From up-and-comers to tried-and-true favorites, these are our picks for 2018.
The travel world is abuzz with talk of Portugal – and for good reason. While we’ve always been big fans, this small yet magical country is slowly but surely being revered as Europe’s new ‘it’ destination. Lisbon’s enchanting hills captivate at every peak with culinary delights, gothic beauty, and vibrant nightlife. Nearby Sintra’s enchanting castles, romantic gardens, and green vistas are so fairytale-esque, it’s easy to see why this now UNESCO World Heritage Site was a favorite summer haunt for royals. Lesser-known Coimbra is Medieval and magical – its University was supposedly J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for Hogwarts. Portugal’s southern coast has coves and beaches perfect for long days in the sun. Best of all, Portugal is still relatively cheap in comparison to Europe’s other tourism powerhouses.
As the location for the 2020 Summer Olympics, Japan is sure to see an increase in tourism and many changes as it prepares over the next few years. We suggest you see it now, before the rush. The pulsing streets of Tokyo are a sight to behold, with its many neighborhoods, endless neon glow, and whimsical cafes and shopping. Outside of this modern metropolis, you’ll find centuries of tradition in cities like Kyoto. Japan’s cultural beauty is complimented by its stunning natural features, from snowcapped mountains in the north to tropical islands in the south. Let’s not forget this country is known for its fresh, delicious food. Just like acclaimed chef Jiro Ono, we’re dreaming of sushi.
A notable home for giants from both myth and reality, the Emerald Isle’s legendary northern region is well worth exploring in the upcoming year. Belfast has transcended from its troubled past to a welcoming, modern city with a rich history. Along with enjoying its renowned restaurant and music scenes, be sure to pay homage to the massively famous Titanic at its dedicated museum, which stands in the very shipyard where she was built. To the west of Belfast you’ll find youthful Londonderry – also known simply as Derry – and in between the cities lies the Giant’s Causeway, a coast composed of stacked hexagonal volcanic rocks once thought to be the beginnings of a bridge built by giant and warrior Finn MacCool. Whiskey lovers must stop at the famous Bushmills Distillery, and Game of Thrones fans can visit the show’s many filming sites in the area.
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South Beach has always been a playground of neon lights, retro glamour, and all-night parties. There’s never a wrong time to play on powder-sand beaches and splash in turquoise water so clear, you’ll think you’ve landed on an island in the Caribbean rather than a spot on North America’s coast. So why not visit in 2018? Treat yourself to Miami’s diverse cuisine, and savor Cuban delicacies in Little Havana. The area awakens at night with a lively scene of clubs and bars to hop to and from. Beyond South Beach, you’ll find engaging museums like the Philip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science, which features interactive exhibits and year-round wonders like its impressive Gulf Stream Aquarium and Planetarium. Or discover a little piece of Europe at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a Renaissance-style villa and its 34 rooms filled with European furniture and art ranging from the 15th-19th centuries.
Deutschland is where an innovative mindset blends seamlessly with medieval magic. It’s where landscapes leave you breathless, and culinary delights wrap you up in comfort you never knew you needed. From notable natives like Albert Einstein to world-changing inventions like the printing press to its famous yet ominous folklore like the collection from the Brothers Grimm, the land of beer and brats has reason to be prideful. Check a big item off your wanderlist and visit Munich over Oktoberfest. Delve deep into Berlin’s history, arts, and stranger side at sites like the Berlin Wall, Hamburger Bahnhof Contemporary Art Museum, and the MonsterKabinett, a sculpture gallery that’s part theatrical performance, part haunted house. The Black Forest has inspired some of our favorite and most gruesome fairytales, and its bewitching beauty and quaint villages beg to be explored.
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Picture-perfect Fiji is a tropical retreat that seems to have manifested right out of our dreams. If there was ever a place to spoil yourself, this is it. Go big and book a room with the ultimate view. Overwater bungalows are the epitome of opulence, and often feature relaxing verandahs, a glass floor for underwater viewing, and direct entrance to an enchanting lagoon. The lux doesn’t stop there. Most resorts have a spa of the utmost pampering, and scrumptious restaurants serving local delicacies made from fresh ingredients like coconut, seafood, and tropical fruits. If you can, pull yourself out of your tranquil state to enjoy Fiji’s regional spoils, such as natural adventures like diving the surrounding reefs and hiking to refreshing waterfalls. Fiji’s people are among the most welcoming in the world, so take the time to get to know them and their beautiful culture. Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island, is the perfect spot to explore traditional villages.
Appreciating the environment has never been more prudent than now, and nature lovers will discover Chile is their idea of paradise. What the country lacks in width, it more than makes up for in diverse landscapes and eco-thrills. Take time to hike in Torres del Pain, Patagonia. Take a walk in the world’s oldest, driest desert, the Atacama. Ride on horseback through the Andes Mountains, and ski the snowy peaks of Valle Nevado. When it’s time for a well-deserved breather, sip on some of the best wines in the world in the country’s Central Valley Region. If you also consider yourself an urban explorer, fret not. Chile’s capital Santiago is well worth a visit, and its barrios – neighborhoods – boast their own personalities. Bellavista is home to the best nightlife; Bellas Artes and Lastarria are the fashion hubs, and Parque Bustamante is the perfect place to people watch at its many cafes.
The Caribbean is always in style, so this year, head to an island with a culture that’s as vibrant as its bright turquoise seas. The island is well-known for its fantastic powder beaches and boasts a variety of both all-inclusive and well-appointed resorts to choose from. But no matter what type of abode you choose as your home-away-from-home, be sure to head off property in search of lively celebrations, a historic capital, and friendly people. Bridgetown is a dedicated UNESCO World Heritage Site with a tropical colonial style influenced by its British past. Head to Ostins Fish Fry on a Friday night and dig into a feast of grilled fish and shellfish, BBQ, macaroni pie, and breadfruit. Then, work off your meal with the locals dancing to beats spun by live DJs and bands. New moves are a great souvenir.
Make 2018 your best travel year yet. Plan your 2018 getaway now with Liberty Travel and receive exclusive perks and great deals with our extensive range of vacation packages. From our Escapes beach getaways and short CITYbreaks, to our longer Journeys and Discoveries vacations, our travel consultants will help you create memories that will last forever.