I’ve found the best beach in Spain – and that is saying something.
It is called Praia de Rodas and it is not on the country’s well-known and perpetually sun-soaked southern coast, it is out to the northwest of the mainland on an island off the coast of Galicia.
This is a beautiful coastline, strung with gorgeous white sand beaches. But to find the very best, the one that looks like it could have been lifted from the pages of a Caribbean holiday brochure, you ave to board a boat and head out to sea – or more precisely to the Islas Cies.
Rodas beach is a stunner. White sands, turquoise waters, the works. But there is more to these islands than just a place to switch off and sunbathe. There is also a simple but quietly spectacular restaurant serving fresh fish on a ramshackle terrace, a dramatic walk across the cliffs to a towering lighthouse and hundreds of birds wheeling overhead.
Read my recent article for the Times to find out more.
I am often asked where I would live if I could live anywhere.
If we’re talking outside the UK (because, honestly, the answer is London!) then it has to be Palma.
Mallorca’s capital city is a stunner. And on my most recent visit I got to see her from a new angle – from the top of her world renowned Gothic cathedral.
I also gazed out over her rooftops from my rooftop infinity pool at the Hotel Nakar, a wonderful hotel, and got to know her a little better on a tapas crawl through Sa Gerreria.
You can read more about what I got up to on my weekend in Palma in my article in the Times.
I have long loved Mallorca, but it was only recently that I discovered a new reason to love the largest Balearic island – it is also the jumping off point for Cabrera, the smallest of the (inhabited) Balearics.
I visited for a few days in April and found deserted walking tracks, secluded beaches and calm, clear waters home to plenty of fish and even the odd octopus. Sure, the accommodation here is basic (actually it’s so basic you need to bring your own bedding) but I found that that was part of the fun – and that it meant I had the island more or less to myself once the day boats left.
Check out my article for the Times on Cabrera here.
When it comes to the Canaries, misconceptions abound. Isn’t it all high-rise hotels and all-day breakfasts?
Well, no. There is so much more to these Atlantic islands than their “Brits abroad” reputation – a reputation that is, in my opinion, extremely unfair.
Because Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote in particular have exciting, diverse and high quality food scenes. Here you’ll find Michelin starred restaurants, local produce from fresh seafood to the juiciest tomatoes you’ll ever taste, and some of Europe’s best – but least widely exported – wines.
I visit the Canaries several times each year and on my last visit I set out on a gourmet odyssey around Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote for The Times.
Budapest is one of my favourite cities for a weekend break and – I’ll be honest – that has as much to do with its, erm, lively ruin bars as it does with its hot baths and stately architecture.
I returned to Budapest earlier this summer to drink palinka in courtyard gardens, sip beer beneath boar-shaped disco balls and live to regret slamming slots of Unicum under two watchful bright green eyes.
Yep, one of the best nights out ever, that one. Read (almost!) all about it on the Times Insider City Guides site.
Imagine a Spanish costa with no people… that’s what you get along the coast around Huelva, in Spain’s far southwest. Here sand bars stretch for miles and you’ll almost certainly spot more birds than people.
I visited this secret part of Spain recently for the Times. You can read my article about my trip here.
I write a lot about the Canary Islands, and am always banging on about how misunderstood these perpetually sunny islands are.
One thing I rarely get to do though is to write about the smaller islands, those that most visitors to Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are not even aware make up part of the same archipelago.
So I’m delighted to have been able to write about La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro for The Times. My article on these three largely unknown isles was in the travel section on Saturday February 13th. If you missed it, you can read it on the website here.