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12 Far-Flung, Beautiful Destinations That T Travelled To
The caves of Matera, Italy, the lost mansions of India, Washington State’s Hoh Rain Forest, and more.
By T: The New York Times Style Magazine
/11 January 2018
The caves of Matera, Italy, the lost mansions of India, Washington State’s Hoh Rain Forest, and more: T has traveled far and wide. Scroll through our slide show for some of the most beautiful, transporting places on our map.
Washington’s Olympic National Park encompasses peaks and valleys, volcanic beaches and the Hoh Rain Forest, which may be the most diverse ecosystem in the United States. Standing on the forest floor, dense with big-leaf maple and moss-covered Sitka spruce trees, one feels the distractions of the modern world fade away, and is confronted by a rare and profound silence.
Read more: Lessons in Stillness From One of the Quietest Places on Earth
Floating in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia is this tiny island nation, which has at one point been a stopping point for the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans and the Ottomans. Today, horse-drawn carriages still traverse the old streets of Malta’s capital, Valletta, which is lined with centuries-old convents and churches. But there is new energy as well — in 2015, Renzo Piano reimagined the city’s gate and opera house — and Malta lives on as a palimpsest for Western culture.
Read more: Malta, Where the West Was Born
Enough Danish creative types have traded Copenhagen for this rocky isle in the Baltic Sea that now, in addition to sun, sand and ocean views, Bornholm has a flourishing artisanal scene. Indeed, it’s hard not to be inspired by the idyllic landscapes of rolling hills and charming port towns filled with farmhouses and smokehouses, some of which have been converted to inns, ceramics studios and top restaurants.
Read more: Bornholm: Crafts and Sunshine on the Danish Isle
Unlike the Hudson River Valley or the Hamptons, the Western Catskills area is the New York City getaway that has long felt lost in time. This stretch of the Delaware River is known for fly-fishing, and its main streets are quiet and quaint. Ever so slowly, though, local entrepreneurs and city transplants are changing that, opening upscale hotels, restaurants and shops in a trio of towns that remain just sleepy enough.
Read more: What to Do (and Where to Stay) in the Western Catskills
A popular stopover city in a country known for its arresting beauty — examples of which include snowy mountaintops and the geothermal geysers of the famous Blue Lagoon — Reykjavik is more than worth a separate trip. Now, a decade after a banking collapse inspired a flurry of homegrown entrepreneurial projects, it’s an established center for art, food and wellness. Plus, there’s a new spa at the Blue Lagoon that makes the most of its stunning surroundings, offering mud masks and in-water massages.
Read more: A Guide to Reykjavik, as Wonderfully Weird as Ever
Basilicata, nestled in the arch of Italy’s boot, is home to many ancient hill towns. The most spectacular might be Matera, where the dwellings are actual caves, carved during prehistoric times into layers of pale gold limestone. Wandering the city’s labyrinthian layout, visitors get a feel for Matera’s rich history, while enjoying exciting new spots, from a sculpture museum to a hip cocktail bar, as well as plenty of cucina povera.
Read more: Where to Stay (and What to Eat) in Matera, Italy
For French travelers, this beachy peninsula west of Bordeaux is a happily low-key alternative to the flashy Côte d’Azur, now overrun with foreigners. Here, breezy, dressed-down days are spent biking along the beach, sampling bucketfuls of fresh oysters and climbing the Dune du Pilat, Europe’s tallest sand dune.
Read more: A Guide to Cap Ferret, the Cape Cod of France
This evergreen-studded mountain town northwest of Tokyo does not feel entirely of Japan, in part because of its self-consciously Alpine aesthetic. In fact, Karuizawa, which you’d expect to be a standard if lovely resort town, contains a collection of architecturally anomalous buildings, from a chapel with uneven archways of stone-laid concrete to a private home composed of a dramatic wedge of steel-plated wood that announces itself like a ship’s hull.
Read more: Otherworldly Architecture in Karuizawa
At first glance, Italy’s fourth-largest city, once a locus of the country’s aristocracy, and then of its industry, might seem a little staid. But beneath its quietly elegant exterior, the birthplace of Arte Povera has a thriving art scene with many new galleries and art foundations — and a curious taste for the occult.
Read more: The Ghosts of Turin
Past the more modest dwellings of this rural region in southeastern India lie some 15,000 mansions, many with more than 60 rooms. Built by Hindu merchants during the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries, they range in styles but are consistently opulent. Those that aren’t abandoned mostly remain with the descendants of their original owners, for whom the massive homes are both a blessing and a burden.
Read more: India's Lost Party Mansions
A trio of sculpture gardens emphasize site-specific work truly inspired by the landscape, which is kept purposefully unkempt, challenging viewers to engage with both art and nature in a new way: There’s Wanas Konst in rural Sweden, Arte Sella in northern Italy and Refuge d’Art in Haute-Provence, a series of 11 Andy Goldsworthy installations spread across 100 miles and connected by ancient footpaths.
Read more: The Unique Value of Seeing Works in the Wild
Once considered a charming day trip for those coming from neighboring Ibiza for its lovely beaches, this Balearic island has come into its own with a new crop of stylish spots that stay true to Formentera’s relaxed spirit. Chef Antonio D’Angelo of Nobu Milan opened a great fusion restaurant there this year, but, for a cold drink after a swim, sandy-floored beach shacks are just as popular.
Read more: Where to Relax (and What to Eat) in Formentera
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