With the ascent of low-budget airlines and more affordable routes to previously hard-to-reach corners of the world, the travelling gentleman now has a plethora of holiday options at his disposal. Yet, navigating around a Skyscanner page in search of the perfect city to visit can often be a tricky and overwhelming task. But fret not, for we’ve done the legwork for you and have compiled the ultimate list of places that you should traverse to next year.
From Copenhagen to Cape Town, these are the finest destinations that’ll satisfy your wanderlust in 2018…
Sure, the masses may have flocked to the Danish capital in search of hygge and smørrebrød, but the city remains authentic, charming and undeniably stylish. Moreover, New Nordic aficionados will be glad to hear that the gastronomic temple Noma is set to re-open in mid-February, following its year-long hiatus.
When the crowds of Barcelona get a bit too much to handle, then hop on over to Madrid, Catalonia’s laidback sibling that’s full of cultural meccas (Reina Sofia, The Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza), great retail (El Corte Inglés) and flawless fine-dining options (DiverXO and Punto MX). As this beautiful city is best explored on foot, make sure to pack plenty of breathable and lightweight clothing options.
Hungary is almost certainly Europe’s most underrated holiday destination, and Debrecen is the jewel in its crown. Formerly the country’s capital, Debrecen is today a picturesque city awash with architecture and art, festivals and food and gargantuan open spaces which help you escape the bustle of the town. For an afternoon of tranquility and peace, head on over to the Unesco-listed spa waters of Hortobàgy National Park.
FLOTUS Melania Trump may have raised awareness about this bijou-sized central European city, but the Slovenian capital is making a name for itself all on its own. The car-free historic centre earned Ljubljana the coveted ‘Green Capital of Europe’ title in 2016, the vibrant banks of the Ljubljanica River have birthed a buzzy café culture and, thanks to its worldly wines, travellers venture from all corners of the world to sample some of the city’s finest grapes.
After having been closed for over two years, Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art is set to reopen in a new location in Sterling Road’s Automotive Tower next spring, giving art aficionados just another reason to visit this hub of culture. The construction of what will be Canada’s tallest skyscraper (currently being built by Foster + Partners) also symbolises the rapid growth and development of this north American melting pot.
From its packed trattorias to its fuss-free pizzerias, it’s hard to find a bad dining spot in Bologna. After all, it is nicknamed La Grassa (the fat one). When here, make sure to sample a bowl of tortellini in broth as well as mountains of pasta al ragù, and, for avid Instagrammers out there, you’ll be pleased to hear that the terracotta-coloured roofs that blanket the city make for the perfect photo opp.
Northern Lights, Iceland
Witnessing the Northern Lights is a bucket list essential. No question about it. But thanks to more airlines offering low-cost routes to Iceland next year, that dream can soon become a reality. So, the only thing you have to do is pick some dates and count down the days until you witness one of nature’s most spectacular events.
Voted the ‘most liveable city’ in the world for the third year in a row by Monocle, Tokyo looks set to be the next ‘it’ destination for holidaymakers. And it’s easy to see why. With over 200 Michelin-starred eateries, tranquil temples, unrivalled shopping destinations and stunning greenswards, this neon-lit paradise is packed with a long list of activities for all to sink their teeth into.
Surrounded by seven fjords and seven hills, Bergen is a charming and picturesque city. Idyllic and colourful houses rest upon the hillsides, boats saunter through the harbor and cultural centres such as KODE offer shelter from the mercurial Norwegian weather. Moreover, with a significant student population, Bergen can often feel a lot livelier than its big brother Oslo.
Kyoto is exactly how you imagine ancient Japan once was. Home to over 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, this traditional-style city is perfect for history buffs and photo enthusiasts, while its kaiseki (the traditional multi-course meal that changes seasonally) will have any gourmand drooling in delight.
Having played second fiddle to Asian giants Tokyo and Hong Kong, Singapore has recently seen a boom in its bustling city life. Thanks to a growing contemporary arts centre, cultural diversity, green environment and worldly hotels (you’ve seen images of the Marina Bay Sands, right?), it’s now top of many tourists to-visit list, and, better still, it’s the ideal location to island hop from.
If 2017 belonged to Lisbon, then next year certainly belongs to Porto, Portugal’s second biggest city. The cityscape here blends the traditional with the contemporary as old baroque buildings sit side by side with the metropolis’ more modern constructs, while the fresh seafood and cheese draws in large groups of foodies all year-long.
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul may already be renowned for being downright cool and fashion-forward, but its vibrant nightlife, quirky themed cafés and beautiful Buddhist temples are what really make this region of the Korean a must-see in 2018.
Ninh Bình, Vietnam
Due to the fact that backpackers fly en masse to Hanoi, the rural paradise of Ninh Bình remains Vietnam’s best-kept secret. However, once Instagram starts to popularise the city’s serene landscapes, limestone cliffs and hiking trails, it’ll only be a matter of months until this northern area becomes South East Asia’s next go-to destination.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai may have earned a reputation as an inauthentic, manmade paradise for cash-flashing millionaires and celebrities alike, but with the arrival of the highly-anticipated Etihad Museum (a space which chronicles the history of the United Arab Emirates) in January 2018, this hot and humid city is starting to slowly build up its cultural portfolio.
This tranquil island in Samoa houses everything you need to nourish your wanderlust: lagoons, dramatic waterfalls, golden-hued beaches and much, much more. Dive into the Insta-famous To Sua Ocean Trench, surf and fish along the coast or, for the more relaxed souls, sip on some cold beers at one of the city’s billiard halls.
Although it has a reputation for running at 100mph, Hong Kong also has a more peaceful side: whether you’re trekking up Victoria peak for panoramic vistas of the skyline or hiking through the island’s luscious forestry, there are plenty of spots to escape the city’s chaos. And, regardless of whatever activities you pencil-in, don’t skip out on any of Honker’s gastronomic goods, as bitesize eats such as siu mai are not to be missed.
After slowly gathering momentum over the past few years, Motor City is set to sprint out the blocks in 2018, and that’s thanks to an improved infrastructure and the opening of several boutique hotels (namely, the Detroit Foundation Hotel). The newly-launched QLine streetcar has also made it easier for tourists to explore Detroit’s packed and lively streets.
For those in search of colour and life during their next citybreak, then the beautiful oasis of Viñales is where you should jet to. Slow, relaxed and serene, Viñales’ surrounding countryside is overwhelmingly beautiful, while the town square – which always plays host to live music and early morning dancing – makes for a great night out. Our tip to you? Head over to Tres Jotas to sample some delicious and piquant morsels.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Occupying some of the finest real estate on Mexico’s Pacific coast and sprinkled with palm-covered mountains, Puerto Vallarta is a party town. During the day, laze on its golden beaches, dine in stylish eateries and enjoy an afternoon of watersports; but when night falls, head on over to any one of the city’s pumping LGBT-friendly clubs.
Tel Aviv, Israel
A handful of London-based Levant-inspired restaurants – including must-visit Soho eatery Palomar and its younger sibling The Barbary – have focused their menu on Jerusalem’s cuisine and, in particular, the food revolution in Tel Aviv. Now, it’s time to go directly to the source: stay at the opulent W hotel, take a trip to a local hummus joints, or simply enjoy an afternoon reading in any one of the city’s peaceful parks.
Cape Town, South Africa
The flat-topped Table Mountain National Park may be the headline act in Cape Town, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find a city rich with botanical gardens, white-sand beaches and blocks of retail space that showcase South Africa’s up-and-coming fashion designers. For the adrenaline junky, few things will guarantee a bigger thrill than paragliding off Lion’s Head.
Those that travel to this nook of Morocco ought to prepare for an onslaught of the senses, for Marrakech is a place that’s drenched with colour and vibrancy: the Bahia Palace exhibits floral painted-wood ceilings, the Saadian Tombs are decorated in Italian Carrara marble and gilded honeycomb muqarnas and the Djemaa El Fna square is an epicentre for drama and activity. And if you don’t believe us when we say Marrakech will be one of 2018’s most popular locations, then just ask the likes of Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson or Russell Crowe – all of whom have jetted to the Red City in recent years.
Beaches. Water sports. Al fresco dining. Sydney may be a cliché destination, but there’s a reason (or several) why this Antipodean paradise will forever be a go-to city. During your week-long stay here, make sure you bag tickets to Andy Morton’s rendition of Puccini’s La Bohème from March 23 to April 22, 2018, at the Opera House.
The Dutch capital may already be one of Europe’s most-visited cities, but thanks to the new Eurostar route that’ll take travellers directly from London to Amsterdam next year, its tourist count is set to rise exponentially. And if this is somewhere you’ve been to a few times, then why not take some time out to explore the city’s more niche offerings? We suggest having a drink at Droog, a renovated 17th-century hotel with just a single room.
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