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Top ten destinations: an entirely subjective response

By Paul Knowles

FlightHub has released their top ten destinations for 2015. I have no quarrel with FlightHub – and they would not care if I did – but their list inspired me to think about some recommendations of my own. (Photo: Paris from our Hyatt hotel room, all photos by Nancy Knowles)


To be fair, since they started it, here is their 2015 list: 1. London, United Kingdom 2. Manilla, Phillipines 3. Bangkok, Thailand 4. Paris, France 5. Mumbai, India 6. Delhi, India 7. Tokyo, Japan 8. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US 9. Los Angeles, California, US 10. New York City, New York, US.

Can't disagree with a lot of those – I visited four of them, myself, in 2015. But here is my list of the ten places that, given the opportunity, I would re-visit in 2016. 1. Paris, France 2. Bath, UK 3. Key West, Florida 4. Charlottetown, PEI 5. Budapest, Hungary 6. The Hague, The Netherlands 7. Bordeaux, France 8. New York, New York 9. Montréal, Quebec 10. Devon & Cornwall, UK

1. Paris, France: Paris? Am I crazy? Yes – crazy about Paris. As we are learning to our sorrow, violence can break out anywhere, but human resilience may be the best response. So the insanity of late 2015 aside, Paris is everything as advertised: romantic, cultural, seductive, alluring, delightful.

2. Bath, UK: A tiny, perfect city, Bath has the history of the UK all on offer within a few blocks. Wonderful Roman ruins, architecture through the ages, a superb Abbey, and the unique Pultney Bridge.

3. Key West, Florida: If you're up tight, you won't be for long, in Key West. This is the ultimate in chill-out environments – music, margaritas, Mallory Square at sunset, more.

4. Charlottetown, PEI: I rediscovered Charlottetown this summer, and immediately wondered why it had taken so long to get back to this charming city, and the equally charming province of which it is capital.

5. Budapest, Hungary: We got a taste of this astonishing European capital, and it was, simply, not nearly enough. Budapest is filled with surprises – terrific architecture, interesting shopping, wonderful views and a rich, rich cultural heritage.

6. The Hague, The Netherlands: Go to the centre of The Hague (ideally, stay at Hotel Des Indes), and then walk in any direction. You'll find the Het Mauritshuis with its amazing art collection; the Escher Museum; the royal palace; and much more.

7. Bordeaux, France: We wound up in this city in the summer of 2015 simply as a launching point for a wine country river cruise (fabulous) but we also fell in love with the city itself (equally fabulous). Completely restored and rejuvenated, with a terrific waterfront, it bills itself, with some justification as a "little Paris".

8. New York, New York: Book a hotel within a few blocks of Central Park and Times Square, and then wander. See shows. Eat. Drink. Enjoy. Under no circumstances try to drive in the city!

9. Montréal, Quebec: Old Montréal continues to be one of the most delightful places in the world. There is lots to see but after walking a while, find a café with a street-side table, order some wine and a charcuterie platter, and watch people.

10. Devon & Cornwall, UK: The best part of England, hands down. Castles and coastline, moors and mansions, and wonderful sub-tropical gardens – Heligan, Trebah, Lanhydrock, St. Michael's Mount, Dartmoor, Exmoor, more, more, more. Go for a week, but keep a month open just in case.