How do you decide where to visit when you’re planning a trip? There are so many great places to explore around the world, and it’s hard to pin it down. It depends what you’re looking for; do you want luxury and great shopping, big adventure, or living amongst the locals and experiencing their customs and way of life?
Hopefully this list will give you a starting point for your plans, and help you to look beyond the traditional package holiday.
This article was contributed by Clare Rhodes. Thank you!
Top 5 Countries To Visit in 2018
Take a fresh look at Malta and you might be pleasantly surprised. Valetta is preparing to be European Capital of Culture for 2018, and there will be many art exhibitions, film festivals and other interesting things going on. Malta is also a laid-back place, with great beaches and lots of sunshine if that’s your thing. If you’re interested in history, Malta has 6,000 years of it, and a lot of historical sites have undergone renovation and preservation in recent times.
I bet you weren’t expecting this little nation to make the list! Djibouti is a spectacular place, with magma coming up through the ever-thinning crust in places, surreal deserts with steam issuing from fumaroles, and lakes with salt crystals on the shores. If you like whale sharks, a visit to the Bay of Ghoubbet is a must. You can swim with them, and during the peak season (November to January) there are many to see.
China has become much more tourist-friendly in recent years, with even Beijing’s Forbidden City having been given an upgrade, with more halls that were previously restricted now open to the public. If you like your art and culture, you’ll be pleased to know that the cultural hub Design Society opened in Shenzhen in 2017, partnered by London’s V & A Museum. China is very proud of its new, high speed rail system, so hop aboard a bullet train and see what this fascinating country has to offer.
2018 will be a great time to visit South Africa, as they are staging the Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018: Be the Legacy, with an official programme of events to celebrate their former leader. Some events are arts-based, some sporting, and some educational, and all are hoping to inspire values-based societies. The exchange rate for South African currency is very favourable at the moment, and there is a lot to see and do in South Africa.
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There are now non-stop flights to Chile available from London and Melbourne, so it’s become much easier to visit this enigmatic place. In 2018, Chileans will celebrate 200 years of independence. Visit the capital Santiago, and the bohemian quarter of Bellavista to take in some of the culture. Chile is known as the land of poets, and one of their most famous, Pablo Neruda who had a house in Bellavista.
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Top 5 Cities To Visit in 2018
This Australian city tends to be overlooked, but it’s well worth a visit. New boutique shopping areas have opened up, and there is plenty to see. If you’re a sports fan, 2018 will be the first year that Canberra have hosted a Test cricket match at the Manuka Oval. 2018 also marks the 100th anniversary of the WW1 armistice, and the Australian War Memorial in Canberra is central to this.
Check out the stunning Elbphilharmonie concert hall, which cost a staggering 790 million Euros, and is in the heart of the surrounding historical HafenCity port area. The nightlife is among Europe’s best, and there is plenty to see and do.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia has become quite westernized in recent years, and there are plenty of attractions in Kuala Lumpur that are worth visiting. Go to the Kampung Baru and see the traditional Malay houses, or visit JalanAlor after 5pm, which is a huge collection of roadside restaurants. Make sure to fit in a visit to the Islamic Arts Museum, which houses a fabulous collection of Islamic decorative arts from around the world.
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In 2018, Norway’s King and Queen celebrate 50 years of marriage, and Oslo will be hosting a whole slew of events. It’s also the Oslo Opera House’s 10th birthday celebrations in 2018, and they are putting on lots of concerts and performances.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan’s beaches and nightlife have long been popular, but if you look beyond that, you’ll find a great art scene, with museums and galleries aplenty. Modern San Juan has murals on a lot of its walls, and there are new restaurants opening to tempt the foodies among you. Old San Juan has cobblestone roads, forts and historic churches from the city’s colonial past.
Top 5 Regions To Visit in 2018
Alaska is one of the world’s last unspoilt areas of wilderness, and if you’re after adventure, it’s the place to be. You can follow the route of the Klondike gold rush, go grizzly bear spotting or mountain climbing. There are now improved flight links to many European and North American cities, and the cruise companies are getting in on the act with a larger variety of expeditions and itineraries.
Kii Peninsula, Japan
Japan has become a tourist hot-spot in recent years, but there are still places that are off the beaten track. One of these is the Kii Peninsula, with beautiful scenery and traditional culture. Visit Shinto shrines, or the hot springs while you are there.
Los Haitises National Park, Dominican Republic
The Parque Nacional Los Haitises is full of forest, islets and canals, with a unique ecosystem. If you want to experience nature at her best, Los Haitises should be on your list. New hotels are due to be built nearby, and the trails and facilities are undergoing an upgrade.
Aeolian Islands, Italy
The Aeolian Islands are an ideal getaway for a walking holiday, with some of Europe’s best coastal walks. The seven islands are stunning, with black-sand beaches and volcanic slopes, and make a good value for money break for the savvy traveller.
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If you are a lover of fine food and wine, you should really pay a visit to the Languedoc-Rousillon region in the south of France. It has all the charms of its more famous neighbours, the Cote d’Azur and Provence, and there are two new museums planned to be built.
Top 5 Beach Resort Havens To Visit in 2018
This European country boasts some great beaches, and the most popular beach along the sea is Zlatni Rat beach. It’s not hard to see why, as the water is a beautiful transparent blue, and you can bathe with a spectacular backdrop of the mountains.
The beaches of Hawaii are legendary, with beautiful white sand and clear waters. Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach is by far the most famous, and if you’re a surfer you’ll be spoilt for choice with fantastic beaches.
There are some amazing beaches in Mexico, and one of the finest is Tulum Beach. Here you can find Mayan ruins on the sand. Indulge in the delicious cuisine, immerse yourself in the small alleys of the Mexican towns or get lost in choas that is Mexico City.
Beautiful golden sands, great scenery and crystal-clear waters are what make Cypriot beaches so popular. Nissi Beach in Ayia Napa is a very popular destination, particularly among young party-goers, as the nightlife is legendary.
In Spain, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches. However, if you want to combine a city break with a beach one, try Barcelona. You can wander round the historic city, then chill on Barceloneta Beach, which is just a stone’s throw from all the attractions Barcelona has to offer.
Clare is a freelance travel writer, originally from the UK. Publishing for some of the top travel websites around the world, writing about everything from hidden gems to luxury hangouts all over the world, Clare is currently writing for Overseas Attractions.
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