Each year, NYT puts out a list of 52 places to go. This is the list in 2019.
A year and a half after Hurricane Maria slammed into this United States territory and other Caribbean islands with devastating force, Puerto Rico is on the rebound. The number of daily flights is still below normal, but tourism officials say that cruise ship traffic is healthy, hotel room occupancy is climbing back to prehurricane levels and many major attractions are open or partly open.
An ancient archaeological complex becomes more accessible. At the height of the Vijayanagar Empire in the 16th century, Hampi thrived as one of the largest and richest cities in the world. Its architectural legacy lives on in the southwestern state of Karnataka with over 1,000 well-preserved stone monuments, including Hindu temples, forts and palaces. Spread over 16 miles near the banks of the Tungabhadra River, and surrounded by a sea of granite boulders, the Unesco World Heritage site has been notoriously difficult to reach, until now.
Long known for drawing movie stars and millionaires to its resorts, Santa Barbara has now become a foodie magnet. The acclaimed Melbourne and Manhattan chef Jesse Singh oversees Bibi Ji, an edgy Indian restaurant — try the uni biryani — with a wine list curated by the noted sommelier Rajat Parr. The “Top Chef” alum Phillip Frankland Lee presides over The Monarch, a posh Californian restaurant, and Chaplin’s Martini Bar, and will open Silver Bough, a 10-seat, tasting-menu venue in January.
Two new Pacific island resorts are expanding Panama’s west coast appeal, not far from the marine preserve around Isla Coiba. Cayuga Hospitality recently opened Isla Palenque in the Gulf of Chiriqui, with eight casitas and one villa on a lush 400-acre island.
As far as cultural triple threats go, it’s hard to beat Munich, the capital of Germany’s Bavaria region. Its theaters are considered among the most creative and ambitious in Europe, with its two main companies, the Münchner Kammerspiele and the Residenztheater (the latter entering its final year under the acclaimed artistic director Martin Kusej) producing more than 30 premieres between January and May of 2019. And its museums, most set within walking distance of each other, are decidedly world class, especially since the renovation and reopening of the Lenbachhaus Museum in 2017, with its unmatched collection of the German artists known as the Blue Rider school.
Beneath the prismatic waters of this Red Sea resort on Israel’s southern tip lies a coral reef with hundreds of varieties of neon fish, sharks and stingrays. To get there, visitors used to have to catch a charter flight from Tel Aviv or brave the dusty drive through the 5,000-square-mile Negev Desert. But with the opening early this year of Ramon Airport, set in the dramatic Timna Valley and capable of handling four million international transit passengers a year, the world will finally get a direct route – with nonstops from Munich and Frankfurt on Lufthansa, and budget carriers flying in from Prague, London and across Europe. New hotels, including the luxurious Six Senses Shaharut, opening just in time for Israel’s turn at hosting the Eurovision 2019 song contest, are ready for the crowds.
Japan’s ancient Setouchi region, which includes the Seto Inland Sea’s islands and coastal areas, will host the Setouchi Trienniale 2019, a major art fair held in three seasonal installments; sites in 2019 include the less-frequented islands of Teshima and Honjima, where you can better experience the balance of nature and art. One hour south of the “art islands” via ferry or the Shinkansen bullet train, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, one of Japan’s most visited sites, reopens in spring 2019 after an eight-year, $51 million refurbishment. Setouchi is also looking to draw a fresh crop of cyclists, with new trails winding through local citrus and olive groves and a dedicated Shimanami bike ferry that opened in October 2018 connecting Japan’s main island of Honshu to the region’s lesser-visited island of Shikoku.
Viking long ships once glided through Aalborg’s mighty Limfjord. Today, the city is turning its most famous natural asset into an artistic one. Wildly innovative buildings have sprouted on Aalborg’s shores, including the Utzon Center, designed by Jorn Utzon, the architect of the Sydney Opera House — check out its new exhibition series on inspiring Nordic architects, with a first show that runs through May. The curvilinear concert hall Musikkens Hus was recently followed by the vibrant Aalborg Street Food market; the pedestrian and cycling Culture Bridge; and the undulating Vestre Fjordpark, with an open-air swimming pool that meets the sea.
In the nippy Atlantic Ocean a four-hour flight from the United States, the subtropical volcanic islands of the Azores, complete with Unesco World Heritage sites and biospheres, await discovery. Mystical green lushness, oversize volcanic craters now turned into lakes, steaming natural hot springs that puff out from the earth, blue hydrangeas by the thousands and the only coffee growers in Europe distinguish the island chain. New restaurants in Ponta Delgada include locavore Casa do Abel, the Japanese-influenced Otaka, and Tasquinha Vieira, which specializes in local, organic cuisine, while new hotels include the Lava Homes on Pico Island, and the Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico, opening in July. TAP Portugal now offers flights from the United States, with free stopovers in Lisbon, and Delta has added direct flights from New York to Ponta Delgada.
The ice caves that emerge from the winds and waves that pound the north shore of Lake Superior have always been somewhat ephemeral. But climate change has now brought an element of doubt into their future. For now, the caves are a regularly occurring feature, notably along the shoreline near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, a steel town just across the international border from a Michigan town of the same name. Made from snow and ice, the caves vary in size, shape and color. Large waves before they freeze up — on Superior they can reach upward of 20 feet — are the essential ingredient for large caverns.
After completing a five-year historical preservation initiative to save its Unesco designation, Salvador, with its sherbet-colored colonial facades, cobblestone streets and beaches, is gleaming. Rising along the coast of northeastern Bahia, the city’s downtown historic district thrums with vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture, ranging from free weekly performances by samba and drum corps to classical music and capoeira. Visitors can also find Salvador’s history exhibited in the new House of Carnival and, opening in 2020, the Museum of Music or catch a live concert at the Convention Center of Salvador, opening later this year. The Fera Palace Hotel, a refurbished Art Deco gem, and the freshly minted Fasano Salvador, housed in a former 1930s newspaper building, both overlook All Saints Bay, which in November will host the finish of the International Regatta Transat Jacques Vabre, a 4,350-mile race along the historic coffee trading route between France and Brazil.
Danang, Vietnam’s third largest city, is probably best known for being a gateway to the nearby Unesco Heritage town of Hoi An. But in the last few years, it’s begun to develop its own reputation as the Miami of Vietnam, with a strong foodie scene and new hotels and resorts popping up on a five-mile-long beach strip, including the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, on its own private cove, with hillside villas with individual plunge pools. A typical day might start with a morning swim on the sandy, crescent-shaped Non Nuoc Beach and perhaps a quick stop at the Han Market.
Costalegre is a stretch of 43 largely unpopulated beaches, capes and bays along Mexico’s gorgeous Pacific coastline, about halfway between the better-known destinations of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, and one that has so far escaped the attention of vacationers flocking to its popular neighbors to the north, Punta Mita and the surfer’s haven of Sayulita. One factor keeping away the crowds: lack of easy access. Up until now, the nearest airport has been more than a two-hour drive away, in Puerto Vallarta. But that will change with the planned opening of the Chalacatepec Airport in the second half of this year, which will cut travel time by more than half.
Outdoor enthusiasts can head to New Zealand starting in October to trek the country’s first Great Walk trail to open in more than 25 years. Tracing the Pororari River along the west coast of the South Island, the new Paparoa Track winds through Paparoa National Park, a reserve largely inaccessible until now. Built by the Department of Conservation for hikers and mountain bikers, the 34-mile trail (hiked in three days; biked in two) departs from a historic mining town and traverses epic limestone gorges, beech forests and sandstone bluffs before culminating at the renowned Punakaiki Blowholes.
The ancient fortified farmhouses called masserie, found only in the region of Puglia, are increasingly being turned into boutique hotels, most notably Rocco Forte’s Masseria Torre Maizza, and the 17th-century Castello di Ugento, where guests can take cooking classes at the Puglia Culinary Center. And the region’s 1,000-year-old wine culture, which began when the Greeks planted vines from their land across the Adriatic, is attracting more oenophiles to the area, including the Antinori family, who recently opened Tormaresca bistro in Lecce as part of their expansion in the region.
While most visitors focus on Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, the soaring Tatra Mountains have emerged as an under-the-radar destination for skiing and outdoors activities, with new gondolas at the Bachledka and Jasna ski areas; slopes planned at Mlynicka Dolina; and new chair lifts at Oravska Lesna in the nearby Fatra range to the northwest. And it’s not just about winter sports: There is excellent hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and fly-fishing, while beyond the Tatras, Kosice, a regional capital, offers colorful street art and plenty of cafes and restaurants, thanks to its three universities and associated night life. Plan on posting plenty of photos: You’ll find untouched folk architecture throughout the region, as well as perfectly preserved Gothic and Baroque buildings awaiting your lens.
Calgary’s new Central Library, from the architectural firm Snohetta, creates not just a design destination, with daily tours, but also a gateway in the form of an arched cedar-clad passageway linking downtown to the city’s evolving East Village, a booming neighborhood where the Bow and Elbow Rivers meet. Calgary was founded in the East Village area in 1875, with a fort built to curb the growing whiskey trade, but the area suffered roughly 70 years of neglect before the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, formed in 2007, began transforming the area, adding parks, attractions and high-rises.
Lake Baikal in Siberia is the world’s deepest lake, plunging a mile into the earth’s crust. It contains nearly 20 percent of the world’s unfrozen fresh water and is so abundant in wildlife — bears, foxes, sables, rare and endangered freshwater seals — that Unesco calls it “the Galápagos of Russia.” The wildlife, like the lake itself, has been under threat for years, from indifferent Soviet industrial policy, from climate change and from today’s rising tourism, especially from China.
The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing will draw crowds to Huntsville — a.k.a. Rocket City — home of the Marshall Space Flight Center, where the spacecraft that launched astronauts to the moon were developed. Throughout the year, there will be daily re-enactments of the moon landing at the U.S. Space
The Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas), far off the coast of Argentina, offer an astonishing variety of wildlife that includes five kinds of penguins, hundreds of bird species, seals, sea lions and whales, as well as remote natural beauty that travelers often have to themselves: the human population is just 2,563. Two new local touring companies are increasing accessibility to the riches of the islands, the sovereignty of which is in dispute between Argentina and Britain (hence the two names).
Just as many famous European overnight train routes, like Paris to Berlin, have been retired, the Caledonian Sleeper, the train that travels through the night from London all the way to the north of Scotland, is rolling out new carriages in time for summer. For adepts of slow rail travel, the new cars preserve the romance of overnight trains, in contemporary comfort, with a choice of hotel-style suites, classic bunk beds or seats. The Highlander route to Aberdeen leaves Euston Station in London in the evening and hits the Scottish coast by 5 a.m., so travelers who take an early breakfast in the dining car can enjoy coastal views as the sun rises (get off at Leuchars for medieval St. Andrews).
The well-known pearls of the Ligurian Riviera — Portofino, Cinque Terre, Portovenere — are now overwhelmed with tourists, a problem so acute that in some areas authorities have debated measures to stem the flow of day-trippers. But just a few miles away, between glamorous Portofino and the industrial port of Genoa, remains a peaceful sliver of coastline rarely explored by travelers to the region. Known as the Golfo Paradiso, this small gulf is home to five often-overlooked villages, including Camogli, a colorful fishing hamlet as charming as any of the Cinque Terre.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of the German architect Walter Gropius’s “Proclamation of the Bauhaus,” a radical reimagining of art, architecture and design that drew luminaries like Mies van der Rohe, Paul Klee and Vassily Kandinsky and reverberated worldwide. To celebrate the Bauhaus Centennial, cities around Germany will hold events, from the opening festival in Berlin — several days of art, dance, concerts, theater, lectures and more this month — to the debut of the Bauhaus Museum in Weimar, where the movement was born. But the most compelling destination might be Dessau.
Freedom is what makes Tunis unique. Eight years after it kicked off the Arab spring, Tunis remains the only Arab capital with real freedom of expression, not to mention the peaceful rotation of power. But the city holds many other charms. Among them are the ruins of the ancient city of Carthage, from which Hannibal’s elephants once threatened Rome. The carefully preserved old medina — with its radiant tiles, historic mosques and warren of alleys — dates from the 12th to the 16th century, when Tunis was a major center of the Islamic world.
Gambia’s tourism industry was hit especially hard in 2017, when its longtime authoritarian ruler Yahya Jammeh refused to cede leadership after a shocking election loss, forcing a political standoff that brought foreign troops in. But with its new president, Adama Barrow, now safely in place, there’s a renewed sense of hope across continental Africa’s smallest country — now more accessible than ever. In January, a new bridge over the Gambia River, three decades in the making, will be inaugurated with a nearly 200-mile relay run to Dakar, Senegal.
The lead-up to the next Winter Games is well underway in and around Beijing, and the spectacle is breathtaking. The most stunning transformations are happening about a four-hour drive north of China’s capital in Chongli, once one of the country’s poorest areas and now home to several multibillion-dollar ski resorts, towering condominiums and flashy hotels. Over the past few years, Chongli has transformed into a glistening winter sports hub filled with restaurants, inns and watering holes with names like Snow Bar and Nordica.
The horseshoe-shaped Orcas, one of the largest islands that make up the San Juan archipelago, has gained fame in recent years for its impressive tide-to-table culinary scene and experimental wines, attracting among others, Oprah Winfrey. (In 2018, Ms. Winfrey bought a 43-acre estate on the island for a reported $8.275 million.) A new wine enterprise, Doe Bay Wine Company, is presenting its Orcas Project in 2019 — a collaboration between acclaimed winemakers and vineyards in the Pacific Northwest.
If you have ever wanted to travel the Silk Road, now may be the time to go. After more than 25 years since the fall of the Soviet Union, the former member country of Uzbekistan — home to some of the most alluring stretches of that historic trail — is finally going through its own perestroika. Among the many modernizing reforms are better official exchange rates and the ability to book flights and apply for visas online. In addition, Americans and 100 other nationalities are now allowed visa-free entry for up to five days (visas are good for 30 days), while citizens of France are permitted visa-free entry up to one month.
Rural Vestlandet, western Norway, home to some of Scandinavia’s most beautiful landscapes, is piquing the interest of outdoorsy types, especially those who take their beer seriously. The recently opened Loen Skylift ferries travelers more than 3,280 feet to the top of Mount Hoven in just a few minutes, while fearless climbers can put on a harness, hire a guide and make roughly the same journey in six extremely photogenic hours, following a protected climbing path that features one of the longest “via ferrata” suspension bridges in Europe.
Soccer fans should set their sights on France this summer, and especially Lyon, where positive thinking in some circles holds that American women will clinch their fourth World Cup title in the final match on July 7. Even if you can’t get tickets — or détestez le football — the city of half a million people and 4,000 restaurants is well worth a visit. This year Lyon plays host to one of four countrywide International City of Gastronomy projects, an indoor, one-acre exhibition that includes interactive workshops and conferences designed to showcase France’s cuisine and its contributions to health and pleasure.
As the next men’s soccer World Cup approaches in 2022, the host nation, Qatar, is loading its capital with structures from the biggest names in international architecture. The sharp-angled, futuristic Qatar National Library, designed by Rem Koolhaas and his OMA firm, opened in 2018; 2019 will welcome the National Museum of Qatar, a sprawling expanse of interlocking tilted circular discs by Jean Nouvel. A contribution from a third Pritzker Prize-winner, the late Zaha Hadid, is also slated to materialize in the form of a swooping, curvaceous stadium; another stadium from the Pritzker-winner Norman Foster is also under construction.
Tbilisi, Georgia’s charming capital, has been flooded with tourists over the past decade. But Batumi, a hushed seaside city where verdant mountains slope down to the Black Sea’s smooth stone beaches, offers a different experience. Already a popular escape for Russians, Iranians, Turks and Israelis, the city is preparing itself for its inevitable discovery by the rest of the world: New hotels — including the Le Meridien Batumi and a Batumi installment of the design-centric boutique Rooms Hotel line — are rising, and a cable car will swing straight to the coast from the hilltop Batumi Botanical Garden. Winemaking is another draw — at the family-run BQ Wine Bar and the underground Karalashvili’s Wine Cellar, which pours the same rosé and amber-hued chkaveri varietals that Joseph Stalin adored.
Six years after Marseille was named European Capital of Culture in 2013, the city’s renewal is still galloping along. Jean Nouvel, for instance, has just finished his striking new red, white, and blue skyscraper La Marseillaise. The real proof of the city’s metamorphosis, however, is that it is attracting young creative types from all over France and beyond. Laura Vidal, a sommelier from Quebec, and the British chef Harry Cummins opened La Mercerie, a market-driven bistro in an old notions shop in the city’s Noailles district last spring.
In 1869, the Territory of Wyoming passed the first law in United States history granting women the right to vote — nearly 51 years before the 19th Amendment guaranteed the same entitlement to all American women. This year, visitors can celebrate the 150th anniversary of Wyoming women’s suffrage at the Wyoming House For Historic Women, which honors the first woman to officially cast a ballot in a general election, and 13 other trailblazing women in the state’s political history. The restored Capitol building (reopening midyear), Wyoming State Museum and Cowgirls of the West museum also feature exhibits and artifacts celebrating women’s history.
After Britain returned its former colony to China in 1997, Hong Kong prided itself on resisting mainland interference. Last year saw the opening of a high-speed train that takes passengers all the way to Beijing, and a 34-mile sea bridge linking Hong Kong to the mainland for the first time, opening the question of whether that independent streak can survive. For travelers, though, boarding a train at the new West Kowloon station bound for Beijing — and more than 30 other destinations in China — is a game changer.
Though tensions between Iran and the United States have escalated since President Trump took office, the appeal of Iran for adventurous travelers is obvious: the monumental ruins of ancient Persia, the spectacular, centuries-old mosques of Shiraz and Isfahan, the Grand Bazaar and Golestan Palace in the bustling metropolis of Tehran. One additional reason to visit in 2019 is a major exhibition scheduled to open at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, a popular hangout for young Iranians.
After Hurricane Harvey, the city is back on its feet and showing off the everything-is-bigger-in-Texas attitude. Four food halls opened in 2018, including Finn Hall, which features up-and-coming chefs including the James Beard-nominated chef Jianyun Ye with a downtown outpost of his Chinese hot spot Mala Sichuan and a taqueria from the local favorite Goode Company. The five-diamond Post Oak Hotel opened in March 2018 with a two-story Rolls Royce showroom, art by Frank Stella and a 30,000-bottle wine cellar. The Menil Collection, known for its eclectic art ranging from Byzantine antiques to 20th-century Pop Art, underwent a seven-month renovation of its main building and opened the 30,000-square-foot Menil Drawing Institute.
With a revitalized riverfront and booming downtown, Columbus is already one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities. Now, it’s poised to become the model for the future of innovative urban transportation, with self-driving shuttles carrying travelers along the Scioto Mile, which recently completed a massive revitalization, adding 33 acres of riverfront green space for festivals, water sports and outdoor art. (The newly opened National Veterans Memorial and Museum also sits on the Scioto Peninsula.) Among the newest dining options are Veritas, which specializes in small-plate offerings; Service Bar, run by the young chef Avishar Barua, a veteran of New York’s Mission Chinese and WD-50; and in the North Market neighborhood, veggie-forward Little Eater.
With its colorful, cobblestoned historic center, well-preserved Roman ruins and lively art scene, Bulgaria’s second-largest city is surprisingly overlooked by tourists who favor the quirky, post-Soviet charm of the country’s capital, Sofia. But as a European cultural capital of 2019, this European gem is ready to shine. Organizers have planned more than 500 events throughout the city and its region, including concerts, open-air theater performances and street-food fairs.
Everything runs like clockwork in Switzerland — including the Fête des Vignerons, though its timetable is considerably extended. This Unesco-recognized wine festival, which celebrates the viticultural traditions of the Lavaux and Chablais regions near Lake Geneva, takes place every 20 to 25 years in the heart of Vevey, a breathtaking lakeside town beneath sloping vineyards in the canton of Vaud. Since its inception in 1797, the date has been decided by the Confrérie des Vignerons, which has spent the past several years (and a reported 99 million Swiss francs, or roughly $98 million) planning for the 12th edition, which will run from July 18 to Aug.11.
One of Europe’s oldest cities is new again. At the tip of a peninsula thrust into the Atlantic, the city of Cádiz, a trading hub since 1100 B.C., has a vibe that’s more Havana than Madrid. A culinary renaissance is currently underway, with newcomers like Saja River and Codigo de Barra joining classics like El Faro. But the biggest gastronomic news lies across the bay in Puerto de Santa Maria, where Angel León’s Aponiente, which now has three Michelin stars, offers a lyric poem to seafood (plankton risotto).
The Elqui Valley in Chile attracts a diverse group of wine and pisco aficionados, star gazers and nature lovers. In 2019, this tranquil agricultural region takes center stage in the path of totality of a full solar eclipse on July 2. Demand for lodging around this time has far outstripped supply, with an estimated 300,000 people expected in the area, and even hotels at the nearby coastal town of La Serena are booked solid. In the Atacama Desert north of the valley, La Silla Observatory is hosting an eclipse-watching event that sold out in three and a half minutes (or about a minute longer than totality itself will last).
Those looking to escape our roller coaster news cycle can’t get much farther away than this South Pacific archipelago, also known as French Polynesia, which in 2019 celebrates the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s arrival and subsequent trumpeting of its riches. Overwater bungalows were invented here, with good reason: Tahiti’s clear, warm waters offer views of more than 1,000 species of marine life. To guard against the climate change threatening parts of the region, the 118 islands and atolls have bolstered their conservation and ecotourism options.