Get the Travel Bug with these Beautiful Locations
Christmas is over and most of us (at least those of us in the Northern hemisphere) are suffering from the affects of S.A.D. The long dark winter nights and frosty freezing mornings have got us dreaming of sunnier climes, warm sandy beaches and crystal clear waters lapping up against the shore as we sip cocktails in a beach bar… Well, I am!
Travel agents however are sat in their centrally heated offices rubbing their hands together with glee as they see the figures spike at this time of year. More people book holidays between the months of February and April than any other time of year when cold and wet conditions have us dreaming of summer holidays.
So, with that in mind – we have done the hard work for you. Trawling through all the travel blogs, magazines and news recommendations… we have compiled a list of the Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2017.
But don’t worry, we have a little of something for everyone. Not everyone wants to sit on a beach and stare at a blue sky for two weeks (lord only knows why). So without further ado – here are our recommendations:
Azores – Portugal
A Little Bit of Everything for Everyone
Our own Miss Pollyanna has talked much about Portugal in the past, with her recommendation being The Algarve. But this year, it seems more are flocking to the shores of The Azores!
This small cluster of nine volcanic islands in the mid-Atlantic is often described as Europe’s best kept secret; the Azores is easily accessible from both North America and Europe. This beautiful place is like no other, with a perfect blend of what can only be described as lush Hawaiian volcanoes coupled with the idyllic Portuguese style villages nestled among breathtaking views of Scandinavian-like hot springs and lush waterfalls. This archipelago combines the very best of so many different locations in one breathtaking spot.
But if you want to experience the very best this area has to offer, you need to be quick to visit this somewhat unspoiled land. With news spreading quickly, tourism is already up 30% on last year.
North Wales – UK
For the Adventurer Inside
Now, when we first think of booking a summer holiday, many would be forgiven for skipping over areas such as North Wales (and for many living in the UK, this would be deemed a stay-cation rather than a vacation) but stay with me here. Wales, it seems, is garnering a lot of support in the travel industry.
Wales is the perfect location for those looking for a slightly more adventurous holiday. With zip-lining, inland surfing lakes and of course mountaineering on the famous Snowdon, Wales has so much to offer those who are looking for a holiday that gets the heart rate pulsing rather than relaxing with a ‘tequila sunrise’.
North Wales was recently featured in The Lonely Planet’s guide of top locations to discover – the only UK destination to feature. An accolade that the Welsh are incredibly proud of and rightly so.
With Zip World offering a unique zip-lining experience (underground!) and Bounce Below blowing people’s minds with a subterranean trampolining experience, Wales really does offer something for the adventurous family.
Mountain Pleasures for the Hiking Mad
Choquequirao is a destination for those looking for a holiday with a little more history and adventure. As the last Inca refuge, the buzz surrounding this beautiful location is on the rise. Whispers talk about the cable car that is due to open in 2017 (but of course, there may be delays. Bureaucratic delays are not only an issue in the UK and US!) But this cable car is due to help around 3,000 visitors a day glide up this amazing mountain in just 15 minutes, making light work of getting to the top to experience views that are somewhat unrivaled. However, for those who are a little more adventurous (and fitter) you can of course take the 4-day trek up the mountain in the historic footsteps of the Inca themselves.
The structure and architecture of the mountain is not dissimilar to that of Machu Picchu, with temples, as well as huacas and bath systems along the crest of the ridge.
As one of the less visited mountains in the area (but with just as much history and spectacular views) Choquequirao is perfect for those who love to hike.
Hull – Great Britain
A Slice of Culture Closer to Home
Another UK destination. It seems that even though Brexit has got most of the UK angry at their own, the rest of the world are still keen to see what “Great” Britain has to offer.
This year, Hull is celebrating being the City of Culture for 2017 in the UK. This is a massive boost for the city that has in the past been named both Britain’s number one “Crap Town” and the least romantic city in the UK. With famous names such as poets Philip Larkin and Stevie Smith hailing from Hull, the city is keen to show the world they have so much more to offer than what meets the eye.
The city in east Yorkshire is now brimming with new hotels, restaurants, and throughout the year, countless cultural events and activities are scheduled to take place. The fun is due to reach its climax in September as the Freedom Festival will see the entire city turned into a stage for countless performers.
Aarhus – Denmark
For Europe Bound Culture Vultures
Hull is not the only city to be celebrating in 2017. Aarhus in Denmark has been named European City of Culture this year.
Aarhus has a lot to be proud of it seems. Last year, it was named among the best European destinations to visit (2016). As the second largest city in Denmark, Aarhus has a population of just 330,000 people and has often been described as offering ‘cool-cat neighbourhoods, head-turning architecture and a bank of culinary wizardry. Although Copenhagen is commonly known as the most popular Danish city, Aarhus is quickly gaining on its neighbouring island and with the accolade of City of Culture it is sure to find an influx of tourism this year. With music festivals, art installations and many more awe-inspiriting events taking place, this European city is the perfect destination for those looking for a shorter city break or a stop on a longer European tour rather than a long summer holiday.
Taranaki – New Zealand
Take a ‘Wrong Turn’ for Winter Sun
It has long been a running joke that many who find themselves in Taranaki have taken a wrong turn – but it seems it is the tide that is on the turn for this little known New Zealand region. The hiking trails and breathtaking views are drawing more and more tourists to the area with those looking to take on the challenge of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
The Coastal Walkway and Pukekura Park have been named as two of the must see areas.
New Zealand may be a fair distance for most to travel, but it also makes the perfect destination for those looking to book somewhere for some winter sun next year. For those screaming “I won’t endure another winter in Europe” this location may well be perfect for you. The Taranaki Fringe Garden Festival would make the perfect winter warmer while all friends and family are under snow and rain, you can stroll through the lush gardens and beautiful array of colourful foliage.
Maldives – South Asia
For most, the Maldives tops the list of dream destinations for honeymooners. The crystal clear blue waters and white sandy beaches provide the perfect postcard backdrops for those romantic sunset walks. It’s not hard to see why. There are so many places on earth that can be described as paradise, but few top the perfection of the Maldives.
The unique coral nature means it is the perfect escape for those who want to explore the art of scuba diving or snorkeling. Ease of travel means that flights are becoming more accessible and the idyllic surroundings make this the perfect place to unwind and relax and leave the stresses of the world behind. But the Maldives has so much more to offer than just good food, cocktails and swimming with the fish – the national museum allows you to immerse yourself in the history of this remarkable place and although most bays offer calm waters, those who want to explore the art of surfing can find the perfect waves to do so in Mall Atoll.
Casper – Wyoming
For Star Gazers and Eclipse Chasers
Casper, Wyoming may seem like an odd place for us to include in this year’s list, but stay with us – there is a reason. This oil city, the second largest city in Wyoming, is about to become one of the most popular places to visit in 2017. Especially in August. You see, the full solar eclipse that is due to take place on August 21st 2017 is drawing star gazers from across the globe to locations along America in the hope of seeing the perfect eclipse.
There are a number of places along the path of the eclipse where star gazers will be able to find a ‘perfect’ spot – but this particular city is ideal for a number of reasons. Casper may only be rated third on the list of best spots to camp out for this special occasion, but there is a reason we have chosen it as our first.
Grand Teton National Park is tipped to be one of the best places in the entire country to position yourself to view this event. On the centerline, the Park will experience 2 minutes and 20 seconds of totality at about 11:35am. But even if the weather turns and is a total wash out, this stunning area of America will not disappoint with this national park offering enough ‘outdoor wilderness’ to keep the kids entertained.
Namibia – South Africa
Sun, Sea, Sand and … Adventure!
For those who are fans of Jeremy Clarkson or The Grand Tour, you will have already been introduced to the beauty that this area has to offer. Although I am not sure many of us will be traipsing up and down the sandy shores in makeshift beach buggies. However, the crazy trio have done wonders to open up the eyes of many to an area of the world that certainly needs more light shed on it.
Namibia is beautiful. This beautiful country in southeast Africa sees the Namib skip across the Atlantic Ocean coastline. During the dry season, the Etosha National Park sees tens of thousands of animals converge to drink at the waterholes, with elephants, giraffes, rhino and lions just among some of the few to traipse across its dry sandy floors.
For those looking for something a little more family friendly, Swakopmund is considered Namibia’s playground and is a popular destination for tourists and locals. The city (which is often likened to a small German town) creates a feeling of timelessness with tree-lined streets boasting restaurants, cafes galleries and museums.
At the near by Walvis Bay, adventurers can enjoy dolphin cruises and kayak tours or even try their hand at sand-skiing, parasailing or quad-biking.
Morocco – Africa
Relaxing Riads and Bountiful Beauty
Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart may have made Casablanca famous, but Morocco has far more to offer than a simple name drop. Morocco as a whole is very rarely missed off the list of places to visit for eager travelers and its location means that most young gap year adventurers find this one of the easiest places to start their culinary and cultural endeavours. The culture, colour, smells and tastes that this North African country has to offer have tempted travelers and culture vultures for decades. Casablanca, Marrakesh, Agadir, Fes and Tangier are among the most popular areas to visit offering everything from bustling marketplaces full of wares and spices, to tranquil riads that boast some of the most relaxing spas and relaxing resorts.
Colours and smells explode in each and every area of this diverse landscape, but the most wonderful thing about this amazing and diverse country is that you are sure to find something to suit every budget. A cost effective weekend away or luxurious fortnight spa holiday. This amazing country has it all.
So – those are our Top Ten Travel Destinations for 2017, but are there any destinations you think are missing? Where will you be travelling to this year?