Best Vantage on Vintage FranceWith vineyards first planted by ancient Romans, the Cote d'Or—the most revered winemaking area in Burgundy (Bourgogne)—draws wine pilgrims from around the globe. Blue or Not, It Blows Our MindsFlowing almost 1,800 miles from the Black Forest to the Black Sea, the Danube River has been the main thoroughfare through central and eastern Europe for millennia. Next Great AdventureThe last remaining Himalayan Buddhist kingdom, Bhutan is distant by most standards. To the Manor BornWith a sculptor's discerning eye, the 18th-century landscape designer Lancelot Brown transformed Britain's grand country estates forever. Amped Up With the ArtsIf Edinburgh is the blue-blooded aunt at Scotland's tea party, then Glasgow, just 45 miles to the west, is the T-shirt-clad cousin kicking over the kettle on the way out.A wealthy shipbuilding and trade hub on the River Clyde since the 15th century, Scotland's largest city fell into dereliction, earning a rough-and-tumble reputation that stuck to soot-covered buildings well into the 1980s.
Northern ExposureThe Inuit of Greenland call it sila, the immense natural world experienced with all five senses. Absolute PowderThose in the know choose the isle of Hokkaido for a ski experience found nowhere else. Prosecutors in Belgium said Tuesday they have charged two more people in connection with the attacks last month in Brussels that killed 32 people.
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A solitary blue whale in the Sea of Cortez, the only specimen seen by the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration in a week-long expedition through the region. The National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration was holding its grant-making meeting in the dining room of the National Geographic Sea Bird last week when Lindblad Expeditions President Sven-Olof Lindblad, who was personally showing us around the Gulf of California, interrupted proceedings to report that a blue whale was swimming ahead of the ship.
On its week-long field inspection through the Gulf of California, the CRE came across only that one blue whale — but then it was a little early in the season to find them in that part of the sea, according to the expert accompanying the delegation, Diane Gendron. A project director with Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas (CICIMAR-IPN), Gendron has been monitoring and studying blue whales in the Gulf of California for a quarter of a century.
Diane Gendron’s field work has been of assistance in the making of documentaries of blue whales by National Geographic and the BBC. It had been a privilege to study individuals for years, to become part of their lives, Gendron added.
With its total population depleted by as much as 90 percent over the past 30 years, the blue whale is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Is the whale-watcher optimistic that we can save these enigmatic mammals, keeping them with us for many years to come, I wondered. Ocean ViewsOcean Views brings new and experienced voices together to discuss the threats facing our ocean and to celebrate successes. The Aquarium of the WorldDescribed by Jacques Cousteau as the "aquarium of the world," the Gulf of California in Mexico is threatened by coastal development, climate change, and other human activities. The carbon dioxide we pump into the air is seeping into the oceans and slowly acidifying them.
Photograph: Clownfish reared in acidified water can't recognize the chemical signals that guide them to their unusual home—the tentacles of an anemone.
The Aurora borealis, commonly known as the northern lights, illuminates the sky over Iceland.
The staff at National Geographic Travel is continually criss-crossing the globe to uncover the best and the brightest places, but we have travel wish lists just like everyone else.
Iceland: “It’s winter, so I’m dreaming of Iceland’s frozen ice-scapes, geothermal pools, and, of course, the otherworldly northern lights. Kyoto (Japan): “This year, I want to travel to Kyoto during hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season. Isla Holbox (Mexico): “Northwest of Cancun’s party scene lies quiet little Isla Holbox, where residents and visitors get around on golf carts and giant whale sharks congregate offshore in the summer. Ireland: “Itching to plan a trip overseas, my girlfriends and I cooked up an itinerary through Ireland by way of train. Whether it’s Botswana's Okavango Delta or Brazil's beaches, these 20 go-now destinations will get you packing. Natives here insist there's no place in France with wine traditions more deeply rooted, more consciously cherished. Flying in requires a plane nimble enough to navigate around mountain peaks and land in Paro Valley, the main tourist hub, where the number of hotels has tripled over the past decade as the once isolated country opens to more visitors. Brown reshaped formal gardens into rolling green parklands across the length and breadth of the country.
Now scrubbed up and gleaming, Glasgow flexes cultural muscle, artfully burnishing its industrial cityscape.Scotland's self-proclaimed Year of Innovation, Architecture, and Design kicks off in January, with Glaswegians proudly puffing their chests. Said to dwell in Kilauea, one of two volcanoes here that are among the world's most active, Pele has been a busy lady.
Japan's northernmost island—surrounded by misty seas and chilled by nearby Siberia—is blessed in winter with almost daily snowfalls, accumulating on some mountains to an extraordinary 63 feet.
The session adjourned at once and a dozen scientists rushed to the forward deck to take a look — quite likely the first time in the 100-year history of the venerable Committee for Research and Exploration that a whale had sent members running from a meeting. Individuals are monitored passively from a safe distance with photographs of their unique markings as well as the genetic, diet, and health information teased out of their copious poop. To learn firsthand what's going on in and around this marine treasure of global importance, the National Geographic Society sent its top scientists and officials to the region in January 2016. I like to sketch the delicate flowers and stunning pagodas there from photos using oil pastels, but I’d rather draw them first-hand. In addition to being an expert on the Bard of Avon, the professor I worked under, Milla Riggio, had an academic preoccupation with Trinidad and Tobago. A dream trip of mine would be a tea-inspired trek around England, complete with clotted cream-topped scones and cucumber sandwiches. I’d never heard of the island before seeing the article, but now it’s at the top of my list of destinations to visit.
Historically, only potatoes and turnips could survive in the country’s harsh subarctic conditions. They have something else to be proud of: In July 2015, UNESCO inscribed the region on its World Heritage List.


The state capital, Natal, three hours by air north of Rio de Janeiro, reigns over a coastline that racks up some 233 days of sunshine a year.
Winding through ten countries, it's like a medieval version of Route 66, except your stops will be at 13th-century Gothic churches rather than diners, and you'll be treated to views of Transylvania instead of tumbleweeds.Imagine the spires of the palace-bedecked capitals of Vienna and Budapest slowly rising above the trees as your boat glides around a bend.
His habit of telling patrons that their grounds had great "capabilities" is said to have earned him the nickname Capability Brown.The tercentenary, in 2016, of Brown's birth (in 1716) offers a compelling reason to visit his landscapes now.
The Turner Prize, Britain's most esteemed contemporary art exhibition and award, is in Scotland for the first time, culminating on January 17 at Tramway, Glasgow's former streetcar terminus.But it is music that really pumps Glasgow's cultural heart. Aquamarine rivers squiggle across its white void, feeding a thousand thundering waterfalls that flow into enormous fjords.
Since 1986, hundreds of acres of new land have been created by molten rock welling up from deep inside Earth and spilling, hissing and steaming, into the Pacific Ocean."Lots of visitors come for the lava," says Clarence "Aku" Hauanio, the third of four generations of his family to have worked at the 520-square-mile Big Island park, which celebrates its centennial in 2016. The yuki (snow) comes down very dry and light, creating a powder Valhalla for skiers and snowboarders.Niseko, on the southwest corner of Hokkaido, may be the most popular of the resorts, but Kiroro, a two-hour drive from Sapporo's Chitose Airport, is the real find. They toured the desert islands off the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula and they listened to presentations by more than a dozen experts, including several whose Baja California research is funded by the Society. Now I hear chefs and farmers are responding to warming temperatures by experimenting with the cultivation of new-to-the-island vegetables and herbs, and even giving beekeeping a try.
Hurry, our Carnival is just days away, February 8 &9th but the party has already begun! Plans for a new wine center, the Cite des Vins de Bourgogne, will further celebrate this hallowed terroir.A far cry from Bordeaux's flat landscape, historically dominated by aristocratic families, the fabled chalk slopes of the Cote d'Or form a snaking ribbon of land in some places no more than a third of a mile wide. Recently, the state's arid interior region, the historically poor sertao, has been seeing unprecedented love and investment from both the public and private sectors. From the bagpiper busking top-20 tunes along Buchanan Street to the crooner wooing crowds at storied clubs like King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow's sound track is unrivaled."To describe a typical Glasgow musician is quite difficult to do," says Stirling Gorman, who performs with his brother, Cha, in their band, King of Birds.
The qajaq (kayak) allows close sightings of spouting whales—and, if you're lucky enough to be on a small ship that can access remote habitats, Greenland may be the best place in the world to see polar bears in the wild.Circumpolar athletes will gather in the capital, Nuuk, for the 2016 Arctic Winter Games, the largest international event ever hosted in the country.
Here, youngsters play and learn in the Annie Kids Ski Academy, while ambitious free-riding skiers make endless fresh tracks on Nagamine and Asari peaks.
The data help conservation management of the species in a critically important feeding and calving ground and on its long migratory routes along the length of the coast of North America. I hope to ride the rapids on the Rio Futaleufu, hike the trails of Torres del Paine National Park, and sample chocolate and wine in Bariloche. National Geographic staff have excess cash and can travel in style, lugging camera equipment and other sophisticated gear. This labyrinthine wine terrain about three hours' drive southeast of Paris is owned by hundreds of farmers, many of them descendants of peasant families and some with just three rows of vines in a field the size of a bowling alley.Rent a bicycle to taste your way along the Route des Grands Crus, which includes oenophile-magnet vineyards in Puligny-Montrachet. The sertao is rich in local culture (clay figurines, woven palm mats) and cuisine (sun-dried beef, cassava fries). But the arduous two-day journey there by 4x4 delivers many rewards.“You are the first foreigner we have seen in 22 years,” exclaims a surprised monk welcoming an American trekker to his mist-shrouded outpost near Mongar.
You can glimpse Brown's developing talent in its undulating Grecian Valley."Capability Brown accentuates the positives of topography," says historic landscapes consultant Kate Felus. Along with skiing and ice hockey, participants will compete in ancient games such as the finger pull and kneel jump."We understand that we are only borrowing this land," says Petersen.
And though I missed my chance to spend time there while a student, I plan to right that wrong this year by traveling to the Caribbean island nation to witness its grand Carnival tradition. At neighborhood haunt La Grilladine, in the medieval town of Beaune, pair the beef bourguignonne with one of the local vieilles vignes (wine from old vines).
It also is the cradle of forro, a rambunctious musical blend of accordion, triangle, and zabumba drums that sends couples twirling much as it did during World War II, when the area housed U.S.
Founded in 1923, the resort has four private pink-sand beaches and 87 luxurious rooms and suites in its classic pink cottages (including a restored 17th-century sea captain's home). In Lhuntse village, women display their vibrantly hued silk wares to Bhutanese traders, who travel here from the capital city of Thimphu in search of precious kushutara textiles. While other pre-Lenten celebrations may garner more attention (Mardi Gras, anyone?), Trinidad’s version seems to me to be a particularly idiosyncratic, authentic, and exuberant cultural expression. We cannot even afford those fancy-priced travel clothes with the Nat Geo label sewn on, for crying out loud!
Lower Danube cruises commonly sail east from Budapest to the Black Sea, passing through Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Family homestays fill in for hotels, offering travelers a place to sleep and dine on traditional dishes, including ema datshi, spicy chilies and cheese, often served with red rice. Or take a train from the Japan Rail airport station to Niseko (or to Otaru for Kiroro resorts).
Third-generation family owner Jean-Claude Bernard sets the tone, worldly yet down-to-earth.
In season, try the clawless (the meat is in the tail) spiny lobster either stuffed or served in creamy tomato sauce at Wahoo's Bistro and Patio in St. Malmaison, housed in a converted Greek Orthodox church (with a modern wing attached), is home to Scottish superchef Martin Wishart's new brasserie, The Honours. Where to Stay: Sleep in the park at the 33-room Volcano House, built in 1941 (and completely renovated in 2012-13) at the rim of Kilauea Caldera. Close to the lifts at the Kiroro Resort, the former Mountain Hotel is now the Sheraton Hokkaido Kiroro Resort. Expand the view by choosing a suite with a French balcony and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. Tours include all transportation within Bhutan and a licensed guide who accompanies you throughout the trip.
Hartwell House and Spa, a National Trust property near Aylesbury, has 30 rooms and suites in the main house and 16 in the adjacent Hartwell Court.
And the former Piano Hotel, located a shuttle bus ride from the lifts, is now the Kiroro, part of the upscale Starwoods Tribute Portfolio collection. From Dijon, you can take a walk lasting several days (depending on the amount of wine consumed) or rent a car to follow the 37-mile Route des Grands Crus south to Santenay.


Browse the collections of edgy textiles (such as iguana fabric, surreal Chic Blotch wallpaper, and Union Jackass lampshades). In Beaune, the better option is renting a bike (March through November) to pedal the Voie des Vignes (Vineyard Way) velo (bike) route to Santenay.
To ride along the northern beaches and over the dunes, hire a registered bugueiro—buggy driver—through your hotel. The side-paddle-wheel steamer was built in England and smuggled guns and other supplies into Wilmington, North Carolina. Opened in 2008, the Wangchuk Hotel Mongar regularly hosts tour groups visiting eastern Bhutan. Meals aren't included, but the cafe does serve local fare such as reindeer and Arctic char.
Geological Survey volcanologist Richard Hazlett, includes expert tips on what to look for when visiting Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. The treats aren't widely available outside of Hokkaido, and a new ice cream version (Marusei ice sand) is sold only at the Rokkatei Sapporo Honten near the Sapporo train station.
Where to Stay: After touring the vineyards, relax by the heated outdoor pool or in the sauna at Le Clos de la Challangette in Beaune. Where to Stay: The oceanfront Serhs Natal Grand Hotel at Ponta Negra Beach is designed for families.
Menus regularly feature Danube River specialties such as Viennese gabelbissen (potato salad topped with egg or pickled herring), Hungarian goulash (meat and vegetable stew seasoned with paprika), and German Wiener schnitzel. What to Buy: Hand-carved wooden bears, bamboo mukkuri (mouth harps), and other traditional crafts of the Ainu, Japan's indigenous people and the first to inhabit Hokkaido, are typically sold in a few shops near the Shiraoi Ainu Museum (at Shiraoi station, about one hour and 15 minutes south of Sapporo on the Hokuto Line). The sprawling resort has 396 rooms and suites, multiple pools, and organized sports and kids' activities. Today, divers who visit the site can see the steamer's two paddle wheels: one standing upright and the other lying on the ocean floor. Experience Viennese kaffeehaus culture in the Old World salon of the Demel, an elegant 18th-century confectionery bakery and coffeehouse. Whether red, green, fresh, dried, crushed, powdered, or turned to paste, the fiery pepper is an essential ingredient in most recipes. Pick up the book at the Stowe gardens gift shop, which also stocks bottles of New Inn Restoration Ale.
The city has 90 gardens and parks, including Victoria Park, where you can see remnants of an ancient swamp forest.
Designed as a replica Ainu village, the complex includes a museum building, five thatched houses (some fringed with hanging salmon), and a pen housing snowy white Hokkaido, or Ainu, hunting dogs. There's far less hubbub at Kana Pousada de Charme, an eight-room bed-and-breakfast that welcomes guests ages 14 and up. The site, called Fossil Grove, protects 11 fossilized tree stumps estimated to be about 330 million years old. Other local staples include seaweed, musk ox, Greenland halibut, and Greenlandic herbs (like sheep sorrel and knotted pearlwort).
What to Read Before You Go: A photo of a sheep in Hokkaido sets in motion the surreal journey at the center of Haruki Murakami's best-selling A Wild Sheep Chase (Vintage, 2002), in which the hero is led to the snowy mountains of northern Japan. The washed-rind soft cheese originated in Burgundy in the 16th century and is available to sample and buy in the dairy's shop.
Shop instead in the village-like Spittelberg, the revitalized Biedermeier district pedestrian zone with cobblestone streets and secluded courtyards.
The complex silk-on-silk art form is passed down from mother to daughter (only women weave in Bhutan) in Khoma, where weaving is the primary source of income. Other Gaugry cheeses are sold in the shop, along with regional products such as Dijon mustard and gingerbread. Beach bars up and down the coast serve plates of fried manjuba and fresh camaroes (shrimp).
Textile Tour itineraries offered by Access Bhutan Tours and Treks and other operators include visiting the village to watch the weavers and shop for brightly colored scarves, kiras (traditional Bhutanese ankle-length dresses), and other handwoven items. Before choosing one to take home, learn more about these Greenlandic talismans at the Nuuk Art Museum.
The posts are set up at intervals along the side of the highway, and the arrows point down to mark the edge of the road. Back then, senior staff would show tourists around the gardens when the family was away, expecting a tip for their efforts.
The reflective red stripes serve as beacons for motorists in a blinding snowstorm but regularly baffle first-time visitors.
What to Read Before You Go: Translated from Portuguese, the Machado de Assis Prize-winning novel Nowhere People (And Other Stories, 2014) by Paulo Scott shines a rare literary spotlight on Brazil's indigenous Guarani people. Cultural Tip: Always ask your guide before taking any photos or video inside any dzong (fortress), monastery, temple, or other religious institution.
What to Watch Before You Go: The award-winning documentary A Year in Burgundy (Kino Lorber films, 2013) is a season-by-season look at the lives of seven Burgundian winemaking families. A genetic mutation causes the tree's low-hanging branches to take root and sprout new life when they touch the ground. Exterior colors signaled what took place inside, such as yellow for hospitals, black for police stations, and blue for fish-processing houses. Louis Joseph Chevrolet, the race-car driver who designed the first Chevrolet for General Motors, moved to Beaune as a child.
During his teen years in Burgundy, he worked as a wine-cellar guide, and built, sold, repaired, and raced bicycles.




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