Passengers tend to speed their way through Rijeka, the third-largest city in Croatia, on their way to the inflated Dalmatian Islands by tourists who should get away a bit. The bold mix of enchanting monuments, urban beaches, thriving street festivals, and incredible Italian grandeur begins to find its own kind of attraction. The castle overlooking the sea has been named Red Rijeka because of the sloping landscape to the left of the locals. The shipyard is also known for its pioneering heritage in punk rock (brand chief Goran Lessica Fox once called it the Galapagos musical). In fact, on an imperceptible street, a few blocks from the Governor’s Palace in the 19th century, you will find a separate plaque indicating Hasar’s former site, the first club in rock and roll history in Croatia, and possibly the first of her type in Europe that is dominated by the communists. Future visitors to Rijeka reap the rewards of the fantastically crowded cellars of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the fish that has just been caught in Konoba na Cantono, as crowds struggle to sunbathe south in Split and Hvar. The city’s attraction will undoubtedly be reinforced by the fact that Rijeka was designated European Capital of Culture for 2020 together with Galway. In preparation, work is underway on Rijeka’s first art district, to be built in the former Benčić industrial complex, while sites such as the Sugar Refinery Palace, the future home of the Rijeka City Museum, and Object T, where Rijeka will be rooted by the city library, is completely rebuilt.
From coffee plantations and cloud forests to destroyed Spanish fortresses and fingerprint-free islands, Panama owns the goods, not just the number of visitors. But this seems to be changing with the opening of the noisy Islas Secas eco-resort in December 2019, allowing access to 14 small rugged islands in Chiriquí Bay on Panama’s sunny Pacific coast. At 33 nautical miles from the mainland, the full-service off-grid escape, which previously housed a small group of beach tents and basic fishing residences, consists of four individual sites at Casita, accommodating just 18 guests in one of the islands. Fortified in the island’s toucan-filled tropical jungle, the homes are designed with privacy in mind, each with its own outdoor deck space, plunge pool, and thatched-roof cabin. The marine park contains one of the largest coral reefs in the Pacific, which means that the waters surrounding the Dry Islands bubble with eagles, humpback whales, hammerhead sharks, and the endangered olive turtle. Guests will be able to surf, snorkel, and Seabob on their way, and there will be an on-site diving instructor, two equipped fishing boats, and a dedicated porter to advise on key wildlife opportunities.