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Food, beaches, walks, adventure … and romance: our 10 best travel stories of 2017

Category: Beer Humor
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From street dishes to savour, colourful coasts to relax at and cool cities to explore, its been another year of exploring the world. Here, we pick our favourite stories of the year. Warning: contains holiday romances gone wrong!

Europe’s hidden coasts: Costa de Prata, Portugal

For an experience of Portugal away from the droves of tourists that go there every summer, we headed to its central coast, where the Atlantic roars into empty beaches lined with delicious seafood restaurants.

Portugal’s Centro region is baffling. It’s between Lisbon and Porto, thus easy to get to and easy to get around. It has peerless beaches, a treasury of gorgeous historic towns and villages, and endlessly lovely people. The pristine coastline, horizons and skies go on forever. Yet there’s almost nobody here …

20 great UK walks with pubs, chosen by nature writers

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Railway viaduct over the river Nidd at Knaresborough

For what was one of our most popular features this year, we asked writers to share their favourite walks to get you outdoors this autumn and winter – the only condition? Every walk must include a pub.

Autumn’s true glories are experienced through trees: the turning of leaves from greens to fiery yellows and reds; the wine-black clusters of berries and nuts on drooping branches; the musty smell of leaf litter as shafts of sun streak the damp earth.
From Nidd Gorge, North Yorkshire entry

Unhappy Valentines: romantic holiday disasters

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Photograph: Alamy

From a bone-breaking encounter with a hot Greek waiter, to unrequited love in Anglesey, Wales, we asked writers to share their heartbreaking, toe-curling and painful, travel fails.

I proposed in Angkor Wat at dawn on my girlfriend’s birthday. We decided to celebrate by going on an early – pre-marriage – honeymoon to Luang Prabang. We’d save on the airfares if we did it now, I argued. We wafted around the gilded wats and the colonial villas of the ancient Laos capital for a couple of days in a fug of love. Then …
From There were three in the bed … entry

Bogotá, Colombia’s banging capital

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Photograph: Christian Heeb/Getty Images

In a city where the lanes in bowling alleys are laced with gunpowder, writer Vicky Baker travelled to Bogotá to experience a nightlife scene that sees you skipping between drag clubs and record bars, beer gardens to basement dive bars to a soundtrack of rock, salsa and cumbia.

I experienced my first tejo game on a trip to Bogotá, after calling on Andrés Martínez, a musician with electro-cumbia band Monareta, to show me some highlights of his hometown. It turned out to be one of the best nights I have ever had in an unknown city.

How paella got punked – and the Valencian chefs trying to save it

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Author Matt Goulding had sworn off eating paella but after years of eating underwhelming servings of the classic Spanish dish, he traveled to Valencia to discover how it’s done right.

Paella wasn’t the result of a singular creation from an inspired cook, but a slow evolution of necessity and adaptation, a convergence of land and history and circumstance.

Beara of glad tidings: south-west Ireland’s other great peninsula

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Photograph: Alamy

It may not be the most popular corner of south-west Ireland but Philip Watson visited the remote Beara peninsular anyway, finding a beautiful, rugged travel gem with stone circles and cosy bars.

The vast majority of visitors head out to foodie West Cork, loop round the famous Ring of Kerry, or strike out for Dingle and its resident dolphin. They bypass, however, the best bit in between: the beautiful Beara peninsula, Ireland’s foremost hidden travel gem.

Portland city guide: what to see plus the best hotels, bars and restaurants

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Sunset over the Portland, Oregon Old Town sign in downtown Portland. Photograph: Alamy

Our guide to the hip (too hip!?) West Coast city, where you can indulge in plenty of art and alternative culture in between breakfast, brunch, lunch and street food.

Undiscovered south-east Asia: remote towns and secret beaches

Sunrise
Photograph: Edmund Lowe Photography/Getty Images

With tips from Vietnam’s islands to central Laos, we asked writers to share their favourite spots across sout-east Asia to help you discover the hidden treasures that could make your next escape.

Nan province is rich in natural beauty, as its national parks can attest. Arguably the most famous national park – Doi Khu Pha – offers the province’s highest mountain and a smattering of villages featuring the Mien, Lu, Hmong and Htin tribes: ethnic groups uncommon in the rest of Thailand.

Canada’s Haida Gwaii archipelago: kayaking to the edge of the world

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