City breaks to name-drop

Sat, May 19, 2012, 01:00

Think you're well travelled? How many of these achingly hip cities have you been to?

1. KRASNOYARSK for its outdoor pursuits

Author Anton Chekhov judged Krasnoyarsk, 4,065 km from Moscow and a key junction on the Trans-Siberian railway, to be the most beautiful city in Siberia. The rock formations in Stolby, its nearby national park have made it a Mecca for free climbers. Train ‘Rossiya’ Russia’, number 2 eastbound leaves Moscow every second day on its seven-day journey to Vladivostok. One-way sleeper car fares in summer cost around €370.23. Krasnoyarsk is a three-day journey.

See Seat61.com.

2. BARCELONA for its vibrant music scene

Barcelona’s infectious vibrancy continues to lure hipsters, especially for its festival weekend Sonar, which takes place June 14th-16th. New Order, Lana Del Ray, The Roots, Deadmau5, Friendly Fires, Squarepusher, Flying Lotus, Fatboy Slim, Hot Chip and Nicholas Jaar all take to the stage. SonarPro accreditation costs €195 and includes express beverage service and an Adidas official bag to nonchalantly sport after the event.

Sonar.es/en. Ryanair and Aer Lingus both fly to Barcelona El Prat.

3. MIAMI for its magic mood

Magic City, a TV series taking the States by storm, is reported to be the new Mad Men. Set in 1959 Miami it is just another reason that the gateway to the Americas remains on the hip list. Art Basel Miami is the time to go see and be seen. Fly there with Virgin Atlantic. Stay six nights in Fashionhaus Hotel in South Beach’s from €891 pp with American Holidays.

Tel: 01—673 3840/021-236 4636 Americanholidays.com/

4. BATUMI for its slick beach make-over

The Georgian seaside town of Batumi, set on the sub-tropical eastern coast of the Black Sea has had a radical €436m facelift. Seaside Park boasts impressive public art, cafes, upscale hotels, swish nightclubs, hip restaurants and a Ferris wheel. Once known as Colchis, it was here Jason and his Argonauts supposedly sailed to steal the Golden Fleece. Oil put it on the map in the early 1900s.

Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa and Aerosvit Airlines fly there.

5. ODESSA for its sand and history mix

Odessa’s heady mix of bling, sandy beaches, beautiful architecture and dodgy nightclubs is luring travellers who have seen the sights of South America and Asia and Australasia. The Potemkin Steps, scene of the massacre of civilians in seminal silent movie Battleship Potemkin, and the optical illusion they create when you stand at their top is just of the city’s many sights. Its sandy beaches and beautiful women are other reasons many linger.

Turskish Airlines fly to Odessa via Istanbul, thy.com

6. PHNOM PENH for its new art scene

Music acts The Cambodian Space Project, who reinterpret the country’s 1960s sound, and Grant Massey of hip-hop duo Gobshite and Prolyfik have put Phnom Penh, the Pearl of Asia, not fashionable since the early 20th century, back on the culture map.

New galleries, clubs and cafes have enlivened the city’s scene. Catch upcoming acts at Equinox ( equinox-cambodia.com) a balcony bar and exhibition space that forms part of the city’s nascent art and music nexus.

6.HYDRABAD for its new tech hub

The information technology industry has put Hydrabad, in India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh, on the must-see map. Microsoft and Google are just some of the tech giants who have set up office in a district wags call Cyberabad. Sleek hotels, restaurants and night spots sit cheek by jowl with the city’s 400 year history that includes the landmark Charminar monument. 11 km outside the city is the 13th Century Golconda Fort that once housed the Kohinoor and Hope diamonds.

8. POZNAN for its curious classic film connection

Ireland play Croatia and Italy in the Polish town of Poznan. A fifteen minute walk from the old town square takes you to the Citadel: a vast park where you can flee the Euro 2012 madness. On the southern side of the park you’ll find cemeteries for Polish, British, Soviet and Commonwealth soldiers. Some of those from the mass escape from Stalag Luft 3 in Zagan, immortalised in the film The Great Escape, are said to be buried in the Old Garrison Cemetery.

9. PALM SPRINGS for its 1950s feel

Hip hotels and Coachella, the boutique music festival that kickstarts summer’s line-up, still won’t make Palm Springs cool but that is part of its attraction. Surrounded by the San Jacinto Mountains this celebrity oasis is a homage to desert modernism. Design heads can explore the work of William Cody, Albert Frey, John Lautner and Donald Wexler. Other than that there is nothing to do except lie by the pool, work on your tan and people watch. Bliss.

10. MONTREAL for its fab festivals

Bi-lingual Montreal on the St Lawrence River is home to some of the world’s best festivals. The Montreal Jazz Festival ( montrealjazzfest.com) and Just For Laughs Comedy Festival ( hahaha.com/en/montreal/overview) are leaders in their class. It was here John Lennon and Yoko One held their second, week-long bed-in on May 26th, 1969 in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Give Peace a Chance was recorded on June 1st during their stay at the hotel. By day picnic in Mount Royal Park. Explore its great jazz clubs by night.