2018 is almost here, and here are the top places I see up and coming for the next year. Some of these have been up and coming for a while, and some of these are yet to hit the mainstream – but all are worth a visit!
This one is tops on my list of places to go – every picture I see of it is amazing, and the varied activities make it so alluring! There’s surfing, beaches, animal reserves, and so much more. Sri Lanka is becoming more and more of a hotspot (I keep seeing it on lists!) but it’s still largely undiscovered. Go now, because I don’t think it’ll stay that way!
I’ve made no secret of falling in love with Jordan – it’s one of those countries everyone sort of knows about but no one feels they “HAVE TO” go to. Except you do. It’s got something for everyone – spas, hiking, history, amazing SCUBA diving, the Dead Sea, and so much more. It’s safe, and worth a trip in 2018.
Colombia is an awesome choice for Americans – it’s only about a four-hour flight from Miami and about the same from Dallas. So it’s easy to get to, there are tons of flights (and LOTS of flight deals). From the beaches of Cartagena to the hills of Medellin and so much more, Colombia might have been unsafe 20 years ago. Today, it’s a bustling and great place to visit! If you have extra time, consider sailing from Cartagena to Panama through the San Blas Islands (some of the most gorgeous and untouched islands!).
Bulgaria is easily forgotten between Greece below it, and the Balkans beside it. But just because it’s not been tops on lists before does not mean it’s not worth going to! Sofia, Bulgaria is easily walkable, gorgeous, and uncrowded. Don’t miss the hiking at Seven Rila Lakes (or the skiing if you’re there in the winter). Plovdiv is in for a big 2019 as the European Capital of Culture. It’s an incredibly preserved small town, with ancient heritage and modern fun (and great food!). Then you can head to the Black Sea coast and enjoy the highlights of Varna (great party scene!) or head to the gardens at Balchik.
Not the state – but the country. The whole thing has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site – for wine making! It’s also been said that wine production as a whole might have been developed there. Add to great wine a ton of outdoors activities, and you’ve got an awesome, laid-back, undiscovered travel destination.
Croatia has been “on the map” for a few years now, but this sleepy little island and its slice of perfection have yet to be discovered. The owner of the guesthouse I stayed in always said “On Korcula, every day is Sunday” and he was so right. Perfectly relaxed, and away from the crowds that are starting to plague the rest of Croatia. The vineyards flow right into the sea, and there is a special wine – Grk – that you can only find there. The tasting rooms are fun, relaxed – and some even have views of the sea.
The Olympics are just the beginning of a big year for South Korea. Head over there to experience the incredible culture, food, and technology. The cities are clean, connected, and reasonably-priced. There’s tons of shopping, national parks, and generally enough to keep you occupied for a whole lot of time.
I feel like Peru has been a mainstay on these lists for years, and for good reason. Peru does NOT disappoint. It’s got an incredibly varied geography combined with some of the most incredible history in this hemisphere. Machu Picchu is worth the trip, whether by hiking or taking the train. There are other incredible treks in Peru as well! Lake Titicaca is worth going to, the Rainbow Mountains are incredible. And if you’re in the mood for culture and food – Lima has one of the hottest food scenes in the world!
Conde Nast Traveler picked Canada as the destination of the year – rightly so. It’s got history (though not as ancient as Asia and Europe), and incredible outdoors. From trekking to skiing, to seeing the Northern Lights or enjoying city life, Canada has it all. And really friendly people!
I fell in love with Lake Como. And the mountains around it. There is so much to explore and discover in Northern Italy, and it’s not nearly as crowded as the now-overrun Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre. Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, Varese, Lecco, Bergamo, Verona, Trento and more – the wonder of this part of Italy is still somewhat undiscovered and un-touristed.
Panama is another great choice for North Americans – close enough to get to with relatively easy flights, and a world away culturally. There’s lots to see – think of similar rain forests to neighbor Costa Rica, and incredible beaches. Combine this one with Colombia through sailing the San Blas islands, and you’ll have the perfect vacation with beaches and rain forests.
A fusion of many cultures, Singapore is a hub for travel worldwide. Spend a few extra days seeing the city – from the food to the crazy-futuristic parks and architecture! Don’t miss the rooftop pool at the Marina Bay Sands, the botanical gardens, and the incredibly-themed bars and restaurants. (Word is they even have a Harry Potter themed bar!)
Malta is what I consider to be an underrated and under-visited island in the Mediterranean. It’s near Italy, and is sun-drenched frequently. If you’re in search of “Game of Thrones” scenes, there are places on Malta where the shows were filmed. And Malta has the added bonus of being far less crowded! So for sun, fun, beaches, history and more – Malta is an awesome place to head in 2018.
Check out these awesome Malta tips from a local as collected by Wandertooth.
Honduras, like Panama on this list, has frequently been overshadowed by its better-known neighbors. While Honduras has been plagued by some safety issues over the years, it’s becoming safer each year. If you’re looking for epic SCUBA diving, the island of Roatan has some of the best in the world. With rainforests, beaches, and endless adventures to have, Honduras should be on your Central America “must list.”
Still recovering from the massive earthquake a couple of years ago, Nepal is re-opened to tourism in a big way. People frequently think of it as a hub for trekking both to Everest and through Annapurna, but it’s got so much more. Don’t miss Chitwan National Park – it’s got incredible safaris on par with the best in the world!