• The Rough Guides’ Top 10 Cities for 2015

    by  • December 19, 2014 • Belgrade, City Breaks, Hamburg, Malaga, Top 10

    Malaga, Hamburg and Belgrade lauded as must-see cities in 2015.

    Hot on the heels of the Lonely Planet’s recommendations for the year ahead, the Rough Guides, for decades the travel guide of choice for the budget traveller, have just published their top ten cities to visit in 2015. Covering all four corners of the globe, from Europe to the Middle East, South East Asia, Australasia, Africa and America North and South, the coveted top spot for 2015 has been awarded to Johannesburg in South Africa, with other additions including Wellington in New Zealand, Yangon in Myanmar, Salta in Argentina, New Orleans in the USA and Nizwa, the former capital of Oman. And just up the road from us here at Cities Direct, brilliant Birmingham is the sole representative from Blighty to make the top ten.

    Yet whilst Jo’burg, Wellington, Salta, New Orleans and Yangon are perhaps a little too ambitious if you’ve got a city break in mind, the remaining trio of European cities might be somewhat more achievable if you fancy a few days away. And whilst as a threesome they may appear somewhat of a contrast to one another, on their own each city abounds in its own distinctive charm and character, and makes for a thoroughly rewarding and memorable place to visit. Here’s what the Rough Guides have to say about Málaga, Hamburg and Belgrade…

    Málaga, Spain
    Founded by the Phoenicians, the ancient city of Málaga has far more to offer than the usual Spanish cocktail of sun, sea and sangria – though all of those things are still in plentiful supply. In 2015, a cube-shaped building on the quay will swing open its doors as an offshoot of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, featuring works by Málaga-born Pablo Picasso. Other projects signalling Málaga’s cultural revival include a new museum of Russian art, set to light up a former tobacco factory, and the continued development of mural-daubed Soho, which attracts trailblazing street artists.

    Hamburg, Germany
    Cheap, cool and crazy about techno, Berlin has long been the go-to European city for wide-eyed night owls. But Hamburg, around half Berlin’s size, also has a whopper of a party scene. Steer clear of sleazy, neon-lit Reeperbahn (a street known locally as the “most sinful mile”) and you’ll find countless kitschy bars, boozy beer gardens and wild rock venues, plus throbbing, Berlin-style dance clubs housed in old factories. Our tip? Allow an extra day or two at the end of your trip to catch up on sleep.

    Belgrade, Serbia
    Easily squeezed into an overland tour of Europe and small enough to explore on foot, Belgrade is changing fast. Long-neglected neighbourhoods like Savamala are being redrawn as artists’ hangouts, while slick bars and clubs pop up in dilapidated, box-like buildings – hangovers from Serbia’s war-torn past. Another reason to go: the ten-hour train ride connecting Belgrade with Podgorica, in Montenegro, is spectacularly scenic.

    From a country perspective, Greece is the only European nation (apart from the UK) to appear in a top 10 featuring a melting pot of destinations from Iran, Haiti and Malaysia to Uruguay, Canada and Bangladesh. On the best-value front, Northern Ireland, the Canary Islands and Kosovo were highlighted as particularly budget-friendly destinations, whilst in the people’s choice category, Greece, Turkey, Ireland, Iceland and the good old UK ranked amongst the top spots alongside countries as diverse as the USA, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Chile and Japan.

    Where will your travels take you in 2015?

    Málaga, Hamburg and Belgrade copy copyrighted to and adapted from the Rough Guides’ “The Rough Guide to 2015 – top 10 cities”.

    About

    With a French grandmother, childhood holidays on the continent and a degree in French and Spanish, a love of languages and travel has always been in my blood. Fresh from university with an unfettered enthusiasm to show off my linguistic ability and first-hand knowledge of the world beyond the UK, I entered the travel industry and, 16 years on, I’m still there! With several years spent in the luxury sector planning escorted holidays across Europe for the American market, followed by an even longer tenure designing short breaks with a difference in the must-see cities of Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, Florence, Brussels, Venice, Salzburg, Milan, Krakow and Berlin (to name but a few), it’s fair to say that Europe is my passion! Today my travels have taken me far beyond the boundaries of Europe with so many destinations still to discover, yet the continent abounds in such a wealth of treasures – historical and architectural, cultural and musical, gastronomic, artistic and linguistic – that its appeal, for me, will be eternal.