Continuing the 2012 Travel Calendar as suggested by Tom Hall from Lonely Planets for the Observer Part 1 was published in yesterday’s Blog
Discover Ukraine’s coastline this summer. Photograph: Alamy
Europe’s football championships finish with fireworks in Kiev on 1 July, leaving the rest of the summer to discover Europe’s largest country. Apart from the big-city delights of the capital there’s Lviv, a central European stunner that’s been turning heads for a few years, and all the fun of the seaside in the Crimea. Ukraine remains an inexpensive destination – especially away from Kiev – but book ahead if you want to be by the coast in the high summer.
• Ukraine Travel (ukraine.co.uk), specialists in the country, offers direct flights to Kiev from Manchester for £225 including taxes, and can also help with rail tickets and hotels
August: New York City
Such is the pace of change that, like Paris and London, New York is somewhere best visited regularly. If you haven’t been in the past year you won’t have had the chance to admire the new 9/11 memorial, explore the latest section of the High Line or take a superhero walking tour (viator.com). The Big Apple bakes in summer, but you can at least stay in a cool spot at the new Bowery House. Many of the cabin-style rooms are small with funky shared bathrooms, making this a great deal in a hip part of New York.
• Bunks in shared rooms start at £31 with single cabin rooms from £51 (theboweryhouse.com)
It’s a good year for getting to Iceland without breaking the bank. EasyJet (easyjet.co.uk) will start flying from Luton to Reykjavik from £59 return at the end of March. In addition to this and established airlines such as Iceland Express, a new carrier, Wow Air (wowair.is), is advertising flights from the Icelandic capital to Stansted.
October: Milan and the Lakes
Milan’s delights for a city break need little introduction, but a shake-up of any big city’s hotel scene is a welcome thing. Self-styled “eco-chic” hotel E.c.ho wears its green credentials on its sleeve. Look for 125m of solar panelling, sustainably sourced decor materials and a seasonally focused menu. The courtyard garden is home to a Renaissance chapel by Donato Bramante, who designed St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Rooms at E.c.ho start at £163 per night (starhotels.com). Flights to Milan are available from around the UK – see skyscanner.net
Whilst in Milan take the time to visit the Lakes. A mere one hour’s drive from Milan, 30km from Malpensa airport (BA, EasyJet, Alitalia flights from UK). October is usually mild, autumnal and full of colour. Visit the Borromeo Islands, do some great winter shopping, enjoy some splendid Piemontese food.
Stay at #Castello Dal Pozzo, Oleggio Castello, at the southern end of Lake Maggiore.
A Romantic Escape for 2 starts from 244€ in a double deluxe with candlelit dinner, breakfast and bottle of bubbly in your room.
Keep your fingers crossed for a clear night … Photograph: Alamy
This is predicted to be the best year yet for spotting the northern lights, so if you’ve been promising yourself a trip, then this is the time to do it. November is as good as any other part of winter to go: all you need to do is keep your fingers crossed for clear skies and a light show. There’s nothing to stop you making your own way via Bodo in Norway or beyond on a flight with Norwegian (norwegian.no).
• The Aurora Zone (theaurorazone.com) has four-night trips from £1,445 using snowmobiles, huskies and local guides
Cambodia is so much more than the magnificent temples at Angkor, as a bunch of funky new openings is busy proving. As well as luxury resorts, such as Shinta Mani and Song Saa, The Plantation (theplantation.asia, rooms from £41) has just opened in Phnom Penh in 1940s colonial-style buildings set in tropical gardens. About Asia Travel (aboutasiatravel.com) can arrange cross-country packages, including private-jet transfers and sightseeing tours.