Readers share travel tips from their trips

The pandemic has taken a toll on travel during the past 19 months, but many people are starting to venture to destinations that they only dreamed of visiting last year.

Or if you are staying a bit closer to home for your adventures, that’s great, too! Hello, Columbus would love to have a photo of you and your family or friends at your travel destinations.

Regardless of whether you are sending us a photo from near or far, choose a vacation photo showing you, your companions and the Travel page, and send it to The Dispatch. Make sure to include the names and hometowns of the people pictured, from left to right; where the photo was taken; a tip to help other travelers; and contact information for you in case we have questions. But please, no submissions from previous years.

Submissions can be emailed to Becky Kover, [email protected]

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‘An explosion of red and gold’: readers’ favourite spots for UK autumn colour | United Kingdom holidays

Winning tip: The Falls of Clyde, South Lanarkshire

Follow in the footsteps of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Turner to enjoy the power and romanticism of the Falls of Clyde. Spectacular at any time of year, this walk reaches its golden, amber and feuille morte peak in the autumn months, especially after heavy rain. About 30 miles south-east of Glasgow, it’s home to badgers, otters and kingfishers on a trail that begins at the Unesco world heritage site of New Lanark (drop in to the visitor centre to find out all about the millowner and philanthropist Robert Owen) and leads to the 26-metre waterfall Cora Linn. You can have coffee at the Mill Café or stay at the New Lanark Hotel. A sepia and russet dream.

Wistman’s Wood, Dartmoor

Wistmans Wood
Photograph: David Clapp/Getty Images

Wistman’s Wood is interesting at any time of year – but especially so around dusk on Halloween, when it’s not hard to imagine the Hound of the Baskervilles might be on the loose. It is an ancient forest where time seems to have stood still. Walk around, over and under lichen-covered gnarled tree boughs and huge granite rocks at the 170-hectare national nature reserve, which also has fantastic upland heath and moorland birds –


Readers’ tips: send a tip for a chance to win a £200 voucher for a Sawday’s stay


Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage

Thank you for your feedback.

Kinver Edge, Worcestershire/Staffordshire

Autumn sunset views from Kinver Edge
Photograph: Ian Henley/Alamy

Kinver Edge, a National Trust site in south Staffordshire that extends over the Worcestershire border, is particularly stunning in the autumn. A remnant of the Mercian forest, this sandstone ridge is host to trees of all shapes and sizes, with fiery autumn colours in abundance. Follow the trails up to the top and you can see countryside for miles around. If you fancy a different walk, venture into the valley near Nanny’s Rock and see the old rock houses hidden in the trees – home to troglodytes until the 1960s.
Victoria Stevens

Coffin trails, Lake District

Grasmere Lake.
Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

For stunning autumn colours, a ghoulish twist and a dash of poetry, walk the coffin trail from Grasmere to Ambleside in Wordsworth’s Lake District. The walk is just under four miles and includes beautiful native woodland, lakes and two of the poet’s homes. Cumbria’s coffin trails were named for the corpses which had to be carried to the nearest consecrated ground. Large flat stones beside the path are where bearers stopped to take a break. En route, the Old School Room tea shop offers delicious homemade food and the bath buns at the Apple Pie cafe and takeaway would inspire anyone to poetry!
Zoe Gilbert

Hackfall Woods, Yorkshire Dales

Photograph: Bridget Mellor

Hackfall Woods in Nidderdale is a joy to explore. It was designed as a “wild romantic garden”, by 18th-century landowner and politician William Aislabie. A series of paths traverse the 47-hectare woods, with lovely ruined follies and grottos along the way. The colours in autumn are mesmerising … the view from the Ruin (the banqueting house) terrace feels like you are on top of a rainforest looking over a canopy of rich colours. Springs, cascades and an artificial waterfall operated by a pump make this a magical place.
Bridget Mellor

The Hermitage, Perthshire

River through autumn colours at the Hermitage near Dunkeld
Photograph: Sara Winter/Alamy

For the most beautiful autumn colours, enjoy a wonderful woodland walk around the Hermitage, Dunkeld. When the leaves turn, this magical area of Perthshire forestry is transformed into a wonderland where you will experience a breathtaking explosion of red and gold among the evergreen. The Douglas firs here are among the tallest trees in the UK. Keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels and watch salmon leaping up the dam as you enjoy the vibrant autumn scenery. Parking is £3. The picturesque village of Dunkeld, a five-minute drive away, is the perfect place to enjoy a post-walk coffee and cake.
Maggie Coll

Friston Forest, South Downs national park

The Cuckmere valley.
The Cuckmere valley. Photograph: Sam Moore/National Trust/PA

Close to the coast at Newhaven in East Sussex, the River Cuckmere’s wide meanders and water meadows are a fine sight. Looking up, you’ll see the faded green, yellow and orange leaves of Friston Forest’s beeches. This is a lovely place to walk at this time of year. The paths are covered in brown and gold leaves – particularly colourful in the dappled sunshine of a bright autumn day. With hills that aren’t too strenuous and Narnia-like avenues it is wonderful. Beautiful sea views can be enjoyed nearby on top of the Seven Sisters cliffs and at Beachy Head. A reward afterwards is a visit to the the Tiger Inn in East Dean, where the sticky toffee pudding is beyond question.
George Gilbert

Witton Woods, Norfolk

Bacton / Witton Wood
Photograph: Loop Images/Alamy

Witton Woods (also known as Bacton Woods to some) in north Norfolk has a great variety of trees – ancient sessile oak, ash, alder and chestnut and recent plantings of pine and wellingtonia – and patches of heather, broom and gorse, which make it lovely to visit in any season. It’s also great for a foraging session if you’re into spotting mushrooms in the autumn. There’s a bronze age burial mound and ancient pot-boiling site, too.,

Allen Banks, North Pennines

The river Allen at Staward Gorge
Photograph: Clearview/Alamy

Ten miles west of Hexham, in the North Pennines area of outstanding national beauty, is Allen Banks. From the car park the footpath follows the river to Planky Mill, a good spot for a picnic, and to one of the largest areas of ancient woodland in Northumberland. Bordered by oak, beech, and birch, the gorge is framed in autumn by reds and golds. Below the canopy, the River Allen, which flows into the South Tyne just to the north, sparkles in autumn sunlight and the berries of the Scots fir gleam. Although it’s not a difficult walk, stout shoes are advisable. Allen Banks is a National Trust property: it’s free to walk there but there is a fee for parking unless you are an NT member.
Bernie Walker

Thorncombe Woods, Dorset

A grove of Beech trees Thorncombe wood.
Photograph: Andrew Wood/Alamy

There’s lovely autumn colour at Thorncombe Woods nature reserve next to Thomas Hardy’s cottage. The 26-hectare ancient woodland has an amazing range of mature trees, from majestic oaks to sweet chestnut, hazel and beech. The beech trees meld into a spectacular blaze of gold and copper in autumn. The woods, through which a well-preserved Roman road runs, eventually give way to Black Heath, which hosts Dartmoor ponies. There is a car park and also an independently run cafe.
Anita Hunt

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‘Beautiful buildings wherever you look’: Germany’s best towns and villages, by readers | Germany holidays

Winning tip: A ‘film set’ close to the Polish border

We arrived in Görlitz, Germany’s most easterly town, to find it packed with peasants swilling beer from pewter mugs and devouring sausages to a background of drums and pipes. It was the annual medieval festival, and they take the past seriously here. That’s understandable: Görlitz is jammed with arcaded squares, ancient towers and magnificent churches that have bedazzled film-makers from Tarantino to Wes Anderson. We lucked into the building that served as the Grand Budapest Hotel – actually an art nouveau department store. We went to Poland for a beer – the town of Zgorzelec is just over the River Neisse – before returning to Görlitz for carousing, 15th-century style.
David Ellis

Black Forest bathing

Oppenau, Black Forest
Photograph: robertharding/Alamy

We had a great family holiday in the Black Forest near Oppenau. It’s a beautiful old small town but the best thing about it was the huge, public open-air swimming pool, with water slides, grassy picnic areas and a cafe. Best of all when you pay your tourist tax you receive free entry and free train travel around the Black Forest region. This means you can explore the small towns, lakes, forests and waterfalls by train.

Alpine views and a beach, near Munich

Sunset at Ammersee Lake, Herrsching am Ammersee.
Sunset at Ammersee Lake, Herrsching am Ammersee. Photograph: Alamy

Herrsching am Ammersee is a small town at the end of the S-Bahn line from Munich, next to Ammersee, a beautiful 15km-long glacial lake. There are views to the Bavarian Alps over 60km away, a promenade, and beaches where people swim in the summer. A short hike through the woods brings you to Kloster Andechs, a stunning Benedictine abbey on a hill overlooking the lake. The abbey brews its own beer and has a Biergarten where you can sip its brews – some with evocative names: Spezial Hell, Weizenbock and Bergbock Hell – and crunch on a Brezeln (pretzel) or two. If you over-indulge on the “hells”, Nefis, on Seestrasse, does the best Turkish meze and kebabs. Taking the boat to Dießen am Ammersee is also a must, as is hiring a bike to explore the many fairytale Bavarian villages nearby.


Readers’ tips: send a tip for a chance to win a £200 voucher for a Sawday’s stay


Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage

Thank you for your feedback.

Luther’s legacy, near Berlin

Town hall, period houses and St Mary’s Church, Lutherstadt Wittenberg.
Town hall, period houses and St Mary’s Church, Lutherstadt Wittenberg. Photograph: Alamy

Lutherstadt Wittenberg is a beautiful town less than an hour by train from Berlin. It’s the perfect place for a day trip or overnight stay. For a cheap stay, Wittenberg Youth Hostel (€28.50) is next to where, according to some accounts, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses. It’s a beautiful place, especially if you are a fan of reformation history. The market square is stunning at sunset, and there is a shop where you can by anything in Martin Luther form, including a tiny Lego Luther.

Into the Harz mountains, Lower Saxony

Goslar Glockenspiel
Goslar Glockenspiel. Photograph: McCanner/Alamy

I recommend Goslar, a Unesco-listed city in an untouched area in the Harz mountains. It’s a beautiful old town with a charming centre. The slate-clad Kaiserringhaus has a glockenspiel (pictured) and automatons that chime regularly each day. The enchanting figures act out scenes from Goslar’s mining past. Parts of the Martkbrunnen fountain date back to the 12th century, adding to the timeless atmosphere of the centre. A great trip from Goslar is to take a scenic ride on the narrow-gauge, steam Brocken railway, an ideal way to see some of the least-known natural landscapes in Germany.
Gerard Gordon

Medieval magic, northern Bavaria

Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Photograph: Alamy

The fortified hilltop city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is not just a beautiful place to visit but one of Germany’s most significant historical centres. Ringed by a huge defensive wall punctuated by towering city gates, the enclosed warren of narrow streets, lanes and alleyways are a delight to wander. Lush parks and gardens are to be stumbled across among the quintessentially German medieval architecture of half-timbered and brightly painted and decorated buildings. Cafes, restaurants and beer halls abound, as do museums, not least the glittery Christmas Museum, the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum and the Imperial City Museum, celebrating the town’s long and prestigious history.
Graeme Black

Architectural oddity near the North Sea

Bremen readers pic
Photograph: Nigel Gann

Bremen is a fascinating, beautiful small city with ancient streets, a lively Marktplatz, art at the Kunsthalle from such diverse sources as Masolino, Dürer, Monet, Van Gogh, Beckmann, Cage and Paik, and the fine Theater am Goetheplatz. There’s great countryside around, with nature parks, castles and Bremerhaven, where there’s the excellent German Maritime Museum. There are loads of good restaurants outside and in, with sensible Covid restrictions. The Böttcherstraße, which hosts a plethora of arts and crafts shops, is a remarkable piece of interwar architecture, and there’s a hotel right in the middle of it in Atlantis House. The walks along the River Weser are lovely too.
Nigel Gann

Where Bach played the organ, Thüringen

View over the old town of Muhlhausen
Photograph: Alamy

Mühlhausen, in Thüringen in the former GDR, is a small town with a huge history. The young JS Bach was organist here, and you can hear organ music in the church where he worked. Earlier, the theologian Thomas Müntzer, who opposed both the Roman Catholic church and Martin Luther, preached here and was executed outside the city in 1525. The medieval centre is one of the largest in Germany, with beautiful churches and buildings wherever you look. There are lovely old wooden doors, behind one of which is the town hall where a friendly civil servant can lead you to the amazing painted council chamber. The train journey goes through quiet countryside to the sleepy station, far from the bustle of the big cities.
Barbara Forbes

Wonky wonder, Bavaria

the medieval town of Dinkelsbuhl on the romantic road
Photograph: Laura Di Biase/Alamy

Not too far from Nuremberg is the red-roofed medieval town of Dinkelsbühl. A trout-filled river, a city wall reminiscent of Carcassonne, and more taverns than you can shake a schnitzel at. In the middle of July the town is overflowing with lederhosen-wearing young people swilling beer at bunting-bedecked trestle tables in the central square – all as part of the Children’s Festival, which marks the town’s escape from decimation by the Swedish army when the general took pity on the local peasant children. Brightly coloured doors, wonky windows and curious cobbled streets make Dinklesbuhl a fantastic historic stay.

Handsome and Hanseatic, Lübeck

Holsten Gate (Holstentor), Lübeck
Holsten Gate (Holstentor), Photograph: Alamy

The moment you walk through Lübeck’s Unesco-listed Holstentor Gate (pictured) you find a city stuffed with treats. As the former capital of the Hanseatic League, it abounds in history and culture, and has the added bonus of being within a few kilometres of wide, sandy beaches. The highlight for me, though, was savouring the tastes and sights of its edible claim to fame: marzipan. After walking down Breite Straße and sampling Niederegger Café’s signature nut tart, I visited the free museum upstairs and saw, among other fascinating exhibits, lifesize, local figures, including novelist Thomas Mann, sculpted from almond paste.

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Volcanoes, gelato and canals: Italy’s great small cities chosen by readers | Italy holidays

Winning tip: Happy wanderer in Puglia

A little piece of my soul was left in Polignano a Mare, a beautiful slice of real Italian life in Puglia. Pretty houses perching on clifftops overlooking emerald seas, a labyrinth of streets leading to a stunning old town, delectable gelato and a buzzy atmosphere as locals promenade and music plays, all combine to create a real gem. The contemporary art museum is worth a gander. It is the wandering, however, getting lost in delightful white-washed streets, stumbling across the poetry written on doorways and stairs, finding a clifftop bar beloved by locals, which is the key to enjoying this romantic town.
Vivienne Francis, Kent

Lovely Lucca

Photograph: JM_Image_Factory/Getty Images

Lucca is the hidden jewel in the Tuscan crown of Italy, and September is the best time to visit. Just 20 minutes from Pisa, its medieval walls, cobbled streets and shaded squares create a calm, quiet atmosphere. Cars are absent inside the walls, so it’s great to stroll around at any time, and not uncommon to hear Puccini’s music playing from open windows or balconies – Lucca is the composer’s home town. Around mid-September a candlelit procession followed by fireworks and open-air festivities mark the climax of the Holy Cross festival – simply magic.
Yasmin, Cambridge

Venice without the hype

Great water view of Chioggia with vintage cabins and bridgeChioggia, little Venice in Italy
Photograph: LianeM/Getty Images

Chioggia is like Venice without the crowds and the high prices. At the southern end of the Venetian lagoon, it combines views of the snowcapped peaks of the Dolomites on a clear day and the Adriatic from its fine, sandy beach. The pastel-coloured houses create a colourful canvas to its waterways, as the fishing boats chug slowly along, dispensing their catch to local trattories. A medieval clocktower watches over the city and the Museum of Adriatic Zoology showcases the area’s maritime traditions. Sit at a cafe sipping your cappuccino with vistas of calm canals and chatting fishers.
Gonca, Birmingham

Baroque gems in Vigevano

Italy, Lombardy, Vigevano, Ducale Square
Photograph: AGF Srl/Alamy

Just 35km south-west of Milan and easily accessible by road and rail, the town of Vigevano is an architectural gem. Its centre is dominated by the Castello Sforzesco, now a museum which is closely linked to that of Milan: it is connected to the town’s outer fortifications by an amazing and unique 200 metre-long medieval, covered bridge and roadway which allowed horsemen to ride directly from the castle to defend the town. Alongside the castle is the breathtaking 15th-century porticoed Piazza Ducale, enclosed at one end by the baroque cathedral – it is one of the most breathtaking open spaces in Italy.
Ian Statham, Cardiff


Readers’ tips: send a tip for a chance to win a £200 voucher for a Sawday’s stay


Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage

Thank you for your feedback.

Artisanal Anghiari

alley in the medieval village Anghiari, Arezzo, Tuscany
Photograph: Getty Images

The vast, 13th-century defensive walls of Anghiari still loom high over the plain of the Valtiberina, location of the decisive Florentine victory over the Milanese in 1440, and celebrated annually by a colourful, viciously contested Palio. Hidden within, a flower-strewn labyrinth of winding alleyways reveals linen looms, artisans’ workshops and boutiques hewn from the bedrock. The Southbank Sinfonia performs in the piazza under the stars each July, and the town revels in seasonal celebrations of Tuscan gastronomy, culminating in the “Chequered Tablecloth”, in which local produce is served at candlelit, communal tables, accompanied by performances of folklore, poetry and song and dance.
Benedict Leonard, London

Roman Christian mosaics in Ravenna

Mosaic of the baptism of Jesus, in the Arian Baptistry of Ravenna.
Mosaic of the baptism of Jesus, in the Arian Baptistry in Ravenna. Photograph: Michael Honegger/Alamy

Go to Ravenna – it is perfect for a long weekend, and close to Bologna. The imperial capital in the dying days of the Roman empire, it houses the most amazing collection of early Christian mosaics you’ll ever see. The art mostly dates from the fifth and sixth centuries and adorns just a handful of ancient churches in the compact city centre. The imagery is a real shock. There are no crucifixions or other signs of Christ’s suffering, and everywhere you’ll see sheep. Yes, they took the idea of us all being a flock very literally 1,500 years ago.
Chris Wilson, Fife

Sunsets in Sicily

Taormina with Mount Etna at sunset.
Taormina with Mount Etna at sunset. Photograph: Westend61/Getty Images

The city of Taormina in Sicily has it all. It’s perched on a hilltop, therefore boasting amazing views of an active volcano, Mount Etna, while also having beautiful sandy coves, which can be accessed by a steep hike or via cable car. The town’s piazza is one of the best places to watch the sun set in Sicily and a visit to the ancient Greek-Roman theatre is not to be missed– you can even catch a show here today.
Rachel W, Cumbria

Blown away in Sardinia

The Roman amphitheatre of Cagliari
The Roman amphitheatre in Cagliari. Photograph: Luis Leamus/Alamy

Try a short break in Cagliari, a beautiful and bustling port city on the island of Sardinia – . Countless places to eat and drink, all fiercely proud of the local produce. Bombas, a modern burger restaurant, is nestled inside a cave within the stunning medieval city walls. Sightseeing includes La Torre dell’Elefante, an imposing 14th-century limestone tower, the sprawling ruins of the Roman amphitheatre and a host of museums and galleries. We visited not expecting much, but were blown away by what Cagliari had to offer.
Dom S, Accrington

Railway rapture in Genoa

funicular railway Genoa
Photograph: Roberto Lo Savio/Alamy

Genoa is steep, built into the Ligurian cliffs. But if you don’t fancy walking up and down the many staircases, there are a series of delightful funicular railways. The Zecca-Righi funicular gets you from the city centre to the high hills in minutes. But best of all is the cute and weird Ascensore Castello d’Albertis-Montegalletto – a delightful little carriage that trundles you 300 metres into the hillside, before boarding its own lift to leave you high up above the city, overlooking the port and just around the corner from the Museum of World Cultures. Journeys are €0.90.
Thom, London

Friuli had you fooled?

Piazza Libertà in Udine.
Piazza Libertà in Udine. Photograph: MassanPH/Getty Images

Italy but not Italy … That’s the feeling that strikes you as you wander the streets of Udine, in the lesser-known region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. Sitting in the shadow of the castle, Piazza Libertà is considered to be the most beautiful Venetian square on terra firma, but it’s the people and food that hint towards a more unusual mix of influences. The local language, Friulian, and the hearty dishes of frico, cjarsons and gubana give clues to the city’s mountainous hinterland and its intoxicating Germanic and Slavic influences. Yet as your senses are filled with new sights, tastes and sounds, a glass of bianco from the Collio vineyards reminds you that, well, maybe this is Italy after all.
Steve Bassett, Exeter

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Readers tell us what to see, do and eat on a West Texas road trip

I asked. You answered.

Readers were not shy about responding when I asked, in a Sept. 14 “Think, Texas” column: “What should I see, do and eat on a road trip to West Texas?”

Hundreds of tips poured in through social media — few readers stopped at one suggestion. One single reader shared 31 ideas.

Although I will not be able to make all these cool stops on this particular road trip, I was determined to share a healthy sampling of your travel advice.

I’ve divided the tips into four categories:

I will do this in West Texas

Several readers suggested that I add two 19th century military bases en route to Fort Concho in San Angelo: The very well preserved Fort McKavett, a state historic site in Menard County, and Fort Chadbourne, located on a private ranch but open to the public in Coke County.

Author Stephen Harrigan reminded me that the grave of Texas great writer Katherine Anne Porter can be found at Indian Creek Cemetery south of Brownwood. No way I’d miss that.

John F. Henley thinks that the nearby hamlet of Indian Creek is worth a stop: “Look for images of it. If the old school and church still stand — and they were very solid — then it’s a very ‘Last Picture Show’ kind of experience.”

Maline McCalla suggested St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in San Angelo: “Years ago  the church  was able to undergo a renovation. I was hired to repair — not feasible — or re-create — which I did — the large ceramic tile mural — 8 feet by 10 feet as I can best recall — on the outside of the church on 17th Street side.” 

Among other gems, Bobby Earl Smith convincingly urged an extra San Angelo stop: “Though it may seem like an odd recommendation, the Calvary Cemetery at 1501 W. Avenue N is fascinating to me. My friend Albert Tijerina is buried there. He was the drum major and I was band president our senior years. He got shot down in Laos at a time when our government was denying our presence there. San Angelo integrated its school in 1955, but the cemetery is testament to folks in one part of town buried in one place and folks in another, another. It is a colorful funeral garden contrasted with the old staid cemetery immediately adjacent, separated by a fence.”

More: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Destination’ hotel coming to historic strip of Fredericksburg, a Texas daytrip hotspot

Rosemary Moore recommended some San Angelo attractions already in our sights: Fort ConchoHattie’s Bordello, Cactus Hotel, Tom Green Country Courthouse and Chicken Farm Art Center. She insisted, too, that I eat at Twin Mountains Steakhouse, “probably the best steakhouse in Texas — maybe the world. Be sure to order ‘Scraps.'” 

Lisa Harris, who visited San Angelo not long ago, hoped that I would take in the Danner Museum of Telephony and International Waterlily Collection: “Early April turned out to be too early in the year to see a full waterlily display; now would be a much better time to see that.” Ellen Jeschke agreed that this flowery attraction was a must-go: “People come from all over the world to see it.”

Laure McLaughlin was among readers who recommended a special exhibit at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts: “Asked my father, Mark McLaughlin, if he had anything to add — he’s lived in San Angelo 50+ years and is 90 now. He suggested an exhibit put together by Howard Taylor at Fort Concho, ‘Caseta,’ that is now housed at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts (as part of) the Center for the Advancement and Study of Early Texas Arts. Paintings from the early 1900s are collected and displayed.”

Jackie Martin, who has served on several community boards in San Angelo, sent in more than 10 sterling tips.

MoreTexas History: Notable Texans recall growing up in the Lone Star State

My favorite: “At the risk of shameful self-promotion, I will introduce our company, Anodyne Wool. Our four-generation, family-owned business sources and processes 100% of the wool used in all U.S. military dress uniforms, as well as providing wool to companies worldwide. You would be welcomed to tour our warehouse for a sense of how wool is processed and shipped.”

I am so there.

Sam Young had a similar suggestion: “You might be interested in visiting the Aermotor factory at 4277 Dan Hanks Lane. The history of Aermotor windmills is quite a story. If you go there, they will give you a tour and if you mention my father’s name, Peck Young, they will know who you are talking about.”

Multiple readers, including Micky Dorsey, Harry Olmsted, Bobby Earl Smith and John T. Wende, recommended the Cactus Book Shop in San Angelo. Dorsey: “Great collection of Texana and Western history.”

If there’s a bookstore anywhere — I found three in tiny Glen Rose on an earlier road trip — I’ll be there.

I hope to do this in West Texas

Clearly, there is no way to take up all the marvelous tips. If convenient, however, I’d add these:

Fred Fuchs advised three food and drink stops: The town of Eola, which beckons with a brewpub in an old schoolhouse; Wines of Dotson-Cervantes located in Pontotoc, a stop that comes with the life story of an African American football player named Alphonse Dotson; and chicken fried steak at Henry’s in San Angelo. “May be the best in Texas.” 

Many steakhouses made our readers’ lists. Gene Bates, who attended college at what is now Angelo State University sent me an enthusiastic endorsement along with football lore: Western Sky Steakhouse “is the place to chow down, at as well as the Angry Cactus.”

Mel Daniels shared a very particular tip: “I never go through Brownwood near meal time without eating at Underwood’s Cafeteria. My wife and I order one meat, and then put on several vegetables — at no extra cost — and have more than enough for a 90 year-old-man and his wife. Clearly the best bargain and best tasting food in Texas.”

Jack London has a special reason to send me to the Dove Creek Battlefield, located near the village of Knickerbocker southwest of San Angelo, where Confederates fought Kickapoos: “An ancestor of one of my high school classmates named Keahey was killed in the battle.”

Pamala Mathison efficiently sent me a spreadsheet on San Angelo-area attractions, including “Hummer House in Christoval is special, too … the hummingbirds migrate through in May, but I’m not sure when they migrate back.” In fact, the hummers are in full migration right now!

Walt Wilkins intuited that I’d need to take a break from history, nature and art: “There is a completely unique bar and live music venue in downtown San Angelo called House of FiFi Dubois. Cool hang, and surprising maybe. There is a boot company based downtown, too, called Ranch Road Boots. Cool owner with a cool story. I’ve bought two pair so far.”

Similarly, Teresa Drisdale recommended refreshments in Brownwood, along with means to find out more: Teddy’s Brewhaus (on Facebook), Tr3s Leches bakery (on Facebook), Baked Artisan Goods (on Facebook), and the Turtle Restaurant (on Facebook).

Brownwood native Patti Halladay also focused on Brownwood hotspots, including: Steves’ Market and Deli, located at 110 E. Chandler St., is owned by two delightful guys, both named Steve, and provides amazing healthy, tasty food. They are only open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., so plan accordingly. Phone number is 325-646-6676.”

Alice Adams sent me scintillating stories about football legends, polio patients and World War II prisoners of war in San Angelo and Brownwood. Had to share this one, which relates tangentially to Hattie’s Bordello: “When a tent city sprung up on the river bank, opposite Fort Concho, one of the most popular and frequent guests of this pop-up ‘Sin City’ was Lottie Deno, a humdinger of a poker player, who began her legendary journey from Fort Worth to San Antonio to Fort Concho and up to Albany — north of Abilene — before marrying her long-time boyfriend and went with him to New Mexico, where they became respectable citizens of the town.

More: Texas History: Giant 1940s steam locomotive, Big Boy, steams around Texas

“Lottie could beat the hound outta Doc Holliday at the poker table, but remained friends with Doc’s gal, ‘Big Nose Sally.’ Lottie may have worked for the local madam in St. Angelus — before it became San Angelo — when card tables were slow.”

Mrs. Lou Dove Wirht provided me with a tantalizing prospect: “My uncle was one who helped build Camp Bowie in Brownwood. He then became a member of the 36th Division, serving in the European theater of World War II. I must say I have not visited the site of Camp Bowie and understand that not much is left to remind one of World War II days. It does hold an important place in our history, however.” 

Wayne Walther of Lockhart had several tips ready for Runnels County, located in the middle of our planned itinerary: Rowena for the To Our Liberty monument, the Horny Toad Brewing Co., and the latest iteration of the Lowake Steak House. Also Ballinger for Pompeo Coppini’s statute of cowboy Charles H. Noyes: “The young man pictured was killed when his horse stumbled — on a prairie dog hole? — and his parents commissioned the statue as a memorial.”

I likely won’t get to these West Texas spots this time

Several readers suggested their favorite haunts in Alpine, Marfa, Big Bend National Park, Fort Davis, Balmorhea, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, McKittrick Canyon (for fall colors) and Big Spring. Alas, these top attractions lie far out of the range for this particular trip’s itinerary. 

Since we are visiting historic hotels in Brownwood and San Angelo, readers such as Mary Paige Huey urged me to head further up the road to Big Spring to see the beautifully restored Hotel Settles: “It was quite a place back in the day. My father, Paige Benbow, was the general manager in 1931, and it was a hub for special area events. I have a lot of memorabilia from his days there; my sister, Ann Benbow, was born there in 1933 where the family resided in the penthouse.”

Huey passed along some charming pictures of the Settles Hotel, always appreciated.

I probably won’t make it up to Cross Plains on this trip, but have noted what Jeb Boyt said about the author of the “Conan the Barbarian” series and that whole fantasy subgenre: “Visit the Robert E. Howard Museum. … REH’s grave is in Brownwood. On Main Street, the library has some of REH’s manuscripts and correspondence. Across from the library is mercantile with some great early 20th century architecture.”

On the other hand, a side trip to Cross Plains is starting to sound pretty attractive.

Jay Simpson recommended the Regency Bridge, a one-lane suspension bridge over the Colorado River in San Saba County. I once tried to find this “swing bridge” while tracing 50 Texas rivers, and could never pinpoint its location. Maybe now with better maps loaded onto mobile devices the magic will happen.

Not actually in West Texas, but super tips for road trips down the line

Just the term “road trip” excited some readers, who kindly sent me toward points that are actually north or east of Austin. You can bet that I will spend more time in these spots, and I hope you do, too.

John Bernadoni, for instance, is a big promoter of his ancestral Galveston. He sent in no fewer than 31 tips for time spent there: “I can think of no other city in Texas with a richer history than this extraordinarily unique island. … Would be happy to expand on these elements and more should you need my help. Tally ho!”

Suzanne Madley told me about the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church’s Barbecue in Huntsville. Wish I’d known about that joint this June, when I visited the unsettling Texas Prison Museum in that East Texas city. (My Instagram joke attached to a picture of my sainted mother smiling below a barbed wire fence: “I put my mom through the Scared Straight program at the Texas Prison Museum.”)

Advertising wizard Tim McClure urged a detour northward to Corsicana: “Site of the first oil well west of the Mississippi and Fruitcake Capital of Texas, thanks to the Collin Street Bakery’s legendary deluxe fruitcake — I know, I know, fruitcake? Need more? I’m from there, a.k.a the Adman Who Coined the Legendary Anti-Litter Battle Cry, ‘Don’t Mess With Texas!’” 

Michael Barnes writes about the people, places, culture and history of Austin and Texas. He can be reached at [email protected]

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‘Sleepy, leafy and lusciously bucolic’: France’s best towns and villages by readers | France holidays

Winning tip: Saint-Nectaire: picnic paradise, Puy-de-Dôme

I really loved the peacefulness of Saint-Nectaire. The local cheese is enough to put it on any list but it also has woodland trails, grottos, a spa and an 11th-century hilltop church. It’s also a wonderful base for exploring the Puys but you can’t beat taking a picnic (remember the cheese!) to nearby Lac Chambon and enjoying the crystal clear waters surrounded by ancient volcanic hills. We stayed at the family run Hotel Regina (doubles from €65 B&B) where our bathroom was in a turret.
Anthony T

Brouage – a sumptuous citadel south of La Rochelle

The ancient royal harbour of Brouage
Photograph: [email protected]/Alamy

Brouage is a fortified, star-shaped and once-coastal village in the Charente-Maritime region. The old battlements and eight-metre-high walls make for hours of exploring and give far-reaching views over the surrounding salt marshes (the sea is about 3km away nowadays). The pretty village feels somewhat like a Roman encampment; a hollyhock-lined grid of streets holds the quaint church of St Peter and St Paul with a model boat suspended from the ceiling; meanwhile, the quirky Musée du Vélo is a must for bike enthusiasts. A lazy lunch in the leafy garden of La Conserverie is recommended for a bit of shade, followed by plenty more playing at “archers” in the watchtowers atop the citadelle walls.
Anna Kennett

Medieval watery charm, L’Isle sur la Sorgue, Provence

Photograph: BTWImages/Alamy

This is a very pretty little town, 30km or so east of Avignon. Close to other perhaps more famous Luberon hotspots such as Ménerbes, Cavaillon and Gordes, it has its own distinct medieval watery charm because it was constructed on islands amid five arms of the Sorgue River. Wander round the compact centre, stroll along the Waterwheel Circuit (there are about 15 waterwheels around the village), view the stunning baroque church or simply sip a morning coffee or lunchtime pastis at a waterside cafe. Sunday is flea market day, and bartering is the norm.
Paul MacDermott


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Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage

Thank you for your feedback.

Champagne and chocolate, Troyes

Troyes, France
Photograph: Jeanette Teare/Alamy

A little known medieval gem of a city in the Grand-Est, Troyes is full of beautiful half-timbered houses, narrow cobbled alleyways and glorious churches. Once the capital of the Champagne region Troyes is a great place to base yourself while visiting famous Champagne vineyards in the surrounding countryside. In town, one of several great places to sample some fizz is Aux Crieurs de Vins. Cellier Saint Pierre by the cathedral is a good place to buy a few bottles of regional plonk. The much-feted master chocolatier Pascal Caffet sells his exquisite confections in the heart of the ancient city. Look out for excellent restaurants and cafes by the side of the canal which flows through the centre of town and discover sculptures, art galleries and quirky museums. The modern art museum is particularly excellent. It’s all just 90 minutes on the train from Paris Gare de l’Est.

No petrol but lovely cheese, Bain-de-Bretagne, Brittany

Bertaud mill, Bain-de-Bretagne.
Bertaud mill, Bain-de-Bretagne. Photograph: Phil Wahlbrink/Alamy

I discovered Bain-de-Bretagne by accident when running out of fuel while driving south from Rennes to Nantes. A modest town in luscious Brittany countryside, it has bakeries with pain aux raisin so good I diverted for them on my way home. There is an enchanting village square with geraniums and outside tables for eating and relaxing with friends and an ancient church. It is sleepy, leafy and lusciously bucolic. I discovered a crèmerie with cheeses wrapped in wild flowers and a wine shop with great choices and even better advice. There is a tiny night market if you want to cook at home. I dreamed of it often in the bleak 2020/21 winter. I am going back soon.

Take the Roman road to Narbonne, Occitanie

Saint-Just Cathedral, Narbonne.
Saint-Just Cathedral, Narbonne. Photograph: John Kellerman/Alamy

We arrived in Narbonne for an afternoon trip from Béziers (just 12 minutes by train) and stayed for three days. Plenty of time then to explore the Palais Vieux, Palais Neuf and the 13-century Cathedrale Saint-Just et Saint-Pasteur. Don’t miss the section of Roman road preserved in the centre of Place de l’Hotel de Ville. Plenty of eating places along Canal de la Robine but our highlight was the bustling Les Halles where we managed to squeeze into an end table at Les Tapas de la Clape for great seafood, wine and coffee. For a place to stay we stumbled across Hotel La Résidence (doubles from €80 B&B) which unexpectedly gave us stunning views of the cathedral. Don’t miss (any) of it.

High on the ramparts, Montreuil-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais

The historic old fortified ramparts of Montreuil sur Mer, France
Photograph: Ian Shaw/Alamy

The ramparts walk that circles the town of Montreuil-sur-Mer stands out for me, not least because the path is rather close to sheer drops in places, but also for the extensive views over the countryside and the town itself. I also enjoyed wandering the cobbled streets with their charming buildings and exploring the citadel. About an hour’s drive from Calais, there was once a seaport here before the Canche estuary silted up, explaining the “sur-Mer”. Victor Hugo used the town as a setting in Les Misérables – each summer Son et Lumière shows are performed at the citadel, celebrating this link.
Sharon Pinner

Hive of culture, Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, Burgundy

Saint Sauveur en Puisaye
Photograph: Hemis/Alamy

Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye in Burgundy, the birthplace of the writer Colette, is the village I return often, to replenish my energy in the midst of forests and lakes and castles. A colourful market town with diverse artists, galleries, funky bars, theatre, film evenings, music events, courtyard exhibitions, writer’s festival, even a British tea room. History lovers must see Guédelon, a 13th-century chateau construction. Visit La Poeterie, a sculpture garden with concerts and a deer herd. I spend long summers swimming in the Lac du Bourdon, eating Belgian-style chips while the sun set. Two hours from Paris, to quote the estate agents, it’s the place to be.

I adore Cahors, Occitanie

Pont Valentré.
Pont Valentré. Photograph: Laurent Fox/Getty Images

Nestled in a meander of the Lot river, Cahors lies protected by the limestone cliffs of the causses (bluffs). Medieval half-timbered buildings delight the eye whether wandering by foot or tourist train.A secret garden trail steeped in the area’s folklore begins with a vine garden at the medieval Pont Valentré bridge Seen from land or a boat trip, it is a worthy step on the pilgrimage way to Santiago de Campostela. Eat at the Petite Auberge for hearty local cuisine and local vin rouge and watch out for the exposed staircase beside it.
Clare Burke

Hooray for Auray, Brittany

Pont Neuf and the Port de St Goustan at night, Auray
Photograph: David Noton Photography/Alamy

I found the town of Auray, 100km or so north-west of Nantes, a lovely place to stay and the perfect base to explore the stunning southern coast of Brittany. It truly bustles on Monday market day, with stalls full of local produce cramming the main square. It’s also close to beautiful beaches as well as the neolithic sites around Carnac. The town’s port of Saint-Goustan is picturesque by day and magical at night, when street lamps reflect across the river by the old bridge. We really enjoyed the simple dining in restaurants lining the quayside and cobbled streets – Crêperie La Goustanaise was our favourite – serving delicious, inexpensive galettes (savoury filled crepes) and Breton cider.
Jean Rich

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FT readers: your favourite restaurants in Singapore

The Coconut Club is a cheap, cheerful and colourful restaurant with a spotlight on the classic street-food nasi lemak. Several versions are on offer but the best is the original ayam goreng, or spiced fried chicken, which comes with coconut rice, fried egg, crispy anchovies, peanuts, cucumber and sambal. Fill your spoon with little bit of each and take a big bite. There are cocktails and mocktails, but I would go for a bottled beer from Singapore or an iced calamansi (lime) with sour plum to take away some of the spice. Afterwards, take a walk around one of Singapore’s prettiest preserved neighbourhoods and its original shophouses. (Website; Directions)

— Roselyn Helbling, gourmet traveller, Dubai

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10 of the best piers and promenades in the UK: readers’ travel tips | Beach holidays

Winning tip: Bangor, Gwynedd

Bangor pier holds many memories for us. It’s the place where my husband lost his car keys 50 years ago. Luckily those were the days when you could hotwire a car (or in this case minivan) to start it. We return there often. The pier has breathtaking views of the Menai straits on one side and to the Great Orme behind Llandudno on the other. In front is beautiful Anglesey; turn round for wonderful views of Snowdonia. It is a pier that is unrivalled anywhere. It has refreshments and ice-cream too!

Southport, Merseyside

Southport Pier
Photograph: George W Johnson/Getty Images

School holidays were punctuated by sealing the plastic over Merseyrail travelcards to begin an adventure with Dad. Liverpool, Birkenhead, Formby – each offered something. Southport always won, though. After walking through manicured (accessible) gardens and the buzz of Silcocks arcade, the 161-year-old Grade II-listed pier feels like the start of further adventures. Smugly spy Blackpool’s tower from a tranquil viewpoint on clear days. Appreciate the bleakness on gloomy days, as you almost disappear into the sea. Time-travel in the Victorian penny arcade. More recently, I took Dad to Southend from my London home. “It’s no Southport,” he lamented. I agreed.
Louise Robinson

Worthing, West Sussex

Worthing Pier from Marine Parade
Photograph: @imagesBV/Alamy

Worthing pier is unfussy, uncommercialised, and beautifully preserved. It has a wonderful Southern Pavilion, a modest central amusement arcade and the lovely Pavilion theatre at the landward end. The pier is one of a few that I know of that still allow anglers to add to the overall scene. Worthing promenade is wonderfully unspoiled in comparison with the raucous and rowdy seafront nightmare that is Brighton, and the pier is the jewel in the crown. Free access.
Mark Sumner


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Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage

Thank you for your feedback.

Ullapool, Scottish Highlands

Ullapool seen from Calmac ferry
Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

The “wee pier” at Ullapool extends into the clear waters of Loch Broom. Surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills, this makes the perfect backdrop to sit and fish for mackerel that glitter and glisten in the sunlight like a disco ball. Following recent redevelopment, three rockpools have been installed at different tidal zones to provide an opportunity for the whole community to learn more about the marine life that calls this place in the Highlands home.
Vanessa Wright

Lyme Regis, Dorset

Lyme Regis Cobb
Photograph: travellinglight/Alamy

It has to be the wonderfully windswept Cobb at Lyme Regis. Each time I go I’m reminded of Tennyson’s words: “Don’t talk to me of the Duke of Monmouth; show me the exact spot where Louisa Musgrove fell.” It’s an absolute must for fans of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. There’s also something about a French Lieutenant’s Woman! The pretty town is full of interesting fossil shops and delicious homemade fudge.

Portstewart, County Derry

Fishing Boat sculpture by Niall O’Neill, Portstewart.
Fishing Boat sculpture by Niall O’Neill, Portstewart. Photograph: Travelib Culture/Alamy

Portstewart promenade in Northern Ireland is a classically simple seaside affair. Traditional Italian ice-cream made for a century on offer – tick. Fish and chip shops – tick. Bucket and spade shop – tick. Delicious craft coffee to be enjoyed while the kids undertake hours of “daring” rock walks or dipping toes in the sea – tick. Sightings of porpoises and fishing boats heading out of the harbour – tick. Beautiful sunsets, ever-changing waves and happy people from all walks of life watching them – tick. No entry requirements or pre-booking needed. Enjoyed since Victorian times but still not out of fashion. Our happy place.

Arnside, Cumbria

The village of Arnside with its pier on the River Kent estuary in Cumbria
Photograph: John Davidson Photos/Alamy

Perhaps this is not one of our most impressive costal structures: it is a simple stone jetty. But it has wonderful views of Morecambe Bay and the Lakeland fells. There is a real sense of escape from the mainland, which is the essence of the appeal of piers, and chips and ice-cream are close at hand! I took my elderly parents there last September. Covid cases were on the rise in the north-west and I had a feeling I may not see them for a long time. That was the case, but the memories of lunch on Arnside pier have been sustaining.

Pier Bae Colwyn/Colwyn Bay Pier, Conwy

A sculpture on Colwyn Bay’s promenade.
A sculpture on Colwyn Bay’s promenade. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

As a teenager, I spent many hours on this pier – amusement arcade, Slush Puppies, record fairs, sixth-form socials. It was long past its best then but familiar and loved. After I left home, our beloved pier fell into disrepair, was sold and years of ownership dispute and deterioration ensued. Colwyn Victoria Pier Trust preserved it. The pier was dismantled, leaving the original stanchions. Victorian ironwork was salvaged and restored, and a short pier has risen, including the ironwork and replica lighting. Opening soon, it is a fantastic achievement, breathing new life into the regeneration of the Bay of Colwyn.
Vitti Allender

Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

A murmuration of starlings over Aberystwyth pier.
A murmuration of starlings over Aberystwyth pier. Photograph: Paul_Cooper/Getty Images

The town’s glorious promenade sweeps past its North and South beaches with their attractive seafront terraces. In between, it snakes alongside castle ruins, a striking statue-topped war memorial and the Grade I-listed Old College building that accommodated Wales’s first university college. Also look out for nine mosaics below the castle’s walls. Completed in 2006, they depict the castle’s history. And then there’s a vibrant mural by Lloyd the Graffiti, incorporating the winning designs from a competition for local young people. It includes a starling – thousands of the birds use the pier as their roost over winter.
Sharon Pinner

Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Weston-super-Mare's Grand Pier
Photograph: Bernd Brueggemann/Alamy

Like a phoenix from the ashes of a devastating fire back in July 2008, this pier has risen. The pavilion was destroyed, so a competition was held to design a new pier. The winning design updated the old pavilion, while keeping the famous turrets. It is, for me, a happy place full of childhood memories of fairground rides and candy floss. It has now survived a second disaster, the pandemic, and undergone a refit with more cafes, fish and chips, a doughnut factory, the Museum of Memories and the all-important rides.

This article was amended on 19 June 2021. Colwyn Bay is in Conwy rather than Denbighshire as an earlier version had indicated.

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Warriors, cathedrals and carnivals: Spain’s best smaller cities, chosen by readers | Spain holidays

Winning tip: Seductive Salamanca

I stopped in Salamanca for lunch when driving from Madrid to Lisbon and ended up staying there for a week, caught up in the lovely atmosphere of the city. Its graceful red sandstone architecture, with two cathedrals and splendid university buildings dating from the 15th century, gives the city the quality of an alfresco cultural living room – where academics, students and locals live on a sort of dreamy, theatrical open-air film set. Street names are hand-painted in scarlet on signs and the youthful population creates a hedonistic vibe at night when darkness descends. By day, check out the Plaza Mayor and the lovely Doll Museum.
Yasmin Cox

That’s Zamora

Church of San Pedro de la Nave, near Zamora.
Church of San Pedro de la Nave, near Zamora. Photograph: Alamy

Approached by a wonderful medieval bridge over the Duero River, Zamora, perched on its sandstone cliff, offers so much. More romanesque churches (24) than any other city, with their pink-tinged sandstone glowing warmly in the sunlight. Add to this the Baltasar Lobo sculpture museum near the medieval castle, the Duero wines from the surrounding gentle hills, the famous Holy Week processions, an eclectic collection of art deco buildings and you might not find time for the greatest gem of all, the Visigothic church of San Pedro de la Nave, 12 kilometres to the northwest.
James Kay


Readers’ tips: send a tip for a chance to win a £200 voucher for a Sawday’s stay


Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage

Thank you for your feedback.

Segovia … sigh!

Cathedral of Santa Maria de Segovia, Castile and Leon, Spain
Cathedral of Santa Maria de Segovia. Photograph: Getty Images

Segovia. A heavenly city roughly one hour north-west of Madrid. I lived there for my Erasmus year but still sigh whenever I think about it. The centrepiece of this stunning place is the Roman aqueduct, built in the first century AD. If that doesn’t impress you then the Disney-inspiring Alcazar certainly will. The cathedral is the most modern gothic one in Europe, and Segovia offers beautiful views whichever way you are facing. For award-winning tapas pop to El Fogón Sefardí, or for casual bites go to El Sitio. This is a treasure trove of gastronomic and architectural delights, not to be missed!
Rhiannon Pattison

Breathtaking Ronda

Sunset view of Ronda, Spain
Sunset view of Ronda. Photograph: Getty Images

The Spanish town that will definitely take your breath away is Ronda (in the province of Málaga, Andalucía). Between a 150m-deep rocky gorge, which you can admire from the bridge called Puente Nuevo, Ronda is a perfect place to see architecture influenced by the Romans, Arabs and the Catholic Monarchs. Going down the steps of the Water Mine at Casa del Rey Moro, admiring omnipresent beautiful mosaics, strolling around Ronda’s cobbled streets and passing by the oldest bullfighting rings in Spain, Plaza de Toros de Ronda, are some of the things you can do in beautiful Ronda!
Magdalena Rasmus

Bustle and beaches, Vigo

A beach in the Cies archipelago, near Vigo.
A beach in the Cies archipelago, near Vigo. Photograph: Getty Images

We had little knowledge of what Vigo would be like before we visited it in 2017. What we found was a bustling port city with welcoming people and delicious food. Being on the Galician coast means the local speciality of octopus is abundant. Every restaurant does their own version of this delightful, meaty delicacy. In contrast to the prices in some of Spain’s more popular cities, Vigo is affordable – for less than €2 you could have a beer, or small glass of wine, and a small, free tapas. The highlight of our visit was a trip to the Cies Islands (a 45-minute ferry from Vigo), with golden beaches that have, rightfully, been named among the most beautiful in the world.
Graham Tait

Saints and storks in Tarazona

Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Huerta, Tarazona, Aragon, Spain, Mudejar cimborio
Cathedral, Tarazona. Photograph: Getty Images

Tarazona, halfway between Soria and Zaragoza, has kept its medieval Arabic street plan and is therefore easy to get lost in. From the Romanesque church of St Mary Magdalene, high above the town, you can admire the ancient roofs and see the pattern of the town, with the 18th-century bullring at its centre, and, opposite, the Mudéjar Cathedral, with its gothic wall paintings and amazing windows. In between are the hanging houses of the Jewish quarter, the ornate Renaissance town hall, and clusters of friendly bars and restaurants. At Easter it’s columns of women who carry the statue and beat the drums in the procession from St Mary Magdalene, and at that time of year the storks are everywhere.
Barbara Forbes

Warrior pose, Toledo

View on Puente de Alcantara and Alcazar de Toledo from side of Tagus river, Toledo, SpainFDX5YA View on Puente de Alcantara and Alcazar de Toledo from side of Tagus river, Toledo, Spain
View on Puente de Alcantara and Alcazar de Toledo from side of River Tagus. Photograph: Sergey Dzyuba/Alamy

Toledo is my best Spanish city. You feel like you are living in old centuries, or you are watching a real life of ancient soldiers. You even think that you are a warrior and you have to win the battle. It is really an interesting city with extraordinary walls and gates. After one hour’s walking, you will find the best view ever at mirador, where you can see a panoramic view all over the city. It is really so unique and you will fall in love with the majesty of this city.

The treasures of El Burgo de Osma

Facade of the Cathedral. El Burgo de Osma, Soria, Spain.FCK86T Facade of the Cathedral. El Burgo de Osma, Soria, Spain.
Photograph: Alamy

Among the rolling landscapes by the Duero River, a gem of a small town is waiting to be discovered. Midway between Zaragoza and Valladolid, El Burgo de Osma is a treasure trove of history, from Roman ruins, a medieval castle, to perfectly preserved city walls, beautifully manicured gardens and an elegant plaza mayor. The centrepiece, though, is the magnificent cathedral, built of honey-coloured stone over five centuries. We stayed in a spacious, stylish apartment at El Balcón de la Catedral overlooking the cathedral square for €60. The historical centre is barred to traffic, so wander the streets, grab a table, soak it in. It’ll probably be just you and the locals.
Jean Rich

Carnival in Cádiz

Aerial view of Cadiz and the tower of the Cathedral of Cadiz in Cadiz Andalusia, Spain in summer.
Aerial view of Cádiz. Photograph: Daria Pavlova/Getty Images

The warmth of the Spanish sun is second only to the warmth of the heart and soul of the ancient city of Cádiz. An island, not geographically speaking, but surrounded almost entirely by water. The scenes and beautiful beaches of Cádiz rival any Andalucían paradise. The endless maze of streets are lined with lively taverns and stunning buildings, providing enough adventures for a lifetime. The Atlantic Ocean plays a vital role in the life of the city, crashing against the city walls and filling the plates with an endless bounty of fresh seafood and fuelling the energy of its citizens come carnival day. In Cádiz, every day feels like carnival day.
Elliot Greest

Medieval Trujillo

Plaza Mayor, Trujillo, Spain.
Photograph: Juan M Casillas, All rights reserved/Getty Images

The medieval town of Trujillo, in the unjustly overlooked province of Extremadura, made a surprisingly stunning stopoff on our road trip to catch the Bilbao ferry. Our excellent boutique accommodation was in an unassuming street; however, a 20-yard stroll brought us to the main square. More Game of Thrones than Game of Thrones, the panorama was stunning: medieval buildings encircled the square, which was in turn encircled with battlements. A multitude of bell towers rose around us, and a distinguished church took centre stage alongside an oversize statue of conquistador Pizarro. Evening dinner in the square was a delight, local peasant derived food washed down with an Extremadura red.
Douglas Stewart

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Readers share tips from their trips

The pandemic has taken a toll on travel during the past 16 months, but for many people, this summer is their first opportunity to venture to destinations that they only dreamed of visiting last year.

Or if you are staying a bit closer to home for your adventures, that’s cool, too!

As everyone enters a new phase in this post-pandemic era, Hello, Columbus would love to have a photo of you and your family or friends at your travel destinations.

Regardless of whether you are sending us a photo from near or far, choose a vacation photo showing you, your companions and the Travel page, and send it to The Dispatch. Make sure to include the names and hometowns of the people pictured, from left to right; where the photo was taken; a tip to help other travelers; and contact information for you in case we have questions. But please, no submissions from previous years.

Submissions can be emailed to Becky Kover, [email protected]

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