Top Places to Go in 2016 - Part 2
Finally, there’s easier access to the French Caribbean, thanks to the low-cost carrier Norwegian Air’s new direct flights to Guadeloupe and Martinique from Boston, New York and Baltimore. And it’s just in time for Memorial ACTe in Guadeloupe, one of the world’s largest centers dedicated to the memory and history of slave trade, which opened last July in Pointe-à-Pitre. On the site of the former Darboussier sugar factory, the soaring silver lattice-clad space — which some have called the Pompidou Center of the Caribbean — is part of Unesco’s Slave Route Project and houses a interactive permanent exhibit that intertwines the history of slavery with contemporary art covering themes of the African diaspora, plus public genealogy and research libraries, contemporary art and photography spaces and, of course, a bistro overlooking the ocean for that taste of France.
From March 4 to 6, Davis Cup tennis fans will descend on Guadeloupe's Vélodrome Amédée Detreaux for the France-Canada match — the first time the country has ever hosted the tournament outside of continental France. And it’s all in the midst of the islands’ verdant, dramatic landscapes and sand beaches.
The big news in North American skiing this winter is that Park City Mountain Resort and adjacent Canyons Resort have merged to become the nation’s largest ski resort. A bitter legal battle over an expired land lease ended in fall 2014 when Vail Resorts, which operates Canyons, purchased Park City.
Park City, Utah
Last summer Vail spent a record $50 million to solidify the union (and, one thinks, to show it will be a good steward after so much acrimony), and to pay for a new eight-person gondola to link the two resorts. The combined 7,300-acre ski resort, now simply called Park City, is skiable with one lift pass.
Denmark’s second city is often eclipsed by Copenhagen, its cousin across the Kattegat sea. But this big city with a college-town vibe has a thriving art, culture and food scene that is set to expand through 2016. New development along its industrial coastline — including Dokk1, a cultural center and the largest public library in Scandinavia — as well as a light rail expected to open by late summer, is transforming Aarhus into a more accessible cultural capital.
The “Iceberg,” a striking residential building on the water
Other highlights are ARoS, the gallery known for its “Your Rainbow Panorama” floor with a kaleidoscopic view of the city; the Moesgaard Museum, dedicated to cultural history; a concert hall, home to the Danish National Opera; the “Iceberg,” a striking residential building on the water; and three Michelin-starred restaurants. Gastromé, a short walk from Aarhus’s old city center and canal, highlights new Nordic cuisine sourced from the Vilhelmsborg Forest and surrounding countryside.
It’s no longer necessary to rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle to explore the Patagonian Lake District. With the long-delayed paving of the Road of the Seven Lakes completed last summer, it is now possible to drive, cycle or motorbike (new rental companies like Seven Lakes Rides are already setting up shop) down this 66-mile route that takes in some of Argentina’s most compelling scenery.
Road of the Seven Lakes, Argentina
Connecting San Martín de Los Andes to the mountain village of Villa La Angostura, an hour’s drive from the skiing and snowboarding mecca of Bariloche, the route is stunningly scenic, winding its way through forested valleys and around the namesake azure lakes, taking in national parks, snow-capped mountains and abundant waterfalls along the way. The trip can now be completed in a few hours, although it’s worth stretching out the journey to take advantage of the campgrounds (or boutique hotels) and excellent restaurants along the way.
Hangzhou used to be known for its ancient poets and painters; now, the city is home to the booming e-commerce company Alibaba, and will take a step on the global stage in 2016 as the first Chinese city to host the G20 summit. To get ready, the city is opening a slew of new hotels, including a 417-roomShangri-La, the brand’s second in Hangzhou, as well as the Kengo Kuma-designed Folk Art Museum, built on a former tea plantation with thousands of traditional-style roof tiles.
Also, with tourists in mind, the city has developed an English-language travel app to help foreigners find hotels, restaurants and other attractions with ease.
Beyoncé and Jay Z called this one. The couple’s 2011 visit to Hvar Island seemed to open the tourist floodgates to Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. Korcula is Hvar’s more modest neighbor. Much of the island is still untouched: dotted with blue-collar fishing villages and little pebble beaches. Instead of sticking to the Old Town, which claims to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, rent a moped and head west.
Korcula Island, Croatia
Travel through olive groves and thick woodlands, and drive off-road to sample Korcula’s signature white wine, Grk, at any number of hopelessly charming family wineries. It’s bitter and earthy — and true to the region’s less fashionable days.
San Sebastián is known as a culinary paradise, but its packed cultural calendar this year will prove it has much more to offer. As the Basque beauty celebrates its reign as a 2016 European Capital of Culture, large-scale artworks will populate public spaces, the San Telmo museum will present a powerful joint project with Madrid’s Reina Sofía museum, the modernKursaal auditorium and other area theaters will screen films as part of its annual film festival, and the historic Hotel Maria Cristina will impress with its refurbished belle époque interiors.
San Sebastián landscape
Meanwhile, locals will be pouring their energy into grass-roots events, from traditional Basque festivals to street theater and artisan markets.
One of the most breathtaking spots on earth, Virunga National Park, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, for decades has also been one of the most dangerous. Since late 2013, when the Congolese army routed the M23 rebels with the help of United Nations peacekeepers, intrepid sightseers have begun to trickle back in for the verdant vistas and up-close encounters with rare mountain gorillas. (Getting there requires a flight to Kigali, Rwanda, and a three-hour taxi ride.) Over the past year the park, featured in last year’s Oscar-nominated documentary “Virunga,” has opened or reopened its accommodations, like the individual luxury bungalows at Mikeno Lodge, where visitors can see baboons and even chimpanzees, or the Tchegera Island Camp off the shore of Lake Kivu, populated with eagles and herons.
Virunga National Park landscape
There are even summit shelters near the rim of Mount Nyiragongo volcano, in the warm, red glow of the world’s largest lava lake. While a park spokeswoman said there have been no reports of unfriendly encounters between rebels and tourists, the eastern D.R.C. remains an unpredictable area that calls for sensible precautions.
The early 20th-century furniture companies Herman Miller and Steelcase established a creative community in central Michigan’s Grand Rapids, one now flourishing thanks to a confluence of urban revival and arts funding. The 138,000-square-foot food hall Grand Rapids Downtown Market, built using repurposed materials from the dilapidated buildings it replaced, earned LEED-gold certification in 2014, and enticed a branch of Detroit-famedSlows Bar-B-Q to open last summer alongside bakers and other food-focused start-ups.
A zen garden at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
For three weeks each fall, the city’s contemporary art competitionArtPrize attracts more than 1,500 works and awards $500,000 in prizes. Artists from Auguste Rodin to Ai Weiwei stake the 158-acre Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, which recently added a Japanese garden with works by Anish Kapoor and Jenny Holzer. Don’t leave thirsty; over 40 craft breweries line the city’s ale trail.