The New Year beckons with a wealth of fresh travel opportunities, and the Travel Associates team has an abundance of inspiration to offer. It is our honour to offer you this collection of insider information on the debutante destinations that 2017 promises, part one in a four-part series that offers up our collected expertise for your viewing pleasure.
Joyous celebrations, colourful customs and ebullient locals have lured travellers to Brazil for many years, and never has this natural and cultural wonderland been so accessible. Whether you’re dancing on the streets to late night samba or venturing into the mists of the legendary Foz do Iguaçu, the energy of this gorgeous nation is sure to captivate and delight you.
The word is out, and this remote northern island is increasingly sought out for its natural beauty and distinctive culture. The vast volcanic landscape creates an exceptional scene of glittering glaciers, steaming hot springs and smoking volcanoes, a fitting backdrop for colonies of puffins and regular displays of the Aurora Borealis. The locals are quirky and welcoming, quick to lend a hand and tell you the legends of their enchanting homeland.
The ancient communities and mystical wonders of Myanmar were first opened to the world in 2013, and the country’s tourist scene is still gloriously youthful. Drifting down the Irrawaddy River aboard a river steamer or cruise ship will reveal a new natural marvel or golden monument at every turn, and the traditional way of life is both preserved and celebrated. Revel in the country’s unspoiled beaches, exotic markets and charming blend of tradition and progression.
Portugal’s location on the tip of Europe means it is sometimes passed by on a multi-country tour, but stunning coastal scenes, smaller crowds and inspiring river cruise itineraries are making it a destination in itself. The trademarks of Europe are all readily available; World Heritage sites, cobbled streets and time-honoured traditions. Throw in some of the most underrated food in the continent at a very reasonable price and you’re set for the holiday of a lifetime.
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Long synonymous with beautiful people and natural wonders, Scandinavia is also a hotspot for stylish culture and world-class cuisine. Each capital city has a distinct flavour, but all offer striking architecture and first-rate dining experiences, backed up with an excellent range of museums, art galleries and live music venues. The exquisite beauties of the Norwegian fjords, Danish castles and Swedish lakes are easily accessible, and the Northern Lights are a regular night-time spectacular.
This tropical paradise offers 7,000 islands, each one promising a different experience. Although it was once the road less travelled through the wonders of Southeast Asia, the Philippines is becoming highly popular as a destination that is easy on both the eyes and the pocket. The early Spanish influence is evident, with paella and empanadas vying for menu space at restaurants and centuries-old Christian churches lending a distinctly South American atmosphere.
The dazzling waters of Croatia have enticed many a would-be sailor, but a recent trend for luxury vessels has brought cruising standards to a whole new level. The picture-perfect coastal towns are overflowing with interesting architecture and historical gems, and foodies will be thrilled with the generous portions of home-style cuisine. Head a little further inland for spectacular waterfalls that plummet from craggy cliffs to feed crystal, picturesque lakes.
Affordable, safe and spectacular; Japan is booming as a tourist destination and there are plenty of delights to go around. Ancient shrines and enchanting customs bump shoulders with ultra-modern city scenes and quirky pop culture. The most northern island of Hokkaido is quickly becoming famous as a natural haven, with its deep powder snow in winter and mountainous beauty in the warmer months.
Pura vida (pure life) is the catchphrase of Costa Rica, where the luscious terrain, easygoing locals and perfect waves invite you to embrace the beauties of Mother Nature with open arms. The land teems with wildlife and flaunts an abundance of heart-stopping waterfalls. From exclusive, beachfront resorts through to active volcanoes set deep in the verdant jungle, there’s an adventure waiting to take your breath away.
Penguin sightings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Antarctica expeditions, which are becoming wildly popular on the cruise scene. The seventh continent offers a coastline that is rife with the activity of migratory birds, inquisitive seals and magnificent whales. Soaring cliffs of ice, unbelievable sunsets and views that cause you to feel deliciously insignificant are a few of the experiences that ensure Antarctica its place on so many bucket lists.