The 19 best destinations to visit in 2017

From the charms of Chile to glorious Granada and the beaches of Bermuda, our experts select the 19 best destinations to visit in the coming months.

From the charms of Chile to glorious Granada and the beaches of Bermuda, our experts select the 19 best destinations to visit in the coming months.

1. Chile

1. Chile

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.
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.
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.

2. Canada

2. Canada

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.
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.

3. Chandigarh, India

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.
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

4. Granada, Spain

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.

5. Hadrian’s Wall, England

5. Hadrian’s Wall, England

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.

6. New Zealand

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.
Loathe rugby? New Zealand’s wineries, whales and waterfall-streaked fjords never fail to enchant.

7. Copenhagen, Denmark

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.

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.

8. New Orleans/Memphis, United States

8. New Orleans/Memphis, United States

How to account for the musically joyous, street-happy atmosphere of New Orleans? 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, four times a week, from London Heathrow.
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.
On March 2 Graceland is also unveiling a new entertainment complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis.

9. Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia

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.

10. Peru

10. Peru

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.

11. Arras, France

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.

12. Hossa National Park, Finland

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.
Finland’s forest wilderness makes it perhaps Europe’s ultimate back-to-nature retreat.
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.

13. Russia

13. Russia

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.

14. Pula, Croatia

14. Pula, Croatia

You can complete 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.

15. Bermuda

15. Bermuda

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 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.

16. Wittenburg, Germany

16. Wittenburg, Germany

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).

17. San Francisco, United States

17. San Francisco, United States

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.

18. Oman

18. Oman

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.

19. Lech, Austria

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.

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