- Time-tested craftsmanship, centuries-old cultures
- Ancient architecture, historic landscapes
Revel in the past with a whirl in one of these iconic destinations – we challenge you not to have your soul stirred by places with such cultural and physical significance.
Whether you’re a luxury-loving traditionalist or classic adventurer, the relics, romance and nostalgia of these landmark locations promise trips of a lifetime. Seek out Indian palaces or trace emperors’ footsteps, track spiritualists in Laos and follow the first settlers to the States – history has left its mark in some inspirational ways.
Sand-coloured castles and hip haveli punctuate the magical mediaeval skyline of this blue city at the edge of the Thar Desert. And it’s these very fairytale fortresses and Maharaja mansions that lure lovers of beguiling boutique boltholes to the ancient town of Jodphur in ravishing western Rajasthan.
From Royal Crescent’s Georgian splendour to the hot springs of the Roman Baths, there’s no shortage of evidence as to why Bath can boast 25 years as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Quintessentially English in its manners and as cultured as city breaks can be, you also have Somerset’s countryside flirting with you just beyond.
One of the world’s most celebrated archaeological sites, the Italian capital proudly flaunts ancient Latin treasures alongside its rich Renaissance and Baroque legacy, brandishing breathtaking art on every corner. Art lovers descend on the tiny city state for Raphael and Michelangelo’s frescoes while foodies devour la dolce vita at every turn.
Jurassic quartz-capped peaks, pink-hued beaches: Tasmania’s geography is unique in itself. Add to that an exotic ecology and a colourful history and Tassie’s intimate capital is especially enticing. The tireless graft of Hobart’s earliest residents – Britain’s exported convicts – is to thank for Hobart’s 19th-century charms, while nature has laid on a stunning geography and world-class wildlife.
French history and Mekong mystery infuses this beguiling land of the lotus eaters. Unesco-protected temples and colonial villas, the northern Laotian outpost is one of the most special destinations in south-east Asia. The sight of the daily procession of orange-clad monks making its way to ornate Buddhist wats (temples) is as uplifting and edifying as luxury tourism gets.
This estuary off the Atlantic Ocean was one of the first to lure explorers into America, and Maryland’s coastline remains awash with historical references. For a postcard-perfect dose of colonial clapboard cuteness, harbour towns don’t come quainter than St Michaels. Sure it is giftshop-central, but the old churches and colonial homes are well worth an ogle and you won’t taste better seafood anywhere.
The untouched Caribbean coast of white beaches that greeted the 16th-century Spanish conquistadors was by the 1970s the hottest holiday hangout in the world. But you can soon sidestep today’s glitz and explore yesteryear from the majestic Mayan ruins of Tulum, inland to Cobá’s pyramids in the jungle, including the tallest in the Yucatán region.
Stand strategically in the ‘Athens of the North’ and one sweeping gaze treats you to Georgian façades, Scotland’s own acropolis on Calton Hill and the ever-visible Castle atop a volcanic outcrop. Follow a crooked wynd to the Old Town, have a Royal Mile ramble, then retreat to a Cockburn Street pub: you’ll want a whisky to toast this city’s time-travel.
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