Features // Discovery

The best places to travel solo – as voted by you
The best places to travel solo – as voted by you

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding experiences out there. But where is the best place to travel alone? We put together our own recommendations last year, but this year we thought we’d ask our readers. Here are the best places to travel solo – as voted for by you. 10. Ethiopia Ethiopia might not usually feature…

Why having young kids is the best time to travel
Why having young kids is the best time to travel

Travel, no matter how well researched, is a leap into the unknown, and so is parenthood. Although travelling with babies and toddlers seems daunting (it’s not really, here are some of our top tips), there are many rewarding reasons to explore the world with young kids. Here are ten reasons why, when you’ve got young…

Okinawa: Japan’s best-kept secret
Okinawa: Japan’s best-kept secret

Snow-white beaches, giant coconut-eating crabs and karate-loving grannies: Okinawa is Japan but not as we know it. This alluring chain of sun-kissed, hibiscus-draped islands offers a blend of Southeast Asian heat, unique ‘un-Japanese’ culture and delicious, life-extending food. Andy Turner explores how to make the most of a trip to Japan’s subtropical paradise. Find the…

The best places to get off the tourist trail in Rome 
The best places to get off the tourist trail in Rome 

Ticked off Rome’s big sights and wondering where to go next? Natasha Foges picks some of the city’s off-the-beaten track highlights. Lose yourself in the Quartiere Coppedè There’s so much to grab tourists’ attention in central Rome that a magical spot like the Quartiere Coppedè can go unnoticed. Tucked away in the Trieste quarter (tram…

How to find the right New Zealand for you
How to find the right New Zealand for you

While it may not loom large on the world map, New Zealand feels incredibly vast and imposing on the ground, especially to those who try to visit the North and South Islands on the same trip. Few countries can match the nation’s biodiversity; a single visit can easily incorporate scenic beaches, fast-­moving rivers, and rugged…

17 striking portraits of Ethiopia’s Omo Valley tribes
17 striking portraits of Ethiopia’s Omo Valley tribes

Renowned the world over for its decorated tribes, the Omo Valley is a stop on many a tourist route in Ethiopia. But visits to the area can cross ethical boundaries, and few tourists are allowed the pleasure of a genuine experience with local people. Here, Rough Guides photographer Tim Draper tells us about his experience photographing…

9 great family vacation ideas
9 great family vacation ideas

It’s easy to be daunted by the endless choices on offer when planning a trip with kids. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of family vacation ideas that will get everyone – even jaded teenagers – excited. For adventure: India In the spirit of the latest The Jungle Book movie, take the kids on a tiger safari in India’s…

6 places to escape the crowds in Reykjavík
6 places to escape the crowds in Reykjavík

Reykjavík is one of Europe’s smaller and saner capitals. If you’re more used to the traffic-clogged streets of other major european cities, the sense of space and calm here will come as a breath of fresh air. Even in the heart of this Reykjavík, nature is always in evidence – there can be few other cities…

Split or Dubrovnik: where should you go first?
Split or Dubrovnik: where should you go first?

Split and Dubrovnik are the stars of Croatian tourism. Both have an ancient core historic enough to be listed by UNESCO yet vibrant enough to remain home to a sizeable local population. Both have beaches backed by clear waters, fresh local seafood and plentiful bars with Adriatic views. And both have appeared in Game of…

The great British seaside: how Margate got cool
The great British seaside: how Margate got cool

Not all that long ago Margate was a forlorn seaside town rejected by even the bucket-and-spade brigade. In a sad story echoed across England, the already struggling high street was devastated by the opening of an out-of-town shopping centre; pubs and restaurants were closing, and the future of this once thriving seaside resort looked grim.…

11 fascinating French châteaux you might never have heard of
11 fascinating French châteaux you might never have heard of

There are few more quintessentially French views than castle turrets stretching up into a clear blue sky. From the gracious châteaux of the Loire to majestic palaces like Versailles, the country’s castles mark its landscapes, reveal its history and draw visitors from around the world. To celebrate the publication of the new Rough Guide to…

Inside Rough Guides: April team news
Inside Rough Guides: April team news

This month at Rough Guides our editors and authors have been trekking in Borneo, gorging on tapas in Granada and scaling volcanos in Mexico. Here’s a small selection of their highlights. Just back from… Andalucía, Spain Editor Helen has just returned from an Andalucian adventure. Highlights included a visit to Spain‘s most comical festival, Cadiz Carnival, where…

Chinese restaurant etiquette: a step-by-step guide
Chinese restaurant etiquette: a step-by-step guide

You’ve heard the one about not sticking your chopsticks straight up in rice, right? (It resembles funerary incense sticks). Honestly? Don’t fret. Because let’s face it; you’ve got bigger problems than antiquated cultural faux-pas. Like how to actually order and eat a table-full of delicious Chinese food in a regular, everyday, non-touristy Chinese restaurant –…

10 of the world’s weirdest museums
10 of the world’s weirdest museums

This year saw the opening of the world’s first Barbie museum in Montréal, Canada. It’s one of a handful of exhibitions specialising in unusual subject matters, so if dusty fossils don’t do it for you, we’ve rounded up ten of the world’s weirdest museums. 1. Meguro Parasitological Museum, Tokyo, Japan Those prone to squeamishness should probably…

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Barcelona
An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Barcelona

Barcelona – Spain’s second city – sets the template for urban style, hip design and sheer nonstop energy. Where others tinker at the edges, time and again Barcelona has reinvented itself. Visit for the first time or the fiftieth, Barcelona never fails to surprise. The city’s popularity means finding a hotel vacancy at any time…

8 of South America’s most memorable eccentricities
8 of South America’s most memorable eccentricities

Tasty ‘big-ass ants’, llamas wearing woolly hats, and tiny enclaves of Welsh culture make South America a fascinating, if at times, mind boggling continent to explore. Here’s our foray into some of the more eclectic cultural treats to be found upon these shores. 1. Patagonia’s Welsh teahouses Debuted to the world in Bruce Chatwin’s pivotal…

You’ll soon be able to stay at the ICEHOTEL throughout the year
You’ll soon be able to stay at the ICEHOTEL throughout the year

The ICEHOTEL, constructed from snow and ice each year, has long been Swedish Lapland’s blockbuster attraction. It features in our list of the top 21 things to do in Sweden, and crops up on bucket lists the world over. Yet when the weather warms in the spring, this extraordinary hotel just melts away. This year,…

9 essential tips for backpacking Thailand
9 essential tips for backpacking Thailand

Backpacking Thailand can mean staying in fun-packed hostels and idyllic beach bungalows, eating noodles so tasty and so cheap you’ll swear off all other food groups and climbing aboard everything from an overnight train to a lolloping elephant. But it also means following a well-worn route – one that has sprouted an entire industry to…

You can visit all US national parks for free next week
You can visit all US national parks for free next week

To celebrate of the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, visitors will be offered free entry to national parks across the USA next week. From the 16th to the 24 April, admission fees will be waived in all 59 parks, with a range of special activities also planned around National Junior Ranger Day on…

Flamenco to fortresses: the top things to do in Granada
Flamenco to fortresses: the top things to do in Granada

Set in Andalucía, Spain’s southernmost region, Granada is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, and with good reason. The city is in an astounding setting at the confluence of four rivers, backed by the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada, and there are plenty of things to do. The extraordinary palace and fortress of…

12 things to do in Amsterdam with kids
12 things to do in Amsterdam with kids

With its canals, narrow cobbled alleys and trams, the novelty value of Amsterdam can prove entertaining enough for many kids. There’s also a whole host of attractions specifically aimed at young children, ranging from circuses and puppet theatres to urban farms and one of the best zoos in Europe. There are also plenty of opportunities…

Šibenik: Croatia’s hottest long-weekend destination
Šibenik: Croatia’s hottest long-weekend destination

Richard Mellor explores Šibenik, a city tipped as Croatia’s next best tourist hotspot thanks to a new luxury hotel.  It’s appropriate that the parachute’s inventor – one Faust Vrančić, if you’re asking – was born in Šibenik, for this Croatian backwater has its feet firmly on the ground. Having a recent history of battle and bombs…

7 stunning European islands you’ve probably never heard of
7 stunning European islands you’ve probably never heard of

We’ve all heard of the big hitters, such as Ibiza, Corsica and Sicily, but what about Europe’s lesser known islands? Have you ever dreamt of mixing it up with a windswept, heart-pumping hike on the remote hills of Foula? Or kicking through the sweeps of sand that pass for roads on La Graciosa? It pays…

Hot tub happiness: the dos and don’ts of Icelandic spas
Hot tub happiness: the dos and don’ts of Icelandic spas

Going for a spa in Iceland can feel wonderfully alien. Against a backdrop of barren moonscapes and denuded hills, the waters are so preternaturally blue, so exaggerated and preposterously warm, that a simple dip can feel borderline indecent. Venture from the capital Reykjavik as far as Reyðarfjörður in the extreme east and you’ll also find…

7 must-visit places in Spain you’ve probably never considered
7 must-visit places in Spain you’ve probably never considered

Spain’s massive size means that it’s thankfully not as hard as you might expect to wander off the well-beaten tourist track. Whether it’s quiet coves, tucked away old villages or eerie landscapes you’re after, here are seven places that you’ve probably never heard of but really should visit in Spain. 1. Las Alpujarras, Andalucía South…

13 tips for backpacking India
13 tips for backpacking India

Whether you’re hurtling along in a rickshaw, eating fantastic curries, kicking back on the backwaters or hiking in the mountains, backpacking India will always be an adventure. You’ll need your wits about you, and preparation is key – here are our top tips to making your journey as smooth as possible. 1. Eat where the locals eat Restaurant…

Exploring Zimbabwe’s most accessible highlights
Exploring Zimbabwe’s most accessible highlights

With the arrival of a new airport at Victoria Falls, Stuart Butler explores the area and its offering to the influx of tourists Zimbabwe’s government is hoping to see. Carefully I turned it over in my hands. It was heavier than I expected and larger. It was also kind of drab to look at. I…

10 big first-time travel questions answered
10 big first-time travel questions answered

The world is flat. Or so the thinking went, until someone actually went off to circumnavigate it. You may not make such a colossal discovery during your own global journey, but what awaits you “out there” is something only you can find: your very own adventure. Who knows, you may just find a best friend,…

20 things to do on your first round-the-world trip
20 things to do on your first round-the-world trip

Planning your first trip around the world can be daunting. There’s an awful lot to discover out there, from retina-burning white beaches tapering off into gin-clear waters to mountain ranges hiding echo-bending canyons and fascinating wildlife. To celebrate publication of the new edition of the Rough Guide to First-Time Around the World, packed with tips and…

Why you should choose a road trip for your next adventure
Why you should choose a road trip for your next adventure

After a road trip through Uruguay, Greg Dickinson discovers the joys of self-drive. Alright, hands up. Fuel is pricey, driving abroad is stressful and travelling long distances by car is damaging to the environment. You may as well just do what you always do; book up some flights, buses and trains and be done with it.…

15 things everyone learns backpacking South America
15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

South America has become a favoured destination for the intrepid backpacker, and while it’s impressive in the astounding diversity of its nations, there are a number of universal lessons that every traveller will learn at some point during their time here. So whether you fell foul of altitude or accepted that you – inevitably – suck…

30 things to do on your first trip to Europe
30 things to do on your first trip to Europe

Europe offers more architecture, wine, music, fashion, theatre and gastronomy per square kilometre than any other continent. It boasts over seven hundred million people, in excess of 450 World Heritage Sites and more renowned paintings than you can point your camera at. Which means heading off the main routes will still land you waist-deep in…

6 must-visit places in Wales you’ve probably never heard of
6 must-visit places in Wales you’ve probably never heard of

For a small country, Wales offers an incredible diversity of landscapes and experiences, many of which remain surprisingly undiscovered. From pristine white-sand beaches and rolling, quintessentially Welsh valleys to tucked away villages, here six places you really should visit – but which you’ve probably never heard of. 1. The Tywi Valley, south Wales In the…

The UNESCO list you’ve never heard of
The UNESCO list you’ve never heard of

We all know about the UNESCO World Heritage List – the comprehensive list made by UN delegates, detailing places around the world that are “considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.” It includes sights like the pyramids in Egypt, England‘s Stonehenge and – most recently – the Forth Rail Bridge in Scotland. But there’s another list that…

Why Córdoba is Argentina’s most underrated region
Why Córdoba is Argentina’s most underrated region

Although long popular with Argentine tourists, Córdoba Province receives few foreign visitors, despite being one of the most diverse parts of the country. This underrated region is home to hip cities, kitsch Germania, iconic revolutionaries, skydiving hubs, UFO-spotters, and perhaps the finest horse riding on the continent. Because its capital is getting cool The capital of…

Video: top 5 things to do in Kerala
Video: top 5 things to do in Kerala

We sent Rough Guides editor Rachel Mills to the southernmost tip of the Indian Subcontinent to research Kerala for the upcoming Rough Guide to India. From tea estates in lush green hills to sultry palm-fringed backwaters, plus a host of deserted beaches, she dove beneath the surface and immersed herself in the region’s natural wonders, lavish festivals and heavenly South Indian…

12 tips for backpacking Australia
12 tips for backpacking Australia

Backpacking Australia will almost certainly exceed your expectations. It’s not just that the places you’ll see will be more stunning than you had imagined – from the open, red-tinged landscapes and rich rainforests inland to the immaculate, golden shores. It’s that the country is geared up for good times, whether it’s getting active outdoors in that almost endless…

8 must-visit places in South America you’ve probably never heard of
8 must-visit places in South America you’ve probably never heard of

Access to even some of the more remote parts of South America has improved in the past few decades, establishing a now well-etched tourist trail. But if you want to escape the crowds and make a beeline for an unexplored South American treasure, look no further than this list of the places you’ve never heard…

11 of the world’s hardest mountains to climb
11 of the world’s hardest mountains to climb

It’s not just height that makes a mountain mean. Different routes can make one side of a mountain a cinch and the other side nearly impossible. The weather can turn a technically easy climb into a deadly expedition. But whatever the weather, many aspire to tackle the world’s hardest mountains to climb. Here’s our ranking of the 11…

Our expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Lisbon
Our expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Lisbon

Heading to the Portuguese capital this year? Whether you want rich history or shops galore, these are the best areas to stay in Lisbon according to our expert. Best for the historic centre: Baixa and Chiado Lisbon’s Baixa, or ‘downtown’, is an appealing oblong of handsome buildings flanked by the squares of Rossio, Figueira and the…

Discover your silly side: 11 of the world’s best slides
Discover your silly side: 11 of the world’s best slides

Travelling is time we take to relax, to let go and to have fun. Sometimes, this means finding your inner child and just being a bit silly – and there’s no better way to do that than on some of the world’s best slides. If you’re in need of some time out and want to find…

6 reasons to keep travelling in 2016
6 reasons to keep travelling in 2016

In recent weeks some of my normally fearless traveller friends have asked me whether it’s a good idea to travel right now. It’s a question on many people’s lips at the moment, and understandably so. Global unrest has seen some stalwart tourist destinations become effective no-go zones, while the question of aviation safety was brought…

Beneath the Mountain of God: Tanzania’s Lake Natron
Beneath the Mountain of God: Tanzania’s Lake Natron

Just a stone’s throw from some of Africa’s most celebrated safari destinations, the astonishing Lake Natron remains irresistibly isolated and under-explored. But with so much to offer and with the world outside drawing ever nearer, Christopher Clark is left wondering what the future holds for this hidden highlight. The air seems hotter and drier with…

6 reasons to visit Bogotá: South America’s underrated capital
6 reasons to visit Bogotá: South America’s underrated capital

Polluted, rainy and business-orientated. Let’s face it, a trip to Bogotá hardly sounds appealing. And many travellers don’t bother to probe much further than this bleak reputation, seeing Bogotá either as somewhere to be skipped out altogether, or as merely a logistical blot on a more exciting itinerary. Other Latin American cities such as Buenos…

Why now’s the time to visit Nottingham, England
Why now’s the time to visit Nottingham, England

It may not feature on top of everyone’s British city bucket list, but it’s time to see this East Midlands city in a new light. Nottingham boasts a slew of new attractions for 2016, a recently expanded tram network and a burgeoning independent arts scene. Plus, in the year when the stalwart British fashion designer…

Emilia-Romagna: Tuscany without the crowds
Emilia-Romagna: Tuscany without the crowds

Blame Frances Mayes. Ever since she penned Under the Tuscan Sun twenty years ago the region has seen an unstoppable influx of English and American tourists descend on the area, which has left neighbouring regions, with just as much to offer, decidedly in the shade. Emilia-Romagna, home to an officially designated ‘Food Valley’, the majority…

The most haunted places in America
The most haunted places in America

Ghost stories are fun. Though folk tales and flatout fabrications abound, the best of them possess a kernel of historic truth that prompt us to ponder the lives of those who inhabited the world before we came along. From Hollywood horror hotspots to dilapidated colonial settlements, here are the most haunted places in America. Fact…

10 reasons to visit Muscat, Oman
10 reasons to visit Muscat, Oman

Compared to flashy Emirati neighbours like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the capital of Oman is a breath of fresh, sea air. Muscat is famous for dazzling souks and superb seafood, but its terrain brings the biggest thrills. This port city on the Gulf of Oman is backed by the arid Hajar mountains, meaning you can…

Finding love in the UK’s least romantic city: 7 reasons to visit Hull
Finding love in the UK’s least romantic city: 7 reasons to visit Hull

This year we listed Hull as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2016 – an accolade that had many people surprised. Here, Lottie Gross explains why it made the list. It’s safe to say, most people’s preconceptions of Hull aren’t brilliant. In the past it has been named Britain’s worst city and the least…

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