At the Khareba winery in the Alazani Valley, the harvest is under way. The scene is like something from Soviet propaganda: a brigade of women working quickly along acres of vines, snipping bunches of grapes with pruning shears. “In 2005, Georgia exported 52 million bottles of wine to Russia,” says the vineyard’s owner, Alexander Khareba. “Everything I produced, I sold to Russia. Now I have to find new markets.” Khareba, like other Georgian wine producers, is bullish about the embargo. Throughout Kakheti, you hear the same story: this is Georgia’s Gloria Gaynor moment, when its wine is set to break out of its abusive relationship with Russia. Georgian winemakers say that their rightful place is among the great wine-producing nations. And in the ancient technology of the qvevri, they feel they have a secret weapon. In his wine cellar in Napareuli, 6 miles down the road from the Alaverdi Cathedral, Gela Gamtkitsulashvili crosses himself and pries the cover of a qvevri from its airtight clay seal. I am struck by the sense of occasion and a slight feeling of anxiety. This, after all, is the culmination of 8,000 years of work. Will the natural yeasts have done their work? Will the wine be drinkable? As the lid comes off, a sweet aroma fills the air and all doubts vanish. When Gamtkitsulashvili closed the qvevri last autumn, it was full of cloudy rkatsiteli grape juice. Now, a magical transformation has taken place. He scoops out the wine in clay cups for the first toast. It’s perfectly clear, the color of straw, and the first sip is as bright and pure as sunshine. Fall 2016




/ Georgia

Georgia’s rich wine-producing heritage has been 8,000 years in the making. Explore it on a journey through two of the country’s premier grape-growing regions.

MAP KEY VINEYARDS & WINERIES Khvanchkara district Khareba winery/vineyard Khareba Wine Cellar Twins Old Cellar Alaverdi Cathedral WHERE TO EAT Pheasant’s Tears Palaty Ambrolauri WHERE TO STAY Hotel Kopala Giorgi’s Homestay Schuchmann Wines Chateau

A 9-Step Georgian Wine Tour



Start your trip in Tbilisi. Explore the squares, alleys and cafés of the picturesque city’s Old Town before bedding down in Hotel Kopala. The rooftop restaurant offers glorious views of the city (from $75; Chekhov St. 8/10;

5 About 200 miles east

6 Run by twin brothers

of Kutaisi is the Alaverdi Cathedral, in the province of Kakheti. Admire the cupola and frescoes, and watch the monks at work in the wine cellars (free admission; 7 a.m.–8 p.m.;

Gela and Gia Gamtkitsulashvili, Twins Old Cellar is a winery in the village of Napareuli. Taste qvevri wines, enjoy a Kakhetian feast and join in the wine-making process (prebooked tastings and tours from $6.50;


2 On the slopes of the

3 Frequent live music and 4 At Giorgi’s Homestay

snowy Caucasus mountains, the vineyards of the Rioni River are known for their superior grapes. Make Kutaisi your base, and head for the wineries of the Khvanchkara and Ambrolauri districts.

a semi-bohemian ambience make Palaty, in Kutaisi, a favorite spot with locals and visitors for evening drinks and food. Try khachapuri, traditional Georgian cheese bread (main courses from $3; Pushkin Street II).

in Kutaisi, Giorgi Giorgadze and his family provide pleasant and sizable rooms in their house on Ukimerioni Hill. They offer travel tips, breakfast, and tea and coffee (from $11; Chanchibadze Kucha 14).


8 At Pheasant’s Tears,

9 Set in a vineyard in the

named after a saying that only the finest wine will make a pheasant cry tears of joy, sample wines over dinner in the 250-yearold tasting hall (tastings from $6.50; Baratashvili 18;

village of Kisiskhevi, Schuchmann Wines Chateau has eight rooms with views over the Alazani Valley to the Caucasus mountains. The restaurant specializes in regional cuisine (from $76;

Modern methods and ancient qvevri traditions mix at the Khareba winery, in the Alazani Valley. Wines produced here are stored in a cave on the other side of the river (tour with wine tastings from $4.30; winery

Need to Know

GETTING THERE Tbilisi International Airport is about 11 miles from Georgia’s capital. No airlines fly direct from North America to Georgia, but several, including KLM and Luftansa, have connecting flights in major European cities.

• U.S. citizens can visit Georgia without a visa. • A small country, slightly larger than West Virginia, Georgia is generally a safe, low-crime destination. The U.S. Department of State warns against travel to the Russian-occupied regions of South Ossetia in the north and Abkhazia in the northwest, which are not under the Georgian government’s control (see travel.state .gov for more information).

GETTING AROUND You can rent a car at Tbilisi airport (from about $53 per day; Local drivers, taxis and minibuses are also available. The Rioni River region is half a day’s drive; the Alazani Valley is 90 minutes away.

• You can travel independently in Georgia, but take a good map ( The tourist information center in Tbilisi has good resources (Tavisuplebis Moedani; 10am–6pm). • In Georgia, Pheasant’s Tears (opposite) organizes tailor-made tours exploring the nation’s wine culture and traditions ( Exeter International (exeterinternational .com), based in Tampa, and GeoEx (, in San Francisco, offer custom, private tours of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan; shorter, single-country tours are available as well. • A multiyear project to establish a walking trail extending the entire 435-mile length of the Caucasus was initiated in 2015 by two former Peace Corps volunteers in Georgia. A hikers’ guide to the northwestern regions of Svaneti and Racha is expected to be ready this fall. For more, see

Old World produced using the ancient qvevri method

aged in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks


If you’re new to Georgian wines, try these four varieties, suggested by Gabe Feldman, of Washington, D.C.’s Potomac Wines & Spirits. Browse his online shop at

New World

VINOTERRA RKATSITELI This pale golden wine, made from Georgia’s famed rkatsiteli grape, recalls candied grapes, melon and dried fruit ($13.99).

CHATEAU MUKHRANI GORULI MTSVANE This dry white is made from Georgia’s goruli mtsvane grape, a variety of mtsvane cultivated for centuries in the Kartli region ($15.99).



ORGO SAPERAVI Made from old-vine grapes, this dry red has notes of cherry and blackberry with a hint of chocolate ($23.99) .

TELIANI VALLEY KINDZMARAULI This semisweet red, produced from the saperavi grape, is steel-fermented, with aromas of crushed rose petals, violets and plums ($14.99).

FOR MORE INFORMATION To learn more about Georgia’s wine country or other wine regions around the world, see Lonely Planet’s Wine Trails ($24.99); the book includes a detailed itinerary for touring the Kakheti region, Georgia’s premier wine-producing area. The Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan guidebook ($24.99) takes you to the heart of the region, with specific experiences and planning advice. For more on wine tourism, visit the Georgian Wine Association’s website, The country’s official tourism website is Fall 2016






“I visited Cuba for the first time in 1995 and completely fell in love with it. I’d planned to stay for two weeks but ended up staying two months; since then, I must have been at least 50 times. Cuba is an amazing country in all aspects, and what really sings to me are the cities, like Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Trinidad; the cars; the colonial buildings, with their gorgeous patina of colors; and, especially, the people. Cubans are very alive, with a sophisticated outlook on life and a capacity for joy that’s unlike anywhere else I’ve been. Everyone is warm and open. Meet one person and you’ll end up meeting the entire neighborhood. In Cuba, you can walk 3 feet and take a thousand pictures, but I’ve tried to dig deeper, revisiting places and people. Over the years, while the country has changed in certain physical ways, the core essence – the Cuban heart and soul – has remained the same. That’s why I’ve kept going back.”



previous pages: “Havana’s Malecón roadway is probably my favorite place on Earth. In good weather people always sit out there; locals call it The Couch. A lot of life happens on it.” opposite, from top: “Ana and Alberto are great dancers. I shot them on a roof outside Havana, where I take photography groups for a celebration with Afro-Cuban and salsa dancing; I was walking in the sleepy town of Trinidad when I saw this juxtaposition of a car and a girl on horseback. above: “Some of the most beautiful sights in Cuba are the revolutionary signs, which change every year.” below left: “This motorcyclist, pictured at the Malecón, was attending a rally; there’s a strong love of motorcycles in Cuba.” below right: “I met this girl walking in Trinidad. I’d see the same people and get to know them.”

Fall 2016



above: “The laws in Cuba have been changing in the last couple of years, and a lot of businesses have popped up. This Havana street vendor was fixing watches. In Cuba they don’t throw anything out, because they can’t; there are guys whose job is refilling disposable lighters. I don’t think there’s anything they can’t fix – it’s astonishing.” below: “This is my friend Illa, a very sweet guy who owns a spectacular 1952 Cadillac. He keeps it in mint condition in a garage in old Havana, renting it out for weddings and quinceañeras (held when a girl turns 15).” opposite: “Here, Illa is in front of the Partagás cigar factory, one of the main manufacturers of Cuban cigars, and the brand he’s smoking.”



Fall 2016



Try to keep your mind open politically and culturally. If you go to Cuba with a lot of preconceived notions, you will have a difficult time understanding how things work and a hard time enjoying yourself. Cuba is very much like an onion, in that it has many, many different layers. The first time I went to Cuba, I read a huge amount of books on the country, including an 800-page bio on Fidel, and every time I go there I ‘know’ less and less.

Just hold on and enjoy the ride! Ñ photographer Lorne Resnick

MAKE IT HAPPEN What You Need to Know Now

/ Cuba

This fall, Cuba will become more accessible to American travelers than it has been for nearly six decades, thanks to new commercial flight routes, a new American hotel and more. Here’s what you need to know to start planning a trip. For more information: • See Lonely Planet’s Cuba ($24.99), which is also available for download at Yoani Sánchez is Cuba’s most famous blogger. Her blog, 14ymedio .com/blogs/generacion_y, has tested the mettle of Cuba’s censorship police since 2007. Find details on Lorne Resnick’s book, Cuba: This Moment, Exactly So, at

YOU’LL SOON BE ABLE TO TAKE A COMMERCIAL FLIGHT OR A CRUISE TO CUBA. American Airlines won a bid earlier this year to service Miami to Havana, Cienfuegos, Holguin, Camaguey, Santa Clara and Varadero, with first flights scheduled to depart in September. At press time, controversy surrounded security screening levels in Cuban airports, and the Department of Transportation was reviewing eight U.S. airlines, including American, Delta and United, for commercial flights between 10 U.S. cities and Havana. Check the Department of Transportation website for regular updates ( In addition, numerous cruise line options are expected to be available this fall. AND YOU CAN STAY AT A NEW HOTEL IN HAVANA. The Sheraton Four Points is accepting bookings for its 186-room hotel, Four Points Havana; it’s the first American hospitality company to enter Cuba in almost 60 years. All of the brand’s signature elements will be there, including a pool, a fitness center and a meetings facility. All guests must comply with government requirements for travel to the country. From $250, YOU CAN NOW USE YOUR CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD. Previously, those entering Cuba weren’t able to use credit or debit cards, but some cards are now being recognized. Check with your financial institution before traveling to verify that your card can be used. Cash may be the best and easiest way to go. Most hotels will exchange cash, but rates and fees may vary.

BUT NO STOCKING UP ON SOUVENIRS JUST YET. You won’t be able to grab souvenir cigars or bottles of rum for all your friends and relatives back home, but you can bring back up to $400 worth of merchandise, including up to $100 worth of alcohol and/or cigars. AND REMEMBER, THE EMBARGO IS TECHNICALLY STILL IN EFFECT. Although the United States has eased travel and trade restrictions, those entering the island country must do so under one of the 12 categories of authorized travel, including family visits, professional endeavors, educational activities, religious activities, public performances and humanitarian projects. Solo travel is now possible, although you’ll need to keep your itinerary showing a full schedule of cultural activities, and receipts should they need to be reviewed upon re-entry. More specific information can be found at IT MIGHT STILL BE EASIEST TO TAKE A “PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE” EDUCATIONAL TRIP. Americans will still need to obtain a tourist card and Cuban-government-mandated health insurance. There are several tour operators who will take care of everything, including the required full schedule of cultural activities. Try Cuba Educational Travel (from $1,500 per person for a four-day trip; or Cuba Travel Network, which specializes in individual travel (five-day Havana tour from $893; Resnick, a Canadian and American citizen, hosts photography workshops in Cuba ( Fall 2016



Welcome to a World of Good

The time of your life, now 10% closer Travel changes people, and people change the world. Travel with G Adventures and discover your planet, make new friends, and earn memories you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Book before July 31, 2016 and save 10% off* any G Adventures small-group adventure tour. Quote promo code 16TB010DES01 when you book.

1 888 800 4100 Receive 10% off per person on guaranteed departures of select small-group tours as follows: Tour must be booked by July 31st, 2016 at 00:00 EST for the G Adventures’ tour portion of select trip codes departing before December 31st 2016. Valid for new bookings only and must quote promo code 16TB010DES01 at time of booking. Bookings must be made by calling G Adventures, visiting, or by booking through Lonely Planet. This promotion is only open to residents of the United States. Cannot be combined with any other offers, promotions or discounts and is subject to availability. Does not apply to MS Expedition, National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures, Cruising the Galapagos, SPIT tour, FIT, Independent trips, pre- or post-tour accommodation, insurance, airfare not included in the itinerary, upgrades, add-ons, “My Own Room” or “My Own Tent,” transfers, theme packs, or other in-country or on-board services. G Adventures reserves the right to withdraw this offer from sale at any time without prior notice. Any refunds made with respect to products booked under this promotion shall be issued at the discounted rate. G Adventures reserves the right to cancel any booking due to unauthorized, altered, ineligible, or fraudulent use of discount. G Adventures is not responsible for technical or system errors that may interfere with or otherwise prohibit the use of the promotion. All G Adventures’ tours are subject to G Adventures’ full booking conditions, found here:


A world away from the busy coastlines of Andalucía and Catalonia, central Spain harbors sleepy villages where few tourists venture, crumbling Roman ruins, storied university towns and – at the heart of it all – the boisterous capital, Madrid.



Mérida’s National Museum of Roman Art features objects dating to early Roman civilization.

Fall 2016





Explore the diverse Spanish palate by taking a tapas tour of the capital – or simply lose yourself in the city’s streets, where you might happen upon the perfect bar. The question of where in Spain you’ll find the tastiest food is a discussion best initiated with caution (and one that might end in waving fists and looking up rude words in your Spanish dictionary). But the logical answer is Madrid, for it is here you can taste the A to Z of all Spanish cuisine – from Andalucian gazpacho to lamb cooked in a Zaragoza style. And, thanks to the tapas tradition of sharing small plates of food, it is quite feasible to eat your way across the entire country in one evening. “When you go for a night out, you don’t drink beer and wine because you’re thirsty,” says José Aragon Angel Mozos García, welcoming customers into his seafood restaurant, La Mar, beside the city’s opera house. “And it is the same with tapas in Madrid: people don’t eat because they are hungry; they eat just because it is fun,” he says. “You start at your local and you keep going through the night.” Outside García’s restaurant, the evening tapas crawl is slowly gathering momentum, while inside, the kitchen shuttles off steaming plates containing things that only a few hours ago were swimming off Spain’s Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts: rich and creamy Valencian seafood paella, and prawns from Cadiz now drowned in garlic to make the classic dish gambas al ajillo, beloved of Madrileños. “Food in Spain isn’t about formal dining, white linen and good manners,” continues García, scooping up prawns



ESSENTIALS STAY // Catalonia Gran Vía has rooms with bare wood floors, vast beds and tall windows overlooking the busy street of the same name. Be sure to admire the views from the rooftop swimming pool (from $145; EAT // Adventurous Appetites offers an introduction to tapas gastronomy in Madrid, with an added dose of local history. Nightly English-language tours take roughly four hours ($50 per person; adven Restaurant La Mar can feature as part of the tour (tapas from $5.75;

with a chunk of bread in his handsome, Moorish-tiled dining room. “It is food you eat with you hands – food designed for socializing.” Madrid is a capital that is decidedly short on formalities. Unlike London, Paris, Berlin and Rome, it has few iconic landmarks – no famous triumphal arch, no truly colossal cathedral. It is a city whose spirit comes more from its atmosphere than its bricks. And at no time is Madrid more spirited than the depths of night, when tapas expeditions are in full swing – at an hour when London and Paris are tucked in bed, when even Rome has paid its bill and is ready to go home. Navigating between eateries, you might cross lamplit squares where crowds spill out from the tabernas (taverns) and lean on the pedestals of statues; or stroll beside the locked gates of parks like the Retiro, the scent of pine wafting over the railings; or potter beside the facades of vast galleries, where, inside, the gaunt faces of El Greco portraits watch over empty rooms that hours ago were busy with crowds. Some tapas places are pit stops, like Casa Labra, the founding spot of the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party), in whose boisterous wood-paneled interiors cod croquetas sell for the democratic price of 1 euro 25 cents to standing customers. Other restaurants invite you to linger longer – La Bola, for example, home of cocido madrileño, a “Madrid stew” of sausage, ham hock, beef, chicken and potatoes, cooked in ceramic pots following an Asturian recipe unchanged since the 1870s (and served in interiors that likewise have barely changed since then). And then there’s the joy of making your own miraculous Madrid tapas discovery: finding a bar squirreled away on a backstreet off a backstreet, a place that serves the greatest tortilla española tasted by mortals, and which, no matter how much Google Maps detective work is done, cannot be found the following night – or ever again.

Clockwise from far left: A tapas tour is the easiest way to explore Madrid’s culinary culture. // a seafood platter at El Cucurucho del Mar // paella at La Mar restaurant // outside the Royal Palace


of Madrid

Fall 2016



Clockwise from top left: Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca, one of Europe’s oldest synagogues, is open to the public as a museum. // Toledo swords are world-famous. // swordsmith Mariano Zamorano in his workshop




Drive one hour south from Madrid along the A-42 to the ancient city of Toledo.


Discover mosques, churches and synagogues among the ramparts as you retrace the steps of sword-wielding medieval knights. As you approach Toledo by road, the city reveals itself bit by bit out of the heat haze. First and foremost comes the spire of the town’s 13th-century cathedral, soaring triumphant and unchallenged in a cloudless sky. Then there are the turrets of the fortresses and the towers of lesser churches, jostling for prominence down below. As you draw closer, the rest of the city barges into view: an exquisite muddle of pastel-colored villas, colorful flower boxes and higgledy-piggledy rooftops, cascading down a hillside by a long, languorous bend in the Río Tajo. Madrid is the Spanish capital, but Toledo – its far older little neighbor to the south – better embodies the history of the nation in miniature. A sixth-century Visigothic capital, it was the first major city to be reclaimed under the Reconquista and has ever since been a powerful seat of the Catholic Church. Toledo’s golden age, however, came in the Middle Ages when it was known as the “city of three cultures” – a time when Christians, Jews and Muslims lived together in peace and harmony, making their hometown renowned for academia and philosophy. Wandering around Toledo today, it’s curious to think that a citizen might in one morning have heard the clanging of church bells, the muttered prayers of a rabbi and a muezzin’s call echoing down from the minarets. And, among the cacophony, they would have surely heard the clanking of blacksmiths making Toledo’s most famous export: swords.

ESSENTIALS STAY // Perched on a hillside southeast of the city, the Parador de Toledo has spacious rooms with timber surfaces and small balconies. There is a grand swimming pool and the restaurant terrace has one of the finest views in Toledo (from $173; DO // If he’s not too busy, Mariano Zamorano welcomes visitors to his workshop (medievalstyle swords from $112; marianozamorano .com). The Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz (admission $3) and the Sinagoga de Santa Mar’a La Blanca (admission $2.75) are both open to the public.

“Toledo swords are the best in the world,” enthuses Mariano Zamorano, in his workshop. “Customers might have chosen one particular sword for stabbing people, and another sword for breaking bones.” Throughout the Middle Ages, knights cantered across Europe to shop for Toledo swords, famed for the strength of their steel. For 150 years, the Zamorano family has kept this tradition alive as the last local dynasty of swordsmiths, and Zamorano still makes swords for every occasion. Shuffling around his sooty workshop, among anvils and cookie tins full of bolts, he points out blades used in theatrical productions, ceremonial swords and replica swords of the kind the conquistadors used to threaten Incas and take the Americas. They are still manufactured following the medieval Toledo process: fired in a forge and bashed into shape manually, work which Mariano insists isn’t dangerous, despite the fact that he’s missing a few fingers on one hand as a result of an unfortunate episode in his workshop. “All children like to play at being knights,” he says, picking up a Moorish blade and waving it about. “However, my father never let me play with real swords when I was little.” If ever there was a city in which to play at being knights, it’s Toledo. Outside Zamorano’s workshop, in the center of a historic area, cobbled alleyways ramble beneath mighty ramparts and fortified gates. Charging past, it would be easy to miss the humble Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz, with its silent, shadowy prayer hall – the last surviving Moorish mosque of 10 once dotted across the city. Not so far away is the Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca, a whitewashed synagogue with swooping horseshoe arches beyond a leafy courtyard. The city’s time as a bastion of tolerance ended in the centuries following the Reconquista, when anyone who wasn’t Catholic was forced to convert or ushered out of Spain – probably at the sharp end of a Toledo sword. Fall 2016




From Toledo, take a 40 minutedrive south on the CM-42 to reach the little town of Consuegra.

Castile-La Mancha and

Consuegra Head into big-sky country to follow the tracks of the original Spanish adventurer.

Of all the heroes of the Spanish-speaking world, from soccer stars to bullfighters, painters to kings, one man in particular stands out. His face grins from bank notes. His silhouette appears on postcards. His story has been told in ballet, opera, film, a Broadway musical, a Picasso painting and even a Coldplay song. And, rather uniquely among national heroes, he is revered for being useless. This man is the great writer Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th-century comic creation Don Quixote, and his homeland is Castile-La Mancha, a historic region of central Spain. It is a landscape in widescreen mode: big skies and arrow-straight roads, a patchwork of scrubby fields extending to the horizon. Every so often, crumbling castles appear, indistinct on hazy, distant hilltops. It is a place where temperatures are high, mirages are many, and inhabitants are few. “La Mancha has a long history of locals who are considered a little bit crazy,” says Santiago Moraleda, a man who, dressed in a long black cloak in the midday heat and with a large tawny owl pecking at his ear, would seem to affirm his own theory. “But we are also people who are known for being very courageous.” Moraleda isn’t as peculiar as he might first appear, for he is taking part in the annual medieval festival in the market town of Consuegra. For much of the year it is a sleepy place, where old couples perch on windowsills watching 84


ESSENTIALS STAY // Hotel Viñasoro has rooms overlooking vineyards near the town of Alcázar de San Juan, a 30-minute drive from Consuegra. There’s also an on-site winery and a vast cellar stocking local vintages (from $86; DO // Anyone can visit Bolero windmill, the first you come to on the road from Consuegra’s town center to the castle (free; Consuegra’s Medieval Festival takes place annually in August (consuegra For details on Moraleda’s birding trips, visit birding

farmyard traffic rumble past. Every August, however, its citizens engage in a weekend-long binge of mead glugging and pork roasting in the main square, plus some energetic battle reenacting in a medieval castle, which rises regally over the town. Vans full of archers shuttle about the streets, Moorish encampments are pegged beside the soccer field, and processions of monks walk solemnly beneath the tourist information office. Though his day job is serving as a guide for birding trips, Moraleda has dressed up as a knight for the occasion and has brought his own collection of birds of prey to the party. Consuegra’s most famous chivalric hero was, of course, Don Quixote, for it was here, some say, that he charged on horseback, lance in hand, at his most fearsome enemy. Moraleda happens to be standing in the shade beneath this particular foe, which was in fact not a many-armed monster at all, but a windmill. It is one of a great many whitewashed towers that still stand sentinel on rocky bluffs overlooking the plains of La Mancha – some preserved as museums, but most abandoned, their sails and cogs jammed solid and their roof spaces home only to nesting birds. They were spinning long before Cervantes published his novel in the early 1600s, and have forever been an icon of the region. Fighting a windmill, and losing, is a defining moment in European literature and encapsulates the story of Don Quixote: a daydreamer who chose to live in a make-believe world of heroic adventures rather than humdrum real life. To some readers, the hero is a blundering lunatic; to others, it is he who is sane, and the rest of the world that is crazy. Moraleda has decided to name his various birds of prey – eagles, owls and kestrels – after characters in the novel. And, just like the Don, he and the other inhabitants of Consuegra have decided for one weekend only to play at being lords, ladies, archers and knights, to briefly inhabit their own world of make-believe. When the festival draws to an end, siege ramps are packed away, arrows are pulled from targets, and Moraleda gathers together his feathered friends to head home. “The most important ingredient in the story is craziness,” he says. “For only with a little craziness can you truly live a life of dreams.”

Clockwise from top: Until the 1980s, Consuegra’s windmills were used to grind locally harvested grains. For centuries, La Mancha was renowned for its wheat. // Santiago Moraleda’s eagle owl // a reenactor in Consuegra’s castle

Fall 2016



Alvaro Gonzalez slices Spanish jamón (cured ham) at specialty store Nico Jiménez. // Opposite: The National Museum of Roman Art’s collection includes sculptures, paintings and mosaics.


It’s a four-hour drive from Consuegra to Mérida. The scenic route travels across remote, scrubby hills on the E903 via Ciudad Real.


Wander among Roman ruins and give thanks for happy pigs in the spiritual home of Spanish jamón.

Alvaro Gonzalez picks up a knife and begins scrutinizing his subject with the intensity of an artist about to touch a canvas with a first blot of paint. Shoppers passing on their weekend rounds in Mérida peer at him through the shop window, but Gonzalez’s concentration never wavers. “Sometimes I think about the pig, and the life it has led,” he says, poised over a leg of Ibérico de bellota – considered Spain’s finest cured ham – in the jamón store where he works. “My work is about respect for the animal and respect for the skill of cutting. I know it has been a happy pig.” With surgical precision, Gonzalez cuts a slice so thin it is almost transparent. The happiness of the pig isn’t clear, although the happiness of anyone eating it is beyond doubt: it is jamón that almost dissolves on the tongue – first with a nutty tang, then a meaty punch and a subtle aftertaste like fine olive oil. Nowhere in Spain is the business of jamón taken more seriously than in Extremadura, the province of breezy sierras, rolling hills and lonely farmhouses backing onto the Portuguese border, of which Mérida is the capital. It is the stomping ground of the black Iberian pig, the RollsRoyce of Spanish swine, and a breed fatally fond of wandering around oak forests and scoffing bellotas (acorns) from among the leaf litter every autumn. Its diet gives its flesh an earthy taste, and its regular exercise and intramuscular fat produce a flavorful, juicy, magnificently marbled

ESSENTIALS STAY // Set on the site of a Roman temple, the hotel Parador Vía de la Plata occupies a former convent near Mérida’s central square (from $100; SEE // Alvaro works at distinguished jamón vendor Nico Jiménez (ham palleta from $165; One ticket covers admission to the Roman theater and amphitheater ($14.50); admission to the aqueduct and the temple of Diana is free ( The National Museum of Roman Art offers free admission on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings ($3.50; museo

meat. A leg of the best jamón Ibérico de bellota can fetch as much as $1,000, meaning a single pig might be trotting about on some $4,000 worth of limbs. Rearing and curing is only part of the story: just as important is the craft of the cortador, tasked with cutting slithers of jamón as thin as possible so the meat can breathe. It is a skill that takes time to master; expert cortadores are highly sought after for weddings, and not a few amateur cutters find themselves in the emergency room with bloody hands. Love of jamón is nothing new to Extremadura: many credit the Roman senator Cato the Elder as the father of the original recipe. It is not the only legacy of Roman rule in this western Spanish region: the very name Extremadura is said to derive from the Latin for “extremely difficult,” on account of the long, exhausting march from Rome out to the western frontier of the Empire. Taking an afternoon stroll around Mérida, it’s clear the Romans nonetheless found the energy to build monumental structures once they’d arrived here. Ancient buildings pop up unexpectedly beside their modern counterparts: a street away from Gonzalez’s store, a temple of Diana of sits matter-of-factly between a pharmacy and a bank, and not so far away, a railway line rattles beneath a Roman aqueduct. Summer nights see 21st-century audiences filling the town’s greatest architectural treasure: an exquisitely preserved first-century theater – dug up only in 1910 after being used for nearly two millennia as a garbage dump – now restored to its original use. And then there’s Mérida’s many Roman mosaics, recovered from the foundations of villas and pieced together at the National Museum of Roman Art, a grand brick structure at the center of town, housing one of the foremost collections of its kind in Europe. Here, among swooping arches, limbless statues and ancient Corinthian columns, the mosaics provide an insight into favored Roman pastimes: harvesting grapes, glugging wine, galloping around the oak forests of Extremadura and, of course, hunting wild pigs. Fall 2016



5 It’s a 2½ hour drive

north from Mérida to Salamanca

along the E803.

Salamanca Study sublime architecture and listen to roving troubadours in this academic city, known as the “Oxford of Spain.” Only when the last rays of afternoon sunshine clear the sandstone facade of Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor does the most magnificent town square in Spain begin to come to life. Old couples shuffle along colonnaded walkways; children play tag and dribble melting ice cream over the paving slabs; students clatter away on their laptops in the cafés. Gazing sternly over the whole scene are the greatest minds and bravest souls in all of Spanish history: explorer Columbus, conquistador Cortés, writer Cervantes – their profiles etched into the stone arches. Inches above their heads, local residents lean on cast-iron balconies and study the square in expectation. Home to Spain’s oldest and most prestigious university, Salamanca has the double fortune of being quite possibly the nation’s brainiest and most beautiful city. Sand-colored towers rise over the city, sending long shadows creeping down alleyways, along which students pedal to their lectures. Ancient faculties line cypress-shaded squares – their stones bearing Latin inscriptions from alumni who graduated centuries ago, some painted in bull’s blood. Hogging the skyline are twin cathedrals that survived the 1755 earthquake that destroyed Lisbon, and still sport broken windows and cracked walls from the tremors, while south of the city is the wide, sluggish expanse of the Río Tormes slipping beneath a Roman bridge on its way to the Portuguese Atlantic. Gaining admission to the University of Salamanca has never been easy, nor has paying the tuition fees. Fortunately, 88


ESSENTIALS STAY // Hidden behind its own grandiose sandstone facade, Hotel Rector is just south of the twin cathedrals in Salamanca. The excellent breakfast includes plenty of jamón (from $165; EAT // Mesón Cervantes, at the edge of Plaza Mayor, has outdoor tables as well as balconies overlooking the plaza (main courses from $14; DO // Tuna bands perform nightly in the Plaza Mayor from around 8 p.m. onward. The local tourist board offers guided city tours, taking two hours (from $23;

however, some especially bright students have hit upon a novel solution to the latter problem. On the stroke of nine, two groups wearing shiny shoes, tight trousers and colorful sashes shuffle into the square, armed with an assortment of accordions, double basses, mandolins, guitars and tankards of beer. Soon the far corners of Plaza Mayor are noisy with the twangs, claps, shouts and whoops of the “tunas,” groups of troubadours who busk to pay their study fees. It’s a tradition that dates to the 13th century, with each band linked to a particular university faculty. “Doctors have always made the best tuna bands,” says Fernando Yunta, an architectural student who nonetheless plays guitar in the company of surgeons and psychologists. “Some of the songs we sing are about love or bullfighting. Some of them are about the university. We play for the music, for the fun. And also because it is a good way of getting girls.” Salamanca’s traditions have endured through the many turbulent chapters of Spanish history. One of the university’s most famous stories concerns the poet Luis de León, snatched from a lecture for heresy during the 16th-century Spanish Inquisition, locked away in solitary confinement for four years before returning to the same lecture theater on his release with the words, “As we were saying yesterday . . .” Another professor exiled from Spain for six years during the political unrest of the 1930s returned to the lecture theater and made exactly the same joke. “You feel history in the atmosphere when you study in Salamanca,” says María José Gonzáles, a graduate student in psychology, swinging on a café chair as the tuna bands retune their instruments. “You feel you’re studying where generations studied before you. And, of course, it helps that the whole town looks a bit like something from Harry Potter.”

Clockwise from far left: A painting of Don Quixote adorns a wall at Mesón Cervantes, a restaurant overlooking Plaza Mayor. // the New Cathedral // student Maria José González (right) and José Luis de los Mozos in the town square // A tuna band performs in


Plaza Mayor.

Fall 2016



Make it Happen / Heart of Spain

Flight Times From LA

From NYC






Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, 8 miles northeast of Madrid, is served by almost 100 airlines. Direct flights are available from several U.S airports. Barajas is on Madrid’s very efficient metro network (metro, 15 minutes from the city center (from $7 one-way). Trains // Madrid, Toledo, Mérida and Salamanca are all accessible on the Spanish railway network. Only Madrid is served by high-speed lines, and you’ll have to pass through Madrid to get between Salamanca, Mérida and Toledo by rail (Madrid to Toledo from $23 round-trip; Car // To reach Consuegra and to fully explore Castile-La Mancha and Extremadura you’ll need private transportation. Rental cars are available at Barajas airport (from $23 per day for two weeks;




Look out for . . . The Osborne bull: originally advertisements put up by the eponymous English sherry company in the 1950s, these signs have since become a symbol of Spain. There’s a dozen of them across Castile-La Mancha and Extremadura. Learn to say “Barcelona esta sobrevalorado de todos modos” (“Barcelona is overrated anyway”). Eat Manchego cheese: a buttery and compact cheese made of sheep’s milk, eaten across Spain but made in Castile-La Mancha. Understand Jamón: the Iberian Peninsula’s gift to the world larder has many different classifications. Cheaper jamón serrano is made from white pigs and is cured for less than 15 months; pricey jamón ibérico is made from black pigs and cured for three years. Watch Lost in La Mancha: a documentary telling the story of Terry Gilliam’s (pictured) doomed movie adaptation of Don Quixote, a production thwarted by flash floods, sick actors and regular flyovers by Spanish Air Force jets.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Lonely Planet’s Spain ($27.99) has more on the region, or alternatively download the “Madrid,” “Castilla y León,” “Toledo & Castilla-La Mancha” or “Extremadura” chapters from (from $4.95 each). Madrid is also covered in Lonely Planet's free Guides app.


I was walking along the beach one morning when I saw this man climbing the palm trees like a monkey. He raced up with such skill and speed that I couldn’t believe my eyes. I started snapping away, determined to get a good shot of him. A friend of his was on the ground directing him, and I had a chat to find out what they were up to. The man climbing the tree was a “toddy man,” a nickname given to someone who harvests the sap of palm trees to make a potent alcoholic drink. They handed me a coconut and insisted that I sample it. I was touched by their friendliness and in awe of their bravery, as it was clear that this was a very dangerous job. Andrew Lever spent two weeks in Sri Lanka.

Postcards SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK, VIRGINIA Tree Time I spent two days in Shenandoah National Park, driving the spectacular Skyline Drive and taking in a few hikes. After already having spotted a black bear on my last hike – it jumped out of a tree and ran off – I saw these three cute bear cubs and their mother crossing Skyline Drive. They leisurely made their way across, without a care in the world, and climbed this tree on the roadside. I had never seen a bear in the wild before, but that day, I saw five.

Bram Reusen is a travel writer and photographer living in Charlottesville, Virginia.

NUNGWI, TANZANIA In the Net I was in Zanzibar, staying in Nungwi, in the north of the island. The day I took the picture it was beautiful and sunny. From where I was standing on a pontoon, I noticed these fishermen organizing their nets. Their concentration and teamwork was captivating. Now when I look at this photo, I can feel the heat of the sun on my skin, even though it was only mid-morning, and I can remember the salty air.

Aurora Georges is from Belgium. She has lived in the United States and Madagascar.



AGRA, INDIA The Last Passenger

This photo was taken at the train station. Only moments before I took the photo, the station was a bustling frenzy of shuffling people, suitcases stacked seven bags tall, and a distinct and palpable energy. Once the chaos ceased, this woman slowly made her way off the train, silently drifted down the platform, and disappeared into the pandemonium of the city streets.

Dan Last, of Cleveland, Ohio, is on a quest to see as much of the world as possible.

Fall 2016



PENANG, MALAYSIA Second Take After sampling some of Penang’s fabulous street food, my husband and I set out on a walking tour of capital George Town’s street art, suggested by our Lonely Planet guide. We were bowled over by this piece by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic, with its combination of painting and physical object – a simple idea, but the illusion was so real. To me this photo highlights the benefit of straying off the tourist trail, and of exploring on foot. Gill Barnard, from Scunthorpe, England, spent 17 days traveling in Malaysia.

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS Looking Up With only two days to explore, I had to choose wisely while in the Netherlands. Amsterdam was a must, of course. But a childhood friend of mine now lives outside the city of Eindhoven, so I also opted for an adventure inland. In Eindhoven, we wandered into the Heuvel shopping center. With its symmetry and industrial intrigue, this gorgeous dome demanded a picture, so I pointed my camera upward.

Originally from Wisconsin, Kevin Keen now calls Buenos Aires, Argentina, home.

Fall 2016




Lauren Mowery is a wine and travel writer in New York City.

After nabbing a prime camp site in Jumbo Rocks Campground, I prepared to recreate shots of the park’s well-documented night skies. But clouds obscured the stars, and I tucked into my sleeping bag at midnight, disappointed. At 5 a.m., the glow of dawn softly warmed the earth, transforming nearby rocks into golden orbs and painting the horizon shades of pink. I scrambled out of the tent and up a boulder to capture the scene. The sun would wash it away after crossing the horizon line. Unfortunately, I fell backward, cradling my camera safely to my chest, while sacrificing pride, a hamstring and the hike planned for that afternoon. But I got the shot.

Send your best new travel photos (at 300 dpi), along with the stories behind them (in 100 words or less), and a photo of yourself to



Mini Guides 6 TEAR-OUT

Fall 2016



Breathtaking images, brand-new perspectives. Explore every country in the world from A to Z with The Travel Book – Lonely Planet’s definitive, bestselling tome. With 230 countries & destinations to explore, and more than 800 stunning photographs to inspire, it’s the perfect gift for armchair travelers and globetrotters alike.


Fold 2


A manatee near Crystal River on Florida’s west coast



Water Fun in Florida The Sunshine State’s coastline includes 825 miles of America’s best beaches, plus plentiful activities to make the most of the wet stuff, be it freshwater or seawater.

Canoeing & Kayaking

Tear out page here then fold along dotted lines


Flowing 246 miles, the Suwannee winds from the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico. The blackwater river features 60 clear blue springs and 169 miles of it are a wilderness trail, with nine cabins spaced one day’s paddle apart. The section near Big Shoals State Park has some Class III rapids. Rent canoes on the outskirts of the park ( and

At Ichetucknee Springs State Park you can swim in the clear waters of Ichetucknee Spring or, if you’re an experienced swimmer, Blue Hole Spring, which has a strong current. If you prefer, lie back on a giant inner tube and gently float down the lazy Ichetucknee River through unspoiled wilderness as otters swim right up beside you (; 12087 SW U.S. 27, Fort White; 8am–sunset; $6 per vehicle).

Tubing down the river in Ichetucknee Springs State Park SWIMMING

Ponce de Leon Springs State Park features one of Florida’s loveliest and least-visited springs. It produces 14 million gallons of water daily, has clear, almost luminescent waters, and is studded with knobby trees and surrounded by ladders for easy swimming access. The water temperature remains a constant 68°F (; 2860 Ponce de Leon Springs Rd.; 8am– sunset; free).

Diving & Snorkeling

Fold 1



To properly explore Everglades National Park, you need to push a canoe or kayak off a muddy bank. The sheltered launch of Hell’s Bay leads to a capillary network of mangrove creeks, sawgrass islands and shifting mudflats, where the brambles form green tunnels. Canoes can be rented cheaply throughout the park (; Royal Palm Visitor Center, State Road 9336; 8am–4:30 pm).

The lumbering, intelligent West Indian manatees seek Florida’s warm-water springs and rivers each winter, and many places offer the chance to swim or snorkel beside them. Top of the list are the warm waters of Kings Bay, near Crystal River, on the Gulf Coast, which attracts upwards of 500 manatees a day ( /crystal_river).

Explore the wild waterways of the Everglades up close MOSQUITO LAGOON

Hugging the western side of the barrier-island strip on the Space Coast is this peaceful waterway connected to the ocean by the Ponce de Leon Inlet. At just over 3 feet deep, it’s a good place to paddle between island hammocks and dense mangroves, observing the birds and dolphins. There’s a manatee observation deck on the northeastern side of the Haulover Canal (; $5 per vehicle).

So many Spanish galleons sank off the Emerald Coast, near Panama City Beach, that the city is dubbed the “wreck capital of the South.” The area has more than a dozen boats offshore, including a WWII Liberty ship and numerous tugs, plus more than 50 artificial reefs made from sunken structures. Dive Locker dive school offers lessons and charter dive trips (; basic open-water course $325). CORAL REEFS

One of the best spots to see a coral reef is at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, located in Key Largo. You can snorkel, dive or take a 2½-hour glass-bottom boat tour, where you can see swathes of soft coral, balletic sea turtles, multicolored schools of fish and dangerous-looking barracuda (; snorkel tours $29.95, scuba tour including two dives $75, glass-bottom boat tour $24).

The Christ of the Abyss statue at John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park DESERT ISLANDS

Make an island-hopping detour to Dry Tortugas National Park, about 70 miles west of Key West. The park is open for day trips and overnight camping, which provides that rare phenomenon: a quiet Florida beach. The sparkling, shallow waters offer excellent snorkeling; you can spot beautiful corals, tropical fish and more. The Yankee Freedom III offers trips to the park and camp info ( and


Fall 2016



MINI GUIDE Water Fun in Florida


The Know-How


Florida’s four main airports, with frequent and direct service, are in Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Miami (MIA), Orlando (International) (MCO) and Tampa (TPA). Smaller destinations, such as Key West, Fort Myers, Pensacola, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and West Palm Beach, are served, but less frequently, indirectly and at higher fares. Traveling by car is the best way to get around (week’s car rental from $175; Buses run by Greyhound and Megabus serve larger cities (, WHERE TO STAY

Emerald Beach Resort Every suite at this comfortable Panama City Beach resort overlooks the ocean. There’s a private beach, an outdoor pool, a kids’ pool and, for liquid refreshment needs, a tiki bar (; 14700 Front Beach; from $140).




Shephard’s features a 7,000square-foot tropical pool terrace

Everglades City Motel is an exceptionally good-value lodge if you’re looking to spend some time near the Ten Thousand Islands. It has large renovated rooms and a helpful staff (evergladescitymotel .com; 310 Collier Ave.; from $99). Shephard’s Beach Resort, in Clearwater Beach, north of St. Petersburg, is a popular resort with a lounge, a nightclub and two tiki bars, all with live music and DJs, plus two restaurants. The rooms are recently renovated, with kitchenettes and balconies (; 601 S. Gulfview Blvd.; from $139).



• Nearly the entire Atlantic coast

Lonely Planet’s Florida ($24.99) is a comprehensive guide to the state; its individual chapters can be downloaded at ($4.95). Want to visit Florida’s best beaches? Consult for a list. Salvaging the Real Florida, by Bill Belleville ($24.95; University Press of Florida), is a collection of moving nature essays on a fragile landscape.

has rideable waves, but Florida’s best spots are along the Space Coast, where you’ll find surf lessons, rentals and popular competitions; shoot for Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, Sebastian Inlet and Playalinda Beach. However, you’ll find tiny, longboard-friendly peelers from Fort Lauderdale down to Miami’s South Beach, although the presence of the Bahamas offshore prevents Miami from being a truly great surfing destination. In general, you’ll find the big waves end at around Jupiter Beach. • Florida’s northern Atlantic coast has chillier waters, but good surf can be found at Daytona Beach, from Flagler Beach up to St. Augustine, and around Amelia Island.



Fold 2


Tortas cart in Mexico City, Mexico



Eating in Mexico City Mexico City has emerged as a major culinary destination, with the world’s best taco stands and upscale restaurants serving creative nueva cocina mexicana, and everything in between.

Tear out page here then fold along dotted lines

Dating to 1860, Mexico City’s oldest restaurant has a lively atmosphere. Most people come here for the chile en nogada, enormous poblano chili peppers stuffed with ground meat, dried fruit and bathed in a creamy sauce. Rumor has it the building is haunted (Calle Belisario Domínguez 72; 9am–10:30pm Mon–Sat, until 9pm Sun; chile en nogada $11.50, main courses from about $3).


A seriously good taco joint in barrio La Condesa that’s been here for ages and is usually swarming with locals. The offerings vary daily: on Friday and Saturday it’s all about the carnitas (deep-fried pork) and on Sunday you can rely on an old standby: bistec con longaniza (beef with sausage) topped with beans (Atlixco 42; 10am–5pm Mon–Fri, 10am–3pm Sat & Sun; tacos from about 90 cents).

Fold 1




Slow-cooked over aged oak wood in an underground pit, the Hidalgo-style barbacoa at this family-run eatery is off-the-charts delectable. Get things started with a light consommé or a platter of queso asado (grill-roasted cheese with herbs), then move on to the tacos. Wash it all down with a pulque, a fermented agave drink (Campeche 155; 7am–6pm Fri–Sun; tacos $4.50).

Tacos ready to be devoured at Los Cocuyos


Mid-Range Pre–Hispanic fare is the specialty at this cantina-style restaurant. Here you can sample an array of creepy crawlies, such as maguey (agave) worms, chapulines (grasshoppers) and escamoles (ant larvae). You may need to order a flavored pulque, aka “the blood of the gods,” to help it all go down (Regina 160; 1pm– 6:30pm Mon–Sat; main courses from $3.60).

Suadero (beef) tacos abound in Mexico’s capital, but this place in the Centro Histórico district reigns supreme. Follow your nose to the bubbling vat of meats and go for the artery-choking campechano, a mixed beef and sausage taco. For the more adventurous eater, there are ojo (eye) or lengua (tongue) tacos (Bolívar 54; 10am–5am; tacos from about 60 cents).

The idiosyncratic facade of Hostería de Santo Domingo COOX HANAL

Established in 1953 by well-known boxer Raúl Salazar, from Yucatán’s capital, Mérida, this establishment prepares top-notch Yucatecan dishes, such as poc chuc (pork marinated in orange juice, then grilled). There’s also the obligatory four-chilies habanero salsa, a fiery accompaniment to most dishes (2nd floor, Isabel La Católica 83, Colonia Centro; 10:30am–6:30pm; main courses from about $3).

Chef Monica Patiño is one of the new breed of female stars stirring up traditional cuisine in innovative ways. Seafood is the specialty at this casually elegant restaurant, with the likes of róbalo a los tres chiles (bass in three-pepper chili sauce) and corn blini with Norwegian salmon on the menu (tabernadelleon .rest; Altamirano 46; 1:30pm-11pm Mon–Wed, until 12am Thu–Sat, until 6pm Sun; main courses from $11.50). MAXIMO BISTROT

If there’s one place that best represents Mexico City’s exciting new culinary scene, it’s Maximo Bistrot. The constantly changing menu, which draws on European and Mexican recipes, features fresh, seasonal ingredients. Owner/chef Eduardo García honed his cooking skills at Pujol. Reservations are a must (; Tonalá 133; 1pm–11pm Tue–Sat, until 5pm Sun; main courses from $8.50).

Attention to detail and finesse at Maximo Bistrot PUJOL

Arguably Mexico’s best gourmet restaurant, Pujol offers a modern take on classic Mexican dishes in a smartly minimalist setting. Famed chef Enrique Olvera creates a multiplecourse tasting menu that may include the likes of jerky tartar with preserved lemon, radish, watercress and creole avocado. Reserve weeks ahead (; Francisco Petrarca 254; 2pm–4pm & 6:30pm–11:30pm Mon–Sat; tasting menu $87).


Fall 2016



MINI GUIDE Eating in Mexico City




Casa San Ildefonso is a cheerful downtown hostel with high ceilings and plenty of sunlight. Breakfast is served in a pretty courtyard with a fountain and singing canaries (; San Ildefonso 38; doubles $43).



The Red Tree House is a cozy home away from home with a garden

La Condesa’s first B&B, The Red Tree House, has all the comforts of home, if your home happens to be decorated with exquisite taste. The 17 bedrooms are uniquely furnished, and the penthouse has a private patio (; Culiacán 6; from $137). You can say adiós to hectic Mexico City from the moment you set foot in the Villa Condesa’s leafy lobby. Rooms in this historic building combine classic touches with the modern trappings of a first-rate hotel (; Colima 428; from $188).



Mexico has one of the world’s great street-food cultures: • Antojitos (“little cravings”) – light dishes using masa (corn dough). The quintessential antojito is the taco. • Quesadillas – a tortilla folded in half with a filling of cheese and other ingredients (below). • Enchiladas – lightly fried tortillas with various fillings, covered in a chili sauce. • Tamales – a chunk of masa mixed with lard, with stewed meat, fish or veggies, steamed in corn husks or banana leaf. • Tortas – sandwiches (hot or cold) using a white bread roll. • Elotes – freshly steamed or grilled corn on the cob, coated in mayonnaise and sprinkled with chili powder. • Huitlacoche, the mold that grows on cobs of corn, is prized as a delicacy.

Lonely Planet’s Mexico guide ($29.99) has an extensive chapter on Mexico City, which is also available to download at lonelyplanet .com ($4.95). Mexico Cooks! is an excellent blog on Mexican daily life and cuisine (mexicocooks.typepad .com). For food inspiration, read Authentic Mexican, 20th Anniversary Edition: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico, by Rick Bayless ($35; Harper Collins).


The Know-How


Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport is about 5 miles east of the Zócalo (the city’s main square). You can fly direct from more than 30 cities in North America. The metro ( is a cheap option for getting to the city from the airport, though hauling luggage through rush-hour crowds can be a task. Línea 4 of the metrobús ( is a more comfortable option, while authorized taxis provide a relatively inexpensive alternative. Mexico City has an easy-to-use metro that’s just 28 cents per ride, and an equally cheap and practical bus system.


A traditional streetcar trundles down a San Francisco street

Fold 2

Entertainment AMOEBA MUSIC

The West Coast’s most eclectic collection of new and used music and video is housed in this store’s San Francisco location, which also offers listening stations, a free music zine with uncannily accurate reviews, and a free concert series that has featured the likes of The White Stripes, Yo La Tengo, Mark Ronson and Lana Del Rey (; 1855 Haight St.; 11am–8pm; free). THE ROYALE


Budget San Francisco Take in the best of this California city’s cultural highs, enjoy cutting-edge theater, music and readings, and taste local, artisan produce and gourmet dishes – without spending a fortune.


Tear out page here then fold along dotted lines


Observe the inner workings of SF’s transportation icon, which remains largely unchanged since its invention. Located in a historic cable car barn and powerhouse, the museum is home to three original 1870s cable cars; watch cables whir over massive bull wheels – as awesome a feat of engineering now as when invented in 1873 (; 1201 Mason St.; 10am–6pm Apr–Sep, to 5pm Oct–Mar; free).


San Fran’s literary scene is legendary, perhaps nowhere more so than at this bookstore founded by poet laureate Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Enter the sunny Poetry Room for piles of freshly published verse, a poet’s chair and views across Jack Kerouac Alley, or head to the nonfiction cellar. There’s a free in-store weekly reading series (; 261 Columbus Ave.; 10am–midnight; free).

Eating & Drinking

Sights Today the Mission district has more than 400 murals, but its hot spot for trial by fire is on Clarion Alley, where street artworks are peed on or painted over in a jiffy unless they deliver enough to last a little while, like Megan Wilson’s daisy-covered Capitalism is Over! (If You Want It) and Jet Martinez’s glimpse of Clarion Alley inside a forest spirit. Go see what’s new (off Valencia Street between 17th & 18th Streets).

A Parisian tiled floor and semicircular fainting couches lend atmosphere and acoustics to this landmark lounge, which hosts free live jazz, film screenings, theatrical presentations, readings by local writers and sometimes even belly dancing. There’s also a pool table, a monthly rotating local art exhibit, food until 10pm, and the wine bar is pleasingly affordable (theroyalesf .com; 800 Post St.; 4pm–2am; free).

Amoeba Music’s huge store is set in a former bowling alley

Fold 1


Fort Point on the southern side of the Golden Gate Bridge FORT POINT

Built by the U.S. Army to protect the city from Civil War Confederate warship attacks that never came, Fort Point – called “the pride of the Pacific” – is now more famous as the spot where Kim Novak leapt into the bay’s frigid waters in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 thriller Vertigo. It’s an ideal vantage point for views of the Golden Gate Bridge ( /fopo; Marine Drive; 10am–5pm Fri-Sun; free).

The definitive burrito at this famous, no-frills restaurant in The Mission District packs vast flour tortillas with perfectly grilled meats, slow-cooked beans and homemade tomatillo or mesquite salsa. Add spicy pickled jalapenos and sour cream, then grab a stool – it may take a while to finish ( /LaTaqSF; 2889 Mission St.; 11am–9pm Mon–Sat, to 8pm Sun; burrito from $3.50). LIGURIA BAKERY

Morning doesn’t start in the North Beach neighborhood until thirdgeneration Soracco family bakers pull the first fragrant focaccia from their 100-year-old brick oven. Come early for a choice of cinnamon-raisin focaccia, tomato or classic rosemary and garlic, and take yours for a picnic at Coit Tower for top bay views (1700 Stockton St.; 8am–2pm Mon–Fri, from 7am Sat, until 12pm Sun; focaccia from about $4).

Rosamunde Sausage Grill’s food goes perfectly with a glass of beer ROSAMUNDE SAUSAGE GRILL

Load up classic bratwurst, lamb merguez or duck and fig links with gourmet toppings, including roasted peppers, grilled onions and mango chutney in The Haight. Enjoy with a choice of hundreds of beers at Toronado next door (rosamunde; 545 Haight St.; 11:30am–10pm Sun–Wed, until 11pm Thu–Sat; open later plus 10am–3pm weekend brunch at the 2832 Mission St. location; sausages from $8).


Fall 2016



MINI GUIDE Budget San Francisco



A good-value choice at Union Square, Hotel Stratford has simple white-walled rooms with plain furnishings, but they’re clean and the bathrooms have rainfall showers. Rooms on Powell Street can be noisy (; 242 Powell St.; from $102).





The Know-How


The Bay Area has three international airports: San Francisco (SFO), Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC). The BART train offers regular service to SFO, 14 miles from downtown (about $16 round-trip; bart .gov). Taxi fares are about $2.75 per mile; meters start at $3.50. Numerous rental stores rent bikes (from about $7 an hour; avenue Cable cars are run by MUNI, which is also responsible for the bus and streetcar line. Single cable car tickets are $7; buy them from the conductor or from ticket booths by the lines (


The Nob Hill Hotel is located in one of the city’s historic districts

Just two blocks west of Union Square, in SF’s theater and district, The Andrews Hotel has a homey feel and small but comfortable rooms (the quietest are in the back), plus a good Italian restaurant downstairs (; 624 Post St.; from $145). Rooms in the 1906 Nob Hill Hotel have been dressed up in heavy Victoriana, with brass beds, fringed lampshades and floral-print carpets. Rooms on Hyde Street can be loud, so book toward the rear (; 835 Hyde St.; from $205).



• Nob Hill Steve McQueen’s muscle

Download Lonely Planet’s Guides app ( for access to essential San Francisco information in the palm of your hand. Also, check out our comprehensive San Francisco guidebook ($21.99); chapters can be downloaded at ($4.95). Freebie mags that cover the city’s listings are SF Weekly ( and San Francisco Bay Guardian ( All Over Coffee, by SF-based artist Paul Madonna, combines stories, comics and cityscape drawings ($27.95; City Lights Books).

car goes flying over the summit in the 1968 film Bullitt – and somehow lands in SoMa. • Ocean Beach The moody, windswept beach sets the scene for turbulent romance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. • Sutro Baths SF’s dandified ruin made a suitable setting for the romance in Harold and Maude. • Human Rights Campaign Action Center & Store Harvey Milk’s camera shop in Milk was this actual Castro location. • Alcatraz Even America’s highest-security prison can’t contain Clint Eastwood in 1979’s Escape from Alcatraz. • Fort Point Hitchcock was right: swirling film-noir fog and giddy Golden Gate views make for a thrilling case of Vertigo.



Rembrandt’s The Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum

Fold 2


The Netherlands’ premier art trove splashes Rembrandts, Vermeers and 7,500 other masterpieces over a mile of galleries. Works from the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age are the highlight: feast your eyes on still lifes, gentlemen in ruffled collars, and landscapes bathed in pale light. Rembrandt’s The Night Watch (1642) takes pride of place (; Museumstraat 1; 9am–5pm; $20). REMBRANDT HOUSE MUSEUM


Art in Amsterdam The Dutch Masters helped spawn the prolific art collections around town and now it seems you can’t walk more than a few blocks in the capital of the Netherlands without bumping into a masterpiece.


Tear out page here then fold along dotted lines


The Stedelijk displays some 2,500 artworks at a time, including some of the world’s most admired modern classics. The permanent collection includes all the blue chips of 19thand 20th-century painting – Monet, Picasso and Chagall among them – as well as sculptures by Rodin, abstracts by Mondrian and Kandinsky, and much more (stedelijk .nl; Museumplein 10; 10am–6pm, to 10pm Thu; $17).


This satellite of Russia’s Hermitage Museum features one-off blockbuster exhibits. Until the end of 2016 it will host Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age – a unique collection of 30 colossal group portraits from the 17th century, showcasing civic guards and merchants by the likes of Govert Flinck and Nicolaes Pickenoy (; Amstel 51; 10am– 5pm; $20).

Best of the Rest

Contemporary In the center of Amsterdam, a former garage now houses this edgy gallery geared to a younger audience. Previously known as Walls, it focuses on early and mid-career artists working in a variety of media, styles and themes, including painting, photography, and performance. Look for international guest artists (brightside .gallery; Prinsengracht 737; noon–8pm Thu-Sun; free entry).

Rembrandt van Rijn ran the Netherlands’ largest painting studio in this beautiful house, only to lose the lot when bankruptcy came knocking. The museum has almost every etching he made and a mind-boggling collection of his possessions, which include seashells, weaponry, Roman busts and military helmets (; Jodenbreestraat 4; 10am–6pm; $15).

Rembrandt House Museum holds daily etching demonstrations

Fold 1


Jeff Koons’s Ushering in Banality (1988) at the Stedelijk Museum DE APPEL

See what’s on at this swanky contemporary arts center and you may just have your mind expanded. The curators have a knack for tapping young international talent and supplementing exhibitions with lectures, film screenings and performances. The museum is across from the public library (; Prins Hendrikkade 142; 11am–6pm Tue–Sun; $8).

Framed by a gleaming new glass entrance hall, the world’s largest Van Gogh collection offers a superb lineup of masterworks. Trace the artist’s life from his tentative start through his giddy-colored sunflower phase, and on to the black cloud that descended over him and his work. There are also paintings by Gauguin, Monet and others (; Museumplein 6; 9am–6pm, until 10pm Fri–Sat; $19). FOAM

Roomy galleries, some with skylights or grand windows for natural light, make this an excellent space for all genres of photography. Two floors of exhibition space create a great setting for admiring changing exhibits from world-renowned photographers, including Sir Cecil Beaton, Annie Leibovitz and Henri Cartier-Bresson (; Keizersgracht 609; 10am–6pm, until 9pm Thu–Fri; $11.25).

Experience a feline artistic overload at the Kattenkabinet KATTENKABINET

Inside a creaky old canal house is this museum devoted to the feline presence in art. Among the artists, Swiss-born Théopile-Alexandre Steinlen figures prominently. There’s also a small Rembrandt etching and Picasso’s Le Chat. You may get the chance to admire the collection in the company of the resident cats (; Herengracht 497; 10am–5pm, from noon Sat–Sun; $8).


Fall 2016



MINI GUIDE Art in Amsterdam



The Know-How


Overlooking the Vondelpark, Hotel Piet Hein offers a variety of contemporary rooms at dailychanging rates, as well as a sublime garden where you can enjoy breakfast (; Vossiusstraat 51–53; from $80).



• The Netherlands stood out

Art’otel’s lobby is a swanky refuge with a library for guests

The view out front of Hotel Amstelzicht, on the Amstel canal, is straight from a 17th-century painting, so make sure you get one of the rooms facing the canal. The entire hotel is smooth and refined (; Amstel 104; from $95). Art’otel Amsterdam, part of a European chain, is conveniently located opposite Centraal Station. The 107 rooms have original art on the wall, and there’s a gallery in the basement (; Prins Hendrikkade 33; from $235).

in 17th-century Europe for its wealth, its Calvinism and its semi-republican government. Without patronage from church or court, the art market catered instead to a bourgeois society, and grew like never before. • Rembrandt (1606–1669) and his studio staff churned out scores of paintings, including group portraits such as The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. • Frans Hals (c. 1582–1666) used the same unpolished brush strokes as Rembrandt, and like Rembrandt, Hals’s style went from bright exuberance in his early career to dark and solemn later. • Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) only produced about 45 paintings in his career; some 36 of them survive today, including View of Delft and Girl with a Pearl Earring.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Amsterdam is one of dozens of cities included in Lonely Planet’s Guides app ( /guides), featuring information for travelers on the go. Lonely Planet’s Amsterdam ($21.99) is a comprehensive city guidebook; chapters can be downloaded at lonelyplanet .com ($4.95). Pocket Amsterdam ($13.99) is ideal for short trips. For art, music and fashion to-dos, see




Most visitors arrive by air at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol or by train at Centraal Station. The airport is about 9 miles southwest of the center of Amsterdam. Trains leave for Amsterdam Centraal station every 10 minutes or so (about $8.75 round-trip;; 15–20 minutes). Alternatively, Connexxion runs a shuttle bus to several hotels (airport; $9.60–$19.25 per person one-way). Central Amsterdam is easy to cover by foot. An OV-chipkaart covers trams, buses and the metro ($8.50 minimum purchase price;


Fold 2


The centerpiece of this popular Smithsonian member museum is the flag that inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Other highlights include Abraham Lincoln’s top hat and Dorothy’s slippers from The Wizard of Oz (; National Mall, at 14th Street & Constitution Avenue NW; 10am–5:30pm, see website for extended hours; free).

An elephantine welcome at the National Museum of Natural History



Museums in Washington, D.C. Largely thanks to the heavy-hitting and multibranched Smithsonian Institution, America’s capital has become synonymous with world-class museums worth planning a trip around.


Tear out page here then fold along dotted lines


This museum inspires kids with moon rocks, spaceships and wild simulator rides. Everyone flocks to see the 1903 Wright brothers’ flyer, Amelia Earhart’s red 5B Vega and the Apollo 11 Command Module, Columbia. There’s also an annex 31 miles away in Chantilly, Va. (; corner 6th Street & Independence Avenue SW; 10am–5:30pm, see website for extended hours; free).


The newest Smithsonian museum covers the experience of African Americans, from the Revolutionary era to the present. Until the new building opens in late September 2016, the collection is housed across the street in the National Museum of American History (; Constitution Avenue between 14th & 15th Streets NW; 10am– 5:30pm; free).

Off the Beaten Track

Kid-Friendly Egyptian mummies, a giant squid and tarantula feedings thrill young minds at this universally loved venue. Don’t miss the 45-carat Hope Diamond (a rare blue type), the Easter Island heads and the enormous stuffed creatures in the Mammal Hall (; corner 10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW; 10am–5:30pm, see website for extended hours calendar; free).

This harrowing museum deepens understanding of the Holocaust – its victims, perpetrators and bystanders. The galleries use artifacts, historic film footage and witness testimonies. Between March and August, you will need a timed pass to see the permanent exhibition: book well ahead online (; 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW; 10am–5:20pm; entry free; online advance timed pass, $1).

Ruby slippers at the National Museum of American History

Fold 1


See milestones of flight at the National Air and Space Museum NEWSEUM

This museum, charting the history of news and journalism, offers budding journalists the chance to report “live from the White House” via the TV studio. The rest is impressive for kids and adults alike, with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalism, a 9/11 gallery and reams of interesting footage on historic events (; 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 9am–5pm; adults/ children 7–18 $22.95/$13.95).

This museum showcases the War on Drugs campaign, brought to you by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Exhibits cover the last 150 years of drug abuse, addiction and drug law enforcement, including Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” commercials from the 1980s and relics from old opium dens (deamuseum .org; 700 Army Navy Dr., entrance on S. Hayes Street; 10am–4pm Tue– Fri, closed Sat–Mon; free).

The hilltop Frederick Douglass National Historic Site



The only U.S. museum exclusively devoted to women’s artwork fills this Renaissance Revival mansion. Its collection – more than 4,000 works – moves from Renaissance artists such as Lavinia Fontana to 20thcentury pieces by Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe (; corner 13th Street NW & New York Avenue; 10am–5pm Mon–Sat, from noon Sun; $10, free first Sun of month).

Escaped slave, abolitionist, author and statesman Frederick Douglass occupied this house in the Anacostia neighborhood from 1877 until 1895. Original furnishings, books, photographs and other personal belongings paint a compelling portrait of this great man. The museum is a bus or rail ride from D.C.; visits are by guided tour (; 1411 W. St. SE; free, $1.50 guided tour reserved tickets).


Fall 2016




Museums in Washington, D.C.


The Know-How


Washington Dulles International Airport is about 24 miles west of central D.C.; Baltimore’s airport, about 33 miles to the northeast, can also be handy. From Dulles, the Silver Line Express bus runs to Wiehle-Reston East metro station, from where it’s possible to catch a train to the downtown area, taking 60–75 minutes in all (bus and metro around $9; /about-washington-flyer). A taxi from the airport is $58–$82. Fares on D.C.’s metro system start at $1.75 ( SmarTrip cards entitle users to a discount off the paper metro fare. WHERE TO STAY

On a shady residential street in the lively suburb of Adams Morgan, Adam’s Inn has inviting, homey rooms in two adjacent townhouses and a carriage house, plus a garden patio (; 1746 Lanier Place NW; from $99).




The George is one of the top boutique hotels in Washington

Chester A. Arthur House B&B offers four rooms in a beautiful row house. The 1883 abode has a mahogany paneled staircase and is stuffed with crystal chandeliers, antique oil paintings and oriental rugs (; 23 Logan Circle NW; from $115). Chrome-and-glass furniture and modern art frame the bold interior of The George. Its Capitol Hill location is perfect for museum sightseeing. There are a few free bicycles available for guests to use (; 15 E. St. NW; from $139).



D.C. is America’s memorial capital; don’t miss these: • Lincoln Memorial Abraham Lincoln gazes peacefully across the Mall from his Doric-columned stone temple. • Vietnam Veterans Memorial Simple and moving, this black wall reflects the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died in the Vietnam War. • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dr. King’s likeness emerges from a mountain of granite. • World War II Memorial Soaring columns and stirring quotes mark this memorial in the heart of the National Mall. • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial FDR’s monument is an oasis of alcoves, fountains and contemplative inscriptions. • Marine Corps War Memorial A statue group recreates the famous photo showing the capture of the Japanese island of Iwo Jima in 1945.

Discover more of Washington, D.C., with Lonely Planet’s Guides app (, featuring essential information, offline maps and must-see sights curated by on-the-ground experts. Lonely Planet’s Washington, D.C. guidebook ($19.99) has in-depth coverage of D.C.’s museums, while Pocket Washington, D.C. ($13.99) and Make My Day Washington, D.C. ($9.99) are more condensed guides.



Fold 2


Enjoying the local brew at the Hofbräuhaus



Beer Halls of Munich Get cozy in a famous beer hall or soak up the sunshine in a picturesque biergarten. The best way to feel like a local in Bavaria’s capital – during Oktoberfest or any time of year – is to kick back with a foaming mug of beer.


Tear out page here then fold along dotted lines


Less well known or crowded is this beer garden north of the Englischer Garten. Rent bikes and pack a picnic – or snack on the Bavarian specialty obatzda: a cheese spread that’s eaten on pretzels or bread. Hirschau is a family-friendly option with a huge playground, and on weekends there’s live jazz music in the garden (Gyssling-strasse 15; 11:30am– 10:30pm Mon–Fri, from 11am Sat and Sun).

This sprawling place has a less raucous atmosphere and superior food to the usual offerings, including pastries, Bavarian veal sausage, lightly smoked herring, venison goulash in juniper sauce, and gâteau. It’s a much more authentic example of an old-style Munich beer hall, complete with quiet courtyards and hunting trophies (augustiner; Neuhauser Strasse 27; 9am–midnight).

The rustic courtyard at Augustiner-Grossgaststätte BRAUNAUER HOF

When the weather is fine, head to this traditional restaurant with a pleasant beer garden complete with a mini hedge maze, a bizarre wall mural and a golden bull that’s illuminated at night. Bavarian dishes might include roast chicken and schnitzel, and beer is from the Paulaner brewery, established by friars in the 17th century (wirtshaus; Frauenstrasse 42; hot food 11:30am–11pm; closed Sun, Apr–Sept).


Englischer Garten In Englischer Garten, one of Europe’s most monumental city parks, you’ll find this huge beer garden. It borrows its style from a classic Chinese pagoda and provides entertainment with a good-time oompah band in an upper floor of the tower. Tuck into crispy roast pork with caraway jus and potato dumplings (about $12) and Hofbräu on tap (; Englischer Garten 3; 10am–11pm).

Founded in 1589 as the Bavarian royal family’s own brewery, this is the best-known and most celebrated beer hall in Bavaria. The Hofbräuhaus can accommodate 3,000 people; up to 1,300 can sit at tables in the historic beer hall on the first floor, where a live band plays Bavarian folk music most of the day. You may need to battle tourists for a seat (; Platzl 9; 9am–11:30pm).

Fold 1


A spread of beer, fish and pretzels at Chinesischer Turm SEEHAUS

After a stroll, grab an outdoor table at Seehaus, in the north of the garden on the shores of Kleinhesseloher See, a little lake where you can rent paddle boats. The beer is Paulaner, and Mediterranean and Bavarian dishes are on the menu. Specialties include lobster pasta and fried black pudding slices with roasted onions, red cabbage and mashed potatoes (; Kleinhesselohe 3; 10am–1am).

Every year this leafy 5,000-seat beer garden buzzes with activity from the first hint of spring. It’s a beautiful spot, with chestnut trees grown to cool the ground and prevent the beer in the ice cellar from getting warm. Inside, you can sit on benches under the lagerkeller’s vaults, people-watch in the hall or cozy into the bierstüberl, aka the beer parlor (; Arnulfstrasse 52; 10am–1am). LÖWENBRÄUKELLER

This enormous beer hall is a local fixture for its regular Bavarian music and heel-slapping dances. During the Starkbierzeit (the springtime “strong beer season”), the famous stone-lifting contests are held here. The complex includes an elegant restaurant and roof terraces ideal for nosing over the rambling beer garden (loewen; Nymphenburgerstrasse 2; 10am–midnight).

Glasses ready and waiting to be filled at Löwenbräukeller HIRSCHGARTEN

Locals and savvy visitors flock to the Hirschgarten, just south of Nymphenburg. It’s the largest beer garden in Bavaria, seating 8,000 people, and has five bars serving Augustiner beer from wooden kegs. The self-service area has Bavarian cakes and ice creams – which can all be enjoyed while watching deer wandering in the nearby meadows (; Hirschgarten 1; 11am–midnight).


Fall 2016



MINI GUIDE Beer Halls of Munich




Munich Airport about 18 miles northeast of the city and linked by S-Bahn rail (S1 and S8) to the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station). Trains run from the Flughafen (airport) to central Munich every 10 minutes and take 40 minutes, while numerous bus companies link the airport and city ( Central Munich is compact enough for exploring on foot, but if you want to reach the suburbs, the excellent public transportation system makes it a cinch ( WHERE TO STAY

For retro design, head to Cocoon, where things kick off in reception with faux ’70s veneer and suspended ’60s ball chairs. The 46 rooms have large showers, charging docks, laptop “cabins” and more (; Lindwurmstrasse 35, and two other locations in the city; from $68).




Some of Cortiina’s rooms include a separate lounge area

Cortiina is an elegant hotel that’s been minimally decorated without compromising comfort. The bedrooms are oak paneled and have parquet floors; glass-encased bathrooms are lined with stone (; Ledererstrasse 8; from $185). Bayerischer Hof has a super central location, a pool and a jazz club. Marble, antiques and oil paintings abound, rooms are individually decorated and you can enjoy a meal at its Michelin-starred restaurant (; Promenadeplatz 2–6; from $340).

• Oktoberfest originated in 1810 when the future king, Bavarian crown prince Ludwig I, married Princess Therese and threw a huge party to celebrate. • It’s now a 17-day extravaganza; the 2016 event begins on Sept. 17 and runs through Oct. 3. • At noon, Munich’s mayor will stand before the crowd, slam a wooden tap into a cask of beer and, as the beer gushes out, exclaim “O’ zapft is!” (“It’s tapped!”). • On Sept. 18, a parade of costumed participants from all over the world will march through the city. • There’s no admission charge, but most of the fun costs something: a “mass” – one liter of beer (33.8 ozs.) – costs about $11. • For more, visit

FOR MORE INFORMATION Lonely Planet’s Munich, Bavaria & the Black Forest ($21.99) has detailed information on the city, while Germany ($27.99) gives a wider perspective. You can download individual chapters from ($4.95). More info can be found at insidersmunich .com, where you can buy the 28-page booklet Sun, Steins and Steckerlfisch: 125 Beer Gardens in Munich (Insiders’ Guides) by Yvonne Salisbury.



Reflections from the Road

NAME: Nick Brown @nickbrown2 OCCUPATION: Shoe designer, Soludos

Nick Brown traverses the globe to find inspiration for his travelinfluenced shoes. Here, he shares what he’s learned from his trips.


We spent the morning exploring the hundreds of rooms in this storied palace in UDAIPUR, INDIA. We were transfixed by this charming, perfectly weathered, turquoise room with its white etchings of elephants in the corners. Getting lost in the meandering streets of northern India’s cities is an overwhelming and immersive experience. The gridlock and blaring hooting of auto rickshaws, holy cows and dogs at every corner, the colorful dress of the locals, and the constant hustle and bustle all culminate in a sort of symphony of chaos that is utterly beautiful. Finding calm among a whirlwind of chaos is a skill that India has taught me.


Off CABO BLANCO ABSOLUTE NATURE RESERVE, in COSTA RICA, it was sweltering out on our

SIMPLICITY // I wandered around KYOTO, JAPAN, with an old friend, observing the fall foliage: beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow around the temples. Walking among the bamboo forest and exploring the ancient city gave me a profound feeling of peace. So much of the design, architecture and life there is in harmony. Even the kaiseki (Japanese multicourse dinner) plates paid tribute to the beauty of simplicity: something this trip taught me to always seek inspiration in.

boat. We had a chance encounter with a pod of wild dolphins swimming and dancing off into the horizon. The distraction of jumping into the turquoise waters was a perfect remedy for the abrasive stress of living in the concrete jungle of NYC.

Lonely Planet (ISSN 2379-9390). Fall 2016, Volume 2, Number 3. Published four times a year (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) by Lonely Planet Global, Inc., 230 Franklin Road, Building 2B, Franklin, TN 37064. Application to mail at Periodicals postage prices is pending at Franklin, TN, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Lonely Planet, PO Box 37520, Boone, IA 50037-0520. Subscriber Services, U.S., Canada and other International: Direct all inquiries, address changes, subscription orders, etc. to Lonely Planet, PO Box 37520, Boone, IA 50037-0520. You may also access customer service via the web at /customerservice, via email at or by phone at 800-829-9121. Subscribers: If the Post Office alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within one year. Please allow up to eight weeks for delivery of your first issue. Subscription rates: 1 year $12.00 domestic only; in Canada, $20; other International, $35 (Publisher’s suggested price). Single copies $5.99.

playtime is where quality time begins. surround yourself with the things that matter most.

Find your island where smiles happen naturally. Find a playground covered in soft white sand blanketed with endless stretches of seashells. Find the perfect place to slow down growing up. Find your island at and order our free Lonely Planet guidebook.

GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL IS ONLY GREAT IF YOU GET BACK. inReach Explorer — the world’s first satellite communicator with built-in navigation

Send and receive text messages Trigger an interactive SOS Navigate and create waypoints Plan, track, and share your journey 100% global satellite coverage from Iridium Monthly and annual plan options

Lonely Planet Fall 2016