The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

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‘What’s your all-time favourite place on earth?’ It’s the million-dollar question travel editors and writers are often asked – though rarely do they have the time to file through their wealth of extraordinary trips and experiences to choose one definitive winner. As we all stay inside, we’ve reflected – pitting far-flung tropical wonders against rugged, closer-to-home affinities. Here you have it: the Condé Nast Traveller team’s favourite places in the entire world.

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Melinda Stevens

    Editor-in-chief of Condé Nast Traveller UK and US

    ‘The Tibetan Plateau. When I first got here (after what felt like 70 flights around China) I was so drawn to its quiet, pastoral, wild-flower, river-tinkling gentleness and I imagined a part of me staying there forever. The locals here live in what look like lost Alpine chalets with Indo-Chinese riffs in the roof shapes and colours.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Pete Winterbottom

    Creative director of Condé Nast Traveller

    Cadiz, Spain. Its narrow streets with tiny whole in the wall bars, and hidden squares with beautiful outdoor seafood restaurants.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Corinne Brooking

    Video producer

    India. I would go back there in a heartbeat! Starting off at New Delhi in the north just to eat rajma and drink chai all day whilst people-watching in the bustle. Then heading south by train, stopping off at Udaipur, one of the most beautiful cities in the world (in my opinion), and then finally winding down at a beach spot where days are spent surfing, doing yoga, sipping on Kingfishers and eating Keralan fish curries!’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Timothy O’Grady

    Contributing editor

    ‘I immediately think of a tiny collection of houses on a bay at the end of a steep dirt track called Skinopi on the Greek island of Milos. The houses were overnight quarters for fishermen right on the water in the basement of which they could park their boats, so right below your terrace is water sparkling in the sun. I was there twice with my wife. The first time we were the only ones there. It wouldn’t be for everybody. The bathroom was the size of a chair and there was no hot water. Another place I think of is the birthplace of my grandfather, – Caherdaniel, down near the bottom of the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. It has a wild, beautiful beach, a medieval graveyard with the ruins of a monastery and islands beyond.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Sarah James

    Digital associate

    Italy. Basically anywhere in Italy, as all the cities and beaches and stretches of countryside I’ve visited there have gone, for that week, straight to the top of my list of favourite ever places. It probably has something to do with the food – Italian food is the king of cuisines – and how seriously Italians take aperitivo hour, but also the architecture and the landscapes and the light. If I suddenly had a week to head off anywhere I wanted last minute, I would end up somewhere in Italy every time.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Albert Read

    Managing director of Condé Nast Britain

    ‘New Year. Sitting on the balcony of La Mamounia, Marrakech, watching the sun set on the Atlas Mountains, my son beside me imitating Churchill in his attempts to draw the orange trees in the gardens.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Tabitha Joyce

    Deputy digital editor

    ‘I’ll never forget the crashing pacific ocean of Oaxaca, with sand that’s backed by fields of knotted cacti, and the tracing-paper mountains of the Sierra Madre del sur beyond that. Peckham comes a close second…’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Katharina Hahn

    Deputy chief sub-editor

    ‘It’s difficult to pick just one – one of them would have to be Sardinia, because I need to be near the sea, and there are hidden bays with that particularly soothing combination of beach and pine forest. Lisbon is pretty much my idea of the perfect city, with its cobblestoned hills and creaking trams. Vienna, where I was born, should also get a mention – the longer I spend away from it, the more I can see it for the quiet-but-still-buzzing culture hub it is (and it also has some old trams left).’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Lauren Burvill

    Acting audience development manager

    The Loisaba Star Beds camp in Kenya. It’s truly one of the most incredible places to stay. The camp only has three double rooms and one family room, all of which are incredibly spread out. When I went in June last year we were the only couple there on one of the nights, so it was just us, the camp staff and all of the animals. One morning when we woke up we saw zebras just casually strolling by. Going to sleep at night and hearing lions roaring nearby was something I’ll never forget.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Issy von Simson

    Editor of Condé Nast Traveller UK

    ‘Anywhere with my family. This will make our Editor-in-Chief, Melinda, laugh, but last summer, with two small girls and a tiny baby, we went to Sani in Halkidiki, Greece. Not a tiny, off-the-radar, undiscovered island escape, or a beautiful, just-opened dot of a hotel, but a big, bold, been-around-for-ages, mega-resort. And it, at that moment in my life, was the best holiday we could possibly have had.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Katharine Sohn

    PA to the editor-in-chief

    Florence. For it’s golden yellow colour at sundown, its sense of curiosity, its swirls of spaghetti and for the flights of swallows that fly over the Arno at dusk.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Rosalyn Wikeley

    Creative content editor

    Scotland. Unequivocally Scotland. The Highlands have a near-religious hold over me – the warm blend of colours, the stoic spirit, the wind that whips your face and the ancient Caledonian forests that soak unpleasant thoughts. There’s humility to be found in the unruly weather and pre-dotcom psyche. My great-grandfather used to hide from the world here for weeks on end, in a house accessible only by boat across a loch. AA Gill later caught on and made his annual pilgrimage to the Letterewe estate. It is now owned by a Dutch family and guests can rent the main house or its bothies for long, Wi-Fi-free weekends. I’m all for exotic escapades but what I really crave (especially now) is a romp through this craggy landscape with a serious coat, great friends, a defiant Scottish sun on my forehead and a piping-hot peaty bath on my return.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Grainne McBride

    Chief sub editor

    ‘County Kerry, Ireland.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Toby Skinner

    Contributing editor

    ‘There have been two travel moments in the past year when I’ve wondered: is this Peak Life? One was sitting on the wooden deck at Singita Sweni Lodge, in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, drinking a minerally South African white as the hippos guffawed Frank Bruno-ishly in the deadly river below – on the same day that a lion stalked to within a metre of my girlfriend, before coolly winking at her. Another was running into the waves at Little Bay, near South West Rocks on the New South Wales coast. It was all sea-spray and soft light, and the beach was empty but for us, the kangaroos and crabs that kept popping up out of their little holes for curious face-offs, making the white sand seem to glitch like a mirage. Alas, “favourite place” needs more meaning… Second would have to be Breckon Sands in Shetland, an improbable crescent of white sand and turquoise, leading to a headland of birds, sheep and cliffs, which I’ve been going to since I was young. And number one would be the big rock on the East Beach in North Berwick, east of Edinburgh. There’s a bit of the rock that’s shaped like a smooth throne, crafted first by a volcanic eruption and then by generations of children’s bottoms. Even though mine no longer quite fits, sitting there still feels like home.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Becky Lucas

    Digital editor

    ‘The second place that springs to mind (after the little area of London where I live) is, in fact, Sydney. I didn’t expect to like it so much; in truth I used to think it was a bit of an ‘obvious’ destination – the last stop on every unimaginative gap-year itinerary, and way too much like the UK to be in any way exciting or adventurous. But when I eventually made it there, it was love at first surf: the city fringed by beaches, the unexpectedly historic Georgian architecture, the smart little boutiques and thriving organic food scene – the areas I liked the most were Bondi and Paddington. So my favourite place is either home – or one of the furthest possible places from it.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Sophie Knight

    Digital picture editor

    Cape Town. It has everything to offer. I have fond memories of paragliding from Signal Hill across the city below and landing at the coast where we were greeted by a humpback whale at sea.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Lucy Farrell

    Events assistant

    ‘Isla Barú is a peninsula off Cartagena that is only accessible via boat. The sea gently strokes the sand and the low-lying trees are teeming with birds. It’s a quiet, undisturbed corner of the earth that I associate with complete serenity.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Sonya Barber

    Acting digital editor

    ‘It has to be London. I was born in central London and have barely left. I still love this city more than anywhere else: the smell of the tube, the mix of people, the fact that I can have an Indian bacon naan roll for breakfast, a Korean bibimbap for lunch and a Sri Lankan hopper for dinner. I never get bored of London.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Anna Morassutti Vitale

    Picture Editor

    It’s hard to say I have so many, if I had to choose well Italy will always be my home and, in my heart, but in the past years, I got to discover Zimbabwe and it has become amongst one of my favourite places. I had such a great time there, delicious food, stunning landscapes, friendly people and great parties!

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Lee Marshall

    Contributing editor

    ‘I’m torn, because I live in it and so, naturally, want to keep it to myself. But, like so many places in Italy, it needs some love right now, so here goes: Città della Pieve in Umbria. It’s a small hilltown close to the region’s western border with Tuscany, between Orvieto and Lake Trasimeno. Guidebooks would probably dismiss it as no more than “worth a detour”, but my detour has lasted 12 years now and I can’t get enough of it. The medieval-era houses in the centro storico are made of ancient bricks that seem to glow with red fire at the golden hour. There’s a famous fresco here by Perugino that you pay to see, but there’s another one, of lamenting angels, by a Quattrocento Sienese artist, that you can just wander in and have all to yourself, in a room that until recently was used by the church for a kids’ club. In August, everyone in town dresses up in Renaissance costumes they make themselves and process through the street; I’ve even done it myself, sweating in three layers of wool as an Augustinian monk. Food, family and friends are the important things in life here, along with country walks and cycling – don’t get me started on the cycling. Across to Radicofani, through the Val d’Orcia to Pienza and back to a huge plate of linguine alla puttanesca: how much better does life get? If you do visit, stop for a drink in one of our two wine bars, Fibonacci or Il Saltapicchio, eat at Bruno Coppetta (cool design, warm welcome, home cooking) and stay at Pieve Suites, a little three-apartment place in the centro storico’s cutest lane. Full disclosure: it belongs to my wife, and I’m not that keen for you to book it as I use it as my writing shed when there are no guests staying. But, at the risk of shooting myself in the foot, I have to admit that it is, right now, the nicest place to stay in town.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Olivia Morelli

    Digital assistant

    ‘I lived in Edinburgh for five years and each time I return I feel a wave of relief wash over me. In the summer the city comes alive with the Festival Fringe, as hoards of crowds pour in for weeks of arts, theatre and comedy, but I think the city is most magical during the winter. Christmas markets are dotted around with twinkling lights, sizzling food stalls and laughing people. There are so many great restaurants, but my favourite is the Bon Vivant, a gorgeous, wooden clad, candlelit restaurant with great cocktails and wine and amazing food. The next morning, shake the hangover with a walk up Arthur’s Seat, across the Pentlands or by the sea.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Tom Parker Bowles

    Contributing editor

    Mexico City. And home.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Serena Chambers

    Fashion and beauty manager

    Portugal’s west coast, often referred to as the last wild coast in Europe. The region is lined with the most beautiful and relatively undiscovered beaches. Maria, the host of boutique hotel Casas da Lupa – affectionately named after her dog, Lupa – has created an artsy but homely bolthole that feels more like a big house than a hotel. Maria even bakes croissants in the morning and cooked us local dishes on the nights we didn’t venture out.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Natasha Callin

    Creative partnership manager

    Raffles Singapore stole my heart when I first visited the country with my family as an 18 year old, and has remained my favourite hotel ever since. I’ve always found Raffles a soothing place, particularly in the bustle of metropolitan Singapore, and love to sit on the terrace outside the garden rooms for morning coffee or a sundowner ahead of the liveliness of the Long Bar. Raffles also goes hand-in-hand with my love of history (a key reason for why I travel) and reading so many stories of the hotel through the decades has only heightened its allure. Was there really a tiger under the billiard table? I’ve checked every time I go back.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Juliet Kinsman

    Writer

    ‘The Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, having enjoyed the most incredible cycling holiday in Romania with The Slow Cyclist last summer, where horse-drawn carts were the only other vehicles on the roads most of the time. Just picturing those fields of wildflowers, terraced vineyards and trails through thick forest punctuated by Disney-worthy, centuries-old, pastel-painted Saxon villages. Picnics of homegrown vegetables and world-class local wines under blue skies – just bringing up those sunny rural memories and how we earned all that eating and drinking from pedalling from guesthouse to guesthouse makes me feel nourished.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Steve King

    Editor-at-large

    ‘A psychic space as much as a physical one. Nice view, pleasant company, deadlines met, a glass of something chilled to hand. A contented cat also to hand. Strong but indirect natural light. Plants, mirrors, cushions, a careworn carpet underfoot. The sound, present but not intrusive, of other people, their talk, their comings and goings, perhaps of traffic, though not enough to trouble the cat.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Anthony Sattin

    Contributing editor

    ‘Central Asia. I had a brilliant trip to Iran with The Ultimate Travel Company a few years ago. I had already travelled in Pakistan and had taught a writing class in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, a few years ago and had Tajiks, Kazakhs and Uzbeks turn up as well as Kyrgyz. They all wrote stories about their homelands, their childhoods, cherished memories, and they left me longing to visit. Samarkand, Bukhara, Fergana Valley…’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Ondine Cohane

    Contributing editor

    ‘El Chololo in Mexico outside San Pancho. I honestly spend most of the time wanting to cry from happiness.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    David Godfrey

    Partnerships art director

    Rio, Brazil. The city has an energy you can’t find anywhere else. Everything from the cool, experimental restaurants to the kick-back Caipirinha culture along the beach make it my favourite place to make a B-line for when I have a few weeks off.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Natalie Moss-Blundell


    Senior Digital Account Manager

    ‘The place I fell in love with and keep wanting to go back to is Paxos, a beautifully unspoilt island reached via boat from Corfu. ‘Idyllic’ sums it up — seafront tavernas, hidden coves, pebble beaches lapped by crystal clear sea and wild olive grove landscapes. The tiny nearby island of Antipaxos is even more picture-perfect with one of the best beaches in the world, Voutoumi beach.’

  • The best places in the world according to the editors of Condé Nast Traveller

    Laura Archer

    Creative partnerships editor

    Northumberland. My motherland, my fatherland. Where I got married, where my daughter first saw the sea. Its castles, its countryside, its pubs. It’s the ultimate staycation – I’d recommend Jesmond Dene House, a fabulous boutique hotel in Newcastle’s green heart. I’d go to Bamburgh for the castle and the beach, and Seahouses for the fish and chips, sitting by the port watching the fishing boats chugging home for the day. And, of course, a trip over to Holy Island is a must – just keep an eye on the tides so you don’t get stranded.’

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