Five must-visit travel spots for 2015
Has the feeling of wanderlust struck? Sophie Marie Atkinson selects this year's most interesting travel experiences.
Now that easyJet has launched direct flights to Essaouira from Luton, sun-seekers can avoid the mayhem of Marrakesh and head straight here for vibrant souks, rooftop cafes and stylish riad hotels. Travellers can spend the mornings taking in the sugar-cube houses before heading to the vast, sandy beaches and taking advantage of the crashing waves (the town is a real surf haven). When it’s time to eat, wander down to the quayside for divine, freshly grilled sardines. For a truly unique experience, check out the Sufi music and culture festival held every year in June.
Pilsen, Czech Republic
Known for its beer, which has been brewed in the city since 1295, Pilsen is currently basking in the attention of being one of two 2015 European Capitals of Culture (the other is Mons in Belgium). Visitors can stroll through the charming centre to admire the 13th-century cathedral, the grand Renaissance-era city hall or 19th-century synagogue. They can also explore the revitalised industrial areas where they’ll find artworks in unlikely spaces, such as in abandoned public bathhouses and former brewery-cum-barracks.
Having risen from an industrial past, there are lots of good reasons as to why the now-trendy Leipzig is being called ‘the new Berlin’. In 2015, the city celebrates 1,000 years since it was founded – but it’s not short on contemporary attractions such as the art space, The Spinnerei, which is housed in a former cotton mill. There are plenty of hip bars, an abundance of techno clubs – and where else in Europe can you find a vegan kebab shop?
The Peloponnese, Greece
The Peloponnese in southern Greece offers visitors staggering beauty, from tumbling mountains and valleys of citrus groves and vineyards to rich ancient history. This is the mythical heart of Greece, after all. Tour little-visited Mycenaean palaces and Byzantine churches in the morning, then meander along stretches of serene sandy beaches in the afternoon. And when it’s time to eat, the Peloponnese peninsula rivals any other spot in the country for fresh, locally sourced dishes – think salads dripping in olive oil and fish served the day it was caught.
The gastro capital of France is now reachable in less than five hours on a non-stop Eurostar service from London’s St Pancras International. As well as its world-renowned food in chic restaurants, France’s second city is booming creatively with the recently opened Musée des Confluences – a futuristic-looking science and anthropology museum – and La Sucrière, a new arts and music venue in an old sugar warehouse, as well as the city’s first designer hostel, Slo Living.
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