20 Places We Want to Travel to in 2018
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British Columbia, Canada
With its pristine coastline and lush temperature rainforests, British Columbia is one of the most beautiful destinations for outdoor adventure and ecotourism. Don’t be turned off by the off-season: In winter, the coastal communities of Tofino and Ucluelet are perfect for watching dramatic winter storms, especially explosive because of the geography of this stretch of the world.
Greenville, South Carolina
The great Southern revival of Greenville, South Carolina, has included the emergence of a varied and delightful culinary scene. Here you’ll find the latest outpost of chef Sean Brock’s heirloom-crop-centric Husk and Michael Kramer’s Italian-inflected Jianna. Meanwhile, the Reedy River, which runs straight through Greenville’s quaint downtown, is a popular hang-out for locals and tourists alike: A soaring pedestrian suspension bridge presides over an impressive stretch of waterfalls and hiking and bike paths.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi is coming for Paris’s art world crown. An offshoot of the Louvre opened here in November, quickly rocketing up the art world’s list of must-visit spots. It’ll soon be joined by two other art destinations, still under construction: The Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.
Montgomery, Alabama, has a complicated history, to say the least. But a bright spot will soon be the country’ first national memorial to the victims of lynching, to be dedicated April 26, 2018. Montgomery is also home to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the Rosa Parks Museum, and a striking Civil Rights Memorial designed by Maya Lin, the architect of Washington, D.C.’s powerful Vietnam Memorial.
Sambor Prei Kuk, Cambodia
This 16th and 17th-century forest temple complex became a UNESCO heritage site this year. The site has also been identified as Ishanapura, the capital of an ancient Khmer civilization called the Chenla Empire, which dates to the late 6th and 7th centuries. Come here early before the crowds do!
The food scene in our nation’s capital has been creeping upward in quality for more than a decade, and now it's reached critical mass. Spend a month’s rent at modern American tasting menu spot Pineapple and Pearls, or get more bang for your buck with tapas at one of chef José Andrés's many Jaleo locations. Also, be sure to check out the newly developed District Wharf area on the south waterfront, now home to myriad restaurants and bars.
Los Cabos, Mexico
Over the past few years, Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo have evolved into white-hot vacation spots for American tourists, but the results haven’t always been pretty. Now, however, a spate of sleek hotels and resorts aim to give the destination an infusion of luxury worthy of its pristine beaches. Coming in 2018 are Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve property; the Four Seasons Los Cabos at Costa Palmas; the Montage Los Cabos; 1 Hotel & Homes; and Mexico’s first Nobu Hotel.
Oslo has long been a underrated Scandinavian destination, but 2018 promises to be a banner year for Norway’s capital city. Next year, the northern nation’s king and queen celebrate 50 years of marriage, set to be celebrated with a slew of festive public events all year round.
Moving past recent instability, Egypt is again a worthy destination for adventurous vacationers. The well-traveled golden funeral mask of King Tutankhamen is returning home next year to appear at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, which will encompass 650,000 square feet and more than 100,000 Egyptian artifacts.
Now is the time to return to many hurricane-ravaged portions of the Caribbean; the region is in desperate need of tourist dollars. The hospitality business is up and running in the Bahamas, soon to be home to the multibillion-dollar hotel and casino Baha Mar. It joins the Ocean Club resort, now managed by Four Seasons, and the dreamy Kamalame Cay, which recently unveiled new beach bungalows.
Pyeongchang, South Korea
In February, Pyeongchang will welcome the Winter Olympics to its snow-capped slopes. The destination, which in recent years has transformed into a winter-sports wonderland, has installed a new high-speed rail line to mark the occasion and ferry thrill-seeking visitors in from Icheon International Airport in a little more than an hour. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, the region is also famed for mountain hiking.
There’s a singular pleasure to uploading an Instagram picture of an especially lush expanse with the hashtag #nofilter. Such occurrences are easily achievable on the aptly-named Emerald Isle, which although long a prime tourist destination, has some new selling points. There’s Adare Manor, a recently reopened luxury property in County Limerick set in a romantic 19th-century manse, and multiple new whiskey distilleries around the country, including Slane Castle in County Meath and Pearse Lyons in Dublin. Speaking of Dublin, National Geographic this year named "Europe’s largest village" a must-visit city; visit the new Irish Emigration Museum and the newly refurbished National Gallery of Ireland.
More than a decade after Hurricane Katrina, the Big Easy is bustling with life and its signature party-hearty spirit. Visit the reinvigorated CBD, now home to hotels like the stylish Ace and Troubadour. Post-Katrina fairytale stories are still being acted out: Next year, the historic Jung Hotel and Residences will reopen after the building sat vacant for years after severe flooding.
There's even more to Mexico City than its world-class food scene and vibrant history. Named a World Design Captial for 2018, Mexico City is also a cosmopolitan destination for art-minded travelers: Visit in February to attend the Material Art Fair, October for Design Week Mexico, and April for the Condo Fair.
Tel Aviv may be losing its U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, but this beautiful city has plenty else going for it. Go to the beach, peruse its many markets, and soak up the rich Mediterranean sun that shines here virtually year-round. Fashionable new hotels abound, including the chic Poli House, which boasts a luxe rooftop pool, and a W Hotel ensconced in 19th-century former convent. Fashion lovers shouldn’t miss a visit to Maskit, the embroidery-centric fashion house recently resurrected after closing in the 1990s.
Slovenia’s picturesque Julian Alps, which Lonely Planet named one of the top regions to visit in 2018, looks a bit like Switzerland’s ranges but with much fewer people. Once reserved for hardier travelers, these days the Julian Alps are accessible to all types of visitors. Look elsewhere in the country for top-notch cuisine—chef Ana Ros’s Soca Valley inn Hisa Franko was featured in an episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table—and exceptional local wine from producers including Burja Estate and Movia.
The capital of the Canadian province of Alberta is stepping into the spotlight next year with the new Royal Alberta Museum, a sprawling 419,000-square-foot exhibit space that will house treasures like Ice Age horse fossils. Travel + Leisure also notes its burgeoning food scene: Native chef Scott Downey is back from stints at Noma in Copenhagen and Daniel in New York City to open his new restaurant, the Butternut Tree. Expect dishes like "grilled bannock with wild mushrooms and winged kelp; bison served with Saskatoon berry jus; [and] maple-butter cake with black-currant jam."
The American dollar goes far in Morocco, and that means you can ball out on fancy meals and indulgent hammam visits without losing your shirt. In Tétouan, see traditional carpet artisans create woven masterpieces up close an personal, and be sure to stop by three of the city’s fine art destinations: the Institute of Fine Arts, Tétouan Museum of Modern Art, and Green Olive Arts.
With much fewer tourists than South Africa but equally beautiful terrain, Namibia is an excellent destination for travelers looking for peace and quiet with a dash of adventure. Climb the oldest sand dunes in the world, watch the wildlife at Etosha National Park, and bunk in a luxe safari lodges like Chobe Water Villas, where guests can watch animals from the comfort of their rooms.
The Hawaiian island of Oahu is famous for sky-high waves on its rural North Shore. Don’t expect much in the way of luxurious lodging here—the only true resort up here is the modest Turtle Bay Resort. Other accommodations include Mohala Farms, where guests trade agricultural labor for a night’s stay. Surf the North Shore for big thrills—especially in winter, when the waves are more intense—or head over to Waikiki for a gentler ride (and a heck of a lot more hotels and restaurants).