You needn’t venture far to find a new favourite
We all have our favourite ports of call, the ones which seem to show us something completely different every time we visit and the places to which the prospect of returning never fails to excite. However, if “the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”, as Saint Augustine once famously remarked, one might argue that those who fail to explore beyond the familiar can never truly read the whole story. These are the subtle swaps that might just unearth your new favourite destination in 2017.
To many, New York means Manhattan. Once upon a time, Brooklyn’s reputation as the city’s grittiest borough saw it certified a no-go for tourists, but that couldn’t be further from the case today. Gentrification has completely transformed the borough in the last ten years, with property prices now beginning to eclipse those on the more-visited side of the Hudson. If you’re looking for an authentic New York experience, head here for pizza at Grimaldi’s, rock ‘n’ roll at the Brooklyn Bowl and vintage shopping with a killer view at the Brooklyn Flea.
When it comes to Spanish ports of call, the Mallorcan capital of Palma is often overlooked in favour of Barcelona. The truth is that the two share more than a penchant for Gothic architecture and Palma is an equally worthy contender for a sun-soaked city break. The Roman Catholic cathedral, La Seu, rises imposingly from the city walls of the old town, and the hustle and bustle of the narrow streets which lay in its shadow are living, breathing testament to the Mediterranean lust for life. A palm-lined promenade welcomes the yachts of the jet set and forms the starting point for boat trips around the pretty Bay of Palma.
With a dramatic bay, acres of architectural treasures, endless epicurean delights and one of the world’s best archaeological museums – home to more Pompeii artefacts than the actual site itself – Naples is unmissable. However, if you feel you’ve seen all the city has to offer, a day in nearby Sorrento will show you an altogether different side to life in southern Italy. The air here is shared by the scent of lemons and the aroma of old Hollywood glamour, and the sight of painted villas clinging to the craggy Amalfi Coast is every bit as charming as you might expect.
For Abu Dhabi
Dubai is the hyperbole capital of the Emirates, but it is the country’s capital which is set to snatch the top spot. Abu Dhabi was once recognised for its more understated approach, but a mixture of culture and class is now steering attention away from its glitzy sister city and towards the high-end developments springing up on this island locale in the Persian Gulf. The majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque remains the jewel in the crown, but the Abu Dhabi skyline continues to be shaped by the world’s leading architects, including Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi and the £530 million Guggenheim; a Frank Gehry masterpiece.
The medieval streets of Split emanate from Diocletian’s Palace and are home to a multitude of Roman treasures, however it is nearby Šibenik which holds the title of Croatia’s oldest town and one of the must-visit destinations of 2017/18. There’s an air of the Italian Riviera to Šibenik, yet the charming town remains beautifully underdeveloped and authentic to Dalmatian life. Walk the chunky walls of the town’s four fortifications, the views from which stretch across the old town and to the Adriatic Sea beyond. When the time comes to refuel, the Riva waterside promenade is an obvious choice, promising friendly chit-chat with the locals and a chance to sample that signature Croatian cuisine.
Cast aside your preconceptions of Corfu, especially those raised by raucous recollections of wild nights in the southern resort of Kavos. There’s plenty here aside from all-nighters, from Greek villages that time forgot, to a captivating capital, Corfu Town; Greece’s largest living medieval town and a UNESCO World Heritage site often compared to the busier Dubrovnik. The beaches that edge the island are some of the best you’ll find anywhere in Greece, a destination renowned for its immaculate Ionian waters, whilst those who venture further inland will find themselves lost in wild, untamed beauty, from mountains clad with cypress trees, to seemingly endless olive groves.