Lonely Planet Writer

Five places to visit in the Year of the Pig

February 5 marks the start of the Year of the Pig according to the Chinese Zodiac so it’s time for this misunderstood animal to hog some of the spotlight. Contrary to some of their popular representations, they are fiercely intelligent, scrupulously clean and often downright adorable. We’ve compiled five ideas to get you started on your travels for Year of the Pig.

Folk artist Zuo Ansheng makes dough figurines of pigs to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Photo by Wang Yanbing/VCG via Getty

Pig Beach, Exuma, Bahamas

If you still need convincing that pigs can be cute, there’s no better place to visit than Pig Beach in the Bahamas, home of the most famous pigs of Instagram. Located on the uninhabited island of Big Major Cay in Exuma, there are several local legends about how the little porkers made their way there. They’ve become a quintessential stop for animal-lovers and cute enough to turn you vegetarian.

Tropical pigs in the Bahamas. Photo by Elizabeth W. Kearley

Schweinemuseum, Stuttgart

Think you know everything there is to know about pigs? Think again. Officially the world’s largest pig museum, there are a whopping 25 rooms and 50,000 exhibits dedicated to our swine friends. Housed in Stuttgart’s former slaugherhouse, expect to see pigs pop up in history, art, zoology, myth and yes, even food. When you’re done with the kitsch, you can relax in the beer garden and sample pork knuckle, among other delicacies (sorry friends).

Countless piggy banks are presented in the pig museum in Stuttgart. Photo by Wolfram Kastl via Getty

Bucharest, Romania

Pay even passing attention to the graffiti in Bucharest and you’ll notice a curious pig-dog hybrid popping up constantly. It’s the creation of street artist AEUL and it’s so omnipresent that the artist told Feeder that he lost count after creating 500 of them.

Bay of Pigs, Cuba

Despite its famous name, Cuba’s Bay of Pigs is one of the country’s best hidden gems and is more than just military history; it’s an essential stop for any enthusiastic scuba divers. With warm waters and very reasonable rates, you can explore sunken wrecks and limestone sinkholes under the sea, while above water you’ll be close to the Parque Nacional Cienaga de Zapata and some stunning beaches.

Bay of Pigs is a scuba-diving hotspot. Photo by Holger Leue

Your local farm

You probably don’t need to travel far to get up close and personal to a little piggy or two. There are countless farms who run excellent visitor centres and children’s petting zoos. Many breeds of pigs are endangered and you can see and learn about some rare pig breeds at the Cotswold Farm Park.

Still looking for a bit of astrological inspiration? Find out where you should travel based on your Chinese zodiac sign.