Best for… a warm welcome
South Africa’s cities often come with great beaches and Durban’s might be the best of the lot. Set on the Indian Ocean, its promisingly-named ‘Golden Mile’ delivers excellent surfing conditions and warm waters. But to stay on the coast would be remiss. Durban makes a fantastic gateway into South Africa’s hinterland: just hire a car. The Kwa-Zulu national park is awash with historic battlefields and dotted with gorgeous wildlife parks. The supreme Drakensberg mountains are a hiker’s paradise, warranting at least a few extra days exploration.
Best for… a fun start-up culture
Thanks to a new direct flight with British Airways, Pennsylvania’s former steel city is in the spotlight. Now a rising tech hub, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Uber are among the many companies setting up new quarters in the city. The young and bright have followed suit, so the city is lively, youthful and growing cooler by the minute. Find the party in the craft beer bars. Heading beyond the bars, Andy Warhol Museum has the most extensive collection of the artist’s work in the world – more than nearby New York – and historic Philadelphia makes a pleasant road trip.
Best for… those with an appetite for the east
Osaka might be smaller than Tokyo by some margin (what city isn’t?) but Japan’s second city speaks up for itself: it’s fun, lively and has an attractive proliferation of neon-signed streets, pinball arcades and – most importantly – epic food. Spring sees the grounds of the 16th century Osaka Castle tremble with pale pink blossom, and autumn 2019 will bring a few Rugby World Cup matches to Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium. Osaka is on the Japanese island of Honshu, and a short train ride across the island takes you to Kyoto and a slightly longer one to Tokyo itself.
Best for… spicing things up
Marrakech: hot, dusty, busy – and yet stirringly romantic; it’s a treat for the senses. Make 2019 the year you visit. Set in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, Morocco’s red-walled city was once an ancient fort, but now its central Medina is a tourist’s playground. Explore the area’s French history with a stroll in Yves Saint Laurent’s shady Majorelle Gardens, or delve into the souk-lined streets, resurfacing with a fistful of treasures – a vial of argan oil or a handcrafted leather belt.