The 41 Places to Go in 2011 By THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: January 7, 2011
From the beaches of Mexico to the wilds of Kurdistan, the places on this year’s list take you to the end of the world and back. 26. Guimarães, Portugal A city of youth is fired up by its art scene. Considered the birthplace of Portugal, this picturesque northern city has long been of great historical importance to the country. Now, with half its inhabitants under 30, it is also one of the youngest cities in Europe. A string of recent developments, like its selection as a 2012 European Capital of Culture and the rehabilitation of the Unesco-designated historic center, have helped turned the youthful “cradle city” into one of the Iberian peninsula’s emerging cultural hot spots. Much of the city’s burgeoning music and arts scene is nourished by the Centro Cultural Vila Flor, a contemporary-minded cultural center that opened in 2005 in a converted 18th-century palace. It includes amphitheaters, an exhibition villa, artists’ studios and a modern Portuguese restaurant. This March, the center will host the first International Festival of Contemporary Dance, bringing in an impressive selection of dance companies from throughout the world. — CHARLY WILDER THE EUROPE ISSUE | CHECK IN, CHECK OUT
A Room With a View (of Art) for the Night CHEAP pod hotels, homey B & Bs, chic design-forward dens and modern business chains all provide shelter to their respective demographics. But a new batch of hotels in Europe appeals to a high-minded psychographic, doling out the keys to local culture related to literature, art, theater or history — both in their designs and in their locations. Whether it is Stalin-era art and architecture, Portuguese music, Turkish history, Parisian literature or the London stage, if you’re bound for Europe for culture, check-in at one of these newcomers affords instant access. Lisbon
THE LX BOUTIQUE HOTEL The Hotel Braganca was a meeting place of the Generation of 1870, a socialistleaning group of artists and intellectuals including the realist writer José Maria de Eça de Queiroz. Now it is home to this boutique hotel, which opened on Sept. 3 in the riverfront Cais do Sodré area, around the corner from the São Carlos National Theater. In a nod to its past, the Lx Boutique Hotel (lxboutiquehotel.pt) dedicates each of its five floors to a singular cultural, historic or geographic aspect of the city, including fado music, the poetry of Fernando Pessoa and the historic role of the Tagus River in introducing Portugal’s New World explorers. Not every aspect of the hotel is Portuguese — witness the sushi restaurant — but with doubles starting at 80 euros a night (about $106, at $1.33 to the euro), modern-day bohemians may apply.