Travel with a twist

Make 2021 the year you try somewhere new

Japan

by Zoe Bishop |

Love the Bahamas? Try… Japan

Resting on the same latitude as the Bahamas is the subtropical island paradise of Okinawa. It is home to an abundance of flora and fruits, including banyan, hibiscus, papaya and pineapple. Coral reefs glisten beneath the surface of the clear waters, which are ideal for diving – the Blue Cave in Onna is perfect for both expert and novice divers. Rather stay on dry land? Explore Ocean Expo Park, two hours by bus from the capital of Naha. You’ll find Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium with its whale shark, manta rays and species of rare fish. Then relax on the white-sand beaches of Ishigaki Island or head to Maeza Beach, one of the best for a truly tropical feel, or Sukuji Beach for shallow, family-friendly water and shade from the surrounding hillside trees.

• Stay at the Ritz Carlton Okinawa, from £241 per night for a double room. Book at Ritzcarlton.com. Return flights from London to Okinawa for seven nights from £468 from January 2021, with Ba.com. For more on the area, visit Japan.travel/en

Love Ibiza? Try… Goa

Goa

Goa is India’s favourite beach destination, and its hippie vibe, laid-back lifestyle, scenic beaches and brilliant nightlife make it a great alternative to the party island of Ibiza. The tropical beaches of Sinquerim and Mobor offer holidays at a slower pace of life – the beaches have yoga sessions on soft, white sands with pretty, rustic beach shacks dotted along the pathways. Baga beach offers a wide variety of watersports and has the best restaurants, nightlife and beach parties in the area. If you want to keep busy, then explore more of the area and take a trek along the pathways of the Mahavir Forest Reserve and the stunning Dudhsagar Falls, or hang out with elephants on a reserve and explore some of the magnificent jungle. A trip to Goa isn’t complete without trying the local food, like fish curry, pork vindaloo and prawn balchao, which can be enjoyed in one of the many beachside restaurants.

• Stay seven nights at the Radisson Blu resort Goa, from £1,155 pp based on two adults on a room-only basis, from London Gatwick 23 January 2021, with Olympicholidays.com

Love Barcelona? Try… Seville

Seville

A city of culture, architecture and tradition, Seville is known for its flamboyance, with bullfighting and flamenco a huge draw. While Barcelona is modern and vibrant, Seville offers the more traditional, laid-back Spanish life. For a dose of history, visit the 16th-century Seville cathedral, the largest Gothic church in the world (it’s also home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus), or climb the Giralda tower for amazing views.The picturesque narrow streets of Barrio Santa Cruz are great for Instagram, while the beautiful Moorish-inspired gardens and interior of the Alcazar shouldn’t be missed. Enjoy tapas in many of the local restaurants and bars or watch a flamenco performance at Tablao El Arenal – they have nightly shows that are popular with the locals too. Take a walk along the Guadalquivir river, and stop to explore the 250-year-old bullfighting arena, Plaza de Toros – even if it’s not your thing, the sheer scale of the venue is pretty impressive.

• Stay for two nights at the Lagado Oromana, Seville, on a room-only basis from £268 per person. This includes flight, 23kg luggage, departing 8 January 2021. Book with Easyjet.com/en/holidays

Love New York? Try… Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh

If you’re after the buzz of city life, then Pittsburgh is the place to be. Birthplace of Andy Warhol and home to the largest museum dedicated to one single artist, Pittsburgh has a thriving arts and culture scene that rivals New York. Iconic institutions such as the Carnegie Science Center, Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Carnegie Museum of Art are a must, while cultural attractions – including The Frick, National Aviary, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and four stunning properties designed by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright – are within 90 minutes of downtown. Pittsburgh also has an up-and-coming culinary scene with foodie tours such as Burgh Bits & Bites, which takes hungry diners on a whistle-stop tour of the Strip District, where you can try sweet and savoury treats, visiting multiple eateries from an eclectic mix of cultures, including German, Polish, Irish and Italian. Top of the food list is the Pittsburgh Primanti sandwich, which rivals the NYC bagel. If you love sport then Pittsburgh is also home to three professional sports teams (Pirates, Steelers and Penguins) with games held throughout the year in impressive stadiums that overlook the city skyline.

• Stay at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, from £104 per night for a double room. Book at Monaco-pittsburgh.com. Return economy flights from London to Pittsburgh with British Airways cost from £363 for departures from January 2021 (Ba.com). For more on the area, go to Visitpittsburgh.com

Please check gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus for travelling advice following the outbreak of coronavirus

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