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Number 14

August 2017

MAJORCA

Inspiration from above

Macau: Bridging Lisbon and Peking

48 HOURS

Bangkok and its love of rooftops

ROMANTIC

Croatia for demanding foodies

GASTRONOMY

Contents

Magazine

CONTENTS

CONTENTS

Number 14

48 hOURS

Macau: Bridging Lisbon and Peking

Start off in China, continue through Portugal, and wind up at a canal in Venice. Such are the walks through Macau, the European-style Asian jewel on the banks of the Pearl River.

ROMANTIC

Bangkok and its love of rooftops

Walking around the streets in the Thai capital is not the same as seeing it from hundreds of metres high above the ground. Lounge in one of Bangkok’s rooftop bars with a cocktail in your hand, and things take on a completely new perspective.

GASTRONOMY

Croatia for demanding foodies

Istria white truffle, Ston oysters and signature olive oil: Discover the flavours of Croatia with your palate, and with your suitcase in hand.

CULTURE

Castles fit for a khaleesi

Nearly 20 castles are camouflaged in the desert to the south and east of Amman. Discover the secrets Jordan hides behind these stone walls.

NATURE

Serra de Tramuntana, inspiration from above

It might seem like a sacrilege to talk about Mallorca and not mention the beaches, but it’s really not. The biggest of the Balearic islands has a stellar selection of inland alternatives, including a rendezvous with the muses on the viewpoints along the Serra de Tramuntana.

TOP 6A

Adios chlorine...Hi there, natural swimming pools!

Nature doesn’t need to clean out the bottom of its pools to keep its waters crystal clear. Have a refreshing swim in the planet’s bluest of blue pools.

YOUNG PEOPLE

Is New York really the city that never sleeps?

The buzz of “the city that never sleeps” is contagious. When there’s so much to do at night, who’d want to go to sleep?

Top 6A

Six examples of hell on Earth

Do you dare visit these geographic features for a taste of the underworld? Careful, it’s hot.

Travelbeats

Fashionable hotels and restaurants, ground-breaking galleries, new openings and the hottest hotspots on the planet all await you here.

Staff

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Publishing Director

José Antonio Gutiérrez

Creative Director

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Design

Carmen Ovalle

Editor in Chief

Lucía Martín, Elena Arranz, Patricia Gardeu, Alejandra Abad, Rosa Pernía

Writers

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Programmers

48 hours

Magazine

48 hours

Macau: Bridging Lisbon and Peking

Start off in China, continue through Portugal, and wind up at a canal in Venice. Such are the walks through Macau, the European-style Asian jewel on the banks of the Pearl River.
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Children resemble their parents. Thus, in Macau, food arrives accompanied by Chinese tea, or a good Oporto wine, a legacy of its Portugese heritage. Residents of the Macau peninsula occupy top spots on life-expectancy rankings—thanks, perhaps, to their cross-cultural lineage. The multicultural influence has also contributed to tourism-generated income which, in turn, has been invested in improving the public health system. However, as Confucius once stated, it is not enough to live on rice; one needs flowers as well, “to have something to live for.” In this sense, Macau has much to recommend it.\n

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Macau’s colonial charm has won it recognition by UNESCO, which declared it a World Heritage Site in 2005.  The Old Quarter of Macau reflects the commingling of Chinese and Portuguese cultures, as well as many others. After all, for centuries it served as the gateway to the Asian giant for the rest of the world. Merchants along the spice routes coming from Africa, India and Malaysia also left their marks on the region. This cultural exchange is reflected in its food and traditions, as well as in the character of the Macanese people. Far from identifying with a single civilization, they see themselves as a unique and inimitable blend of many.\n

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Double the holidays

One of the advantages of being at the crossroads of two cultures is that there is twice as much to celebrate. Visitors to Macau can attend traditional Chinese festivals such as the Lunar New Year or the Dragon Boat Festival, as well as Catholic celebrations. The most important of these are the Holy Week (Semana Santa) and the Our Lady of Fatima procession.\n

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Macau’s old quarter reflects the meeting of Chinese and Portuguese cultures

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The best way to become familiar with Macau’s history is by losing oneself among the colonial buildings, Chinese-style residences and squares, which echo the sounds of Fado but smell of Szechuan peppers. A good place to begin is at the Senate Square (Largo do Senado), whose wave-shaped pavement ferries you 11,000 km away to the cobblestoned streets of Lisbon.

The promenade crosses an avenue of pastel-coloured buildings and arches in the European style, among which the Santa Casa de Misericordia and the Church of Santo Domingo stand out. The route ends at the ruins of Sao Paulo, the city’s symbolic altar. Its iconic facade is the only one preserved from the ancient Madre de Dios Church, constructed by the Jesuits in the early XVIIth century, and destroyed by fire. Within are statues and engravings of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, alongside other, more orientally inspired examples, such as dragons and Chinese characters. The ruins are accessed through a staircase decorated with shrubs and flowers—a nod to Confucius and his reasons for living.\n

Photo: Eddy Galeotti / Shutterstock.com

Although Portugese, along with Chinese, is the official language, few Macau resident are fluent in it. Cantonese is the language used most commonly.

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Photo: aphotostory / Shutterstock.com

The procession of Our Lady of Fatima leaves from Santo Domingo Church, ending at the Our Lady of Penha Chapel.

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Metres away from the ruins lies the traditional Chinese temple of Na Tcha, constructed in 1888. Despite the undisputed imprint of the Portuguese, to whom it belonged until 1999, Macau’s heart is both Asian and of the sea—much like its oldest temple, the A-Ma, dedicated to the patron godess of fishermen. It is said that when Portuguese colonists arrived on the peninsula in the XVIth century and asked the locals for the name of the place, they were told “A-Ma-Gau,” meaning “the Bay of A-Ma.” The Portuguese transcribed this as Macau.

The fusion of East and West is equally evident in their cuisine—bacalao cod shares pride of place with Peking Duck, and ‘dim sum’ with custard. Without a doubt though, the dessert par excellence remains the ‘pasteis de nata,’ a yolk-based pastry first created by the monks of the Hieronymite Monastery at Belem (Lisbon). Lord Stow’s Bakery on the principle square of the island of Coloane sells 14,000 of these pastries daily; nearly as many as the original Lisbon pastry shop. Such is their success that they now run eight establishments in Macau, including one inside the luxurious Venetian Hotel, where you can enjoy this Chinese-Portuguese delicacy facing the Venetian canals (gondolas included) of The Shoppes commercial centre. One more cultural touch to add to the Macanese cocktail.\n

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Photo: hayami via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

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Romantic

Magazine

ROMANTIC

Bangkok and its love of rooftops

Walking around the streets in the Thai capital is not the same as seeing it from hundreds of metres high above the ground. Lounge in one of Bangkok’s rooftop bars with a cocktail in your hand, and things take on a completely new perspective.\n

T

When Stuart, Phil, Alan and Doug, the stars of ‘The Hangover,’ chose Bangkok for their second great stag party, it was for a good reason. In ‘The Hangover Part II’ they celebrate Stuart's wedding in the Thai capital—the city with the best nightlife in all of Asia. The country known as the "land of smiles" bursts into laughter at sunset.
 
Many of these great moments happen hundreds of metres above the ground, on terraces and rooftops where bars and hotels give you 'free' views for the price of a cocktail. Indeed, it has to be the best two for the price of one. Like 'poptails,' a creation halfway between an ice lolly and a cocktail, which came about when actors in 'The Hangover' were filming on the rooftop of the lebua Hotel. Nearly 250 metres high, Sky Bar, the most photographed terrace in Bangkok, has reinvented the cocktail culture with its own tribute to Hollywood, the Hangovertini. You can also choose from among other signature cocktails such as Summer Sunset, Sky Devil, Pop Star and Pink on the Roof.\n

Sky Bar shares the rooftop with Sirocco, one of the highest open-air restaurants in the world. To get there you have to go up to the hotel's 63rd floor. When you arrive, a flight of stairs leads up to the restaurant, awarded a Perfect 10 by Thailand Tatler magazine, which awards scores in four categories (food, wine, atmosphere and service). Heading the kitchen team is Chef Gonzalo Ruiz: his Mediterranean-inspired cuisine features ingredients that are hard to find anywhere else in the city. A jazz band completes the scene.\n

Cherry or chilli?

Lime, kefir, cinnamon and passion fruit, with a dash of spice. The cocktails served in Bangkok's aerial bars are inspired by Thailand's gastronomy, an explosion of flavours ranging from sour to sweet and hot.\n

The dress code at Vertigo and Moon Bar doesn't allow sportswear or flip flops.

The list of best high-flying venues in Bangkok is constantly being updated. One of the latest additions is CRU Champagne Bar, the place “where angels play.” This is the calling card of the rooftop bar located on the 59th floor of the Centara Grand Hotel. Opened in December 2016, it gets its name from the French word 'cru,' given to top quality vineyards, and its aim is to redefine the way we drink champagne. The drinks menu includes luxuries such as the exclusive Pink Mumm No.1 Champagne (it's the only bar in Thailand to serve it), Caspian Sea caviar and oysters.
 
The design of the CRU Champagne Bar is modern and contemporary. Its central area contains a round bar on a raised platform that dominates the whole space. It's the perfect place to start or end a night out and raise a glass of fine bubbles while enjoying a 360º view of Bangkok.\n

Photo: CRU Champagne Bar at Red Sky

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High up, but low prices

“Casual rooftop bar.” This is how Cloud 47 describes itself. Located on the 47th floor of the United Centre office block, this lively Bangkok bar is halfway between luxurious rooftop bars and modest roof terraces across the city. Enjoy its vibrant atmosphere and pocket-friendly prices.\n

The restaurants in the Bangkok Millennium Hilton serve eastern and western cuisine.

The lively Thai nightlife is also great for going out as a couple. Even three doesn't have to be a crowd—at least if the romantic Bangkok night sky is the third guest. The 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel is home to Vertigo and Moon Bar. This Asian fusion restaurant serves top quality seafood and meat dishes, though it's really more famous for its cocktail bar and standout drink, Vertigo Sunset, combining Malibú with pineapple juice, cranberries and lime.
 
And then there is the cutting-edge style of the Millennium Hilton Bangkok. It has eight bars and restaurants with views over the river, some of them partly open-air. Ideal for drinks with the night sky as background, in tribute to Bangkok's Thai name, ‘Krung Thep,’ which means “city of angels.”\n

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Gastronomy

Magazine

GASTRONOMY

Croatia for demanding foodies

Istria white truffle, Ston oysters and signature olive oil: Discover the flavours of Croatia with your palate, and with your suitcase in hand.\n

C

roatia lets you release your inner glutton. And without the guilt, since it boasts a healthy Mediterranean diet. Besides beaches and history, the country of a thousand islands is known for its good food. The secret is in the source produce, carefully cultivated by farmers in inland regions, and fresh fish and seafood in coastal towns.\n

Ston celebrates oyster day. Revellers also enjoy other traditional products, like mussels and wine.

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The Croatian menu offers meat, seafood, cheese and a glass of maraschino, the renowned cherry liqueur, as a dessert or aperitif. But, the undisputed star is the truffle, particularly the white one (aka, tuber magnatum pico). Truffle hunters will pay up to 20,000 euros for truffle dogs, which sniff out this prized mushroom in the forests of Motovun, on the Istria peninsula. In 1999, Giancarlo Zigante and his dog Diana found the biggest white truffle in the world: a 1.310 kg giant that earned immediate inclusion in the Guinness World Records. Zigante could have sold it, but preferred to share it over dinner with friends. If you would like to try the product hailed as the ‘king of truffles’, visit his restaurant, located in the village of Livade.
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The best-known wineries are in Momjan and on the outskirts of Rovinj.

The Istria peninsula is the truffle region, but it is also home to vineyards and olive groves. It is known as the Magic Land and brews the essence of the Mediterranean. Merchants and conquerors shaped this land, with its mild climate and Provençal scenery. Its Venetian legacy can be observed in the colourful houses of Rovinj, while the Romans left their mark in Pula, in the form of an enormous amphitheatre. Besides visiting medieval cities like Grožnjan and Opatija, you can also enjoy wine tastings. The best-known wineries are in Momjan and on the outskirts of Rovinj.\n

Besides truffles, the medieval city of Motovun is worth a visit for its architecture, art galleries and independent film festival.

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The skyline of Rovinj, Istria, is dominated by the Church of St Euphemia, standing at 57m high.

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On the glamorous island of Hvar, the longest in the Adriatic, there is also a great winemaking tradition. The Greeks planted the first vines on here way back in 834 BC, and since then the islanders haven't stopped producing high quality wines. Pošip, from the vineyards of Zlatan Otok, is considered the finest white, alongside the indigenous Bogdanuša, a variety produced only in Hvar and whose name means ‘gift from God’. You can sample it at local restaurants or buy a bottle and climb aboard a yacht, just as celebrities do along the island’s coastline. To walk off your spiza, a local term for a good meal, wander through the cobbled streets of the old centre, or explore the fields further inland, which are blanketed with lavender.

Olive oil is the other great legacy the Greeks and Romans left in Croatia. Though production levels don't compete with the country’s Mediterranean neighbours, this oil is considered one of the best in the world. Small family companies grow their own olives and produce a limited quantity of oil. Hand-made quality guaranteed. The olive oil of the islands of Solta, Korcula and Krk, and the virgin extra olive oil of the island of Cres, in the Kvarner region, have a protected denomination of origin.\n

Itinerary for gourmands

Food and festivals always pair well. The Drniš prosciutto festival takes place in September. And for foodies who are also keen runners, the Istrian Wine Run traverses the wine regions of the peninsula in early September.\n

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Without leaving the Dalmatian Coast, there are still numerous delicacies left to enjoy. For instance in Ston, which, besides having the European Great Wall of China (the longest wall on the continent, measuring 7km), is known for its oysters, enjoyed by locals and tourists all year round. They are also the star product on the menu at numerous restaurants in Dubrovnik, just 60km away.

Another unmissable stop for seafood lovers is Kvarner Bay, whose langoustines are supposedly the tastiest in the Adriatic. Meanwhile, meat lovers can sample the lamb from the island of Pag. The bura wind carries sea salt to the meadows where the sheep graze, giving their meat a unique flavour. The same thing happens with Paški Sir, a strong cheese obtained exclusively from sheep on that island. Delicious accompanied by prosciutto, grapes, wild-flower honey and olive oil. There is nothing you won’t find in the country of a thousand islands.

Ready to plan your own trip to Croatia? Book now.\n

The island of Krk is one of the liveliest in Croatia. You will find it hard to get bored, since it has 68 villages to visit.

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Culture

Magazine

CULTURE

Castles fit for a khaleesi

Nearly 20 castles are camouflaged in the desert to the south and east of Amman. Discover the secrets Jordan hides behind these stone walls.\n

Lawrence of Arabia’s room was near the main entrance.

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Brainstorming for George R. R. Martin

If the author needs inspiration for the latest edition in his saga, he could journey to south Amman and visit Karak castle, an ancient crusade fortress and the setting of the battle of Hattin. Following the conquest of the castle, Saladino pardoned the prisoners, but he executed their leader himself, in true Ned Stark style.\n

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ame of Thrones has never been filmed in Jordan. But it should be. In its red landscapes, the Mother of Dragons would definitely have found a few Dothraki to join her in her crusade to reclaim the Iron Throne.

The desert castles would have been an ideal hideaway to regather her strength on the long path to King’s Landing. Built between the 7th and 8th centuries, during the Umayyad dynasty, they are a valuable example of early Islamic art and architecture. They are found to the south and east of the capital of Jordan, on a desert plain that extends to Saudi Arabia. Some, like Qasr al-Qastal and Qasr al-Mushatta are only around 30km from Amman.

The Umayyads left their mark on this Bedouin land through sand-coloured stone structures. If it weren’t for their imposing size, they would be camouflaged against the arid, dry desert terrain. Inside, mosaics and frescoes, probably inspired by Persian and Greco-Roman traditions, decorate the rooms. Some still maintain part of the splendour of those days, with paintings of stories and legends that took place long ago. \n

They are called castles, but not all of them are fortresses. Most were actually built for caravans (caravansaries), granaries, trade centres, hammams and rest stops. A few of them were used as military forts, however, of which, Qasr al-Azraq is the best known. Although the existing structure dates from the 13th century, it is thought that the original one was built by the Romans in the year 300AD. Since then, they have been used by the Byzantines, Umayyads, Mamelukes, Ottoman and even Lawrence of Arabia, who turned it into his headquarters in the winter of 1917. In his book Seven Pillars of Wisdom, he described an enormous gate made of black basalt, like the rest of the building. The fort is located in a strategic position, at least 6km from the Azraq oasis, the only source of water in the eastern desert of Jordan. Its 12 square kilometres of plants, pools and marshland are the reason why a castle in this area was so coveted.

Qusair Amra is another essential stop on this route. It is about 28km from Azraq and is the best preserved of the desert castles. From the outside, it is reminiscent of a Star Wars set, but the best part is the murals inside. What is so special about these paintings is that they contain living beings, which was prohibited with the arrival of Islam. They include a portrait of caliph Walid I on his throne, with a further six governors of the time. It is unknown whether they were allies or enemies. The castle probably formed part of a larger complex, of which only the reception hall and a luxurious hammam with mosaic floors remain. It is included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, an honour to which Qasr al-Mushatta also aspires, although the building has never been completed.

The mysterious Qasr al-Kharrana looks most like a castle, but archaeologists and historians can’t agree on its origin. Its enormous walls give it a defensive appearance, but the design of some parts seems to have been based on aesthetic rather than military motives. Perhaps it is still waiting for a new use: a khaleesi to occupy it with her Dothraki army and dragons, to give the castle its identity back.\n

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A Jordanian road trip

At Amman, you can also rent a car and travel the King’s Highway, a road that is 335km long and 5,000 years old. It passes through Madaba, Mount Nebo and the Dana Biosphere Reserve, among other places. Prehistoric settlements, biblical towns, castles from the crusades and ancient Islamic cities make up this journey through history.\n

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Nature

magazine

NATURE

Serra de Tramuntana, inspiration from above

It might seem like a sacrilege to talk about Mallorca and not mention the beaches, but it’s really not. The biggest of the Balearic islands has a stellar selection of inland alternatives, including a rendezvous with the muses on the viewpoints along the Serra de Tramuntana.\n

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hotographers and filmmakers dream about it. The ‘green ray’ is an atmospheric phenomenon that happens at dusk, over the horizon where the sea meets the sky. Writer Julio Cortázar, following Jules Verne, researched the phenomenon until he managed to see it and penned a story about it. The magic took place at Serra de Tramuntana. 
 
There’s no need to search for the muses in this mountain range that lines the northeast of Mallorca (Spain): they simply appear along the near 100-kilometres of routes and climbs and the 20 municipalities that have inspired a great number of artists. Frédéric Chopin, for instance, moved to Valldemossa, and this mountain village is now home to a museum dedicated to his music and life story. “It is the most beautiful place in the world,” said the composer.

Finding inspiration in Tramuntana simply requires wandering off, up to peaks that tower almost 1,500 metres high; walking from viewpoint to viewpoint as the landscape unfolds below. Stunning birds-eye views can be seen from the two main peaks, Puig Major d’en Torrella and Massanella, which rise up almost a mile above sea level.\n

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La Serra de Tramuntana was declared a Protected Nature Area in 2007.

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Valldemossa is all about steep streets, stone façades and lush vegetation.

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The route of an archduke

In the late 19th century, Archduke Luis Salvador de Austria purchased several estates on Mallorca, which combined to make up the route known as ‘Camí de S’Arxiduc.’ Departing from Valldemossa, the route crosses the most important peaks of the Serra de Tramuntana, as well as some of his other properties, such as the Monastery of Miramar.\n

Ses Ànimes (which translates as ‘the viewpoint of souls’), near Estellencs, in the south of the mountain range, is home to a defensive tower built in 1579. Declared a Cultural Heritage Site, legend has it that lost souls still roam the area, though the living should also be wary if they suffer from heights, as the view over the sea from this cliff is quite something. 

The sights are also breathtaking from the viewpoint at Sa Creueta, in Formentor. Located near Port de Pollença, it looks out over the island of Colomer and Cala Bóquer, the latter dotted with small palm trees that open out onto an 80-metre virgin beach. The one at Sa Foradada, between Valldemossa and Deià, is named after an imposing rock with a large hole in it. Sunsets here are truly Instagram-worthy.\n

Sa Creueta viewpoint towers up 230 metres above sea level.

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The viewpoint in Ses Barques, between Sóller and Fornalutx (the latter considered one of the prettiest villages in Spain), is a favourite among hikers and the starting point for many paths. One popular route zigzags to Clot de Déu and the fortified mountain of Son Marc surrounded by stunning drops. Other locations seem untouched by the passing of time, including the chapel of Pare Catany, in Puig de Muleta, perched atop ‘the sacred mountain of Sóller.’

These mountains also bewitched British writer Robert Graves, author of ‘I, Claudius.’ In 1929, he moved to Deià and his home in the little village has become a museum housing the cultural legacy he left behind on Mallorca. From Gabriel García Márquez to Peter Ustinov, Ava Gardner, Winston Churchill and Audrey Hepburn, many artists visited this mountain range in search of inspiration, and it’s easy to see why.\n

There is more to the Serra de Tramuntana than stunning viewpoints and gorgeous natural landscapes. Along the way, you’ll come across picturesque villages like Sóller, where an old train with wooden carriages has connected the village with Mallorca since 1912, offering spectacular views that can only be seen from the tracks.\n

Charming villages

“It is the most beautiful place in the world.”

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Top 6A

MAGAZINE

TOP 6A

Adios chlorine...
Hi there, natural swimming pools!

Nature doesn’t need to clean out the bottom of its pools to keep its waters crystal clear. Have a refreshing swim in the planet’s bluest of blue pools.

To Sua Ocean Trench (Upolu, Samoa)

To reach paradise there’s no need to go upwards. Here, you simply need to follow the wooden stairs that lead down to the To Sua Trench, a turquoise pool formed by volcanic activity and hidden away some 30 metres beneath the dense tropical vegetation.

Cenote Ik Kil (Yucatan, Mexico)

A world of Mayan gold and jade just waiting to be discovered. But the real treasure here isn’t in the depths of the majestic cenote, but above the surface: a mirror of water, tropical birds and the sun slipping in through the roof. Head here a visit to nearby Chichen Itza archeological site for the perfect day.

Emerald Pool (Krabi, Tailandia)

This crystal pool is found in the stunning Khao Phra Bang Khram reserve. Head there either in the early morning or late afternoon and be sure to also check out the nearby hot springs, where, you can swim in temperatures of between 32 and 42°C.

Fairy Pools (The Isle of Skye, Scotland)

The heart of the Black Cuillin mountains is the setting for this group of waterfalls and picturesque pools which appear either turquoise or emerald depending on the time of year. The freezing cold waters are for the truly brave of heart, even if you’re wetsuit.

Nanda Blue Hole (Espíritu Santo Island, Vanuatu)

Given the choice, it’s better to be in a blue hole than a black hole. And even more so if it’s Vanuatu’s bluest hole. This spectacular oasis was formed by fresh spring waters carving a hole into the limestone and is now served by a bar and picnic area. Oh, and the small entry price includes a free coconut to drink.

Grotta Della Poesia (Puglia, Italy)

According to legend, a princess used to swim in the waters of Roca Vecchia, an area renowned for its dramatic karst gorges. Her beauty inspired Italian poets who made the journey to Roca Vecchia to write prose that has endured to this day.

Photo: Sean Condon / Samoa Tourism

Franco Cappellari /www.viaggiareinpuglia.it - Agenzia Pugliapromozione

In search of lost waters

The Mayan underworld

In the heart of the jungle

Fairy tale landscape

Bluer than the sky

Pure beauty





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