How well travelled are you?
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