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Why go now?
Some predict an in ux of British visitors now
the Foreign O� ce no longer advises against all
but essential travel there (except stretches along
the Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani borders, far from
most tourist itineraries). The British Embassy
also recently reopened in Tehran.
What is there to see?
Of all the Middle East countries safe to visit, Iran
is arguably the most culturally compelling, with
busy bazaars and exquisite mosques, mountain
ranges and dusty deserts. The medieval capital
of Esfahan (pictured right) is a big tourist draw,
as are the ancient ruins of Persepolis.
Is it dangerous?
Most visits are trouble-free, though there are
important cultural considerations: women must
cover their heads at all times and both sexes
must dress conservatively (no shorts). Alcohol is
strictly forbidden and penalties can be severe.
Who can help?
Iran tourism pioneers Wild Frontiers o§ er both
historical tours and walking itineraries (from
£1,575; wildfrontierstravel.com). Also check out
Intrepid (interpidtravel.com) and Imaginative
JMW Marriott (pictured right) opened earlier
this year on the teensy island of Isola delle
Rose in the Venetian lagoon. It's home to the
GOCO spa, where you can be scrubbed and
pummeled to your heart's content or relax in
the sauna, Turkish bath or heated swimming
pool. It's the view that really stuns though:
enjoy the island's seclusion and serenity
as motorboats putter past on the water
between you and St Mark's Basilica (from
£296, spa access from £18pp; marriott.co.uk).
Sri Lanka's tourism renaissance shows no
signs of slowing, with the grand opening of
Anantara Tangalle Peace Haven Resort
later this year, set amid a 42-acre coconut
plantation. Various classes, such as yoga,
pilates and meditation, will be available
on the beach, while a centrepiece will be
Turn up, switch o� and tune out:
there'll always be a warm welcome
for new places to put your feet up
The age of train travel returns with Ffestiniog Travel's new
Burma Adventure, which heads for little-visited areas on
steam-hauled charters (from £5,995; ffestiniogtravel.
com). While Ireland's first luxury sleeper train, the Grand
Hibernian, starts in January, running from Belfast in the
north to Cork in the south (from £2,290pp; belmond.com).
Paddington Bear would be encouraged to know the UK
will soon have its first direct flights to Peru in over 30 years
as British Airways services from London Gatwick to Lima
start May 2016 (from £657). BA also announced the launch
of the only scheduled flights to Costa Rica, departing from
London Gatwick the same month (from £546; ba.com).
the spa, which promises to specialise in
Ayurvedic and re exology treatments
(from £173; tangalle.anantara.com).
Set within 12th-century ramparts on a
Provencal hilltop, La Bastide de Gordes
(top) was already one of France's most
regal addresses. It's become even more
regal now, having just reopened with a
new, upgraded Sisley spa with four pools
and treatment rooms in which to steam,
sauna and seriously chill out (from £203;
in the air
on the rails
IRAN: THE NEXT BIG THING?