I recently spent nine days in Lisbon, which felt downright decadent. The whole time I was there, I kept meaning to visit Castelo de São Jorge. It’s a guidebook must-see and I definitely had time. But the castle on the hill started to feel less and less important as I roamed the city’s colorful neighborhoods and joined the rhythm of everyday life. Here’s why I returned home an ambassador for the Portuguese capital.
I spend a lot of time exploring big, dynamic cities. But these isolated islands 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador grew on me in such a way that when I left, I felt as though I was taking some of the characteristics of the landscape and animals—fearlessness, energy, equilibrium—home with me. Here are a few other things I learned about the Galápagos along the way.
London isn’t high on many people’s travel lists past early fall, but I happen to love London when it’s cold outside. “You get to see the city for what it really is in the winter,” my friend Lauren Bryan Knight told me. “It’s London with her hair down, devoid of anything other than the quiet rhythm of Londoners living out their daily routines.” Here’s why the English capital should be on your winter travel list—and how to make the most of your time while you’re there.
Last week, I enjoyed two completely different dinners out in the French capital’s 11th arrondissement. The contrasting experiences in the so-called “Brooklyn of Paris” reminded me why right now is a wonderful time to be in the city that casts a magical spell, whether it’s your first or fifteenth visit.
Love exploring new cities around the world? Join @NatGeoTravel’s Urban Insider and Orbitz travel editor Sarah Gorenstein for a live Twitter chat on Wednesday, November 5.
On a recent visit to San Francisco, I was fortunate to have Nat Geo photographer Catherine Karnow as a companion and guide. As we explored the city in her zippy convertible, we made a point to venture across the bridge to Marin County, where Catherine makes her home. Here’s a list of ten of our favorite places experiences–on both sides of the bay.
Oakland is enjoying a moment in the sun right now, as evidenced by a recent spate of media hits and amorous outpourings on social networks. But after Nat Geo photographer Catherine Karnow and I spent time there on assignment, we both left convinced that the city’s ascent isn’t fleeting, but one that will have a long tail, bolstered by a steady stream of colorful shop and restaurant openings and an influx of equally colorful characters seeking lower rents and a less stressful lifestyle.
If you think traveling with a Nat Geo photographer is a dream project–like I did when I heard I’d be working with Catherine Karnow–I’m here to tell you that it most definitely is. Not only did I gain insight into Catherine’s singular brand of photojournalism, I made a new friend–one I hope to see and work with again around the world. Here are a few things I learned from Catherine in the hopes that you, too, can benefit from her vision and experience as you explore and document the world.
As our joyful adventures in Dublin drew to a close, it was good to know that there were more adventures ahead. Catherine and I would be flying back over the Atlantic to explore the place Catherine calls home: San Francisco. And after exploring Catherine’s favorite spots, and discovering new gems together, we figured out the perfect way to spend a day in the City by the Bay. Here’s our recipe.
There was a time when I thought getting a world-class meal in Dublin involved hopping a plane to New York. That’s why I was blown away by the culinary scene Catherine Karnow and I encountered. The quality, creativity, and dedication to local ingredients we witnessed were on par with what you’ll find in some of the most sophisticated cities in the world–yet set apart by a uniquely Irish emphasis on comfort and simplicity. Here are ten must-try foodie havens that are making waves in Dublin.
My trip to Dublin marked the first time I’d be traveling with a National Geographic photographer and I was hoping to pick up a few tips. But I had no idea that the whole experience would be an immersive lesson in how to fall in love with the world and people through the lens of…
I’d been to the Irish capital several times before, but had never ventured from the city center to the seaside towns along the coast. As I came to find out, these aren’t seasonal communities brimming with tacky T-shirt and ice cream shops, but rather idyllic suburbs of Dublin where many families make their home.
I’ve been to Dublin several times before, and have always found it to be a relaxing, almost effortless, city to visit with its eminently walkable city center bisected by the River Liffey. But this time, I was exploring the Irish capital with Nat Geo photographer Catherine Karnow. Together we discovered a new energy to the Dublin we have both come to know and love. Here’s how we spent our first, perfect day in Dublin, and how you can follow our trail.
Destinations often call to mind other locales. Quebec City has a whiff of Paris to it, Laguna Beach can feel vaguely Italian, and the horse farms of New York’s Hudson Valley offer whispers of the English countryside. But Williamsburg and environs is hard to compare with anywhere else. Here are 11 things I loved about this picturesque region of Virginia.
The Archaearium at Historic Jamestowne is all about reality, warts and all. Some of the museum’s exhibits feature relics that shed light on the darkest moments of the settlement’s early days–including the skeletal remains of “Jane,” which many believe proved that the colonists resorted to cannibalism in the winter of 1609. After viewing the skull, which had been found, discarded carelessly in a cellar, in 2013, I was told it was “clear from the beginning that she was processed to be eaten.”
Some artistic efforts have the ability to powerfully move you, while others are meant to be enjoyed for enjoyment’s sake. I encountered both in Williamsburg, a town that has long attracted an intellectually curious crowd partly owing to the fact that America’s second-oldest university, the College of William and Mary, is located there.
The greater Williamsburg area is a fantastic place to be outdoors. During my stay I rented a bike, took long walks, sipped wine in a spectacular setting, and boarded a boat for a cruise down the James River. Exploring the land from different perspectives gave me a greater appreciation for the complexities of America in its earliest stages–and the spirited community that occupies the site of its earliest permanent English settlement today.
If you’re an American history nut, there’s a good chance you’ve been to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. But as I discovered on a recent visit, Williamsburg is much more well-rounded–and upscale–than its reputation lets on. The locals, far from standing still, are opening great restaurants, producing award-winning wines and beers, and creating an environment capable of luring big-city dwellers to this relaxing southern city.
I enjoy eating out in L.A. more than any other city in the world. That’s a bold statement, especially coming from a New Yorker, but the combination of superior produce grown in a Mediterranean climate, fresh (and inexpensive) sushi, comfort food at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, and authentic Mexican cuisine spilling over the border holds…
While I have an unabashed appreciation for all things Los Angeles, it’s carefree Santa Monica that hooks me every time. I don’t worry about what I’m eating, what I’m breathing, or about the carbon footprint I’m leaving behind when I’m in in Santa Monica, where sustainability and organic, healthy living are top of mind.
In 1888, two things I love were born: the National Geographic Society (obvious bias here) and the Hotel del Coronado. I realized the coincidence as I stood in the Del’s wood-paneled lobby, where, on the surface, little appears to have changed in the past 126 years except for the attire of the crowds passing through. But this American classic isn’t frozen in time.
The Bard of Avon was born 450 years ago and, rightly so, England is celebrating his enduring legacy. Rather than zipping over to Stratford for the day and checking off Shakespeare sites from a list, I wanted to experience the landscapes that inspired his words. That’s how I found myself ordering waterproof shoes, packing light layers and Lycra, and landing in London to bike Shakespeare’s Way, a self-guided route around the English countryside.
When I know I’m going on a trip, I immediately start canvassing my network of friends around the world for advice about what to see and do. So when I heard I’d be heading to San Diego, I went straight to Nat Geo Travel’s digital director, Carolyn Fox, who grew up a few miles north of the city, in Del Mar. Here’s her idea of a perfect day in San Diego County–and what I found along the way as a visitor armed with her recommendations.
I set off from Miami without an agenda. I was headed south to Key West on the famous Overseas Highway and wanted to let serendipity lead the way. With only a short amount of time on my hands, I didn’t want to be saddled with an endless list of to-dos. Here’s what I found on my…
The Miami of today may not look like any place my grandparents would recognize–at least from the outside. But Magic City’s big heart and carousing spirit are here to stay.