Get inspired for this year’s big getaway with these under-the-radar destinations – from fresh city-break ideas to the latest must-visit tropical destinationVisit the holiday shop
Why now? Dominica’s volcanic craggy coastline and lack of white sand beaches have deterred swanky multinational resorts for years, allowing this beautiful geothermal island (around the size of Anglesey) to emerge in 2017 as one of the world’s premier destinations for eco-minded adventure travellers. The sweaty, steamy six-hour trek to bubbling Boiling Lake is just one bucket list adventure, alongside caving through ravishing ravines, swimming under waterfalls, rafting up mangrove swamps and snorkelling at Champagne Reef. For a celeb-inspired to-do, sip a potent Dynamite Punch at Cherie’s Bush Bar on the banks of Indian River, just like Johnny Depp during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean. This is as low-key as bars come, yet Cherie tells us that recent revellers include Prince Harry and Bill Gates.
What to pack: When you’re dipping in and out of water all day, you’ll need top-notch swimwear (psst: many of our swimsuits have Secret Slimming technology). If you’re hiking to your destination, pull shorts and a T-shirt over your swimwear for a quick, no-fuss change. Top it off with a sun hat and water-resistant sunscreen.
Why now? Long associated with gangsters, graffiti and grime, Italy’s third-largest city is in the throes of a resurgence – passionate, friendly and food-loving, it has dramatic baroque architectural flourishes, colourful street markets and world-class galleries and museums. Naples really charms outside the sticky summer months, when it’s just you and the locals sipping £7 bottles of red wine and eating life-changing pizzas – Anthony Bourdain and Jamie Oliver have paid tribute to the margheritas at L’Antica Pizza da Michele (damichele.net), but Sorbillo (sorbillo.it/en) is the local favourite. As Leonard Cohen said, “We humans are always looking for things to do between meals,” and happily Naples doesn’t fall short, with a fascinating warren of tunnels used as Roman aqueducts and WWII bomb shelters, and the ruins of ancient Pompeii a 25-minute train ride away.
What to pack: When you’re wandering Naples’ famous cobbled streets, you’ll be grateful for a pair of comfy flats. Although more relaxed in the sartorial stakes than Rome, locals still look smart when dining out – a blazer, pretty scarf or piece of statement jewellery plus a slick of lipstick are quick wins that transform any outfit.
Why now? As this beautiful island off the tip of southern India moves on from a brutal 26-year civil war, intrepid travellers are falling hard for Sri Lanka, exploring the verdant tea plantations and rainforests of the interior, surfing the raucous waves of the rugged coastline and touring Sri Lanka’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A highlight is the enchanting fort town of Galle, where Dutch-colonial buildings now house independent art galleries, hip cafés and quirky boutiques – many owned by fashion designers, photographers, writers and artists who came to Galle on holiday and never left. Don’t miss the misty, atmospheric Hill Country, where tea plantations and 1920s colonial planters’ cottages promise to transport you back in time.
What to pack: Keep your cool in style with lightweight, breathable fabrics – opt for linen shift dresses or wide-leg trousers with cotton T-shirts and tops. Stay safe in the sun with a loose cover-up you can stash in a shoulder tote bag and sunscreen with SPF30 or higher. And don’t forget your sunglasses and a wide-brimmed woven hat.
Why now? Copenhagen’s elegant, arty and coast-kissing little sister is ideal European city-break material, with the bonus of being a 15-minute cycle ride from serene beaches. This year Aarhus finally gets her dues as the 2017 European Capital of Culture (aarhus2017.dk), with a series of festivals and events, the standout being an outdoor family film and culture festival in enchanting forest surroundings, Film i Skoven (12-14 May; filmiskoven.dk). Be sure to make a pilgrimage to the rainbow-topped ARoS art museum (aros.dk), particularly the ‘9 Spaces’ basement maze of black-walled galleries. Head to the buzzy Latin Quarter to eat and drink.
What to pack: You need a compact wardrobe you can mix and match for various occasions. Jeans are a savvy style move and look effortlessly chic with flats, trainers or heels – team with a selection relaxed tops or cashmere for daytime sightseeing, then dress up with a blouse for night. A statement necklace and cross-body bag complete the look.