Another year, another holiday to plan — here are the latest must-visit destinations to tickle your travel fancy...
Celebrating its 150 years of independence, 2017 is sure to roll like one big party for Canada, and we’ve heard its got no issues with gatecrashers, so what better time to plan a visit? Try Toronto for a cosmopolitan city break this spring, or Quebec City for oldy-worldy European charm; hit the Rockies for a once-in-a-lifetime road trip in the summer months; then later in the year, it’s all about Nova Scotia, Ontario and New Brunswick where the autumnal colours are so vivid they’ll blow your mind. What with the Canadian dollar being weak, and right now being a dynamic, explorative time for fusion-food across the country, well, you don’t need telling twice…
The new Berlin, some are calling it, Zurich is where it’s at. Unlike Geneva, which probably underwhelms those of us who don’t have hundreds of thousands to spend in its designer stores and spas, Zurich boasts a lot more colour and character, with lido bars, a beautiful old town, museums that won’t make you snore, festivals a plenty, and locals who like to party. As for where to stay, course, there are plenty of Airbnbs to take your pick from, but for the slickest boutique stay in town, it’s all about the Marktgasse Hotel. Plan a spring-summer to see the city at its best.
After much ado about Peru last year, Chile is set to steal its crown as the buzzing destination in South America. British Airways’ new direct route from London Heathrow to Santiago makes the country more accessible than ever before, cutting out lengthy stopovers and making it more realistic to fit into a holiday window. From skiing around Santiago, to trekking around the Andes, visiting the driest desert in the world, exploring the glorious national parks, and, of course, making the most of the wine, there’s something for everyone in Chile.
Still largely undisturbed, Namibia offers a truly authentic experience of Africa, with everything from wild sand dunes, to sub-tropical northern towns, the vast Namib-Naukluft desert and Etosha National Park teeming with magical wildlife. Go sand surfing, go bush walking, and go hiking through the Fish River Canyon. But possibly the best bit of all has to be sleeping under the skies — some of the starriest, clearest skies in the world. And with the climate so stable, really, there’s never a bad time to visit, though it’s worth avoiding South African and European school holiday periods. What with its currency being pegged to the weakening South African rand too, it’s never been better value to visit.
Whilst the rest of us were making do with August drizzle in the UK last year, the lucky ones jetted off to Croatia to revel in the delights of Obonjan, a new island festival that promised to be both holistic and hedonistic at once. Surrounded by nothing but azure seas, what we were treated to on Instagram was endless pics of Vriksasana poses against magical sunsets, sundowners on the beach, and snippets of Fourtet playing probably the most idyllic set to date. But the good news? It’s back again for its second year and tickets are sure to sell like gold dust.
Obonjan ain’t the only draw for Croatia though. 2017 boasts more flights from the UK than ever with new low-cost regional routes to Zadar, Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik and Pula.
We won’t pretend Myanmar (Burma) doesn’t still have its problems, but things are definitely moving in a good direction towards democracy, and finally, the country has opened up to more flexible tourism. You can now visit as individuals, without having to be part as a group — though it’s worth pointing out a LOT organising beforehand is key. Here, in this mysterious, alluring country, life is slow and scenes give you a real glimpse into what ancient Asia was like. It’s an alluring destination full of golden pagodas, monastery bells, and chanting monks, and now is the time to visit.
After a few tough years, 2017 is going to see visitors flocking back to Paris thick and fast, desperate to lay their heads in any one of its slick new hotel openings. The hotel scene was overdue a bit of a shake up and, well, it’s got it. The Hoxton is taking its East London-cool aesthetic to Paris, and opening its doors in the 2nd arrondissement to give locals and out-of-towners alike some never-want-to-leave communal spaces and bars, and cool contemporary rooms. Elsewhere, Hotel Providence is a sophisticated, boutique ‘crash pad’ with sumptuous rooms, and Le Roch and Spa is an elegant new 37-room affair with home-from-from bedrooms designed by designed by Sarah Lavoine, and excellently placed between the Louvre and Opéra. So which will it be…?