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https://visitsrilanka.com/news Sri Lanka news from Local & International Media Sat, 07 Oct 2017 05:30:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 https://i1.wp.com/vs-news.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/cropped-Vsl-Header-logo.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 https://visitsrilanka.com/news 32 32 126861565 https://visitsrilanka.com/news/anantara-kalutara-in-sri-lanka-offers-the-perfect-setting-for-sophisticated-meetings-and-retreats-itcm/ https://visitsrilanka.com/news/anantara-kalutara-in-sri-lanka-offers-the-perfect-setting-for-sophisticated-meetings-and-retreats-itcm/#respond Fri, 06 Oct 2017 03:00:40 +0000

https://visitsrilanka.com/news/?p=87316
Tourism continues to grow in Sri Lanka, a uniquely charming destination with a wealth of natural and cultural attractions, a varied landscape, temperate climate and genuine, warm hospitality. Easily accessible – with direct international flights from Europe, the Middle East and Asia and easy E-visa application for most nationalities – Sri Lanka is also a […]]]>

Tourism continues to grow in Sri Lanka, a uniquely charming destination with a wealth of natural and cultural attractions, a varied landscape, temperate climate and genuine, warm hospitality. Easily accessible – with direct international flights from Europe, the Middle East and Asia and easy E-visa application for most nationalities – Sri Lanka is also a value-for-money destination.

Anantara Kalutara Resort
Anantara Kalutara is situated on the southwest coast of the island, only a 90-minute drive from Bandaranaike International Airport and downtown Colombo. The architecturally stunning resort offers a naturally exclusive setting, with the sacred Kalu River on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other. 141 guest rooms, suites and pool villas dot the manicured grounds. Resort facilities include the Anantara Spa, which offers an inspirational setting to pursue physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, an on-site water sports centre and a selection of dining options from East and West.

Unique Meeting Spaces
Anantara Kalutara has just unveiled its new purpose-built meeting complex. Comprising the 630 square metre two-storey Ballroom, three meeting rooms and expansive indoor and outdoor pre-function areas, the brand new facility boasts panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and river. Floor-to-ceiling windows maximise natural light and give way to stunning sunsets.

The perfect setting for conferences and events, the Ballroom can accommodate 400 guests for a reception, or 350 for banquets and meetings in classroom or theatre style. Designed for maximum flexibility, the pillar-free Ballroom can be divided into two equal sized soundproof spaces, both equipped with state-of-the-art mood lighting and audio-visual systems.

Designed by island architects MICD, the décor and furnishings showcase traditional Sri Lankan design with hints of vibrant colour, hand-painted batiks and contemporary fittings. Founded by Channa Daswatte, a protégé of the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, MICD has maximised natural light and flow, in keeping with Bawa’s Tropical Modernist aesthetics which pervade the resort.

Tailored Experiences
A dedicated meeting and events team is on hand to provide personalised planning and flawless delivery of each event and to tailor the experience, from VIP welcome gifts, themed décor and entertainment, to innovative catering options. Delegates can celebrate corporate milestones with a sunset cruise on the Kalu River or enjoy teambuilding activities including water sports on-site. Corporate employees can be rewarded with once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as a wildlife safari or whale watching trip and a range of inspirational and authentic explorations can be offered to the island’s natural and cultural attractions, all within an easy drive from the resort.

The colonial era can be relived with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle’s Portuguese and Dutch fort, offering a charming enclave of boutiques, museums, modern bistros and bars. For a country famous for its tea, the nearby 200-acre Handunugoda Tea Estate offers a pleasurable low-country tea experience and serves as a working private tea museum. Whether a conference, incentive or celebration, Anantara Kalutara Resort will perfect the next corporate event in a truly world-class destination.

Full details are available from the link below:

Source URL: Travel – Google News

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https://visitsrilanka.com/news/?p=87020
BEST OF ASIA: Sri Lanka has been named Asia’s Leading Destination For years us Brits have been heading Thailand, inspired by the stunning scenes in The Beach starring Leonardo Dicaprio.In fact, Phuket was the most popular summer holiday hotspot this summer, according to specialists at Southall Travel. But there is a new must-visit destination creeping […]]]>

SRI LANKA
BEST OF ASIA: Sri Lanka has been named Asia’s Leading Destination
For years us Brits have been heading Thailand, inspired by the stunning scenes in The Beach starring Leonardo Dicaprio.In fact, Phuket was the most popular summer holiday hotspot this summer, according to specialists at Southall Travel.

But there is a new must-visit destination creeping onto everyone’s bucket lists – Sri Lanka.

The island nation, south of India, has just been named the Asia’s Leading Destination at the World Travel Awards.

sri lanka beach
REALX: Tourists often start off in the west-coast beaches
Sri Lanka also took the prize for the Leading Adventure Tourism Destination at the prestigious awards.One of the main appeals of the island is its diverse landscapes, which range from rainforest to arid plains to highlands and sandy beaches.

Tourists can go on safari in one of the country’s stunning national parks and spot elephants and leopards, or go whale watching off of the south coast.

There is an abundance of sandy beaches and beautiful ancient Buddhist temples.The island in the Indian Ocean is also renewed for its seafood curries and spicy roti bread.

Visitors often start on the west coast after arriving at Colombo airport. Popular beach towns include Negombo and Beruwala or the more stylish Benton.

elephant GETTY
WILDLIFE: Spot elephants, leopards and bears in Sri Lanka’s gorgeous national parks
Inland from the capitol is the hill country, a sprawling green landscape of tea plantations.Candy is the cultural heart of the country and one of the best places to see some of Sri Lanka’s grandest temples and most colourful festivals.

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast Uda Walawe National Park in the south is a great place to spot elephants.

TEA PLANTATIONS SRI LANKA GETTY
LUSH: The island has everything from rolling tea plantations to arid plains and sandy beaches
While Yala National Park is great for spotting bears, leopards and more elephants.If you’re looking for a holiday destination a little closer to home, Portugal was named Europe’s leading travel destination at an industry event held over the weekend.

The Algarve, in Portugal, was also named as Europe’s best beach destination, while Madeira scooped the prize for the leading island destination.

The winners are based on votes of travel professionals, industry leaders and consumer travellers.

Full details are available from the link below:

Source URL: Travel – Google News

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https://visitsrilanka.com/news/?p=85863
For many people, holidays are about beaches and Sri Lanka is no disappointment in this department. This small island located off the Southern tip of India has some seriously beautiful golden shores on offer. We picked out the top 10 prettiest beaches that need to go on your radar – and what to see and […]]]>

For many people, holidays are about beaches and Sri Lanka is no disappointment in this department. This small island located off the Southern tip of India has some seriously beautiful golden shores on offer. We picked out the top 10 prettiest beaches that need to go on your radar – and what to see and do if you visit…

Full details are available from the link below:

Source URL: Travel – Google News

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https://visitsrilanka.com/news/?p=84203
The village of San Juan Chamula is set in the mountains of Chiapas in Southern Mexico. Living here are the Tzotzil Maya people – a fiercely independent and self-ruling community. The village may only be based six miles from the popular San Cristobal de las Casas but their culture, dress, architecture and religion seem worlds […]]]>

The village of San Juan Chamula is set in the mountains of Chiapas in Southern Mexico. Living here are the Tzotzil Maya people – a fiercely independent and self-ruling community. The village may only be based six miles from the popular San Cristobal de las Casas but their culture, dress, architecture and religion seem worlds apart. So if you’re looking to get truly off the beaten track in Mexico, San Juan Chamula will be right up your calle…

villa church

First Impressions of San Juan Chamula

Arriving into San Juan Chamula, I first noticed how many unfinished roads and buildings there were. Projects were funded by new migrant money from the USA, but seemed to have come to a grinding halt mid-way. Walking along half tarmac, half dirt roads, you arrive at the main plaza where the focal point of the village is the church.

From the outside, Iglesia San Juan seems like a fairly regular church with white-washed walls and a brightly painted entrance. Step inside the church, however, and it is a far cry from the mainstream Catholicism that the majority of Mexico practices.

church cross

Discovering the Traditional Rituals and Practices

When entering the church, you are first hit with the aroma of incense and the smoke from the hundreds of candles surrounding the room. You then notice that the floor is completely covered with fresh pine needles, and that there are no pews, priest or altar in sight. Surrounding the walls are models of saints in glass boxes, who represent Mayan gods and are believed to keep evil at bay. Groups of locals congregate in circles, either praying, weaving, drinking, smoking or carrying out rituals.

These rituals, that are a combination of ancient Mayan religion and Catholicism, are truly fascinating. Live chickens will be bought into the church and, sometimes, waved overhead by shamans to remove evil spirits. The chicken will then have its necks broken before being taken home, chopped into 13 pieces, and the head buried as a gift for the God of the underworld. Evil spirits are also believed to be expelled from the body by drinking a combination of sugar-cane rum (pox) and Coca-Cola… and burping loudly!

san juan chamula village

Discovering the Traditional Attitudes…

Keeping their traditions alive is hugely important to the Chamulans and, as a result, they are very private people who reject outsiders and change. This means tourists, other Mexicans, and even neighbouring villagers, will not always feel exactly welcome! As a result, it is very important not to get in the way of any parades or rituals. Taking photos of the inside of the church is prohibited and it is seen as highly offensive to capture images of the locals. It has been known for tourists to have their cameras confiscated or broken due to a single photo (you have been warned!).

san juan chamula local church exterior

A Call for Discovering the Undiscovered

Despite this unusual way of treating visitors, it is an excursion that I highly recommend. It is truly special and eye-opening to witness the locals dressed in white wool tunics and black hairy skirts, to wander around the chaotic Sunday market, and feel the spirituality within the church – an experience that is heightened because you are actually living it, rather than seeing it through a camera. Truly off the beaten track!

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https://visitsrilanka.com/news/?p=83017
They say the world is your oyster, but with the latest wave of foodie tourism it could also be your ground-smoked alpaca or perhaps your forest-foraged nettles. Culinary travel is trending in 2017 and travellers’ demands for immersive experiences are changing the face of dining out around the world, bringing freshly plucked wild ingredients into […]]]>

They say the world is your oyster, but with the latest wave of foodie tourism it could also be your ground-smoked alpaca or perhaps your forest-foraged nettles.

Culinary travel is trending in 2017 and travellers’ demands for immersive experiences are changing the face of dining out around the world, bringing freshly plucked wild ingredients into the city or taking guests outdoors for alfresco dining with a difference.

Recent research from The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) shows that one in every four adventure itineraries now revolve around food experiences. From food markets and tasting sessions to cooking lessons and farm visits, tourists are showing a real desire to connect to a place through authentic cuisine and tour companies are following suit, with experiential tasting adventures and a flurry of regionally-fused trips that allow travellers to season their next adventure whichever way they like.

From ground-smoked meat in ancient Inca territories to foraging for wild herbs in remotest Norway, these food-centric trips are sure to whet your appetite.

Tea tasting in Ceylon

 

For tea connoisseurs, a visit to Sri Lanka is a must. This year marks 150 years since the first tea bush was planted on the teardrop-shaped island and, to celebrate, Resplendent Ceylon are offering travellers a package that’s geared towards giving guests a real taste of the country’s signature brew.

Checking into the luxury Taylor Owner’s cottage in the heart of the Dunkeld Estate, you’ll be surrounded by the rolling hills of south central Sri Lanka’s Bogawantalawa region – known as the golden valley thanks to its abundance of tea bushes. Your experience begins with a dinner hosted by a local tea historian followed by a night trail through the estate, keep an eye out for lizards and wild boar.

Afterwards, you’ll fly south by seaplane to Cape Weligama, just off the coast of Galle Fort for a taste of low-country tea. Relax and enjoy tea-inspired treatments at the resort’s brand new Sanctuary Spa or simply take in the coastal views. Heading back to Sri Lanka’s capital, take part in a tea mixology class before the real cherry on top – a meeting with the founder of Dilmah Tea, Meril J Fernando, who’ll join you for a tasting session while sharing some industry secrets.

The seven-night Ceylon Tea Celebration Package starts from US$7,000 (Dh25,715) per person, based on two people sharing, including road and sea-plane transfers. Etihad, Emirates, FlyDubai and Sri Lankan fly to Colombo from Abu Dhabi or Dubai from Dh1,001 return, including taxes. The flight takes four hours.

Foraging adventures

As well as workshops on fermenting and pickling and a commitment to sharing stories of people who believe in food that is healthy, responsibly produced and tastes delicious, Norway’s Food Studio Oslo hosts adventures in remote parts of the country where guests are invited to forage barefoot by day and dine at campfire banquets after sunset.

Taking place four times per year, expect to dine on the likes of long-fermented bread, cheese made using milk from local farms and fish served with edible ants. Because they are held outdoors, these are all one-off events, creating an experience that lets guests switch off from the modern world and focus on reconnecting with the world around them.

Participants are expected to join in with the harvesting, foraging and cooking preparations before enjoying an evening of songs, inspirational talks and animated discussions under a starlit Norwegian sky.

The next event takes place on September 30 and costs kr550 (Dh262) per person. Emirates fly direct to Oslo from Dubai with prices starting from Dh3,190 and the flight takes seven hours.

A Balinese restaurant safari

The tropical Indonesian island of Bali has long been celebrated for its temples, party scene and beautiful scenery, but now it’s making a name for itself as a serious culinary destination. Get to grips with this evolving dining scene by booking a tour with Bali Food Safari and a taste of some of the island’s top restaurants.

Take your pick from a tour of Seminyak, Ubud or Jimbaran then get ready for a foodie experience to remember, taking in four venues in one night. Locations are chosen from over 30 partner restaurants and bars with the exact details remaining a surprise until you’re dropped off at each spot by your driver.

If you’re a group of six or more, the company can create a private customised experience based around a specific theme or flavour. Run by husband and wife team Simon and Gael Ward, the pair donate part proceeds of each tour to Bali Kids, one of the island’s leading charities – so you can tuck in knowing you’re money is being well spent.

From beachside hideaways to towering rooftop bars, Michelin-starred chefs, up and coming eateries and exclusive new dishes, this foodie tour really lets you get under the skin of Bali’s evolving food-scape.

Tours start from around Rp150,000 (Dh418); Emirates flies direct to Bali from Dubai with prices starting at Dh2,320 return, including taxes.

Earthen eats

Earthen Eats. Photo by Alex Kornhuber

Take dining to new heights with a visit to El Albergue Ollantaytambo. Located about an hour from the Inca capital of Cusco and perched on the platform of Ollantaytambo’s railway station about 2,700 metres above sea level, this lodge is at the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Food is first-class with meals crated using an abundance of fresh local ingredients where most of the vegetables are sourced from the on-site organic garden.

There’s no head chef at this eatery, instead chefs take turns to head up the culinary team creating a real sense of spirit, and if you join for the Pachamanca Farm Lunch experience, you’ll get to be part of the aforementioned team. Translating to ‘earth oven’, Pachamanca is a traditional Incan meal, cooked upon hot rocks set into the earth. After a tour of the historic hotel which dates back to 1925, guests can explore the sugar cane distillery and on-site coffee roasting facilities. Then, it’s time to get your hands dirty as you join in the lunch preparations.

Whether you’re heating the local granite stones, burying meat and potatoes deep underground or shovelling earth on top of the fire-pit, it’s a team effort. As the food roasts, enjoy a tour of the farm and find out more about traditional Peruvian farming methods before reconvening at picnic tables to tuck into lunch as you take in the breathtaking surrounds of mountains, glaciers and Inca archaeological sites.

Tours available daily, pre-booking required with min. two guests, $88 (Dh323) for two people, not including transfers (0051 84 204014). Emirates flies from Dubai to Lima via Sao Paolo with prices starting from Dh7,580 return including taxes. The flight takes 23 hours. From Lima, Peruvian Airlines offers a one-hour flight to Cusco starting from Dh504 return, including taxes.

Mountain treasures

Foraging in Asheville. Courtesy No Taste Like Home

In the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina’s Asheville, acclaimed chef Alan Muskat was one of the first to offer a forage-to-table experience back in 1995 when when he started food gathering tours in the local woods with his company No Taste Like Home.

A firm believer that the best way to get a real taste of a place is to eat what’s local to it, Muskat has now partnered with chef Katie Button of Nightbell restaurant to create a monthly event called Gathering Asheville. Taking place first thing in the morning, after a brief safety demonstration, guests head off on a three-hour excursion where they try some solo foraging in a region that’s home to over 300 edible species.

Reconvening with the group, Muskat helps everyone sift through their treasures, separating edible from inedible and cooking up a sample platter right there in the wild. Afterwards, ingredients are dropped of at Nightbell, a speakeasy restaurant where there’s a strong focus on local Appalachian food, and this is where Chef Button works her magic, transforming the ingredients into a five-course evening meal. After cleaning off the remnants of the mountains, guests return to enjoy their personally-sourced meals.

The next event is scheduled for October 4. Tickets start at $75 (Dh275), with advance booking required (001 828 209 8599). Etihad flies to Charlotte from Abu Dhabi via Chicago with prices starting from Dh3,860. The journey time is 20 hours.

Rainforest finds

Courtesy Carmen Restaurant

Get set to enjoy a Latin American gastronomic feast in the heart of Colombia, the region’s newest foodie hotspot. As one of the world’s most bio-diverse nations, natural ingredients can be found in abundance and Amakuna’s Colombian Flavours trips offer a 10-day immersion into the recent movement from some of the country’s top chefs to use these ingredients in exciting new ways.

Start with a visit to Bogota’s Paloquemao Market where you’ll join chefs to gather yuca brava, sweet plantain and purple potatoes, before heading to Leticia in the Amazon, the crossroads of Colombia, Brazil and Peru and a place that’s home to some of the country’s most exciting flavours.

Staying with indigenous communities, journey into the rainforest with local guides to forage for army ants, canangucho fruit, black ahi peppers and arapaima fish. Afterwards, chefs at El Cielo restaurant will transform your gathered bounties into delicious meals, drawing inspiration from local recipes.

Feast on Amazonian red tree bark and beef-stuffed larvae, then head on to Medellín where you’ll enjoy an excursion to a family-run farm to source more local ingredients that you’ll learn how to prepare as part of a five-course tasting menu.

This 10-night trip costs from £2,970 (Dh14,400) per person (0044 20 7193 7582). Fly with Etihad from Abu Dhabi, or from Dubai with Emirates with one connection and a journey time of around 22 hours. Flights start from Dh6,388 return, including taxes.

Dark-sky dining

Bennett's Mouth in Mortehoe, North Devon, England, United Kingdom. Courtesy Seadog

For those who want to catch the last of England’s climes before the winter chill, a trip to Exmoor is in order. In collaboration with the National Trust, a 10-day Exmoor Dark Skies Festival in October will celebrate the country’s starry nights in a procession of events celebrating disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature.

As part of this, award-winning catering company Seadog will host a unique alfresco dining experience on October 28 where participants will have the chance to forage on a secluded Exmoor farm for ingredients before settling down to an Autumnal Harvest Feast with a menu featuring local game and seasonal vegetables.

A communal affair, guests will tuck into sharing platters in the barnyard before heading outside to enjoy delicious desserts by the warmth of a bonfire and ending the evening with a stargazing session. Having already hosted a regional riverside culinary event and a September cliff-dining experience, this nighttime excursion is another edition to Seadog’s growing alfresco repertoire.

Prior booking is essential, with tickets starting from £75 (Dh364); email [email protected] or call 00 44 753 3333 976. Fly with Emirates, Royal Brunei, Qantas, Etihad, British Airways or Virgin Atlantic from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to London from Dh1,957, from where it’s a three-hour drive to Exmoor.

Feasting in Fez

Courtesy Plan-it-Fez

Morocco’s second largest city is arguably its most appealing. In the walled Medina, where donkeys still cart goods through alleyways and historic ruins await at every turn, the appeal of this World Heritage Site is obvious and for anyone seeking a taste of tradition, Plan-It Fez offers a culinary immersion experience that lets you learn all about local cuisine.

The day starts with meeting your hosts, a local family who’ll take you wandering through the local souk where you’ll barter for spices, vegetables and poultry before heading to the neighbourhood farran (bakery) where you’ll wait your turn to bake bread in the oven. Your guide will be on hand to translate for you, helping you really connect with the market traders and bakers.

Returning to the family home, you’ll learn how to preserve lemons, prepare fresh mint and make traditional Moroccan salads before creating what is most probably Morocco’s most famous dish, tagine in a traditional dar. With the work of the day finished, feast with your host family sitting on cushions and enjoying your meal in true Moroccan style. The experience lasts five hours and starts from Dh767 for two people, including all ingredients, and pick-up from your accommodation in Fez.

Direct flights to Rabat start at Dh3,130 return including taxes with Etihad from Abu Dhabi. Fez is a two-hour drive from the airport.

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Read more:

Top 10 luxury art tours

South America’s first luxury overnight train: on board the Andean Explorer

Where to go when: Autumn 2017


Full details are available from the link below:

Source URL: Travel – Google News

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https://visitsrilanka.com/news/?p=80672
Bilbao holidays Holiday guides Bilbao city guide: what to see plus the best restaurants, bars and hotels In the 20 years since the Guggenheim opened, the Basque port city has not looked back – the museum acting as a magnet for great art and architecture as well as buzzing nightlife and restaurants Puppy love … […]]]>

In the 20 years since the Guggenheim opened, the Basque port city has not looked back – the museum acting as a magnet for great art and architecture as well as buzzing nightlife and restaurants

Jeff Koons Puppy outside the Guggenheim Museum

Photograph: Getty Images
This year sees Bilbao celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Guggenheim museum, an institution that brought art and its lovers to the north coast city, and started an urban relaunch in which its industrial past was overlaid with fluttering palms, promenades and a proliferation of wonky, asymmetric, eye-popping glass and steel buildings by many of the world’s best architects – Norman Foster, Philippe Starck, Santiago Calatrava and Arata Isozaki among them. Thankfully, Bilbao’s old Basque soul remains intact. The additions enhance the old city, and tourism hasn’t disrupted the enviable lifestyle of its inhabitants, in which lifelong friendships, culture, pintxos (Basque tapas), and the spirit of football figure large.

Bilbao, Spain
Photograph: Alamy

Tucked into green and mountainous countryside, the city flanks the Nervión river, and there’s a string of beaches (Las Arenas, Getxo, Plentzia) within the metropolitan area, reachable by metro trains. A good way to get to grips with the city centre is to walk for half an hour along the Nervión’s left bank from San Mamés, home of Athletic Club Bilbao, past the Guggenheim to La Merced bridge. Cross the river for the narrow streets of Casco Viejo and the gourmet heaven that is Plaza Nueva; or keep south for the cool bars and cafes of Bilbao la Vieja, the former miners’ neighbourhood.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO

Guggenheim Bilbao

The Guggenheim Museum by Frank Gehry

Photograph: Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

It’s impossible to visit Bilbao and not see the Guggenheim – through planning and topography, it’s there almost everywhere you look. The Frank Gehry-designed abstract ship of glass, stone and titanium scales is sublime inside and out. And there’s art in it too! Robert Motherwell, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, Eduardo Chillida, Anselm Kiefer are in the permanent collection, as is Richard Serra’s massive curved steel walkthrough installation The Matter of Time. The art outside has possibly even more impact. There’s something shocking and energising about walking past Jeff Koons’ flowery Puppy and Anish Kapoor’s big pile of steel balls, or pausing to check your messages between the legs of Louise Bourgeois’ Maman spider.
From 11–14 October, the outside of the Guggenheim will be used as a canvas to tell the story of two decades of cultural transformation in Bilbao through an animated show called Reflections.
Adult €13, under-12s free, guggenheim-bilbao.eus

Markets

Dos de Mayo flea market in Bilbao la Vieja fills the street of the same name on the first Saturday of the month, when the area’s galleries and vintage clothing shops, which are all too often shut, fling open their doors. On the first and last Sundays of the month, the action shifts north to a soon-to-be-redeveloped industrial site on the Zorrozaurre river peninsula. General knick-knackery, art, vinyl and old clothes, plus cafes selling fabulous pintxos, vermouth, coffee and cakes, spread between a disused biscuit factory and Zawp (Zorrozaurre Art Work In Progress), a cluster of former warehouses that also host a ukelele jamming session every Sunday at 6pm. Sunday is also the day for the Casco Viejo flower market, and another, packed with antique books, canaries, and small boys trading football cards, nearby in the main square, Plaza Nueva.

Bizkaia Bridge

Bizkaia Bridge or Vizcaya Bridge
Photograph: Getty Images

Some of Bilbao’s attractions have been eclipsed in the rush to modernise, including another exceptional art gallery, the Museo de Bellas Artes, and the gigantic blood-red Eiffel Tower-esque Bizkaia Bridge. The hanging Unesco-listed Puente Colgante is the oldest transporter bridge in the world. Spanning the Nervión near its mouth from Las Arenas to the pretty suburb of Portugalete, this fantastic construction offers two options to anyone wishing to cross. Take a lift to the 50-metre-high walkway (€8pp) or ride in the hanging gondola or barquilla (40 cents). There’s a metro stop on either side and audio commentaries, ice-creams and souvenirs available from kiosks.
puente-colgante.com, gondola open 24 hours, walkway 10am to dusk

Crusoe Treasure underwater winery

Crusoe Treasure, Bilbao

Twenty metres below the pounding seas of the Bay of Biscay is not the most convenient place to age fine wines but after years of research and technological fine tuning, Crusoe Treasure has proved it works. Sceptics will discover that the peculiarities of light, temperature and motion in this, the world’s first successful underwater cellar, do extraordinary things. Its limited edition award-winning wines have been selected by Michelin-starred restaurants including Arzak, Azurmendi and Elkano, and exported to Russia and China. Action-packed wine-tasting experiences start at the harbour in Plentzia and include an illuminating presentation, top pintxos, and a boat trip – weather permitting.
Tasting experiences from €22-€90pp, underwaterwine.com

WHERE TO EAT

Pintxos

Tapaz Bar in Bilbao

Photograph: Alamy

These mini-gastronomic treats are seriously creative in Bilbao, and piled high on virtually every bar. With pintxos costing around €2, a poteo – bar crawl – is a cheap, traditional and highly entertaining way to eat well.
See my 10 local local favourites here

Mina

Mina, Bilbao

This small restaurant is on the quay facing Mercado la Ribera, the city’s huge covered market, where chef Alvaro Garrido sources the ingredients for his sensual concoctions. Garrido took a gamble opening a fine-dining establishment in Bilbao la Vieja a decade ago when it was something of a no-go area – but fans followed, as did a Michelin star. Six tables have river views and eight places at the counter offer a chance to watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen. Tasting menus move mellifluously through courses – creamy potato concealing a soft-yolk egg; a dollop of cool cheese mixed with squid ink in a warm mushroom infusion; creamy sea urchin topped by bright split peas. All are cleverly matched with sharp dabs, dusts, salty roe and olfactory surprises, building to a finale in the multiple desserts.
Tasting menus from €66, +34 944 795 938, restaurantemina.es

Dando La Brasa

Dando La Brasa

This feelgood place in Bilbao la Vieja may have a black ceiling and a concrete floor but there’s much to see in between, from blue-tiled walls, paintings, bunting, flyers for workshops and concerts and video art, plus raucous joshing at the bar. Candles help make everything cosy and boho. The house speciality is a Latin American-Asian fusion (del inca al nikkei) with plenty of chipotle, guacamole and miso, ceviche, seaweed and sake matched with the local staples of octopus, vieiras and zamburiñas (varieties of scallop). It offers massive choice, good value and generous portions playfully presented. Ordering the tasting menu keeps things simpler (but ensure the renowned red tuna tataki is on it) with a bottle of Itsasmendi txakoli (the local white wine).
Five-course tasting menu €33, +34 946 756196, dandolabrasa.com

Bistró Guggenheim Bilbao

Bistro Guggenheim, Bilbao

Frank Gehry oversaw every design element of this airy bistro, which slips seamlessly into the folds of the Guggenheim. Like its environs, the food is innovative and beautifully presented. And, given the top service, river views, designer chairs and excellent wine list, it represents fantastic value for money. A daily three-course set menu (that can feature cod ravioli with leek soup, Iberian meatballs, cauliflower cream and black olive, followed by Idiazabal cheese cake, plum cream and walnut ice-cream), plus a glass of wine is €29.50. If you’re in a rush to go and see masterpieces, the two-course express menu is €22. A separate entrance allows people to dine here whether or not they are going into the museum.
+944 239333, bistroguggenheim-bilbao.com

La Ribera

La Ribera restaurant, Bilbao

A txoko is a Basque club where (traditionally male) friends gather to cook, eat, drink, fix the world’s problems and sing. But groups of between four and 12 people can enjoy the experience (from €33 a head) – without having to do any cooking – in a designated txoko room in this restaurant below Mercado la Ribera. The chef takes guests on a market tour or the brave could shop alone for fresh fish and seafood, hand over their purchases, pop open the txakoli, and watch (through a window) as their feast is whipped up. There’s a second txoko-style space in a semi-private corner of the main white- and emerald-tiled dining room – though you can just order from the menu.
+34 946 575474, lariberabilbao.com

Eneko

Eneko, Bilbao

The theory is perfect: affordable alta cocina from Michelin-starred chef Eneko Atxa via a kitchen headed by partner chef Edurne Martín and served in an informal modern space in green countryside 15-minutes’ drive from Bilbao. The six-course menu is exceptional value at €38 and each dish, from deliciously creamy arroz negro and magret de pato to the dessert trolley, is beautifully presented, with a twist. The wine list includes sublime txakolis from Atxa’s own winery. Just up the hill is Atxa’s three-Michelin-star Azurmendi Gastrónomico, one of the best restaurants in the world, where diners are enjoying a meal they’ll remember for a lifetime, albeit for an additional €137 a head.
+34 94 455 8866, azurmendi.biz

WHERE TO DRINK

Bilborock

Bilborock, Bilbao

This venue, known for hosting indie and emerging rock bands, is a converted church, with space for around 500, and chairs and tables on two tiers of balconies. The location, just across the bridge (Puente la Merced) from Casco Viejo is perfect. Bilbao does a fine job repurposing its churches: the Museum of Reproduction (housing meticulous plaster copies of classical sculpture) is in a beautiful one just up the hill (San Francisco, 14).
On Facebook

Cafe-Teatro Badulake and El Balcon De La Lola

Badulake, Bilbao

Badulake, Bilbao

These two small, dark, gay-friendly clubs minutes apart in Bilbao la Vieja attract a broad mix: expect disco, 1980s pop, electronica and plenty of kitsch. Badulake hosts camp cabaret act Las Fellinis on Thursdays; the seedier La Lola has entertaining videos on a screen over the dancefloor. There are clubs in every district, but for sheer fun start here. Or rather, end here as neither gets going until 3am at weekends.

Antigua Cigarrería

La Antigua Cigarrería, Bilbao

On a dark night, this confidently stylish bar, an old cigar shop, is lit with pink, scarlet and ice-blue neon and exudes an air of elegant decadence. While it’s open for breakfast, most come for their massive gin and tonics and a couple of pintxos in the early hours of the morning. Squeeze down the long, narrow room to the back, where a wall of logs provides a surreal Nordic log-cabin touch.
On Facebook

Bihotz Cafe

Bihotz Café, Bilbao

With salvaged armchairs grouped around a 1950s coffee table, Bihotz (which means heart) is known for its constantly changing selection of craft beers, so squeezing through to the bar on a Saturday night is no mean feat. But it is as much cafe as bar, offering specialist coffees and teas (and moist slabs of chocolate cake) and a comfortable place to sit during the day.
On Facebook

Marzana 16

Bilbao la Vieja’s best bar is not retro or vintage, it’s just old, with a maroon floor, blue wall tiles and signage authentically worn. It’s run by the grandson of the original proprietor, a heartening example of continuity in an area undergoing big cultural change. Nab a bocadillo (filled roll), a txakoli and one of the few marble-topped tables inside, or a prized space on the steps down to the river on a hot day, and you’ll be laughing. It’s an ideal launchpad for an exploration of the surrounding bars, clubs and restaurants. Start with Perro Chico across the street.
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WHERE TO STAY

Basque Boutique

Marijaia, Basque Boutique, Bilbao

Photograph: Raul Pineiro

There are eight individually designed rooms on the second floor of this old building in Casco Viejo. Each room riffs on a Basque theme, from language (Euskara) to wine (txakoli) to history (Gernika), but it’s all tempered by plain exposed brickwork, crisp, white bedding and classy bathrooms. The shared space is small, but there are plazas and terraces in all directions to sit with a book and a beer.
Doubles from €63 room-only, basqueboutique.es

Meliá Bilbao

Melia Bilbao, Spain

Photograph: David Ralita

In new-look Bilbao, this rusty red block is conspicuous for its lack of white walls, glass and curves but the 10-storey atrium lit by a wonky tower of alabaster blocks provides the requisite wow factor. The Meliá is subject to tides of travelling salespeople but rates drop between major fairs and conventions, making rooms (with attendant perks – two restaurants, bar, spa, river view pool, gym, good service) astonishing value. Spacious rooms have lots of wood, marble, tan leather and massive windows.
Doubles from €80, melia.com

Gran Hotel Domine

Gran Hotel Domine, Bilbao

Photograph: Joserra Santamaria

Opposite the Guggenheim, this hotel has references to 20th-century modernism and avant-garde art throughout. The cafe is inspired by Bauhaus, the baths are by Philippe Starck, the lobby seating could be an art installation and there’s a 26-metre tree trunk sculpture in the spectacular asymmetrical atrium. From the atrium, the floors look like the decks of a cruise ship, and, leaning against the railings of the roof terrace bar you could imagine you were docked on the Nervión.
Doubles from €119 room-only, hoteldominebilbao.com

Pension Caravan Cinema

Rooms in this cinema-themed pension are small and charming . The five rooms on the first floor are dedicated to Spanish film directors, and the recently opened second floor pays homage to international ones (Clint Eastwood is particularly nice). An apartment dedicated to Alfred Hitchcock, in a separate building, is period perfect, with its cool retro pieces, and witty – check the etching on the shower glass.
Doubles from €75, breakfast €3.50, caravan-cinema.com

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https://visitsrilanka.com/news/?p=79351
London holidays Horniman Museum plans major new gallery exploring ‘what it means to be human’ One of London’s most-treasured museums, the Horniman, is developing the World Gallery to showcase the way ‘people from every continent live their lives’ The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, London. Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer South London’s much-loved […]]]>

The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, London
The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, London.
Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer
South London’s much-loved Horniman Museum is planning to open a major new gallery that will showcase more than 3,000 objects from around the world.With a focus on “fascinating objects that tell extraordinary stories”, the 600-square-metre World Gallery will explore what it means to be human, celebrating “human creativity, imagination and adaptability.” It is due to open in June 2018.

The new gallery will occupy half of the Horniman’s existing building in Forest Hill and cost £4.6m. As well as a receiving a £3.3m Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the museum has also launched a crowdfunding campaign, calling on its visitors to help it raise an extra £30,000 towards the project.

Visualisation of the new gallery, planned for June 2018, at the Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London.

Visualisation of the new gallery, planned for June 2018, at the Horniman Museum

With anthropology at the centre of the museum, it will show the way people from every continent live their lives. Exhibits will cover a diverse array of objects: from lucky charms to ancient pottery, and feature a 15th-century bronze casting from Lagos, Nigeria, as well as the prow of a Libyan refugee boat, found in Italy in 2013.

Robert Storrie, keeper of anthropology at the Horniman, said: “The displays will show how things connect people – practically and emotionally – as well as giving each of us a glimpse into other ways of understanding our world.”

Founded in 1901 by tea trader and philanthropist Frederick John Horniman, the museum has a collection of 350,000 objects, specimens and artefacts. Conceived as a “gift to the people”, to this day entry to the museum and gardens remains free. It is hugely popular and is regularly praised as one of the country’s best museums for families.

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https://visitsrilanka.com/news/?p=79421
indian ocean From romantic escapes in the hill country to luxury tents by the beach, these are the best boutique places to stay James Ellis Amanwella’s 47m pool overlooks a great beach West Coast & Galle1 Amanwella, Tangalle Aman’s second Sri Lankan resort, Amanwella, lies in a mature coconut grove on one of Sri Lanka’s […]]]>

From romantic escapes in the hill country to luxury tents by the beach, these are the best boutique places to stay

Amanwella’s 47m pool overlooks a great beach

West Coast & Galle1 Amanwella, Tangalle
Aman’s second Sri Lankan resort, Amanwella, lies in a mature coconut grove on one of Sri Lanka’s most picturesque beaches, that’s great for surfing. There are 30 suites on a hillside just above the sand, each with floor-to-ceiling glass walls that open out on to a private courtyard with a plunge pool. There’s also a 47m infinity pool with a terrace overlooking the ocean. The restaurant and beach club serve freshly caught fish and dinner can also be enjoyed on the beach.
Details B&B doubles cost from £500 a night (amanwella.com)

2 Why House, Talpe
Set five miles from Galle Fort, this boutique hotel sits in three acres of landscaped gardens, with tropical plants, fruit and spice trees.…

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Full details are available from the link below:

Source URL: Travel – Google News

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https://visitsrilanka.com/news/?p=78589
Weligama, Sri Lanka The hotel stands out like a sore thumb, yet it ticks many boxes: top beachfront location, ocean views from every room, superb children’s facilities, a warm staff team and high quality food. Staff here are bright and cheery, and you are greeted with polite smiles wherever you go. Full details are available […]]]>

Weligama, Sri Lanka

The hotel stands out like a sore thumb, yet it ticks many boxes: top beachfront location, ocean views from every room, superb children’s facilities, a warm staff team and high quality food. Staff here are bright and cheery, and you are greeted with polite smiles wherever you go.

Full details are available from the link below:

Source URL: Travel – Google News

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G Adventures becomes first travel company to sail Sri Lanka’s southern coast Friday, September 29, 2017 TORONTO — Demand for Sri Lanka is up, so much that G Adventures has seen triple the bookings in the past year to this fascinating destination. As such, the tour operator has launched a brand new program of small-group […]]]>

G Adventures becomes first travel company to sail Sri Lanka’s southern coast

Friday, September 29, 2017

TORONTO — Demand for Sri Lanka is up, so much that G Adventures has seen triple the bookings in the past year to this fascinating destination. As such, the tour operator has launched a brand new program of small-group sailing tours along Sri Lanka’s southern coast, becoming the first travel company to do so.

“We’re thrilled to be the first adventure company to explore Sri Lanka by sea. They say great things come in small packages and Sri Lanka is a fantastic destination with plenty to see, do and eat,” says Vince Donnelly, global sailing manager, G Adventures. “These sailing trips have a local chief experience officer (CEO), skipper and cook onboard, so travellers will also experience the local culture and flavours as they explore the sunning Sri Lankan coastline.”

After seeing strong growth in sales of Sri Lanka tours this year, Donnelly notes that offering a sailing trip was the next natural step for the company.

More news:  And the name of WestJet’s new ultra-low-cost airline is…

The seven-day ‘Sri Lanka Sailing’ trip, which travels roundtrip from Mirissa, begins on Feb. 2, 2018. The trip can also be combined with a land-based itinerary in Sri Lanka – known as ‘the pearl of the Indian Ocean’ – to create a 14-day land and sea getaway called ‘Sri Lanka Land & Sea’.

Highlights include a visit to Galle, a fort city on the southwest coast that was founded by the Portuguese, as well as a stop at Ussangoda National Park, the newest national park in Sri Lanka and home to wildlife and rare medicinal plants. Its red earth is said to be the result of an ancient asteroid that crashed into the land.

‘Sailing Sri Lanka’ is priced from $1,999 per person, while the 14-day ‘Sri Lanka Land & Sea’ is priced from $3,399 per person.

The launch of Sri Lanka sailing brings the number of sailing destinations offered by G Adventures to eight, with 19 different itineraries across the British Virgin Islands, Croatia, Cuba, Greece, Indonesia, Montenegro and Thailand.

Full details are available from the link below:

Source URL: Travel – Google News

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