'I once went to Europe with a Brazilian pole-vaulter. He was so boring'

First holiday memory?

First holiday memory?

It is a place called Campland on Mission Bay in San Diego. It's basically just a big parking lot where you can camp and stay in caravans by the sea. It was my first family holiday - we swam and played volleyball and had barbecues down on the beach.

Best holiday?

I love Hawaii and Mexico because my holidays there have been consistently good. The Pacific coast of Mexico has some great beaches and I love the food. There are also some lovely hotels in Manzanillo and Cabo San Lucas.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I love Scotland - the lochs are just beautiful - but I also love London for different reasons. I lived there for three years and I really liked the fact that it was such a melting pot of cultures. There's a great energy about the place and I was never bored. But after three years of living in Hampstead and looking out of the window at grey skies I decided enough was enough and moved to the South of France.

What have you learnt from your travels?

To be patient and prepared for the unexpected. I'm a big traveller and I go to at least one unusual place every year. Last year I went to Iceland which was really bizarre and really fun - but also very expensive.

Ideal travelling companion?

My husband is definitely not on the list because he's a "white towel and massage" type of person and I like to camp and get dirty and not shower for a few days. I have a few American girlfriends who are great travelling companions because they're all pretty adventurous.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I live about 20 minutes from the beach so I'd rather have an adventure when I'm on holiday. I like to do something and learn something; I've been on archaeological digs before.

Greatest travel luxury?

I have a big cashmere blanket for the plane. Indulging in massages and being able to stay at nice hotels is also a luxury. I'm lucky that way.

Holiday reading?

I read all the time when I travel and it's usually non-fiction. For my next trip I am reading Chasing the Heretics, which is about the Cathars. I'm going to visit the region where they lived in the south of France during the Crusades. I like to get a bit of background about where I'm going. If I do read fiction it is usually a classic.

Where has seduced you?

Peru - it is my favourite country. I loved Cuzco, it was a really magical place.

Better to travel or arrive?

To arrive. If I could snap my fingers and be there immediately I'd probably go to a lot more places.

Worst travel experience?

I went to New Zealand for two days recently, which was really stupid. I had nobody to travel with so once I'd played there I turned around and came straight back. It took three days to get there and three days to get back. It was just an unbelievably awful experience. I felt absolutely terrible afterwards.

Worst holiday?

I went to Europe in 1984 with the first Calvin Klein underwear model. He was a Brazilian Olympic pole-vaulter and I thought we were going to have a great time. He turned out to be the most boring dud, so that was probably the most disappointing holiday.

Worst hotel?

The Moat House in Liverpool. I didn't stay there out of choice, I was there because I was touring. At least it didn't pretend to be anything it wasn't, but the management was hideous.

Best hotel?

The Interalpine Hotel in Austria. It's a new favourite of mine and I'm going back in a couple of weeks. It's the most beautiful hotel in the most beautiful spot. It's typically Tyrolean, in a fantastic landscape and you can take part in all sorts of outdoor activities like hiking and cross-country skiing.

Favourite drive?

My favourite drive is along Highway 1 on the Californian coast. I did it last year for the umpteenth time and it's still breathtaking.

Best meal abroad?

It was at Kildrummy Castle in the Scottish Highlands. I had salmon that had just been caught, which was absolutely amazing - it was so fresh. Some scallops that I had in Iceland that had just been farmed that morning come pretty close though. They were so sweet and fresh.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

I don't unpack, because I can't deal with that until the following morning, so I usually order a drink from room service.

Dream trip?

I really want to go back to Bolivia, which I'll hopefully do next year. I want to go back to the Salar de Uyuni salt desert - the landscape is outrageously surreal.

Favourite city?

San Francisco. There's something about the way the light hits the city that's unlike anywhere else. The air feels different too. It also has a slightly European feel to it and I think it's the most wonderful city in the world. I try to go back once a year.

Where next?

In February next year I'm going to explore the Deep South of America with a friend from New Orleans after playing some concerts in the area. I'm really looking forward to that, it should be a lot of fun because there are some very weird things going on in that region.

Belinda Carlisle is appearing as part of the "Here and Now" tour at venues across the UK from 10-18 December. For tickets and further information call 0871 2200 260 or go to www.here-and-now.info