Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2017

29 December 2016

Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2017

It's that time of the year when we plan our holidays for the new year! If you're in need of a little wanderlust inspiration, we have rounded up ten of the hottest destinations for the upcoming twelve months; forget basic beach getaways and the same old city breaks, these hotspots will shake up your holiday hit-list (we're not even going to talk about Cuba, Iceland or Sri Lanka – they're so 2016!). New year, new adventures – we like the sound of that!

Nha Trang, Vietnam

No, it's not just your favourite Vietnamese restaurant; Nha Trang is set to become Vietnam's next it-destination.

Once a quiet sleeping village, this popular resort town is home to one of the most beautiful bays in the world – think pristine beaches, turquoise waters and fantastic scuba dives. Find your inner zen at the ancient Po Nagar Cham Towers, a series of stunning intricately-carved Buddhist temples, before heading for a mud bath in Nha Trang's famed hot springs and hitting the town for a delicious fresh seafood feast.

Okinawa, Japan

Say konichiwa to a whole new side of Japan in the shape of Okinawa.

Closer to Taiwan than Tokyo, this series of islands has its own laidback charm, with a sub-tropical climate that promotes a wonderful array of flora and fauna; snorkelling and diving opportunities abound, with manta rays, hammerhead sharks and stunning coral reefs all waiting to be discovered. Captivating elements of Okinawa's past – including the magnificent Shuri Castle and fascinating exhibits at the Prefectural Museum – sit alongside incredible beaches, tranquil gardens and out-of-this-world jungle treks, making this a sunshine getaway with something for everyone.

Lisbon & Porto, Portugal

If you're ticking off your European bucket list, Portugal is the latest hipster hotspot du jour. This creative and cultural hub is an exciting blend of old and new, with a sun-soaked Mediterranean climate to boot.

Come discover the azulejo-tiled delights of the country's capital Lisbon, with its scenic hillsides, stunning architecture, vibrant markets and enthralling museums. Portugal's second biggest city, Porto, is just as captivating, with spectacular baroque churches and lively tavernas waiting around every cobble-stoned corner. Foodies rejoice – Portuguese cuisine is divine and a freshly baked pata negra (egg tart) is a must-eat… if you manage to stop at only one, that is!

Palawan, Philippines

If you're in need of a blissed-out beach getaway that doesn't feel like the whole of the world is there with you, Palawan is the place to be.

Often voted the best beaches in the Philippines, this island idyll plays host to alluring aquamarine waters, soft white sands, secret lagoons and dramatic limestone cliffs – the kind of tropical paradise you thought only existed in your imagination. Go diving amongst WWII shipwrecks in the awe-inspiring Coron reefs, befriend amazing exotic creatures in the wildlife sanctuaries or get the adrenaline pumping with a kayaking adventure.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

 

 

Turn your Europe-bound Ethihad Airways' stopover into something more special with a stay in Abu Dhabi.

This is a city that isn't afraid to do things by halves – where the malls are bigger, the towers higher and the hotels blingier! Sprawling malls and bustling markets provide plenty of shopportunities, but there's definitely more to Abu Dhabi – including the sweeping Corniche waterfront and striking Sheikh Zayed Mosque. For something totally different, have a flutter at the camel races or brave a rollercoaster ride on the dunes with a desert safari.

Java & Komodo Island, Indonesia

Comprising over 17,500 islands, each with its own distinct climate and culture, there's far more to Indonesia than Bali's famous beaches.

Culture vultures should add Central Javanese temple Borobudur to their relic Rolodex; this ninth-century UNESCO World Heritage site is every bit as compelling as Angkor Wat, but far more serene. Speaking of roads less travelled, East Java's Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park boasts Indonesia's only sand sea, alongside Mount Bromo, an active volcano within the famous Pacific Basin "Ring of Fire". Finally, Komodo Island is home to the not only the eponymous "Dragon" (actually the world's largest lizard), but also some of the world's best diving.

Nepal

Nestled up on the world's rooftop, Nepal offers visitors an experience that is literally breathtaking, due to both its stunning scenery and its high altitude.

Home to eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including Everest itself, pack your hiking boots for a trek led by one of Nepal's famously fearless and knowledgeable Ghurka guides. Nepal is a culturally rich country, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lumbinī is known as Buddha's birthplace, remaining an important pilgrimage site to this day.

Hawaii, USA

Aloha! Rightly famous for its jaw-dropping sunsets, rugged island landscape and pristine beaches, gorgeous Hawaii is all your wildest travel dreams come true.

This isolated archipelago has been a US state since 1959, but proudly retains its own distinct culture. Whether you're looking to sharpen up your surfing skills, relax on a family bucket-and-spade beach break, get romantic on your honeymoon or test your limits with some adrenaline-soaked activities (shark diving and zip-lining, anyone?), Hawaii has all you need and then some.

Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang's well-preserved traditional architecture sits cheek-by-jowl with its French colonial buildings, resulting in a serene and atmospheric city stroll. Make time for a day of temple hopping, taking in the iconic bird-shaped roof of Wat Xieng Thong. Set an early alarm and catch sunrise at Mount Phousi, before breakfasting on the freshest fruit of your life from Luang Prabang's vibrant morning market.

Tel Aviv, Israel

One of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Middle East, this vibrant metropolis boasts a sun-soaked coastline, hip and happening art scene and gourmet delights galore.

Top of the Tel Aviv to-do list is a free walking tour around the city's incredible Bauhaus architecture, which has earned it the nickname of the "White City", not to mention UNESCO World Heritage status. Balmy beaches should satisfy your inner sun-seeker, whilst the abundance of galleries, museums, cafés and boutiques mean this is a city best explored on foot… you never know what charming new place you'll stumble upon next.

 

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