Architecture guide to Latvia’s Riga, one of the world’s greatest Art Nouveau cities

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Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong: Where witches curses meet a modern metropolis

A neighbourhood witch at Wan Chai will curse your enemies. Photo: Justin Meneguzzi What’s your weapon of choice? A stiletto? A ballet flat? Maybe a beat up old boot? It’s not a question I ever expected to be confronted with but here I am, sitting on a red plastic stool beneath a flyover in Wan […]

Sherlock Holmes Museum, London: The museum Arthur Conan Doyle never wanted to see

The Sherlock Holmes Museum, London. Photo: iStock Patients at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, in the shadow of London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, are often baffled by the plaque confronting them when they’re well enough to venture to the hospital museum. This plaque is brown and rectangular, unlike the round blue versions often seen around London for Nobel […]

Six of the best futuristic libraries

Tianjin Library attracts up to 10,000 visitors a day, making it the Chinese city’s biggest tourist attraction. Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode TIANJIN BINHAI LIBRARY, TIANJIN, CHINA There’s good reason why this luminous spherical library attracts up to 10,000 visitors a day, making it the city’s biggest tourist attraction. Enter the doors of Tianjin Binhai Library […]

Incan ruins: Six of the most impressive sites to visit

Machu Picchu, Peru. Photo: iStock MACHU PICCHU On a drizzly morning in 1911, American scholar and explorer Hiram Bingham stumbled upon one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century. High on a ridgeline in the Andes, above a crook in the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu – Bingham’s “Lost city of the Incas” – lay […]

Six of the best museums in Doha, Qatar

THE PLANETARIUM If you’ve ever worried about your weight, check out the scales at the just-opened Planetarium, a museum on the cosmos and solar system, with lots of gorgeous displays and information explaining how the galaxies work and what astronauts go through. But gravity is just as much as an attraction. I, for instance, would […]

Korea Furniture Museum, Seoul: See century-old wooden treasures at Korea Furniture Museum

Korea Furniture Museum in Seoul. “How do you live?” This simple question was posed to Chyung Mi-sook when she studied in the United States as an exchange student in the 1960s. Decades later, after a career as an academic in South Korea, she devised the perfect answer: in the form of a museum of traditional […]

Spain’s grand Seville Cathedral one of the most astonishing in the world

Seville is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville, Spain. Photo: Getty Images When plans for Seville cathedral were drawn up in the early 15th century, the brief was to create a building so beautiful and grand that anyone beholding it would take its architects for […]

Ex-industrial buildings give art and culture a home in Switzerland’s Zurich

Zurich’s bustling west district. Photo: Zurich Tourism I don’t know who Frau Gerold is, but she knows how to throw a garden party. Frau Gerold’s Garden in the ZUrich West district of Switzerland’s largest city is a very cool space, an urban oasis lined by bars and shops. In this mellow garden you can hang […]

Sydney during the Spanish flu: Tour goes inside the city’s disease-ridden past

The Quarantine Station at North Head, Manly. Photo: FairfaxMedia For a man who devotes much of his academic life to our pandemic past, Dr Peter Hobbins is concerned about how our pandemic present will be viewed and interpreted in a century from now by other medical historians. Masses of lived experiences are being generated on […]

Ten dead bodies that are tourist attractions: Famous embalmed bodies on display

Vladimir Lenin s body in the his mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square. Photo: Alamy VLADIMIR LENIN, RUSSIA There is something quite bewitching about gazing into the face of someone who was once one of the most powerful leaders in the world, and who reshaped the political order – even if they do happen to be […]

Ten fascinating buildings around the world that were moved to a new place

London Bridge, Arizona The current London Bridge in London is not the original – it was only opened in 1973. The previous, 19th century incarnation was deemed unsuitable for the traffic going over it, and bought by American developer Robert McCullough. He shipped it – in pieces – to the US, then attached it to […]

Ten of the best Beatles locations in Liverpool, England

John Lennon immortalised Strawberry Field, a former children’s home in Liverpool, in the hit Strawberry Fields Forever. PIER HEAD Imagine if the Beatles never existed. That was the concept behind Danny Boyle’s latest movie, Yesterday. But in truth, it’s hard to fathom a world without the band and its melodic tunes, especially when you’re in […]

Ten of the world’s best musical metropolises

Haus der Musik in Vienna. Photo: Supplied VIENNA, AUSTRIA This year is the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, with the Vienna Philharmonic launching a Beethoven cycle in the northern autumn, and other Beethoven-related events held throughout the year. The city was home to numerous classical composers, whose statues are dotted about and whose houses can […]

Ten of the world’s busiest tourist attractions: Are they worth battling the crowds?

The Louvre, Paris: The Mona Lisa may be the world’s most famous painting, but going to see it can be a dismal experience. A whopping 10.2 million people visited the Louvre last year, often queuing for over an hour to get a 30 second glimpse of Leonardo’s masterpiece. But the world’s largest art museum has […]

Traditional weaving in Guatemala: Keeping a dying art alive

Weaving is one of Guatemala’s most important cultural traditions – but it’s under threat. Photo: Paula Harding/Thread Caravan It is a sunny Monday morning in Chuacruz village in the mountains by Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan, and on the tiled floor of a turquoise-coloured adobe building a wizened Mayan woman is teaching our group of eleven foreign women […]

How to avoid gallery fatigue in Florence, Italy

Lorraine Kypiotis, a senior lecturer at Sydney’s National Art School, also leads tours around Florence. Photo: Supplied A senior lecturer in art history at Sydney’s National Art School, Lorraine Kypiotis specialises in the Renaissance period. She also guides art tours through Florence: her next tour is In the Footsteps of Michelangelo, April 24-May 9, 2020, […]

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra tips for visiting from curator Simeran Maxwell

Simeran Maxwell, curator.  Photo: Karleen Minney Dodge the droves and catch the curator’s choice: National Gallery of Australia curator Simeran Maxwell helps visitors get the most out of the NGA’s blockbuster Monet: Impression Sunrise exhibition, now showing in Canberra. STEP ONE Earlybirds get an exclusive hour with greatness with a premium entry to the exhibition […]

World’s top 10 hippie and alternative lifestyle destinations

Wandering Shaiva sadhus (holy men) with traditional body painting in ancient Pashupatinath Temple. Photo: iStock ZIPOLITE, MEXICO There’s not much to Zipolite, a small beach community on Mexico’s southern Pacific coast. It’s just a cluster of coastal homes, a few modest restaurants, some basic tourist accommodation. It’s this simple, isolated nature that first drew hippies […]

The 10 most romantic European castles

Burg Eltz in Germany. Photo: German National Tourist Office ALCAZAR DE SEGOVIA, SPAIN Reputedly one of the inspirations for Disney’s Cinderella castle, this fortress, royal palace and later military academy is the sort of castle you see in children’s drawings, all pepper-pot towers and turrets topped with grey roofs like witches’ hats. It has Roman […]

World’s top 10 best cities for street art

Street art in the downtown Buenos Aires. Photo: Gerold Grotelueschen BUENOS AIRES Relaxed laws around street art, a plethora of abandoned buildings and the Latino taste for adding magic to the mundane make the Argentine capital a free-for-all playground for street artists. The city hosts international street art festivals and its well-organised Buenos Aires Street […]

The Wolf’s Lair, Poland: Hitler’s World War II secret bunkers where he nearly met his end

The Wolf’s Lair, Hitler’s World War II secret bunker. Photo: Alamy It’s unnerving to stand at a location which was almost a turning point in history. At my feet is a monument resembling the crumpled pages of an open book. One side is inscribed in Polish lettering, the other side in German. It marks the […]

The world’s top 10 coolest taxis

You can ride a London Black cab without taking off your top hat. Photo: Supplied BLACK CAB, LONDON Lots of legroom, enough height to accommodate a top hat, a turning circle tight enough to navigate the entrance to the Savoy Hotel, and an old-fashioned silhouette make the hackney cab delightfully retro – although they’re not […]

The world’s 10 coolest festivals tourists don’t know about

Oktoberfest. Fun, but also overrun with tourists. Photo: AP It’s about this time of year that people start thinking about Oktoberfest. Bavarians will be preparing for their annual festival of delicious ale; Australian tourists will be getting ready for their yearly carnival of boozy debauchery. Oktoberfest is amazing, but it’s not exactly under the radar. […]

The world’s 10 weirdest accidental enclaves and exclaves

Dubrovnik, Croatia: The southern chunk of Croatia’s Dubrovnik-Neretva County – which includes the outrageously pretty city of Dubrovnik – is cut off from the rest of the country by a tiny morsel of Bosnia and Herzegovina. So those wanting to do Game of Thrones location tours in Dubrovnik, need to pass through this absurd 20km […]

The world’s funniest places: From New York stand-up comedy to crazy Japanese robot shows

M5BX9Y Performers at the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo sunaug25cover ben groundwater joke story ALAMY image for Traveller. Single use only Photo: Andie Mills / Alamy Stock Photo It feels like we need a laugh right now. With global politics in a state of unpredictable flux, with shocking acts of violence being perpetrated at home and […]

World’s oldest tourist attractions: From Jericho, Palestine to Burrup Peninsula, Australia

The Trajan’s Market at sunset in Rome, Italy. Photo: Alamy At 828 metres, Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the world’s tallest building. An achievement worthy of celebration, certainly, and worth seeing, but it has only held the title for 19 years. How much more impressive is the Great Pyramid of Giza? It might only rise […]

Toronto travel guide: What to see, do and eat in Toronto’s best neigbourhoods

Trinity Bellwoods Park in Queen West. Photo: Tourism Toronto One of the world’s truly multicultural cities, Toronto is a thriving melting pot offering some of the best nightlife, dining, museums and galleries anywhere in Canada. It’s estimated more than half of Toronto’s current residents were born outside Canada so, with this much diversity in one […]

Tourists flock to New York’s ‘Joker’ stairs: Eight steps films made famous

Tourists are flocking to the stairs seen in the hit movie Joker, located in New York’s the Bronx. Photo: Supplied Certain film locations are iconic before camera crews roll in to shoot a movie. But sometimes a movie scene is powerful enough to catapult an otherwise unremarkable site into fame overnight. The most recent example […]

Travel overseas and coronavirus: The 11 things I miss the most

Japanese trains are charmingly predictable: they’re always on time; they’re always clean; they’re always safe. Photo: Bloomberg You miss people, obviously. When you can’t travel, that global network of friends and family members that you’ve been so lucky to cultivate becomes reduced to a sea of faces on a computer screen. You miss all of […]

Travel tips and advice for Hungary: The best Jewish sights and war memorials in Budapest

Sculpted shoes as a Memorial for Jews killed during WWII besides the Danube in Budapest. Photo: Marc Dufresne It’s one of the world’s saddest sights – a jumble of shoes scattered along the Danube riverfront in Hungary’s capital Budapest. They come in all shapes and sizes, from workers’ boots to smart businessmen’s shoes, from dainty […]

The 10 best British TV show filming locations to visit

Highclere Castle is the setting of “Downton Abbey”. Photo: Supplied DOWNTON ABBEY, BERKSHIRE The “real” Downton Abbey is actually Highclere Castle, nestled, not in Yorkshire like the TV show, but in peaceful, rolling countryside 100 kilometres west of London. Owners Lord and Lady Carnarvon open their grandiose home to the public for about 70 days […]

World’s 10 most quirky museums

ABBA The Museum in Stockholm. Photo: Supplied ABBA THE MUSEUM, STOCKHOLM Music museums are common, but few focus on a single pop group and none have the same panache – and glitter – as this one. Exhibits are devoted to ABBA memorabilia, gold records and outrageous stage costumes. Visitors can plunge into interactive displays that […]

The 10 best space odysseys to experience (without leaving Earth)

Baikonur, Kazakhstan, is the world’s first and largest operational space launch facility. Photo: Science History Images/Alamy KENNEDY SPACE CENTRE, US Space-related tourism doesn’t get any better than this. NASA’s Cape Canaveral base has launched the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space missions; it’s where you’ve seen rockets and shuttles blasting off; it’s where miracles and disasters […]

Two Bit Circus, Los Angeles: A retro game park for adults in Downtown LA

Virtual Reality at Two Bit Circus. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but back in my day, arcade games were for kids, and bars for adults. . But Millennial alert – these days, adults play games. And because they still like a drink, most tend to do their gaming on the lounge at home. Boring. At Downtown […]

New York’s KGB Espionage Museum: Where to see Cold War spy gadgets in New York City

Artefacts in the KGB Espionage Museum in New York. Watch what you say around the ashtray … it could be bugged. Photo: Supplied Last year the world looked on in disgust as revelations surfaced about the poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. British police said a lethal […]

USA, New Mexico: Visit the landscapes that inspired artist Georgia O’Keeffe

American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887 – 1986) stands at an easel outdoors, adjusting a canvas from her ‘Pelvis Series- Red With Yellow,’ Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1960. Photo: Tony Vaccaro The world of artist Georgia O’Keeffe is ochre and sage and electric blue. Ragged dirt roads stretching off into infinity. Mesas emerging like apocalyptic remnants from […]

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