Let’s be honest, more than a travel bucket list, this article I keep rewriting every year is my way of manifesting my trips for the coming months. And despite rarely being able to fulfill all my wishes (alas, life always gets in my way!), this is an enjoyable list that proves how my interests shift from year to year. 

In the past 12 months, for example, I have noticed how I started to favor trips that grant me equal opportunities for natural and cultural activities, as opposed to exclusively visiting big cities and jumping from one museum to the other or from an exhibition to an art center. Maybe I am getting old, maybe I just need some peace of mind, but I noticed I increasingly seek peaceful, quaint, small towns, and I prefer destinations where I can easily pair a museum visit with a relaxing afternoon at the beach, an energizing hike, or any other activity that can grant me peaceful moments in nature. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still very much look forward to visiting bustling and noisy cities, and immersing myself in the art craze of biennials and art fairs, but I also crave relaxing gateways. 

This year, I would like to go back to Asia for the first time in a while, while also exploring some never-before-visited destinations in Europe. I would also very much like to plan a winter escape to South Africa, to enjoy warmer days, or to Mexico, to see beautiful jacaranda trees and their stunning purple flowers. But all in all, I am ready and willing to embrace any experience and grateful for any trip, short or long, near or far. 

And you, did you ever experience or notice any shift in how you travel and in what you like to do while traveling? And what is your 2024 travel bucket list? 

2024 travel - Cape Town
Photo by Tobias Reich on Unsplash

1. Cape Town, South Africa

Nestled between majestic mountains and pristine coastlines, Cape Town is a haven for nature lovers and art enthusiasts alike. With its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant cultural heritage, the city serves as a backdrop for a burgeoning contemporary art scene while also offering many occasions to immerse yourself in Nature. From world-class galleries to outdoor sculptures and installations, Cape Town is quickly becoming one of the major art hubs in Africa, while the city and the whole country are already world-renowned for their natural beauties. And with a great climate, Cape Town makes for a perfect winter escape. 

2024 travel - Beijing
Photo by zhang kaiyv on Unsplash

2. Beijing & Shanghai, China

Speaking of bustling metropolises, Beijing and Shanghai stand at the forefront of the global contemporary art scene and have long been on my list of destinations I definitely want to visit. After years of Covid lockdowns and restrictive measures, in 2024 China has decided to grant free entry to people holding certain passports (including European ones) for up to 15 days, making it the perfect excuse for me to plan a first trip to China. I know the country is massive and two weeks are barely enough to scratch the surface, but I would be more than happy to take advantage of this opportunity. With thriving art districts, avant-garde galleries, and innovative artist communities, Beijing and Shanghai offer a dynamic exploration of modern artistic trends and cultural movements, from traditional Chinese art to groundbreaking multimedia installations. Beijing and Shanghai captivate visitors with their eclectic mix of creativity and traditions and are guaranteed to stably enter my personal top 5 favorite cities around the world. I guess it’s time to brush up on my Mandarin and start looking for flights! 

Photo by Oscar Reygo on Unsplash

3. Mexico City, Mexico 

Here is another destination I have been eyeing for a while, despite actually putting it on my list. But again, 2024 seems to be the year to explore new frontiers in terms of what I like and what I want to visit, so here we are. With its vibrant streets and colorful murals, Mexico City is a hub of contemporary and street art unlike any other. From the historic neighborhoods of La Roma and Condesa to the bustling streets of Coyoacán, Mexico City’s urban landscape serves as a canvas for local and international artists alike, while events like ZONA MACO, the Mexico City art fair, make it a great destination for art lovers seeking local and international representatives alike. And with the surrounding region and a country so rich in natural beauties to fill out a whole year of travels, Mexico City seems like the perfect starting point for an art and nature vacation. 

4. Lyon, France

Closer to home but equally as attractive, this year I really want to visit Lyon and experience its diverse offering of contemporary art, culinary wonders, and architectural beauties. Easily accessible via flight or train, Lyon is situated in the heart of Europe and reflects its position in the richness of its history and cultural landscape. This year the city will host the 2024 Lyon Biennale, becoming a melting pot of creativity and artistic expression. As one of France’s most anticipated art events, the Biennale showcases cutting-edge contemporary art from around the world and offers a great chance to experience a city that is often off the radars compared to other cities in the continent. To me, it sounds like the perfect blend of quaint little cafes, great contemporary art exhibitions, amazing landscapes, and delicious culinary options, and I already look forward to spending a long weekend in the French city during the Fall. 

2024 travel - Venice
Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash

5. Venice, Italy 

Ok, this is not a wish, this is the only trip I already know will happen this year. In fact, I visit Venice basically every year, and I never get tired of it, of its canals, silent streets at night, and busy squares during the day. Venice is possibly one of the most heart-melting cities I have ever visited, I have many dear memories in this city and despite going there every year, I still find new places to visit and new things to experience. This year, together with the 2024 Venice Biennale, I want to go to the Fenice Theater for the first time and to the small island of Murano, which I surprisingly never ever visited. But I also plan to experience some of my favorites, like the Toletta sandwiches, the stunning exhibitions at Punta della Dogana, or the many collateral events and exhibitions that will take place in Venice on the occasion of the 2024 Biennale. It’s gonna be a great year, and I can’t wait to spend some time in the Venice Lagoon! 

Cover image by zhang kaiyv on Unsplash