The 50 Best Places to Vacation in 2018 from The 50 Best Places to Vacation in 2018
The 50 Best Places to Vacation in 2018
The 50 Best Places to Vacation in 2018
Adventurous travelers are already making plans to visit new and underexplored destinations in 2018. Nowadays the world seems to be getting bigger – the age of the Internet and fewer travel restrictions has turned many new sites into hot spots. But there are still many locations you can visit before the word gets out.
Cumbria, which is bordering Scotland, is best known for containing the Lake District National Park, containing England’s highest mountains (four over 3,000 feet), and some of Englands biggest lakes. The Lake District is the weekend destination for the active and adrenaline seeking population of much of the U.K. Based in Cumbria in the north-west of England a road trip to and through this area is great fun. It’s best to find a qualified guide to take you out climbing or scrambling in the area.
Situated in the Indian Ocean southeast of Africa, Mauritius boasts bright blue waters, warm white sands, and tropical temperatures all year long. It is almost entirely encircled by a coral reef, which makes the island nation a superb destination for snorkeling. A favorite place, especially for beginner divers, is the Lagoon, which is generally calm in the majority of places. Colorado and Roche Zozo are among the most popular sites. Mauritius has some of the most copious marine life in the Indian Ocean.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The city is like an art paradise for the soul. As the Cajun French say, “Laissez les bons temps rouler”—let the good times roll. Best known for Mardi Gras, the city has earned a wild reputation and Bourbon Street is always worth a stroll, but there’s more to the city than a stretch of bars. Visit the historic French Quarter, tour the Garden District and take one of the amazing ghost tours that winds through bars, alleyways, and cemeteries. The city is famous all over the world for its jazz, zydeco, blues, Cajun & funk events. The street to listen to the best music is the Frenchmen Street.
Greenland’s epic fjords and remote arctic tundra remain under the radar. With 300 clear nights, its visitors might have the magical Northern Lights all to themselves. The discovery of a 372-year-old shark in 2016 will intrigue nature lovers. The kayak is a fundamental part of the history of Greenland, so you’re bound to find some incredible sights and landscapes that can’t be accessed any other way. One such feature, the Blue River, is formed by melting glaciers. Ittoqqortoormiit is the most isolated town in the country. Dog sledding, expedition cruises and wildlife are the most sought after adventures.
The Azores, Portugal
It's the best-kept secret since Iceland: a volcanic Eden in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that's still unseen by most travelers. Rappel down rock faces, hike through dense forest, mountain bike around the crater of a volcano, or get up close and personal with the islands’ 27 species of resident whales and dolphins. This small island group off the coast of Portugal is the next must see destination of 2018. The Azores has become the it spot for scuba diving and geo-tourism. It is hailed to be the ultimate holiday destination for nature and adventure lovers.
After a few tumultuous decades, Nicaragua has begun to welcome visitors. Volcano boarding there will be one of the craziest adventures of your life. Racing down an active volcano at 25-30 miles per hour is a thrill like few others. You and your wooden board can literally crash into sharp volcanic rocks. The country boasts both a beautiful landscape and culture that invites travelers to explore its colonial cities, markets, and even rainforests. Once you get there, you won’t spend more than $30 a day. Getting a dorm bed is no more than $5 a night. Hostels will cost about $15 a night. Surfing is generally a somewhat expensive hobby but you can take advantage of the cheap prices in Nicaragua to ride awesome waves.
Tourists stopped going to Egypt after the revolution in 2011 but they have begun to come back. Iconic landmarks such as the Pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza are still there and worth a trip. Make time for the Grand Egyptian Museum as well. See the more than 100,000 ancient artifacts from the country’s legendary rulers. White Desert is a natural wonder of Egypt, and it is best known for its spectacular scenery. The gorgeous white landscape and chalk-colored rock formations will leave you in awe. Visitors enjoy camping overnight under the stars, especially on full moon nights.
This Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge is a secluded land of monasteries and fortresses. If you are looking authenticity, this is the place. Isolation often means preservation. Bhutan has a rocky landscape with snowcapped peaks and glacier covered terrain, so hiking will be an adventure there. The country purposeful regulated the number of tourists to avoid being swamped with visitors. Go this year because you may not get a chance soon. The government has adopted a strict policy of “High Value, Low Impact Tourism.” The aim is to attract discerning tourists that will respect the unique culture and environment.
This is India’s most remote territory – it’s located more than 620 miles off the east coast in the middle of the Bay of Bengal. Densely covered by deep green tropical forest, the archipelago is home to an abundance of wildlife, including some extremely rare species of bird, according to Rough Guides. The biggest attraction is the beaches and the pristine reefs that ring most of the islands. The Andaman Sea features some of the richest and least spoilt marine reserves in the world.
See the majestic mounstain before it disappears. The famed European Alps are beloved by snow sports enthusiasts and climbers around the world, but climate change is bringing challenges for the mountain range that has been frozen for so long. Alpine glaciers are retreating and temperatures are increasing at an alarming rate, because the Alps are at a lower altitude than many other mountains these changes are more alarming. The Matterhorn, standing at the border between Switzerland and Italy, is a must-see. It is one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe – at approximately 14,692 feet.
Patagonia, Chile and Argentina
A trip to Patagonia will have adventurous paddlers cruising past gigantic glaciers and some of the most stunningly beautiful landscapes on the planet. The Marble Caves out in in the turquoise waters of General Carrera Lake sit 5,000 million tons of marble, elegantly shaped by nature into caves. Viewing the caves in person is a far more beautiful experience than looking at any photo. Also, this is one of the best SUP destinations in the world for extreme paddlers.
Los Cabos, Mexico
This is one of the most glamorous vacation spots in Mexico, and in the world. Los Cabos, known as the No. 1 tourist destination on the west coast of Mexico, is a quiet town full of charm and luxury. With sunny skies almost all year-round, visitors enjoy world class golf, fishing, surfing, and delicious dining options. There are more than 50 miles of beaches to choose from, the nightlife is spectacular and whale watching opportunities are out of this world.
Liuwa Plain National Park, Zambia
The remote park in the far west is pristine wilderness. This is what attracts people. The game is spread out across the plains and takes some driving around to find, according to Zambia Tourism. But the rewards of coming upon a vast herd of blue wildebeest, a prowling wild dog, or a pride of dozing lions in this forgotten piece of Africa is worth every effort. August to December is the best time to visit. The massive herds of blue wildebeest arrive from Angola in November.
Many people just need to hear that parts of Game of Thrones were filmed there, and they are looking to book a flight. Croatia is not the first country that comes to mind when people think about vacationing in Europe. It doesn’t even come up as a possible road trip stop, but it should. The relatively big country in the Balkans has been a hidden gem for years. Its popularity is growing due to stunning architecture, rich history, bustling local culture, lively entertainment, and adventure opportunities.
Banff, Alberta, Canada
Banff National Park was Canada’s first national park. It is home to valleys, mountains, glaciers, meadows, rivers and forests. Go camping, hiking, and view incredible wildlife. It is also home to one of the planet’s best hot springs. Visiting the park in the winter is like being in a small Swiss skiing town. Hiking, biking and rock climbing are popular during other months and people take advantage of the incredibly diverse rugged terrain.
Cuba is probably the most famous country Americans were not allowed to visit as tourists. Since the restrictions were loosened over two years ago, it is becoming a hot spot for adventurers. Cave diving in the country is superb – you can’t dive and explore the depths of a cave that reaches 70-feet deep in many places. Scuba diving and zip lining are popular, too. Sign up for the Havana Marathon, go rock climbing, and visit in time for carnivals, which are usually in the summer.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. It is larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space. It is the largest living structure on the planet, a World Heritage Area, and home to one of the most complex natural ecosystems in the world. It’s known for its colorful reefs and variety of plants and animals. Swim, snorkel and dive in the world’s largest coral reef and admire the colorful coral cays.
Vierwaldstattersee/Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
The mountains surrounding Lake Lucerne make it the one with the greatest scenic variety in this already gorgeous country. It even looks a little but like a fjord landscape, but it’s characterized by a mild lake climate. Boat cruises on board five historic paddle wheel steamers and 15 elegant salon motor vessels count among the highlights of this region, according to My Switzerland. A boat trip can be ideally combined with a walk, such as the “Weg der Schweiz” or Swiss Path, a themed trail on the history of the country.
Malawi’s variety of attractions is its greatest asset. The mixture of beautiful landscapes and rich culture makes the tiny country such a wonderful place to visit. Make time for Lake Malawi, the jewel crown of the country. It is the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system, and the third largest on the continent. It is best explored by kayak. In just one trip you will get to see amazing remote beaches, uninhabited deserted small islands and rich wildlife. There are nine national parks and wildlife reserves.
Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
The small island off the southeast coast of the main island of Bali is becoming one of its most popular attractions. Located far away from the hassle of South Bali, this is a traveler’s paradise. Nothing ruins the superb scenery. The water is some of the clearest you will find anywhere. Main activities include surfing, diving and snorkeling. The best surf breaks are along the northwest coast, while snorkelers and divers prefer the vivid reefs off its southwestern coasts.
Big Sur, California
This is a weekend getaway destination worth every effort. The rocky stretch of California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon is a stunning place to visit. Make it a part of a once in a lifetime road trip if you have an extra day. Drive Big Sur’s length via twisting Highway One. The Bixby Bridge is a favorite spot for photos. Stay at Post Ranch Inn or Treebones resort for glamping, and run the Big Sur River Run, one of the most beautiful 10k races in the world.
With the Winter Olympic Games taking place in PyeongChang, all eyes are on South Korea. Naturally, it s becoming a hot tourist spot this year. The country is a round-the-clock wonder, a haven for food-lovers and site full of history and stunning architecture. A city you should absolutely visit is the capital. Set between four guardian mountains, Seoul is a soulful city with a pulse that’s almost palpable. Visiting the North Korea/ South Korea border, the international port Incheon or World Heritage sites at Suwon are well worth the effort.
Archipelago Sea, Finland
The sea’s “backyard” consists of 50,000 islands, rocks and skerries. The Finnish Archipelago is the largest in the world. Old wooden towns, lighthouses, historical manors and stone churches, large national parks stretching over land and sea – this all sums up coastal Finland in a nutshell, according to Visit Finland. You’re going to love the laid-back islander lifestyle. Beaches, handicraft markets, small town events, cafes and village shops – what’s not to love?
Visit before the word gets out. The Balkans were overlooked by international tourists because of the regions tumultuous past. But most of the region has come back stronger. A lot of people don’t even know that Montenegro, which is often referred to as the pearl of the Mediterranean, has been independent since 2006. Go to Kotor for a true untouched retreat. Sail through Kotor Bay for a unique experience. Visit iconic landmarks which include Kotor’s Castle of San Giovanni, City Walls, St. Tryphon Cathedral, and Piazza of the arms.
Enjoy Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and tide-pooling even in the spring. This is where people looking for peace and quiet in a beautiful secluded community go. It’s where they can stay in rustic cabins and swim in refreshing Alaskan waters. Expect to find small animals right outside your lodge. Juneau is the place to see wildlife in the spring as male blue grouse begin their mating rituals; trumpeter swans, the heaviest living bird native to North America, return to the creek of Eagle River; and bears are waking up from hibernation.
Malta is known for astonishing architecture and a rich history possibly dating all the way back to the Stone Age. The picturesque architecture features colors that beautifully contrast the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. The island’s historical significance can be traced back to its prime location, many battles were fought there and control of the island changed at least nine times. Malta is home to several historical monuments, some of the oldest standing structures in the world and nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
You should plane to visit this amazing place while you still can. Research has shown that rising sea levels have resulted in the disappearance of five of the Solomon Islands, while erosion on others has forced the relocation of beautiful villages. Visit secluded bays and remote beaches, meet villagers in the Solomons and other nearby archipelagos while on a cruise, and snorkel coral reefs. Almost 500 species of hard and soft corals have been found to form the reefs.
São Paulo, Brazil
Brazil’s largest city offers a fun-loving and bustling nightlife and an intense cultural experience. No one will ever be bored in this vibrant city, even if it’s not the prettiest at first glance. The cuisine, the art, the people, the Jardins district – travelers will always feel like they belong. Visit the world-class museums, countless art-house cinemas and experimental theaters and go on diverse and vibrant neighborhood tours in Sampa, as the city is locally known.
County Clare, Ireland
Located in the heart of the west coast of Ireland and on the Wild Atlantic Way, County Clare contains the iconic UNESCO Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, historic towns of Ennis, Kilrush, Killaloe, Bunratty and Ennistymon, as well as marvelous rivers and lakes. The pristine natural beauty and the remarkable coastline will take your breath away. The traditions of Irish music and dance, vibrant small shops and cozy pubs, old-style cottages and houses are going to make you want to move there.
The Middle East these days is known for civil war and political instability. But if you look beyond that, you will a find a few unexplored gems. The long stretch of coast along Oman has ideal conditions for big and long surfing breaks. Joe’s Point in Sur is the place to go. See some of the area’s amazingly well-preserved castles and forts, and enjoy some of the best food in the country. Escape the wrath of winter on a fitness retreat. Programs include training sessions with a coach, massages, mountain biking, kayaking or tennis.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Situated in the Julian Alps of northwestern Slovenia, the pleasantly picturesque surroundings of Lake Bled make it a well-loved destination for tourists and locals alike. Adding to its old-world charm, the medieval-era Bled Castle looks over the lake at its north shore. These are going to be some of the most stunning views you’ll ever see. Bled Island is home to a majestic, Gothic-style pilgrimage church. Taka e boat across to the castle and explored the island.
This area in Central Asia has been the cradle of culture for thousands of years. What is now Uzbekistan is home to a mesmerizing collection of architecture and ancient cities, all deeply connected with the history of the Silk Road. From pistes in Chimgan and Beledrsay to sultry sands of the Karakum desert, the Uzbek culture has something to offer for every kind of traveler. Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva have some of the most impressive mosques, medressas and mausoleums in the region. Other popular attractions are near the Aral Sea. The Nuratau Mountains offers many ecotourism opportunities.
Papagayo Peninsula, Costa Rica
This is a place to truly unwind, especially if you stay at the Four Seasons Resort. Make the most of the resort’s new program Disconnect to Reconnect and enjoy a digital detox – there is no cell service. Go kayaking, birdwatching and dancing instead. You’ll discover that unplugging is not that difficult at all. And you get an extra incentive – with the complimentary program, guests receive brand new custom iPhone covers when they turn in their iPhone at reception.
Sao Tome and Principe
This is one of the least visited countries in the world by international tourists. Why people seem to have forgotten about this gorgeous two-island nation, Africa’s second-smallest, is unclear. It may be because its economic collapse after it gained independence from Portugal in 1975. STP. located on the Equator in the Gulf of Guinea, is another perfect destination for eco-tourists, who want to explore the jungle. Have fun on eccentric beaches, spend time snorkeling, fishing, and birdwatching.
Venice doesn’t really need an introduction, nor do people need a long list of reasons to go. But they should before it disappears. As the city of canals, gondolas and hundreds of bridges, Venice, one of the most beautiful places on the planet, is known for its waterways. But, as it turns out, the water could be exactly what is ruining the historic and one of the most romantic cities in the world. Venice has been sinking for centuries, but some evidence suggests the process is speeding up — possibly even sinking five times as fast as previously thought.
The capital of Ecuador was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 9,350 feet, according to UNESCO. This is one of the inexpensive cities in South America. You can easily stay at a cheap hotel, eat, and drink for less than $30 per day. A three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant will cost about $30, according to Numbeo. The capital sits high in the Andean foothills. Its “Old Town” is a World Heritage Site.
Scottish Highlands is often used as a synonym with Scotland, even though there is a Lowlands region. That’s how famous the mountain range, one of the most beautiful on Earth, is. Explore the spectacular unspoiled nature with rugged massifs, deep blue creeks and empty valleys where Red Deer rule the hills, and see what the fuss is all about. Also, the Northern Highlands are among the best places to see the stunning Northern Lights. After all, Northern Scotland lies at the same latitude as Stavanger in Norway and Nunivak Island in Alaska.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The wine, the tango, the nightlife, the architecture – the reasons to visit this beautiful city are endless. The Latin American hub is full of energy, adventure and exceptional beauty—and as one of the biggest cities in South America, Buenos Aires offers plenty of options. Buenos Aires is one of the world’s most exhilarating capital cities, with astonishing art, captivating neighborhoods, and excellent food.
April, May and June are the times to take a holiday in this dollar-friendly adventure destination because it’s the dry season. Visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom, learn about the country’s tumultuous history, enjoy the beautiful untouched beaches, encounter wild animals in the lavish jungle, and eat delicious local food. Along the way you’ll get to swim, sunbath, and snorkel. There are also boat tours that are readily available.
The country’s tourism suffered after 2015 terrorist attacks when 60 people, mostly European tourists, were killed. But after two fairly stable years the industry seems to be recovering. Tunisia’s rich history and diverse natural beauty are bringing them back. Most come for the sand and sea. Tip: Visit Hotel Marhala if you are a Star Wars fan. Some scenes, mostly from Episode IV were shot there. Rooms are dug into the ground, remnants of constructed underground town dating back to the 4th century.
This beautiful country is often overlooked by Americans. Estonia is also on our list of unforgettable bucket list trips you can do on a budget, if you want to go to a place with over 1,500 islands, sandy and rocky beaches, lavish forests and many lakes, but you don’t want to spend a lot. The picturesque capital, Tallinn, is becoming a hotspot for Europeans because of cheap drinks, flamboyant parties and entertainment. But there is more to see. The city is one of the most preserved in Europe.
Located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, Seville has a rich Moorish heritage. It used to be a prosperous port that carried out trade with the Americas, according to Spain.info. The streets and squares in the historic quarter are bustling. Locals treasure many constructions that have the World Heritage designation, and many districts are full of traditional culture like Triana and La Macarena. Museums, theme parks, theatres, and clubs are some of the many leisure options available. Bonus: Seville is one of the best places in the world for skydiving.
Iya Valley, Japan
This remote valley deep on the Shikoku Island is known for its steep mountain slopes and deep rocky gorges which were traditionally crossed by vine bridges, which are among the scariest in the world. Three of the vine bridges, Iya Kazurabashi and the Oku-Iya Kazurabashi bridges, are maintained to this day and remain some of the most popular attractions of the area, according to Japan Guide. Iya is also famous for its hot springs and outdoor activities.
Sri Lanka is a dollar-friendly destination, which you should visit before it gets overrun with tourists. You can find spicy foods, unusual fruits, and sweets that you won’t see anywhere else. The exotic island offers access to lavish rainforests, stunning beaches, misty mountains, elephants, and leopards. Sri Lanka is home to one of the largest concentrations of pygmy blue whales on earth. You can go on a unique safari that offers diving with blue whales, giving you a chance to get very close to them.
This is a warm and gorgeous, adventurous honeymoon destination. It’s truly paradise. Located in the heart of the South Pacific, Fiji is blessed with 333 tropical islands, according to Tourism Fiji. It’s also famous for its luxurious private-islands, all-inclusive resorts, as well as top spas. Escape the cold and head to the white sand beaches and pristine, crystal-clear ocean waters ideal for diving and relaxation.
Thrill seekers, who are looking for a wildlife destination, look no further than Tanzania. It is home to many of Africa’s iconic wildlife species, with lions, elephants and giraffes roaming the Serengeti and black rhinos, zebras and buffalo gathering to drink in Ngorongoro Crater. Spend a view days exploring Kilimanjaro National Park. The snowy peak of Africa's highest mountain looms over a vast savannah as well as mountain forest on its higher slopes and an Alpine desert above them. The park is home to 140 species of mammals, many of them rare or endangered.
Ramble along the ancient Silk Road and re-enter the historic long river. Located in the upper reaches of the Yellow River, northwest China, Gansu is one of the cradles of Chinese cultures, according to Travel China Guide. The province is abundantly gifted with cultural relics and natural scenery. The Danxia landforms, located in the Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park, are the known as the eye candy of Zhangye. The rocks and cliffs come in a variety of formations — smooth, sharp, vibrant and extremely tall. The colorful rocks and rainbow ridges are absolutely awe-inspiring.
Mykonos and Santorini are stunning islands but they also attract lots of crowds. Corfu’s rich multi-cultural heritage, historic monuments, stunning natural landscape, and crystal clear seas, make it one of the most cosmopolitan Mediterranean destinations luring more and more visitors, according to Visit Greece. Crete, the largest island in Greece, has similar attributes. Locations that are worth your time are Chania for its imposing White Mountains, Rethymno for spectacular beaches and Heraklion for its extraordinary archaeological treasures.
Encounter some of the last remaining mountain gorillas in the world. Trek into the lush forests of Rwanda, home to hundreds of species of birds and numerous waterfalls. There are only around 900 gorillas remaining in the world and about 200 of them reside in Volcanoes National Park, deep within the Virunga Mountains. You’ll also track chimpanzees and the golden monkey, and watch for elephants and buffalo.
Experience the wild, diverse and extravagant world of Kenya. View stunning landscapes, incredible wildlife and educate yourself culturally. Adventure lovers, you must go on an extreme safari in Kenya. Embark on a 14-day safari in Kenya that focuses on unique wilderness encounters. Enjoy gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and take a balloon ride over the Masai Mara. The scenery is absolutely incredible.