It’s just the beginning of 2018, and we already have the travel bug. A lot of existing, beautiful places around our planet were revamped this year, making it the best time ever to hop on a plane and discover to your heart’s desire. Here are some of our top picks.
A once war-ravaged country is really thriving in 2018. After 50 years of civil war, Columbia is transforming into a must-see cosmopolitan destination of the coming year. Bogota particularly has gotten an influx of luxurious hotels, and trendy restaurants contrast with the beautiful Caño Cristales river, and isolated desert peninsulas dotted with eco-resorts.
2. Gangwon Province, South Korea
This province is hosting the Winter Olympics this year. If that’s not reason enough to visit it, Gangwon also allows for once-in-a-lifetime temple stays, and a diverse range of landscapes, such as Nami Island, the Ulsanbawi Rock hiking trail, and a winding railroad system known as Gangchon Rail Park.
3. Gansu, China
Once unreachable Ancient Silk Road attractions are finally accessible in 2018, the most notable being the Zhangye Danxia national park, a three hour high-speed train ride from the center of Gansu. The view looks like a fantasy, filled with reddish rainbow striped mountains, stark rock formations, and rolling cliffs. You can also access the Western section of the Great Wall from here.
4. Banff, Canada
While the most popular destinations are probably Vancouver and Montreal, this little Alberta gem in the Rockies is the oldest national park in the nation, and is a much dreamier option. Year-round, there’s something for everyone: snow-shoeing and kayaking are active options, while the Fairmont Banff Springs offers a medieval twinge straight out of a Disney movie and the northern lights can be seen for most of the year.
5. Kuélap, Peru
People once only flocked to Machu Picchu when they visited Peru, but thanks to being overly inundated with tourists, restrictions have been placed on visits, driving tourists to its Northern counterpart, regarded by many as a fortress of the clouds. You can access the walled city like never before, perusing its hundreds of ceremonial, circular buildings and jungle-drenched mountain peaks.
6. Basilicata, Italy
Step your game up from “Eat, Pray, Love” to this region of Southern Italy that’s truly unforgettable. Colossal rock churches and a cave complex make up the city of Matera, for instance. History buffs will be obsessed and also have the ability unplug from the chaos of modern living. The Monticchio Lakes are also a spectacular location to visit here.
7. Rotorua, New Zealand
The diverse natural habitats of New Zealand are rampant all over the country, but Rotorua is one of the hearts of Maori island culture. Its nature includes the Whakarewarewa forest which has a whopping 21 suspension bridges that creates a miraculous elevated trail. Romantic Lighting installations are visible in the forest at night.
8. Marrakech, Morocco
Morocco has always been a famous cultural and artistic hub, and the marketplaces in Marrakech draw people from all corners of the globe, who are mesmerized by its vibrancy. This month, the 1:54 contemporary African art fair will debut at famous hotel La Mamounia. The galleries in the city are also quite impressive, and the accommodations are more than picturesque.
People are always obsessed with the Maldives, but this is an often overlooked alternative for an Indian Ocean destination that you won’t be disappointed by. Once super remote, this island is now more accessible thanks to a bunch of new airline services that premiered at the end of last year, such as KLM and Thomas Cook airlines. A luxurious and idyllic island experience.
This is one of the hottest places in Europe, whether you’re into epic mountain views, or a beating nightlife. The Danube River acts as a coast line, where you can swim along the castle-lined riviera in the summertime. So whether you want the views or the hangovers, Serbia has your back.