With 2017 nearly over, Culture Trip looks ahead to next year and picks out just some of the amazing destinations we hope to visit. Warning: scroll down for serious wanderlust-inducing images.
1. Atlantic Canada
Pristine nature, amazing gastronomy and sporting adventures await on Canada’s Atlantic coast. Hunt icebergs in Newfoundland, sleep in an enchanted forest in New Brunswick, kayak around Kidston Island by moonlight and dine on the ocean floor in Nova Scotia.
2. Shanghai, China
One of the world’s most energetic and glamorous cities blends the old with the new to stunning effect. Art Deco buildings sit alongside opulent Chinese mansions overlooked by towering sci-fi skyscrapers. Experience the city’s engaging nightlife, spirited fashion and design scene, and passion for what’s new and next.
Explore ancient sights and lost cities in Jordan. Sleep in a Bedouin tent and dine underneath the stars in the Wadi Rum desert. Explore Petra, one of the new wonders of the world, and bathe in the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea.
4. Kekexili, the Tibetan Plateau, China
Often considered the world’s ‘Third Pole’, Kekexili recently became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore alpine mountains and rolling steppe systems at nearly 15,000 feet above sea level. During the summer months, witness the migration of the endangered Tibetan antelope.
5. Mexico City and the Yucatan
Incredible, world-famous architecture await in Mexico City – the first North American metropolis to win the accolade of World Design Capital. Head east and explore Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá in the Yucatan Peninsula and snorkel through a fascinating exhibit of submerged sculptures at underwater contemporary art gallery, MUSA.
6. Johannesburg, South Africa
Explore Soweto and Maboneng and visit the former residence of Nelson Mandela on Vilakazi Street. Take a day trip to Maropeng, the cradle of humankind where the fossils of our earliest ancestors were found, and extend your stay with a safari on a private game reserve like Bakubung Bush Lodge.
7. Aysén, Chilean Patagonia
Truly reconnect with nature on Northern Patagonia’s final frontier. Trek past colossal glaciers, snow-capped peaks and jagged fjords in one of the most sparsely populated regions on earth. Adventure awaits.
8. Tasmania and Western Australia
Though it’s often and inexplicably overlooked, the island of Tasmania has lots to offer. There’s an intoxicating mix of rugged wilderness, culture and gastronomy, not to mention award-winning vineyards to rival the mainland. Head across to Western Australia and spend the night in Ningaloo Reef to sand dive with whale sharks at dawn.
9. Comporta, Portugal
Comporta is pure escapism. Forget your worries in the villages on Portugal’s Troia Peninsula. Let the hours roll by while exploring the unassuming cobbled streets and sprawl out on the quiet beaches.
10. Utah, USA
Utah is one of the ultimate road trip destinations. Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway boasts miles of uncrowded scenery with dramatic limestone cliffs, wildflowers and the Logan River. Go see the iconic barns of Mormon Row at Grand Teton National Park and visit Yellowstone, the land of ‘fire and brimstone’ in the caldera of an ancient volcano.
This magical country is a natural paradise and one of the best places in the world to safari. Track chimpanzee and gorilla, observe tree-climbing lions and herds of elephants, and gawp in amazement at the thousands of bird species that call Uganda home.
12. Emilia Romagna, Italy
The success of 2017’s Call Me By Your Name has reignited interest in one of Italy’s most beautiful and romantic regions. Not only are Bologna and Parma, long considered the gastronomic capitals of Italy, located in the area, there’s also the idyllic town of Crema, the setting for Luca Guadagnino’s masterpiece, to explore.
Take the cable car up to El Alto at 13,500 feet for a bird’s-eye view of La Paz. Trek through the Sub-Andean strip of the tropical Andes between Peru and Bolivia. Head south to Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), an otherworldly landscape part of the Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos.
14. Valencia, Spain
Bursting with natural beauty, culture and adventure, the region provides much more than sun and fun on the Mediterranean coast. There are 35 museums to explore, including the Oceanogràfic, which is home to more than 500 species of marine life. Head outside the city for hiking, kayaking, horse riding and cycling in Castellón.
15. Valletta, Malta
As the European Capital of Culture for 2018, Valletta is experiencing widespread regeneration and will soon have a new national museum of fine arts, design cluster and covered food market. The Maltese capital’s longest, narrowest thoroughfare is also getting a makeover and that’s before we’ve even mentioned all the stunning nearby beaches.