‘Darling, didn’t you know, fuchsia is the new black.’ And so someone in the fashion industry might deliver the ultimate put down – that you are…. wait for it…. off-trend. Well fear not, when talking travel it’s possible to avoid the same fate because here are some oh-so hot destinations that are most definitely the new black.
The Greek mainland is the new Greek islands
We’re not for a second saying that the likes of Santorini, Mykonos and Crete got bad overnight; more that the mainland, and the Peloponnese in particular, just got much, much better. The arrival of an Aman is always a good indicator of a region’s revival, and the Amanzoe near Porto Heli in the Peloponnese is a winner, but there are several other cracking hotels (try out the Kinsterna and Kyrimai for couples and the Westin Costa Navarino for families). Add in outstanding classical sites such as Mycenae and the Peloponnese is on a roll.
Sao Tome & Principe is the new Galapagos
The former Portuguese islands of Sao Tome & Principe sit extremely pretty in the crook of Africa’s elbow. While the economy is dominated by cocoa and coffee, a new angle is sustainable tourism thanks to the extraordinary profusion of wildlife both on land and beneath the waves of the waters surrounding the islands. There are 143 bird species (25 endemic) and orchids galore in the jungle interiors, endangered leatherback turtles nesting on the pristine beaches and humpback waters migrating past the islands from July to October. Add unbeatable bragability points for having been somewhere most people have never even heard of and this is a winner.
Sri Lanka is the new India
Overheard recently, an ecstatic visitor fresh back from Sri Lanka – ‘It was magical! Like India, but clean!’ With love to India which remains one of THE great destinations, since the civil war Sri Lanka has pulled its proverbial socks up and become a genuine rival to India for discerning travellers’ affections. What’s the big noise? Well, chic boutique hotels popping up all along the south coast, the Cultural Triangle of fabulously named cities such as Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Kandy, and the extraordinary rock palace of Sigiriya, surely one of Asia’s most awe-inspiring sites.
Fez is the new Marrakech
Technically speaking, Fez is actually the old Marrakech, with the former founded in the 9th century, 200 years before that whipper-snapper Marrakech, but you get what I’m trying to say. Whereas modern Marrakech is embracing tourism and change, Fez remains resolutely a medieval city (but one with really nice riad-style hotels), and a genuine experience in time travel as a result. Here’s to the next 1,200 years.
The Aegean coast is the new Amalfi coast
‘Sacrilege’, we hear you say, and it might be stretching a comparison to breaking point but bear with us. The town of Bodrum remains slightly underwhelming, but waterfront villages such as Alacati and a new crop of hotels lining the beautiful Aegean coastline more than match those of the Amalfi, and – oooh, controversial – few, if any, are resting on their laurels. Exhibit A has to be the spanking new Mandarin Oriental Bodrum, an elegant amalgam of Turkish and (surprise, surprise) Oriental influences with superb rooms and some of the best restaurants anywhere on the Mediterranean. While there’s nothing to rival Pompeii here (very little can), there are plenty of fascinating classical sites and Ephesus is simply spectacular.
Yaxha is the new Tikal
Guatemala’s Tikal tickles a lot of travellers’ fancy and the site is certainly one of the finest monuments to Mayan culture, but as a result attracts a lot of visitors every year. The wily explorer should head to Yaxha, another supreme example of Mayan city building just 30 miles to the south east and far, far quieter. Do the evening tour ending up on top of one of the pyramids to see the sun setting, with a strong chance you’ll be the only ones there to savour the view.
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