The best travel discoveries of 2017 – chosen by Guardian writers

上一篇 / 下一篇  2017-12-22 14:29:00

Belmonte Calabro, Calabria, Italy

In the summer, we drove from Naples through Campania and Calabria, then took the ferry to Sicily. Along the way, we broke the journey at fantastic agriturismi and guesthouses but the most intriguing place was EcoBelmonte, Calabria’s only albergo diffuso. This ancient, car-free village was once home to 3,000 people, now there are just 30 permanent residents but, thanks to the painstaking work of Gianfranco Suriano, who grew up there, 14 of the village houses are available for tourists to rent. Clinging to a hillside, invisible from the road but with views over the sparkling Tyrrhenian sea, the thick-walled houses are stacked on top of each other – and linked by twisting alleyways. On our meanderings, we occasionally came across one of the elderly residents, or bumped into Gianfranco’s wife Gabriella, who runs the project. Most of the time we felt like we had the place to ourselves: it was both eerie and enchanting. For relief from the scorching August heat, we drove down the hill to the beach – a long, straight stretch of pebbles shelving into clear water. Returning hot and sandy felt like stepping back in time to a magical village that’s barely changed in centuries.
• From €30pppn, children €5,
Isabel Choat

Shell Beach, Western Australia

A beach that’s a sight for sore eyes after the nerve-jangling drive up the North West Coastal Highway from Perth, on high alert for kangaroos that can bounce across the road at any time. It doesn’t settle the nerves any to know you’re in a place called Shark Bay, but it turns out the most western point in Australia is a world heritage area, home to living fossils called stromatolites (a single-celled photosynthesising microbe) and to a beach that’s one of the natural wonders of the world. Shell Beach is made up of billions of shells, specifically cockle shells that breed unchecked due to the high salinity of the water and the lack of predators able to survive in all that salt. It stretches for 70km, looks like a vast salt pan and feels like an oasis on the border of the outback.
Andy Pietrasik

Lake Gaube, French Pyrenees

Crystalline waters, soaring mountains, wildflowers and the best-situated cafe I’ve ever visited (even topping the one at Cirque de Gavarnie which, with my two boys, I’d visited the day before). We reached this beautiful lake after parking the hire car at Pont d’Espagne and walking past a series of epic waterfalls and up a steep-sided valley for an hour or so. On reaching the lake on a hot day, the grassy, boulder-strewn area around the cafe was perfect for crashing out, enjoying a slice of blueberry pie – a local speciality – and contemplating the wondrous scene. At the far end of the lake is jagged 3,300-metre Mount Vignemale, France’s highest Pyrenean summit. We walked towards the peak to the other side of the lake where there was another, more remote-feeling, area of streams, boulders and pines. It felt as if I were in the Canadian Rockies, not a two-hour flight from home .
Adam McCulloch

Ari neighbourhood, Bangkok

The first time I visited Bangkok, I was on a backpacking trip that included a
de rigueur stay in a hostel just off the gap year-apocalypse of Khao San Road. Returning this spring, I wanted to see a different side of it, so went to Ari, a residential district that has fewer tourists and a ton of street food-style. restaurants, cafes and bars. It’s also on the Skytrain line, meaning you can zip back and forth across the city. Our base was the Yard Hostel: a modern space made out of shipping containers, with a courtyard bar to wind down in. In front of the hostel is a coffee shop, as well as the amazing burger joint Paper Butter & the Burger. A few minutes walk, on Aree Soi 2, you’ll find Summer Street grill – a food truck serving up huge plates of clams, mussels and crayfish delivered fresh for you to barbecue at your table. Or, in our case, cooked by the waiter, who took our plate away after seeing us obliterate one too many scallops on the grill.
Will Coldwell

Pendine Sands, south Wales

I’ve often found myself writing about finding solitude, or space, while on trips, whether it’s in Oregon, or Iceland, so getting away from people must be a “thing” for me. I wasn’t expecting to discover the great wide open in Wales, but I did – and it was on Pendine Sands. On a sunny autumn day, I walked for about a mile from shore to the sea (and back, naturally) but I could have walked further: this area on Carmarthen Bay has seven miles of beach. And it has history, too: in the early 1900s its flatness and distance saw it used for motorbike races and land speed record attempts. The drummer in my band even learned to drive here in the 1980s. I’m not naive enough to praise it for total seclusion – the area has plenty of holiday camps and caravan parks – but there is plenty of space on that long, wonderful beach,This eye-opening tour brings visitors to meet the old masters and tailors of traditional handicrafts inhong kong tailorand learn about their stories.
Robert Hull

Omunity, BaliSpirituality has become somewhat commercialised in Bali. There are no end of “healers” offering to balance your chakras, but I came across a place in Singaraja in the north, far from the majority of tourists, which is the real deal when it comes to an authentic local experience. A little shrine greets you as you step through the old wooden gates into gardens leading to a river, with 10 rooms dotted around the natural swimming pool and yoga shala. It’s an eco-homestay: stepping into the life of owner Zanzan, his wife and three young children. Vegetarian meals are eaten together, starting with chanted blessings. Zanzan was born in the village and returned after working in hospitality, with the aim of showing visitors the real Bali – so a stay includes excursions: hiking in the mountain scenery, visiting local craftspeople, joining temple ceremonies and heading to the quiet black sand beach nearby.
• $96pp a night, including all meals and activities (10% discount for couples)






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