Whether you are searching for a romantic getaway, a family-friendly vacation or a solo trip, rest assured that these up-and-coming destinations are 2017’s hot spots. Most of them are centered around food travel, which is the biggest trend in travel, so expect boutique restaurants with an emphasis on local and organic produce, free-range meats, and carefully curated cocktail and wine lists in every destination.
I’ve broken the list down by continent, and otherwise in alphabetical order, so read on for what to expect in travel next year.
Canada made Lonely Planet’s list as the top place to visit in 2017. They’ve got a lively (and sexy!) Prime Minister, dynamic cities, and free national parks for the entire year. Thanks to a weak economy, it is also cheaper than ever to visit this massive country; take advantage of domestic flights to visit both coasts and see wildly different cultures (Tim Horton’s everywhere, though.)
Go for: unbeaten landscape, a wave of craft beers, underrated wine, and cosmopolitan revelry.
While there’s no doubt that Jackson is a ski town first and foremost – with celebs and backpackers alike – you shouldn’t discount it for a spring or summer vacation. With Yellowstone just next door, the town blossoms with adventure activities like mountain biking, fly fishing, and whitewater rafting. Spend your mornings being adventurous and your evenings sipping wine by a cozy fire.
Go for: the wildlife, local food, and dramatic landscapes.
The cultural scene in Montreal is booming, with art galleries, pop up shops, philharmonics, and more. In honour of the 375th birthday of the city, Montreal is unveiling the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne, a boardwalk that will connect the Mont Royal with the St. Lawrence River.
Go for: sophisticated multiethnic food, French/British history, and outdoor activities.
Philly has always been the Old Class in American society, with the Main Line, the DAR, and other country club-esque factions. The city was recently inducted into the Organisation of World Heritage Cities – the first American city to be honoured – and has seen an influx of young professionals in new neighbourhoods. Philly will always be political; it was the first capital of the US and remains an activist city to this day, thanks to its democratic tendencies.
Go for: craft beer, American history, and multiethnic food.
Once downtrodden and plagued by war, Colombia was only for the hardcore backpacker. Now, a wave of culture has swept the country; mix that with dramatic scenery and warm South American hospitality, you have the makings of a brand new country.
Go for: local food, hiking, and a vibrant capital city.
La Paz, Bolivia
La Paz is no longer just a backpacker haven. The culture – led predominantly by top local chefs – has erupted with a spate of new galleries and boutique hotels. The mountains are a stone’s throw away as well, so don’t feel like you have to choose between luxury and adventure.
Go for: art, local coffee, and an exploding culinary scene.
Uruguay was on the 2016 Lonely Planet list; this year, Montevideo is on Travel + Leisure’s list. The country avoided many of the infrastructure and economic problems of other South American countries, which means it’s safer and easier to get around. Vibrant culture abounds at the beaches and coastal heritage sites; visit both the ritzy city beach and the local fishing village.
Go for: stunning beaches, Carnaval, and history and culture.Europe
The Skellig Ring/Ring of Kerry, Ireland
The Wild Atlantic Way launched a huge tourism campaign in 2014 and now the Ring of Kerry is following suit. The remote beaches, rolling green hills, and monastic offshore islands add to the charm of this easy-to-get-to destination. The western peninsula has the added benefit of being the star of the new Star Wars movie.
Go for: the Guinness, wild scenery, and remote beaches.
Long been difficult to access by a combination of planes, trains, and automobiles, the Cambodian islands are seeing a revival on the luxury travel scene. A new flight from Ho Chi Minh means that remote luxe retreats on Krabey Island and Koh Russey are easier to get to, meaning you can relax in style on one of the many white sand beaches quicker.
Go for: spa treatments, eco-friendly luxury, and local cuisine.
This year’s newest foodie destination sounds unlikely – it’s Jerusalem – but if Tel Aviv is anything to look at, this Israeli city will be another gem. Sip cocktails in an underground cistern and explore the new food stalls in the Mahane Yehuda Market after a day of exploring the historical Old City.
Go for: delectable Levantine food, fascinating architecture, and history.
Football doesn’t come to mind when someone says Moscow, but in 2017, that’s exactly what’s happening when they host games in the 2017 Confederation Cup and then the 2018 FIFA World Cup. With a new airport, new metro line, and a spate of new architecture, expect Moscow to be the new highlight in travel.
Go for: the centennial of the Russian Revolution, museums, and furry hats.
It’s difficult to get into Myanmar, also known as Burma, but once you do the reward is a look into the old way of life in Southeast Asia. The first election in half a century will be next year – and rising sea levels are already affecting SE Asia as well – so it’s a chance to see the country before presumable changes take effect.
Go for: unspoiled landscape, monasteries, and an unhurried way of life.
Cape Town, South Africa
If the images from the 2010 World Cup didn’t inspire you to get on a plane and head straight for Cape Town, then maybe the thought of wine will. South Africa has long been known as a wine destination. Now with new restaurants cropping up that pair local wines with their locally-inspired dishes, the region is likely to explode.
Go for: historic wine estates, fresh produce, stunning scenery.
The birthplace of humanity is a country with a unique culture: its own calendar, timekeeping, language, coffee, church, and script. Add on indigenous animals found nowhere else, rock-cut churches, and ancient, global history, the result is strikingly exotic. It is also on the list of places that will drastically change due to climate change. See it before it does.
Go for: the coffee!, city markets, and archeological wonders.
Both main islands in this remote island country have cities on the “must-go” lists for 2017. Taranaki, in the middle of the western coast of the North Island, is Lonely Planet’s Top Region for 2017, while Queenstown, in the Southern Alps, is on Travel + Leisure’s list. Fly Air New Zealand for cheap domestic flights and plan at least a month in this adrenaline-filled country. If you’re an adventure seeker, this is the place for you.
Go for: incredible hiking, exquisite New World wines, extreme sports..
One of the hot places to go in Australia is actually, literally, hot: Western Australia’s average temperature is 29C/84F. Don’t let that deter you, however. Perth, the largest city, is on the list for its up-and-coming culture and food scene, and the local beaches host world-class surfing. Just a few miles from Perth is the Nambung National Park that contains the Pinnacles Desert, which is an area with thousands of limestone formations called pinna
Go for: city views, the Outback, and surfing.
If you are looking for a romantic getaway, Devon is where you should go. New boutique bed and breakfasts are the range in this quaint southern English town and top chefs are taking note. Devon isn’t too rural, only a few hours from London, but it’s a world away.
Go for: the cream tea, the white cliffs, and long, romantic walks along the sand.