Forget fad diets, gym commitments and 6am jogs, the only resolution you need to make this year is to travel more. Finding the right destination for you can be tricky, so we have put together our list of hotspots for 2018.
Year-on-year, Iceland’s popularity increases and for good reason. The land of fire and ice is like a painting of unimaginable beauty, populated by the rough strokes of volcanoes and cascading waterfalls; stunning fjords and unintelligible place names. There is so much to discover in Iceland, it can be a little overwhelming, which is why we always recommend a stop at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.
Reykjavik is the cosmopolitan hub of Iceland, a miniature city full of boutique outlets and trendy bars. Undoubtedly one of the most endearing qualities of Iceland is its inhabitants. Quirky and eccentric, yes, but their warmth and friendliness is just as inspiring as the beautiful landscape.
Alaska is quite possibly the ultimate back-to-nature experience. This is a land of incredible natural beauty and national parks larger than some European countries. Alaska’s landscape is dominated by a blanket of snow, pockmarked with areas of lush green forestry. Nicknamed the last frontier for a good reason, Alaska is also famous for its animal population including the grizzly bear, moose, walrus and even whales.
Alaska’s history is rich, both figuratively and in fortunes. Alaska was originally Russian territory, which was then sold to the U.S for 7.2 million dollars in 1867. While this might sound like a tidy profit for Russia, Alaska had numerous gold deposits in the area and it’s here the Klondike gold rush began. There are still smatterings of Russian influence and gold rush history to be discovered, particularly in Homer and the hamlet of Ninilchik.
Tennessee’s culture is so entwined with its rich musical heritage, it has seven official state songs. You wouldn’t expect anything else from the state that nurtured droves of talented country and blues musicians from the 1920s onwards. For a taste of musical history, take a tour of the Gibson factory in Memphis, or explore the 13.8 acres of Graceland; the audacious former home of Elvis Presley.
Away from music, Tennessee is renowned for its whiskey production, dusty plantation homes, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian trail. You could spend days enjoying the mix of culture and history, all while taking in the old-fashioned Americana culture of the deep south.
Some stereotypes are wrong, others are downright offensive and then there’s Switzerland, an endearing country that loves chocolate, cheese and punctuality. Culinary obsessions aside, Switzerland’s gorgeous mountain scenery is enough to entice even the most entrenched homebody. Skiing, climbing, hiking and breath-taking scenery is par the course in the Swiss Alps and its many well-preserved medieval villages, Bern and Guarda in particular, are a wonder to explore.
While Fiji does play the role of ‘classic castaway paradise’ perfectly, it’s got a lot more to offer beyond its tempting golden powdery beaches. Fiji’s collection of sun-kissed islands brim with adventure opportunities, from hiking and birdwatching, to diving and surfing.
Journey just a little away from the beaten tracks and luxury all-inclusive resorts and you will find remote fishing villages and communities occupied by friendly locals. Fiji may not be flush with towns or cities, but three colonial inspired areas are worth exploring in Levuka, Sausavu and Suva. While here, you must try the country’s national drink kava, an earthy beverage that isn’t necessarily the most appealing to the taste buds, but does have a strange euphoric effect.
Bali is Indonesia’s gem, the world’s largest island nation proudly boasting some of the most dramatic landscape in the far east. Home to surfers, sun worshippers, spiritual seekers and culture vultures, Bali has a mix of things to do and see, including visits to Tanah Lot, the island temple, the Hindu sculptures in Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park and the many incredible coral-fringed beaches.
Bali is home to a crop of luxury resorts, including the Spa Village Tembok and the Anantara Bali Uluwatu. If you’re planning on travelling a lot, we highly recommend investing in a moped. It might be daunting at first, particularly in packed city-centres, but they are cheaper to run and offer much more freedom than a car.