Let’s quickly have a look at the most popular destinations for the next travel season. For each place we point out three unmissable experiences to do on site. And one thing to do before leaving (or during the trip).
The 7 most popular destinations (Summer 2022)
#1 New York
The city of a thousand lights has always been an evergreen. Inevitably, a boat trip to the Statue of Liberty remains an absolute must. Not only for the symbolic value of the monument. But mainly for the incredible view that the excursion can offer on the forest of skyscrapers of Manhattan, the beating heart of the metropolis.
Another experience to do is to stop in front of a cup of American coffee at the quays of Southport. This preserved district of industrial architecture has long been converted into an open-air museum. Here you can get lost several times looking at the famous Brooklyn Bridge, another absolute icon of the Big Apple.
But let’s not forget that NYC has masterpieces in abundance. Calmly viewing the collections of the Metropolitan Museum will serve you as a general review of the history of art. Met has everything, from Egyptian art to impressionist paintings. And of course the house master Edward Hopper with his daily night life paintings in the big city.
Before leaving, or on the plane, if available, watch ‘A rainy day in New York’. Woody Allen is great and let us dreaming of traveling through Central Park in a horse-drawn carriage.
When it’s cold, people dream about warmer destinations. This has always made the UAE’s pulsating city a destination not to be missed.
As main attraction of the largest city in the country, you cannot fail to consider the ascent to the Bury Khalifa, the tallest skyscraper in the world with its impressive 828 meters high. Let’s stop before climbing, watching it and enjoying it, hoping that the clouds do not hide the top of the building.
Dubai is still surrounded by the desert, in the sense that as soon as the city ends, you are already immersed in the classic landscape of arid sands. Then, an off-road safari in the Arabian desert remains one of the most enjoyable experiences you can have here. Lately, you will reach a camp populated by Bedouins, where you can find a dinner under the starry sky, with the company of camels, hawks and local dances.
Dubai also has a history, albeit a recent one. Therefore, it is certainly advisable to endorse the visit with an excursion on one of the many wooden boats that cross the Creek river. Here you will see what in the jargon of tourist guides is called ‘the real city’. You will mix with common people in the historic village of Bastakiya or in the picturesque souk of Deira, the arab city of the past century.
If you go for the social occasion of the moment, before leaving, try and get the book Expo. The long journey of progress from London 1851 to Milan 2015.
A destination that recently has gained a lot in charm and popularity is certainly the large island of Northern Europe. In winter, indeed, the temperatures are too low for moving around.
Before setting out to explore the whole country, give Reykjavik a chance. The capital is a beautifully located miniature city, where you can find a very lively nightlife. Colorful wooden houses are along the streets and a splendid organ-shaped church is on the highest point of the hill. Go there and watch the midnight sun drop a couple of hours on the horizon of the port facilities.
Icelandic landscapes are shaped by nature. Let’s embark on a trek in the Þórsmörk valley, through canyons with marvelous rock formations. Here you can find the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, whose eruption caused the cancellation of many flights in 2010.
To do something truly unique, just rent a car and wander around the most remote area in the country: the Westfjords. Here you will find wonderful beaches, pretty fishing villages and of course several hot springs. As a matter of fact, it cannot be a real trip to Iceland if at least once you don’t immerse yourself in the warm geothermal waters.
To understand how the locals live, check out the beautiful Icelandic movie Nói albínói (2003).
One of the first destinations reopening to tourism has been the Jewish country. Israel is now easily reachable from many cities through low cost airline flights. It’s a popular destination also because it has a lot of things to visit in a few days.
The old city of Jerusalem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site despite the fact that Israel is no longer part of it. Here, apart from following the Via Crucis, you can let yourself dazzled by the wonder and complexity of history. Just climb to the Temple Mount and decide by yourself. The access is from the Western Wall, another highlight of this incredible city.
If you want to relax with something less emotional, then stroll through the streets of the Neve Tzedek neighborhood, in Tel Aviv. Let yourself be enchanted by the atmosphere, among small fashion ateliers, two-story buildings with large balconies, patisseries and vegan restaurants.
A day visit to the Palestinian Territories will be a unique experience. Try and understand the situation or simply be a tourist among the check-points. There, don’t miss to visit the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. And the Bansky museum in the hotel placed in front of the wall that divides Israel from Palestine.
A good tome to immerse yourself in the traditions of the place in advance could be Grossmann’s ‘The smile of the lamb’.
Here, you see the charm of the place halfway between two worlds, Europe and Asia. Taking advantage of the present devaluation of the Turkish lira, you could save some money as well.
As soon as you arrive, let yourself immersed in the everyday life of such a peculiar metropolis. Really, it can be rewarding to watch the fishermen on the bridge of the Golden Horn. From here you can easily get lost in chasing the minarets of mosques, the flights of seagulls and the profile of the Galata Tower.
Among the many monuments of Istanbul, the one that should not be left out of your sightseeing tour is the descent into the Basilica Cistern. This artifact dates back to the Eastern Roman Empire. In the silence of the forest of columns, you can start dreaming to the sound of the classical melody used as a romantic background.
Turkish cuisine is known to be one of the most renowned in the world. So, drag yourself to eat mezze in the pedestrian street of Nevizade Sokak. In this labyrinth of narrow streets you will surely find dishes that will make you want to live here for more than a few days.
With the German movie The Turkish Bride of 2003 you will experience the close experience of traveling to the big city starting from a Western reality.
Explaining why the land of the Rising Sun is a must see is somewhat redundant. The charm of culture coming from that country is huge. From manga to anime, from martial arts to fantastic cinema, from video games to cosplay, everything here is passionate. Warning: the cherry season is more and more anticipated from year to year.
While in Tokyo, plan a visit to the Tsukiji fish market in time. Here you will get lost among the pallets capturing the different phases of the arrival of the goods and their sudden sale in stock. Having breakfast with fine sushi will not only be an absolutely TOP experience, but also a perfect start of the day.
Japan has a very effective transport system with very recent infrastructures. For this reason, a train trip aboard the Shinkansen is a must. Jut buy a J-pass to save on rather high fares. Don’t doze off, though, or you’ll lose sight of the famous Mount Fuji.
If you include the city of Kyoto in your trip, just try and give yourself a decidedly challenging objective. Visit all the temples in the city. Well, maybe not all 1000. Choose anyhow Gold and Silver pavilion, the Nanzen-ji, the Kiyomizudera and the Fushimi Inari.
Months would not be enough to properly prepare for Japan. At least, try and combine Murakami’s great classic ‘Norwegian Wood’ with some of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpieces.
The recent tourist discovery of the Rainbow Mountain has brought the Andean country in pole position among the destinations of South America.
In general, tourists tend to escape from Lima as soon as possible, since the capital is nicknamed La Horrible. No matter, the city has a preserved historic center, livable neighborhoods and various attractions from the pre-Columbian period. When there, consider two days for your gastronomic tour of the best restaurants, to taste the best versions of ceviche, tiradito and palta rellena at a reasonable price.
Okay, this one is a bit obvious, but trust me, the thrill of visiting the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu is absolutely worthy. don’t worry about screaming groups and crowded buses to get there from the beautiful city of Cuzco. Carve out a piece of lawn just for you and stop for a long time to meditate. Your view will get lost on the walls of the abandoned fortress and the shocking natural scenery surrounding it.
The country is huge to visit and internal flights are not so cheap. Then, choose an adventure that will make your stay here a real journey. Take a night bus ride from one city to another. Seats are comfortable and spacious, service is on time and on the windows screens you will see the elusive lights of the villages of the Andes.
Ah! Before falling asleep, read a few more thrilling pages of The City and the Dogs, Vargas Llosa’s debut book.