138 Telephone 01473 742424 or contact your travel agentFORTALEzA - HAMILTON ISLANDCultures of the Adriaticshaded walks and formal floral displays, surrounded by charming bars, cafés and some chic boutiques. Fortaleza, BrazilOne of Brazil's biggest but least famous cities, Fortaleza has developed into a major tourist centre, with the spectacular beaches becoming a magnet for both Brazilian and international tourists. But this is not just a beach restort. The excellent Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura includes museums, cinemas, theatres, galleries, a planetarium and cafés in an extensive complex linked by elevated walkways. The Parque Ecológico do Côco was established to protect the mangrove forest alongside the Rio Côco. The Memorial da Cultura Cearense is one of several excellent museums in the town. It is dedicated to the culture of the Ceará region, of which Fortaleza is the capital, with displays about the local cowboys and the Padre Cícero cult. Praia do Futuro is the city's most popular beach - 5km of soft rolling sands.Funchal, MaderiaFunchal has a magnificent natural harbour protected by hills that rise up over 1,200m. Compact enough to be explored by foot, it offers plenty to see. The central point is the Sé Cathedral, completed in 1517, which retains several original features. However, many of its treasures can now be seen in Funchal's museums, notably the Sacred Art Museum, which has major collections of religious art, sculpture and jewellery. Also worth a visit are two museums devoted to products which made Funchal wealthy: the City of Sugar Museum and the Madeira Wine Institute Museum. With rich volcanic soil and a magnificent climate, Funchal has many stunning gardens. The Monte Palace Tropical Garden has exotic plants from all over the world, as well as those from ancient forests native to the islands. Equally impressive is the Jardin Botanico, high in the hills. It can easily be reached by the magnificent Botanical Gardens cable car, which gives wonderful views over the city.Fujairah, UAEThe only one of the seven United Arab Emirates on the Gulf of Oman, Fujairah is mountainous, unlike the desert Emirates on the Persian Gulf, resulting in rainfall that is higher than in the rest of the UAE; the fertile coastal area is given over to farmland. The local souk is open daily. Unlike many, it mainly sells goods for local residents, such as plants, spices and textiles, rather than tourist goods and souvenirs. Along the Corniche there is a smaller evening souk which sells generic goods and copies of branded items such as perfumes, watches and clothing.Galveston (for tours to Houston), USAAlthough Galveston is often seen as just a port city providing access to Houston, its historic downtown area, The Strand, has been sympathetically restored over the past 20 years. The museums, fine buildings and 50km of beaches are a delight to visit. Houston, USAHouston itself is full of surprises. Famous as a focus of the oil and gas industry - and for the Johnson Space Centre - it's also home to museums, galleries, concerts, sports and a fabulous choice of restaurants and bistros. The Johnson Space Centre is a unique opportunity to see how astronauts train for missions, to touch a moon rock and to find out how to land a space shuttle. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is a multi-faceted complex that includes a planetarium, exhibitions, Imax theatre, the Cullen House of Gems and Minerals, the Wiess Energy Hall and a butterfly centre. Gaspé, CanadaThe French explorer Jacques Cartier landed here in 1534, claiming it for the King of France (although he thought he had landed in Asia) and so Gaspé lays claim to being the birthplace of Canada. Since Cartier, the area has attracted people from all over Europe, XXXand this rich heritage is celebrated with a signposted walking tour through the town which remains French-speaking to this day. The local tourist office provides audio guides and there are several explanatory display boards dotted through the walk. It's also worth travelling out to La Gaspésie, the headland jutting into the St Lawrence, where shipwrecks punctuate the coast and the cliffs are scarred by glacial markings.Getxo (for tours to Bilbao) SpainBilbao was established in 1300, set into a loop of the Nervión River, so that water protects it on three sides. The Old Quarter is small, but it's the place to find the city's more interesting bars and cafés - and to see the delightful Plaza Nueva, which is enclosed by 64 elegant arches. There's a flea market here every Sunday. Within the Old Quarter are ancient churches, notably the Iglesia de San Nicolás and the Basílica de Begoña, which has huge religious paintings by Luca Giordano. The Catedral de Santiago, dating from the 14th century but with a mid-Victorian façade, is nearby. For many, the main attraction is the Guggenheim Museum. This stunning creation of tumbling cubes and sensuous curves, covered in titanium squares like the scales of a fish, shocked local people when it was first built. However, although they still call it "The Beast", most have come to love the building for its homage to the city's maritime heritage - and its symbolism of Bilbao's regeneration.GibraltarThe Rock of Gibraltar is a giant limestone mass rising 425m out of the sea. Gibraltar is almost more British than the UK: policemen in familiar uniforms, red phone boxes and pillar boxes, and shops that could have come from any British high street. But this tiny country also shows traces of a long heritage dating back to its origins as Calpe, a Phoenician trading centre. A stroll round the walls of the old city - built by the Moors - provides more insights into Gibraltar's history. A cable car climbs up from Main Street to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve where visitors can see the Barbary Apes. From here, the Great Siege Tunnels can be visited: these were cut into the Rock to house cannons that protected Gibraltar over the centuries. In the centre of town are the Gibraltar Museum, covering the history of the Rock from pre-historic times, the impressive Roman Catholic Cathedral, in a converted mosque, and the Anglican Cathedral overlooking the harbour. Goa, IndiaWith a unique mix of Indian and Portuguese influences, Goa is both a classic beach resort and a sightseeing delight. Most of the interesting buildings are grouped close together. The Arch of the Viceroys was built in 1597 to commemorate Vasco da Gama's arrival in India, while the nearby Church of St. Cajetan is modelled on St. Peter's in Rome. Opposite the magnificent Sé Cathedral, which is bigger than any church in Portugal itself, is the Basilica of Bom. Here the remains of Francis Xavier, a founder of the Jesuit order and patron saint of Goa, lie in a silver casket next to the altar. There are several interesting museums in Goa, including the museum of archaeology, which has collections of manuscripts, coins and other artefacts from its history. Gozo, MaltaGozo is said to be Ogygia in Homer's Odyssey, the mythical home of the nymph Calypso. It's been inhabited for about 7,000 years, and in the Ggantija temples and the nearby Xaghra stone circle there are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world. The story of prehistoric Gozo is told in the Museum of Archaeology, in the Citadel of Victoria, Gozo's capital. Ta' Kola windmill, built in 1725, is close to the Ggantija Temples and has a folklore museum. Travelling around the island, visitors can see an astonishing number of churches, including one in the village of Xewkija with a capacity of 3,000 - more than the population of the village itself - and a dome larger than St. Paul's. Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos IslandsWith sun-drenched beaches and a beautiful sea, Grand Turk is a haven for both swimmers and those who just want to sunbathe. Cockburn Town is the historic centre of the island, an unspoilt place where donkeys still wander round the streets. The heart of the town, along the waterfront, has buildings that are two centuries old, with bleached wood and limestone facades and gardens filled with fragrant bougainvillea. The Turks & Caicos National Museum is housed in Guinep House, built with timbers salvaged from ships wrecked on the offshore reefs. The highlight is the remains of a Spanish sailing ship that sank in the shallow offshore waters some time in the early 16th century. It was excavated in the 1980s and displays include artefacts used by the sailors. The museum also has exhibits about the islands' ancient salt industry and the people who lived here before the time of Columbus.Halifax, Nova Scotia, CanadaCanada's most visited national historic site is the massive star-shaped fort, the Citadel, which sits at the top of Halifax's central hill. First constructed in 1749, the latest version was finished in 1856. The museum in the fort tells its fascinating story, and the views from the walls are truly spectacular. Halifax Public Gardens provide a delightfully peaceful way to cross the city on foot - a complete contrast to the busy refurbished waterfront. Down there, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is a real must-see, with a range of outstanding exhibits from the story of Samuel Cunard to the artefacts from various local shipwrecks and a poignant display about the loss of the Titanic. Hamburg, GermanyA city of huge contrasts, Hamburg was virtually rebuilt after the Second World War, although there are still a few historic buildings. The fine baroque church of St Michaelis has a famous dome of hammered-copper: take the lift to the top (or climb the 450 steps!) for wonderful views over the city and the River Elbe. The 14th century Gothic church of St Jacobi, which was restored in the 1950s, has some excellent medieval art, as well as one of the largest baroque organs in the world.In the centre of the town, the beautiful Lake Alster is an oasis of oak, lime and chestnut trees, with delightful walks among the flowerbeds and statues. For those who prefer shopping, the Lange Reihe has everything from chic boutiques to international brands, while at the other extreme is the Reeperbahn - one of the most famous streets in Germany - with everything from red-light shops to theatres and clubs. The Museum of History tells the story of Hamburg from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, with different rooms about the harbour, culture and social life. Art lovers will enjoy the Museum of Art, which has work by modern artists, as well as by German painters throughout history. Hamilton Island, AustraliaOne of the 74 Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island is ideally situated right in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, with crystalline blue water, lovely beaches and magnificent corals. As well as giving the best possible opportunity to explore the reef, the island offers a huge range of activities. Watersports include waterskiing, sailing and fishing trips, and there is a go-kart track, shooting range, mini-golf, driving range and a wildlife sanctuary where visitors can cuddle koalas or stroke baby crocodiles.
www.fredolsencruises.com 139HAVANA - IRAKLIONXXXHavana, CubaA beautifully preserved city, Havana retains all the vibrancy and fabulous architecture that come from its heritage as a Spanish colony. African influences, palm trees and a wonderful climate make this city visually beautiful. There are some quite superb buildings and peaceful shaded squares, especially in La Habana Vieja - Old Havana. Here is 500 years of colonial heritage, with perhaps the highest concentration of museums and galleries of any city in the world. The City Museum - Museo de la Ciudad - in an 18th century baroque palace, tells the fascinating story of Havana from its earliest days. On El Prado, one of the old town's main avenues, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is housed in two beautifully restored buildings. One has Cuban art, the other an international collection.The 8km-long seawall goes from Old Havana to the trendy suburb of Vedado. Parts of the wall are rather dilapidated, but currently under restoration. Vedado has art galleries, restaurants, cafés, and cabarets, as well small family shops.Havre St. Pierre, CanadaCalled Pointe-aux-Esquimau after the Inuit who were the first inhabitants, Havre St Pierre was settled by Acadians - French speaking American settlers - who had originally been deported from Savannah, Georgia. Local people still speak French with an Arcadian dialect, rather than the Quebecois French spoken elsewhere. One of the area's main attractions is the Mingan Archipelago which stretches almost 100km along the Gulf of St Lawrence. The islands have strangely eroded rock pillars topped by lichen and other vegetation. There are more than 200 species of seabird living here and schools of whales often visit, sometimes visible from the foreshore. Helsinki, FinlandThe Finnish capital since 1812, Helsinki was recreated by the tsars of Russia as a miniature St. Petersburg - during the Cold War it featured in many movies as a substitute Leningrad. Visitors can take their pick of an outstanding choice of museums, as well as admiring an enormous variety of church architecture, not to mention the neo-classical railway station and Senate Square. Surrounded by sea on three sides and with a beautiful archipelago forming the city centre, the city has a very special atmosphere. Many attractions are within walking distance of each other, such as the Stockmann department store, the Kiasma museum of modern art, and the Russian Orthodox Uspenskij Cathedral with its distinctive cupolas. The Suomenlinna sea fortress, dating from the 18th century, is a massive structure, and a memorable experience for visitors of all ages. And many locals claim that a visit to the Fazer café and confectioner is as important as a museum visit: the original art deco interior and solid marble floors are the perfect environment in which to enjoy the unique cakes, pastries and custards. Hobart, TasmaniaSettled in 1804, Hobart is the second-oldest city in Australia, after Sydney, and it has many well-preserved colonial buildings, especially around the picturesque harbour and in the narrow lanes of Battery Point. Many of the fine sandstone warehouses have been converted into cafés, galleries and artists' workshops. The Narryna Heritage Museum, telling the story of wealthy merchants who settled on the island. At the other end of the scale is the Female Factory Historic Sites, a former women's prison which operated as workshop until 1856, housing over a thousand women and children at any one time. More energetic visitors can climb the 259 steps of the Shot Tower for views out over the town and harbour. Ho Chi Minh City, VietnamSaigon - as Ho Chi Minh City was once known - is one of the most vibrant cities in the world, combining ancient pagodas, frantic markets, sleek skyscrapers, French colonial buildings and towering churches. For people of a certain generation, Vietnam is forever associated with the war that ended in 1974, and the War Remnants Museum has grim reminders of the conflict, while at the Reunification Palace there are reminders of the country's struggle over the past few decades. A longer view of the country's history is presented in the Vietnam History Museum. Ben Tanh Market can seem overwhelming at first, but it's definitely the place to shop for authentic local souvenirs: at the other extreme, the rather austere Notre Dame Cathedral is set in a peaceful garden. Holyhead, WalesIt's claimed that Holyhead was founded by St Cybi, a Breton priest who came here in the middle of the 6th century. Although it is best known as a busy ferry port, it has excellent fishing and sailing facilities, as well as good local beaches. Several prehistoric sites are nearby, including ancient burial chambers. The Maritime Museum, in the centre of town, has comprehensive information on more than a hundred shipwrecks that have occurred in the area around the island, including a range of artefacts recovered from the Irish Sea. The displays depict the maritime history of the town from the Iron Age to modern times. The South Stack Lighthouse outside the port has a long climb to the top, but the views are excellent. Honfleur, FranceHonfleur, with its pretty 17th century harbour, is one of Normandy's most charming ports, boasting some fascinating museums, churches and monuments. The Maisons Satie is the house where Honfleur's very own Erik Satie was born in 1866. He was a musician and painter - and visitors can wear helmets which play recordings of some of his compositions to augment the displays. Honfleur attracted many of the Impressionists and the Musée Eugène Boudin has an attractive collection of paintings, including work by Boudin. The Musée du Vieux Honfleur has interesting collections of old furniture, lace, embroidery and farm equipment representing life in bygone Normandy.Sainte-Catherine church is an interesting wooden construction built by ships' carpenters around 1500: the marine influence can be seen in the two parallel vaults in the shape of an upturned hull. NaturoSpace, on the edge of the town near the coast, is a giant greenhouse full of tropical plants and butterflies.Hong KongA teeming, pulsating city with over seven million people packed into less than 1,000 square kilometres, Hong Kong is like no other place on Earth. It's not just the towering skyscrapers and the chic shopping centres, the world's largest system of interconnected escalators or the technology paradise of Kowloon. There are stylish restaurants and friendly cafés, fashionable bars and fast-food courts. There are places of tranquility like the superb Zoological and Botanical Gardens and the leafy Victoria Peak with views out over the entire city, and there are amusement parks such as Ocean Park and Disneyland. There are Taoist temples, Buddhist shrines, mosques and churches. And there are perhaps a dozen world-class museums covering subjects as diverse as coastal defence, medical science, space exploration and modern art. For something completely different, there's the Star Ferry, plying its way between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, giving the clearest insight into the daily life of the local residents.Honningsvag (North Cape), NorwayThe world's most northerly village, Honningsvag was completely destroyed during the Second World War, but rapidly rebuilt. Now this beautiful little fishing port, with distinctive pastel-shaded buildings, attracts tourists from all over the world. The gateway to the North Cape, usually considered to be the "top of Europe", Honningsvag is framed by rugged mountains and the grey Arctic Ocean. On the North Cape, the North Cape Hall is a visitor centre offering wide-screen film presentations about the four seasons at the Cape, along with exhibitions, a panoramic window on to the Arctic Ocean. In the Kompasset restaurant, good food can be savoured while enjoying fabulous sea views: the Grotten Bar is a huge cave, cut into the face of the Cape cliff, in which to enjoy a coffee and freshly baked waffles.Ibiza, SpainAlthough it has a reputation as the clubbing capital of Europe, the island - especially the town itself - is really beautiful. Over thousands of years, Phoenicians and Carthigans, Greeks and Turks, Moors and Britons have come here and left their mark. The island's capital - Eivissa in Catalan - has a superb Old Town, with 16th century walls surrounding tightly packed cobbled streets. The main entrance is the Portal de Tablas, which passes into a courtyard leading to the main square. Take any of the streets off the square and find wonderful restaurants, tiny boutiques and family-owned cafés and bars. The castle complex has several museums, including a fascinating room that was only discovered in 2002 and was found to be full of ancient ceramics. From the castle battlements there are great views out over the town, as well as to the 13th century Cathedral of Santa María.The Can Marça Caves is a complex of ancient caverns which were once used by smugglers: stalagmites and stalactites decorate the caves. In the Archaeological Museum there are displays, including information about a Carthagean burial site next to the Museum. For more recent artefacts, the Museum of Contemporary Art has a small but interesting collection of work by contemporary artists.Ilhabela, BrazilThe volcanic island of Ilhabela - Portuguese for "beautiful island" - is popular for watersports, including sailing, snorkelling and free diving. The island itself is mountainous, with peaks reaching almost 1,400m and covered in dense forest. There are well-signposted hiking trails through the trees and the chance to see some of the 350 waterfalls that tumble down to the sea. There are also more than 40 superb beaches on which to relax and enjoy the tropical sunshine and deep blue ocean. The main town, Vila Ilhabela, has some delightful Portuguese colonial buildings, as well as friendly bars and cafés.IJmuiden (for tours to Amsterdam), NetherlandsPlease refer to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Invergordon, ScotlandInvergordon was formerly known as Inverbreakie. The earliest mention of this settlement is of a castle which existed here around 700 years ago. The natural harbour has been used to export local produce for centuries and was a naval base through to the 1950s. The Scotland Naval Museum and Heritage Centre in the town tells the story of the port's long association with the Navy. There's also an 18-hole golf course at the western end of the town with fabulous views of the Cromarty Firth and of the mountains to the West. Iraklion, GreeceAs with many Greek cities, Iraklion's history is part and parcel of daily life: the central square is dominated by a fountain built by the Venetian governor in 1628 and the town hall dates from the same time. Visitors can walk round the old city walls, ending up at a bastion overlooking the old harbour. Not to be missed is the Minoan city being excavated at Knossos, 5km south