Where To Go On Holiday This Spring
Saksun, Faroe Islands. Photograph by Mr Ólavur Frederiksen
From Croatia to Colombia, these are the hottest (and now very conveniently accessible) destinations for 2017.
Distance, of course, always depends on your perspective. And from January, with its chunky credit card bills, uncongenial climes and murky afternoons, spring appears a long way off. But there’s one key benefit to that distance – aside from the justification of heavy investment in your winter wardrobe. It gives us plenty of time to plan a spring vacation. And how better to fight the winter blues than with something great to look forward to at the end of the colder months? Here’s where to fly when spring is finally in the air.
Zagreb. Photograph courtesy of Zagreb Tourist Board
Best for: a city break
While Dubrovnik, Split and the Adriatic islands continue to draw international visitors to Croatia in their millions, the country’s capital Zagreb remains relatively unexplored. That’s all set to change in April, with new direct flights from both London and Manchester. This intriguing city, situated in Croatia’s far north near the Slovenian border, is the perfect alternative to well-trodden short break destinations. Affordable and walkable, it also boasts an embarrassment of riches when it comes to boutique hotels, top-end restaurants and interesting museums (check out the strangely uplifting Museum of Broken Relationships in particular). But where Zagreb truly excels is in its bar scene. In particular, don’t miss the Tesla Power House (where the atmosphere is always electric) and the other venue du jour, Vertigo Bar, perched atop the Hotel Antunovic in a glass dome.
THE FAROE ISLANDS
Mulafossur Waterfall, Gásadalur, Faroe Islands. Photograph by Ms Kate Chapman
Best for: something a bit different
A number of maps continue to ignore the Faroes – and the locals wouldn’t have it any other way. Because this cluster of 18 islands in the North Atlantic are quite possibly the most peaceful place on the planet. Regularly and accurately referred to as Scandinavia’s best-kept secret, this fairytale-esque archipelago is situated between Iceland and Norway, but officially ruled by Denmark. Despite this, it has a culture entirely of its own, centred on the pretty little capital, Tórshavn. In recent years, the bustling harbour town, with its buzzing art spaces and grass-roofed houses, has also become an unlikely gastronomic hub. In particular, Koks – the innovative establishment run by celebrity chef Mr Leif Sørensen – is a bona fide site of pilgrimage for foodies from across the world. From 26 March, new SAS flights from Copenhagen will make accessing this remote collection of beautiful islands – and Sorensen’s extraordinary menu – even easier.
Cartagena. Photograph Mr Michael Spring/Alamy
Best for: blowing the budget
Finally enjoying a prolonged period of peace, Colombia is rapidly becoming South America’s comeback kid. Cartagena, the port city on its Caribbean coast, has long inspired visitors and writers, particularly Colombia’s godfather of magical realism, Mr Gabriel Garcίa Márquez (2017 marks the 50th anniversary of his seminal novel, 100 Years Of Solitude). Today the city is the beating heart of the country's burgeoning tourism renaissance, and the jewel at its heart is the opulent Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa – the city’s finest hotel, which has recently been renovated with the addition of a world-class restaurant from Colombia’s top chef Mr Harry Sasson.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
New Orleans. Photograph by Mr John Coletti/Getty Images
Travel to the Big Easy will get a whole lot (ahem) easier from March, with British Airways launching direct flights from Heathrow to Louis Armstrong International Airport. The long-awaited link not only puts the iconic nightspots of Bourbon Street and Frenchmen Street firmly within reach, but also some of the finest live music in North America. BA appear to have missed a trick though: Mardi Gras 2017 falls on Tuesday 28 February, so you might want to consider taking one of the first direct flights back – and getting out there beforehand to enjoy one of the best parties in the world.
Best for: a long weekend in style
Oman. Photograph courtesy of Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
Best for: being pampered
Long overshadowed by its attention-seeking neighbours Dubai and Qatar, Oman is about to have its own time in the sun – starting in 2017 with the opening of a number of luxury hotels. Shangri-La in particular has invested heavily in the sultanate, and is opening a dedicated eco-centre for guests of its three properties there this spring (think snorkelling with marine biologists, swimming with dolphins and beach combing with turtle rangers). Look out too for the Majarat Oman – a $120 million futuristic theme park geared towards families, which is also set to open in early 2017.