10 Places You NEED to Go in 2018, According to Travel Experts

Get ready to revise your bucket list and pack your bags! The top picks for travel in 2018 range from affordable jaunts to exotic vacations, and they’re all ready to welcome visitors with open arms in the new year.


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Everyone seems to be discovering this affordable gem in Eastern Europe at the same time: Recently Lonely Planet named the Julian Alps one of the top 10 regions to visit. The New York Times featured the charming medieval capital city of Ljubljana in its 36-hour destinations (we also found an amazing tree house there). National Geographic awarded the capital is Legacy Award, and local chef Ana Ros was named the World’s Best Female Chef in Pellegrino’s “The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards.” The small nation with the big green image (it’s one of the world’s most eco-friendly destinations) offers rafting, hiking, boating, and biking in the summer; alpine skiing in the winter; and fabulous food and culture year-round.


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Portugal welcomes tourists with open arms with a delightful mix of history and modernity, lively cities and white-sand beaches, the freshest fish and the richest pastries, says Aviva Patz, Deputy Editor of ReadersDigest.com. Portugal offers all the greatest hits of Europe, but at a wallet-friendly price, “The people are super friendly,” she enthuses, “and you won’t go broke while you’re here.” As if that’s not enough to make it a “Must Go” in 2018, it’s also family friendly and there are frequent well-priced flights with the country’s national airline carrier TAP.

Simply walk the winding, picturesque cobblestone streets lined with shops, restaurants, fountains, and statues of leaders and poets, you’ll see signs of Portuguese culture everywhere. Step into a shop to down a shot of Ginga, the signature cherry liquor (drunk on the spot in a tiny chocolate cup), or listen to a live performance of Fado, traditional Portuguese folk music with a singer and two guitarists. The Anantara Vilamoura Hotel, in the southern region of Algarve, marks the arrival of every evening with a breathtaking performance of Fado, which is a bit like soulful opera. From the Vilamoura, beaches and lush vineyards are just a quick drive away for a taste of quintessential Portugal.




With the dark days of the auto industry bailout in its rear-view mirror, Detroit has been reinventing itself into a hot destination, says Suzanne Rowan Kelleher of family vacations expert at Tripsavvy.com (formerly About.com Travel). The dining scene is buzzing thanks to an emerging generation of young chefs and restaurateurs launching new dining destinations, breweries, and cocktail bars. Getting around is easier thanks to the brand-new QLINE streetcar. The city has also been steadily extending its riverfront trail, an interconnected system of parks, pavilions, pathways, and open green space linked by the popular RiverWalk. (The RiverWalk can be explored on foot or bike thanks to a new 43-station bike-sharing program.) One must-stop for families on the riverfront is the three-story DNR Outdoor Adventure Center that offers an interactive taste of Michigan’s great outdoors by giving kids the chance to catch a fish, paddle a kayak, and steer a snowmobile or bush plane. Another don’t-miss is the Detroit Zoo, which opened the world’s largest penguin exhibit in 2016, a chilled 326,000-gallon aquatic area that lets visitors take a “deep dive” with views above and below water. Other great Detroit attractions include the Michigan Science Museum and the Henry Ford Museum.


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“Namibia is one of the world’s true wildernesses,” say the travel experts at Jacada Travel. “It’s one of the least densely populated nations on earth, with limitless horizons and endless sand dunes, as well as an oasis of fascinating wildlife as well ancient culture.” This peaceful southwest African nation will be at the top of bucket lists in 2018, they predict, with three new safari camps opening next year from Natural Selection, including Hoanib Valley Camp, The camp will offer game drives to see desert adapted lion, elephant, rhino, and giraffe, cultural experiences with the Himba and Herero people, and unique interactions with giraffe researchers. Bonus: Namibia offers an excellent value for the money since camps are priced in Namibian dollars, a currency tied to the South African Rand, rather than the U.S. dollar like many southern African safari destinations, which means you can take a 5-star trip at a 2-star price.




“Thailand is really coming into its own as an all around destination,” says Larry Olmsted, author of Forbes: The Great Life Column, “with a lot of new openings in 2018 of hotels and resorts in different parts of the very diverse country.” He adds: “The country has a perfect mix of things that travelers are seeking these days: amazing food, cooking classes, cultural experiences, beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, temples, and great sports from golf to scuba diving to kick-boxing lessons.” (Also don’t miss this incredible charity elephant polo tournament in Bangkok.) “Most of all,” adds Olmsted, “are the incredibly friendly people—it’s not called the Land of Smiles for nothing!”



Maremma, Italy

“The Maremma is where to go to find the true Italian summer experience,” says Erica Firpo, travel journalist and Italy expert at UnlockedRome. She predicts the under-the-radar area of southwestern Tuscany will be a draw in 2018 for its miles of unspoiled coastline bordered by beautiful vineyards, farms, and hilltop towns. Its vast beaches—all blue flag certified—have charming restaurants and stabilimenti, rustic seaside resorts, while its medieval towns filled with fortresses, castles, and towers allow you to walk through living history. But you’ve got to get into the countryside to truly “get” the Maremma, advises Firpo. Drive the three Strade del Vino e dei Sapori, wine roads, to sip SuperTuscan, Morellino and Vermentino wines, and also taste the Maremma through its local flavors of olive oil, beef, cheese, and pasta. Before you go, these are the Italian phrases you need to know.

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This island gem is far west and south in the turquoise Caribbean, putting it in the African jet stream and out of harm’s way when it comes to hurricanes, an important designation for 2018 after the destructive Caribbean storms of 2017. Not only is it safe and sound after a chaotic weather season, but its fantastic family resorts, beautiful beaches, and adventure activities have been flying under the radar, until now, so you can get great deals on vacation getaways.

For 2018, three cultural highlights of the island, including Bridgetown, the capital city with UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, will be updated and improved thanks to a large cultural endowment.

In Bridgetown, explore historic sites, visit a pirate’s tavern, shop for duty-free goods and authentic local crafts, and savor delicious local delicacies. Then head back to the beach; you’re on a tropical island after all!


Jeff Whyte/shutterstock

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

You might not be as familiar with Edmonton as say Toronto or Montreal, but three of Canada’s 10 best new restaurants for 2017 are located in this charming northern city. “There’s clearly a passion for creating art on the plate,” says En Route Editor Andrew Braithwaite, noting, “the new hockey arena is a game-changer, too.”

For 2018, this Canadian city on the rise will open the River Valley Funicular that will provide access from the city center to the river valley and will also launch a new museum, RAM (Royal Alberta Museum), the largest museum in Western Canada with galleries showcasing both natural and human history. For dinosaur fans (and really, who isn’t one), The Nodosaur—a 110-million year-old dinosaur discovered in Alberta and the best preserved fossil ever found—will go on view in May at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Don’t spend all of your time indoors eating and museum hopping though; Edmonton is home to the largest expanse of urban parkland in Canada, with 20 back-to-back parks spanning both sides of the North Saskatchewan River (which runs directly through the middle of the beautiful city). During the winter months, you might even spot the Northern Lights at night from the park.


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Royal watchers, take note: The travel experts at Audely Travel expect 2018 to be a crowning year for the House of Windsor. Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting their third royal baby in April 2018, which is sure to create a festive atmosphere at the palace. For those fascinated by Britain’s long-standing monarchy, you may be inspired to pay a visit to London to honor the birth while learning about the royal family. Tour the Tower of London with a Beefeater and marvel at the Crown Jewels; celebrate Princess Diana’s sense of style at the “Diana: Her Fashion Story” exhibition in the elegant Kensington Palace; and watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony before touring Buckingham Palace (here are some rarely seen photos of the palace). And a new museum on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries is set to open in 2018 in Westminster Abbey.




Cruise fans who have Alaska on their wish list, circle 2018 on your calendar; 2017 brought the most cruisers ever to Alaska’s Inside Passage (more than one million passengers), according to Alaska Tourism, and 2018 will expand the trend with a cruise for every style and interest: from family to luxury to expedition ships, ranging from a 10-person vessel to a 4,000-person mega ship. Not only that, 2018 brings three new cruise line stories set to make headlines: Norwegian Cruise Line will debut a new ship, the Norwegian Bliss, in 2018 designed specifically for Alaska cruising; Princess Cruises will launch its largest Alaska deployment ever in 2018 with seven ships that will sail Alaska’s pristine waters on 130 cruise departures; and Windstar returns to Alaska in 2018 after a two decade absence with luxury cruises sailing through scenic Tracy Arm Fjord and Misty Fjords. And Alaska Tourism is also reporting some of the lowest prices in years for flights to Anchorage, especially from cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and even Chicago and Boston.

Melissa is an intrepid explorer and award-winning travel journalist with more than 25 years of experience. She covers topics ranging from family travel and Disney to honeymoons and romantic beaches, and everything in between.

10 Places I’m Dying to Visit in 2017

top places to visit in 2017

A new year, and so many possibilities. I’ve been hard at work over my winter break getting travel plans sorted for the first few months of the year. As always, I want to go everywhere and see everything

But, there are only twelve months and finite PTO days in the year, so here are the top places that have my wanderlust flaring up right this second.

Update: My 10 Places I’m Dying to Visit in 2018 , 2019 , 2020 and in 2021

10 of My Top Places to Visit in 2017

1. Petra, Jordan

This has been at the top of my bucket list for probably a decade, and it looks like 2017 is finally the year it will happen!

As someone who is both a huge history fan and a bible scholar (not to mention a photography nut), Petra captured my imagination the first time I saw a picture. And I’m not alone. Petra is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, carved out of Mount Hor’s rock face in the 3rd century B.C. My dad and I are planning to do a week in Jordan and Israel, with Petra, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, and Masada topping the list of must-sees.

top places to visit in 2017

top places to visit in 2017

2. Norway and the Northern Lights

This is almost cheating, because I’m headed to Tromsø, Norway, in a week and a half. But chasing the Northern Lights has become an obsession for millions of people worldwide, and Tromsø is one of the best places to do it. Called the “Paris of the North”, the city’s location 200 miles within the Arctic Circle make it a prime spot for the aurora borealis.

But the Green Lady isn’t the only incentive to visit—Tromsø also offers stunning fjords, whale watching, husky sledging, traditional Sami culture, reindeer sledding, interesting Scandinavian architecture, and all manner of winter sports (in the winter, obvs).

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top places to visit in 2017

3. Sintra, Portugal

This looks fake, right? Candy-bright colors, fanciful castles, atmospheric forests, spiral staircases. A photographer’s dream and jam-packed with history. The picture above is just one of the castles, and they’re all very different.

Portugal is appearing on almost every “2017 must” list I’ve seen, which is a bit of a bummer because it’s been on mine for a while and I’m worried it will get too crowded. But Sintra has been crowded for quite a while…it’s sometimes called “Disneyland for Adults”. That means lines and tourist crowds, but despite all that Sintra is still worth a visit. And my parents and I will be headed here in March, so excited to finally see it in person!

top places to visit in 2017

4. Greek islands

This is a perennial choice for me, because somehow every year it doesn’t quite make the cut. But it’s a great time to visit Greece given their economic issues, and the combination of history, food, culture, and gorgeous views makes the islands an obvious destination for one of those elusive relaxation-exhilaration vacations.

top places to visit in 2017

5. Tallinn, Estonia

I started looking into Tallinn last year when my friends and I thought we were going here. My friends decided that they’d rather do the south of France instead, but Tallinn had already gotten its hooks in me. I don’t know when, but I definitely plan to visit this intriguing former Soviet country.

It’s also an easy addition to most Scandinavian itineraries, just a ferry ride away from Stockholm or Helsinki and easy access to Russia as well. It’s much more affordable than Scandinavian countries and even most other European countries, and has a ton of history and quite the melting pot of ethnicity, culture, and folklore.

top places to visit in 2017

6. Switzerland

This is another that’s a sure thing for me, and I’m surprisingly excited. That may seem like a strange statement, but Switzerland’s never really been on my must-do list. I’ve skirted the edges (Italy, France, Germany, Austria, etc.) but never felt compelled to visit. But I was wrong.

My parents and I planned our annual Europe trip around visiting Geneva, because my mom’s best friend is living there currently. But as soon as I started doing initial trip research, I was blown away by how much Switzerland has to offer. Breathtaking mountain lakes, snow-capped alpine peaks, waterfalls, trains, castles, wine country, and of course—mind-blowing cheese and chocolate. The hardest part is going to be figuring out what we can fit in our five days there…

top places to visit in 2017

7. South Africa

South Africa is one of the countries that offers the Big Five animals, a definite draw safari-wise. My friend and I are trying to find a way to do this for our annual girls’ trip, since this year is a big birthday for her.

But safari is only one of the myriad attractions that South Africa boasts. Cape Town offers craggy mountains, sparkling white beaches, wineries, great cuisine, fascinating (and complex) history. And penguins. Add in a great exchange rate, and you’ve got a winner.

Safari and other natural wonders in South Africa. 10 must-visit places in 2017

8. Zion National Park, Utah

While I do feel like I’ve seen a decent amount of the U.S. over my 30-something years, I’m still embarrassed by how many of the amazing natural wonders I haven’t seen in my own country. For instance, while I’ve been to Yellowstone a few times and spent a lot of time in the Tetons, I haven’t ever seen the Grand Canyon, Zion, Glacier, Denali, Olympic, or many of the dozens of vast national parks criss-crossing this enormous country.

And I *do* want to see them. I’m just bad about planning domestic trips when there are so many new countries out there to visit. So I’m making that an intention for 2017—to begin exploring the wonders of my own country with the same voraciousness that I do others.

10 places to visit in 2017. Mt. Zion National Park and Angels Landing

9. Portland and the Willamette Valley

Wine, hiking, food, beer, cute neighborhoods. And more wine.

I don’t know why Portland has gotten under my skin like this, but I have to make this a long weekend in 2017. The city itself has a lot to offer, from great craft beer and food, cute neighborhoods, beautiful nature trails and beaches. And you can keep Napa, because my favorite American wines come from the Willamette Valley, about an hour outside Portland and at least half the reason I want to visit. Sounds like a perfect long weekend!

Portland and the Willamette Valley are on my list of top places to visit in 2017

10. London, England, and Wales

There hasn’t been a better time to visit the U.K. in decades, thanks to a Brexit’s effect on the exchange rate. The British pound is sitting at about $1.23 USD currently, and I’m dying to take advantage. Sure, I want to spend a couple days in London, just to see some of the great sights. But the coasts of southern England and the wilder beauty of Wales have called to me for years, and I’m on the lookout for cheap flights that can get me there for a 4- or 5-day jaunt for starters…gotta protect that PTO time!

top places to visit in 2017

top places to visit in 2017

What trips are on your 2017 “must” list?? Where are you headed this year? Let me know in the comments!

Best in Travel 2018: top 10 cities

Whether they’re undergoing a startling metamorphosis, celebrating a landmark in style or simply hot right now, our travel experts reckon these 10 cities are too good to miss in 2018.

Plaza de Espana, Seville

Seville’s semicircular, colonnaded Plaza de Espana has appeared in several films including Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia © LucVi / Shutterstock

Seville, Spain

Over the past 10 years, Seville has transformed itself. Once a traffic-congested metropolis resting on its historical laurels, Seville has bloomed into a city of bicycles and trams, keen to reinvigorate its artistic past. The metamorphosis hasn’t gone unnoticed. The capital of Andalucía will host the 31st European Film Awards in 2018, and showcases its good looks in the TV fantasy drama Game of Thrones. Adding colour to an ongoing artistic renaissance, Seville is in the midst of celebrating the 400th anniversary of homegrown Baroque painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, with half a dozen one-of-a-kind expositions continuing into 2018.

The art deco skyscrapers of downtown Detroit

The art deco skyscrapers of downtown Detroit, a city that is bouncing back after years of decline © Reese Lassman / EyeEm / Getty Images

Detroit, USA

After decades of neglect, Detroit is rolling again. It’s like the whole place is caffeine-buzzed, freewheeling in ideas. Young creative types jump-started the scene when they began transforming the crazy-huge slew of abandoned buildings into distilleries, bike shops and galleries. This sparked fresh public works, such as the just-opened hockey and basketball arena downtown, and the QLine streetcar that gives easy access to city hot spots. More are coming: three new parks will extend the riverfront trail (ideal for two-wheeling via the new 43-station bike-share scheme in the greater downtown area), plus groovy hotels will emerge from an old wig shop and a forlorn parking lot.

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Australian War Memorial, Canberra

The Australian War Memorial will host the 100th anniversary of the WWI Armistice © CoolR / Shutterstock

Canberra, Australia

Criminally overlooked Canberra packs a big punch for such a small city. National treasures are found round almost every corner and exciting new boutique precincts have emerged, bulging with gastronomic highlights and cultural must-dos. This is the first year that Canberra will host a Test cricket match at the picturesque Manuka Oval, and later in 2018 the Australian War Memorial will take centre stage as it hosts the 100th anniversary of the WWI Armistice. Significantly, Canberra is establishing a permanent Reconciliation Day into the state’s holiday calendar from 2018 onwards, to symbolise commitment to tolerance between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg

Hamburg, Germany

Its completion seemed to take longer than sitting through the entire cycle of Wagner’s Ring operas, but the stunning new €790 million Elbphilharmonie concert hall was worth every extra year of delay. The glass top shimmers like crystalline sails while the base reflects the brick aesthetic of the surrounding historic and oh-so-walkable HafenCity port area. From here, alluringly accessible Hamburg radiates out along its vast harbour and the Elbe River. Surprises abound: three-season riverfront beach bars, nightlife that’s among Europe’s best, and low-rise charms that reward wanderers who use the city’s dozens of old steeples as compass points.

Spring and Autumn Pavilions, Lotus Pond, Kahosiung

Most pagodas and temples around Kaohsiung’s Lotus Pond were built in the 20th-century, including the 1953 Spring and Autumn Pavilions © Fabio Nodari / Moment RF/ Getty Images

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

A massive arts centre and 100,000 sq m cultural and music complex, complete with wave-lapped walkways and and a night market, is emerging on Kaohsiung’s balmy harbourfront – Taiwan’s showcase for experimental architecture from around the world. Adding to this will be a spectacular cruise terminal, for those favouring an Odyssean approach to the port city. A sleek light-rail system links these monuments to the rest of Kaohsiung. Further north, in Xiaogang Shan Recreation Area, hikers can view the Taiwan Strait from the new 88m ‘Eye of the Mountain’ skywalk, a reminder that water is ever-present. Kaohsiung is surging with possibilities: visit before the world gets wind of it.

Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp

Antwerp is unafraid to showcase modernity among all that Baroque – the cutting-edge Museum aan de Stroom opened its doors in 2011 © repistu / iStock Editorial / Getty Images

Antwerp, Belgium

Once northern Europe’s greatest city, today Antwerp is one of its best-kept secrets. Flanders’ unofficial capital is laden with historic riches and home to world-class arts and design, and this year it’s showing its cultural chops with a celebration of its Baroque heyday. Inspired by the city’s most famous resident, Rubens, Antwerp Baroque 2018 will feature Flemish Masters rubbing shoulders with modern talent in a calendar that spans parades, concerts, street art, multimedia shows and workshops. Not that Antwerp’s residents need an excuse to unleash their creativity: the city, especially its former docks, is flush with pop-up bars, farm-to-fork joints and architectural showstoppers.

Ancient town of Matera (Sassi di Matera) at sunrise, Basilicata, southern Italy.

Tumbledown tunnels, alleyways and stone dwellings climb the hillsides of Matera in Italy’s Basilicata region © bluejayphoto / iStockphoto / Getty Images

Matera, Italy

A crown of honey-stoned houses perched above a ravine, Matera has knockout looks. But that’s only half the story: snaking beneath the surface is a labyrinth of cave dwellings, churches and monasteries that date back over 9000 years – making it one of the oldest living cities in the world. Largely restored from near ruin, Matera’s now capitalising on its cavernous appeal, with hotels, restaurants and bars carving out a scene as cool as their rock-hewn walls. There’s a flurry of events planned ahead of its stint as a European Capital of Culture for 2019, so visit now before this underground destination emerges into the limelight.

Street of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Old San Juan’s leafy colonial-era cobblestoned streets are a delight to wander © mikolajn / iStockphoto

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan is coming into its own, a place where old meets new, where the city’s colonial past meshes comfortably with an emerging modern urbanity. Old San Juan is a walled enclave with cobblestoned roads, leafy plazas, and historic churches and forts. Beyond the walls, modern San Juan is draped with murals, and its cadre of museums and galleries form a dynamic art scene. New, innovative restaurants are opening, with many farm-to-table eateries beckoning foodies and casual diners alike. The exuberant nightlife – dance clubs, lounges, bars, casinos – has long been a highlight, while San Juan’s beaches remain as dazzling as ever.

Multi-coloured houses in mountain town of Guanajuato.

Founded as a silver-mining town by the Spanish in the 1500s, Guanajuato’s colourful mountain sprawl is now a Unesco World Heritage site © Robert Powais / 500px

Guanajuato, Mexico

From silver mining to the silver screen, the small city of Guanajuato in the central highlands of Mexico punches above its weight when it comes to topical appeal. The wealth produced by the local seams of silver created a visually stunning cityscape of ornate churches, pretty squares and colourful houses, spread out over the verdant valley in which Guanajuato sits. This natural and man-made beauty caught the eye of Pixar producers who used the city as the real-life basis for their animated Land of the Dead in new movie Coco.

 Oslo Opera House

The clean diagonals of Oslo Opera House have been a fixture since 2007 and are indicative of the city’s taste for innovative architecture © Mats Anda / Moment RF

Oslo, Norway

For many years, Norway’s capital has been eclipsed by its stylish Scandi neighbours. But Oslo, along with the rest of the nation, is set to toast a landmark event: in 2018, Norway’s beloved king and queen celebrate the 50th year of their marriage. Expect fanfare and pageantry aplenty, along with a packed calendar of events – civic, culinary and cultural. As a bonus, Oslo’s landmark Opera House is marking its 10th birthday in 2018 with a celebratory season of concerts and performances, so you really couldn’t pick a better year to visit.

Source https://www.rd.com/list/travel-destinations-2018/

Source https://www.onegirlwholeworld.com/inspiration/10-top-places-to-visit-in-2017/

Source https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/best-in-travel-2018-top-10-cities

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