Try something new: 5 must-go destinations in 2017
Make 2017 your best travelled yet. Skip the obvious countries and diversify
Make 2017 your best travelled yet. Skip the obvious countries and diversify – it’s time for the smaller and shyer countries to shine.
Finland might have you scratching your head but this little country packs a real punch, especially if you love the great outdoors. It will celebrate its 100-year anniversary next year (after gaining independence from Russia in 1917) and the country’s set for festivals and events throughout the year. A new 11,000 hectare national park has been created in Hossa and every three months the country has a Nature Day where it encourages guests and citizens to explore its huge natural forests, beautiful lakes and mountains. Koli National Park in the center is a great place to start, it’s the spiritual home of Finn’s love of nature and in Finland “Everyman’s Right” means you can camp, fish and forage for food anywhere you like (over around 90 percent of the country), as long as you leave no trace and do no harm.
Having emerged from a vicious drugs war, Colombia is attracting those who want to explore this enigmatic country. Discover coffee plantations in Quindio, trek through cloud forests in the Cocora Valley and bask in Spanish colonial architecture and buzzy plazas in Cartagena, the old walled city is awash with color, music and markets. You can even now discover an ancient lost city, Teyuna, guided by a local tribesman who are the descendants of the mythical Tayrona civilization.
With upheaval across Eastern Europe and safety fears in the old stalwarts of Europe, Spain offers a safe haven of sunshine and culture, beaches and mountains. For foodies the northern city of San Sebastian goes from strength to strength, whether you fancy gourmet gastronomy to tiny pintxos (tapas) bars, which were arguably invented here. Eskew Barcelona for Valencia, a more compact version of the beach city vibe and don’t skip Madrid. Spain’s capital has had a reinvention, no longer a dry political center, today it’s buzzing with stuff to do all through the night.
Oh, Canada. If you haven’t already fallen for its new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, you’ll fall for its commitment to the environment and how easy it is to visit. First timers should combine hip Vancouver with a trip north to Lake Louise and Banff to take in the Pacific North West landscape at its best. Outdoors types will love Yukon province with its huge expanses to climb, kayak, camp and generally revel in the outdoors. Eastern seaboard visitors can try poutine (chips with cheese and gravy) in family-friendly, laid back Montreal (which has over 100 festivals a year), discover how maple syrup is made and of course head to Niagara Falls.
If you want to try Toronto, read our guide for the best the city has to offer.
The other end of the United States, Mexico is having a moment. While Los Cabos has always been popular with LA’s A-listers, its glam restaurants and year round sunshine are now attracting the rest of the world too. Ritz Carlton will open a luxurious “Reserve” there next year overlooking the Sea of Cortez. Over in Tulum on the east coast, miles of perfect beaches await you if you’re after something more rustic and even Mexico City will see more boutique hotels opening up and the return of the Formula 1 in October.