Saturday, 26 October 2019

A travel book that is seriously useful

There are myriad styles when it comes to travel books. 

There are the coffee-table tomes packed with beautiful pictures but little information; the guide books that feature here today-gone tomorrow hostels with details that are invariably out of date; or books that offer tons of historical context but little useful current information. 

Rare is the reference book you can grab before you head off to Munich, or Hobart, and find some genuinely useful tips. 

I've been guilty of visiting several cities and then finding out only after leaving that there was a fascinating destination just a short bus or train ride away from where I had just been. 

Newly published by Lonely Planet, Three Hours From…, is a collection of almost 900 day and weekend trips within three hours of 60 of the world’s most popular cities, from Amsterdam and Běijīng to Marrakesh and Rio de Janeiro.



Australia is represented by short escapes from Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney and 
Perth, as well as the breakout lists "Australia’s best food & drink escapes", and "Oceania’s most fascinating indigenous experiences".

With sights, activities and hidden gems – all built around themes like art and culture; the outdoors and food and drink, Three Hours From… has many useful ideas for city escapes and longer stopovers. 

I had no idea the Bavarian Forest National Park, on the Czech border, was just a two-hour drive from Munich (where I visited last month) and might well have fancied an excursion to Passau. 

Likewise, lots of visitors to Hobart might be unaware they are less than an hour away from Bruny Island. 

"In this book we hope to inspire you to look beyond the city limits for your next adventure," Lonely Planet says. "Whether you’re in Delhi, Vancouver, Brisbane or Rome and whether you live there, work there, are on vacation or are simply passing through with a day to kill, we encourage you to widen your net.

"Just an hour and 40 minutes from Cape Town you can spy breaching whales from the cliff path at Hermanus; within two hours of Manhattan you can be surfing at Rockaway Beach; and if you find yourself in Běijīng with time on your hands, you can choose between rafting a scenic gorge, visiting Jin era temples, or hiking along the Great Wall – all are within three hours of the city."

Each of the 60 global cities in this book is presented with a map of the surrounding area, pinpointed with up to 18 of the most interesting things to do within three hours. 

These points are colour-coded by theme so you can easily find what you’re interested in, be they outdoor pursuits, arts and culture, history, festivals and events, film and music, or food and drink. 

The corresponding entries are listed by the time it takes to get there from the city centre.

Lonely Planet's Three Hours From… costs $29.99 and is available now wherever books are sold. www.lonelyplanet.com

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