E-BIKE SIGHTSEEING A
JAMAICA: Stay for seven nights on all-inclusive at the four-star RIU Negril Hotel for £1,077. Fly from Gatwick on November
23. See firstchoice.co.uk. PRIDE OF PANAMA CRUISE: A sevennight cruise on board Marella Discovery 2 is from £1,099. Depart from Montego Bay in Jamaica and visit Puerto Limon in Costa Rica, Colon in Panama, and Cartagena and Santa Marta in Colombia. You’ll fly out from Manchester on December 11. Search tui.co.uk/cruise. DUBAI: A threenight half-board stay with a complimentary room upgrade at the fivestar Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel is from £699. Includes selected parks tickets and a resort credit worth around £65. Travel from Gatwick on dates from May 5 to July
9, 2019. Book by Friday at emiratesholidays.com. DEVON: The Old Malthouse is a pet-friendly cottage situated in South Pool between Dartmouth and Salcombe. Sleeps eight. Pay £899 for seven nights from November 22. See sykescottages.co.uk.
I’D heard that the views from Barcelona’s majestic Montjuïc mountain were unmissable…
But the one-hour walk up in the mid-summer sun with four tetchy children – or the huge queues for the cable car – didn’t appeal. The answer? Bikes…with batteries. Among other things, Barcelona is the world’s first biosphere city so “green” ways of enjoying its delights – such as on e-bikes – are increasingly popular.
Our guide Xavier started by showing us how e-bikes work. They look like ordinary cycles and have a manual gear on one side of the handlebar.
But on the other is the magic component – an electric motor with low, medium and high settings. When you’re on flat ground you leave the latter in low and rely on pedal power. But as the going gets tougher, you ram it up, allowing you to continue to cycle with ease.
You can actually feel a boost as the electric kicks in. But apart from a slight buzzing and the rectangular battery pack strapped behind the seat, no-one would know modern technology is doing the hard work for you.
The kids – Harvey, 17,
Max, 15, Rosie, 12, and Freddie, nine – loved soaring past puffed-out pedestrians without breaking a sweat themselves. OK, so my other half Tim and I childishly enjoyed it too.
You can reach speeds of up to 26kph and we climbed Montjuïc’s 210metres in around 20 minutes.
It’s the perfect way to explore a city that’s great for families. As well as offering heaps to see and do, it has a fantastic network of cycle lanes, and bikes are allowed on the wider pavements too.
Xavier showed us world-renowned sights like Palau Güell – designed by Barcelona’s most famous son, architect Antoni Gaudí – the imposing Palau Nacional palace and art museum, and the stunning waterfront.
He also showed us places we might otherwise miss. The kids loved the outdoor diving pool built for the 1992 Olympics – open to the public for swimming for just a few euros – and I enjoyed discovering La Mercè, the church visited each year by Barcelona