06/28/2011 | | Travel Writer | Travel

‘Macedonia is Greece!” blares a sign scrawled in red paint across plazas in Thessaloniki, Drama and other towns across northern Greece. “Makedonia e Bulgaria!” screams the Bulgarian equivalent, just as fervent, in graffiti along that country’s southern highways.

05/31/2011 | | Travel Writer | Travel

The biggest factor influencing summer travel this year may not be outlandish fuel prices, packed planes or even that pesky Icelandic volcano.

As far as I can tell, it’s the so-called Arab Spring that’s having the biggest effect. The ongoing political turmoil in places like Egypt, Libya and Syria has completely shifted this year’s vacation landscape across the Mediterranean, sending nervous travelers away from Morocco and Egypt to the European coasts. New Yorkers headed east will have to plan ahead.

05/24/2011 | | Travel Writer | Travel

Philadelphia may be one of the nation’s oldest cities, but right now it’s basking in the glow of novelty.

In the historic heart of the city, just a few blocks from Congregation Mikveh Israel — the city’s oldest Jewish synagogue — the National Museum of American Jewish History unveiled its new building in November. It has been buzzing with locals and tourists alike ever since.

05/17/2011 | | Travel Writer | Travel

Whether to go to Provence, France’s lavender-scented south, is a no-brainer. But shaping an itinerary from the myriad lovely villages and vibrant cities can be daunting.

The colorful, teeming streets of Marseilles beckon to some, while others head for the winding lanes and rolling fields that inspired Van Gogh — or possibly drove him further into his starlit nocturnal madness.

05/10/2011 | | Travel Writer | Travel

Some of the world’s oldest known civilizations have inhabited the Eastern Balkans, where worn-down mountain ranges punctuate the vast Thracian plain.

Yet many of the region’s cities have little to show for those ancient roots. Centuries of war, imperialism, poverty and even natural disasters have left much of the area lacking in opulent architecture and quaint historic cores like those found throughout Western Europe. And visitors accustomed to those more accessible destinations can find themselves frustrated by a lack of tangible urban history.

05/03/2011 | | Travel Writer | Travel

Did you know there are palm trees on the English coast? Neither did I. Like most of us, my mental image of the U.K. was shaped by earlier experiences in gray, rainy London and gloomy Scotland, and by the perpetual sodden chill in countless British novels. Can you imagine “Wuthering Heights” under a sunny blue sky?