Interrail

Inter-rail passes are only available to European residents of at least six months' standing (passport identification is required). Each pass is valid for 2nd-class travel within a zone zone D includes Bosnia and Hercegovina and Croatia E includes France F includes Spain, Portugal and Morocco G includes Italy, Greece, Turkey, Slovenia, and Italy-Greece Blue Star and Superfast ferries and zone H covers Montenegro. A one-zone pass, valid for 16 days, costs 286 195 an adult under 26 a two-zone,...

The Rise of Communism

After the fighting had died down, the communists consolidated power. In January 1946 the People's Republic of Albania was proclaimed, with Hoxha as president and 'Supreme Comrade'. In September 1948 Albania broke off relations with Yugoslavia, which had hoped to incorporate the country into the Yugoslav Federation. Instead, it allied itself with Stalin's USSR and put into effect a series of Soviet-style economic plans - rising the ire of the USA and Britain, which made an ill-fated attempt to...

Gay lesbian travellers

Homosexuality is legal in Turkey and attitudes are changing thanks to the hard work of groups like KaosGL (www.kaosgi.com), but prejudice remains strong and there are sporadic reports of violence towards gays - the message is discretion. Istanbul has a flourishing gay scene, as does Ankara. For more information, contact Turkey's gay and lesbian support group, LAMBDA Istanbul (www.lambdaistanbul.org). Gay-friendly travel agents include Sunset Gay& Lesbian Travel (www .turkey-gay-travel.com)...

Hydra Yapa

Considered the most stylish destination of the group, Hydra (ee-drah) has a fine natural horseshoe-shaped harbour with gracious white and pastel stone mansions stacked up the rocky hillsides that surround it. Since the 1950s the island has been a haven for artists, celebrities and writers. Hydra's main attraction is its tranquillity. There are no motorised vehicles - apart from sanitation and construction vehicles -and the main forms of transport are by foot and donkey. Hydra Town is on the...

Muet Island

Magical Mljet ('Meleda' in Italian) would be anyone's idea of an Adriatic island paradise. With 72 of the island covered by forests and the rest dotted by fields, vineyards and small villages, Mljet casts a spell that can be difficult to break. Created in 1960, Mljet National Park occupies the western third of the island and surrounds two saltwater lakes, Malo Jezero and Veliko Jezero. Tour boats arrive at Pomena wharf at Mljet's western end. Jadrolinija ferries arrive at Sobra on the eastern...

Italy

Known to Italians as il Bel Paese (the Beautiful Country), Italy hits the senses hard. It's impossibly beautiful one minute, comically chaotic the next it's colourful, noisy and highly theatrical. The food is superb and its passion utterly disarming. It's also a nation with a lot to live up to. Many of its sights seem so familiar that the risk of disappointed expectations is a real one. Fortunately, though, no photo can portray the thrill of exploring the Colosseum in Rome or seeing...

Samos Eame

A lush mountainous island only 3km from Turkey, Samos has a glorious history as the legendary birthplace of Hera, wife and sister of god-of-all-gods, Zeus. Samos was an important centre of Hellenic culture, and the mathematician Pythagoras and storyteller Aesopus are among its sons. The island has beaches that bake in summer, and a hinterland that is superb for hiking. Spring brings with it pink flamingos, wild-flowers, and orchids that the island grows for export, while summer brings throngs...

Street Names

Particularly in Zagreb and Split, you may notice a discrepancy between the names used in this book and the names you'll actually see on the street. In Croatian, a street name can be rendered either in the nominative or possessive case. The difference is apparent in the name's ending. Thus, Ulica Ljedevita Gaja (street of Ljudevita Gaja) becomes Gajeva ulica (Gaja's street). The latter version is the one most commonly seen on the street sign and used in everyday conversation. The same principle...

Serra Da Estrela

The forested Serra da Estrela has a raw natural beauty and offers some of the country's best hiking. This is Portugal's highest mainland mountain range (1993m), and the source of its two great rivers Mondego River and Zezere River. The main park office ( 275 980 060 www.rt-serradaestrela.pt Mantelgas) has plenty of information on the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela additional offices are at Seia, Gouveia and Guarda. The park publishes Discover the Region of the Serra da Estrela, a walking...

Beat The Crowds

The Samaria Gorge walk is extremely popular and can get quite crowded, especially in summer. Most walkers are on a day trip from Hania and other northern-coast cities, and are heading back there that day. If you've got a bit of time on your hands, an excellent option is to let the sprinters go and to take your time trekking through this stupendous gorge. When you hit the coast at Agia Rou-meli, down a cool beer, take a dip in the refreshing Libyan Sea, savour the tasty Cretan specials at...

Paros Iiapoe

Paros is an attractive laid-back island with an interesting main town, good swimming beaches and terraced hills that build up to Mt Profitis Ilias (770m). It has long been prosperous, thanks to an abundance of pure almost-translucent white marble from which the Venus de Milo and Napoleon's tomb were sculpted. Paros is the ferry hub for the Cyclades, so you may pass through, even if you're not intending to stay. Paros' main town and port is Parikia, on the west coast. Opposite the ferry...

Getting There Away

Buses leave from several stands around the old city walls, but there are no Sunday services. From the main stand at Plateia Solomou, Intercity (Green Bus 2464 3492 www.lntercltybuses .com) runs to Larnaka (CY 3.50, one hour, seven daily), while Alepa ( 2266 4636) and LLL Bus ( 22665814) run to Lemesos (CY 3, one hour, four to nine daily). Alepa also has a bus from Tripolis Bastion to Pafos (CY 5.50, 2 4 hours) at 2.45pm (12.45pm Wednesday and Saturday). Solis ( 99431363) and Lysos ( 9941 4777)...

Sights

The Muzeu Arkeologjik (Rr Taulantia admission 200 leke S 8am-4pm Tue-Sun) has an impressive collection of artefacts from the city's Greek, Illryian and Roman periods, as well as a statue-graveyard (including some fallen communists) scattered around the grounds. Beyond the museum are the 6th-century Byzantine city walls, begun after the Visigoth invasion of AD 481 and supplemented by round Venetian towers in the 14th century. The impressive Roman amphitheatre (admission 200 leke Sl0am-5pm...

Mt Olympus Oaymiioe Opoe

Greece's highest mountain, Mt Olympus, was the ancient home of the gods. The highest of its eight peaks is Mytikas (2918m), popular with trekkers, who use Litohoro (5km inland from the Athens-Thessaloniki highway) as their base. The EOS office ( 23520 84544 Plateia Kentriki S 9.30am-12.30pm & 6-8pm Mon-Sat, Jun-Sep) has information on various treks. The main route to the top takes two days, with a stay overnight at one of the refuges (open May to October). Good protective clothing is...

BUS

Travelling by bus is the cheapest way of getting round the region, although it's neither comfortable nor particularly quick. Generally speaking, you'll do better travelling by train, especially if you've got a rail pass. Eurolines (www.eurolines.com) comprises 32 European coach operators serving destinations throughout the region. Country contact details are as follows Bosnia & Hercegovina (0 033 211 282) Croatia ( 051 660 322) France ( 0892 89 90 91) Italy ( 055 35 71 10) Morocco ( 022 43...

The Mani Hmanh

The beautiful Mani occupies the central peninsula of the southern Peloponnese and is divided into two regions the Lakonian (inner) Mani in the south and Messinian (outer) Mani in the northwest near Kalamata. The area is best explored by car. The wild and remote Lakonian Mani is dotted with striking stone-tower houses, and is loveliest in spring when the barren countryside bursts into life with a spectacular display of wildflowers. Areopoli, some 30km southwest of Gythio, has a number of lovely...

Corinth Kopinoe

Modern Corinth (fco-rin-thoss), 6km west of the Corinth Canal, is an uninspiring town, largely due to devastating earthquakes, but it makes a convenient base for visiting ancient Corinth. At Lecheon, about 4km west of Corinth, Blue Dolphin Camping ( 2741025766 www.camping -blue-dolphln.gr per adult tent 6 6 (B)) is close to the ancient Corinth turn-off. It has a beach and decent facilities and it offers tours. Buses from Corinth to Lecheon stop here. HotelApollon ( 2741022587 www.hotelapollongr...

Bar

Backed by a precipitous coastal range, the modern city of Bar is Montenegro's major port and a transport hub for the coast. Far more interesting, however, is the 1000-year-old Stari Bar (Old Bar). Whether arriving from the north or by ferry from Italy, Bar will be most people's first stop in coastal Montenegro. The ferry terminal in Bar is 300m from the town centre the bus station and adjacent train station are about 2km southeast of the centre. Crnogorska Komerdjalna Bank (Obala Kralja Nikole...

Hvar Island

First it was yachts - now it's mega-yachts. Beautiful Hvar Island is now a required stop for restless international trend-spotters always alert to the latest island paradise. Hvar deserves the honour, for it is the sunniest and greenest of the Croatian islands. Called the 'Croatian Madeira', Hvar receives 2724 hours of sunshine each year. The stunning interior is a panorama of lavender fields, peaceful villages and pine-covered hills. Between protective pine-covered slopes and the azure...

Drinking

La Maison ( 02 40 37 04 12 4 rue Lebrun S 3pm-2am) You have to see to believe this trip of a place, decorated room by room like a home furnished in bad 1970s taste. Caf Cult ( 02 40 47 18 49 www.lecult.com place du Change S2pm-2am Mon & Sat, noon-2am Tue-Frl) Squeezed in a smoky half-timbered house bohemian Caf Cult draws students. Le Bar du Coin ( 02 40 47 55 05 21 rue de la Julverie Sl1am-2am Apr-0ct, closed Sun Nov-Mar) This neighbourhood bar in the heart of the medieval Bouffay quarter...

Lesvos Mytilini Aeebe Mytiahnh

The third-largest of the Greek islands after Crete and Evia, fertile Lesvos is mountainous and presents excellent hiking and bird-watching opportunities. Lesvos has always been a centre of philosophy and artistic achievement and to this day is a spawning ground for innovative ideas in the arts and politics. Spoil yourself with a taste of the island's prized olive oil, ouzo and sardines, or relax in its therapeutic hot springs. An excellent source of information on the island is...

Sleeping

Prices listed are high season (July to mid-September) when it is advisable to reserve ahead. Beira Mar (Map pp628-9 218 871 528 Largo Te rreiro do Trigo 16 s d with shared bathroom 25 35) The river location and views create an ambience of luxury accommodation for bargain-basement prices. Pens o Imperial (Mappp628-9 213 420166 4th fl, Praga dos Restauradores 78 s d with shared bathroom 25 35 (M) Restauradores) Located a short suitcase trundle from the main square, readers have raved about this...

Midrange

H tel de Nesle (Map pp212-13 g 01 43 54 62 41 www .hoteldenesleparis.com 7 rue de Nesle, 6e s 55-75, d 75-100 (M) Od on or Mabillon) A relaxed, colour-fully decorated hotel with 20 rooms, half of which are painted with murals taken from (mosdy French) literature. Even better is the huge back garden complete with pathways, trellis and a small pond. H tel S vres Azur (Map pp208-9 01 45 48 84 07 www.hotelsevresazur.com 22 rue de l'Abb Gr goire, 6e s 85-95, d 90-115, tr 135 (S) St-Placide) On a...

BUDGET

Private rooms are offered by dozens of homes in the area. Both Kompas (p677) and Globtour Bled ( 575 13 00 www.globtour-bled.com Ljubljanska c 7 S 8am-8pm Mon-Sat, 8am-noon& 4-8pmSun Jul & Aug, 8am-7pm Mon-Frl, 9am-2pm SatSep-Jun) in the Hotel Krim have extensive lists, with prices for singles doubles starting at 20 30. Bledec Hostel ( 574 52 50 Grajska c 17 HI mem-bers nonmembers high season dorm 17.5 20, low season 15.50 18, d high season 23.50 26, low season 21.50 24 (B) ) This...

Land

Bus services to Turkey from Western Europe only run from Germany, Italy, Austria and Greece, so if you're travelling from other European cities, you'd need to catch a connecting bus. Two of the best Turkish companies -Ulusoy www.ulusoy.com.tr and Varan www.varan .com.tr - operate big Mercedes buses on these routes. Sample one-way fares to Istanbul Frankfurt 130,45 hours , Munich 110,42 hours , Vienna 105, 36 hours and Athens 68, 20 hours . At the time of writing there were no direct trains...

Flamenco

Many of flamenco's top names perform in Madrid, making it an excellent place to see interpretations of this Andalucian art. The more 'serious' shows are usually set up in a dinner theatre style and are aimed at tourists. But many smaller bars also host once-weekly flamenco concerts or shows. Casa Patas Map p710 91 369 04 96 www .casapatas.com Calle de Ca izares 10 admission about 35 S shows 10.30pm Mon-Thu, 9pm amp midnight Fri amp Sat, dosed Sun M Ant n Mart n One of the best tab-laos in the...

Train

The partially privatised Trenitalia 89 20 21 www.trenltalla.com runs most train services in Italy. There are several types of trains local regionale or interregionale trains faster InterCity IC services and quickest of all, the Eurostar ES trains. Ticket prices depend on the type of train and class first class costs almost double second class . Regional trains are cheaper than InterCity and Eurostar services, both of which require a supplement determined by the distance to travel. Eurostar...

Bonifacio

The most vivid view of Bonifacio is from aboard a boat in the sapphire-blue Bouches de Bonifacio Strait of Bonifacio . This stunning 12km strait channels between Corsica's southernmost tip and the Italian island of Sardinia. From the water, the tall, sun-bleached buildings of Bonifacio's citadel appear to morph seamlessly into the serrated white limestone cliffs rising up from the sea. Within the clifftop citadel is a charming maze of alleyways with a distinct medieval feel. The tourist office...

Information

Bank of Valletta cnrTriq ir-Repubblika amp Triq San Gwann Foreign-exchange machine and ATMs. Emergency For police, fire or ambulance call 112. Police Station 2122 5495 Triq Nofs in-Nhar Post Office Pjazza Kastilja S 8.15am-3.45pm Mon-Fri, to 12.30pm Sat St Luke's Hospital 2124 1251 Gwardamanga Hill, Gwardamanga Malta's public hospital, near Piet about 3km southwest of Valletta take bus 75. Note that the new hospital, Mater Dei, is scheduled to open in Tal-Qroqq near the University of Malta in...

The Fatima Faithfuls

If you want to channel Dylan and buy one of the souvenir 'flesh-coloured Chrlsts that glow In the dark' then check out Fatima, located In between Lelrla and Tomar, and one of the largest religious shrines In Mediterranean Europe. Aside from gawping at the kitsch religious souvenirs, the place Itself Is pretty extraordinary with Its dazzling white basilica fronted by a vast concrete forecourt. Suspiciously reminiscent of an airport runway, this was built to hold more than a million devotees and...

Restaurants

0 Muro 222 083 426 Muro dos Bacaihoeiros 88 mains 7 S closed Mon Top-notch, well-priced restaurant on the river with delicious, filling food, including several vegetarian choices. Delightfully wacky d cor ranges from dried bacalhau to a Che Guevara poster. Restaurante Rom o 222 005 639 Pra a Carlos Alberto 100 mains 7.50 Small check-tablecloth place serving up tasty northern specialities such as tripe and roast kid. Leave room for the torta de noz walnut tart . Simbiose 222 030 398 Rua Infante...

Food Drink

Albanian cuisine is mainly dominated by roast lamb in the mountains and fresh seafood near the coast. The local ingredients tend to be organic by default - few farmers can afford pesticides. Tomatoes, in particular, are very tasty. A simple slice of bruschetta can be quite extraordinary. Offal, veal escalopes, biftek beef loin , qe-baps kebabs and qoft meat balls are very popular. F rges Tiran is a traditional Tirana dish of offal, eggs and tomatoes cooked in an earthenware pot. Don't order the...

BOAT

Sicily is accessible by ferry from Genoa, Livorno, Naples, Reggio di Calabria and Cagliari, and also from Malta and Tunisia. The main companies servicing the Mediterranean are Tirrenia 199 12 31 99 www.tirrenia .it , Grimaldi 091 58 74 04 www.grimaldi.it and GrandiHaviVeloci 0915879 39 www.gnv.it . SHAV in Palermo091 586066, in Naples081 761 23 48 www .snav.com runs a summer ferry between Naples and Palermo. Prices vary by season and are highest from July to September. Timetables vary, so check...

Chios

Due to its thriving shipping and mastic industries mastic produces the resin used in chewing gum , Chios hee-os has never really bothered much with tourism. If you are an off-the-beaten-track type of Greek Island traveller, you'll find Chios all the more appealing. One great attraction lies in exploring the island's inland villages, including some 20 mastihohoria mastic villages that were spared during an 1822 Turkish massacre because of the sultan's fondness for chewing gum. Chios Town, on the...

Sleeping Eating

Over 60 pensions and hotels lurk below the travertines in Pamukkale village. Eating at your accommodation is usually the best idea -most places have poolside terraces. Kervansaray Pension 272 2209 kervansaray2 superonline.com.tr inonu Caddesi s d 10 15 E S This popular travellers' hangout has a good reputation for cheerful service and decent rooms. Venus Pension 272 2152 www.venushotei.net Hasan Tahnsin Caddesi s d tr 8.50 17 25 2 Our personal favourite right now, this lovely pink house is run...

Corfu Kepkypa

Corfu is the second-largest and most important island in the group and many consider it to be Greece's most beautiful island. Built on a promontory and wedged between two fortresses, Corfu's old town is a tangle of narrow alleyways of shuttered Venetian buildings. The elegant List n, in the centre of town, is a row of arcaded buildings inspired by the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. The town's Palaio Frourio Old Fortress stands on an eastern promontory, separated from the town by parks and gardens...

Santorinithira

Stunning Santorini, shaped like a doughnut with a bite taken out of its southwestern side, is unique and should not be missed. Viewed from a boat in the doughnut's hole, the startiing sight of the submerged caldera almost encircled by sheer lava-layered cliffs - topped off by clifftop towns that look like a dusting of icing sugar - will grab your attention and not let it go. If you turn up in the high season though, be prepared for relentiess crowds and commercialism because Santorini survives...

Syri i Kalter

The Blue Eye Spring, about 15km east of Saranda, is a hypnotic spring of deep blue water surrounded by electric blue edges like the iris of an eye. It feeds the Bistrica River and its depth is still unknown. This is the perfect picnic spot, under the shade of the oak trees. There is no public transport, so unless you are driving you will have to get a taxi. A return journey to Syri i Kalter will cost around 2000 lek , with half an hour's waiting time. You get a tantalising glimpse of it en...

Mykonos Mykne

Sophisticated Mykonos shamelessly survives on tourism, but it does it well. The island has something for everyone with marvellous beaches, romantic sunsets, chic boutiques, excellent restaurants and bars, and its long-held reputation as a mecca for gay travellers. The maze of white-walled streets in Mykonos Town were designed to confuse pirates, and they certainly manage to captivate and confuse the crowds that consume the island's capital during the summer. Mykonos Town has two ferry quays....

Crete

To the Peloponnese Ionian Islands Piraeus To the Peloponnese Ionian Islands Piraeus Stavros oO Katholiko Q Moni Agias Hania jj Triadas O S,SoudaBciy S. To the N Cyclades Thessaloniki u M,on,', lrlnl oxy 0 kal0 Askyfou RETHYMNO Hn soskaMssas Voutas Moni Agia Myrttli0 s , ElafonJsi Lissos Sougia HRpumeh Anopolis skaloti lt gt Elatomsl EX , ,tm j gt OLefki Islet 'Cape u '- -'V1109KR Plakias T SAMARIA GORGE w , sfakion Preveli NATIONALPARK D a 0KnossosH GoL s miP- M lt M A Me e, Agios Parafe O M...

Sights activities Old istanbul

This is 'Old Istanbul', a Unesco-designated World Heritage site packed with so many wonderful sights you could spend several weeks here and still only scratch the surface. When the Emperor Justinian ordered work to start on flya Sofya Hagia Sofia Map p821 522 0989 Aya Sofya Meydani admission adult child 5.50 free S 9am-5pm Tue-Sun in AD 532, he meant to create the grandest church in the world, and it's certainly hard to miss the result. For 1000 years it was Christendom's largest place of...

Gythio Tyeio

Gythio yee-thih-o was once the port of ancient Sparta. Now it's a picturesque fishing town on the Lakonian Gulf and is the gateway to the rugged Mani Peninsula. Pretty Marathonisi islet, linked to the mainland by a causeway, is said to be ancient Cranae, where Paris prince of Troy and Helen the wife of Menelaus of Sparta consummated the love affair that sparked the Trojan War. You'll find the Museum of Mani History 27330 24484 admission 1.50 S 9am-7pm here in an 18th-century tower. Camping...

MONEY

The official currency of France is the euro. Bureaux de change are available in most major cities, and most large post offices offer currency exchange and cash travellers cheques. Commercial banks charge a stiff fee for changing money - generally it's cheaper to use the distributeurs automatiques de billets DAB, otherwise known as ATMs . Most ATMs are linked to the Cir- rus, Plus and Maestro networks - check with your bank back home for overseas fees. Visa and MasterCard Access or Euro-card are...

Crutenau District

Cosmopolitan and surprisingly fun city. Bicycles buzz along the canals and the city swings by night when students and politicians alike head for the many pubs and winstubs Alsatian restaurants that line the streets of the old town. Strasbourg's excellent museums and rosy-pink cathedral are worth exploring, and when you need to quench your thirst, you can take a tour of one of two huge lager breweries just outside the city centre.

Transport In Morocco

Morocco's main international entry point is the Mohammed V International Airport g 022 539040 , 30km southeast of Casablanca. Other international airports F s Airport 055 674712 Fifteen kilometres south of F s at Saiss. Ibn Batouta Airport 039 393720 Eighteen kilometres south of Tangier. M nara Airport 044 447865 In Marrakesh. Rabat-Sal Airport 037 808090 Ten kilometres east of Sal . For comprehensive information on all Morocco's airports, log on to the website of Office National des A roports...

Orientation Information

The train station is located 650m south of the main square, place d'Armes, and 700m north of Calais' commercial district, which is centred around blvd L on Gambetta and place du Th tre. On foot, the car ferry terminal is 1.5km northeast of place d'Armes. The Channel Tunnel's vehicle loading area is approximately 6km southwest of the town centre. The tourist office 03 21 96 62 40 www.calais -cotedopale.com 12 blvd Georges Clemenceau S 10am-1pm amp 2-6.30pm Mon-Sat, also open lOam-lpm Sun Jul amp...

Sleeping H

Hotel Galija Hotel Riviera Scaletta To Autocamp S to a 3km Oasis Fort Bourguignon Youth Hostel 6km . Verudeia Peninsula 6km from the town centre. Even if you don't visit the museum be sure to visit the large sculpture garden around it, and the Roman theatre behind the museum. The garden is entered through 2nd-century twin gates. Along Istarska are Roman walls that mark the eastern boundary of old Pula. Follow these walls south and continue down Giardini to the Triumphal Arch of Sergius 27 BC ....

Rabat

Relaxed, well kept and very European, flag-waving Rabat is just as cosmopolitan as Casablanca down the coast, but lacks the frantic pace and grimy feel of its economic big brother. Its elegant, tree-lined boulevards and imposing administrative buildings exude an unhurried, diplomatic and hassle-free charm that many travellers grow to like. Ave Hassan II divides the medina from the ville nouvelle and follows the line of the medina walls to the Oued Bou Regreg, the river that separates the twin...

Blue Cruise

Fethlye Is the hub of Turkey's cruising scene, dispatching dozens of yachts on a dally basis In summer. The most popular voyage Is the 'Blue Cruise' to Kale near Olympos , a four-day, three-night route that attracts more than Its share of young party animals. You can also continue as far as Antalya, or head In the opposite direction towards Marmaris - many people argue this Is actually a finer stretch of coast. For more ambitious trips you can charter the whole boat yourself, with or without...

The Costa Brava

The Costa Brava Rugged Coast was Catalonia's first tourist centre, and after you visit its rocky coasdine, romantic cove beaches and white-washed fishing villages, you'll see why. Though overdevelopment threatens the coast's charm, this is still one of Catalonia's most beautiful areas. Save time to explore the medieval villages and important historic and cultural sites inland, including the Dal museum in Figueres right . Ask for information at the tourist offices S lOam-lpm amp 4-7pm Mon-Sat,...

Trogir

The profusion of Romanesque and Renaissance architectural styles within 15th-century walls, as well as the magnificent cathedral at the town centre, inspired Unesco to name Trogir a World Heritage site. It's a more manageable town than Split and makes a good alternative place to stay given its proximity to Split airport. Trogir occupies a tiny island in the narrow channel lying between Ciovo Island and the mainland, and is just off the coastal highway. The heart of the old town is a few...