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befinned crea­tures that flicker and flut­ter in its shal­lows. A beau­ti­ful, evoca­tive place, in other words. What are we miss­ing? Kaza­khstan is the proud owner of a fu­tur­is­tic cap­i­tal, As­tana, and some im­mense coun­try­side, in­clud­ing the na­tion’s an­swer to the Grand Canyon, in the form of the Charyn Canyon.

There is also ski­ing at Shym­bu­lak, while the hid­den Lake Kaindy in the Tien Shan Moun­tains is a star­tling sight to be­hold. What are we miss­ing? The Ar­me­nian cap­i­tal, Yere­van, is one of the world’s old­est in­hab­ited cities, con­structed as it was 29 years be­fore Rome.

Over­looked by the snow-capped Mount Ararat, it is known as the “Pink City”, thanks to the rosy vol­canic rock that was used to con­struct its build­ings.

The coun­try is also a twitch­ers delight, home as it is to 345 of Europe’s es­ti­mated 530 bird species. What are we miss­ing? Chobe Na­tional Park is one of the best places in Africa to see leop­ards, lions and chee­tahs. Their boun­ti­ful num­bers are down to Botswana’s ad­mirable con­ser­va­tion poli­cies, which have made the coun­try one of the best sa­fari des­ti­na­tions in Africa. What are we miss­ing? If you’re in­trigued by the an­cient Silk Road but don’t have the time to travel its length from China to Turkey, you’ll Baku’s Mar­tyrs’ Lane is over­looked by the three Flame sky­scrapers, main; the 4th-cen­tury Geghard Monastery, above, is found in Ko­tayk, Ar­me­nia find three of the route’s most im­por­tant cities in Uzbek­istan. Khiva, Bukhara and Sa­markand were key stop-offs for traders, and have all been painstak­ingly re­stored to for­mer glory. What are we miss­ing? Fol­low­ing a trip for Tele­graph Travel ear­lier this year, Nigel Tis­dall wrote: “One joy of trav­el­ling here is how empty Belize seems. While neigh­bour­ing Mex­ico and Gu­atemala are fa­mously pop­u­lous and ex­u­ber­ant, here the roads are quiet, the beaches re­laxed, the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites often bliss­fully free of crowds.”

The for­mer Bri­tish colony may feel sur­pris­ingly fa­mil­iar, too. He added: “The Queen’s head still smiles out from the lo­cal dol­lars, and the Bri­tish Army con­tin­ues to train in the coun­try’s dense jun­gles. Belize City, the for­mer cap­i­tal, has a Vic­to­ria Street and a Princess Mar­garet Drive.” What are we miss­ing? This Ger­man-speak­ing sliver be­tween Aus­tria and Switzer­land has as­tound­ing moun­tain scenery, apt for hik­ing, moun­tain bik­ing and win­ter sports, and Vaduz Cas­tle, a 12th­cen­tury fortress. Vaduz, the cap­i­tal also has a fine con­tem­po­rary art gallery – and a postal mu­seum. What are we miss­ing? Sit­ting at the cross­roads of Asia and Europe, this plucky na­tion packs a lot in: from snowy moun­tains to sandy shores, via rolling vine­yards, an­cient cities and Unesco-listed monas­ter­ies. And along­side the Ortho­dox Chris­tian Azer­bai­jan’s cap­i­tal, Baku, is often likened to Dubai for its outlandish ar­chi­tec­ture and ap­petite for gold.

Ar­chi­tec­tural high­lights in­clude the cur­va­ceous Hey­dar Aliyev Cen­ter de­signed by Zaha Ha­did; the mir­ror­like SOCAR Tower; and the Flame Tower sky­scrapers, which rep­re­sent Azer­bai­jan’s oil and gas re­serves. What are we miss­ing? “Mozam­bique is in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar as a beach des­ti­na­tion – but it is in its is­lands, and its past, that this beau­ti­ful slice of south­ern Africa shows its soul,” says Tele­graph Travel’s Chris Lead­beater. “One of th­ese out­crops, Ibo, was a hub of Por­tu­gal’s colo­nial ad­min­is­tra­tion – but Lis­bon’s sud­den aban­don­ment of its overseas pos­ses­sions in 1974 left the town as a ghost of a dead era. Prop­erty is now be­ing re­claimed as artists’ stu­dios, small shops and bou­tique ho­tels – of which Ibo Is­land Lodge is per­haps the most spe­cial.”

For more ideas and in­spi­ra­tion from our travel ex­perts, see tele­graph.co.uk/tt-trav­elon­line

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