The 52 most incredible places to visit in 2018

Aboriginal rock art in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Photo: Simon Thomsen

New year, new travel goals.

Travelling is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions and since 2017 was found to be the safest year on record for commercial air travel, now may be a good time to plan your next trip.

It also helps that January tends to be the best time of year to find cheap flights.

If you’re looking for some travel inspiration, here are 52 of the best travel destinations for 2018, according to The New York Times.

Keep scrolling for destination inspiration.

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Chris Graythen/Getty ImagesA crowd of people try to catch beads on Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Big Easy takes the No. 1 spot this year.

The city is well-known for its vibrant music and arts scene, kicking creole cuisine and lively Mardi Gras celebration. And this year, the city turns 300.

In honour of New Orleans’ big year, special events have been scheduled throughout 2018, and the government is planning a major $US6 million makeover to its famous Bourbon Street.


Mario Carvajal/Wikimedia CommonsThe river Cano Cristales in La Macarena, Meta.

Colombia‘s combination of vibrant cities and gorgeous natural landscape makes this a top pick.

Take a tour through the capital city of Bogota, or visit natural marvels like the lush Pacific Coast rainforest and red-tinged river Caño Cristales.

Basilicata, Italy

vic15/Wikimedia CommonsOld city of Matera in Basilicata, Italy.

This little-known stretch of southern Italy has been lauded for its beautiful beaches and ancient villages.

The picturesque town of Matera is set to host the European Capital of Culture in 2019.

The Caribbean Islands

Photo by Al Bello/Getty ImagesIsla Verde Beach in Old San Juan , Puerto Rico.

Some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands were devastated in 2017 by hurricanes Irma and Maria. The storms crippled the tourism industries there, but places like Puerto Rico have declared they are open for business – and tourists – even as it struggles to recover.

Vierwaldstattersee, Switzerland

Wikimedia CommonsSteamboat on Lake of Lucerne.

Vierwaldstattersee, also known as Lake Lucerne, is a picturesque and popular lakeside mountain town undergoing major development.

To encourage travel to the area, visitors in the colder months will automatically receive the William Tell Pass, which can be used for a variety of transportation options in the region.

Route of Parks, Chile

Almonroth/Wikimedia CommonsParque Pumalin fjords, Chilean Andes, Patagonia.

Chile has become a travel mecca with its rich history and natural beauty.

The Patagonia region is renowned for its spectacular and challenging hikes. 2018 marks the year the 1,500-mile stretch of trail will become the Route of Parks.

Gangwon Province, South Korea

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty ImagesAnglers cast lines through holes into a frozen river in Hwacheon, South Korea.

The Gangwon Province in South Korea will soon be a major global hotspot when it hosts the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

The area is also known for its whitewater rafting and hiking, in addition to winter sports.

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Mike Simons/Getty ImagesSpectators aboard boats floating on the Ohio River as the Cinergy Field stadium was demolished with an implosion in 2002.

Cincinnati opened three new theatres to entice travellers looking for a dose of culture.

The iconic Music Hall underwent a $US143 million renovation, as did the Ensemble Theatre and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, which both saw major face lifts in preparation for 2018.

Kingdom of Bhutan

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesThimphu, Bhutan.

Bhutan is breathtaking, given its glorious mountain ranges and nearly untouched local culture.

In 2018, luxury hotel developer Six Senses will open five high-end retreats across Bhutan, combining Bhutan’s natural beauty with indulgent travel.

Glasgow, Scotland

Ralf Roletschek/Wikimedia CommonsGlasgow, Scotland.

Scotland’s trendy locale Glasgow is set to see a major revival.

Some 250 architectural projects are set to open through 2025, including hotels, shops, and residences, according to The New York Times.

East Cape and Corridor, Los Cabos, Mexico

Photo: Mauricio Ramos/Red Bull via Getty ImagesJonathan Paredes of Mexico dives from the rocks of the Arch of Cabos San Lucas.

Cabo is best-known for its party scene filled with Western transplants.

Neighbouring East Cape and Corridor are set to become competitors in 2018 with the opening of several contemporary restaurants and hotels to liven up the coastal strip.

Northern Territory, Australia

Photo: Adam Pretty/AllsportAboriginal dancers in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory.

Australia’s Top End, the northernmost part of the remote Northern Territory, has seen an influx of tourists looking to get a feel for the rich, aboriginal culture and history there, according to The New York Times.

Cambodia’s coast

Wikimedia CommonsKoh Ta Kiev island, Cambodia.

Cambodia’s lesser-known beaches and white-sand coastline will likely become a tourist hub with the opening of new routes and direct flights to Sihanoukville International Airport in the popular coastal city.

Luwa Plain National Park, Zambia

Geoff Gallice/Wikimedia CommonsElephants cross the river in Luwa Plain National Park

This region has stepped up its conservation efforts with the help of the non-profit African parks, and opened up a permanent camp in 2017 called King Lewanika Lodge where visitors can see the second-largest wildebeest migration in the world each November.

Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Robert Laberge/Getty ImagesIndyCar Series, Baltimore, Maryland.

The city celebrates the 200th birthday of Maryland-born abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass and will be jam-packed with cultural events throughout 2018.


Jordan Mansfield/Getty ImagesSt. Nicholas’ Church in Tallinn, Estonia

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Estonia’s founding.

The newly opened Estonian National Museum is a great place to start before exploring the country’s budget-friendly capital Tallinn.

Gansu, China

Photo: Feng Li/Getty ImagesSinging Sand Dunes near the Crescent Moon Spring in Jiuquan of Gansu Province China.

China’s Gansu province has much to offer, including the gorgeous hike through sand dunes to the Crescent Moon Spring, named for its unique moon-like shape.

Saskatoon, Canada

Ryan Hodnett/Wikimedia CommonsSouth Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon, Canada.

Art enthusiasts have much to explore in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan with the opening of the Remai Modern museum, which houses several great works of art.

Seville, Spain

Daniel Perez/Getty ImagesGirls dressed as ‘sevillanas’ in Seville, Spain.

Lonely Planet named Seville, Spain, the best city to travel to in 2018.

Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica

Rodtico21/Wikimedia CommonsGolfo de Papagayo in Costa Rica.

The Four Seasons Hotel reopened on the gorgeous island in December after extensive renovations.

Branson, Missouri

Jeremy Thompson/Wikimedia CommonsOutlaw Run at Silver Dollar City, Branson Missouri

Small-town Branson boasts big-city thrills. It’s Silver Dollar City attraction will add the world’s tallest, steepest and fastest spinning coaster called Time Traveller.

Sao Tome and Principe

Chuck Moravec/Wikimedia CommonsBlue Lagoon in Sao Tome and Principe

This small island nation off the west coast of Africa was designated a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, with several bird species among its protected wildlife.

Germany’s western states

Daniel Schwen/Wikimedia CommonsHoar frost or soft rime in Lower Saxony, western Germany.

Germany’s western states have plenty of natural beauty, like the ancient Ice Age cave art in the Jura Plateau which was listed as a Unesco’s World Heritage site in 2017.


Tavyland/Wikimedia CommonsTavarua Island, Fiji

Fiji has several stunning islands, including Turtle Island which only allows 28 guests at a time.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Gillett’s Crossing/Wikimedia CommonsThe Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel.

Several new restaurants and music venues have opened up at the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel located in this off-the-beaten-path Southern destination.

Oslo, Norway

Katrine Lunke/Wikimedia CommonsThe Havnepromenaden (Harbour Promenade) at Sørenga, Oslo Norway.

The new Havnepromenaden, or Harbour Promenade, has several shops and a sea-water pool right in the country’s capital.

Honshu, Japan

Chris McGrath/Getty ImagesKyoto city from the Kiyomizu Temple, Japan.

Japan’s biggest island, Honshu, will see the world’s largest art fair, the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale.

Arles, France

PierreSelim/Wikimedia CommonsRoman Amphitheatre in Arles, France

Arles is set to see a huge art makeover in its city. Five former industrial buildings will be transformed into galleries, parks, and exhibition halls over the next two years, according to The New York Times.

Kuelap, Peru

Pitxiquin/Wikimedia CommonsRuins of Kuelap, Peru

Kuélap is referred to as “the fortress in the clouds,” and hosts the site of a breathtaking pre-Incan settlement built by the “Cloud Warrior” people of the northern Andes.

A cable car system that runs two and a half miles was installed in 2017 to enable visitors to travel to the nearest town of Nuevo Tingo in just 20 minutes.

Downtown Denver, Colorado

Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesDenver, Colorado.

Denver is becoming a bustling city for art, and will reopen the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in March.

Kigali, Rwanda

Adam Jones/Wikimedia CommonsKigali Tower in Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, is a sleek and modern city quickly becoming one of Africa’s friendliest tourist destinations.

Belgrade, Serbia

Jeff Attaway/Kite Aerial Photography/Wikimedia CommonsLooking South down the Sava River, Serbia.

Serbia is quickly rising as one of Europe’s most up-and-coming travel destinations, with its vibrant nightlife and emerging fashion scene.

Tasmania, Australia

iStockThe Neck on Bruny Island, south of Hobart, Tasmania.

Australia’s southern island state has risen up in the culinary ranks, thanks to chef David Moyle’s Franklin ;now one of Australia’s top-rated restaurants


Alexander Scheuber/Getty ImagesSeljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland.

Stunning Iceland is an expensive destination, but cheap flights will now be offered by Icelandic carrier Wow Air to Reykjavik from a variety of cities in the US.

Rogue River, Oregon

Hamad Darwish/Wikimedia CommonsRogue River, Oregon.

Oregon is renowned for its beautiful natural scenery, and Rogue River is no exception. Rafting trips are available through Rogue’s forests and canyons, and a 40-mile-long trail is available to those who prefer to tackle the place by foot.


David Iliff/Wikimedia CommonsŠiauliai Cathedral, Lithuania.

Lithuania, which boasts a UNESCO listed world heritage site in its capital of Vilnius, celebrates its 100th birthday since restoring itself as an independent democracy in 2018.

Buffalo, New York

John Normile/Getty ImagesBuffalo, New York.

Three new breweries and two new luxury hotels, the Hotel Henry and the Curtiss Hotel, just opened in New York City’s northern neighbour.

Also, the $US27 million children’s museum will open downtown, making Buffalo a more family-friendly location.

La Paz, Bolivia

Dan Istitene/Getty ImagesLa Paz, Bolivia.

La Paz offers a new and expanding cable-car system to see the city from a bird’s-eye view.

Lonely Planet named it one of the best value places to visit in 2018.

Prague, Czech Republic

A Savin/Wikimedia CommonsView from the tower of Old Town Hall in Prague, Czech Republic

The Czech Republic was founded in 1918, and this year marks its 100th birthday.

Prague, the capital city, will be celebrating with plenty of concerts, events and exhibitions.

Emilia Romagna, Italy

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)A bike race through Emilia Romagna.

Italy’s little gem is Emilia Romagna, a seaside town that boasts hillside views and plenty of delicious hole-in-the-wall spots to eat at.

Just outside of Bologna, FICO Eataly World a new 25-acre Italian Smorgasburg will be opening.

Disney Springs, Florida, USA

Gustavo Caballero/Getty ImagesDisney Springs at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Disney Springs is Disney Land, but upgraded to cater for adults.

Guests can eat at several restaurants owned by prominent chefs likeRick BaylessMasaharu MorimotoWolfgang Puck and Art Smith, and a sommelier-curatedwine bar will be opening in spring 2018.

Megeve, France

Wikimedia CommonsMegeve, France

Megeve is a ski resort village in the alps of southeastern France.

A new 55-room Four Seasons opened up, bringing a touch of luxury to this quaint shop-filled location.

Chandigargh, India

Mark Kolbe/Getty ImagesChildren play at the Rock Garden Chandigarh, India.

Northern India’s Chandigarh is a well-kept secret for modern art and architecture in the country.

The city boasts many pop up art exhibits, and the Capitol Complex, a government compound designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2016.

Seattle, Washington, USA

Ron Wurzer/Getty ImagesSeattle’s new Central Library.

Seattle is best-known for its towering Space Needle, which stretches 605 feet.

Beginning in 2018, the Needle will see major renovations that include a revolving restaurant.

Rotorua, New Zealand

Sandra Teddy/Getty ImagesPeople bathe in one of the thermal pools at Polynesian Spas in Rotorua, New Zealand.

New Zealand boasts stunning natural beauty, and it’s renowned for its geothermal mud baths.

Rotorua hosted the first-ever annual Mudtopia Festival in December, and celebrated with mud-themed games and massages.

Ypres, Belgium

Leon Neal/Getty ImagesThe story of the war is told by performances and music set to a backdrop of visual projections on the facade of the Cloth Hall in Ypres, Belgium.

Ypres is a beautiful city located in the Flemish part of Belgium.

This year, it celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I, and will be hosting memorial services to mark the occasion.

Tangier, Morocco

Diego Delso/Wikimedia CommonsLighthouse of Cap Spartel, near Tangier, northern Morocco.

Morocco is best-known for its sprawling markets and colourful tiled buildings.

Tangier is undergoing some modernisation, with an all new waterfront and marina, and the first high-speed rail line in Africa set to debut in 2018, which will connect Tangier with Casablanca and Rabat.

Ribera Del Duero, Spain

Alvaro Ridruejo/Wikimedia CommonsLeft bank of the Duero River as it passes through Soria, with the religious retreat of San Saturio in the background.

Spain’s Ribera Del Duero is best-known for its wine and gorgeous hilly landscape.

Montgomery, Alabama USA

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesA bust of civil rights icon Rosa Parks at the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.

Montgomery has a robust and troubled history that stretches back nearly 200 years, but the state seeks to reinvent itself in 2018.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice will be opening up, and will commemorate 4,000 victims of slavery and racial prejudice.

Sudtirol, Italy

Wikimedia CommonsTaser aerial tramway in Meraner Land, South Tyrolg

Italy’s autonomous German-speaking Südtirol has become a wellness destination for travelling yogis seeking time away from the hustle and bustle.

New properties including the Seehof Nature Retreat, Montchalet and the Alpenroyal Hotel, have been set up to ease worried minds in Italy’s remote region.

Bristol, England

Matt Cardy/Getty ImagesBalloons at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, England.

Bristol is a hipster’s paradise, with a thriving street-art scene and gorgeous annual festivals.

The city hopes to step up its art game in 2018. One of Britain’s oldest theatres,Bristol Old Vic is set to upgrade to 188-seats, and St. George’s Bristol concert hall is slated to add modern fixtures as well.


Chumsak Kanoknan/Getty ImagesLaos girls, in ancient dress, at the Songkran festival, in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Laos is set to revamp its Luang Prabang region in 2018 with several modern luxury resorts.

More flights from most major Asian cities and a train link to China are in the works to make the UNESCO site more accessible.

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