52 of the best places to visit in 2018

From New Or­leans to Fiji to Europe, th­ese re­treats should be on your must-visit list

The Dallas Morning News - - Front Page -

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New Or­leans — A one-of-a-kind U.S. city turns 300. There is no city in the world like New Or­leans. In­flu­ences from Europe, the Car­ib­bean, Latin Amer­ica, Africa and in­dige­nous peo­ples have made it the ul­ti­mate melt­ing pot. And that di­ver­sity ex­presses it­self in a mul­ti­tude of ways that de­fine New Or­leans in the U.S. imag­i­na­tion: mu­sic, food, lan­guage and on and on. Al­though it’s been a long re­cov­ery from Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina, New Or­leans isn’t just back on its feet, it is as vi­brant as ever — par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive for a 300-year-old.

In honor of its tri­cen­ten­nial, there are events sched­uled through­out the year. Other planned de­vel­op­ments in­clude a $6 mil­lion makeover for Bour­bon Street, street­car ser­vice ex­pan­sions and ad­di­tions to the Lafitte Green­way in Mid-City (in­clud­ing a new out­door bar) and, in early 2019, the Saz­erac House, a vis­i­tors cen­ter and cock­tail mu­seum. A burst of ho­tel open­ings and the city’s al­ways ex­cel­lent and di­verse restau­rants (Com­père Lapin, Mar­jie’s Grill, DTB and other re­cently opened spots are cel­e­brat­ing that di­ver­sity) and bars (Lat­i­tude 29, Portside Lounge) only sweeten the deal for trav­el­ers look­ing for tastes of all that Amer­ica can of­fer.

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Colom­bia — With the war fi­nally over, the en­tire coun­try is

open­ing up. Af­ter over a half-cen­tury of civil war com­ing to a close, Colom­bia is ea­ger to be­come the ad­ven­tur­ous-yet-cos­mopoli­tan hot spot it de­serves to be. While much work is needed to in­te­grate former rebels back into so­ci­ety, the past decade has al­ready seen for­eign tourism rise by 250 per­cent. In the pul­sat­ing cap­i­tal of Bo­gotá, dozens of luxe ho­tel chains have opened, while the food scene has got­ten a boost from spots like Leonor Espinosa’s restau­rant Leo. Else­where, you will find cof­fee fin­cas turned into lux­ury ho­tels, eco-re­sorts on iso­lated desert penin­su­las and colo­nial build­ings trans­formed into

spa re­treats. Once off-limit at­trac­tions like Pa­cific Coast rain forests and the rain­bow-col­ored river Caño Cristales are now in ev­ery guide­book.

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Basil­i­cata, Italy — Caves, beaches and more in Italy’s

se­cret south­ern re­gion. This is the last year to visit Italy’s lon­gover­looked south­ern re­gion be­fore the world catches on. Be­tween the heel that is Puglia and the toe that is Cal­abria, you will find Basil­i­cata, the arch of Italy’s foot. De­spite a sto­ried and an­cient past, the re­gion has been over­looked in mod­ern times. Eas­ily Italy’s best-kept se­cret, Basil­i­cata is revered for beau­ti­ful beaches, an­cient towns and a dearth of or­ga­nized crime. In 2019, the town of Mat­era, a UNESCO site, will host the Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture. It is also known for its an­cient caves — once used for live­stock, later as prim­i­tive homes, and to­day, as pri­vate res­i­dences and hip­ster, beau­ti­fully re­stored, Flint­stone-es­que ho­tels. But for now at least, the se­cret is still safe.

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The Car­ib­bean — Tourism speeds re­cov­ery in a storm­bat­tered re­gion. Hur­ri­canes Irma and Maria de­liv­ered a one-two punch to the Car­ib­bean in 2017, bat­ter­ing many is­lands, in­clud­ing Do­minica, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin and the U.S. Virgin Is­lands. While more than 70 per­cent of the tourism-de­pen­dent re­gion was un­af­fected, hote­liers and tourism agen­cies across the is­lands banded to­gether to help their neigh­bors and spread the word that busi­ness for one means sur­vival for all.

Trav­el­ers can help by con­tin­u­ing to visit the is­lands that are open for busi­ness, and there are plenty of in­cen­tives to do so this year. New ho­tel open­ings range from the high­end Park Hy­att St. Kitts and the Sil­ver­sands Gre­nada, to the af­ford­able Dia­mant Les Bains, a 1945 prop­erty that is be­ing ex­panded on Mar­tinique. For is­land-hop­pers, the Moor­ings, a char­ter yacht com­pany, be­gan sta­tion­ing boats in both An­tigua and the Ba­hamas this sea­son and re­sumed op­er­a­tions in the Bri­tish Virgin Is­lands.

Some storm-dam­aged is­lands, where cruise lines have al­ready re­sumed call­ing, have proven re­silient. The new St. Maarten Rock­land Es­tate Eco-Park Rain­for­est Ad­ven­tures’ new Rock­land Es­tate Park in­tro­duced a zip line to Saint Maarten. On An­guilla, the nine-room Quintessence Ho­tel is sched­uled to open on Long Bay Beach in Jan­uary 2018. Al­though Puerto Rico’s pop­u­la­tion is still suf­fer­ing, vis­i­tors can look ahead to the open­ing of San Juan’s 96-room Ser­a­fina Beach Ho­tel in March. Nearby, the bou­tique inn Dream­catcher ar­ranges for guests to vol­un­teer in hands-on hur­ri­cane re­cov­ery projects.

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Vier­wald­stät­tersee, Switzer­land — Sus­tain­able Swit

zer­land. The me­dieval city of Lucerne is choked with tour buses, but new de­vel­op­ments around the spa­cious lake it sits on (called Lake Lucerne by tourists but known as Vier­wald­stät­tersee to lo­cals) prom­ise to thin crowds and of­fer ac­ces­si­ble doses of au­then­tic Swiss Alps. To help mo­bi­lize the masses, overnighters in win­ter will au­to­mat­i­cally re­ceive the Wil­liam Tell Pass, good for use on the

re­gion’s buses, boats, trains and cable cars, in­clud­ing the newly opened Stoos­bah­nen, Switzer­land’s steep­est fu­nic­u­lar rail­way that ac­cesses fam­ily-friendly Stoos, a scenic alpine re­sort and home to 21 miles of piste, a new lady bug-themed hik­ing trail, cheese mar­kets, and yo­del­ing and alphorn con­certs. Just across the lake is the newly opened, $550-mil­lion Bür­gen­stock, a modernist four-prop­erty re­sort of­fer­ing achingly gor­geous alpine views and a 10,000-square me­ter spa.

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Route of Parks, Chile — A glo­ri­ously scenic net­work

of Patag­o­nian parks. This year, Chile’s Route of Parks will be of­fi­cial thanks to an un­prece­dented con­ser­va­tion ac­cord be­tween Tomp­kins Con­ser­va­tion and the Chilean gov­ern­ment, which to­gether do­nated a to­tal of 11 mil­lion acres of Patag­o­nian park­land to be pre­served as five new and three ex­tended na­tional parks. The 1,500mile des­ig­nated ad­ven­ture trail will con­nect a net­work of 17 na­tional parks — from the Lake District to the Bea­gle Chan­nel, wind­ing through Patag­o­nia’s pri­mor­dial forests, snow-capped vol­ca­noes and wild coast­line.

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Gang­won Province, South Korea —Tem­ple stays, beach­side re­sorts and the Olympics. Gang­won Province, home to the Pyeongchang 2018 Win­ter Olympics, is eas­ier to ac­cess from Seoul thanks to a new two-hour high-speed train be­tween In­cheon and Gangne­ung. The year-round desti­na­tion is renowned for white-wa­ter raft­ing and hik­ing, and its sandy East Sea coast­line has been re­vi­tal­ized by chic new­com­ers: Lotte Re­sort Sok­cho and Richard Meier’s Sea­marq Ho­tel. Mean­while, moun­tain­ous Se­o­rak­san Na­tional Park of­fers tran­quil Bud­dhist sites and tem­ple stays, like Wol­jeongsa, where trav­el­ers can taste South Korean tem­ple cui­sine.

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Cincinnati — Three new the­aters en­liven a gen­tri­fy­ing

district. Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neigh­bor­hood is al­ready home to mi­cro­brew­eries, farm-to-ta­ble restau­rants and a street­car link­ing it to down­town. In late 2017, a trio of new the­aters height­ened its cul­tural al­lure. The 1878 land­mark Mu­sic Hall — home to the Cincinnati Sym­phony, Cincinnati Bal­let and Cincinnati Opera — re­opened af­ter a $143 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion. Nearby, En­sem­ble Theater Cincinnati ex­panded and Cincinnati Shake­speare Com­pany moved into new quar­ters where seats, none more than 20 feet from the stage, guar­an­tee the­atri­cal im­mer­sion.

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Bhutan — Lux­ury lodges, he­li­copter tours and a new air­port. This is the year for top-of-the-line travel in Bhutan. Af­ter much an­tic­i­pa­tion, Six Senses will open five high-end lodges across Bhutan, with the first few sched­uled for sum­mer and the rest by the end of 2018. Else­where, three Bhutane­se­owned prop­er­ties, all new or ren­o­vated in 2017 — Nemjo Her­itage in Paro, Zhiwa Ling As­cent in Thim­phu and Ogyen­chol­ing Guest House in Bumthang — of­fer eclec­tic al­ter­na­tives. COMO Ho­tels will con­tinue to mar­ket its new six-day heli-ad­ven­ture pack­age with a stopover in Laya, one of the most re­mote set­tle­ments on earth. And the coun­try’s wild east will fi­nally be ac­ces­si­ble to trav­el­ers once flights be­gin op­er­at­ing out of Yong­phula Do­mes­tic Air­port some­time this year.

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Glas­gow, Scot­land — The re­turn of whisky to a

re­vived city. More than 250 ar­chi­tec­tural projects will take shape on the River Clyde through 2025, in­clud­ing sev­eral new ho­tels, shop­ping and res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ments. But whisky’s on the lips of ev­ery­one in town: two of the 20 or so new dis­til­leries open­ing in Scot­land are in Glas­gow, in­clud­ing the $12.3 mil­lion Cly­de­side Dis­tillery, the city’s first in 100 years, slated to open in late 2017 in a re­stored pump house near Zaha Ha­did’s River­side Mu­seum. Glas­gow’s ex­cit­ing, wal­let-friendly restau­rants, like 2017 new­comer Bil­son 11, rein­ter­pret Cale­do­nian cui­sine, while in­ter­na­tional fla­vors find in­creas­ingly au­then­tic ex­pres­sion at spots like Ra­men Dayo, which serves up ad­mirable aji­tama (soy sauce eggs) and tonkotsu ra­men stock. Rather than choose one place to dine, em­bark on a graze with lo­cal tour op­er­a­tor Glas­gow Food Co., which is adding a whisky pair­ing food crawl to its tours in 2018.

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Top End, Aus­tralia — An in­dige­nous tourism boom.

Aus­tralia’s re­mote Top End — the North­ern Ter­ri­tory’s north­ern­most hunk — is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an uptick of tourism to its abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties, the world’s old­est civ­i­liza­tions, ac­cord­ing to 2017 DNA anal­y­sis. The 2017 Dar­win Abo­rig­i­nal Art Fair saw record crowds, while new camps, tours and in­dige­nous part­ner­ships are afoot in 2018. Ven­ture North, known for ex­clu­sive ac­cess tours to Abo­rig­i­nal Home­lands of Kakadu Na­tional Park and Arn­hem Land, ex­pands with a sec­ond camp ded­i­cated to vis­i­tors seek­ing cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences and in­dige­nous rock art, while Abo­rig­i­nal-owned Pu­dakul Tours opens a 6-room camp perched on a croc­o­dile-filled bil­l­abong. The re­gion’s small cities — Dar­win, Palmer­ston, Kather­ine — are see­ing new mar­kets and in­dige­nous cen­ters, giv­ing vis­i­tors hubs to ap­pre­ci­ate the vast re­gion’s di­verse cul­tures.

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Cam­bo­dian Coast — New gate­ways to Cam­bo­dian

beaches. Angkor Wat is still the big­gest draw in Cam­bo­dia, but new flights, an im­proved air­port ter­mi­nal and new ho­tels are draw­ing more vis­i­tors to the coast. New routes and more di­rect flights to Si­hanoukville In­ter­na­tional Air­port, a gate­way to the white-sand beaches, have in­creased lead­ing to a ren­o­va­tion and ex­pan­sion that will dou­ble the air­port’s ca­pac­ity by early 2018. And new ho­tels – no­tably Six Senses on Krabey Is­land and Alila Vi­las on Koh Russey, both open­ing in 2018 — make the div­ing, snor­kel­ing and beach life far more ac­ces­si­ble.

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East Cape, Los Ca­bos, Mex­ico — Re­sorts and cool farms off Cabo’s beaten path. Miles from rau­cous Cabo San Lu­cas, the East Cape of Cabo, a for­merly sleepy stretch of fish­ing vil­lages, is buzzing. Chileno Bay, a sleek, con­tem­po­rary re­sort with a restau­rant helmed by a French Laun­dry alum, opened in 2017; a Four Sea­sons is due in late 2018. Kite surfers fre­quent the ocean, and im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ences sur­round the re­gion’s farms, like Acre Baja, with a de­sign-for­ward din­ing room and bar, ac­tiv­i­ties (yoga, hik­ing) and tree­houses for overnight stays.

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Li­uwa Plain Na­tional Park, Zam­bia — A re­mote sa­fari desti­na­tion now eas­ier to reach. Ze­bras, spot­ted hye­nas and wilde­beest are among the resurg­ing wildlife in this 900,000acre na­tional park in Western Zam­bia, where the non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion African Parks has spurred con­ser­va­tion ef­forts since 2003. More than 300 bird species also live amid Li­uwa’s vast, sea­son­ally flooded plains, now more ac­ces­si­ble thanks to di­rect flights from Lusaka to Kal­abo. The park also added its first per­ma­nent camp in 2017, King Le­wanika Lodge, of­fer­ing views of Africa’s sec­ond-largest an­nual wilde­beest mi­gra­tion each Novem­ber.

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Bal­ti­more — A city hon­ors an abo­li­tion­ist and lights up with art. Charm City’s packed cul­tural cal­en­dar is show­cas­ing com­mem­o­ra­tive events for the 200th birth­day of the Mary­land-born abo­li­tion­ist leader Fred­er­ick Dou­glass from mu­seum ex­hibits to biography sign­ings. Mean­while, an ex­panded Light City fes­ti­val in April will fea­ture light-based art in­stal­la­tions and per­for­mances in 14 neigh­bor­hoods. And art and his­tory buffs can soon crash at Ho­tel Re­vival, on the site of the city’s first pub­lic art mu­seum.

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Es­to­nia — Mark­ing a big birth­day with a creative new na­tional spirit. Es­to­nia is cel­e­brat­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of its found­ing in 2018 with a cul­tural re­birth. The cen­ter­piece is the newly opened Es­to­nian Na­tional Mu­seum, a stun­ning, 1,160-foot-long glass struc­ture set on a Soviet-era air base run­way in the city of Tartu. Cre­ativ­ity is also flour­ish­ing in the in­de­pen­dent de­sign shops in Tallinn’s Tel­liskivi Creative City, a ren­o­vated 19th-cen­tury rail­way fac­tory com­plex, and restau­rants like Leib and Noa, where young chefs are ex­per­i­ment­ing with fresh takes on tra­di­tional Es­to­nian cui­sine and brew­ers are cul­ti­vat­ing an ex­cit­ing craft beer scene.

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Gansu Province, China — An­cient Silk Road at­trac­tions, now within

reach. With the open­ing of the western seg­ments of China’s na­tional high-speed rail line in re­cent years, a host of an­cient Silk Road at­trac­tions in Gansu province are sud­denly much more ac­ces­si­ble. The sur­real rain­bow­striped moun­tains in the Zhangye Danxia Na­tional Ge­o­log­i­cal Park are now just a three­hour train ride from the cap­i­tal of Lanzhou, half the time as be­fore. Also more ac­ces­si­ble are the west­ern­most part of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dy­nasty and spec­tac­u­lar 14th­cen­tury Ji­ayuguan fort, look­ing splen­did again fol­low­ing a four-year, $290 mil­lion restora­tion.

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Saska­toon, Canada — Pi­casso comes to the prairie. Pablo Pi­casso, Ge­orges Braque and other heavy­weight 20th-cen­tury artists now have a home in the Cana­dian province of Saskatchewan, thanks to the new Re­mai Mod­ern mu­seum. A cen­ter­piece of Saska­toon’s re­de­vel­op­ing river­front, the mu­seum sports world-class modernist ar­chi­tec­ture and an 8,000-work col­lec­tion. Art fans com­ing by plane will ar­rive at the city’s re­cently ex­panded and re­fur­bished (and award­win­ning) air­port and can soon stay in style near the mu­seum at the 15-story Alt Ho­tel.

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Seville, Spain — An artist’s 400th birth­day paints a vivid por­trait of An­dalu­sia. In the 17th cen­tury, Seville was a hive of cre­ativ­ity, host­ing artists like Diego Velázquez, Fran­cisco de Zur­barán, and Bar­tolomé Este­ban Murillo. The lat­ter was bap­tized in the city on Jan 1, 1618 and the “Año Murillo” events in­clude eight ex­hi­bi­tions, 30 con­certs, tours and sym­posia cel­e­brat­ing the painter and his city. For 405 years, the stun­ning Pala­cio de las Dueñas has be­longed to the Dukes of Alba, Spain’s grand­est grandees, and is newly open to the pub­lic. Trav­el­ers can ex­pe­ri­ence mod­ern pala­tial lux­ury at the new Ho­tel Mercer.

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Penin­sula Pa­pa­gayo, Costa Rica — An eco-chic par­adise gets a splashy makeover. New own­ers are in­vest­ing more than $100 mil­lion in prop­er­ties and in­fra­struc­ture at th­ese 1,400 acres on the north­ern Pa­cific coast, in­clud­ing the ren­o­vated 181-room Four Sea­sons Re­sort Costa Rica that de­buted in De­cem­ber, a new beach club at the neigh­bor­ing An­daz and an ex­panded ma­rina vil­lage. Also new for na­ture lovers: more than 8 miles of scenic trails; the Penin­sula Pa­pa­gayo Ex­plor­ers Club, which cus­tom­izes ac­tion­packed ad­ven­tures for trav­el­ers; and a macaw sanc­tu­ary open­ing in late 2018.

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Bran­son, Mo. — Va­ri­ety shows and steep spin­ning coast­ers all within reach. This town in the Ozark Moun­tains, well-known for of­fer­ing thrills of the high­fly­ing and toe-tap­ping va­ri­ety, is up­ping its game. The theme park Sil­ver Dol­lar City al­ready boasts Out­law Run, a wooden coaster with a corkscrew, and this spring will add Time Trav­eler, set to be the world’s tallest, steep­est and fastest spin­ning coaster. Those who like their en­ter­tain­ment without sud­den drops can en­joy one of the many the­atri­cal pro­duc­tions, like The Hay­goods, an en­er­getic coun­try mu­sic show with light-up fid­dles and lasers.

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São Tomé and Príncipe — Un­der­rated gem gets new luxe lodg­ing.

This former Por­tuguese colony is called Africa’s Galá­pa­gos by nat­u­ral­ists. Five years ago much of this small is­land na­tion off the west coast of Africa was des­ig­nated a UNESCO bio­sphere re­serve,with sea tur­tles and 16 en­demic bird species among the pro­tected wildlife. More re­cently the sus­tain­able bent of tourism also be­came more lux­u­ri­ous with two prop­er­ties launch­ing on the smaller is­land of Príncipe: A plan­ta­tion house, Roça Sundy, for­merly a co­coa pro­ducer, opened in June 2017 with four poster beds and stan­dalone tubs, while Sundy Principe, 15 beach­front tented vil­las by the At­lantic were set to open in De­cem­ber 2017, the first five star lodg­ing there.

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Ger­many’s Western States — Teu­tonic tol­er­ance and tech­nol­ogy.

Ger­many’s Bun­destag, in­clud­ing all six Mus­lim mem­bers, voted in 2017 to le­gal­ize same-sex mar­riage. At the same time, politi­cians and vot­ers alike pledged to close all 17 of the coun­try’s nu­clear plants by 2022. While 2017’s right-swing­ing gen­eral elec­tion may bring po­ten­tial set­backs to im­mi­gra­tion and en­ergy con­ser­va­tion, nowhere is the spirit of Teu­tonic tol­er­ance more alive than in the coun­try’s pro­gres­sive western states, abloom with new vis­i­tor draws like the an­cient ice age cave art in the Jura Plateau, in­scribed on UNESCO’s World Her­itage list in 2017, the world’s first zero-emis­sions hy­dro­gen pas­sen­ger train, open­ing in Lower Sax­ony, two re­cently chris­tened Vik­ing long ships set for cruis­ing the Rhine, and a $14 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion of the his­toric Le Méri­dien Frank­furt. The coun­try’s big­gest air­port, in Frank­furt, sees a flurry of new flights in­clud­ing 2018 routes to Phoenix, San Diego and Philadel­phia.

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Fiji — Pros­per­ity and progress in the South Pa­cific. Re­cov­er­ing vig­or­ously af­ter 2015’s Cy­clone Wat­son with the help of pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ments, Fiji is reemerg­ing with four new ho­tels. Th­ese in­clude the sleek and sur­pris­ingly af­ford­able Mar­riott Re­sort Momi Bay, with 22 over­wa­ter bure (bun­ga­lows) among its 114 rooms, and Kokomo, a 140-acre pri­vate is­land on the Great Astro­labe Reef. Ex­ist­ing re­sorts like Nanuku have made mean­ing­ful nods to con­ser­va­tion in 2017 by ban­ning sin­gle-use plas­tics like straws and sham­poo bot­tles and in­tro­duc­ing co­ral nurs­eries and man­grove restora­tion projects with reused plas­tic wa­ter bot­tles to grow seedlings. In spring 2018, Lind­blad Ex­pe­di­tions/ Na­tional Geo­graphic is sched­uled to launch a se­ries of cruises to the South Pa­cific, in­clud­ing stops in Fiji’s lesser-vis­ited is­lands like Tave­uni and Beqa, while Fiji Air­ways in­au­gu­rated a new di­rect flight to Fiji’s Nadi In­ter­na­tional Air­port from San Fran­cisco in au­tumn 2017.

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Chat­tanooga, Tenn. — A South­ern city re-emerges. When Chat­tanooga be­came the first city in the United States to turn on a city­wide fiber net­work that of­fered re­mark­ably fast in­ter­net ser­vice, multi­na­tional busi­nesses moved in and prompted rapid growth and de­vel­op­ment. Ren­o­va­tions in­cluded new trails in the Ten­nessee River­park; new restau­rants and mu­sic venues in the his­toric Chat­tanooga Choo Choo, a former train sta­tion; and, when it re­opens this sum­mer, an am­phithe­ater and more green space to down­town Miller Park. New ho­tels range from

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Oslo, Nor­way — A re­newed Nordic cap­i­tal primed for the spot­light.

Nor­way’s cap­i­tal is ready for its mo­ment in the Nordic sun. Ca­pac­ity has dou­bled at the newly ex­panded Oslo Air­port, which is as good-look­ing as it is green. Speedy air­port trains now whisk vis­i­tors to the city cen­ter, where ar­chi­tec­tural land­marks are rapidly pro­lif­er­at­ing. And a new 5 1/2-mile wa­ter­front prom­e­nade, Havne­prom­e­naden, runs from a sea-fed out­door pool, across a High Linein­spired park, to a year-old in­door skatepark with hy­per-col­or­ful fa­cades by the lo­cal artist Push­wag­ner.

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Hon­shu’s West Coast, Ja­pan — Art

fairs and new tours. The west coast of Hon­shu, the largest of Ja­pan’s four main is­lands, sees a hand­ful of new de­vel­op­ments, in­clud­ing the world’s largest art fair, the Echigo-Tsumari Art Tri­en­nale, tak­ing place across 200 vil­lages of the re­mote Ni­igata pre­fec­ture. A tour launched by Re­mote Lands takes vis­i­tors to the re­mote Noto Penin­sula. Down the coast in the hot springs on­sen town of Ki­nosaki, the 8th-cen­tury Onsenji Tem­ple, un­veils its 11-headed Kan­non Bud­dha to the pub­lic once ev­ery 33 years and opens for view­ing in April 2018. Ac­cess it by hitch­ing a ride on Ja­pan’s ex­trav­a­gant 30-pas­sen­ger sleeper train, the Twi­light Ex­press Mizukaze, which launched last sum­mer.

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Ar­les, France — Provence’s new cul­tural cra­dle. This an­cient Provençal city con­tin­ues its long art world as­so­ci­a­tions with Luma Ar­les, an ex­per­i­men­tal in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary art campus funded by the phi­lan­thropist Maja Hoff­mann. The project will see five former in­dus­trial build­ings trans­formed into gal­leries, ex­hi­bi­tion halls and a new pub­lic park over the next two years. Vis­i­tors to La For­ma­tion, a new per­form­ing arts res­i­dence set to open by sum­mer, should also book a free tour of the Parc des Ate­liers in de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing its glis­ten­ing show­piece slated for 2019: a 183foot Frank Gehry-de­signed tower to house ex­hi­bi­tions, a li­brary, din­ing spa­ces and of­fer soar­ing views of the Ca­mar­gue.

29

Kuélap, Peru — New ac­cess to the fortress in the clouds. As heavy tourist traf­fic has led to new re­stric­tions on vis­its to Machu Pic­chu, tourists should con­sider head­ing north in­stead to the so-called “Machu Pic­chu of the north”: Kuélap, the site of a stun­ning pre-In­can set­tle­ment built by the “Cloud War­rior” peo­ple of the north­ern An­des. The walled city, home to hun­dreds of cir­cu­lar homes and cer­e­mo­nial build­ings, sits in a cloud for­est 10,000 feet above sea level, with views of the sur­round­ing jun­gle-blan­keted moun­tains. The ru­ins be­came more ac­ces­si­ble with the 2017 open­ing of a 2 1/2-mile-long cable car sys­tem that cut travel time from the near­est town, Nuevo Tingo, to just 20 min­utes from a 90-minute drive or a four-hour hike.

30

Down­town Den­ver — A new art

epi­cen­ter. Den­ver’s down­town, par­tic­u­larly the Golden Tri­an­gle Creative District, is fast be­com­ing a vi­brant arts cen­ter. The Kirk­land Mu­seum of Fine & Dec­o­ra­tive Art will re­open there in March. While the old space had room for 3,500 works, the new one will be able to dis­play about 6,000 world-class dec­o­ra­tive arts pieces. Kirk­land is sur­rounded by other high-cal­iber mu­se­ums in­clud­ing the Den­ver Art Mu­seum as well as more than a dozen gal­leries show­cas­ing works by no­table con­tem­po­rary artists. A big fac­tor in the Den­ver arts move­ment is the city’s push for artists to make their gallery­wor­thy works view­able to the pub­lic through street art — one ex­am­ple is Rob Reynold’s “Ocean View” mu­ral on dis­play on an out­door wall in the Golden Tri­an­gle, which was com­mis­sioned by the Art, a Ho­tel, nearby.

31

Ki­gali, Rwanda — Clean and sus­tain­able, a model of the new Africa.

Rwanda’s cap­i­tal, a mod­ern, tech­cen­tric model of African progress, is emerg­ing as Africa’s friendli­est tourist desti­na­tion. Sus­tain­abil­ity ef­forts in­clude a na­tion­wide plas­tic bag ban that has cleaned up city streets. Plush ac­com­mo­da­tions like the first-ever Mar­riott in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa and the com­ing Heaven Re­treat are rais­ing the lux­ury bar.

32

Bel­grade, Ser­bia — Europe’s gritty party town is as vi­brant as ever. The city’s chaotic, vi­o­lent past is vis­i­ble in the run­down Soviet-era build­ings that still pep­per the city, but Bel­grade is an en­er­getic town on the rise. A ne­glected area along the Sava River is be­ing trans­formed into a prom­e­nade lined with cafes and food trucks. In the sum­mer, the area pulses with par­ties on house­boats known as splavovi. In­de­pen­dent art gal­leries and per­for­mance spa­ces like the Ga­ler­ija Stab and KC GRAD have taken over old in­dus­trial build­ings.

33

Tas­ma­nia — A dev­il­ish is­land at­tract­ing Aus­tralia’s best chefs.

Long known for its oys­ters and sparkling wines, Aus­tralia’s south­ern­most state is now gar­ner­ing at­ten­tion for its boom­ing culi­nary scene, too. The ris­ing star chef David Moyle helped lead the way in 2015 by open­ing the seafood-fo­cused Franklin in a re­stored 1920s Ford au­to­mo­bile show­room, now one of Aus­tralia’s top-rated restau­rants. Other new­com­ers in­clude Dier

Makr, a restau­rant show­cas­ing lo­cal Tas­ma­nian in­gre­di­ents run by two Melbourne trans­plants, and the Agrar­ian Kitchen Eatery & Store, another farm-to-ta­ble ven­ture that’s given new life to a her­itage prop­erty con­nected with Tas­ma­nia’s darker pe­nal colony days — a 19th-cen­tury former men­tal asy­lum.

34

Ice­land — Lux­ury lodg­ings across the is­land. Has Ice­land’s tourism peaked? Not for lux­ury trav­el­ers seek­ing over-the-top, only-in­Ice­land ex­pe­ri­ences. High-end prop­er­ties are pro­lif­er­at­ing, from the Ian Schrager-backed Edi­tion Ho­tel open­ing in 2018 in Reyk­javik to the ul­tra­ex­clu­sive Tro­phy Lodge, a pri­vate log-cabin moun­tain re­treat 50 miles from Reyk­javik. An haute hot-springs prop­erty, the Moss Ho­tel, is set to open in April 2018 at the Blue La­goon.

35

Rogue River, in Ore­gon — Rogue River and 50 years of Amer­ica’s wild and scenic rivers. In 1968 Congress passed the Na­tional Wild and Scenic River Act and im­me­di­ately gave eight sec­tions of our most spec­tac­u­lar wa­ter­ways spe­cial pro­tec­tion. To­day the Act cov­ers more than 12,700 miles of rivers in the United States and Puerto Rico. One of the most ac­ces­si­ble rivers — a sec­tion of which has been on the list since the be­gin­ning — is Ore­gon’s Rogue River near Grants Pass. Raft­ing trips, some of which float from in­nto-inn, take ad­ven­tur­ers through the Rogue’s lush forests and boom­ing canyons, while a 40-mile-long trail opens the way for back­pack­ers, too.

36

Lithua­nia — Cel­e­brat­ing a demo­cratic an­niver­sary. Lithua­nia’s state­hood stretches back to the 13th cen­tury, but in 2018 the coun­try will cel­e­brate 100 years since restor­ing it­self as an in­de­pen­dent democ­racy. The act of in­de­pen­dence was signed in the cap­i­tal, Vil­nius, where the me­dieval streets of the his­toric cen­ter (a UNESCO World Her­itage site) wind past Gothic, Re­nais­sance and Baroque build­ings. But Lithua­nia will be es­pe­cially fes­tive dur­ing its an­niver­sary year, when events will in­clude the mul­ti­day Cen­te­nary Song Cel­e­bra­tion with cul­tural per­for­mances by thou­sands of singers, mu­si­cians and dancers.

37

Buf­falo — A Rust Belt city has a re­nais­sance. Once dis­par­aged for its de­clin­ing pop­u­la­tion, harsh win­ters and fail­ing sports teams, Buf­falo is mak­ing a big come­back in large part by re­pur­pos­ing its his­toric build­ings and long-dor­mant grain si­los. Down­town Buf­falo now buzzes with life thanks in part to the ev­er­ex­pand­ing Canal­side en­ter­tain­ment and recre­ation com­plex and a host of new din­ing and drink­ing es­tab­lish­ments. In 2017, three new brew­pubs and two new lux­ury ho­tels, the Ho­tel Henry and the Cur­tiss Ho­tel, opened in pre­vi­ously va­cant land­mark build­ings and in­dus­trial spa­ces. This year, a new, 43,000-square-foot, $27 mil­lion chil­dren’s mu­seum will open down­town, and ma­jor ren­o­va­tions at two Frank Lloyd Wright de­signed homes, Gray­cliff and the Dar­win Martin House, will be com­plete.

38

La Paz, Bo­livia — Food leads the way in an up-and-com­ing city. La Paz’s culi­nary ca­chet is sky­rock­et­ing thanks to Noma co-founder Claus Meyer, whose trend­set­ting Gustu restau­rant and Q’atu bak­ery con­tinue to in­spire a flurry of new up­scale spots like Ona and Ali Pacha, as well as cof­fee shops, bars and lo­cal dis­til­leries that pri­or­i­tize Bo­li­vian prod­ucts. Mi Tele­ferico, a new and ex­pand­ing tran­sit sys­tem of aerial cable cars, of­fers re­li­able trans­port and jaw-drop­ping views. And soon, the de­sign-con­scious lux­ury ho­tel, Altu Qala, will grace the down­town sky­line. 39

Prague, Czech Repub­lic — Cel­e­brat­ing 100 years of Czech in­de­pen­dence. On Oct. 28, 1918, a new coun­try in Cen­tral Europe was born. Prague, the cap­i­tal city, will be cel­e­brat­ing the 100th an­niver­sary with a le­gion of con­certs, events and ex­hi­bi­tions, in­clud­ing a Czech Phil­har­monic concert on Oct. 3 high­light­ing the mu­sic of Czech com­posers and, from March through Oc­to­ber, an ex­hi­bi­tion at Prague Cas­tle called “Founded 1918,” fea­tur­ing sym­bols and art from the first Cze­choslo­vak Repub­lic. This year also hap­pens to be the 50th an­niver­sary of the Prague Spring, which will be com­mem­o­rated with another Na­tional Gallery ex­hibit in Oc­to­ber.

40

Emilia-Ro­magna, Italy — Food and film in a fa­mously fer­tile re­gion. In the sea­side town of Ri­mini, the Ful­gor theater, where the home­town hero Fed­erico Fellini watched his first films, will re­open (on Jan. 20, Fellini’s birth­day) as the Casa del Cin­ema, de­signed by the Os­car-win­ning pro­duc­tion de­signer Dante Fer­retti; a mu­seum about the film­maker is still in the works. And on the out­skirts of Bologna, food lovers are cel­e­brat­ing FICO Eataly World, a new 25-acre homage to Ital­ian cui­sine. Ex­plore its or­chards, gar­dens, dozens of food pro­duc­tion work­shops, 97,000-square­foot mar­ket and some 40 restau­rants and food stalls on foot — or bor­row one of the cus­tom-de­signed Bianchi tri­cy­cle/shop­ping carts.

41

Dis­ney Springs, Fla. — Trade corn dogs for cock­tails. The Walt Dis­ney World-ad­ja­cent neigh­bor­hood Down­town Dis­ney is now the re­designed and ex­panded Dis­ney Springs, an un­ex­pected culi­nary desti­na­tion with a fo­cus on grown-ups. Rick Bay­less, Masa­haru Mo­ri­moto, Wolf­gang Puck and Art Smith have all opened restau­rants here, and Ge­orge Mil­iotes is launch­ing a wine bar in spring 2018 that will be the only mas­ter som­me­lier-led wine bar in the state.

42

Megève, France — Fam­ily-friendly meets French lux­ury. Ski-in/ski-out meets fam­ily-friendly at the new 55room Four Sea­sons Megève, de­signed by Pierre-Yves Ro­chon, adorned with the art col­lec­tion of its owner, the Baroness Roth­schild. Co­coon­like rooms are swathed in wal­nut panel­ing and fea­ture wood-burn­ing fire­places, main­tained by chim­ney but­lers to keep them stoked and cleaned, an iza­kaya-style restau­rant serv­ing sake and ca­sual Ja­panese bar food and he­li­copter ski sa­faris are some fun new perks. Megève’s on­go­ing $94-mil­lion in­vest­ment in ski fa­cil­i­ties through 2020 in­cludes sev­eral up­graded and new gon­do­las, two new on-piste youth zones, and a new 2-mile-long forested tobog­gan run, the Haute Savoie’s first, all de­but­ing for the 2017/18 ski sea­son.

43

Chandi­garh, In­dia — A green city and a mecca for ar­chi­tec­ture lovers. Chandi­garh, in north­ern In­dia, isn’t on the radar for most trav­el­ers, but the me­trop­o­lis of wide boule­vards, plen­ti­ful green spa­ces and note­wor­thy ar­chi­tec­ture is fi­nally get­ting its due. Capi­tol Com­plex, a gov­ern­ment com­pound de­signed by the renowned Swiss-French ar­chi­tect Le Cor­bus­ier, was des­ig­nated a UNESCO World Her­itage site in 2016, and in 2017, the home of another no­table ar­chi­tect, Pierre Jean­neret, be­came a mu­seum ded­i­cated to his con­tri­bu­tions to the city.

44

Seat­tle — New build­ings and up­dated icons in an evolv­ing city. Seat­tle de­sign takes a bold turn in 2018. Mul­ti­year ren­o­va­tions at the Space Nee­dle are un­der­way, in­clud­ing a restau­rant com­plete with a ro­tat­ing glass floor sched­uled to open this spring. Down­town, tours of gi­gan­tic Ama­zon Spheres filled with hun­dreds of plant species be­gin in early 2018. Au­tumn will see the open­ing of the Pa­cific North­west’s largest ho­tel, the 45-story Hy­att Re­gency Seat­tle.

45

Ro­torua, New Zealand — Come for the mud baths, stay for the beauty. Sul­furous gey­sers and min­er­al­rich hot springs scent Ro­torua, New Zealand’s North Is­land hub of Maori cul­ture. Cel­e­brat­ing the city’s geother­mal bless­ings, the first Mud­topia Fes­ti­val, fea­tur­ing mud games and mas­sages, took place in De­cem­ber. Na­ture is again an­i­mated in Ro­torua’s Whakare­warewa For­est where the Red­wood Tree­walk, an el­e­vated trail of 21 sus­pen­sion bridges amid a red­wood grove, in­tro­duced the Red­woods Night­lights.

46

Ypres, Bel­gium — A World War I sur­vivor, 100 years later. On Nov. 11, 2018, the cen­ten­nial of the end of the First World War will be cel­e­brated across Europe. A prime spot to com­mem­o­rate the oc­ca­sion is Ypres in the Flem­ish re­gion that saw some of the Great War’s blood­i­est bat­tles — sen­si­tively chron­i­cled at the city’s In Flan­ders Fields Mu­seum. Ar­mistice Day will bring con­certs, a poppy pa­rade and a mov­ing Last Post cer­e­mony at the Menin Gate Me­mo­rial to the Miss­ing.

47

Tang­ier, Morocco — High-speed trains and high-class hide­aways. Morocco’s north­ern port city con­tin­ues its re­nais­sance with a newly re­built wa­ter­front and ma­rina, an ex­pand­ing cruise port and the first high-speed rail line in Africa, which de­buts next year, link­ing the city with Casablanca and Rabat. The water­side gets even more stylish in Ta­mu­day Bay, about 50 miles away, with a new Ritz-Carl­ton re­sort join­ing a re­cently opened Banyan Tree re­sort.

48

Rib­era del Duero, Spain — The cup run­neth over for Spain’s “sec­ond” wine re­gion. De­spite play­ing sec­ond fid­dle to Rioja, the re­gion around the Duero River (be­fore it crosses into Por­tu­gal and be­comes the Douro) pro­duces oenophile fa­vorites like Pro­tos — in a Richard Rogers­de­signed win­ery — and Arzuaga, among many oth­ers. Eas­ily ac­cessed through the city of Val­ladolid — an hour north of Madrid by high speed train — the area of­fers what many con­sider to be one of Spain’s finest ho­tels, Aba­dia Retuerta Le Do­maine. Also, visit the wine mu­seum in Peñafiel Cas­tle and the Na­tional Sculp­ture Mu­seum — the Prado of Span­ish sculp­ture.

49

Mont­gomery, Ala. — A mon­u­ment to the vic­tims of racial ter­ror rises in a Con­fed­er­ate cap­i­tal. Dozens of mon­u­ments in Mont­gomery hail the Con­fed­er­acy. Come April, one new me­mo­rial will speak for the vic­tims of slav­ery and prej­u­dice. On a hill­top over­look­ing the city, the Na­tional Me­mo­rial for Peace and Jus­tice from the non­profit Equal Jus­tice Ini­tia­tive will con­sist of 800 sus­pended col­umns etched with the names of more than 4,000 vic­tims. Another 800 col­umns, ded­i­cated to the coun­ties where lynch­ings oc­curred, will lie in an ad­ja­cent gar­den un­til claimed by and erected in those coun­ties.

50

Südtirol, Italy — A well­ness desti­na­tion is re­born. All flights to its main air­port in Bolzano — the cap­i­tal of Italy’s au­tonomous Ger­manspeak­ing Südtirol re­gion and home to much of the Dolomites — were can­celed in 2015, ac­qui­esc­ing to a pub­lic poll on whether to keep the air­port ac­tive. In­stead of mourn­ing the loss of tourism, Tiroleans cap­i­tal­ized on the cleared up skies and thinned out tourist set by be­com­ing a well­ness desti­na­tion. New prop­er­ties in­clude See­hof Na­ture Re­treat, a vil­lage of suites and saunas en­cir­cling an ap­ple-tree lined lake, the 16-suite Montchalet in Or­ti­sei with float­ing med­i­ta­tion beds, while tried-and-true prop­er­ties like the Alpen­royal Ho­tel, on a pop­u­lar Via Fer­rata climb­ing trail, upped their game by adding a new 5,000 square well­ness area with a fra­grant haystuffed sauna, herbal steam room and ther­mal bath. Late 2017 also saw the new Alto Adige Wine Sum­mit, high­light­ing lesser-known va­ri­etals of lo­cal wine.

51

Bris­tol, Eng­land — An oft-over­looked Bri­tish city ups it cul­tural ante. Edgy, creative Bris­tol is aim­ing for another la­bel in 2018: cul­tural pow­er­house. The UK’s old­est con­tin­u­ously work­ing theater, Bris­tol Old Vic, will un­veil a 188-seat stu­dio theater. St. Ge­orge’s Bris­tol concert hall is adding a mod­ern ex­ten­sion. Be­ing Brunel, a new mu­seum cel­e­brat­ing the en­gi­neer­ing great Isam­bard King­dom Brunel, will de­but along­side his mas­ter­piece, the ocean liner SS Great Bri­tain. .

52

Luang Pra­bang, Laos — A UNESCO site without the crowds. The charms of this penin­sula city, set in the con­flu­ence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, are best en­joyed by bi­cy­cle. Give alms to saf­fron-robed Bud­dhist monks in the early morn­ing, then un­cover count­less gold-roofed wats (tem­ples), or hike to nearby wa­ter­falls. Why now? Get there be­fore the crowds do.

Pho­tos by The New York Times

No. 2: Colom­bia — Caño Cristales

No. 1: New Or­leans — Bour­bon Street

Pho­tos by The New York Times

No. 5: Vier­wald­stät­tersee, Switzer­land —A rail­way at Stoos, a scenic alpine re­sort

No. 4: San Juan, Puerto Rico — Playita del Con­dado

No. 9: Bhutan — Bud­dhist stat­ues in Thim­phu

Pho­tos by The New York Times

No. 32: Bel­grade, Ser­bia — Hype Bel­grade, one of the city’s many night­clubs

No. 27: Hon­shu’s West Coast, Ja­pan

No. 19: Seville, Spain — The Plaza de Es­paña

Pho­tos by The New York Times

No. 44: Seat­tle — Ama­zon Tower II and the Ama­zon Bio­spheres

No. 47: Tang­ier, Morocco

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