It’s that time of year to start thinking about the next. We’ve narrowed down our top destinations for 2017 down to 10 and carefully selected the best of the best off-the-beaten track, long time favourite, and up-and-coming destinations that we hope you’ll love as much as we do:
Poland may not yet be at the top of the list of usual suspects, but this up and coming destination has many reasons why it eventually can be. Under the radar, tourism in Poland is offered at a value. Poland’s rich history dates back thousands of years, and Warsaw, Poland’s largest city and capital, is faceted with medieval charms from the reconstructed architecture destroyed from World War 2. Wroclaw, one of Poland’s biggest and oldest cities, offers the same historical distinction alongside an exciting nightlife, was once on the other side of the border as a part of Germany.
Annually topping the World Happiness Report, Sweden has plenty to smile about. With whimsical Scandinavian folklore that narrates the rich heritage of this nation, Sweden welcomes visitors with open arms and invites travellers to discover its must-sees, like Stockholm’s impressive 600-room baroque Royal Palace, the lush parks in the port city of Gothenburg, and Malmo, the country’s third largest city alive with street art, culture, and cafes.
With the most surface area of vineyards than anywhere else in the world, Spain’s burgeoning food and wine scene is enough reason alone to be here. From the Michelin-star restaurants in northern Spain’s Basque Country to the Cava to the pintxos, tapas, and wine, Spain is a foodie’s delight. Surrounding mountainscapes, sandy beaches, and centuries old rich culture and history are the cherry on top.
Celebrating its 150th birthday, Canada has been counting down to its big day since August 2016 with teaser events: stunts, public art, surprise flash mobs, something you can expect across the country for all of 2017. From coast to coast, Canada’s national parks and museums, heritage spaces, historic places, and the great Canadian outdoors will be in the spotlight. Parks Canada is selling Discovery Passes which will be valid for two years, instead of the usual one, to include free admission to Canada’s national parks for all of 2017. Organizations like the Walrus Foundation will celebrate Canada’s 150th with a national tour running from March 2017 to June 2017 to talk about the future of the country. Canada’s National Ballet School will celebrate Sharing Dance Day in June 2017 with thousands of youth across the country inviting participants to get down.
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico’s glamourous beaches and sparkling coasts garner a lot of attention for great reason, but one journey in to the heart of the country will sweep you off your feet. The sophisticated modern art, the crisp street art, delicious authentic cuisine, tequila, and faceted colonial architecture are perfect partners for a beach trip, or equally enticing on their own.
In this wonderland in the southeast of Asia, where the future meets the present meets the past, Japan continues to intrigue and delight. Japan’s resurgence in popularity has brought outdoor adventurers and enthusiasts to the peaks of its mountains like Mt Asahi in Hokkaido for fresh mountain powder and a wide array of terrain for snow bunnies of all levels. From 15th century temples, castles and mineral rich onsen (natural hot springs), to the fast paced neon-lit Tokyo, to the gourmet city of Fukuoka, Japan will captivate.
Thailand is a beach lover’s dream. It’s easy to island hop here from one tropical paradise to the next. There’s a beach escape for everyone. From the slow, swaying palms on relaxing Ko Samui, to the all-night excitement at the Full Moon party on Koh Phangan, to the peaceful serene underwater SCUBA diving life on Ko Tao, Thailand’s good value makes visiting accessible for everyone to enjoy.
Next to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, it’s no surprise that the popularity of Guatemala is also on the rise. Equally as beautiful and less explored, Guatemala is currently the calmer, less crowded member of the collective. Today’s Guatemala was yesterday’s Costa Rica, before tourism in Costa Rica really took off. Antigua, the former capital, is a stunning city surrounded by volcanoes. Beautiful colonial architecture with pastel facades line the cobblestone roads. Lake Atitlan is famous for its natural beauty and colourful Mayan villages.
One of the most exotic destinations in North Africa, Morocco’s romantic appeal is its Bedouin lifestyle. Sleeping in the desert, shopping for spices in the market, casbahs, Morocco is a treat for all of the senses.
Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan make up this region of Central Asia – simply referred to as The ‘Stans. This superfluous landscape of mountains, desert, nomadic culture, and sprawling urban centres connect countries like matching pieces in a puzzle. Uzbekistan is one of the biggest draws of The ‘Stans, being the historic hub with its ancient cities and Silk Road. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan’s mountainscapes invite nomads and nomads at heart, yurt dwellers, and horseback riders for a wander through the desert. Turkmenistan’s kitsch factor claims its fame as home to the world’s largest hand-woven carpet and the mountainous Kazakhstan is a great spot for modern shopping.