WHERE TO GO THIS YEAR
Below is a list of places which are tipped to be top travel destinations this year.
Tourists in northern Ethiopia rarely travel to the laid-back east, anchored by the city of Harar. The “City of Saints” boasts 82 mosques, as well as Ethiopia’s best beer and highest quality coffee. Hyenas are welcome night visitors in Harar, where they eat food waste and are fed by 'hyena men.'
JUJUY PROVINCE, ARGENTINA
Located in outermost northwest Argentina, Jujuy is home to the Quebrada de Humahuaca World Heritage site. The narrow valley is cloaked in colorful rock bands crafted over millennia. Elevate your Instagram with shots of Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors).
Development is reshaping the cityscape of Georgia’s capital city at a dizzying pace. Traditional Georgian experiences include sulphur baths and khinkali (spiced meat dumplings). Persian, Arab, Byzantine, Ottoman, Russian, and Soviet occupations influenced Tbilisi architecture.
A $273-million upgrade launched in May 2016 is transforming the interior of Sydney’s iconic Opera House. Improvements include state-of-the-art acoustics, a hangout-friendly foyer, and the renovated Joan Sutherland Theatre, which reopened in December and welcomes back the Australian Ballet in April. The Opera House includes one thousand rooms and has over one million roof tiles.
Tourists are welcome more than ever in the color-rich Mexican state of Oaxaca. Shop local markets for dazzlingly vibrant wool rugs and other handmade textiles dyed using fruits, insects, and other natural colorants.
NORTH SHORE, OAHU, HAWAII
World-famous for its big waves, the North Shore is the rural neighbor of increasingly sprawling Honolulu. Local farms, such as Poamoho and Kahuku, are helping “Keep the Country Country” by cultivating homegrown crops and agritourist experiences. Discover more about Oahu. At the North Shore’s Mohala Farms, guests can exchange labor for lodging.
While home to almost 1.2 million people, Ireland’s intimate capital exudes a friendly, village vibe. Stroll around to discover Dublin’s historic Georgian squares, cozy pubs, and high-tech treasures, like the new Irish Emigration Museum and revamped National Gallery of Ireland.
Madagascar, the world’s fourth-largest island, is the undisputed land of the lemurs. Located in the Indian Ocean east of Mozambique, the biodiversity hotspot is home to about 100 species of lemurs—almost all endangered due to deforestation, climate change, and other threats.
Madagascar separated from the Indian subcontinent about 88 million years ago.
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
Oscar buzz for Angelina Jolie’s Cambodian genocide drama First They Killed My Father is boosting interest in the Kingdom’s buzzing capital city. See cultural treasures in the Royal Palace compound. Learn about the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
The Royal Palace’s Silver Pagoda houses a diamond-encrusted gold Buddha statue weighing about 200 pounds.
SEORAKSAN NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH KOREA
Seoraksan is in northeastern Gangwon province, site of February’s Winter Olympic Games. While not an Olympic venue, the park boasts equally breathtaking mountainous terrain. From the Seorak Cable Car, see some of the park’s 30 peaks, including 5,604-foot Mount Sorak (Seoraksan). The park boasts the massive Great Unification Buddha, a 108-ton gilt-bronze statue.
Valletta, the capital of Malta, was named Europe's Capital of Culture in 2018. Located between Italy and Tunisia, Malta exists at a crossroads that makes for a fascinating history. Within a 20-minute bus ride, you'll feel like you've journeyed from ancient Greece to the Middle East and back. With the country being added to more cruise ship itineraries, you'll want to hurry and get there before Valletta becomes as packed and overwhelmed as Venice.
BANFF, ALBERTA, CANADA
Few destinations have the year-round appeal of Banff, located in Alberta, in the Canadian Rockies. Though Banff National Park welcomes four million visitors each year, it never really feels over-crowded, save perhaps for the peak months of July and August. The Fairmont Banff Springs is a national historic site, and resembles a medieval castle right out of a Disney film. It's an ideal and luxurious base from which to experience the best of Banff. The Northern Lights are on display much of the year, but between February and April, the breathtaking Aurora Borealis colors are at their most vibrant.
Spurred by the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, a series of new and improved hotels have emerged in the mountains around the city. If the impeccably groomed ski slopes of the Hakuba Valley aren't enough of a draw, there's the history, culture and relaxing hot springs of the all-natural Nagano area, or the beautifully preserved 17th-century Matsumoto Castle. Wildlife lovers will not want to miss a visit to the famous Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park, next to Yudanaka Shibu Onsen village, where red-faced macaques thaw out in hot springs under a blanket of snow.
HERAKLION, CRETE, GREECE
Heraklion, the Cretan capital, was Europe's fastest-growing tourism destination of 2017. Those visitors are coming to Greece's largest, most diverse island to enjoy 3,000 square miles of mountains, valleys and sandy shores lapped by the Aegean and Libyan seas. For history buffs, there are the archaeological treasures left by the Minoans, Europe's oldest civilization, who flourished here in 2,600 BCE. Heraklion's Archaeological Museum is a useful primer before visiting the sprawling Palace of Knossos, once home to 100,000 people and the mythical half-man half-bull Minotaur. Diving trips in the clear, warm waters allow guests to view underwater canyons, World War II wrecks and a rich variety of marine life. The most celebrated beach is Elafonisi on the southwest coast, renowned for its delicately hued pink coral sand.
Left in the shadow of its neighbours, Belize is one of the least visited countries in the world. Despite a tiny population of 375,000 (compared to Costa Rica’s 4,950,000), this country has some colossal appeal. The low population and absence of mass tourism has given Belize the time and space to develop on its own terms – the country is a bastion of ancient Mayan temples, thriving rainforests, pristine beaches and preserved coral reefs. English is the nation’s official language, making immersive travel easy – but a multitude of diverse, fascinating cultures call Belize home.