As we reach the year’s halfway point, we thought we’d take a look back at the Rough Guide’s top ten selection of ‘must-do’ places to visit for 2013 and perhaps hone in on a few of our favourites. It’s fair to say that the list is made up of a rather mixed bunch; from the exotic shores of Puerto Rico to our very own Margate by the sea, the bohemian city of Valparaiso in Chile to the 2013 European Capital of Culture, Košice in Slovakia, the natural and rugged beauty of northeast Iceland to the relatively undiscovered beauty of Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus. Here’s our top three…
Not only content with playing host to a royal wedding but celebrating the opening of the long-awaited ABBA Museum this year too, Stockholm has been making headlines throughout 2013 and deservedly so. Set against a most picturesque harbour-side backdrop, Stockholm is a city of glorious contrasts, where resplendent baroque palaces steeped in pomp and tradition juxtapose the warm-hued buildings tightly lining the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town, Gamla Stan, where the islands of the archipelago command a timeless appeal, set against a thriving metropolis renowned for its contemporary design, buzzing nightlife and cutting-edge flair.
As Croatia officially enters the EU, Dubrovnik’s appeal is sure to become even greater. Byron’s ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, this enchanting city – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – never fails to delight with its beautiful baroque buildings and marble streets set amidst centuries-old city walls and offset by the shimmering waters of the Adriatic Sea. A walk along the city walls (some 2km in length) is an absolute must, for not only are they amongst the most attractive and best preserved in the world, but they also command some of the finest views you’ll ever see.
Another city abundant in baroque treasures, the domes, spires and towers of Dresden’s timeless skyline are undoubtedly best appreciated from the northern banks of the Elbe. Declared the ‘Florence of the North’, this is a city immortalised on canvas by the Italian masters, most notably Canaletto. And yet despite suffering heavy architectural casualties during the bombing raids of World War II, the city has re-emerged as glorious as it once was, its splendid Frauenkirche the jewel in its baroque crown. And whilst paying homage to a resplendent heritage, Dresden has also emerged as a frontrunner on the German cultural scene, with a pulsating nightlife to rival Berlin.