Category Archives: City breaks

Football trips in Europe and South America: readers’ travel tips

Our tipsters find football makes a great focal point for a city break, whether it’s watching an elite European club or one where the hotel waiter moonlights as the centre-forward

Ipurua stadium (capacity 7,000), in the Basque town of Eibar, is the smallest top-flight stadium in Europe and also one of the most atmospheric. Often shrouded by mist rolling in off the green hills that surround it, this place has a mesmerising quality that is matched by the team on the pitch, who punch well above their weight in Spain’s La Liga [the team is currently in ninth place]. The chance to see superstars like Messi or Ronaldo up-close in what essentially feels like a non-league ground is a unique experience. Backed by a raucous home crowd, including supporters club Eskozia La Brava (Scotland the Brave), the pre- and post-match festivities are as lively as the game itself. Beer and the potent liquor orujo (a pomace brandy) flow freely, along with jokes from the hugely welcoming locals. You could see most of this tiny town in about 90 minutes, so stay in Bilbao or San Sebastián, both about an hour away by bus or train.
Tickets from around €25
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Source: gad

Pedro Almodóvar’s Madrid: top 10 film locations to visit

The Spanish capital is the ‘centre of the Almodóvarian universe’. The writer of a new book on the film-maker guides visitors to locations where he shot key scenes

The city of Madrid is no less essential to the films of Pedro Almodóvar than kinky sex, crimes of passion and gasp-inducing plot twists. Though born out in Castilla-La Mancha – Don Quixote country – Almodóvar made his punkish early movies here in the capital, where the death of General Franco gave rise to a buckwild creative scene.

Later, soberer melodramas like the recent Julieta (2016) have shown his adoptive hometown in a more nostalgic, melancholy light. Now one of the most widely admired auteurs in world cinema, the director has become a Spanish brand, says Sacha Azcona, while his Madrid stands as the centre of the “Almodóvarian universe”.

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Source: gad

10 of the best places to stay in Marrakech

These riads, hostels and hotels not only offer roof-terrace views of the medina and calm courtyards to escape the heat, they are also excellent value given Marrakech’s enduring popularity

More than 1,000 traditional riad houses in Marrakech’s ancient medina now offer tourist accommodation. At the luxurious end prices soar, but there is a great selection of budget stays, including several that have been converted into fun, modern hostels. As smartphone GPS coverage can be patchy in the medina, ask the riad staff to meet you somewhere, or pay them for an airport pick-up. Otherwise it can be frustrating trailing up and down alleyways suitcases down alleyways and dealing with unofficial guides.

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Source: gad

Culture, clubbing and chaos: out with the locals in Beirut

Amid the city’s traffic jams and power cuts, a collaborative vibe among young Beirutis is seeing cutting-edge galleries and bars spring up, along with an emerging LGBTQ scene

‘Life in Lebanon exists on a Samuel Beckett level of absurdity,” actor, writer and poet Dima Matta tells me. We are chatting on the terrace at Onomatopoeia on Jean Jalkh Street; it’s a music hub and NGO where Matta’s storytelling events have become popular with young, culturally aware Beirutis. Matta is referring to a political elite seen as a corrupt, contemptible joke, and to the daily consequences – roads choked with cars, electricity that runs for only a few hours a day, a bribery culture, and so on – of this alleged avarice and incompetence.

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Source: gad

A local’s guide to Sydney

Ringed by national parks and blessed with more than 100 beaches, the best bits of Sydney are outdoors, active and (mostly) free. Here’s how to enjoy it like a local

‘The best things about Sydney are free,” resident Russell Crowe has said. It is arguably the top metropolis on the planet for soaking up the scenery, but Sydneysiders don’t take these God-given gifts for granted. When they’re not out in the surf, swimming laps in an ocean pool, or sailing around the harbour, locals are barbecuing, picnicking, or finding other ways to enjoy the subtropical setting.

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Source: gad