If you're sick of the usual beach resorts, then zesty Lomé will welcome you to a coastal destination that oozes with inimitable character. The former 'Jewel of West Africa' offers some wonderful beaches, and exports its delicious bounty of cocoa, coffee and pine kernels far and wide. A disorientating place, where stuttering engines and whizzing motorbikes add a chaotic essence to the city's streets, you’ll see vendors strolling with supplies balanced improbably on their heads, along with a healthy supply of intrigue, adventure and buzzing markets. Swarms of bikes and motorbikes dominate the coastal road, which borders the huge, palm tree lined Lomé beach – but the sand is wide enough for you to relax with the road merely a distant whisper. A treasure trove of traditional masks and statues wait for you to explore inside the National Museum, while the characterful Monument de l'Independance honours the country's sacrifices in its struggle for independence, and is a suitably defiant beacon of liberation.