10 Lost City Breaks
By Jenny Barber
If you’re bored with all the usual resorts this summer, why not try one of these city breaks instead! Whether you’re holidaying at home or abroad, adventure beckons…
This island paradise has a network of canals to rival Venice – enjoy one of the boat tours from the coast to the centre of the city and listen to knowledgeable guides while you admire the classic sculpture on the many bridges. Take a visit to the jewellery district and explore the Atlantean arts scene in the recently renovated orichalcum studios where you can watch your own one-of-a-kind piece being made; or drop into one of the coastal restaurants for the best fish dishes this side of Lyonnesse. And when you need a break from the bustle of the city, the black and silver beaches are not to be missed.
Hidden away in the magnificent Kunlun mountains, Shangri-La is just the place if you want to get away from it all. Try out one of the many spiritual retreats; walk the peaceful lake trails; or eat at one of the famous home-style restaurants where everyone is welcome, and all ingredients are acquired fresh that day – and don’t forget to sample one of Shangri-La’s famous peach dishes!
For an exciting Mexican adventure why not try an activity break in Chicomoztoc! With seven main city-caves and a multitude of caverns and tunnels to explore, there’s something for every level of caver. Beginners can explore the underground streams, lakes, and caverns with stunning stone-age wall art; the more experienced will find some of the most thrilling cave dives in the world, with challenging cave passages that lead to the ruins of ancient tribal sites.
Twinned with Lyonnesse, this gem of Brittany is one for the shopaholics as it boasts a thriving network of markets that will leave you cash poor but infinitely richer in souvenirs. The Arts Quarter has always been one of its popular attractions and Ys’s signature marble, cedar and gold can be seen here in abundance. An energetic night life can be found in the clubs and bars near the dykes and those seeking something quieter will find a great many cathedrals and historic churches to visit.
Despite its limited access restrictions, you’ll find Hy-Brasil a mist shrouded wonder whatever time of year you visit. Situated west of Ireland, its unique environment boasts rare flora and fauna native only to this region, making it a haven for nature lovers; and history buffs will delight in the active excavations and detailed museum that documents the ancient ruins and castle. Guided tours through the ruins and woodlands are available twice a day, or those with stronger stomachs can chance a boat trip around the island and discover the many secrets of its stormy coastline.
In the South American jungle, on the shores of Lake Parime, you’ll find the ancient Muisca city of El Dorado. Known as much for its water sports and vibrant night life, as for its gold, silver, and emeralds, El Dorado caters to many tastes. Learn to sail on sparkling water of the deepest blue or join a dive tour to see the ancient artefacts that still litter the lakebed; then spend your evening enjoying one of the many regular open-air concerts, festivals or dance clubs.
Closer to home is the fabled island-city of Avalon: one of Britain’s Arthurian centres, you’ll find the famous Avalon Abbey and Academy of Healing as well as bountiful orchards, extensive herb gardens and sacred springs. Cider aficionados can visit one of the island’s cider breweries and sample the many custom brews, while those looking for something more restful can spend time in the meditation retreat or browse the local bookshops – there’s at least three bookshops per street so seekers of knowledge will not be disappointed.
In the desert, far west of the Nile, you’ll find the shining white city of Zerzura. Built around an oasis network that provides the city with multiple natural pools, springs, and rivers, Zerzura’s impressive city gates are guarded by black stone giants that date back to the Bronze Age. Its library and university are renowned for holding the oldest records of Egyptian history and its ancient ruins have remained intact and untampered with. But if history’s not your thing, the dunes outside the city are perfect for sand-boarding and buggy racing, while the nearby mountains are a hiker’s dream!
If you fancy a trip to the Philippines, why not visit Biringan City! This city of dazzling lights and towering buildings is on the cutting edge of technology and you’ll find the inventions of science fiction brought to life on its streets. Biringan is also well known for its ghost tours and has a rich folklore woven into local life, making it a rare treat of a city that balances scientific and magical wonders.
Between Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly you’ll find the historic island-city of Lyonnesse. While famed for its 140 churches and abbeys; its sub-tropical climate, golden beaches, and azure waters easily rival the Mediterranean – making it the perfect staycation destination for the discerning sun-worshipper. The nearby Seven Stones reef boasts the best diving in the British Isles and at low tide it’s possible to see the remains of the forest that once stretched between Lyonnesse and the mainland. You’ll find the best clubs, pubs and arcades along the north coast and a thriving shopping district to the south that demonstrates why Lyonnesse was once a hub of European trade.