You’ve checked off London, Paris and New York City – where will you go next? If money were no object, what destination would you choose?
If you haven’t been to London, Paris or New York City yet, packing your bags and visiting is a must. However, here at Trippy, it’s time to look beyond these commonly visited cities, even though they are still some of my favorite destinations – in fact, I reside in one, New York City.
Trippy’s Top 25 Destinations for 2017 are based on the questions and expert answers on Trippy and my personal travel experiences. The destinations are ordered by continent. This list includes places as far south as Isla Magdalena in Chile and as north as the northernmost capital city on earth, Reykjavik.
1. Krakow, Poland
Krakow, the former capital of Poland, has the largest market square in Europe. The historic center has 13th-century palaces, churches, and houses. Travelers can also view the remnants of the 14th-century fortifications and the medieval site of Kazimierz (ancient synagogues), Jagiellonian University and the Gothic cathedral.
Trippy user Petra Boije wrote:
In Krakow the best thing to do is explore all the amazing cafes and bars, they are completely unique in style and decor and sometimes very well hidden! I promise you when you just stroll around the main square in Kazimierz, you’re going to want to stop in all of them. Order a hot chocolate, it’s more like melted pure chocolate, eat pierogis, have a terrific polish beer.
Auschwitz-Birkenau is a full day trip and I highly recommend it. You can do it independently by taking a bus or a train from Krakow to Oswiecim or choose a tour (any tourist office would offer them). Another day trip I can recommend is the Wielicka salt mine, an organized tour would have direct transportation to the mine and back.
Krakow is the second destinations in my 2017 travel itinerary. I chose it for its history and coffee culture. Did you know that a Pole named Jerzy Kulczycki from Krakow opened the first coffee house in Vienna?
2. Corfu, Greece
The release of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun in 2003 cemented Tuscany’s stature as an immensely popular destination. Now it may be Corfu, an idyllic island in Greece, whose stock rises due to the critically acclaimed new PBS drama series, The Durrells. The drama set in the 1930s is about an English widow who relocates with her four children ages ranging from 11 to 21 to Corfu in search of a cheaper lifestyle.
Corfu has over 400 species of wildflowers and plenty of olive groves to visit. According to Trippy user Sérgio Nogueira from Lisbon:
Do not miss Achillion Palace (Sissi palace in the island), the traditional soap factories in Corfu drive up to Moni Pantokratoros for the views to Albania and down to Canal D’Amour for the coastline. The beaches around Paleokastritsa are really nice. Around Corfu old town several small restaurants are really good.
It’s only a three-hour flight from London to Corfu International Airport (CFU).
3. Lake Bled and Ljubljana, Slovenia
I HIGHLY recommend Slovenia to all of my friends traveling to Europe. It’s landscape is stunningly beautiful, has influenced by a unique mix of cultures (Balkan, Venetian/Italian, Austro-Hungarian), and has some of the friendliest people on the planet. Soca River, Lake Bled, Predjama Castle, Postojna cave region, Piran, and Logarska Dolina are all great sights worth visiting. The Julian Alps trails are the least crowded of all the Alps hiking trails in Europe.
Ljubljana is a charming city with great cafes, restaurants, quiet museums, and interesting architecture. Be sure to time your visit to wander through the fantastic Saturday morning market (especially in autumn). If you can’t visit on a Saturday, there are indoor market stalls open during the week, and there are vending machines in the market square selling milk and other local products 24 hours a day! I also think everyone should experience the Carnival celebration, called Kurentovanje, in Ptuj. And the cherry festival in the Goriška Brda region is a hoot. Just be sure to bring your own cup for the free wine passed out during the parade!
4. Kotor, Montenegro
Montenegro is one of the seven states created after the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. It is still relatively cheaper to vacation in Montenegro compared to in other Western European destinations.
Jacqui Travels went there and suggested this itinerary:
Montenegro is a beautiful part of the world, you guys will have a blast.
We passed through Montenegro on a road trip through the Balkans last September. We started at Plitvice Lakes National Park in north Croatia and stopped in Mostar on our way into Montenegro. We stayed overnight in Kotor Old Town (Kotor Stari Grad), which I highly recommend. It’s a beautiful bay and has some swimming spots nearby.
We also stopped off in Bar for lunch, but we found it to be very touristy.
Friends we know stayed in Kamp Grad in Grab. They loved it and said “the staff are awesome, its in the middle of nowhere, the surroundings are the best”.
Near Grab is Tara – think beautiful mountains and canyons with walks, hikes and whitewater rafting. I’ve heard these guys are good: http://www.raftingmontenegro.com/
We didn’t stay long in Montenegro, but we did spend three days at a camp site in Lake Skadar in north Albania. It was plenty of fun and quite off the beaten track if you are in to that thing.
5. Moscow, Russia
Russia will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. So before the whole world visits Moscow, go in 2017. Moscow, the capital city of Russia, is home to Kremlin, The Red Square, Bolshoi Theatre, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, and the world’s most beautiful metro stations.
8. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon was one of the top Instagrammed European cities in 2016. It is the cheapest capital city in Western Europe and is close to the Douro Valley, Europe’s most affordable wine region. Trippy member Brew Johnson described the city as “very underrated”:
Lisbon is a fantastic city and very underrated when you compare its popularity versus other European cities. Staying in Lisbon is great, I was there in July and stayed in Cascais which is a beach town with a great historic section, lots of bars and restaurants, that is easily accessible to Lisbon (about an hour by train). A fantastic place in and of itself, but also convenient to Lisbon and some other places. I’d also highly recommend a day trip to Sintra which is a fantastic place (Unesco world heritage site). If you make it to Sintra, definitely visit the Pena National Palace.
9. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is not cheap compared to Lisbon. It is a capital city with a small town feel and nightlife that starts at 12 midnight and ends the next morning. You don’t need to travel to remote places because it is possible to view the northern lights (Aurora Borealis) in Reykjavik.
For things to do in Reykjavik and beyond follow Markus Tressi’s questions.
10. Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Baden-Württemberg region is bordered by the Rhine, Neckar, Danube and Lech Rivers, making it the most fertile land in Germany. The area is known as the place for good food, great wine, vineyards, thermal baths, medieval villages, and castles. It is the birthplace of the automobile and houses world-renowned museums like the Mercedes Museum and Porsche Museum. Those who like nature and outdoor activities would love it in Baden-Württemberg as well. Germany.travel, the official German tourism board website, writes:
Throughout southwest Germany, you’ll find a perfect fusion of great food, regional character, natural beauty and countryside charm.
It is also the place for Black Forest cakes and ham and where the first cuckoo clocks were made. I highly recommend taking a road trip in the Baden-Wurttemberg region.
11. Iguazu Falls, Brazil and Argentina
After visiting both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides of the Iguazu Falls, I’m convinced it must be added in every traveler’s list. Located in Misiones Province (Argentina) and Paraná (Brazil), Iguazu Falls can be viewed from the air (helicopter in the Brazil side), boat ride under the Falls (Argentina side) and from the many platforms and walkways throughout both sides.
12. Lake District, Chile
The Lake District of Chile ranges from Temuco in the north to Puerto Montt in the south. Snow-capped volcanoes, untouched lakes with black sand beaches, waterfalls, forests, fjords, thermal pools and glaciers are some of the natural wonders of the region.
Chileans from all over the country visit the Lake District during their vacation days because of the natural wonders, outdoor activities, delicious food, and festivals. Puerto Montt, the major airport in the Lake District is only a one hour 38 minute flight from Santiago, the capital city of Chile.
13. Patagonia including Isla Magdalena, Chile, and Argentina
Patagonia is a region that encompasses the southern tip of Chile and Argentina. It is a natural wonderland and a playground for nature lovers. Fjords, glaciers, glacial lakes, waterfalls, Magellanic forests, and Magellanic penguins are some of what Patagonia has to offer.
Top places to visit in the region include Torres del Paine National Park, Isla Magdalena (Magdalena Island) which is home to over 120,000 Magellanic penguins, Fuego National Park, and Magdalena Channel.
14. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos is a special place. Trippy user, Missy Johnstone from Newport, wrote this after her return from the Galapagos:
I just returned from the Galapagos. It is certainly a very special place. I think the best way to experience the uniqueness of the Galapagos, which is the extraordinary interaction with wildlife, mammals, and birds is to visit by water on a boat. And if you do this, you should choose a boat with a small number of cabins, so that when you do snorkel or visit ashore there is not too large a group. I was on a boat and with a group of 10, and we were able to swim with the penguins, and sea lions, and to really spend time on shore learning with the Naturalist. It is harder to hear with a larger group and harder to have a larger group snorkel quietly so the sea lions and penguins are not hesitant to interact and harder for a large group to gather around a Blue Footed Booby Bird’s nest with hatchlings. The Galapagos are the only location in the world where I have seen the close interaction that can occur with nature with no fear, and so, as going to the Galapagos is usually expensive, then I recommend going in the best possible manner to really have the top experience, which is on a boat with no more than 6 or 7 cabins.
15. Montevideo, Uruguay
Havana is not the only place to see classic cars and trucks – Montevideo has plenty of those too. Most of these are vehicles used in the weekend markets like Feria de Tristan Nirvaja. Besides old trucks, Montevideo has beautiful historic buildings in Cuidad Vieja (Old Town), beaches, tango parlors and excellent beef just like in Buenos Aires.
Montevideo is an underrated destination in South America. I spent two months in Montevideo’s Pocitos and Punta Arenas neighborhoods. There are plenty of things to do in this quiet city besides looking at old automobiles and colonial buildings.
Phil L from Vancouver suggested:
Be sure to visit the Port Market or Mercado, it is a great place to spend time and have either lunch or dinner. Inside the market are numerous restaurants with grilling done over huge open fires. Great food, ambiance and the prices are not too bad. A real flavor of Montevideo.
16. Montreal, Canada
Montreal is its celebrating 375 year anniversary in 2017. The celebrations are organized around four themes: Montreal lights up, Montreal gets moving, Montreal ignites, and Montreal reinvents. It’s a year-long birthday party, according to Montreal Tourism. The city also celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation and the 50th anniversary of the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal.
17. Atlanta, Georgia
The Peachtree Corridor, Downtown, Westside, Midtown, Eastside, and Buckhead are the neighborhoods to visit when in Atlanta. Atlanta offers a diverse culinary experience including the best fried chicken and other Southern staples.
According to The Local Palate magazine, Atlanta chefs have received 56 James Beard semifinalist nominations and Staplehouse in Atlanta was named America’s Best New Restaurant in 2016 by Bon Appetite Magazine.
18. Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles, Caribbean (France)
Experience the “Caribbean with a French flair,” as Norwegian Air describes Guadeloupe. The airline recently launched direct flights from New York (JFK), Boston (BOS) and Baltimore/Washington (BWI) to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe.
This French archipelago has five islands: Grande Terre, Basse Terre, Marie Galante, Les Saintes and La Desirade. According to Norwegian Air, Guadeloupe has 250 sun-warmed beaches with sand in shades of white, black, gold, ochre (light yellow to brown) and pink.
19. Cape Town and Cape Peninsula, South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa’s Mother City, is the gateway to the vineyards of South Africa and Table Mountain. There’s another beauty near Cape Town, that is Cape Peninsula. In Cape Peninsula visit African penguins at Boulder’s Beach, enjoy a scenic ride to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point Lighthouse.
20. Tasmania, Australia
There’s more to Australia than just Sydney, Melbourne, and the Gold Coast. Tasmania is an island off the south coast of Australia. According to Trippy user Craig Lonsdale:
Tasmania has some great places to visit. I live in Melbourne and I have been there four times in the past four years and am always amazed at hidden gems that it has to offer. It has more forest, mountains and more wildlife than most of Australia and gets very few overseas visitors. It has the most “English” looking towns in Australia. I very highly recommend a visit to Hobart (capital of the state of Tasmania) and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). The museum is the personal project of an eccentric Tasmanian multi-millionaire who has spent over $200 million on the best and strangest of modern art and many beautiful ancient pieces. It is a unique brain-changing experience and you can take a wonderful modern ferry up the river to arrive there. I also recommend the tiny town of Strahan on the far west coast – a lovely patch of wilderness.
21. Shanghai, China
You can find a small bowl of noodles or dumplings in Shanghai for less than $2 or dine in style paying hundreds of dollars at Ultraviolet, a restaurant providing a molecular gastronomic experience. Shanghai is a city of contrast – the juxtaposition of the new and old, and the poor and rich.
Citizens of Canada, America, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Schengen countries may visit Shanghai for visa-free for 72 hours while on transit to another country. The best way to take advantage of this stopover if flying with China Eastern Airlines. Capitalize on the visa-free 72 hours and get a taste of China.
22. Kyoto, Japan
Tokyo and Kyoto are in complete contrast to each other. You can enjoy the sophisticated pleasures of Japanese city life in Tokyo. In Kyoto, on the other hand, you can enjoy traditional Japanese culture such as temples, tea ceremony, Kimono etc. If you want to understand and feel the spirit of Japan, I recommend you to take a day trip to Kyoto. It takes about 2.5 hours by JR Shinkansen (high-speed railway lines in Japan) from Tokyo to Kyoto.
Felix Werewolf echoed:
…but I think it would be a real shame for you to miss out on Kyoto. Yes, Tokyo is huge, dense, varied, and you could never run out of things to do there. But it’s really a hectic place, and Kyoto moves at a very different pace. Going there will let you see another aspect of Japan that you don’t get in Tokyo. And an evening stroll down the street called Ponto-Cho will be incredibly memorable for you. Yes, it’s a 2.5 hour train trip on the bullet train, but the train is actually really fun and comfortable. And Japanese train stations are super fun, too. I love the Kyoto station. There is a ton to do and see just there. Just doing Tokyo would be limiting yourself and will be more one-note.
23. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor, one of the most important archaeological sites in South East Asia. Built from the 9th to the 15th century, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon Temple were declared a UNESCO world heritage in 1992.
For insider tips check out Steve Wilson’s answer on tips for visiting Angkor Wat.
In Siem Reap, you’ll see floating markets and tuk tuks, just like those in Bangkok. Scott Mahaffy from Fort Collins recommended:
After that [Angkor Wat visit], I would recommend going down to Pub St and find one of many places for a very good, and inexpensive, massage. I would also try to find the place that offers fish pedicures. You put your feet in the tank and let the fish “clean” your feet for 10 minutes. 🙂 Then, grab dinner and cocktails on Pub Street. The next day, I would spend a leisurely morning around the hotel pool, and then the afternoon shopping (and negotiating) with the locals at the market down by Pub Street. And make sure you use the Tuk tuks for a fun travel experience to and from your hotel. Safe travels!
24. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Besides old mosques, including Masjid Jamek, and colonial buildings around Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, is also home to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. The city is easily accessible from Singapore and Bangkok, and a great stopover point for those transiting from Europe to Australia and New Zealand. Or from USA/Canada to Asia.
25. Bangkok, Thailand
MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index 2016 projected Bangkok will rank first as the most visited city with 21.47 million international overnight visitors in 2016. It is also one of the cities most asked about on Trippy.
The City of Angels, Bangkok is ‘food heaven’ and offers plenty of places where you can hang out with friends into the wee hours of the night. Bangkok has something for everyone.
See you there.
Article and photos by Claudia Looi