As so often happens when I'm pulling my thoughts and notes together for this every week, I start off in one direction and get pulled in another. I'm okay with that, because I need all the ideas I can get. So I'll save the delights of Croatia for another day, and instead answer a question I am often asked...sort of.
Typically that question is "I want to go to Destination X; when should I go?" I'll answer it this way: "My vacation is in Month Y, where should I go?" Here are the best places to go in every month of the year. In other words, it's akin to last week's list of warmest places to go in winter, but for every month; and with the a full 12 months ahead of us, quite timely in my opinion, and hopefully very handy, in yours. It's my job to help you plan vacations. right? I'll do this in two parts so that you don't have to dedicate your entire day to reading this. You're welcome.
January - The spotlight is on Rwanda, believe it or not. Despite its unpleasant past, Rwanda is enjoying a tourism boom. In 2020, RwandAir will introduce a direct flight from New York to Kigali so that Americans can get directly to Rwanda—no connections required. Highlights and attractions for travelers in the “land of a thousand hills” include the fascinating King’s Palace and nearby Ethnographic Museum, Kigali’s bustling Kimironko Market, and Kwita Izina, the annual gorilla-naming ceremony at Volcanoes National Park. This is a wildlife- and nature-lover's dream vacation.
February - Macau, once known as 'Asia's Las Vegas'. In 2020, the former Portuguese colony will debut Lisboeta Macau, a theme-park resort featuring a zip-line over the city center, indoor skydiving, and an IMAX theater. Macau has more than 20 UNESCO World Heritage sites reflecting Macau’s Asian-European melting pot, as well as a food scene that includes Michelin-starred restaurants. February is high season: temperatures are mild for Chinese New Year. celebrations. Macau is just an hour from Hong Kong via ferry and Macau International Airport is easily accessed via more than 30 direct flights from major Asian cities.
March - The British Virgin Islands. Late March brings BVI’s annual Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival, and ideal underwater visibility, for scuba and snorkeling enthusiasts. Although heavily damaged in 2017 hurricanes, the islands are restored and open for business in 2020, including a luxury eco-destination featuring an observatory, three boutique hotels, boat slips, and a spa.
April: Slovenia - neighbor of trendy Croatia, you should visit before prices rise as it's popularity soars. It's deeply steeped in arts and culture, especially music; the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1701, and its members have included Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, and Paganini. April also brings the festive Easter holiday as well as Ptuj’s St. George’s Fair, a memorable medieval market. This April, the City of Ljubljana hosts the 2020 IIHF (International Ice Hockey) World Championship Division I tournament. Other must sees: Spring's profusion of wildflowers and butterflies, on the Slovenian countryside, where hilltop villages, farmhouses, vineyards, meadows, and woods define the landscape; Lake Bled, the Adriatic coast, and Predjama Castle.
May - Bolivia - This one has been on my list for many years. It's sure to be a memorable trip in this land of extremes: Lake Titicaca's (the world's highest lake) floating restaurants, and Salar de Uyuni, the planet's largest salt flats. At the salt flats, you can stay at Palacio de Sal, a hotel (complete with spa and fine dining) that is built almost completely of salt. You'll be the first of your friends to take a selfie there!
June is when you'll go to Israel. Tourism here has boomed lately, so much so that the country has responded by updating and expanding Ben Gurion Int'l airport and building dozens of new restaurants. I have not been here, but my dear cousin was there last month and praised Israel's stunning beauty. Visitors go to see the meaningful places not found elsewhere: one-of-a-kind religious landmarks, historical sites, and impressive natural wonders like Jerusalem’s Old City, the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Tel Aviv’s beaches, Masada, the Dead Sea (Earth’s lowest point), the Jordan River, Eilat, kibbutzim, and any of the dozens of important archaeological sites, like Jericho’s ancient ruins. Bonuses: good food, and a thriving nightlife and social scene.
Next week I'll make suggestions for the rest of the year.
'til next week.