Culture is at the heart of any destination. So whether it’s sampling prosecco and learning how to make tortellini in the foothills of the Dolomites or watching the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra perform at the recently opened Elbphilharmonie in lively Hamburg, there’s no better way to understand a country, city or region than through its food, music, history and art.
So, where to begin? To help you get started, we’ve chosen this year’s 50 best cultural tours. The itineraries in the following pages are either new for 2017 or have been updated.
Of course, each year there are destinations and trends in the spotlight, and 2017 is no exception. One is a fascination with all things Nordic. Forget Nordic noir – things are looking very bright indeed in the region, as travellers flock to sample its culinary, art and musical delights. Following the opening of chef René Redzepi’s award-winning Noma (which closes next month but is due to reopen in another location in late 2017), there’s been a growing appetite for Nordic cuisine. And it’s no wonder – Copenhagen alone has 20 Michelin-starred restaurants. But if that’s not enough to satisfy the foodie, then Aarhus has another three. As reported earlier in this section, Denmark’s second city is this year’s European Capital of Culture, as well as a European Region of Gastronomy, which means that there will be plenty of free events in the city throughout the year, from a Viking saga performed on the grass-covered roof of Moesgaard Museum to an outdoor garden exhibition. There is still time to book a trip to Aarhus to make it in time for the inauguration ceremony on January 21. “It takes off with a procession of Viking ships, lanterns, choir singers and musicians and locals carrying illuminated ships,” said Suzel Taber-Shaw, managing director at Scandinavia Only, a specialist tour operator to the region.