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Italian island offers free accommodation to young hikers

By Maureen O’Hare, CNN

(CNN) — In travel news this week, new hiking programs in Italy, America’s best restaurants and chefs and how to bear-proof your picnic.

Hiking in Italy

The Proclaimers were willing to walk 500 miles for their dream, but the under-35s only have to embark on a 500-kilometer (311-mile) walking route to qualify for three nights’ free accommodation in Sardinia, Italy.

The “Leg’s go in Cammino” initiative (yes, they really went with that pun) is to encourage hikers to try the historic Santa Barbara mining trail, which is broken down in 16 stages and takes about a month to complete. Expect cliffs, caves, forests, beaches, waterfalls and ancient sites. The accommodation vouchers are valid from September 15 to the end of the year, so start planning now.

If you only have a week to spare, a new seven-day walking trail has been launched around Italy’s spectacular Dolomites mountain range. The Cammino Retico is a 170-kilometer circular route that connects 10 villages and allows visitors to enjoy the country’s unspoiled bucolic delights.

America’s best restaurants

Almost every US chef would agree: The finest spice you can add to your cuisine is a James Beard Award. America’s most outstanding restaurant, bar and chefs were honored Monday when the 2024 winners were revealed during a ceremony in Chicago. Get them on your wish list.

Denmark has ruled there was just too much spice in some South Korean “fire chicken” instant ramen noodles made famous in a viral internet challenge. The level of capsaicin was so high in three varieties it could poison consumers, its food board said.

For a gentler tastebud experience, try French Polynesia. It’s home to delicious Chinese fusion food currently flying under the culinary radar.

And if you overindulge while feasting abroad, our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have this guide to everything you need to stay fit while traveling, according to experts.

Extreme weather

There were storms, flooding and catastrophic heat in tourist zones around the world this week.

Deadly floods and landslides in the Himalayan regions of India and Nepal killed at least 10 and left around 2,400 tourists stranded.

Greece and China were hit by searing heat waves. The Acropolis was closed to visitors and concern grew over missing tourists on Greek islands.

Planes were grounded at Palma de Mallorca Airport in Spain after a sudden storm flooded runways and water even gushed through the roof of the terminal building.

And an Austrian Airlines plane en route from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, to Vienna, Austria, was badly damaged when it was caught in a hailstorm mid-flight, with the nose and cockpit taking a serious trashing.

Animal encounters

It’s not just picnic baskets that attract Yogi Bear and his furry friends; they’re drawn to coolers and tents, too. Oakland Zoo in California has created a mock campsite to help people see how quickly bears can ravage them, as well as offering tips on “bear-proofing” your stuff to keep both people and animals safe.

Aggressive run-ins between sharks and humans are very rare, but with the summer heating up — and shark attacks this month in California and Florida — it’s a good time to revisit our tips on how to survive a shark encounter (or avoid one in the first place).

A saltwater crocodile, almost 12 feet long, was terrorizing an Australian town. After police shot it, residents cooked and ate it. “It was a rather large traditional feast and there were a few full bellies,” a police sergeant said.

On the cuddlier end of the scale, an escaped pet possum caused havoc on a China Eastern Airlines flight on Monday, forcing passengers to temporarily disembark the plane while the critter was captured.

Finally, an example of humans and animals in harmony together: the Oregan ranch where goats work as caddies. Says the ranch owner, “A lot of people said it was a stupid idea.”

In case you missed it

A Chinese tourist attraction has installed toilet timers. 

Quit stalling! And don’t even think about getting on your phone.

It’s not the only time passing water has sparked controversy in China this month. 

A viral video revealed a famous waterfall may be artificially piped.

He spoke to a woman at a bus stop on vacation.

Here’s how she became his future wife.

CNN Travel celebrates the best barbecue from around the world. 

It’s Father’s Day weekend after all.

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