Where to go when in 2022
Travel expert Laura Millar breaks down the best reasons to go abroad over the next 12 months....
Take off to Europe
Look to Serbia as your new cultural epicentre, as Novi Sad celebrates being awarded European Capital of Culture status, the first non-EU capital to be so recognised. A handsome city bulging with Baroque buildings, cool cafés and striking street art, it’s bisected by the mighty Danube river, over which the majestic, 17th-century Petrovaradin Fortress looms. Expect a programme making full use of urban spaces that celebrates multiculturalism and artistic diversity.
If food is more your focus, head to Menorca, which takes up the mantle of European Region of Gastronomy this year. The cuisine of the small Balearic island is influenced by the many peoples who historically settled around the archipelago, including the Greeks and the Romans. You’ll find plenty of local denominación de origen (designation of origin) products, including queso de Mahón (a cow’s milk white cheese), cured sausages such as sobrassada, fine wines, and olive oils. An array of events and festivals will showcase these delicacies, and more, to the wider world
No one does a knees-up quite like the Irish, and TradFest, one of the country’s biggest traditional music festivals, is finally back this year after the pandemic brought it to a halt in 2021. Dublin plays host to a plethora of folk singers, fiddle players, performers and poets, including a scattering of international artists.
February’s a great time to discover a new side to Palm Springs, a hidden gem for architecture aficionados. Modernism Week, held annually, showcases the best of the town’s mid-century modern style. Its arid, desert location contrasts perfectly with the pastel colours and clean lines of the many original homes from the 1920s and beyond. There is a host of tours and events that aim to familiarise visitors with iconic architects and style arbiters, including Albert Frey, Richard Neutra, and Donald Wexler.
Fly to Florida for – what else? – a hearty dose of Vitamin D. Whether the allure is the state’s many theme parks (don’t miss Orlando’s Walt Disney World, which has embarked on an 18-month long celebration of its 50th anniversary), the Art Deco buildings and hip, hot stretches of sand in Miami’s South Beach, or a literary trip on the trail of Ernest Hemingway down in the Keys, you can expect eight hours of daily sunshine and temps in the low twenties.
There’s no denying Dubai’s sunny credentials, as the mercury will be creeping up to nearly 30°C. Take shelter from the scorching heat in the cool, air-conditioned environs of Expo 2020, the emirate’s vast world fair. With the theme ‘Connecting minds, creating the future’, it sees 190 countries bringing their culture and inventions to the region, all showcased in an array of innovative pavilions.
On 1 March 1872, Yellowstone, in the western United States, became the world’s first National Park, signed into law by President Ulysses S Grant. Sprawling over 2.2 million acres and scattered with geothermal features – the most famous being the punctual geyser, Old Faithful, which has erupted between every 44 minutes and two hours since 2000 – it consists of lakes, rivers, canyons and mountain ranges. Wildlife roam widely, including bison, elk, wolves and grizzly bears – you might even spot Yogi and Boo-Boo... Celebrate its 150th anniversary with an unforgettable visit.
While she didn’t set off from Belfast, the good ship RMS Titanic was constructed there. And 100 years after she sank, Titanic Belfast, a £47m visitor attraction on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard, was unveiled. That was a decade ago, and today you can learn about it all, from the ship’s conception to her construction and launch. Game of Thrones fan? Grab the opportunity to visit the newly minted Game of Thrones studio tour, which will take you on an enthralling journey from script to screen.
More used to heading through some of Western Canada’s most scenic circuits, the intrepid – and luxurious – Rocky Mountaineer launches its first USA route. Chugging along a historic track between Denver, Colorado, and Moab, Utah, the two-day trip features breathtaking views and includes an overnight stop in the resort town of Glenwood Springs.
When Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen first came across a craggy outcrop of land in the eastern Pacific Ocean 300 years ago, in 1722, he named it Paaseiland, or Easter Island, to commemorate the day he found it. Now it’s known for its striking collection of mo‘ai – the vast, sculpted statues carved by the Rapa Nui people between the 11th and 16th centuries. You can still see nearly 400 of the original 900 or so, with their distinctive, disproportionately large heads.
Perhaps most associated with mustard, the French town of Dijon, in the Burgundy region, is enhancing its claim as a gastronomic centre with the opening this month of the Cité international de la gastronomie et du vin. A substantial cultural area spread over 16 acres on the site of the former hôpital général, it will aim to celebrate the idea of French food and Burgundy’s terroir and vineyards. Expect a lively district dedicated to restaurants, wine bars, foodie-related shops and wine stores, combined with other elements involving education and culture.
It only happens every three years, and this month heralds the latest Art Triennale taking place among the islands of Setouchi in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. Originally established to revitalise the area after growing depopulation, it sees hundreds of artworks from both local and international artists, some of whom use abandoned homes to display their creations. There are 12 participating islands, including Naoshima, Teshima and Oshima. Elsewhere in the country, it’s still cherry blossom season, so head from Setouchi to nearby Osaka, where sites such as Himeji Castle or Expo ’70 Commemorative Park show the blooms to their best advantage.
Not normally associated with the glitz and glamour of Formula 1, the glitzy, glamorous beach town of Miami will be hosting the race for the first time. Its Grand Prix will take place in Miami Gardens, around 15 miles north of downtown, with a circuit of 19 turns. Is it too early to wish Lewis Hamilton luck?
After storming the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021 with its winning track Zitti e Buoni, Italian rock band Måneskin was the toast, of, well, Europe – and it meant Italy took the mantle of host country for this year’s extravaganza. The city of Turin won the bid and is well worth a visit for its mix of beautiful baroque, rococo, neoclassical and Art Nouveau architecture. It is also known for car manufacturing – Fiat was born here – and, more tastily, chocolate. Gianduja, a hazelnut and chocolate paste that forms the basis of Nutella, was created here, as was bicerin, a hot drink of espresso, melted chocolate and whipped cream.
The glam squad has increasingly been choosing Mykonos as its favourite summer spot, and it’s not hard to see why. Famously beloved of the 50s and 60s jet set, including Grace Kelly and Jackie Onassis, this small Cycladic island is bursting with charm. From the iconic windmills that stand guard over the waterfront area of Little Venice in the charismatic capital, Chora, to the golden stretches of sand on beautiful beaches such as Paradise, Ornos and Paraga, it makes for a stunning holiday setting.
Late last year, the buzz around Oslo started growing with the opening of the new Munch Museum, devoted to the life and works of Norway’s most famous artist. This month sees the launch of another cultural behemoth, the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, slated to be the largest art museum in the Nordic countries. Displaying more than 5,000 works from the antiquity to the present over two floors and throughout 90 galleries, it will also feature the Light Hall, an exhibition space illuminated by more than 9,000 energy-efficient LED bulbs.
Get your eardrums ready and your dancing shoes polished for one of the world’s best music festivals. Primavera Sound takes place in Barcelona over the first two weekends of June, and the line-up name-checks anyone who’s anyone in the current music scene. From Dua Lipa to Megan Thee Stallion, Massive Attack to The Strokes, via Beck, Pavement and Tyler the Creator, there is pretty much something for everyone. The venue is the vast Parc del Fòrum, set right on the seafront.
Starting at the end of the month, Birmingham will be hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games, thrusting this booming, West Midlands city into the global spotlight. Featuring every sport you can think of, from cricket to judo, as well as para championships, its venues will be spread throughout the region, including the more rural surrounds of Cannock Chase forest and Sutton Park. The city itself, crisscrossed by a network of canals, has much to offer, including its avant-garde public library, striking Bullring centre and cool speakeasy bar culture.
Thirty years ago this month, in 1992, Slovakia declared itself a sovereign state and began negotiations with the Czech Republic to disband what had been Czechoslovakia. Today, it’s a thriving central European country with much to offer visitors, from fairy-tale castles (don’t miss the Unesco-listed ruins of Spiš, which perches above the town of Spišské Podhradie, or the turreted, Romanesque, lemon-yellow Bojnice) to hikes through the scenic Tatra Mountains. Spend a day in the Dobšinská Ice Cave, deep within a mountain, to observe stalagmites, stalactites and semi-frozen waterfalls.
BA will launch two new summer seasonal routes to the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, situated nearly 900 miles west of Lisbon in the Atlantic Ocean. An archipelago of nine volcanic islands, its biggest is São Miguel, and BA flights to here will start on Saturday 2 July, followed by a weekly flight to Terceira on Sunday 10 July. Expect lush, green, mountainous terrain and opportunities for whale-watching, soaking in hot springs, and swimming with wild dolphins.
Take off to Jamaica
On 6 August 1962, Jamaica finally tasted freedom after 300 years of British rule, and stepped, blinking, into the light of its hard-won independence. This historic day is celebrated with street parades, cultural displays, and a grand gala at the National Stadium, where revellers don clothing in the blacks, greens and golds of the Jamaican flag. To visitors, the island offers a paradise of white-sand beaches – some of the most popular include Montego Bay, Negril and Ochos Rios – spectacular waterfalls – don’t miss Dunn’s River Falls or Blue Hole – and a spicy food and drink scene. Is there anything finer than a helping of hot jerk chicken paired with a chilled Red Stripe, or a rum cocktail to wash down a plate of ackee and saltfish? Keep your senses alert with a cup of best Blue Mountain coffee, and you’ll be the last one standing at an outbreak of street dancing in the island’s capital, Kingston. Once home to author Ian Fleming, Jamaica showed off her finery to viewers in last year’s Bond blockbuster, No Time To Die, having appeared regularly in 007 films such as Dr No and Live and Let Die. Before you visit, try to catch Cool Runnings to find out that it was based on a true story when, in 1988, Jamaica was the first tropical country to send a bobsled team to the Winter Olympics. And why not?
Take off to North America
The phrase, ‘leaf peeping’, to describe the practice of observing the changing colours in the leaves on the trees with the season, is said to have originated in Vermont in the 1900s, evolving from the term ‘leaf-peeker’. It was common back then, and is even more so now, for people to flock to forests and woods of New England (made up of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) to see the spectacular transformation from plain greens to shimmering golds, oranges, ochres and scarlets. But why does this happen here? Essentially, a large percentage of trees in the region, particularly the sugar maples, produce a specific pigment that results in these brilliant, vivid shades. The colour changes start in the north, in the higher areas of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire around mid-September, stretching down to northern Rhode Island and Connecticut by mid-October. Grab your camera, and get ’gramming.
The crown jewel of the Balearics is not just for party people. In fact, Ibiza is possibly at its best as the clubbing season starts to wind down. Temperatures are still warm, the beaches have more space, and it becomes easier to bag a table at sensational sunset spots such as Cafe del Mar, Cafe Mambo, or Hostal La Torre. A crop of hot new hotels that have opened in the past 12 months adds to the appeal. Style mavens will love the polished concrete floors, oversized rattan lampshades and dark wooden window slats of Oku, near San Antonio, while retro fans will adore the vintage look and 1970s feel of the blond wood, beiges and browns that run throughout the Riomar in sleepy Santa Eulalia. Catch some rays at secluded sanctuaries such as Es Canar, Pou d’es Lleo, or Cala Pada.
While temperatures will start to fall in Qatar’s capital, Doha, in November – reaching a more manageable 28°C compared to summer highs of 40°C – excitement levels will reach fever pitch as the 22nd FIFA World Cup kicks off. With several stadiums being built for the occasion, as well as a profusion of new places to stay, the country is rolling out the red carpet to visitors. In between matches, visit the recently opened National Museum of Qatar, designed by French starchitect Jean Nouvel to look like a desert rose; admire the sweeping, modernistic mosque in Education City; and take in centuries of artworks at the stunning, IM Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art.
Over in Cairo, a highly anticipated project was first announced as far back as 1992, its architects chosen in 2003 and construction finally started in 2012. The completion of the Grand Egyptian Museum, set to cost nearly $1bn, has been set back and delayed several times over the past ten years but all signs point to this month being the moment the world has been waiting for. Situated on the Giza plateau of the Nile Valley, near Cairo, it will house the largest collection of Tutankhamun relics ever displayed, in a state-of-the-art, glass and concrete space overlooking the Great Pyramids, designed by Irish architecture firm Heneghan Peng. Visitors will be greeted by a 30ft-high, 91-ton statue of Ramses II, and will be able to browse more than 100,000 artefacts, including Tutankhamun’s funeral mask and gold-plated coffins (he had three). More than five million people a year are expected to walk through the doors. Fingers crossed it’s finished on time.
There’s something special about heading to New York City at Christmas time. The big stores are decked out in festive finery – check out the reliably maximalist window displays at Bergdorf Goodman, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s – and there are plenty of places to stop off for a breather if it all gets too much. Take tea and cake at the iconic Russian Tea Room, or revive yourself with a glass of fizz and half a dozen oysters at the Grand Central Oyster Bar. Late-night cocktails at the classy, old-school Bemelmans Bar will feel like a fine reward for your shopping efforts.
At the Everglades National Park’s dedication by President Harry S Truman on 6 December 1947, he made the following address: “Here are no lofty peaks seeking the sky, no mighty glaciers or rushing streams wearing away the uplifted land. Here is land, tranquil in its quiet beauty, serving not as the source of water but as the last receiver of it. To its natural abundance we owe the spectacular plant and animal life that distinguishes this place from all others in this country.” He may well have said ‘the world’, because the ecosystem formed by this natural region of tropical wetlands in southern Florida is not currently found anywhere else on earth. Populated by wildlife including the American alligator, Florida panther, eagle, fox, peacock, skunk and turtle, it’s an endlessly incredible place to explore.
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