Egyptians will be walking tall at the opening of the 5.2-million-square-foot Grand Egyptian Museum this year. Located on the Giza Plateau, it cost more than a billion dollars to build and is billed as the world’s largest museum devoted to a single civilisation. Tops among the 50,000 ancient objects slated to be displayed is the first ever exhibit of all 5,000-plus artefacts of the boy king Tut-ankh-amun. See such treasures as King Tut’s six chariots and 3,000-year-old funerary bed, and, through the museum’s glass facade, monumental views of the pyramids and Sphinx. The past is present elsewhere in the Egyptian capital, particularly in the 10th-century Historic Cairo UNESCO World Heritage Site, which conserves one of the world’s oldest Islamic cities.
HOW TO GO Heritage Tours offers custom trips that give a glimpse inside the Grand Egyptian restoration labs and explore the Giza Plateau with an archaeologist. heritagetours.com
Thanks to a new cable car connection, tourist traffic is on the rise at 10,312-foot Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak. Still, much of this northwest mountain region (beyond the busy gateway town Sa Pa) remains rugged, rural, and a world away from hectic Hanoi, about 315 kilometres to the southeast. Visitors hike routes in and around Hoang Lien Son National Park and the adjacent Muong Hoa Valley, then rest up at homestays among the Hmong, Red Dao, Tay, Giay, and other ethnic minority groups. Sapa Sisters, a sustainable tourism venture owned by local Hmong women, offers custom trekking adventures.
HOW TO GO At Topas Ecolodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World tucked on a hilltop inside Hoang Lien Son National Park, guests can discover the cultures, languages, and traditions of Sa Pa’s diverse tribes. natgeolodges.com/explore
Still relevant at 100, the revolutionary Bauhaus design movement gives Germany a reason to throw a big party. Founded in 1919 in Weimar, before moving to Dessau and then Berlin, the Bauhaus school obliterated the walls between fine arts, crafts, graphic design, advertising, architecture, and product and furniture design. “Our guiding principle was that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair,” wrote Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, “but simply an integral part of the stuff of life.” A massive collection of that “stuff”—textiles, typefaces, furniture, wallpaper—will be exhibited at the Bauhaus Museum Dessau, opening in September 2019. The new museum is part of a yearlong centennial celebration across the Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia regions. Events include a chance to bunk overnight like a Bauhauster in the legendary Dessau studio building.
HOW TO GO Download a free Bauhaus-themed travel planner at the 100 Years of Bauhaus website. bauhaus100.de/en
Galway may sit at the far western edge of Europe, but lately the “City of Tribes” has been the centre of attention. Named a 2018 European Region of Gastronomy, Ireland’s fourth largest city (population 80,000) is gearing up for the next big thing: Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture. Throughout 2019, new community heritage and arts projects, such as pop-up culture cafés and funambulism (tightrope walking) workshops, will be rolling out in conventional and unexpected venues (beaches, fields, remote villages, and rivers) across Galway city and county. Homegrown programmes include a celebration of the old customs on the wild, unspoiled islands off the Galway coast and “Small Towns, Big Ideas,” an initiative based on the Irish tradition of meitheal (pronounced MEH-hel), or coming together for a common purpose. Afterward there’s always that gastronomic scene to check out. Galway is especially known for its oysters. Sample some native and gigas oysters on the half shell at places such as Moran’s Oyster Cottage.
HOW TO GO The enlightening and highly entertaining “Galway’s Horrible History Tour” steps off from O’Connell’s Bar in Eyre Square most days at 10:30 a.m. and noon. galwaywalks.com
With revitalised Jack London Square and Temescal Alley, Oakland is basking in a newfound share of Bay Area spotlight. At risk amid the buzz, however, is the city’s historically cultural mix. “The tragedy of Oakland getting gentrified is that Oakland’s ‘there there’ is in its diversity, its distinction, its sense of place, its people,” says Tommy Orange, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, whose best-selling debut novel, There There, explores the Native American experience in Oakland, his hometown. (The title nods to Gertrude Stein’s line about the city where she spent her childhood: “There is no there there.”) Support what makes Oakland Oakland by diving into the multicultural food scene or Oakland Museum of California’s exhibit on local LGBTQ history, April 13 to August 11.
HOW TO GO Taste the global smorgasbord on the “Grand Lake Cultural Cuisine Food Tour.” localfoodadventures.com
Held five times a century, the Fête des Vignerons is a colossal celebration of the Lavaux region’s rich wine growing culture, traditions, and of course wines, the most famous of which are dry whites made from the Chasselas grape. First staged in Vevey in 1797, the festival is one of only two (the other is the Basel Carnival) in Switzerland recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage event. From its roots as a simple grape harvest celebration, the Fête has blossomed into a three-week extravaganza (July 18 to August 11) featuring the pageantry of an Olympics opening ceremony. Attendees can ride past Lavaux’s steeply terraced vineyards along the northern shores of Lake Geneva on an hourly train.
HOW TO GO The processions and festival are free, but purchase tickets for arena events. fetedesvignerons.ch/en
Picture-book castles lead to romantic fantasies in the Dordogne, but the true charm of this region in southwestern France lies in the richness of its long cherished culture. Marking 100 years in 2019, the Félibrée is an annual celebration of all things Occitan, including food, music, dance, and a language that resembles French, Spanish, Italian, and Catalan. “We are very attached to our country and our differences, but at the same time we are a true land of welcome,” says Jean Bonnefon, a dedicated Occitanist. “The Félibrée is proof of this.” Although the Dordogne is extremely pastoral, you can’t exactly say it’s off the tourist map. Just try to find parking in Sarlat or rent a kayak on the Dordogne River on a summer day. And it’s hardly unsophisticated. There are nine Michelin-starred restaurants, a smattering of upscale hotels and golf courses, and 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites. But considering that France received 87 million visitors in 2017, the relative emptiness is by far the Dordogne’s most luxurious asset.