Top 10 destinations in 2018 for the cultural explorer!

So where to go in 2018, when you’re after art, architecture, museums? The two great wars take up a lot of the anniversaries this year,  and personally, I will celebrate the end of WWI by drinking champagne in Paris…

This is the Top 10 pick for the cultural explorer in 2018!

#1 VALETTA, MALTA ⇓

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Valetta, Malta

This year Valletta is on of the chosen European Capitals of culture. They will celebrate with a week long party. See the cultural programme here!

Malta is a small island in the Mediterranean with it’s very own atmosphere. I have been several times and I love the stories of the history of the Knights of Malta founded in 11th century. Remember to go to the even smaller island Gozo close by with unbelievable turquoise water and coral reefs.

#2 LEEUWARDEN, FRIESLAND, NETHERLANDS ⇓

The other European Capital of Culture this year is Leeuwarden in the Netherlands. Here you find the The Wadden Sea – a UNESCO world heritage site. It sounds fun: “Our landscape is the stage and everyone is invited. Bring along your swimsuits, pack your boots, put on your hat and grab your sunglasses. What we’re going to do is a surprise and will captivate you.” See the programme here!

Anyway the Netherlands are easy to travel in, the people are relaxed and friendly – so go!

#3 FOREST OF COMPIEGNE, FRANCE ⇓

You wanna go to France for the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 in 1918. On November 11 in 1918 the the Great War formally stopped leaving around 8.5 mio. soldiers dead and many more civilians. The war also ended the Austrian, the German, the Russian and the Ottoman empires for good.  The peace treaty – the Paris Agreement – was  unfortunately part of laying the ground for the next great war. The treaty was signed in Forest of Compiegne near Paris, which ironically also was the location for the surrender of France to the Nazis.

There’s no need to recommend Paris. I am going in April with my sister close by the forest. Go to the forest for some hiking or biking.

#4 SEVILLE, SPAIN

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Real Alcázar de Sevilla, Spain

This year Seville is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the baroque painter Murillo. Before the 19th century he was the best known Spanish artist in Europe. His life will be remembered with a series of exhibitions, concerts and other events honouring his contribution to the city. See anniversary programme here. It will also host the European Film Awards this year. Lonely Planet ranked it Number 1 city to visit in 2018!

Seville is a great city.  Cheap cava and tapas, flamenco dancing, but most importantly unique architecture. See the largest Gothic cathedral in the world or visit the Alcázar seen in GOT. It can be extremely hot in summer though.

#5 WARSAW, POLAND ⇓

75 years ago on April 19 1943 started the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The Nazis forced the Polish Jews to live in a walled ghetto, and during WWII they deported more than 80% of the Jewish people to labour camps or death camps. The uprising came from a group called ZOB, but outnumbered and badly armed the uprising ended when the Nazis blew up the Great Synagogue.

The city has a Warsaw Rising Museum, and I am going in September with my museum group, so come back to http://www.travellingdane.org in the fall for a closer look.

#6 PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC ⇓

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Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic

3 anniversaries in 2018: the foundation of the First Republic in 1918; 25 years since the country split with Slovakia; and the 50th anniversary of the Prague Spring. The Prague Spring, which briefly saw the then-communist country introduce moderate reforms ultimately crushed by the Soviet army. A lot of festive activities are planned and will mainly take place in October.

Prague is a beautiful city, but the small town center is packed with tourists. I would recommend going back in time and visit it several years ago!  I have been numerous times – once for New Year, where the was full of people celebrating. If you can’t time travel, go in the off season and see the ghost puppet theatre and buy crystal glass. Oh.. and drink beer!

#7 JAPAN ⇓

150 years ago the Meiji Restoration started modern Japan. In 1868 Japan began to adopt elements of Western civilization and moved toward the overthrow of the Edo Shogunate and the opening of the new era of “Meiji”. After this the army was modernized, the government centralized and the economy industrialized. Events are planned in Kyoto and other cities the whole year, but only found a calender in Japanese…

Japan is definitely a top 3 on my bucket list!

#8 GEORGIA ⇓

This year Georgia celebrate its 100 years of independence on May 26 as a result of the Russian Revolution in 1917. But actually this independence is only a few decades old, because between 1921 and 1991 Georgia was part of Russia. So more precisely the 100th anniversary of establishing the first Democratic Republic of Georgia. Independence Day has therefore been banned and obstructed as well as celebrated, but last year there was many activities and 2018 is named Year of Freedom.

I haven’t been there, but would love to go for the sulphur baths, the Cuacasus Mountains and Tbilisi’s architecture inspired by Persian, Arab, Ottomon, Russian and Soviet styles. Maybe this fall?

#9 VIENNA, AUSTRIA ⇓

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The Wiener Succesion in Vienna, Austria.

This city was such a surprise. It not only has beautiful architecture, but it has lots of good food and wine. In 1918 – a 100 years ago – died the three leading members of the Succession Movement: architect Otto Wagner, artist Koloman Moser and the most famous Gustav Klimt. The anniversary will be marked by special exhibitions in the many museums.

Vienna is definitely an underrated city. So many museums, surprisingly good food and a good size for a long weekend. Get in the mood with Christmas market & Jugendstil! Vienna is perfect for a Winter trip!

#10 JORDAN ⇓

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Jordan

Walking in the footsteps of Jesus, Moses and Mohammed combining history, culture and burning some calories. The trail opened last year and goes from Um Qais to the Red Sea, and if you wanna go the entire route – it takes 36 days! It links ancient trading routes and passes the fantastic sites of Petra and Wadi Rum. This is living cultural heritage!

I have not walked it, but been to Petra and slept in Wadi Rum. The people were some of the friendliest I ever met! Preview some of the sites in Red rocks & camels in the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan!

Read about the Jordan Trail here.

BONUS: ARGENTINE/CHILE ⇓

It might not be classical culture, but on July 2 2019, there is a total solar eclipse only in  Argentine or Chile. Also Chile is a top pick country from Lonely Planet! Oh, I wanna go…

See more at NASA!

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Solar eclipse in 2010. Photo by NASA.

Where are you going in 2018?