The more you travel, the more you realise there’s so much of the world still to discover.
In order to help you put together your 2018 travel bucket list, Business Insider asked the world’s most esteemed travel experts — from the likes of Airbnb and Lonely Planet to independent bloggers and backpacking Instagrammers — for the one destination everyone should visit in the new year.
Including three experts who simply couldn’t pick just one location, their answers have been compiled into a list of must-see places to visit in 2018.
Whether it’s a spot set to be the next big travel trend or a completely under-the-radar natural phenomenon that you need to see in your lifetime, scroll on to discover the 25 best places to visit in 2018, according to the world’s leading travel experts.
– Trek to the Royal Highlander Festival in Laya.
Sebastiaan Rijntjes, Co-Founder of travel blog Lost With Purpose, believes that the trek to Bhutan’s highest settlement, Laya, should be on every seasoned traveller’s bucket list for 2018.
“In October, Bhutan will celebrate its third annual Royal Highlander Festival in Laya — one of the highest settlements in the world at almost 4,000 metres,” Rijntjes said.
“The festival celebrates Himalayan nomad culture, so expect highlander sports such as archery and horse riding, yak beauty contests, and endlessly colourful nomad attire. If you’re lucky, you might even get to meet the king of Bhutan!”
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– classic cars cruise past.
Tom McDermott, Editor at online shop and journal Huckberry, believes the colourful streets and lush countryside of Viñales, Cuba, is a destination everyone should take the time to experience in 2018.
“The surrounding countryside is incredibly beautiful, and the town square is full of live music and dancing until late into the night,” he said.
“Stay at Casa Dovales for some of the best home-cooked meals around, walk towards the Mural de la Prehistoria to find brightly painted homes nestled in the foothills, or spend some time playing cards at a local cafe and watching the classic cars cruise down the street.”
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– Catch a wave along the Alentejo Coast.
Maya Goldfine, Product Editor at Huckberry, endorses the clear waves and breathtaking cliffs of Sines and Porto Covo along the Alentejo coastline in Portugal.
“São Torpes is my favourite surf spot. The beaches are empty and the waves easy to ride — and the water doesn’t chill you to the bone, which is unusual for the Atlantic coast,” Goldfine said.
“The area is just as amazing as the ever-popular Algarve coast, but far less visited, especially by American tourists. It’s definitely a locals-only vacation spot.”
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– Soak up some culture in Valletta.
Valletta, capital of Malta, is a highly-underrated holiday destination according to Dmitrijus Konovalovas — Co-Founder and Managing Director of travel inspiration and itinerary building website IQPlanner.
“Valletta, European Capital of Culture 2018, is offering a packed calendar of events to add to its existing charm,” he said.
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– Descend into the carved depths of Antelope Canyon, Utah.
Antelope Canyon in Utah features all of the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the Grand Canyon with a fraction of the queues, according to Pablo Carrington — Managing Director of luxury independent hotel group Marugal.
“Less well-known than the Grand Canyon and much smaller, these slot canyons are spectacular and, depending on the time of day, you can visit them with no other tourist in sight,” Carrington said.
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– Find some peace in Tokyo.
“My favourite city on earth is Tokyo,” said Gilbert Ott, founder of air miles advice website God Save The Points.
“It’s always a good time to go there, but as they begin to prepare for the 2020 Olympics, there’s already a special buzz about the place.
“It has this reputation for being manic, but most of it is really not. It’s actually the most orderly place on earth, and you could eat dinner off the streets. The politeness of the people and culture is something you have to see to believe.”
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– Sail to Nusa Lembongan.
“The place that stole the show for me this year — and will no doubt be ruined within five years — is Nusa Lembongan,” Ott said.
“It’s a 30-minute boat ride from Bali, and it’s equally if not more beautiful but with virtually no one on it.
“Tourists are starting to find it more and more, but it remains beautiful beyond words and extremely cheap. Massages are $7 (£5.30) an hour, and a chef for the night for up to four people is less than $50 (£38) all in — dishes, ingredients, everything.”
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– Wrap up warm and catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights in Iceland.
Niamh Walsh, Chief Editor of travel search platform HolidayPirates, believes the trend will be “looking north” for travel in 2018.
“Whether it’s heading to Iceland to see the Northern Lights, Norway to see the Fjords, or simply a visit to Santa in Lapland, people are definitely eschewing the normal, sunny holiday destinations in favour of something more out-of-the-box,” Walsh said.
“Seeing the Northern Lights is something adventurous travellers will find easier to do in 2018. Until recently, it’s always been difficult and expensive to access many of the regions where they’re at their brightest and most beautiful.
“But with more airlines offering low-cost routes to Iceland, this breath-taking natural phenomenon will be much more accessible — and this extra special experience should not be missed.”
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– Kayak across Lake Bled.
When it comes to jaw-dropping natural beauty, James Asquith, founder of app Holiday Swap and the youngest person to visit every country in the world, says travellers should look no further than Slovenia’s Lake Bled.
“Chances are that you recognise the picturesque Lake Bled, just not know it by name. Stunning in its own right all year round, with activities to suit all weather, Lake Bled is a must-see natural site,” Asquith said.
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– Hike to the Callandish Stones in the Outer Hebrides.
Paul Hughes, CEO and Founder of minibreak index Rare Escapes, believes that travellers need look no further than Scotland’s Outer Hebrides for their next adventure.
“Everyone has to visit the Outer Hebrides on the West Coast of Scotland,” Hughes said.
“This is a land shrouded in ancient history, with spectacular standing stones [Callandish Stones] sat in a landscape of beautiful white sand beaches, mountains, Golden Eagles, and — best of all — there won’t be another tourist in sight.”
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