The best cities to visit in 2022

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After a year that has left us all with a travel whiplash thanks to ever-changing goal posts, wholesale restrictions and bans, it’s hard to remember that there was a time when laid-back city breaks. last minute was possible – and, more than that, really nice.

It may be some time before we return to those carefree days, but as booster programs intensify and we learn to live with the seemingly endless parade of coronavirus variants, we can only hope. that a quick mini-break in a buzzing metropolis, whether here in the UK or beyond, could be on the cards in 2022.

The independentThe travel team has placed pins in the most intriguing cities they hope to visit in the coming year. Hoping that we can cross some of our bucket lists …

Vienna, Austria

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There’s a time to be experimental in your travel plans, and there’s a time to play it safe and tackle the big hitters. After about 20 months, I can happily admit that I have lowered my expectations and ambitions for international travel in 2022. This has its advantages, however – I can finally admit that I have never been in one of the most famous in Europe. cities, including the Austrian capital. I’m not quite sure how I reached the level of a travel editor without ever having visited one of the continent’s most cultured and refined destinations, but here we are. Aside from the obvious charms – imperial palaces, rich musical heritage and shattering cafe culture – Vienna particularly appeals to me with a new overnight train option (I have pledged to leave without a flight in 2022). The Austrian operator ÖBB is launching a sleeper service from Paris, departing from Gare de l’Est in the early evening and arriving in the Austrian capital at the very civilized hour of a little after 10 a.m. Helene coffey

Odessa, Ukraine

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On March 27, arguably the most beautiful city in the whole of the former Soviet Union connects with the United Kingdom. Wizz Air will connect the Ukrainian city of Odessa, perched high above the Black Sea, to Luton. Stunning 19th-century architecture and a rich heritage are on offer (in Odessa, not Luton), along with a beautiful waterfront location and stunning beach on the southern outskirts of Arcadia. Stay at a well-appointed hotel like the early 20th century Morskoy or the Black Sea, where rates are around £ 60 very reasonable for a double room including breakfast. To get to the city from the airport, you take trolleybus number 14 and pay a fare of just 2 hryvnia, or around six pence – the cheapest airport connection in Europe. Visas used to be complex and cumbersome, but since Ukraine hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005, you only need a valid passport. Simon calder

Chania, Crete

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Few Greek cities are famous, outside of Athens – and that’s a shame, because Greek cities offer great food, boisterous hospitality, and unbeatable history, with a touch of courage and character that you can’t find everywhere. . They also tend to be great value for money, with tons of flights making them easy and affordable to reach from the UK. Topping my list for 2022 is Chania, the gastronomic and entrepreneurial port on the north coast of Crete. Spoiled with big, ambitious restaurants – both sharp modern designs and cocktails and old-fashioned taverns – it attracts designers and hoteliers from the capital who settle here alongside the creations of savvy locals. The result is that the SanSal design hotel rubs shoulders with chic Parthenis and Carmela Iatropolou boutiques and restaurants like the minimalist Mon.Es, with the backdrop of honeyed Venetian fortifications and a peaceful waterfront. Best of all, it’s within a 45-minute drive of some very beautiful Cretan beaches, making it a great base for a longer trip. Lucy thackray

Naples, Italy

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Another leading European player that inexplicably I have yet to honor with my presence. Although I sometimes feel like I have thanks to Eleanor Ferrante’s immersive and evocative descriptions of this evil and daring town in southern Italy in his quartet of Neapolitan books (Devouring Them is the closest I can get) have never visited). I want to eat all the pizza (and sfogliatelle, shell-shaped pastries with paper-thin folds invented by Neapolitan monks hundreds of years ago); I want to frolic in its baroque architecture; and, of course, I want to take the time to explore Pompeii along the coast, this vast and disturbing archaeological site in the shadow of Vesuvius where everything is preserved as it was when an eruption stopped time at the 1st century. Transport links are, once again, another pull factor for this flightless traveler: the private operator NTV Italo has launched a new daily high-speed train from Genoa in the north of the country to Naples, in 6:40 a.m. . CH

Paris, France

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There is plenty of time and travel to catch up – with special attention to the openings that took place during the dreary days of 2021. Paris has won Europe’s most anticipated private museum. French billionaire François Pinault, whose company owns the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent brands, has taken over the old stock exchange, the Bourse de Commerce. He spent around 150 million euros to create a new space for his Pinault collection in the heart of the French capital. Japanese architect Tadao Ando came up with a dramatic design, with a giant cylinder nestled in the atrium. And the famous chef Michel Bras runs the museum restaurant. SC

Seoul, South Korea

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Seoul was once a somewhat offbeat choice for a stopover in an Asian city, but the rise of South Korean pop culture – from K-Pop to K-Beauty to Squid game and the modern Korean barbecue joints popping up all over the UK – have really put the country’s capital on the map. Now I’m dying to explore this neon metropolis, with its five ornate palaces and loud, kimchi-scented food markets. Like in Tokyo, I know I’ll love its smooth and beautifully managed public transport system and confusing menus; unlike Tokyo, I have barely scratched the surface of Korean cuisine and culture. And while a few K-Beauty brands are already available in the UK, what could beat Seoul’s mega cosmetics stores, some with technical spa services or interiors as whimsical as an installation? ‘contemporary art ? Asia might take a minute to open in 2022, but I’m hanging on to the authentic kimbap, hotteok and galbi on the streets of East Asia’s hippest capital. LT

Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas Town Hall Square

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Further afield – and certainly harder to reach without taking a plane, it must be said – Lithuania’s second city is high on my list due to its place among the two European Capitals of Culture for 2022. This program always gives more reason to hit a city generally under the radar, offering a program loaded with diverse cultural offerings, from music recitals to contemporary dance performances and art exhibitions to signature new venues designed to be the hallmarks. the legacy of destinations for decades to come. I went to Rijeka, Croatia, in 2020 purely on the basis of its status as the Capital of Culture – and found a vibrant, grainy port city with fascinating architecture, cheap and abundant seafood, and nearby beaches with crystal clear waters. I hope Kaunas can also pleasantly surprise me; it is described by the tourist office as “the Baltic jewel of interwar modernist architecture”, and why not like it? CH

Oslo, Norway

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My diary wrote Oslo for Saturday June 11, 2022 – for the opening, finally, of the largest art museum in the Nordic region. “Art, architecture and design under one roof and in a whole new way” has been the promise of the National Museum of Norway, with a spectacular site on the edge of Oslo harbor. Edvard Munch’s famous painting of a tortured soul is the main exhibit of this remarkable new place. SC

Split, Croatia

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I fell in love with Croatia a few years ago, on a multi-stop food tour where I ticked off the charming – and extremely underrated – the capital Zagreb, the sparkling emerald lakes of Plitvice and the province of northern Istria (my advice: go out to rural hill towns, base yourself in Rovinj, don’t spend much time in Pula). But I haven’t arrived in Split, the gateway to many of the most glamorous islands and home to a lovely Roman palace and a perfect old town. I loved the mix of history, beautiful architecture and relaxing holidays on the Croatian coast, so I know I would be happy to spend a few days in a boutique hotel with a swimming pool, maybe in late spring , eating fresh seafood and pasta, and walking the historic streets with a camera in hand. Before you jump on the next boat to the islands, of course … LT

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