There are some destinations so iconic, they’ve earned classic status, not to mention a return visit. And then there are the hot right now spots that warrant an entry on your global bucket list. To inspire your next adventure, here’s one for those that can never resist a tried and true European stalwart and another for those keen to immerse themselves in the buzz of a trending city.
The Classic: Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is exuberant, beautiful and beloved by global citizens for its unique Spanish/Catalan culture, hip bohemian vibe, food, wine, festivals, spectacular coastline and Collserola mountains, medieval and modernist architecture, vibrant barri’s (neighborhoods) and amorous people. Romantic, nostalgic, and culture-fuelled, the iconic Catalonia capital is alive with art, museums, cathedrals, grand squares, gastronomy (you can taste Barcelona at Mercat de la Boqueria) and endless wine bars and nightlife.
Worth Traveling For
Barcelona’s wonder can be found by wandering the streets. Meander through Ciutat Vella (Old City), Barrio Gótico (the Gothic Quarter) and the labyrinth of passageways and cobblestone streets to discover gems like the neo-gothic Barcelona Cathedral facade and La Rambla, the city’s buzzy pedestrian neighborhood. Art lovers should make time for the Picasso Museum, and do a tour to discover the legacy of famed architect Antoni Gaudí i Cornet whose surreal buildings like Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell (a fantastical green space) are a love letter to Catalonian Modernism.
Where to stay in Barcelona
Kimpton Vividora is a chic boutique hotel in the historic Gothic Quarter (home to the city’s best restaurants and boutiques) with dreamy design that celebrates the majestic style and culture of the city. It’s seaside setting is reflected in a cascade of glass lamps in the lobby and by the presence of deep Mediterranean blues throughout the hotel, while earthy tones pay homage to Barcelona’s urban landscape.
The New Cool: New Orleans, USA
Who says you need to set foot outside the US to get a European-style travel fix? Originally settled by the French before it was given to the Spanish, then back over to the French, before becoming a gem in the American landscape, New Orleans oozes European charm and cool. From its famed French Quarter (eat at Balise) to the balmy climate, architecture — a melting pot of French, Spanish and Caribbean influences — culinary delights (a fusion of Creole, Cajun, and soul food), legendary music scene (it’s the official birthplace of Jazz), eclectic vibe and buzzy nightlife you could easily be forgiven for thinking you’ve landed in Barcelona or Paris when you arrive in New Orleans.
Worth Traveling For
Not that you really need a reason to check New Orleans off your bucket list, but pencil March 1 on the calendar as Mardi Gras is set to make its flamboyant return to the city’s streets. In addition to checking out all the trendy new restaurants and bars, many that have popped up since Hurricane Katrina, immersing yourself in jazz and blues, get a Southern culture fix at the New Orleans Museum of Art, check out the old oak trees in City Park, take a steamboat ride and swamp tour to discover local treasures.
Where to Stay in New Orleans
For epic views over the Mississippi River, and high-end luxury with an air of understated European elegance, bed down at the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans set in a landmark modernist 34-story tower.