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Ocho Rios, Port Antonio & the North Coast

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

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Medium 9781743215753

Santiago de Compostela & Galicia

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Santiago de Compostela, goal of 200,000 people who set out every year on the storied Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail, is one of Spain's most beautiful and magical cities, and an exceptionally good reason for any traveller, pilgrim or not, to make their way to Spain's northwestern corner.

But Galicia, a unique region with its own language and distinctive culture, is much more than Santiago. The wild coastline is frayed up and down its 1200km length by majestic rías (inlets), and strung with cliffs, beaches, islands, and fishing ports that bring in indisputably the best seafood in Spain. Then there's the interior, a labyrinth of deep-green valleys and hills, speckled with stone-built villages, aged monasteries, vineyards and farms that put top-quality meat on Galician tables. Nor is Santiago Galicia's only exciting city: A Coruña, Vigo and Lugo are all contemporary cultural hubs with heady nocturnal scenes.

AJun & Sep No peak-season crowds or prices but (hopefully) decent weather.

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Medium 9781743216866

County Cork

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Pop 519,000 / Area 7508 sq km

Everything good about Ireland can be found in County Cork. Surrounding the country's second city – a thriving metropolis made glorious by location and its almost Rabelaisian devotion to the finer things of life – is a lush landscape dotted with villages that offer days of languor and idyll.

The city's understated confidence is grounded in its plethora of food markets and ever-evolving cast of creative eateries, and in its selection of pubs, entertainment and cultural pursuits.

Further afield, you'll pass inlets along eroded coastlines and a multitude of perfectly charming old fishing towns and villages. The scenery is every bit as enchanting as the best bits of Ireland, particularly along the long Mizen Head, Sheep's Head and Beara Peninsulas, where you can tackle mountain passes and touch Ireland's ancient past.

AAlthough the summer months promise the best weather, the shoulder seasons are festival time.

ASpringtime is heralded in Baltimore with a fiddle fair, followed by a seafood and jazz festival in May.

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Medium 9781743217702

Minas Gerais & Espírito Santo

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

For those seeking a tangible sense of Brazilian history, no state compares with Minas Gerais. The tortuous cobblestone streets and splendid baroque monuments of Minas’ colonial mining towns have seen it all, from the horrors of slavery to the fervor of Brazil's 18th-century independence movement.

Minas’ natural wonders are equally alluring. The Serrado Espinhaço, a Unesco Biosphere Reserve running the length of the state, is just one of many refuges providing critical habitat for endangered species as well as exhilarating outdoor-recreation opportunities.

Add to this the cosmopolitan charms of Belo Horizonte, the fabulous flavors of Minas’ wood-fired cuisine, the intoxicating effects of Brazil's best cachaça (sugarcane alcohol) and the locals’ legendary hospitality, and it's hard to resist Minas’ seductive spell.

If you must leave Minas, neighboring Espírito Santo offers an attractive off-the-beaten-track counterpoint, with pretty beach and mountain scenery and some of Brazil's tastiest seafood.

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Medium 9781742207544


Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Pop 761,000

If you believe the legends, Kraków was founded on the defeat of a dragon, and it’s true a mythical atmosphere permeates its attractive streets and squares.

Wawel Castle is a major drawcard, while the Old Town contains soaring churches, impressive museums and the vast Rynek Główny, Europe’s largest market square. In the former Jewish quarter, Kazimierz, remnant synagogues reflect the tragedy of the 20th century, just as its lively squares and backstreets symbolise the renewal of the 21st. Here and throughout the Old Town are hundreds of restaurants, bars and clubs.

However, there’s more to the former royal capital than history and nightlife. As you walk through the Old Town, you’ll sometimes find yourself overwhelmed by the harmony of a quiet back street, the ‘just so’ nature of the architecture and light. It’s at times like these that Kraków reveals its harmonious blend of past and present, an essential part of any visit to Poland.

AMay or Jun As spring ends, the Lajkonik Pageant features a parade.

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