Where next? It’s an important question for us travel lovers. And it’s no easy feat to whittle down your options and decide on which four or five destinations will make it on your must-visit list for 2018.
Fashions, fads and trends come and go. A two-week stint in Santorini may have been your dream holiday a couple of years ago, but this year, do you really want to be battling throngs of selfie-obsessed beachgoers for your secluded spot in the sand? Not particularly, right?
This is the year for unique trips, full of authentic interactions and hands-on experiences, equating to a journey that is meaningful to you on a personal level, not just your adorning army of social media devotees. And that means going to places that most people couldn’t even point to on a map, let alone have visited.
To help you plan your year of travel ahead, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 underrated destinations that you should visit in 2018. We hope it gives you inspiration and some extra motivation to diverge from the beaten track and truly lose yourself in the world.
- 1. Puglia, Italy
Puglia is the southern region in Italy that makes up the heel of Italy’s “boot”. Often overlooked for more well-known Italian destinations like the glitzy Amalfi Coast or eternally popular Tuscany, Puglia is rustic and real and has been slowly creeping into the bucket lists of savvy travellers over the past few years.
Where to stay? The charming 5-star La Sommita Relais in Ostuni is perfect for a romantic and luxurious break.
- 2. Lofoten Archipelago, Norway
Known for its dramatic scenery, this unspoiled polar paradise is wild and untamed, just like the intrepid travellers it attracts. You can ski and hike your heart out, gaze over the mystic Norwegian Fjords, or, should you come at the right time, enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime natural spectacle of the the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights). After you’ve explored the uniquely Scandinavian landscape, take to the seas and tour the islands that make up the archipelago, keeping an eye out for the pods of orcas that have started to come back to the islands in recent years.
Where to stay? Anker Brygge Hotel Vagan is a traditional hotel with a wonderful sauna for warming chilly toes after a day facing the elements, while the rooftop terrace offers the ideal vantage spot for watching the Northern Lights.
Strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe, Jordan is a mystical country that has enticed visitors with its unforgiving desert landscapes and captivating history. The best kept secret in Jordan is Wadi Rum, also known as The Valley of the Moon, where the red desert sheers up into Seven Pillars of imposing sandstone and granite. And no luxury holiday to Jordan is complete without a visit to the city of Petra, often described as the eighth wonder of the ancient world.
Where to stay? For somewhere near to the idyllic Red Sea beaches of Jordan, stay at the Kempinski Hotel Aqaba Red Sea, and when in the capital of Amman, there’s not many hotels better than the Four Seasons.
- 4. Cambodia
Nestled between Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia is most well-known for the vast and eerily beautiful temples of Angkor Wat. While this marvel of a historic site is certainly worth the visit if you haven’t been, there’s is plenty more to Cambodia for the discerning traveller. And with new luxury lodgings opening in some of the lesser-known regions – such as the new Six Senses on Krabey Island, the Alila Villas on Koh Russey, and Rosewood’s new hotel in Phnom Penh – 2018 is the perfect year to discover Cambodia.
- 5. Bolivia
As one of South America’s most diverse and exciting nations, Bolivia has played second fiddle to neighbouring Peru and the well-trodden Machu Picchu for far too long. But not for much longer as the rocky country is finally getting the credit it deserves thanks to its otherworldly scenery – such as the Salar de Uyuni salt flats – and a burgeoning cultural and gastronomy scene. The cultural capital, La Paz, is the world’s eighth-highest city, so it’s some surprise that the city is currently emerging as one of the hottest foodie capitals in the world.
Where to stay? The Stannum Boutique Hotel in La Paz is a fine place to stay.