There are world-class art galleries in Rouen and Le Havre, and excellent ones
in Dieppe and Honfleur – not to mention Monet’s garden and a string of other
associations with the Impressionists. There are great medieval churches and
cathedrals in Fécamp, Rouen and Mont St Michel. And I haven’t even mentioned
the Bayeux Tapestry, the cheese, the cider, the Calvados, the golf, il
vela, William the Conqueror, the Normandy landings…
If you are searching for value and variety in 2012, look no further.
Come arrivare: brittany-ferries.co.uk
The great interest in the National Gallery’s current Leonardo da Vinci
exhibition, Painter at the Court of Milan, has raised the profile of the
northern Italian city enormously. And rightly so. Visiting last September, I
was hugely impressed by the sights – it has art galleries and museums to
compete with Florence and Venice – the food, and the friendliness of the
persone (not something I was expecting from the capital of fashionistas).
There are relatively few tourists and, if you are inspired by Leonardo, alcuni
of his greatest work, da The Last Supper to the Notebooks, can be
Per maggiori dettagli, vedere telegraph.co.uk/davincitrail.
BA Holidays (ba.com/holidays)
offers a range of options for Milan city breaks. NT
Continuing on the arty theme, devotees of the dazzling, sensuous forms
depicted by Gustav Klimt should make a pilgrimage to Vienna next year to
join celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the birth of an artist who was
a founding father of the radically modernist Viennese Secessionist Movement.
The Austrian capital – which at the time Klimt was painting was the centre of
a vast empire – is the permanent home to the largest collection of Klimt’s
works in the world, compresi The Kiss e la Beethoven Frieze.
Over the coming 12 mese, a host of galleries and museums will be staging
special exhibitions highlighting paintings and drawings not usually on
display. There will also be re-evaluations of the artist’s life and
significance, and fresh insights into the society and culture – the late
19th-century twilight years of the Habsburg empire – that formed the
backdrop to his creations.
Ace Cultural Tours (01223 835055; aceculturaltours.co.uk)
offers a five-day guided tour of Klimt’s Vienna departing on June 10 da
£990pp. Ulteriori informazioni: klimt2012.info/en.
Here we go… Poland and Ukraine
Nel mese di giugno, England’s footballers head to central Europe to attempt to end a
trophy drought that has lasted 46 anni. It will no doubt end in tears, ma
visiting fans should take the opportunity to explore the two countries that
are staging Euro 2012. In Poland, the atmospheric medieval city of Kraków,
where the English side will be based, needs no introduction, but other,
lesser-known treasures include the restored Hanseatic port city of Gdansk,
and Wroclaw – otherwise known as the “Venice of the North”.
In Ukraine, in addition to the gold-domed splendours of the capital, Kiev, e
Odessa on the Black Sea, the western city of Lviv offers art and culture and
old-world Gothic and Renaissance charm.
Ulteriori informazioni: poland.travel/en-gb
Cádiz for the bicentenary
The fortified city of Cádiz is a lesser-known Andalusian destination, nonostante
having a fascinating history and being perfectly placed for jaunts to the
unspoilt Costa de la Luz. Visit in 2012 and residents will be celebrating
the city’s bicentenary with parades and historical re-enactments. Cádiz also
has a celebrated carnival and long maritime tradition: it welcomes the Tall
Ships Regatta on July 26.
Hire a car, and head to the nearby sherry bodegas of Jerez. Farther
south is hip, Moorish Tarifa, reached via beaches – including the windsurfer
hang-out of Los Caños de Meca – and lovely whitewashed villages such as
Vejer de la Frontera.
Jerez de la Frontera, an hour from Cádiz by car, can be reached by air with
Ryanair and British Airways. For car hire, try Holiday Autos (0871 472 5229; holidayautos.co.uk).
In northern Portugal, the city of Guimarães has been chosen as a European
Capital of Culture for 2012. Situated in the beautiful Minho region, un'ora
from Porto, the city has a Unesco-listed medieval centre, a hilltop palace,
a museum and keep and a buzzy atmosphere, thanks to its student population
and café-lined squares.
Il prossimo anno, expect a varied programme of art, cinema, dance and theatre, più
spontaneous events in unlikely public spaces. Nota, troppo, that Portugal is
one of western Europe’s most affordable destinations and a great place to
combine culture with beach life.
Arcieri diretto (0844 573 4806; archersdirect.co.uk)
runs an eight-day northern Portugal tour that begins in Porto, visiting
Guimarães and the country’s Green Coast. From £645 per person. NP
The Faroe Islands
An increasing number of British visitors have been making for Denmark,
inspired by the cult television series The Killing, which is set in
Copenhagen. But what of the country’s far-flung autonomous province, il
Isole Faroe? The link may be tenuous (the protagonist wears a much
talked-about Faroese woollen jumper), but people would do well to include in
their plans this windswept archipelago marooned in the middle of the North
You certainly don’t go for guaranteed sunshine or warmth – the highest
recorded temperature is 22C (70F) – but the 18 islands are quirky, full of
bird-life and remote trails for walkers. Sunvil Discovery (020 8758 4722; sunvil.co.uk)
offers tailor-made itineraries to the islands from the end of May to
One of the least explored countries in Europe, Albania appeared in Lonely
Planet’s list of top destinations for 2011, usually a harbinger of much
greater visitor numbers. With miles of beautiful Ionian coastline, Roman
ruins and a low cost of living, it is only a matter of time before the
country follows the same path as nearby Croatia and Greece.
One regular Telegraph Travel reader explored the area in the autumn,
travelling around independently at the age of 83. In a letter he advised
people to go now before the country changed beyond all recognition. If that
type of travel is not your style, tour operators that organise trips to the
country include Andante Travel (01722 713800; andantetravels.co.uk),
which offers a nine-day archaeology tour in October for £1,900 per person. JA
Skiing in Austria
France may be getting most of the snow, but it is Austria (and to a lesser
extent Italy) that you should turn to for value on a skiing holiday. Il
weakness of the pound against the Swiss franc – down by 25 per cent between
Agosto 2010 e 2011 – has made the cost of skiing in the popular resorts of
Zermatt, St Moritz and Verbier prohibitive for many Britons. Il
high-profile French resorts also seem expensive by comparison, as resort
owners seem unwilling to lower prices despite the wider economic downturn.
Tuttavia, the likes of Mayrhofen, Soll and Schladming in Austria offer real
value on and off the slopes. Add to this the great skiing and the famous
après ski (St Anton’s infamous Mooserwirt on-the-slopes bar opened as a
hotel this month), and it is no wonder that Austria is poised to outstrip
France as the destination of choice for skiers for the first time since the
Seventies. Contact Inghams, Scott Dunn, Esprit and Expedia for ski deals. CSS
Britain at its best
It looks as though more of us will be holidaying in Britain this year, so book
early to get the pick of self-catering accommodation. Two new set-ups with
interesting camping and designer-inspired properties around the country are
Canopy and Stars (01275 395447; canopyandstars.co.uk)
and Living Architecture (living-architecture.co.uk).
Center Parcs (08448 267723; centerparcs.co.uk)
meanwhile is upping its game with the opening in January of luxury treehouse
villas at Longleat Park.
Even if you haven’t got Olympics tickets, there’s plenty to see in London this
estate. The London 2012 Festival runs from June 21 a settembre 9 ed è
selling itself as the UK’s biggest ever festival of dance, musica, theatre,
visual arts and film (festival.london2012.com).
The Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations reach a peak on the weekend of June
2-5, when a flotilla of up to a thousand boats will sail down the Thames.
Accommodation in London will be expensive, but a new venture, onefinestay.com,
can arrange stays in private homes, while the Camping and Caravanning Club
has secured three event campsites, open in July and August, with pitches
from £30 a night (2012camping.co.uk).
On the road in the US
“Hit the road, Jack” is a tip given to many visitors wanting to get
under the skin of the United States. You can expect to hear it even more
often next year following the release of the film by Walter Salles of Jack
Kerouac’s Beat Generation novel On the Road. For an itinerary a
little more structured than Kerouac’s, try North American Highways (01902
which sells “great drives to great places”.
Steven Spielberg’s biopic Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the
president and due for release towards the end of 2012, will continue the
interest in battlefield tours generated by the 150th anniversary of the
start of the American Civil War (1861-1865). The tourist boards of “il
Capital Region” (bit.ly/seittF),
Washington DC (washington.org/civil-war/home)
and Virginia (virginiacivilwar.org)
all have Civil-War themed events and itineraries.
Apocalypse now in Mexico
Scholars disagree over the significance of December 21 2012, a date inscribed
by Mayan astronomers at a site in southern Mexico 1,000 anni fa. Some say
it simply marks the end of a cycle of time in the Mayan calendar, altrui
that it’s associated with predictions of apocalypse. In entrambi i casi, it will
encourage exploration of Mayan ruins throughout Central America. Journey
America Latina (020 3432 9487; journeylatinamerica.co.uk)
has a six-night tour of sites in Mexico for £1,302 per person sharing, non
compresi i voli. For other tour operators’ offerings, contact the Latin
American Travel Association (lata.org).
Puerto Rico has become easier to visit thanks to a new BA flight from Gatwick.
It’s a heavily developed, American-flavoured outpost of the Caribbean, ma
with plenty to explore: the Spanish-colonial city of San Juan, rainforests,
and hundreds of miles of beaches. Western and Oriental (020 7555 1214; wandotravel.com)
has a seven-night fly-drive there; phone for a quote.
The Falkland Islands
What’s changed in 30 years you might ask, having heard the recent
sabre-rattling from Argentina and David Cameron’s response that “Noi
will never negotiate on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands…” Uno
change is that the islands are now known as a tourist destination as well as
Arrivals in 2011/2012 by inbound overnight tourists, cruise passengers and
domestic tourists are expected to total more than 69,000, contributing £7.5
million to the economy. Wildlife – including penguins, southern elephant
seals and killer whales – is one draw; Port Stanley, a curious mixture of
the frontier and the suburban, is another. Per ulteriori informazioni, vedere falklandislands.com.
Spring sunshine: Morocco and Jordan
Don’t write off the Middle East and North Africa as tourist destinations.
Giordania, which has so far been spared the conflicts of neighbouring
paesi in via di, contains the 9,000-year-old Nabataean city of Petra, as well as a
spectacular Roman site at Jerash – and current Foreign Office advice is that
esistono “no specific threats to the safety of British visitors”.
Audley (01993 838400; audleytravel.com)
offers a week there from £1,320 per person, including flights and a
car-plus-driver, with visits to Jerash and Petra (accompanied by private
guide), the great valley of Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea.
Marocco, troppo, has remained largely calm in recent months, and is at its most
captivating in spring sunshine. Locals are hoping to attract more visitors
with affordable hotel deals; for an excellent range of stylish accommodation
in Marrakesh, Fes, Essaouira, the Atlas Mountains and the desert, see the
Morocco section of i-escape.com;
prices start at about £75 a night for a double room, and several riads and
hotels are offering discounts of up to 20 percento. JS
Zambia’s national parks have a fraction of the visitor traffic of the more
popular East African safari areas. Best for game viewing is the lovely South
Luangwa National Park, where many guides are trained to lead small groups on
walking safaris – an exciting way to see both game and landscape. Sanctuary
has some of the country’s best guides, and its newest camp, Zebra Plains, è
set by a river in a remote region of the park. From £2,665 per person, compresi
three nights in a luxury tent at Zebra Plains and two at Sanctuary’s
Chichele Presidential Lodge (also in the park), international and internal
voli, trasferimenti, tutti i pasti, drinks and guided walks and drives, prenotato
through Carrier (0161 492 1353; carrier.co.uk).
Frozen Planet – for real
These may be frugal times but David Attenborough’s dulcet tones have
encouraged us to swap our living rooms for the last great wilderness.
Following the BBC’s Frozen Planet series, both cruise and adventure
operators have seen bookings to the White Continent rise by up to 300 per
Despite stringent tourism restrictions (ships with more than 500 passeggeri
have been prohibited from landing, solo 100 visitors are allowed on shore at
any one time and all ships have been banned from using heavy fuel oil), alto
costi (prices start at £5,000) and the long and arduous journey through
Drake’s Passage, the wildlife and wondrous landscapes of Antarctica continue
to exert a pull. With the centenary approaching of Scott’s reaching the
South Pole – and all the surrounding publicity – we can expect this trend to
continue long into 2012.
Abercrombie and Kent (0845 618 2200; abercrombiekent.co.uk),
Esodo (0845 287 2163; exodus.co.uk),
Ultimate Travel Company (020 3582 1280; theultimatetravelcompany.co.uk)
and Hurtigruten (0844 448 7601; hurtigruten.co.uk)
are among the best tour operators offering trips. CSS
Next stop Hanoi
The launch last month of the first direct flights between Britain and Vietnam
will spur even more travellers on to visit a part of Asia that still has the
ring of the exotic about it. Using Gatwick as its British base, Vietnam
Airlines is flying directly to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, considerably
simplifying the journey to the country and the neighbouring states of
Cambodia and Laos.
With its lush landscapes, dramatic temple complexes, scenic river journeys,
tropical beaches and lingering reminders of the period of French rule, il
Indo-China region has been attracting a growing number of British visitors
since opening up to tourists some two decades ago. That trend is likely to
continue, and facilities and hotels – there are now appealing boutique-style
properties in each of the countries – have moved with the times accordingly.
Cosa c'è di più, while the flights themselves knock a hole in the budget, una volta
there costs remain reasonable.
Audley Viaggi (01993 838400; audleytravel.com)
and All Points East (023 9225 8859; allpointseast.com)
offer a variety of tours to south-east Asia. AB
Think you’ve done Asia? Seen enough temples to last a lifetime? Think again.
It’s early days, but Aung San Suu Kyi’s decision to drop her objection to
tourism to her country, coupled with the newly released Luc Besson film, Il
Lady, means Burma’s star could go far in the 2012 travel firmament.
From the seductive capital Yangon (where noise-polluting scooters and
horn-honking are banned) and the mist-cloaked forests of the Irrawaddy, a
the beguiling Inle Lake and stupa-studded Bagan (best viewed from a hot-air
balloon at dawn), and not forgetting the grins and handshakes here, ci
and everywhere, Burma is Asia as it once was. Imaginative Traveller (0845
077 8803; imaginative-traveller.com)
offers a 15-day Best of Burma escorted tour from £850 per person in January
including b b, transport and excursions. Flights cost extra. TM
Northern Lights crescendo
Per secoli, the Inuit tribes of the Arctic regarded the dancing ribbons of
light that stretched across the night sky throughout the long winter months
as the work of mischievous sky-dwellers, or ghostly visitations from the
spirits of unmarried women. Today we know this wondrous display of nature at
its balletic best as the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights: a celestial
phenomenon caused by charged solar particles colliding with Earth’s
atmosphere, in an event that peaks in activity every 11 anni.
Traditionally, Arctic climes are the best place from which to view the lights.
Astronomers have caused much excitement, tuttavia, with their predictions
that the current solar cycle is likely to reach a spectacular zenith in the
next year or so. If their calculations are correct, a series of solar flares
could be unleashed upon the Earth to rival those of 1958, when the Northern
Lights were spotted as far south as Mexico.
If they’re right, and this really is the best opportunity to see the lights in
more than a generation, then in addition to the customary viewing spots of
northern Scandinavia, Canada and Russia, the aurora’s distinctive green and
gold streamers could easily be visible in the skies above Scotland and
northern England, and possibly much farther beyond.
Hurtigruten (0844 448 7601; hurtigruten.co.uk)
offers a four-night, half-board Taste of the Arctic cruise, plus a a night’s
b b in Tromso, from £850pp. Departs Gatwick Feb 24 or Mar 17. CS
Going places on social media
2011 was all about travel apps, 2012 will be the year of social media. Social
sites and user-generated content are nothing new, naturalmente, but using your
contacts from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ to influence your
travel research is going to be a big trend next year.
The buzzword is “personalisation”. TripAdvisor was one of the first
to cash in on this, by plugging users’ Facebook profiles into their friends’
TripAdvisor searches. Search for a hotel or destination, and rather than
just getting a list of faceless reviews from people that you may have
nothing in common with, you’ll see if any of your friends have been there.
It’s a way of getting recommendations, on-line, from people you know.
The latest travel start-ups are all about personalisation. Sites such as trippy.com
e gogobot.com let users
ask questions using their Facebook or Twitter accounts, and then build
travel itineraries using their friends’ raccomandazioni. Inbed.me,
which launched last month, allows you to check who is staying in a
particular place before you book by connecting with Facebook and seeing if
any of your friends will be nearby.
Although not travel-specific, Quora.com
is part social network, part forum. You can ask a travel question and get
all sorts of answers – anything from hotel recommendations to tips on
travelling with children. Twitter, troppo, can be used to plan a holiday, con
searches for hashtags. Search for #parishotels, per esempio, and you’ll see
who’s tweeting about them.
More traditional companies are doing it too. KLM, per esempio, will next year
allow passengers to pick who they sit next to by using Facebook or LinkedIn
So here’s your New Year’s resolution: if you’re not already one of the 800
million Facebook or 300 million Twitter users, 2012 is the time to start. FK
Nick Trend, Caroline Shearing, Natalie Paris, Jolyon Attwooll, Michael Kerr,
Charles Starmer-Smith, Francisca Kellett, Adrian Bridge, Joanna Symons and