If travelling is high on your list of priorities for 2018, you need to check out our predictions for this year’s hottest destinations.
From cultural experiences like watching sumo wrestling in Japan and chart-topping honeymoons to once-in-a-lifetime experiences like exploring the Atacama desert in Chile, we’ve covered all the bases to bring you the best of 2018 travel.
China - new for 2018
Can you keep up with China? The world’s fastest-developing country is a force to be reckoned with. After all, it is home to the Great Wall of China, the only man-made structure visible from space which, if you didn’t know, offers a thrilling toboggan ride from the top once you’ve scaled it. With 2018 being the year of the dog, locals ring in the Chinese New Year in style in February with paper lanterns and firecrackers. China is a truly inspirational place. See life-sized clay soldiers in their thousands in Xi’an or experience some of nature’s most spectacular sights including Yunnan’s endless rice terraces and the Zhangjiajie Mountains (the inspiration behind Avatar’s Hallelujah peaks).
Canada scores pretty high on mirror-like lakes, towering peaks and powerful waterfalls. Having celebrated its 150th anniversary last year, it boasts a treasure trove of natural wonders. The western coast in particular offers some of the most impressive sights and exciting activities. Embark on a classic rail experience on board The Rocky Mountaineer, surf terrific waves and go whale-watching in Tofino or put on your cowboy hat and experience one of the amazing ranches in British Columbia (which is also a renowned location for spotting grizzly bears and staying in lodges built in the wilderness).
A geothermal adventure playground, a trip to Iceland will continue to top bucket lists in 2018. Chase the Northern Lights from September until mid-April and combine with snowmobiling and Deplar Farm's heli-skiing – or a helicopter tour over snowy lava fields, like our travel experts Mel and Gina recently did – for the ultimate winter adventure. In summer you can take in the sheer beauty of Iceland’s rugged landscapes by road-tripping around the scenic Ring Road. The land of fire and ice has some spectacular, stop-you-in-your-tracks scenery, from the mesmerising Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon to smoking lava fields and craters – you can even explore the inside of a volcano. Why not consider a family adventure this summer? With days prolonged by the Midnight Sun, there is no limit to how much you can fit in.
Whether you want to witness the ethereal cherry blossoms in springtime or are planning a trip in winter to see the endearing snow macaques in Hell Valley, Yudanaka, Japan is a timeless location. From traditional tea rooms where having a cuppa is a ceremonial affair and ancient temples to a thrilling ride on board the bullet train and cutting-edge technology, it is a place where the past blends seamlessly into the future. Immerse yourself in this wonderful culture where you can learn about the fascinating past of great emperors, dine with a maiko (Geisha in training) and watch a sumo practice.
Few places do wildlife safaris like South Africa. Tick off seeing the Big Five in their natural habitat this year; for the best bush experience, we recommend staying at the Kwandwe Ecca Lodge on the Eastern Cape or Madikwe Hills in the heart of Madikwe Game Reserve that are suitable for young guests as well. Its impossibly-beautiful landscapes attract many honeymooners too, with the Garden Route – one of the most scenic regions in South Africa – Cape Town and the Winelands remaining ever popular.
The 18th of July marks the centenary of Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned on Robben Island for just under two decades during the apartheid. The island, which is a place of great historic significance, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can head there to pay tribute to South Africa’s first black president.
If you want nature unadulterated, Chile is the place to go. With gushing rivers, vast mountains and glaciers, deserts and volcanoes, it packs in a wealth of stunning rugged landscapes and wildlife. See flamingos living among the salt flats and geysers of the ‘Flamencos National Reserve’ in the commune of San Pedro de Atacama and Llama-like guanacos in the scenic Torres del Paine National Park.
Chile is also famous for its food and wine. Have a stroll through the picturesque vineyards, sample fine vintages and tuck into scrumptious empanadas. From October until December you can witness the incredible red crab migration on Easter Island when as many as 50 million of these crimson critters make their way to the ocean to breed.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Maldives is the nirvana of barefoot luxury. This classic honeymoon destination is not only blessed with turquoise seas, powdery sand, palm trees and a sunny climate but also some of the most resplendent luxury resorts known to mankind. Check into your own private villa or bungalow (be it glass-floored ones on water or in an immersive jungle environment) and enjoy extravagant culinary experiences like dining with sharks at the submerged Anantara Kihavah restaurant.
As the world’s first national park, Yellowstone is one of the most iconic holiday destinations in the USA. You would have definitely seen photos of its defining feature: the prismatic hot spring with a bright blue centre and electric yellow and orange edges. It is one of our top destinations this year for being a place of incredible wonder and beauty. With unmatchable hiking trails, brought to life by glassy blue lakes, snow-capped peaks, green pine trees and a technicolour of natural gems that one can only find in this amazing park, a visit to Yellowstone is hard to beat.
With its cobbled streets and the signature red-roofed houses of medieval Dubrovnik, Croatia looks like it has been plucked straight out of a fairy-tale book. Within its ancient walls you will find Slavic churches, palaces like the Roman-built Diocletian’s Palace in Split and Napoleonic forts, the perfect holiday for any history fanatic. Equally fascinating are its natural gems: the charming vineyards of Bale, and azure lakes like the 16 lakes of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, linked by a chain of impressive waterfalls.
Costa Rica may be small in size but delivers big on multiple fronts: alluring rainforest trails, dramatic volcanoes and huge swells that make it a world-class surfing destination. Explore the cloud forests and spot hordes of incredible species including sloths, caimans and plenty of bird species like the somewhat cartoonish common potoo. Costa Rica is also one of the top nations where people live longer and healthier lives. Locals put it down to pura vida (the pure life) so if your wellbeing is top priority this year, a holiday there might be just what you need.
Feeling inspired? Make an enquiry or call one of our experts on 020 3613 5604.