The first time I visited Acapulco, like any tourist I wanted to see the famous cliff-divers leap from the craggy heights of La Quebrada 135 feet into the foaming Pacific below. I learned a life lesson that day: Never be stupid enough to jump off a cliff like that. You’ll break your neck! Not everyone has learned that lesson, though—in particular, the newest breed of cliff divers now fighting it out in the 2014 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Next stop on the series tour: Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas, 80 miles west of Fort Worth, on June 6-7.
Beloved by beach-goers and city slickers alike, Soludos espadrilles are designed with a self-proclaimed year-round spirit of summer, no matter your location. Founder Nick Brown is the essence of that—a surf-loving, effortlessly cool globetrotter who’s regularly perusing new and hip destinations. The London native turned New Yorker shares his favorite international hotspots, tells stories of past trips, and divulges his plans for the summer.
Attractions like the London Eye and this Ferris wheel on Chicago’s Navy Pier have been luring tourists downtown; now, cities like NYC, Orlando, and Dubai are climbing on board. Las Vegas adds its own spin to the phenomenon: you can get married on the new 500-foot High Roller.
See the High Roller in 25 Selfies You Have to Take This Year
Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest
Every night through June 9, the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House will be awash in colorful lights and 3D projections as part of Vivid Sydney, the largest light, music, and ideas festival in the Southern Hemisphere. The spectacle was designed by the creative agency 59 Productions, known for their work on the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
It goes without saying that, even as an adult, there are few places to spend the night as cool as way up in a tree. How else do you explain the popularity of these 10 insane treehouse hotels?
But what if you're looking for something more exclusive than your standard arboreal accommodation? This trio of tree huts on the Lion Sands Game Reserve in South Africa offer privacy, luxury, and a 360-degree view of the beautiful, sometimes frightening natural world below.
Photo courtesy of Lion Sands
Late spring and early summer is one of the best—and most exhilarating—times of year to take to outdoors for a hike. It’s also peak season for tick bites, especially if you live in the East or Midwest.
Sleek regional trains ordered by the French government are not quite sleek enough: 1,300 train platforms will have to be slimmed down to allow the wider trains. (The Gare d'Orsay, now the Musée d’Orsay, closed in 1939 when its short platforms didn’t match the length of the newer electric trains.)
See the Musée d’Orsay in World’s Most Beautiful Museums
Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest
Sure Hov, why not? If you find yourself killing time during a layover at the Atlanta International Airport anytime soon, stop by Jay Z’s elite club, now conveniently located in Concourse D.
Yup, the third location of Hov’s swanky 40/40 club has officially opened at at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Associated Press reports. And really, why not? Jay Z can do whatever the heck he wants. Remember: he’s not a businessman, he’s a business, man.
The original 40/40 is in Manhattan, with an additional location in Brooklyn. This new airport version will basically be a “scaled down” replica of original club, and there are plans in the works to create a special VIP section. Otherwise, details are pretty scarce.
Here’s hoping the soundtrack exclusively consists of Aziz Ansari’s club anthem, because it feels like it would be a great fit. Plus, it talks a lot about jets:
Samantha Grossman is a reporter for Time magazine. This article originally appeared on Time.com.
More from Time:
Jay Z, Solange and Beyoncé: ‘We Have Moved Forward’
Photo from iStock
London's the Shard—Europe's tallest buiding and home to the newest Shangri-La hotel—made headlines last week when it was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm on Thursday. The video above has since gone viral, with nearly 1 million views.
For those of you concerned about safety, a hotel employee assures me that no guests or staff members reported feeling or hearing the strike.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.
Exclusive Resorts, a destination club with more than 300 villas around the world, just announced that it is expanding on its membership-only model with the launch of the Gateway card. The new initiative puts the company in the same category as regular villa rentals and even hotels—groundbreaking for a company that typically requires a 30-year commitment.
Around the world in a weekend—why not? UK-based Austravel is offering package tours that leave London on Friday, take you to Australia, and have you back for work in London by Tuesday morning.
So you think you can just scooter around Rome like a carefree Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck? Think again. Mastering the iconic bike—not to mention the traffic—requires serious know-how. Claudio Sarra of Bici & Baci, which provides Vespas to the St. Regis hotel ($$$$), gives us tips on safe navigation.
1. Driving in Rome can be dangerous. Put on a helmet, fasten the chin strap, and slide the visor down to protect against oncoming insetti.
2. Lift the Vespa off the kickstand before starting the engine and giving it gas, or risk losing control and launching it unpiloted into the street (a common mistake).
3. Avoid aree pedonali (pedestrianized zones) and bus lanes, which are marked with yellow paint. Everywhere else is fair game. Well, not sidewalks.
4. Romans hardly follow routine traffic laws, let alone use hand signals; be hyper-attentive for other scooters veering in and out of gridlock, and bypass the busiest intersections.
5. With such narrow frames, parking is a breeze—and free (even in metered spots). Be sure to take your belongings with you, and don’t forget to lock up.
Travel Tip Video: Rome Made Easy
Illustration by Michael Hoeweler
Our abridged, meal-by-meal guide to where and what to eat now.
Breakfast: Fried egg with Potato at L’Eggs
Start the day with chef Paco Pérez’s gently fried hen’s egg at his new ou-centric spot in L’Eixample. It’s flecked with black garlic, draped in crisp jamón, and served on a pile of potato batons. $15.
Lunch: Meatball Escudella at El 300 del Born
At this historic El Born market turned cultural center, Jordi Vilà puts his own spin on Catalan classics. Here, he uses truffles to elevate deep bowls of traditional pork-meatball soup. $12.
Snack: “Rocadillo” at Roca Bar
The Roca brothers—the trio behind the acclaimed (and impossible-to-book) El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona—serve drop-in bites at this accessible offshoot in the Hotel Omm. We love the warm brioches stuffed with lightly smoked eel. $14.
Video: Barcelona Port Guide
Dinner: Sea Bass Ceviche at Pakta (pictured)
Albert Adrià’s happening spot specializes in Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei cuisine. A highlight of the 24-course tasting menu: this tangy white fish served raw with kumquats and leche de tigre (a citrus-based marinade). $124 for 24-course menu.
Dessert: “La Cirera” at La Pastisseria
At his L’Eixample boutique, pastry chef Josep Rodríguez Guerola displays sweet treats like jewels, such as the glazed cherry mousse on a crumbly base of almond and milk-chocolate cookies. $6.
To Go: Jamón in a Cone at Enrique Tomás
Spain’s leading purveyor of jamón ibérico sells ruby slivers of fatty, acorn-fed ham in grab-and-go form. At the Carrer de Pelai flagship in the Barri Gòtic, pick up a bamboo funnel filled with ham shavings for the plane ride home. $6.
Photo by Miquel Gonzalez
6:04 p.m.: It’s early evening, and as you walk back through sage- and wildflower-dotted meadows to Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa, you can’t decide which is more impressive: the light hitting the limestone crags of the Dolomites or the fact that you were actually scrambling over boulders up there this morning. Yes, you earned that hearty Tyrolean lunch you enjoyed a few hours ago—fire-grilled steak, local cheeses, and kaiserschmarrn (caramelized pancakes)—in hotel owner Hugo Pizzinini’s 18th-century cabin, which has been part of his family’s private reserve for generations. You can’t quite believe you booked a mountain bike tomorrow to visit the 15th-century church of St. Catharina in Corvara and its frescoes. And—despite the fact that dinner tonight is at the hotel’s Michelin two-starred restaurant, St. Hubertus—you definitely can’t believe you’re already hungry. $$$
Photo courtesy of Rosa Alpina
Every year, Laurent Halasz—founder and owner of the Fig & Olive restaurants in New York and California—returns to his childhood home of Mougins, on France’s Côte d’Azur, for scenic hikes and inspiration from his mother’s kitchen. Here, he takes us on a tour of the medieval hilltop village.
Eat: “La Place de Mougins ($$$$), in a Provençal house, is such a pleasure. Last time I had beef consommé with foie gras and chocolate. For cocktails, don’t miss the classic Piscine, champagne on ice with strawberries, at L’Amandier ($$$). And I grew up on olive oil pressed locally at Moulin Baussy, in nearby Spéracèdes.”
In the fall, Benjamin Millepied, known to many as the choreographer of Black Swan (and husband of Natalie Portman), will take up his new post: director of the Paris Opera Ballet. As a preview, on May 10 the company gave the world premiere of Millepied’s latest work, Daphnis et Chloé, on a double bill with Le Palais de Cristal, the masterpiece by George Balanchine (elsewhere called Symphony in C). The French-born Millepied, a former principal dancer at the New York City Ballet, comes to Paris via California—where he leads the L.A. Dance Project—and is sure to bring a jolt of energy to an institution that traces its beginnings to the court of Louis XIV.
Photo by Sandrine Roudeix/Figarophoto
Prague is beloved for its Gothic spires, but just two hours away, in the Czech Republic’s second city of Brno, an architectural landmark of no less significance awaits. Villa Tugendhat—a private residence designed in 1928 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe—is considered one of the first Modernist houses in Europe and a precursor to the architect’s later projects, such as the Farnsworth House in Illinois and New York City’s Seagram Building. A major reconstruction was unveiled in 2012, the better to showcase the original features that turned the Tugendhat family home into an international shrine for Mies cultists. Mies’s open plan eliminated most interior load-bearing walls, resulting in a sense of free-flowing space. He added little in the way of traditional decoration; instead, the building materials (walls of onyx and macassar ebony; a grid of stainless-steel-clad columns) act as ornaments. Retractable glass windows allow for panoramic views, and the furniture—including the cantilevered Brno and Tugendhat chairs still in production today—was all custom-designed. If you can, time your visit for sundown, when the fading light sets the entire space aglow, and the villa itself illuminates the era when less became more.
Photo by David Zidlicky, courtesy of Villa Tugendhat
The New York City–based scholar, whose new book, The Parthenon Enigma (Knopf), is rewriting ancient history, spills the dirt on a few of her favorite spots.
Q: Are there any great sites in Europe that are lesser-known?
A: At his villa in Sperlonga (39-0771/548-028), 75 miles south of Rome, Emperor Tiberius created a fantasy world based on Homer’s Odyssey, filling a seaside cave with marble sculptures depicting the exploits of the Greek hero. The Neolithic outer ring of stones at Avebury, in Wiltshire, England, is the largest megalithic circle in the world—bigger than Stonehenge.
Q: Tell us about your dig on Yeronisos Island, off the coast of Cyprus.
A: Our excavations have shed light on the period of Cleopatra’s Cyprus rule (47–30 B.C.). We’ve found amulets, potsherds inscribed with Ptolemaic Egyptian script, a stone lion’s head, and more.
Q: Can anyone dig with you?
A: I’m proud of our Exec-U-Dig program, which allows one or two donors to come out for a week of exploration each season. Bill Murray joined us in 2006.
Q: Where does a lover of ancient history go on vacation?
A: I rarely go anywhere that is largely contemporary. I always travel with a pair of vintage Newmarket riding boots—I’ve galloped on an Arabian horse past the Pyramids in Egypt; fox-hunted in Northumberland, England; and cantered across the French countryside. There’s no better way to travel.
Illustration by Michael Hoeweler
A perennial favorite for American travelers, Europe can also be one of the most expensive places to travel. First and foremost, you need to find a good transatlantic ticket, which can be challenging, since taxes, fees, and carrier charges can easily tack an additional $600 onto the average fare. In “How to Find the Best Fares on European Flights,” I outline strategies for landing the best flights. Here are some other ways to find value in Europe.
Pick the right destination.
Your dollar goes further depending on where you are—and what currency you’re using. The best values usually lie outside the euro zone. According to Hotels.com’s annual Hotel Price Index, Warsaw had the most-affordable luxury hotels in Europe in 2013, with an average room rate of just $124 a night. Budapest, Istanbul, and Prague also all had top rooms for less than $250 a night. (By contrast, Paris’s luxury rooms went for $504, on average, and London’s for $430.) This squares with the Economist’s Big Mac Index, which offers a quick (and playful) look at the relative cost of countries by charting the price of the ubiquitous McDonald’s burger around the world. According to this metric, the Polish zloty is undervalued by a full 35 percent against the U.S. dollar; the Czech koruna (undervalued by 25 percent), Turkish lira (19 percent), and Hungarian forint (17 percent) also offer bargains for Americans.
Though they’re less known to American travelers, these design-conscious brands have surprisingly well-priced rooms. Plus: A few of our favorite up-and-comers.
Presence in Europe: 15 hotels (11 in Spain)
Rates From: $95 (Madrid, Istanbul); $136 (Amsterdam, Florence)
This Spanish company, cofounded by former Olympic horseback rider Enrique Sarasola, is known for its futuristic-looking hotels (origami-like furniture; neon lights). It recently opened outposts in Istanbul’s chic Beyoğlu district and on a man-made island in Amsterdam; Milan and Rotterdam debut in 2015.
Presence in Europe: 154 hotels (76 in Sweden)
Rates from $114 (Oslo); $177 (Stockholm)
Based in northern Europe, Scandic blends contemporary design and cutting-edge technology; it recently became the world’s first hotel chain to offer brand-wide online checkout (through smartphone or computer). British star chef Jamie Oliver creates menus for each property and is bringing his own restaurant to Stockholm’s Scandic Anglais this fall.
Presence in Europe: 182 hotels (25 in Germany)
Rates From: $147 (Madrid); $319 (Paris)
Radisson Blu’s pedigree can be traced to its first European hotel: Danish architect Arne Jacobsen’s 1960 Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The company continues to attract homegrown talent, including François Champsaur, who worked on Paris’s Le Metropolitan. Look out for new locations in Belgrade and Oslo.
Presence in Europe: 248 hotels (113 in France)
Rates From: $85 (Athens); $110 (Berlin); $124 (Barcelona)
Though established in 1967, France’s Novotel brand stays current with redesigned rooms and a virtual concierge service via on-site kiosks and a smartphone app. Among the latest arrivals are a location near London’s Wembley Stadium and a 360-room property in Moscow that’s a short drive from the Kremlin. Next up: Rotterdam.
Presence in Europe: 65 hotels (45 in Spain)
Rates From: $205 (Vienna); $286 (Capri)
Expect well-located, city-center hotels that embrace local design from Majorca-based Meliá. Consider its two most recent openings: Meliá Vienna sits in the city’s tallest building (a glass tower by Dominique Perrault), while the 19 rooms at the Villa Capri are outfitted with Murano chandeliers and Poltrona Frau and Cappellini furniture.
Ones to Watch
This month, Scandic Hotels debuts the stripped-down brand HTL ($) in Stockholm; 20 more are planned by 2019. The Millennial-focused Citizen M ($)—with free movie streaming and self check-in—opens in Paris later this year. 25Hours Hotels ($) recently headed to Berlin for its seventh property. The arty, edgy company Nhow ($) has launched in the culture-rich cities of Berlin, Milan, and Rotterdam.
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Photo by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
As a general rule, yes, as long as you keep your items in the sealed plastic bag from Duty Free. Some countries (South Africa and Argentina included) will confiscate liquids over 3.4 ounces in secondary, at-gate security checks; duty-free items, however, should be exempt. Until recently, if you had a connecting flight in the European Union or the U.S., you would have to either stow your purchases in your checked bag as you switched planes or toss them. But the introduction of new liquid scanners in the EU and the relaxing of such rules in the States (thank you, TSA) mean that you can now carry these items on board.
Photo by iStockphoto
Looking to book a Shanghai street-food tour or a Provençal cooking class? Let these new food apps and sites take care of the legwork.
Best For Tailored Recommendations: Peek
Like an OpenTable for guided activities and food crawls, Peek (free; iOS) provides direct booking service straight from the app or website. Its real strength lies in its carefully curated content—all outings are vetted by Peek staff or trusted tastemakers. Take a quick personality quiz for customized suggestions.
Why Foodies Love It: Unique offerings—a dinner cruise on the Thames in London; a coffee plantation visit in Maui—are the rule, not the exception.
Gone are the days of rushing through security and jumping straight onto your flight—you can thank the TSA for that. “Travelers are spending more time in airports than ever,” says Frank Sickelsmith, vice president of restaurant development for HMS Host, one of two major firms that turn airports into epicurean hangouts. The upside? “Now they can have a full sit-down meal instead of grabbing and going.” And that’s where innovators like Sickelsmith come in.
The winners, according to our annual reader poll.
Virgin America 82.08
JetBlue Airways 74.18
Hawaiian Airlines 71.59
The demise of free meal service in economy class has meant the rise of better buy-on-board options. To wit: Virgin America earns raves for its on-demand dining via seatback touch screen and snacks from home-grown artisanal brands, such as San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe ice cream. JetBlue is a favorite for its Terra chips and boxed meals (try the roast beef sandwich); starting in June, Mint seat fliers can sample a small-plates menu by New York’s Saxon & Parole. Hawaiian Airlines bucked the cost-cutting trend: it’s the only U.S. airline to still serve complimentary meals on domestic flights in coach. The onboard snack bar keeps it local, selling everything from Spam musubi to macadamia nuts.
Booking a great fare to Europe has become increasingly difficult. Here’s how to bring down the cost of your next transatlantic flight.
First there is the question of timing. According to Kayak, the most-affordable airfares to Europe last year were booked eight to 10 weeks before departure—so you should start researching tickets at least three months out. You’ll find even better prices if your travel dates are flexible. As a general rule, European fares rise for travel beginning in the second week of May and don’t fall again until September. Expedia reports that the least expensive months to fly to Europe are February, March, and November. If you can, look for tickets that depart for Europe on either a Tuesday or Wednesday and return on a Tuesday; they tend to be lower, according to Kayak’s research. (See “Fare Finders,” below, for our favorite sites for finding European airfares.)
The fast track on Europe’s new train routes and what to know before you go.
The Fast Track
On Europe’s newest routes, speeds are higher and higher (and prices lower).
Paris to Barcelona: The final SNCF segment between Barcelona and the French border opened in December, cutting the 12-hour travel time between the French and Catalan capitals in half.
Marseilles to Paris: Ouigo, the Continent’s first budget high-speed service, costs a quarter of the average fare. The catch? Less-convenient stations, no catering, and online-only booking.
What to know before you hit the road in Europe.
Choose an agency. Large companies, such as Hertz and Enterprise or Europe-based Sixt, are best equipped to handle special requests (automatic transmission; GPS devices; children’s car seats). Local agencies often have lower prices but may not offer 24-hour service if something goes wrong.
Book in advance. When reserving online, check hours of operation for rental locations. Airports are usually open every day, but city-center sites may have limited hours, often closing for a few hours at midday and all day Sunday.
Once a no-man’s-land overrun by wholesalers, the Sentier district, in the northern part of the Second Arrondissement, has become the city’s neighborhood du jour, pioneered by chef Grégory Marchand and his emerging Frenchie empire. Its new anchor: day-to-night hangout Edgar Hotel ($$$), whose casual lobby restaurant serves simple Scandi-tinged dishes such as smoked herring with beets and crème fraîche, and the world’s best frites. See below for a rue-by-rue primer.
All 13 rooms at Edgar Hotel, a former textile workshop, are by a different designer—from upholstery scion Pierre Frey Jr. (stripes; tonal linen) to Carole Caufman, style director of Petit Bateau (sorbet colors; clean lines). 31 Rue d’Alexandrie. $$
New grocery Terroirs d’Avenir has chef-worthy sources. Snap up the same strictly seasonal Kintoa pork, line-caught fish, organic cheese, and AOC charcuterie as all the best restaurants. 7 Rue du Nil; 33-1/45-08-48-80.
Expansive and colorful cocktail bar La Conserverie serves miso salmon bento boxes and neatly composed boissons, such as a refreshing fizz made with Plantation Original Dark Overproof rum, Becherovka (Czech herbal bitters), pear syrup, and lime. 37 bis Rue du Sentier.
Anglo-ish cafés are the trend of the moment, but Lockwood has something extra: by day, it’s a coffee shop serving biscuits and gravy; at night, the cryptlike downstairs bar opens, the Jimi Hendrix gets pumped, and the fried chicken and cocktails come out. (The chef is a Texan, and it shows.) 73 Rue d’Aboukir. $$$
Don’t let the Sentier’s endless parade of shiny sportswear put you off: 58M—a calm accessories boutique with Lanvin bags and Michel Vivien’s dignified-sexy heels—is just a few blocks south. 58 Rue Montmartre.
Doughnuts, cheesecake, pastrami on rye—Frenchie To Go serves American classics inspired by Grégory Marchand’s time cooking in New York. His Yankee-approved, deli-style secrets extend to a roster of house-made sauces (Russian dressing; harissa) and drinks (ginger beer; orange pressée). 9 Rue du Nil. $$
Video: The Upper Marais, Another Up-and-Coming Paris Neighborhood
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Photo by Matthieu Salvaing
Lightweight and rainproof, Burberry’s tartan-lined trench has risen from utilitarian staple to jet-setter’s must-have.
The Origins: In 1879, English outfitter Thomas Burberry invented gabardine, a water-resistant fabric that he used to create comfortable rain gear—a godsend for oft-soaked Brits. London’s first Burberry shop opened in Haymarket in 1891.
Call of Duty: During World War I, the company provided coats to British Army officers to wear in the trenches—hence the moniker.
The Istrian Peninsula has all the knockout beauty of the Dalmatian Coast—without the crowds. We found four reasons to explore.
Because its islands and beaches are still a (relative) secret. Leave Venice to the cruise ships. Just across the Adriatic, Istria is laid-back and idyllic—and rocky beaches abound. In Kamenjak Park, near Pula, cliff-jumping into the sea is a pastime. Farther north, you’ll find the popular sunbathing spot Monte Beach, reached via steep stone steps, and the wildly beautiful Golden Bay. Board the crewed wooden cruiser Delfin, based in Rovinj, for daylong trips to outlying fjords and archipelagoes, with stops at St. Andrew (where you can visit a sixth-century monastery), lush St. Katarina Island, and the St. John lighthouse.