by The Daily Telegraph, January 4, 2017
From the charms of Chile to glorious Granada and the beaches of Bermuda, our experts select the 20 best destinations to visit in the coming months.
If Brazil owned South American travel last year, Chile takes over for 2017. Slowly, methodically, the continent’s most overlooked wonderland has become arguably its most desirable adventure tourism destination – precisely the gong it picked up at last year’s World Travel Awards.
And why? Because it’s a whopping 2,650 miles long, yet never more than 150 miles wide – and is packed with ecosystems, biodiversity, topographies. It has 36 national parks, some of the most extreme environments on Earth, from deserts to fjords to subpolar islands, and the roads and footpaths and necessary infrastructure to make these accessible.
Non-stop flights to Chile start in 2017
The major novelty for 2017 is a new British Airways flight from Heathrow, non-stop, four times a week. It takes 14 hours and 40 minutes to get there, but it still speeds up and smoothes the journey to Santiago.
The capital is awash with new boutique hotels – Luciano K and Magnolia are the latest – and fine dining, including four restaurants in the influential San Pellegrino Top 50 ranking for 2016. Fourth-placed Boragó was well above any in Buenos Aires.
Chile’s wine tourism scene is the most developed south of Napa, with the Maule Valley opening up to visitors with a smart new five-room boutique hotel at Casa Bouchon.
Urban pleasures sorted, it’s time to head for extremes: the Atacama Desert in the north, where there are new hot-air balloon flights over the salt lakes; and Patagonia, where escapists can set off on a slow drive along Aysén’s lonely Southern Highway and stay at Parque Patagonia, Chile’s newest, and least overcrowded, protected area. (Chris Moss)
How to go
British Airways flights between London Heathrow and Santiago cost from about £740 return ( ba.com ); a two-week trip to Chile, including Santiago, self-drive in Aysén, stay at Tierra Atacama, and a balloon flight over the desert, flying from most UK airports in February 2017, costs £5,900 a head with Audley Travel (01993 838600; audleytravel.com ). For more information see chile.travel .
It’s a big year in a big country as 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, the moment Canada became a self-governing dominion within the British Empire – a country, in other words. Today, although it plays second fiddle to Russia in terms of size, it’s hard to think of a country more beautiful or more varied – a good reason to visit at any time, let alone a year that promises to be one long, nationwide birthday party.
The big landscapes – the Canadian Rockies – are well known. Less celebrated, perhaps, is the splendour of the scenery elsewhere. Pockets of British Columbia, for example, contain desert (around Osoyoos) and warm-wintered enclaves of vines and olives (the Okanagan). On the west coast the Inside Passage – a labyrinth of fjords and islands – features North America’s finest seascapes. Alberta’s prairies contain eerie badlands (at Drumheller); the autumn colours of New Brunswick’s forests are the equal of anything in New England; and Prince Edward Island contains some of the loveliest pastoral countryside on Earth. And over it all arches the vast, ethereal beauty of the Canadian Arctic, hundreds – thousands – of miles of sublime, windswept nothing.
Big landscapes and big distances, of course, make for big journeys. By road Canada offers, among other great drives, the Icefields Parkway through the heart of the Rockies and the Alaska Highway north towards the Yukon and the old goldfields of the Klondike. By train there’s the epic Trans-Canada route or the shorter but more spectacular trips between Jasper and Prince Rupert or across the tundra from Winnipeg to Churchill on Hudson Bay.
Beyond the landscape are cities worthy of visits in their own right. Vancouver, often rated one of the world’s most liveable cities, and Montreal, a vibrant francophone enclave, are my favourites, but historic Quebec, unsung Victoria and dynamic Toronto are also compelling. (Tim Jepson)
How to go
Audley Travel (01993 838700; audleytravel.com ) can tailor-make trips across Canada. A nine-day, self-drive Highlights of Canada’s West tour, taking in Vancouver and the Rockies, costs from £2,040 per person, including flights from a choice of six UK airports. Visit canada.pch.gc.ca for details of “Canada 150” events.
3. Chandigarh, India
What an intriguing mix of innovation and tradition. In northern India the bold, modernist architecture of Chandigarh has been awarded classic status, while just outside this striking city a brand-new hotel celebrates Rajput and Mughal heritage with quite some panache.
Chandigarh is one of the world’s most remarkable urban creations; a purpose-built city designed by Le Corbusier in the Fifties. After Partition in 1947, India’s state of Punjab needed a new capital – Lahore having been ceded to Pakistan. So prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru commissioned the great Swiss-French exponent of modernism to devise a completely new city expressive of the country’s faith in the future. The result is a masterpiece in concrete – and green spaces too. It’s a very liveable place loved locally for its wide avenues and parks.
In October its government buildings, the Capitol Complex, were among a number of Le Corbusier’s finest works worldwide to join Unesco’s World Heritage list. Pretty much simultaneously, the Oberoi group was adding final details to a new resort of great splendour, which is set on the edge of 8,000-acre Siswan Forest reserve, about half an hour’s drive from the city centre.
Formally opening next month , The Oberoi Sukhvilas offers a modern take on time-honoured Indian palace life. The landscaping is superb, with fountains and reflective pools, courtyards and colonnades. There’s a bar adorned with warrior frescoes, and there are 60 sumptuous bedrooms in a choice of villas, tents or suites. Explore the reserve with an on-hand naturalist then marvel at meticulously planned Chandigarh, from grand, naturally air-conditioned civic buildings to manhole covers etched with maps of the city. (Harriet O’Brien)
How to go
A five-night trip taking in Chandigarh and The Oberoi Sukhvilas (for three nights) and The Oberoi Gurgaon (for two nights) is offered by Ampersand Travel (020 7819 9770; ampersandtravel ). The cost from £3,150 a head includes flights to Delhi and then Chandigarh, accommodation with breakfast, and guiding.
4. Granada, Spain
Spending a few days drifting around Granada is the most sensual of history lessons. The palaces and gardens of the Alhambra, created by the Nasrids, the final dynasty of Islamic Spain, are more rewarding with every visit, each time revealing a few more of the secrets concealed in the intricate architecture.
While you might come to Granada to see Spain’s most-visited monument, it is the little things along the way that seep into your soul: tiled fountains in tiny squares, flowers tumbling over whitewashed walls and forkfuls of tasty tapas in boisterous bars.
From February 4 it will be a lot easier to get to the Andalucian city when easyJet starts a new route from London Gatwick three times a week, adding to the twice-weekly British Airways flight from London City airport.
Flying to Granada also makes a few days skiing in the Sierra Nevada more feasible, as the ski resort is only 29 miles (47 km) from the airport and there is usually snow until April. Walking in the Alpujarras on the southern slopes of the mountains is wonderful in May, when the landscape is covered in flowers.
Granada airport is also a handy gateway to the north east of Andalucia. In the province of Jaén, olive groves carpet the hills and the towns of Úbeda and Baeza contain astounding Renaissance architecture. The airport’s official name is Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén and devotees of the poet can head straight to his birthplace in Fuente Vaqueros on arrival, a 20-minute drive away, before visiting his summer home, the Huerta de San Vicente in the city itself. (Annie Bennett)
How to go
EasyJet offers return flights to Granada from London Gatwick from £47. A seven-night stay at the stylish three-star Marquis Urban hotel from March 4 costs from £359 per person including flights with easyJet Holidays (0203 499 5232; easyjet.com ). British Airways flies from London City Airport from £110 return (0344 493 0787; britishairways.com ). More information: granadatur.com ; alhambra-patronato.es ; spain.info .
5. Hadrian’s Wall, England
Hark! Is that the sound of hooves? There hasn’t been this much action on Hadrian’s Wall since Roman troops tramped up Ermine Street in the second century to build the 73-mile barrier between Bowness and Wallsend.
Today the wall draws walkers and cyclists, who follow its forts and milecastles in their lurching progress over sheer drops, rocky sills and swooping grasslands, from the big skies of Solway Firth to the mouth of the Tyne.
This year it celebrates its 30th anniversary as a Unesco World Heritage Site with Hadrian’s Cavalry, a six-month exhibition involving 10 sites running the length of the wall and into Hadrian’s Wall Country, 10 miles on either side.
Organisationally, this will be eerily similar to Roman battle formation, with its central front and cavalry at the wings. In the middle are Chesters Fort, one of four English Heritage sites, and Vindolanda, famed for its “tablets” or messages written in ink on bark. Chesters will examine the relationship between Roman cavalrymen and their horses, and in July presents a new installation recreating the sound of 500 horses. Vindolanda, which is near the Roman Army Museum by Walltown Crags, will display messages written by soldiers on the tablets.
Out west, the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle will stage an immersive audio-visual experience in its Roman Gallery, so that visitors can pretend to be cavalry based at the wall, skirmishing with tribes to the north.
To the east, Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum in North Shields will focus on training, tactics and dressing a cavalry horse, while two original cavalry helmets are on display in the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle.
Other sites will run a series of events and exhibitions throughout the six months, and on July 1 and 2 mounted re-enactors will stage cavalry manoeuvres at Bitts Park, Carlisle, including the first troop or turma of 30 horses seen in 2,000 years. (Sophie Campbell)
A walking path runs the length of Hadrian's WallCredit: DAVID HEAD/FOTOLIA
How to go
Hadrian’s Cavalry runs from April 8 to September 10 2017.
Stay at Matfen Hall hotel, which is set in parkland near Corbridge; doubles from £94 a night with breakfast ( telegraph.co.uk/tt-matfenhall ), or The Angel of Corbridge, in the town itself; doubles from £95 a night with breakfast ( telegraph.co.uk/tt-angelofcorbridge ). More information: hadrianswallcountry.co.uk/events/hadrians-cavalry-2017 .
6. New Zealand
Love rugby? The hottest ticket for this year is New Zealand, which hosts the British and Irish Lions tour in June and early July. The tourists will play three Tests against the All Blacks and seven other games across the country, making the tour a feast for fans and an excuse to explore New Zealand.
For example, en route between Auckland and Whangarei, detour west to Kauri forests. Between Rotorua and Hamilton you’ll find the movie set from Lord of the Rings at Matamata. And the post-quake renaissance of Christchurch continues with the opening of the city’s new Adventure Park ( christchurchadventurepark.com ), the largest downhill mountain-bike park in the southern hemisphere.
Watch | Why you should visit New Zealand in 2017 02:06
Loathe rugby? New Zealand’s wineries, whales and waterfall-streaked fjords never fail to enchant.
In February, Qatar Airways ( qatarairways.com ) launches a direct Doha-Auckland route. At 14,539km it’ll be the world’s longest commercial scheduled flight – and, with convenient connections from London, an appealing prelude to a sojourn at New Zealand’s luxe lodges, boosted with openings including Marlborough Lodge among the South Island’s premier wine region ( themarlboroughlodge.co.nz ) and intimate Helena Bay near Whangarei ( helenabay.com ). (Paul Bloomfield)
How to go
A wide range of official Lions packages ( tours.lionsrugby.com ) are available. Steppes Travel ( steppestravel.co.uk ) also offers a Lions tour, and tailor-makes luxury itineraries – a 21-night package, including flights from London via Doha with Qatar Airways, luxury accommodation including Marlborough Lodge and Helena Bay, transfers and car hire, costs from £7,995 per person.
7. Copenhagen, Denmark
European Capital of Culture 2017 though it may be, Denmark’s second city Aarhus will still struggle to steal the limelight from Copenhagen . That’s largely due to the ongoing foodie furore surrounding the capital’s Noma.
Opened by chef René Redzepi in 2003, the restaurant redefined perceptions of Danish cuisine and introducing then-obscure Scandinavian ingredients – from magical-sounding cloudberries to elk tongue – to an international audience. Innumerable awards and a consensus that this was the world’s best restaurant followed, so among gourmets it’s with considerable regret that Redzepi has announced this seminal eatery will close at the end of February.
Copenhagen has rarely looked more appealing
Early 2017 will see epicureans from the world over clamour for a table, but for the many hundreds of thousands who will miss out there’s still ample reason for a visit to the capital.
Redzepi’s legacy is now readily apparent in the abundance of world-class eateries strewn across the city. This year Guide Michelin Nordic Cities awarded 16 Copenhagen restaurants a total of 20 stars – the highest number ever. Chief among them is Geranium, now the country’s only three-star premises, while Redzepi’s many protégées have established outlets of their own.
Star alum Christian Puglisi already offers New Nordic cuisine at Michelin-starred Relae, natural wines at Manfreds and organic pizza at Baest. His Farm of Ideas supersedes all in terms of ambition, however. Opening by the end of 2017 and 40 minutes outside of Copenhagen, this organic farm will provide produce for his city-centre outlets and an immersive culinary centre and school for visitors.
That it was inspired at least in part his time under Redzepi’s tutelage seems clear when one learns of the latter’s next undertaking. While Noma as we know it will disappear forever, its founder plans to open a new restaurant in Copenhagen’s free town of Christiania in autumn. It too will feature its own farm and a “fermentation kitchen” where new cooking techniques can be refined, so fresh-as-can-be produce and unexpected culinary encounters will be a certainty. (John O’Ceallaigh)
How to go
Kirker Holidays (020 7593 2283; www.kirkerholidays.com ) offers a three-night break in Copenhagen’s five-star D’Angleterre hotel with dinner at Geranium, from £1,388pp including flights and transfers.
8. New Orleans/Memphis, United States
How to account for the musically joyous, street-happy atmosphere of New Orleans ( neworleanscvb.com )? The guide I once had on a tour of the French Quarter had her own theory: “King of France opens the jails of Paris and sends over the worst specimens of humanity to populate the new city. Kind of makes sense, huh?”
On March 27 the home of trad jazz, sidewalk bands, Mardi Gras parades, lacy balconies, beignets, po’boys and heavenly French Creole cooking moves a beat closer to these shores with the start of direct BA flights ( ba.com ), four times a week, from London Heathrow. Venues such as Preservation Hall ( preservationhall.com ) or Snug Harbor ( snugjazz.com ) are a must for jazz fans and on May 26-28 the good ol’ boys of country music are in town for the annual Bayou Country Superfest ( bayoucountrysuperfest.com ) at the Superdome.
New Orleans: musically joyous and street-happyCredit: PEDUTO©1993/PEDUTO
In August, 400 miles north up the Mississippi River, there will be more musical mayhem when the city of Memphis ( memphistravel.com ) marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. The King’s Graceland home ( graceland.com ) is currently finalising details of “the largest Elvis Week ever” (August 11-19 - including tribute acts and contests, panel discussions and a candlelit vigil).
On March 2 Graceland is also unveiling a new entertainment complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis (with sound stage and exhibitions dedicated to his career and his cars). And don’t forget Sun Studio ( sunstudio.com - now a museum), where on July 5, 1954 Elvis recorded That’s All Right - and ushered in the rock’n’roll era. As the man said, It’s Now or Never for trips to America’s musical heartlands. (Nigel Richardson)
How to go
Kuoni (0800 140 4801; kuoni.co.uk ) offers a 17-night Southern States Experience self-drive tour (including Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans) from £2,495 per person, sharing.
9. Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia
Three times bigger than France and the fourth most sparsely inhabited territory on Earth, Mongolia, with its vast rolling steppes, coruscating upland lakes, tumbling rivers, beautiful green pine forests and shifting dunes of the Gobi offers plenty for the adventurous visitor. Homeland of nomadic warlord par excellence Genghis Khan, this country remains a nation of pastoralist nomads to this day, and ger (yurt) camps dot the length and breadth of this beautiful landscape. Enormous flocks of sheep, goats, dzo (a yak-cattle hybrid) and Bactrian camels graze beneath blue skies, and every other telegraph pole is the perch of a bird of prey – as captured so powerfully in The Eagle Huntress, the much-lauded film of the moment.
Mongolia has always been a byword for remoteness, but it’s surprisingly easy to reach, and will become even more so with the opening of state-of-the-art Nubia (New Ulaan Baatar International Airport), scheduled for January . Mongolia’s pleasant capital city, Ulaan Baatar, home to more than half the nation’s three million inhabitants, boasts plenty of first-rate hotels. The excellent Shangri-La ( shangri-la.com/ulaanbaatar ) opened in 2015, as did the rival Kempinski Khan Palace ( kempinski.com/en/ulaanbaatar/hotel-khan-palace ). The best time to visit is for the annual Naadam Festival ( naadamfestival.com ), held July 9-16 in 2017. Recognised by Unesco, the festival involves a vibrant parade of athletes, monks and musicians. You don’t have to take part in the famous Mongol Rally ( July 16: theadventurists.com/mongol-rally ) to enjoy an exciting trip in Mongolia, as many agencies offer trekking, fishing, motorcycling and cultural tours. (Terry Richardson)
The festival of NaadamCredit: GETTY
How to go
G Adventures (0344 272 2080; gadventures.co.uk ) runs a 15-day Naadam Festival Mongolia tour which takes in the festival and Mongolia’s highlights, with accommodation in hotels and tourist ger camps. From £1,899 per person, excluding flights, which cost from £700 per person.
Cuzco, in Peru, used to be backpacker central. It’s a measure of how tourism in the country has changed that, from May, the city will be the starting point for journeys on South America’s “first luxury sleeper train”, the 68-passenger Andean Explorer, run by Belmond, the company that used to be known as Orient-Express Hotels. Since 1999, it has been running a luxury day train, the Hiram Bingham, including gourmet lunch on the way out and dinner on the return between Cuzco and the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
The new train will travel along one of the highest railways on Earth, via the 14,150ft summit at La Raya, to Lake Titicaca and on to the Unesco World Heritage city of Arequipa. En route there will be a chance to see the 11,000ft Colca Canyon, where condors fly below your feet as well as overhead. An alternative trip, among four one and two-night itineraries, traverses the Altiplano from the lake to Cuzco.
The train has 34 cabins – two double, 20 twin and 12 with bunk beds – with decor inspired by Peru’s hand-woven fabrics. The two dining cars will serve menus devised by chefs at Belmond’s Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco and drawing on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Passengers can step outdoors to enjoy the view from the observation car deck or, if the Andean air proves too thin, revive themselves with a coca tea while listening to the pianist in the lounge. (Michael Kerr)
How to go
Through Belmond (0845 0772 222; belmond.com ), prices start at $462 (£570) per person sharing, for one night, including meals, open bar and excursions. Several tour operators offer a journey on the train as part of a longer trip. Last Frontiers (01296 653000; lastfrontiers.com ) includes a new 14-day “Classic Peru” trip, from £3,420 per person sharing, including flights.
11. Arras, France
In recent times, Great War anniversaries have been filing past at a military clip. Among the most significant of 2017 will be the centenary of the battle of Arras. This afforded the British and the Canadians an unprecedented taste of dashing victory, before getting bogged down in the usual First World War manner. A hundred years on, the town and surrounds provide some of the most intriguing visits along the Western Front.
The key date was April 9, Easter Monday. The Canadian Corps advanced an unheard-of 4,000yd to take Vimy Ridge. Nearer town, British troops burst out of the ground before dawn into snow, sleet and the faces of half-asleep Germans. Some 24,000 Tommies had been hiding and waiting for days in a 12-mile underground labyrinth created from medieval quarries and cellars, and much expanded in preceding months by Kiwi tunnellers. The network was equipped with water, electricity, a little train system, command posts and a 700-bed hospital. Exit ramps emerged near the enemy lines. All this may be appreciated at Arras’s Wellington Quarry, part of the network now adapted for visits. It is here that centenary commemorations will kick off at 6.30am next April 9. (Visitor places are all taken around this date, so consider going either before or after.)
To the north, Vimy Ridge was a key objective: from on high, it commanded the Artois plain. With courage and brilliance, the Canadians had taken it by April 11. It is often said that this victory was a foundation stone of Canadian national identity. Certainly, it’s on Vimy that Canada’s 1914-18 memories are focused. The great, twin-pronged war memorial – the finest anywhere – oversees the plain. Behind, much of the trench system has been retained – to be complemented this spring by a new £6 million visitor centre. Ideally, it will be open by April 9, when a Canadian delegation gathers at the site. Moving times in prospect, then. (Anthony Peregrine)
How to go
Leger has expert-led coach tours to Arras and Vimy sites, four nights’ b&b. Departures in June and July. From £459 (01709 839839; leger.co.uk ).
12. Hossa National Park, Finland
A discreet purple pile on the boardwalk stops you in your tracks. It seems that what they say about bears in the woods is true – and that, like you, this particular bear has been guzzling blueberries. You straighten up, but there’s no bear in sight, just a blanket of bog encircled by a treeline of birch and spruce. Beyond, the silent forest and lakes stretch unbroken to every horizon.
Hossa National Park is the latest jewel in Finland’s impressive wilderness crown. Opening in 2017 to commemorate the country’s centenary of independence, it offers hiking trails in search of wildlife and ancient rock art, and activities ranging from kayaking to fungi foraging.
Hossa National Park offers true wildernessCredit: ALAMY
Elk and reindeer roam forests carpeted in moss and berries, while birdwatchers can seek out such avian A-listers as black woodpeckers and great grey owls. In truth, you’re unlikely to spot a bear here – they are very shy animals – but you almost certainly will from wildlife-watching hides along the nearby Russian border, where an overnight vigil may also produce wolves or wolverines. Nowhere else in Europe offers such reliable encounters with these rare predators.
Finland’s forest wilderness makes it perhaps Europe’s ultimate back-to-nature retreat. But the country isn’t only about trees and lakes (all 168,000 of the latter). There are also the cosmopolitan delights of Helsinki; the holiday islands and beaches of the Gulf of Bothnia; the music festivals; the war-time history; and the allure of winter in Lapland, with its skiing, husky sledging and northern lights. And visitors will find a pleasing idiosyncrasy to a culture rooted in its twin Scandinavian and Russian heritage: who else but the Finns would contest swamp soccer, ant-nest sitting and the world air guitar championships? With a centenary to celebrate, 2017 promises to be a special year. “Finns and friends of Finland will eat together, exercise together and sauna together,” explains the tourist board. Don’t forget your towel. (Mike Unwin)
How to go
Regent Holidays (020 7666 1290; regent-holidays.co.uk ) offers an eight-day Wildlife and Wilderness Fly Drive trip that explores the nature and culture of north-east Finland, including Hossa National Park and a bear-watching excursion. From £1,360 per person, based on two adults sharing. Includes Finnair flights from London Heathrow to Kuopio and return from Rovaniemi; group A car hire; all accommodation, daily breakfasts and several dinners.
Russia remains an enigma for many; some are put off perhaps by political tensions and the sense that this is somehow a forbidding, unfriendly country. But it isn’t. Our social and cultural connections – especially in literature, music and ballet – have deep historical roots; even the Queen is directly related to the Romanovs.
Sometimes, it’s true, Russians can seem a little dour. But it’s a society that has endured much over many generations, and if you get a chance to chat, some perseverance – plus perhaps a little vodka – will reveal a dry sense of humour, and a grasp of irony not so different from our own.
Find that hard to believe? Then this, the centenary of the great revolutions of 1917, is the year to give this extraordinary country a chance. Since the demise of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party, Russian attitudes to the revolutions are now very ambivalent, of course. No official events to mark the centenary have been announced. But if you know the history of the February and October revolutions, the events that led up to them, and the aftershocks that followed, you will relish the chance to see the room in the Winter Palace where the Bolsheviks took power, and the glorious interiors of the Romanov palaces in St Petersburg; and then Lenin’s mausoleum and the forbidding walls of the Kremlin along Red Square in Moscow. If you aren’t familiar with the details, nothing beats the chance to try to learn about them on location, and to get a feel for what we have in common with Russia, as well as what divides us. (Nick Trend)
How to go
A six-night escorted tour – Russian Revolution: A Centenary – which visits Moscow and St Petersburg and departs on September 8, costs from £2,895 per person, including most meals and return flights from Britain with Steppes Travel (01285 601752; steppestravel.co.uk ), which also offers independent tours.
14. Pula, Croatia
There was a moment as my wife and I wandered along the underground passages of the Roman amphitheatre in Pula that we imagined we could feel the breath of the lions that used to be confined here, licking their lips at the prospect of the human flesh feast that lay ahead.
Back above ground level, we completed a circumference of the amphitheatre, the sixth largest in the Roman Empire, one of the best preserved in the world and the prime draw in the lively city at the southern tip of the Croatian province of Istria to which British Airways this year will be introducing direct flights.
Although it does have a rocky shoreline from which you can dive into the inviting waters of the Adriatic, Pula is not somewhere you would go for a beach holiday – for that, try resorts such as Rovinj, Porec and (dipping into Slovenia) the Venetian-era Piran. Instead, it is a place to immerse yourself in Roman and Habsburg splendours by day and night (in warmer months the amphitheatre is the venue for concerts), and to begin an exploration of Istria’s Tuscan-like gastronomical and vinicultural offerings.
Pula is also the place to tune into the buzz of a slightly raffish working port, something celebrated uniquely every summer since 2014 in the city’s newest cultural offering – “Lighting Giants” – an extraordinary illumination of the sea of cranes that line the port’s shipyards. (Adrian Bridge)
How to go
British Airways ( ba.com ) begins twice-weekly services between London Heathrow and Pula in July.
A sleepy island enclave located in the mid-Atlantic, Bermuda is best known for its pink beaches, deep-sea fishing and pristine golfing greens.
Come June, however, when Bermuda hosts the 35th America’s Cup race, the destination will be anything but sleepy.
The base for the race is the Royal Naval Dockyard, just north of Great Sound, where the race drama will unfold against a backdrop of beaches.
The attractive city of Hamilton, with its yacht-filled harbour, is a must-visit, and be sure to take a stroll through St George’s at the island’s north-eastern tip. A Unesco World Heritage Site, the town’s historic buildings lend it the look and feel of a film set.
The racing action starts on May 26 with the Cup Match races on June 17, 18 and June 24-27, 2017. Sailing supremo Ben Ainslie says he is “determined to bring the America’s Cup home to Britain in 2017”. (Teresa Machan)
How to go
Many cruise lines have itineraries for 2017 that will take in stops in Bermuda for the America’s Cup, among them Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Regent Seven Seas and Celebrity Cruises. For something a bit different, Holland America Line ( hollandamerica.co.uk ) is offering a round-trip cruise from Boston to Bermuda: seven nights on MS Veendam costs from £1,049 per person, excluding flights with departures in May, June and July. More information: americascup.com ; gotobermuda.com .
16. Wittenburg, Germany
In 1517 a German monk called Martin Luther nailed a list called the 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle church. These Theses, railing against what Luther saw as the corrupt practices of the Roman Catholic Church, became the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation.
Five hundred years on, Luther’s theologocial breakthrough is being marked in towns and cities across Germany including Berlin, Nuremberg and of course Wittenberg itself, a lovely town on the River Elbe. As part of Wittenburg 2017 Lutherhaus will host exhibitions from April 13 to July 2 and August 3 to November 5, 2017 ( martinluther.de ) and a panorama called Luther 1517 by artist Yadegar Asisi depicting the events that took place in Wittenberg 1517 is now on display in a specially-built rotunda in the old part of the city (tickets cost €11/£9.50). Celebrations will culminate in a Reformation Festival on October 31 with festive church services, exhibitions, lectures and concerts. (Jane Archer)
How to go
Saga has a 10-night 500th anniversary voyage from Wittenberg to Amsterdam that starts with a tour of sites associated with Martin Luther (from £1,449 per person departing May 21, 2017; travel.saga.co.uk ). Viking River Cruises’ Elegant Elbe voyages bookend six days on the river with two nights in each of Berlin and Prague. A night in Wittenberg includes a tour of Luther’s house and St Marien’s Church, where he preached (from £2,595 per person departing on July 3, 2017; vikingcruises.com ). French line CroisiEurope will launch second ship on the Elbe in 2018. On sale through Noble Caledonia the sailings include a half-day tour of Wittenberg (From £2,595 per person departing on June 13, 2017; noble-caledonia.co.uk ). All prices include flights. More information: www.lutherstadt-wittenberg.de/en/
17. San Francisco, United States
Back in 1967, a generation of baby boomers responded to a siren call emanating from the San Francisco Bay Area. The tiny district of Haight-Ashbury, abutting Golden Gate Park, had declared itself the centre of an evolution in human consciousness. A baffled mass media reported bizarre happenings: sexual licence, strange hairstyles and mind-altering drugs. The censorious coverage introduced the word “hippie” to the world and had the unintended effect of inspiring tens of thousands of young people to descend on the city for the Summer of Love. The meaning of that moment is likely to be debated as long and rancorously as the Trump Presidency or Bob Dylan’s fitness for the Nobel Prize.
This summer, San Francisco is marking the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love with a huge array of events: major exhibitions on the art of the period, concerts and street theatre. This is all in addition to the walking tours, bus tours and residual bohemians that already commemorate the city’s flower-power heritage. The details of what’s happening are still being confirmed, but 2017 will be a fascinating time to be in San Francisco, to reflect on the city’s past, the hope and illusions of the Sixties, and to celebrate the music and art that the era produced.
Today San Francisco is the centre of a different kind of revolution: its hi-tech industry dominates the world. But it still has a claim to be America’s most charming, most beautiful, most literate city. Beyond Haight-Ashbury, there are its extraordinary Chinatown, the historic Mission District, and the neighbourhood of North Beach that was co-opted by the Beat Generation. If all that weren’t enough, the wine country of Sonoma and Napa Valley is barely an hour’s drive to the north. (Marcel Theroux)
How to go
Virgin Atlantic ( virginatlantic.com ) flies non-stop to San Francisco from London Heathrow from £664 return. From summer 2017, the airline is adding three flights a week from Manchester.
San Francisco is home to the headquarters of Airbnb, but the analogue traveller will also feel at home at Hotel Zeppelin on Post Street ( telegraph.co.uk/tt-hotelzeppelin ).
For what’s happening when, see sftravel.com/summer-love-2017 .
Embracing modernisation while preserving the past is no easy task, but it’s something that Oman, on the south-east corner of the Arabian Peninsula, is managing with aplomb. While neighbouring Dubai favours man-made marvels and eye-popping luxury, the Sultanate remains a heady blend of ancient traditions, humble hospitality and spectacular scenery, with excellent infrastructure to boot.
The low-key capital, Muscat, is a jumble of whitewashed low-rise buildings punctuated by minarets and backed by craggy mountains. Two hours’ drive away, Jabal Al Akhdar (Green Mountain) rises nearly 10,000ft at its peak and is famed for its damask roses. The interior desert, part of the fabled Rub’ al Khali (Empty Quarter) that covers a third of the peninsula, is wild and untamed, while the unspoilt coastline stretches some thousand miles. In the south, the summer khareef (monsoon) turns Salalah, once the centre of the ancient frankincense trade, gloriously green.
Adding to its charms, in 2017 Oman will be even easier to access. On April 1, Oman Air will launch daily flights from Manchester to Muscat, following the introduction last year of a second daily Heathrow service. British Airways recently began direct flights between Heathrow and Muscat, eliminating a stop-off in Abu Dhabi. The arrival of two Anantara resorts – on the edge of a canyon in Jabal Al Akhdar and by the beach in subtropical Salalah – provides compelling reasons for visitors to venture further afield. It’s not the only big name to make its debut. Kempinski is set to take up residence near the Greg Norman-designed Almouj golf course in Muscat, while Jumeirah will open a spa resort in a secluded cove at the other end of town. Go now, before word really gets out. (Lara Brunt)
How to go
Seven nights, half board, at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, flying from Heathrow, costs from £1,799 a head with British Airways Holidays (0344 493 0787; ba.com/holidays ). More information: omantourism.gov.om .
19. Lech, Austria
Lech in Austria has always had a lot going for it, appealing to the rich and famous with patrons including Diana, Princess of Wales, the Dutch royal family and Princess Caroline of Monaco. The town is the epitome of Alpine charm, complete with ancient timber chalets, a meandering river and onion-domed church. In the car-free satellite of Oberlech, 200m above Lech (1450m) and connected by lift, there is extensive ski-in/ski out accommodation. Lech’s snow record is exceptional, receiving on average, more than 7m a year while the nearby village of Zürs, with which it shares its slopes, receives nearly 12m. Its largely intermediate runs are well groomed and the Lech Zürs ski area doubled in size in 2013 when a new lift linked Lech with the Warth-Schröcken ski area.
The only real niggle with this Vorarlberg resort was accessing the ski area of neighbouring St Anton, in Tirol, covered by the same lift pass. Until now you could only get from one to the other by bus or taxi. This issue has now been addressed. Thanks to a massive investment of £37.5m in four new lifts, the areas are connected for this season, creating the largest lift-linked ski area in Austria (the Arlberg), with 87 lifts and 305km of runs. Of the four new gondolas, the key linking lifts will be the Flexenbahn from Rauz in the St Anton ski area and the Trittkopfbahn 1 from Zürs, which meet on the ridge between the resorts. Lech is also to benefit from an upgraded cable-car to Oberlech. The new cabins will carry 80 people rather than the existing 32, eliminating queues and giving more room to transport luggage. (Henry Druce)
The mountains near Lech
How to go
Crystal Ski Holidays (020 8939 0726; crystalski.co.uk ) offers packages at the four-star Hotel Gotthard in Lech from £1,320 per person for seven nights half-board including flights and transfers.
20. Liuwa, Zambia
Make this the year to visit one of Africa’s most remote national parks. Liuwa is a part of the upper Zambezi floodplains in Zambia’s wild Western Province. As the annual floods recede, they leave behind a flower-strewn wilderness as yet barely touched by tourism: one of the few places in the world where you can look in any direction and see nothing but an unbroken horizon of grass.
In places, the plains are stippled with wooded islands and water-filled pans that attract endangered wattled cranes and black-winged pratincoles in the tens of thousands. You can expect to see more than 300 species including pelicans, bustards and numerous birds of prey. But Liuwa is best known as the home of Africa’s second-largest wildebeest migration. Blue wildebeest – at least 43,000 of them – are joined every year by herds of zebra, tsessebe and lechwe antelopes, pursued by cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas and a handful of lions. As a spectacle it may not match the Serengeti, but you will have it all to yourself.
Liuwa has been a national park since 1972, but getting there, allied to a lack of accommodation, has always been a challenge – until African Parks arrived on the scene. The result is Mambeti, a safari lodge with six en-suite villas on raised decks beside the upper Munde Stream, an oasis of luxury in the heart of the plains with access by charter flights from Livingstone. (Brian Jackman)
Watch | Why you must see the Great Migration in your lifetime 04:01
How to go
Five nights at Mambeti cost from £4,056 (excluding international flights) with Expert Africa (020 8232 9777; expertafrica.com ).
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