Portugal was once Europe’s best-kept secret but the cat is out of the bag and it doesn’t look like she’ll be going back in anytime soon (if ever). For the last few years, Portugal’s charms have been highlighted and spotlighted, including the world-class cuisine, award-winning beaches, charming coastal villages and fantastic quality of life. The country has also made news as a pioneer on several fronts, including the first to decriminalize drug use and becoming the first country where it’s illegal to not offer vegan options in public buildings. Then there are the history, art, architecture, resorts, islands and remote villages that all add to the country’s unique charms.
Who doesn’t love a group of beautiful islands? Place these islands in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, add a strong historical background, and you’ve got the island state of Malta. Located between Sicily and Tunisia, the weather and sea aren’t the only reasons to visit. Rich history showcased in grand architecture adorns the streets, while turquoise lagoons and ancient fortifications add their own beauty.
Fantastic hiking, nature photography, and stunning landscapes are waiting in the Faroe Islands, a group of 18 picturesque islands between Iceland and Norway just waiting to be discovered. Until quite recently, they had an untouched feel about them and only recently caught the attention of Google Maps (in an unusual way, and sheep were involved). Perhaps they aren’t the most budget-friendly destination on this list but backpacking is a popular and fun choice for seeing more for less.
South America’s longest country is a top spot for Americans looking to head south and then even further south. Fjords, the Andes Mountains, fantastic cuisine, unbelievable caves and even penguins are waiting in this country of geographic extremes. Although stopping in Santiago is a must, there is much to see and do, so plan well.
California’s wine country isn’t only Napa Valley, and while hundreds of miles of coast and a colorful personality are part of the reason to head to the southernmost point of California (that actually belongs to Mexico), wine is another. Jumping in the water for epic scuba-diving in Cabo Pulmo and coming face-to-face with rock art that dates back 7,000 years in the Sierra de San Francisco are only the beginning of the other experiences waiting in Baja.
Detroit has done a great job of turning itself around and the country has taken notice. More entrepreneurs are moving to this northern city and its arts scene is blooming, as is the culinary arts scene. Want to know which neighborhoods are among the best? Corktown and Downtown are just two of the most popular. The waterfront is also getting a facelift and these restaurants are helping it revamp its image.
Not only is this a fantastic spot for immersing in unique American history, but it’s also a destination with more factories than anywhere else of the country (hence its nickname as the “Factory Tour Capital”). York, Pennsylvania is the place to go if learning about the history of your favorite guilty pleasures (like Harley Davidson and Hersey’s Chocolate) sounds like a good time.
No matter where you choose to go, be sure to check with The Culture Trip and get inside scoops and local tips.