Whatever your destination, Simon Calder has the insider tips you need to have a hell of a good time. Click through to get travel advice on hot destinations you want to visit, hotels you want to stay in, from top hotels to best, hippest hostels and to know where to eat when you’re in Paris. His latest book is The 24 Hours Guide to Every City in the World.
Will Italy stay beautiful?
It has been glorious in the last five years, and it could be the kind of year that pushes it back over 1,000 to 1,050 more beautiful days, and of course there’s the weather. That’s the difference. The weather is important to get rid of cynicism. If you think you’ve seen things, wait and see. Next week will see it rain two days and then you’ll be reminded that the weather fluctuates a lot. The city could go from the top of the world to the bottom in one day. It’s not a bad place to be. It’s got a strong relationship with its seafood, the amazing seafood restaurants and the baked delicacies, fried gnocchi, and pea soup with clams. It could be the year of fish, vegetable, and fibre.
What cities will become the hot spots of 2018?
I think you’re likely to see more Americans getting back into Paris. It’s a cosmopolitan, tasty place to go. I like L’Eiffel Tower as much as any visitor does, but Paris itself is a lot nicer now than it was 20 or 30 years ago. That’s exciting. India is almost broke, it can’t grow, so I like Delhi. It’s become a bit of a city, and will likely try to grow with the globalization of the global economy, as a stable and modern city. It’s an interesting place to go for various reasons. There’s a middle class emerging, the public transport is modern and functioning and a lot of the old-world gems are now a lot cheaper.
Where should the world look for an explosion of genuine culture?
I just wanted to see a place where traditional food makes a comeback. I’ve seen a lot of new gastronomic trends in recent years—there’s Mediterranean food, which isn’t so fresh, there’s steaks and fried food and tacos and things like that. I wanted to go to places that have a well-established cuisine and make it my own. I really wanted to go to the Veneto and Umbria region of Italy and think about bread, fresh pasta, and good and ripe tomatoes. They had a deep love of food in those regions that produced things as good as I can remember eating anywhere in the world. When I went back to New York recently, I was really impressed with the food in the local cuisines in Hawaii, and I wanted to see why that is. How do the people get it and what’s important for them to do with it in the context of the tourist infrastructure. It was very inspiring, and it was good to find this new way of cooking. Italy was where that came out of.
This was fun. I actually asked the people that I pick, not just books but recommendations of some of the best hostels in the world, what’s the No. 1 or 2, and what should people think about when they are thinking about a hostel? I always consider how that was a status symbol, how much attention was paid to it, was it a lived experience or did the book make it for the person who’s not planning a stay? If it looks good in the book, it can be a world-class hostel. In order to make it a world-class hostel, you have to do it right.