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Walking on the Opal Coast from Calais to Boulogne, France

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Walking on the Opal Coast from Calais to Boulogne, France

I’ve long been a fan of this coastal part of Northern France, partly because there are never too many tourists as they always hurry through. The cooking is always reliable, particularly at bistro level, and the stinky Marouilles cheese is one of my favourites.

The Côte d’Opale or Opal Coast stretches west from Calais along the English Channel, and gets its name from the interplay of grey and blue, between sky and the sea. This is going to be my constant view for the next two days, with the white cliffs of Dover in the far distance.

Day 1: Calais to Wissant 21.5km, 5 hours

I arrive in Calais via Eurostar on a bright sunny afternoon. The weather is set fair and as I make my way to the beach I’m surprised to find it almost deserted, just a couple of dog walkers. I can make just make out the white cliffs of Dover as car ferries ply their way to and fro.

The tide is out so I make my way along the beach, on firm sand, passing numerous break waters. Ruined remains of WW2 bunkers and gun emplacements are reminders that this was once part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, built to prevent an allied invasion.

After an hour, I reach Sangatte’s large radar mast, and leave the beach to walk on a surfaced track on top of the newly renovated sea wall.

By now there are lots of people enjoying the morning sunshine, but I’m soon back on my own as I head off upwards into the countryside.

I’m aiming for Cap Blanc-Nez, the highest point around, although only a measly 120m high. It’s marked by a grey obelisk, built in 1922 as a memorial to the WW1 Calais squadron who patrolled the Channel.



The views across the sea to the Kent cliffs are stunning, and the place is a magnet for tourists. I leave the crowds and pass more WW2 bunkers before descending to the beach. I can now make out the holiday resort of Wissant in the near distance and the other high point, Cap Gris Nez, far behind it.

It’s about another hour along the beach and I dodge kite surfers and wade shallow rivers before arriving at my destination.

Children are frolicking in the waves and the village is in full-blown holiday mode. Restaurants on the sea front promise moules frite and platters of fruits de mer, but I settle for a beer to celebrate the end of my day’s hiking.

Day 2: Wissant to Boulogne 27.5 km, 6.5 hours

It’s another glorious morning and I set off early as I’ve more ground to cover today. My feet are slightly sore so I walk along the sand in bare feet, letting the salt salve my blisters. Hardy joggers and a couple of swimmers are my only companions and at the water’s edge tractors are buzzing around the mussel poles.

I’m aiming for Cap Gris-Nez so after an hour, leave the beach at La Sirène, climbing upwards through wild flowers towards the lighthouse. It’s visible for miles around and is an essential beacon for Channel shipping. During WW2 this area was heavily fortified and I pass German bunkers as I follow the track down to sea level.



When I reach the shore, the track stays on the land, but there’s still three hours before high tide so I prefer to walk on the beach. It’s slightly tricky as there are rocks and boulders to negotiate before I reach the small fishing village of Audresselles.  The seafood restaurants are tempting me but I press on, walking on the pebbles.



Ambleteuse has an impressive Vauban fort, built in 1680 to guard the estuary of the River Slack. It’s only accessible at low tide and the path diverts inland but I’m able to wade across the channel with the shoes in my pack. Still more beach walking before climbing across a headland on a sandy track. I drop down back to sea level and reach Wimereux, with its busy promenade complete with a big wheel, and stop for an ice cream.

I’m now on the home stretch and the path leads away from the coast before passing through sand dunes to the Pointe de la Crèche. Steep steps lead upwards and I traverse car parks full of camper vans, as I carry on along the cliff. Finally, I drop down to sea level and reach the beach at Boulogne, packed with windsurfers and swimmers. There’s just time to visit Nausicaä, the largest aquarium in Europe, before I enjoy an excellent dinner La Matelote, just opposite. I’m celebrating an exhilarating two days of walking along one of France’s most attractive coastlines

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Holiday Travel

About Travel + Leisure Magazine

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About Travel + Leisure Magazine

Travel + Leisure is a magazine based in New York City that is devoted to helping its readers make the best of their travel and vacation experiences. Included in the magazine are features on various destinations around the world, as well as general travel tips and advice.

Travel + Leisure is known well for publishing feature son various destinations around the world. Whether readers are looking to plan a fishing getaway to the Carolina coast, or attend renowned art exhibitions in London, the magazine’s travel experts are able to help. Features on destinations across Asia, South America, and the United States contain all inclusive lists and descriptions of what one might do and see in these areas, ensuring there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

Each issue of Travel + Leisure contains general travel tips and advice. One recently published article focuses exclusively on road trips, and contains a number of tips on how to make such trips enjoyable and ensure that nothing from a scenic beach to historical site is left out of the itinerary.

A subscription to Travel + Leisure makes a great gift for anyone who is interested in national or international travel. On our website, you can either order a new subscription for yourself or as a gift, or you can easily renew a subscription to Travel + Leisure.

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Catching Summer by the Tail: 6 Spectacular Beach Destinations

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Catching Summer by the Tail: 6 Spectacular Beach Destinations

If you specifically waited for the crowds of tourists to subside and you can enjoy a leisurely vacation, the still warm summer weather and gentle sea, then your time has come. About where there is still a comfortable temperature, reasonable prices, free beaches and other entertainment for every taste (and budget) – in the material Passion.ru.

If you like an exotic vacation, then you can turn your gaze towards Cuba and go, for example, to the city of Varadero, which, although a typical beach resort, can surprise (and impress) even the most discerning tourists. Firstly, it is one of the best diving spots in the Caribbean, so you are sure to have vivid emotions and impressions. In addition, here you can find several interesting markets, shops and souvenir shops with some pretty interesting things. For those who are looking for “something like that”, we recommend to look into the municipal museum, taste real Cuban coffee, swim in the Saturno cave, take a walk in the ecological reserve, test yourself for courage in the cave with bats of Cueva de Ambrosio, visit the Xanadu mansion built by billionaire Irenaeus DuPont, get to know local delicacies in numerous bars and restaurants, and learn to dance mambo, cha-cha-cha or salsa. Where else can you learn these fiery dances if not in Cuba?

Spain

Those who are used to combining beach holidays with “spiritual food” will surely love the idea of ​​a velvet season in Barcelona. At this time, the summer heat is already receding there, but it is still warm on the streets during the day and in the evening (the temperature during the day rises to + 23-25 ​​° C). In addition, the capital of Catalonia and the largest port on the Mediterranean Sea seem to be created for leisurely walks, during which you can fully admire the interweaving of styles in the original architecture, appreciate the harmonious neighborhood of ancient buildings, palaces and modern buildings, visit the famous Park Guell, take an evening a promenade through the old city center, where theatrical performances take place, look into one of the establishments where the real Catalan rumba is danced (and, perhaps, even learn a few spectacular steps),

Italy

September is a great time to visit Sicily, where the air and water temperatures are quite comfortable. And in order to remember your vacation for sure, go straight to Sicilian Catania, where you can more than enjoy the rich nightlife, take beautiful photos against the backdrop of the famous Mount Etna, soak up the free beaches (volcanic with lava sand and ordinary sand), be sure to try a traditional dessert cannoli, which is a waffle roll with ricotta cheese, taste eggplant dishes (pasta, lasagna, burgers and even pizza), attend a huge number of festivals and concerts, as well as arrange a city tour with sightseeing and impressive architecture.

Greece

Crete is famous for its beaches and comfortable September weather, so you can definitely swim and sunbathe. Cozy coves, picturesque nature, numerous excursions to the Botanical Park, the Maritime Museum, the olive farm, the Lychnostatis Museum, the Palace of Knossos, which is often mentioned in myths and legends, the Sfendoni and Melidoni cave, as well as vibrant holidays and festivals that help to feel the amazing atmosphere and learning a little more about the traditions and history of Crete will make your holiday rich and memorable.

Turkey

Those who find Turkey boring and monotonous have probably not been to Marmaris, one of the most impressive port and resort cities. In September, the air temperature here is confidently kept at around +27 ° C, so you will definitely be provided with a beautiful tan. In addition to gorgeous beaches and warm seas, this resort boasts entertainment for all tastes, from festivals, concerts, natural attractions to numerous bars and restaurants where you can taste traditional cuisine and dance all night long. And if you have a Schengen visa and want to see more, then head to Rhodes, the fourth largest island in Greece, for a full day. The easiest and safest way to get there is to use the ferries that run with enviable regularity during the holiday season.

Brazil

Of course, rest in a country where residents call themselves “carioca” and young and old play football is not a cheap pleasure, but it is definitely worth it. In September, there is no longer such a sweltering heat here, because during the daytime the temperature reaches + 27-28 ° C, and the water temperature is + 20-23 ° C, so in addition to doing nothing on the beach, you can also plan visits to museums, theaters, viewing natural objects and architectural attractions. If you nevertheless decide to visit the homeland of the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, then by all means visit the area of ​​musicians, artists and students of Santa Tereza, walk to the oldest Copacabana fort, on the territory of which the museum is located, admire the “same old city” in the Morro da Conceição area , check out Ruins Park for amazing views of the surrounding area and of course climb the viewpoints of Corcovado, Two Brothers, Fort Leme. And then the impressions received will definitely be enough for you for the next six months or a year.

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Top 10 trips for 2021

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Top 10 trips for 2021

After a very complicated traveling year, we hope that 2021 is the time to take the calendar and start looking at dates to be able to fit in all the trips we have dreamed of for so long.

Although we know that like any list, all the options are very subjective and depend a lot on each one of us, we wanted to make a list with what we think are some of the  10 best trips for 2021 , with all the practical information to organize them from the more comfortable and safe way, without missing anything important in each country or region you visit.

Keep in mind that these destinations are chosen from various points of view but at no time have we valued the global health situation that we are experiencing or the one that each of the countries currently have at a particular level, so choose them or not for a future trip , will totally depend on the evolution of the pandemic in the coming months.

For now, we keep dreaming and crossing our fingers that this year brings us some of the best trips for 2021.

1. Colombia

Colombia, located in the extreme north of South America, has everything a traveler dreams of finding in a country. Incredible natural landscapes, archaeological sites, beautiful colonial towns and cities as well as areas and islands perfect to relax on their idyllic beaches after a great trip.

During a route through the country of about 3 weeks, in which you can combine bus transfers with the plane and the rental of a car, to get lost in areas such as the Coffee Axis, you will know many of the  essential places to see in Colombia Among which are such incredible sites as the Cocora Valley, Cartagena de Indias, Guatapé, the Tatacoa desert or San Agustín, among many others.

We know that one of the concerns of many tourists when traveling to Colombia is the issue of security. In our case and after more than a month traveling the country, we can assure you that at no time did we have a setback or feeling of insecurity, although of course, you always have to have common sense and in cities like Bogotá or Medellín, move around the most touristic areas.

The best time to travel to Colombia is between December and March and July to August.

Colombia

2. New Zealand

New Zealand is one of those unique destinations in the world where you can enjoy nature in its wildest state and landscapes of extreme beauty, which we are sure, will leave you speechless.

Prepared to the smallest detail to travel it on wheels, we cannot forget that this is one of the best motorhome trips in the world , although New Zealand is also known for being a quiet and very safe country.

To complete this list of essential places to see in New Zealand, we advise you to take a route of between 3 and 4 weeks through the two islands, starting with the North Island and then crossing by ferry to the South Island.

The best months to travel to New Zealand are between December and February, when it is summer there, although if you want to find cheaper prices we recommend autumn or spring.

3. Greece

Greece, the cradle of today’s Western civilization, is another of the best trips for 2021 . Although there are hundreds of combinations that you can do in the country, we recommend dividing your trip into two very different stages, but no less spectacular: Peninsular Greece and the Greek Islands.

The route through the peninsula normally begins in Athens, which has its great jewel in the Parthenon, and then goes through different archaeological sites of Ancient Greece such as Olympia, Corinth, Epidaurus, Mycenae and the incredible Delphi.

The finishing touch of this itinerary is the Meteora Monasteries, located in stone colossi over 600 meters high, which we are sure, will leave you speechless.

After Peninsular Greece you can take a ferry to spend a few quiet days in some of the best Greek Islands that form a great mosaic of colors with their turquoise waters and beautiful villages of white houses.

In addition to knowing all these essential places to see in Greece , this trip will allow you to enjoy its magnificent cuisine, ranked among the best in the world.

The best months to travel to Greece are May, June, September and October, in which you will avoid the high temperatures and the exaggerated prices of the high season.

4. Japan

Japan is one of those countries that surprise and fall in love in equal measure. A perfect combination of future and tradition, and without a doubt one of the best trips for 2021 in which you can make a complete route through Japan, from Kyoto to Tokyo , in about 2-3 weeks, traveling by train.

This trip will take you to know some of the greatest tourist attractions in the country such as  visiting the impressive temples of Kyoto , Takayama and Shirakawa-go, references such as mountain destinations, the beautiful Miyajima Island , cities such as Tokyo or Osaka or the impressive Himeji Castle .

In addition to all these places, Japan has an unsurpassed gastronomy, which includes the best sushi and fresh fish in the world, ramen, sashimi, tempura or Kobe meat, which will take you to enjoy another trip, in this case focused on the palate. and the senses.

We could say that any time is good to travel to Japan , since it is a country in which each season of the year frames a special moment for the country, although we believe that there are two special moments: spring with the cherry blossom show. and autumn, when colors become the undisputed protagonists of the trip.

5. Mexico

We could say that Mexico is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and also one of the best trips for 2021 , in addition to having one of the best gastronomies on the planet.

A route through the country could begin in its capital, Mexico City, and then travel by bus to some of the most beautiful colonial cities in the country such as San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Zacatecas or Guadalajara.

This area, and the entire country in general, have a reputation for being dangerous but after our experience traveling for a month and a half on our own, we have to say that at no time during the days we spent in Mexico did we have any sense of danger, it is Furthermore, we always move with the camera and mobile phones in hand and we feel totally safe. In addition, from what we speak with several locals and we intuit, insecurity is more focused in the north and usually due to drug trafficking issues, so tourism, in general, is not affected.

After completing the visit to some of the colonial cities, a good option is to take a plane or bus to the Chiapas area to visit the beautiful San Cristóbal de las Casas and of course, its surroundings.

And if you have more time in thisMexico on your own you can go to Oaxaca or follow the route by rental car through the states of Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán, which include some of the best places to visit in Mexico  since in this most touristic area are the spectacular old cities Maya, fantastic cenotes and beaches with transparent waters where you can spend the last days of the trip in a relaxed way.

Any time is good to travel to Mexico, since being such a large country there are climatic variations according to the areas. In the southern part of the country, between the months of May to September, it is usually quite hot and humid, while in the interior, between the months of October-November to February-March, it is usually colder.

6. Iceland

Iceland is the paradise for landscape lovers and another of the best trips of 2021 . Going around the island by car along Highway 1, stopping at the places of greatest tourist interest, can take between 10 days and two weeks, although if you have less time do not worry, with a week you can also plan a very complete route , eliminating some of the most remote areas.

Something to keep in mind is that in Iceland there is not much hotel infrastructure, so it is very important to book in advance, plan a trip in a motorhome or, if you go in the hottest season, a tent.

During the days of the trip you will have the opportunity to do incredible trekking routes, walk through glaciers, see black sand beaches, volcanoes, the impressiveJökulsárlón glacier lagoon , waterfalls like Seldjalanfoss, Detifoss or Godafoss , see whales or puffins, surprise yourself in front of landscapes from another planet like those of Landmannalaugar or bathe in hot springs, surrounded by the wildest nature. You dare?

The best time to travel to Iceland, if you want to visit the island in its entirety during the summer months, although any time is good to travel to Iceland, as long as the cold is not an impediment for you.

7. Peru

Peru is another of the most visited countries and we are sure that it can be considered as another of the best trips for 2021 . If you have about 3 weeks you can do a complete route that goes from Lima to Cuzco as well as including a final trip in which you can relax for a few days in the  Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado area, to enjoy the Amazon.

On this route through Peru, in addition to being overwhelmed in front of Machu Picchu, you cannot forget to visit places such as the Paracas National Reserve, the Ballestas Islands, the Huacachina Oasis, fly over the Nazca lines, visit  Arequipa , tour the Colca Valley., being on the roof of the world on Lake Titicaca or getting lost in the Inca ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.

The best time to travel to Peru is between the months of September to November, and from March to May, when the weather is pleasant and there is less tourism.

8. South Africa

South Africa is one of the most diverse countries in the world and another of the best trips for 2021 you can take.

In this surprising country you can enjoy natural landscapes that seem from another planet, see big cats such as lions and leopards up close, in its well-kept national parks as well as feel the great multicultural environment of its large cities.

To take a complete picture of the country and visit all the essential places to see in South Africa , we recommend taking a route by rental car from Cape Town to Johannesburg, passing through Swaziland, although depending on the time you have, some long stretches such as Port Elizabeth to Durban, you can do it by plane.

Although all the tourist spots are incredible in the Kruger Park, we recommend spending a minimum of 5 days, practically essential time to enjoy the safaris with your private car, enjoying a unique experience in the world.

Any time is good to travel to South Africa, although in our experience, a good time is our fall, when there are good conditions to see wildlife in the national parks and the whales come close to the coast.

9. New York

New York, known as the city of skyscrapers or the one that never sleeps, should always be among the best trips of 2021 as  well as being a good choice to spend some fun days.

Even if you go on the days that you go to the city you will enjoy it, we recommend you travel a minimum of a week, enough time to get to know its endless leisure and cultural offer, in addition to visiting its main tourist attractions such as Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge , the Statue of Liberty or Central Park, among others.

During our 11-day trip to New York we completed this list of places to visit in New YorkEssential and we liked the experience so much that we returned a few years later to spend almost two months living in an apartment, near Central Park, where we had the opportunity to get to know the city much more closely.

One piece of advice that we think is very interesting, especially if it is your first time in the city, is to stay near Times Square or in the downtown area of ​​Manhattan Island, which is where most of the points of interest are concentrated and thus not spending a lot of time commuting on the subway.

Any time is perfect to visit New York, although in spring or autumn the parks shine in their maximum splendor and at Christmas, the city becomes magical.

10. Sri Lanka and Maldives

A trip to Sri Lanka and the Maldives is the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation and another of the best trips for 2021 .

Sri Lanka, the so-called Lagrima de India , offers you incredible places and landscapes, as well as the possibility of making one of the most beautiful train rides between Ella and Nuwara Eliya . If you add that you can visit historical places such as Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Dambulla Caves, Aukana or Polonnaruwa or go on a safari in search of leopards in Yala, stroll through endless tea fields in the Highlands or enjoy the wild beaches. from the south, Sri Lanka is a destination in capital letters. And if you add to that the kindness of the people and their smiles, we are sure that it is one of thebest trips for 2021 .

After touring Sri Lanka for a couple of weeks, you can catch a plane in Colombo to reach the nearby and paradisiacal Maldives Islands, the perfect place to leave your backpack, put on your swimsuit and flip-flops and just worry about enjoying the sun. the beach, good food, diving, snorkeling and relaxation in the most incredible paradise you have ever dreamed of.

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