It’s the new year, and that means it’s time to plan your perfect holiday for 2017. Whether you’re looking for a city break, a faraway adventure, or some downtime on the beach, there are plenty of options around the world. Here are a few recommendations, but make sure to check out our Where to Go pages for even more inspiration!
2017 is a very big year for Canada – it’s the country’s 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, and the year is looking to be one giant birthday party. No matter what you’re looking for out of a holiday, Canada can provide it. Check out the bustling and cosmopolitan cities of Vancouver, Montreal, or Toronto, or explore the lesser-known (but still fantastic) cities of Edmonton, Winnipeg, or Halifax. Nature-lovers will be in their element in Canada, with hiking and skiing in the Rocky Mountains, polar bear spotting in Northern Manitoba, or boating on one of Ontario’s many lakes. Another amazing reason to explore Canada this year? All 47 of its national parks are free to any visitor in honour of the celebrations.
After the big year Brazil had in 2016, there’s no hiding how absolutely incredible travelling through South America is anymore. Already hugely popular with tourists, Argentina is the kind of country that makes you want to return again and again. Whether you’re after the best steak of your life, a lesson in tango dancing, or a hike through some of the most isolated and beautiful terrains in the world, there’s something for everyone in Argentina. Try biking through vineyards near Mendoza, take an adrenaline-inducing boat ride by Iguazu Falls, or trek your way through Patagonia for an experience you’ll never forget.
After the devastating earthquake in 2015, Nepal’s tourism declined rapidly. And though parts of the country are still in repair, slowly but surely, it is absolutely worth a visit in 2017. Whether or not tackling Everest Base Camp is your thing, there are still plenty of hikes to discover, from the novice hikes in the foothills to the expert trails in the Himalayas. For those looking for a cultural experience, the temples of Kathmandu and nearby Bhaktapur are worth the flight to Nepal alone. Not only that, by visiting Nepal when it needs tourists most is a way for all of us to give back, help the economy, and make sure the country rebuilds itself stronger than ever.
The United Arab Emirates has quickly emerged as a new hotspot for families, couples, and just about anyone in between. Offering up beautiful weather nearly all year round, the UAE is perfect for those looking for some relaxation. Known for its shopping, its abundance of international restaurants, and its ornate architecture, the small Middle Eastern country is attracting more and more tourists every year. Make sure to check out some of Dubai’s best beaches while you’re there, too!
The Balkan region of Europe has seen a resurgence in a big way, and 2017 will most likely be its best year for tourism yet. While the coastal countries of Croatia and Montenegro are known for their gorgeous beach towns, Serbia is quickly making a name for itself as a fun and unique destination for those looking for something a bit different out of their European holiday. Its capital city, Belgrade, is full of interesting architecture, emerging artists, and a growing restaurant scene that features both local and international cuisine. It’s also the perfect jumping off point for exploring the rest of the Balkans, as transportation within the countries is both cheap and straight-forward. Not only that, the Serbian countryside, with its rolling hills, snaking rivers, and jaw-dropping Tara Mountain is still relatively quiet, as Serbia is still quite low on many people’s radars. Go now, before the secret gets out.
Diverse, beautiful, and boasting gorgeous weather, Australia has long been on many people’s dream holiday list. And it’s easy to see why – the country offers up a variety of landscapes, cultural experiences, and wildlife spotting sure to make the long flights worth it. For an amazing restaurant scene and an ever-growing street art revolution, head to buzzing Melbourne. For unbelievable white sand beaches and colourful reefs, check out Queensland, and for crystal-clear waters and lesser-known locales, try Western Australia. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, there’s no place on Earth like the Australian Outback. And no trip to the country would be complete without checking out the famous Sydney Opera House, one of the world’s most iconic buildings.
Officially called the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean island is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Unbelievably beautiful, it’s a popular spot for both American cruise ships and travellers from further afield. The colourful buildings of Old San Juan, as well as the city’s historic sites and fortress, will satisfy any history buff, while the ample choices of restaurants and nightlife spots are perfect for those looking to let loose. There’s also the gorgeous Mosquito Bay, a beach that glows in the dark thanks to bioluminescence, and the snorkelling around the island is top-notch. If you’re lucky, you can even spot some of the humpback whales or manatees that live in the waters nearby.
While Western Europe is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Earth, thanks to countries like France and Spain, the westernmost country of Portugal often doesn’t see the same tourist numbers. Why this is is a total mystery, as Portugal offers some of the best sightseeing, landscapes, and cultural experiences in all of Europe. Whether you want to relax on the beaches of the Algarve, explore the cobblestoned streets of Lisbon, or indulge in a meal of codfish and delicious port in Porto, the country is chock-full of things to do and places to see. Small enough to see a lot in a short period of time, Portugal is a great destination for your 2017 holiday.
Central America is fast becoming a popular destination for tourists, especially with the backpacker crowd. While many people have flocked to Costa Rica, the rest of the region definitely deserves a visit as well. Nicaragua, with its stunning natural beauty and colonial architecture, is sure to make you fall in love with its culture. The bigger cities of Granada and Leon are perfect for wandering, while surfers will want to head to San Juan del Sur and its surrounding towns. For an extra-special getaway, head to tiny Little Corn Island in the Caribbean, a place where you can find your own private paradise, or to Ometepe, a beautiful island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua.
Finland is celebrating its Centennial in 2017, which means it’s a great time to visit the European country. Aside from all the great celebrations, the country boasts some of the most beautiful forests on the continent, with more than 70% of its countryside covered in swathes of green trees. Even better, Finland has a “freedom to roam” or “Everyman’s right” rule, meaning that anyone can walk freely in nature, wherever they’d like. If you’re lucky, you can watch the incredible Northern Lights dance across the sky in winter, or, if you’re after more of a city-break, you can check out Helsinki’s fantastic coffee and design cultures. And no trip to Finland is complete without a traditional sauna experience, where you’re sure to find a lot of rest and relaxation.
While its neighbour, South Africa, has long been known for its incredible safaris and wildlife spotting, Botswana is a fantastic place for those looking for less tourists but just as many opportunities to see some of the world’s most beautiful creatures in the flesh. Travelling overland is the best way to explore the country, and one of the highlights of your trip will surely be a visit to the Okavango Delta, where you can spot elephants, giraffes, hippos, water buffalo, hyenas, zebras, and more. Botswana’s natural beauty is some of the most breathtaking in the world, and a trip there in 2017 is highly recommended.
One of Asia’s fastest growing tourist destinations, The Philippines doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in 2017. Though its Southeast Asian neighbours like Thailand and Vietnam have been on travellers’ radars for years, more and more people are venturing to the stunning islands of The Philippines for their perfect beach holiday. While the island of Boracay is great for its nightlife, head to quieter Palawan to see absolutely jaw-dropping nature, complete with turquoise waters, palm-lined beaches, and some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving in the world. If you’re looking for an unusual spot to visit, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol are well worth your time. For more on The Philippines, check out our posts dedicated to the country on the Expedia blog.
Despite a tumultuous time in the 1980s and 1990s, Colombia has made a huge turnaround, and it has quickly become the favourite spot of many avid travellers. A vast and varied country, there’s an incredible amount of things to see and do; try scuba diving in Taganga, wandering the Old Town of Cartagena, hiking to the Lost City in the Sierra Nevadas, sipping coffee in Salento, dancing salsa in Cali, checking out the emerging restaurant scene in Bogota, or exploring the cosmopolitan streets of Medellin. No matter what you’re after – beaches, big cities, or some peace and quiet – Colombia has it all.
Where are you headed in 2017? Have you been to any of the places on this list?