Seeing the world in 2018

The New Year is on its way and we want to tell you about some of the interesting tourist destinations emerging in 2018. A selection of unfamiliar countries and cities that are gradually becoming a trend for tourism agencies. Ride the wave of adventure and enjoy these places the world has to offer; it’ll be worth your while…

Lonely Planet’s recommendations for 2018 are here and we wonder how they choose the destinations. It’s a carefully thought-out process based on suggestions made by experts and travellers: a team of experts creates a list of finalists using criteria such as current interest in each destination, the expectation they generate and the ‘surprise factor’. Selected destinations also have to meet other specific requirements, such as their holding a special event, that they have been unfairly ignored or that they ought to be seen before they become a destination for the masses. Consideration is also given to five travel trends for the coming year, such as marathon-run destinations, vegetarian and vegan holidays and private islands, among others. The experts also select the top ten cultural holidays for families, the best newcomers and the best accommodation.

So, which are these destinations? First up, we have the ten countries with a lot to celebrate.

Chile is at the top of the list as 2018 sees it celebrate its bicentenary as an independent nation. It’s an exceptional country thanks to the variety of its natural phenomena: glaciers, volcanoes and deserts to arouse visitors’ interest.

South Korea is one of the Asian wonders least known in the West and in 2018 it is set to host the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

Our neighbour Portugal is also in vogue: a cultural and gastronomical resort with wonderful beaches, natural parks and biosphere reserves.

Yibuti is where you want to be if you’re looking for adventure. It has the most incredible desert and salt-crystal lakes hidden in the most remote corner of the world.

New Zealand is a hiking paradise thanks to its Great Walks -long routes that take hikers through some of the wildest areas of its incredible countryside- and it is also pioneer in protecting its environment.

The island of Malta will be in travellers’ sights just as soon as La Valetta becomes European Capital of Culture 2018. This tiny island country in the heart of the Mediterranean, with its dense, convulsed history, is to play its part as European Capital of Culture with a great deal of baroque, pop music, international film festivals and a biennial contemporary art exhibition.

A century ago, after the Russian Revolution, Georgia was declared an independent state and, in 2018, this country of the Caucasus will celebrate in style. The perfect destination for excursions, rafting, horse riding and skiing.

Mauritius is a racially mixed cultural destination with traces of its colonial past, in which different historical influences (African, European, Hindi) have created a Creole culture of its own. Its beaches amaze visitors with their spectacular crystal-clear water, luxurious resorts and coral reefs for those who enjoy diving.

China has the highest population in the world; it is enormous and has many places yet to be discovered. Classic sights such as the Great Wall, the Silk Road, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an and the Shanghai skyline are joined by other destinations that have remained more or less beyond reach until recently. These include Gansu, the jewel of the Silk Road, and Yunnan, a backpacker’s paradise.

2018 will be the year of Nelson Mandela and South Africa commemorates the centenary of his birth with an official programme of sports, educational and artistic events under the motto of ‘Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018: Be the Legacy. The main aim is to inspire societies committed to the same values through exhibitions on transparency, respect, passion and integrity.

As far as cities go, Lonely Planet puts Seville at the top of the list. In recent years, it has been transformed and bloomed into a vigorous city with an artistic past. In 2018, it plays host to the European Film Awards and will be a location for the series ‘Game of Thrones’. There are also plans to continue the exhibitions organised for the fourth centenary of the baroque painter Murillo.

The Andalusian capital is followed by the US city of Detroit, which is ‘bubbling over with ideas’, Canberra in Australia and Hamburg in Germany, with its new Elbphilharmonie concert hall. Next year could be perfect for discovering Kaohsiung and its seaside charm and creativity. Antwerp is one of the most important baroque cities in Europe and is to stage the Flemish Baroque Year. The unofficial capital of Flanders is brimming with history, art and design. Matera is an underground city preparing for tourist fame when it becomes the European Capital of Culture 2019. Eighth on the list is San Juan in Puerto Rico, where a colonial past ‘blends in with an emerging, modern city’. It is followed by the Mexican city of Guanajato, with its colourful urban landscapes. The list ends with Oslo, which has been undergoing a spectacular renovation and, to top things off, the iconic Oslo Opera House is celebrating its 10th anniversary with an exceptional season of concerts and shows. This makes 2018 the ideal year for visiting the city.

And remember what John Steinbeck said: “People don’t take trips, trips take people”.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!