Are you trying to decide where to travel in 2018? If you like traveling the world, you’re most likely torn between roaming it in search of destinations less traveled, as well as returning to your favorites over and over again. To help narrow down your essential 2018 vacation list, I’ve scoured the world and came up with a list of places that are newly radar-worthy because of buzzy attractions, easier access, hot travel trends and recently re-shaped by international events. Let me know in the comments if you feel I left a vital hot spot off this list. Happy travels!
1. Seville, Spain
Over the past ten years, Seville has transformed itself. Once a traffic-congested metropolis resting on its historical laurels, Seville has bloomed into a town of bicycles and trams, keen to invigorate its artistic past. The metamorphosis hasn’t gone overlooked. The capital of Andalucía will host the 31st European Film Awards in 2018, and showcases its attractiveness in the TV fantasy drama Game of Thrones. Adding color to an ongoing artistic renaissance, Seville is in the midst of celebrating the 400th anniversary of native Baroque painter Bartolomé Esteban Bartolome Esteban Murillo, with half a dozen one-of-a-kind expositions continuing into 2018. Click here to see things to do in Seville, Spain.
2. Detroit, USA
After decades of neglect, Detroit is rolling once more. It’s just like the whole place is caffeine-buzzed, freewheeling in ideas. Young creative types jump-started the scene after they began transforming the crazy-huge slew of abandoned buildings into distilleries, bike shops and galleries. This sparked contemporary construction, like the just-opened hockey and basketball arena downtown, and also the QLine trolley that provides easy accessibility to city hot spots. More are coming: 3 new parks will extend the riverfront trail (ideal for two-wheeling via the new 43-station bike-share scheme within the greater downtown area), and groovy hotels will emerge from an old wig shop and a forlorn parking lot. Click here to see things to do in Detroit, USA.
3. Canberra, Australia
Criminally overlooked Canberra packs a giant punch for such a small city. National treasures are found around virtually every corner and exciting new boutique precincts have emerged, bulging with culinary art highlights and cultural must-dos. This is the first year that Australian capital will host a test cricket match at the picturesque Manuka Oval, and later in 2018 the Australian War Memorial will take center stage as it hosts the a centennial day of remembrance of the WWI truce. Significantly, Canberra is establishing a permanent Reconciliation Day into the state’s holiday calendar from 2018 onward, to symbolize commitment to tolerance between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Click here to see things to do in Canberra, Australia.
4. Hamburg, Germany
Its completion appeared to take longer than sitting through the complete cycle of Wagner’s Ring operas, however the gorgeous new €790 million Elbphilharmonie concert hall was worth each additional year of delay. The glass top shimmers like crystalline sails whereas the bottom reflects the brick aesthetic of the encompassing historic and oh-so-walk-able HafenCity port area. From here, alluringly accessible Hamburg radiates out on its immense harbor and also the Elbe. Surprises abound: three-season riverfront beach bars, nightlife that’s among Europe’s best, and walk-up charms that reward wanderers who use the city’s dozens of historical steeples as compass points. Click here to see things to do in Hamburg, Germany.
5. Kaohsiung, Taiwan
A massive arts center and one hundred square meter cultural and music complex, complete with wave-lapped walkways and an evening market, is rising on Kaohsiung’s balmy waterfront – Taiwan’s showcase for experimental architecture from round the world. Adding to this will be a spectacular cruise terminal, for those favoring an Odyssean approach to the port town. A sleek light-rail system links these monuments to the remainder of Kaohsiung. Further north, in the Xiaogang Shan recreation area, hikers will view the Taiwan Strait from the new 88 meter ‘Eye of the Mountain’ sky-walk, a reminder that water is ever-present. Kaohsiung is billowing with possibilities: visit before the globe gets wind of it. Click here to see things to do in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
6. Antwerp, Belgium
Once northern Europe’s greatest town, these days Antwerp is one among its best-kept secrets. Flanders’ unofficial capital is laden with historic riches and home to world-class arts and style, and this year it’s showing its cultural chops with a celebration of its Baroque prime. Galvanized by the city’s most far-famed resident, Rubens, Antwerp Baroque 2018 will feature Flemish Masters rubbing shoulders with trendy talent during a calendar that spans parades, concerts, street art, multimedia shows and workshops. Not that Antwerp’s residents need to have an excuse to unleash their creativity: the town, particularly its former docks, is flush with pop-up bars, farm-to-fork joints and field showstoppers. Click here to see things to do in Antwerp, Belgium.
7. Matera, Italy
A crown of honey-stoned homes perched on top of a valley, Matera has knockout appearance. However, that’s solely half the story: snaking below the surface is a labyrinth of cave dwellings, churches and monasteries that date from over 9000 years ago – making it one among the oldest living cities in the world. For the most part rebuilt from close to ruin, Matera’s currently capitalizing on its cavernous charm, with hotels, restaurants and bars carving out a scene as cool as their rock hewn walls. There’s a flurry of events planned prior to its stint as a European Capital of Culture for 2019, therefore visit soon before this underground destination emerges into the limelight. Click here to see hotels in Matera, Italy.
8. San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan may be a place where old meets new, where the city’s colonial past meshes well with a rising trendy urbanity. Old San Juan may be a walled enclave with cobble stoned roads, foliaceous plazas, and historic churches and forts but on the far side of the walls, the fashionable city is draped with murals, and its cadre of museums and galleries create a dynamic art scene. In recent years, several innovative restaurants have opened, with farm-to-table eateries beckoning foodies and casual diners alike. The lavishly abundant nightlife – dance clubs, lounges, bars, casinos – has long been a highlight, as have San Juan’s extraordinary beaches. In September 2017, hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, becoming the largest storm to impact the island in eighty nine years. While San Juan failed to escape the wrath of the hurricane, there isn’t any doubt that it’ll rebuild and remain the fascinating city it always has been. Click here to see things to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
9. Guanajuato, Mexico
From silver mining to the silver screen, the little town of Guanajuato within the central highlands of Mexico punches higher than its weight when it comes to topical charm. The wealth created by the native seams of silver created a visually gorgeous city scape of ornate churches, pretty squares and vibrant homes, spread out over the abundant natural depression within which Guanajuato sits. This natural and man-made beauty caught the attention of Pixar producers who used the town as the real-life basis for their animated Land of the Dead in new film Coco. Click here to see things to do in Guanajuato, Mexico.
10. Oslo, Norway
For many years, Norway’s capital has been eclipsed by its trendy Scandi neighbors. But Oslo, in conjunction with the remainder of the nation, is about to toast a landmark event: in 2018, Norway’s beloved king and queen celebrate the fiftieth year of their wedding. Expect fanfare and pageantry galore, together with a packed calendar of events – civic, culinary and cultural. As a bonus, Oslo’s landmark opera house is marking its tenth birthday in 2018 with a celebratory season of concerts and performances, therefore you actually couldn’t choose a more robust year to go. Click here to see things to do in Oslo, Norway
The feature picture is from Hamnoy, Norway. Visit the fjords for an extended and memorable vacation.