Some cities top the lists of best destinations year in, year out, while others take us by surprise. Whatever the reasons, these cities are some of the best urban destinations to visit this year. From Asia to South America and beyond, read on for our guide to the best city trips to make in 2017 while you still have time.
This year marks 150 years since the formation of the Canadian confederation and it just so happens that Montreal is celebrating its 375th birthday the same year. In other words, there will be plenty of celebrating going on in 2017 in this Francophone Canadian city and it would be rude to not join the party.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
If Bangkok is the country’s busy capital and Pattaya is the seedier side of Thailand, Chiang Mai has a much more relaxed, peaceful atmosphere. Ancient temples, fragrant food markets and some excellent sight-seeing are what make Chiang Mai a favourite for 2017.
Oaxaca City, Mexico
A Mexican city very much on the rise, Oaxaca has come a long way in the past few years and today has some fascinating cultural offerings supported by a lively creative community. The cuisine of Oaxaca is world-famous and the markets and small family-run eateries remain the best places to enjoy local flavours.
Hailed by some as the new Barcelona, the Portuguese capital combines great nightlife, a rich history and a vibrant, colourful soul. Wander through the streets of the Old Town to the sound of fado singers in the background, or explore the boutiques and artisan stores in the modern part of Lisbon.
Last year Toulouse was voted the best city to live in by the French thanks to a combination of great restaurants, well-connected transport, vibrant cultural life and, of course, the beauty of the city itself. Visit in 2017 to see Toulouse basking in its glory and proudly showing of its best features.
Nicknamed the ‘Venice of the East’ or ‘City of Lakes’, Udaipur is an ancient city located on the shores of some five lakes which give it its distinctive character. Considered the most romantic city in India, a boat ride at sunset or a peaceful stroll through its markets and shops will leave you with lasting memories.
Long known to the people of North California for being a lively city on the rise, Asheville seems to be in the global spotlight in 2017. A budding food scene with a number of up-and-coming young chefs has attracted the critics’ attention, while places like the River Arts District showcase the city’s more creative side.
Kyoto has mastered the art of balancing the old and the new. Tranquil Japanese gardens adorned with cherry tree blossom stand alongside futuristic buildings and bustling university campuses. Wander down a shōtengai market street and get a taste of authentic Japanese crafts, from tea rooms to paper makers.
Christchurch, New Zealand
A few years ago Christchurch was best known for the devastation it suffered in 2010 and 2011, but it is currently making a comeback. The city is rebuilding itself with fresher, more colourful architecture, while preserving its stunning inner-city gardens.
This might just be the hottest new South American city and there’s never been a better time to visit. Nestled among the Andes and Cordillera mountains, Santiago is a huge metropolis home to some 40% of Chileans and boasts not just gourmet restaurants and designer shopping, but also bustling markets and a dynamic arts scene.
Hull, United Kingdom
Voted the UK’s City of Culture for 2017, Hull is a large port city located in Yorkshire which until recently was mostly known as post-industrial city in decline. But its recent nomination just goes to show that there is more happening in Hull than first meets the eye, with a busy program of music, theatre, arts and exhibitions.
The world’s obsession with the Danish concept of hygge has put Copenhagen on the map of the best cities to visit this year. If the world-famous restaurant Nomad is currently in the process of moving to a new location, the likes of Relæ and Amas have been quick to fill the gap.
Los Angeles, USA
Move over San Francisco, Los Angeles is stealing the show as California’s coolest city. Priced out by the soaring rent prices, many of SF’s younger generation of creatives have made their way south to LA where neighbourhoods like Echo Lake have emerged as some of the trendiest hangouts on the Pacific shoreline.
Cape Town, South Africa
The South African city of Cape Town is famous for its crazy nightlife, bustling beach-bars and all-night trance parties. But it’s also a city of cultural diversity, stunning landscape and plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Considered one of Vietnam’s most beautiful cities, Hoi An captures the best of Vietnamese culture, from the fantastic cuisine to the stunning architecture and the warm hospitality of its people. Much less polluted than some other large Asian cities, Hoi An is an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding countryside.