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These absolutely inspiring places to visit in 2018 are suggested by professional travelers and travel industry influencers from around the world. Bookmark this list for inspiring places to visit in 2018 and beyond.
Surely you have been dreaming of 2018 travel, if not already planned some trips. I certainly have been (both). Instead of simply writing another list of places I want to go, I asked frequent travelers and travel experts for their thoughts.
I asked them: “a place you want to visit in 2018 or think people should visit.”
Below are the responses from a few dozen fabulous travel insiders. I have linked to their main website and two of their social media accounts—so please follow them. Many of them also contributed to my inspiring places to visit in 2016 and 2017 articles. Do you wonder how many of them did indeed visit those places? I do!
Absolutely Inspiring Places to Visit in 2018
Richard Kerr, Award Travel 101 (Facebook) suggests St. Helena.
People should visit St. Helena, the island I went to last month in the middle of the South Atlantic. You can now fly South African airways from uliohannesburg to the island, home of Napoleon for the last six years of his life. The airport just opened, making one of the last remote places on earth now accessible. The rocky, arid cliffs of the exterior turn into lush, green forest on the interior of the island. Absolutely no place on earth like it full of nature and history and isolation and adventure and $1 South African beer.
Slovenia is the one destination I really fell in love with and I would recommend people to travel to in 2018. If you should not know where it is, it’s right between Austria and Croatia. This destination really surprised me positively and my trips there every time above my expectations. The capital Ljubljana is full of energy, good food, nightlife, cool activities, and nice people. The surrounding regions offer lots of wonderful nature and stunning landscapes.
I think South Korea is always a great place to visit, but 2018 will be especially special because of the Winter Olympics being there at the beginning of the year. Visit during the spring and fall and you’ll get a look at beautiful flowers, foliage, and amazing festivals when in the country.
Somewhere I absolutely want to visit in 2018 is the Seychelles. I’m actually from the Seychelles, but haven’t been home for a decade, and it’s about time I fixed that! The islands are beautiful, the food is incredible, and of course, I can’t wait to show my wife Jessica my home country!
All politics aside, I have to stress the need to experience Cuba. You may think it’s all classic cars, cigars, and rum, but that’s only a slice. The real takeaway from Cuba is its appreciation of the moment and the secret to happiness. Cuba’s culture and its people have so many life lessons to share with the world. Uncover them for yourself.
One of the places I am keen to re-visit in 2018 is Varanasi, in India. The city is incredibly messy, but quintessentially Indian. The atmosphere is unique, and despite the city is chaotic, it is incredibly relaxing. It’s a great place to learn more about the culture and the rituals of the Hindus and to appreciate how colorful the country is.
We’d recommend doing a North Coast 500 road trip in northern Scotland. We did it last year and are looking forward to driving it again in 2018. Highlights include the amazing views, wildlife, castles, whisky, heritage sites, and beaches.
Clearwater, Florida! It’s a special place since it’s where my wife and I got engaged in 2012. It’s also a fantastic family vacation spot, which will hopefully inspire parents to travel more with their little ones as it did for us. The warm shallow waters and white, soft, sugar-like beaches are just beautiful and soothing for people of all ages.
Having checked one of our big ones, Cuba, off our list this past year, our big bucket list destination for 2018 is Antarctica. Are we crazy? Well, yes, a little, but we do have a good reason besides what we hear is an amazing landscape and penguins. Over the past few years we have managed to set foot on six of the seven continents. Guess which one is left?
I would love to revisit the island of Kauai, Hawaii, in 2018. My focus is on chocolate travel, and I haven’t been to Kauai since I’ve been on the chocolate trail. I hear they have much for me to taste and experience, and hopefully to share with my readers and fellow chocolate lovers. And immersing myself in the natural beauty of Kauai won’t be so bad either.
Whether you want to stand where Moses stood as he looked at the promised land, explore a crusader castle, visit a bedouin camp, do canyoneering up a wadi, explore Roman ruins, or float in the dead sea, Jordan has a lot to offer. Oh yes, at there is the amazing city carved into stone of Petra. You should see Petra, but you shouldn’t stop your exploration of Jordan with Petra.
Fast becoming one of the hottest new ecotourism destinations, Tasmania is an isolated island at the bottom of Australia; an untouched gem with vast rugged wilderness and natural wonders, but with very few crowds. But there’s more than just nature; Hobart has an emerging cutting edge art scene, well preserved convict history, and local produce which includes some of Australia’s best seafood and wine.
Beyond Barcelona, the region of beautiful Catalonia is waiting to be explored! I had a taste of cycling in Catalonia in 2017, and can’t wait to go back for more. Love UNESCO world heritage sites, great food, stunning countryside, and outdoor activities? I’ll see you there next year!
Chile was a revelation to me – particularly the remote outpost of Torres del Paine National Park. It is found at the heart of Patagonia, a vast region that straddles the snow-capped Andes and encompasses some of Chile and Argentina’s most dramatic scenery. Chile is finally garnering attention for its fjord-indented coastline of glaciers, penguins, steppes and pampas and those stunning “torres” – a cluster of granite outcroppings that place it among the world’s most breathtaking pockets of wilderness.
I have been to Greenland on a couple of occasions – once for a two-month stint – but to date Iceland has alluded me. The country is so strikingly beautiful and full of dramatic, natural contrasts that it’s on my wishlist for 2018. Whether it be the wildlife, the geysers or the spectacular Northern Lights, I believe it’s one of those places you must at least visit once!
I’ve been to France a few times now, but find that there are so many places to discover, many that are lesser visited. The food, cheese and wine are so amazing that I am still craving them to this day. The combination of rich history with fantastic foods is definitely a reason to go and thinking outside of the touristy areas can also bring you travel gems.
An exotic destination for 2018 to consider is Raja Amapt in Wonderful Indonesia. Raja Ampat is located in a far off land, and if you want to visit, it requires one arduous journey. Not many are willing to make the pilgrimage, which is probably one of the reasons this unspoiled area is still so stunning. When I say “stunning,” that might be an understatement. Raja is a place so unreal that it seems like but a fantasy in ones imagination. Thankfully, for those with the time, money and gumption, Raja Ampat is a fantasy destination within reach (if but a very long one).
The United Nations declared 2017 the year of ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development’. Let’s keep the momentum going by visiting destinations destinations committed to the sustainability, like Bhutan. The fact that it’s remote and requires a visa and daily fee not only means you’ll have a peaceful and more authentic trip, but that your money will help to fund free education, free healthcare (for you as a visitor, too), conservation efforts and infrastructure. While there, immerse yourself in spirituality, natural beauty and well-preserved culture.
Super underrated and super beautiful, I think Montenegro will slowly (or quickly?) become an “it” destination. It has an appealing price tag compared to the neighbors in the west and there’s no shortage of beaches to chill on or adventure to be had, especially for such a tiny country. I’d suggest going between May-June or around September to avoid the higher summer prices and crowds.
While Slovenia may be influenced by the hospitality of Italy, the mountainous terrain of Austria, the seaside of Croatia, and the unique gastronomy of Istria, Slovenia is a unique country all on its own. Within two hours of the capital of Ljubljana, you could be exploring the beautiful Lake Bled, drinking wines in the Vipava Valley, or soaking in the sun in the beaches of Piran.
While the Caribbean certainly isn’t a new destination, I’d encourage people to head to Turks & Caicos but with a slightly different twist. Astronomy is incredible in this part of the world, so if you’re a star gazer or simply curious, bring your camera and a tripod so you can take some creative shots with a long exposure. The stars here are simply magnificent. Another great destination combo would be a joint trip to Fiji and the Solomon Islands. The latter are less known and therefore offer pristine beaches with hundreds of islands to explore. From America’s west coast, you can get direct flights to Fiji and then a short flight onto the Solomon Islands, which means both hot spots can be combined into one trip. While the Solomon Islands may not have your typical luxury property on it, this is what makes it so unique and off-the-beaten path. If nature is your thing, it’s a great option. Skull Island can also be found here which is loaded with history, culture and mystery.
I was blown away by Argentina this year, and I highly recommend booking a trip in 2018. Stop in Buenos Aires for a couple days, but then move on to Patagonia. San Martín de los Andes is a perfect base for horseback riding, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting and hiking. From there travel to Salta and explore the desert and the wine region. There’s stunning natural beauty everywhere, and it’s all kid-friendly!
It was love at first sight when my husband and I visited Porto for the first time this year. This fall while on a Windstar Cruise through Western Europe, we spent one day in port giving us only a small taste of what this charming city has to offer. Porto is a beautiful mix of old and new and is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. The building facades are covered with Portugal’s Azulejos ceramic tiles in vibrant colors. I suggest wandering through the narrow cobblestone streets of the old Riberia district and making your way down to the edge of the Douro River. Stroll along the riverbank and stop in to a port cellar to sample some of the finest Port vintages around.
In the Eastern Sierras of California, there is a pretty unique spot known as the Big Pine North Fork. It is a collection of lakes located about 8 miles hike in, and three of them are glacially fed by one of the southernmost glaciers in the USA. The lakes have this light blue color that you have to see to believe, and there are all these massive peaks around the lakes to make it that much more stunning. Sure it is a little bit of work to get there but once you do it is a fantastic spot and one that I hope to get back to this year.
Morocco is top of my list for 2018! Personally, I think the country is gorgeous! There is so much culture and history. And then there are all those enviable, Instagram-worthy photos you can take. A 10-day excursion is the best bet, so you can experience the urban, beach, and desert communities, from Marrakesh to Casablanca to Tangier to Chefchaouen (the famous blue city). Starting in the cities and exploring the bustling souks, then trekking across the Saharan, road tripping up along the coast, there is so much to do! Plus, if you plan ahead, it can be fairly affordable!
Portugal is my top inspiring destination for 2018. With quaint villages, opulent castles, crystal clear rivers, lush green mountains, and stunning coastlines you feel like you stepped inside a postcard. Unlike so many of Europe’s better known destinations that are overrun with tourists, Portugal provides more opportunities for authentic experiences.
Of all the places we’ve visited since we started our North America Road Trip in April 2017, the Badlands is the destination we are dying to get back to. Part of this yearning is that we had to race out of the national park to make the total solar eclipse in Nebraska, but the main reason is the Badlands striking geology. The mountains and canyons are a rainbow of colors and it has some of the world’s richest fossil beds. Saber-tooth cats once stalked the plains and you can still see Bison roaming. You could explore here for weeks! Add the wild west allure of nearby Deadwood, the rugged Black Hills, and Americana treasure of Mount Rushmore…and there is a lot more to explore.
Matera is a stunning destination where travelers sleep in cave hotels and eat authentic Italian food. Rumor has it that the train lines will eventually extend to the ancient city of Matera, which can only mean bigger crowds and higher prices. Until then, Matera is one of Italy’s hidden gems.
Svalbard, was a revelation when I visited earlier this year, I’d expected it to be special, but it is possibly one of the most beautiful, pristine landscapes I’ve ever visited. A place everybody should visit at least once, miles of snow and fun to explore on a snowmobile, ghost towns and the chance of seeing a polar bear or walrus. A very cool destination for 2018.
After exploring the Norwegian coast with Viking Ocean Cruises in 2017, I’m excited to see more of beautiful Scandinavia. Fortunately, our daughter will be studying in Lund, Sweden, a perfect jumping off point for exploring Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. Dramatic landscapes, new cities, welcoming people, and a chance to see the Northern Lights all draw me to Scandinavia in 2018.
If you’re wondering where to visit in 2018, then why not consider the most beautiful, pristine and remote place on earth? Whether you’re into kayaking with whales, zodiac cruising next to icebergs, hanging out with penguins or hiking mountains, there are so many things to do in Antarctica that it will no doubt become a place you’ll never forget. We loved it so much in 2017, that we’re returning this year too!
Put the Maldives on your 2018 bucket list and you won’t be disappointed. Shades of blue you never knew existed, stay in an overwater bungalow, snorkel or dive in some of the best sites in the world. It’s great for couples on a Maldives honeymoon, divers, surfers, or those beach lovers like us.
After 11 years on the road, with 94 countries checked off my list, my travel wish list is dwindling. There is, however one place that I have long dreamed of visiting – Easter Island. Known locally as Rapa Nui, this Polynesian island is located 2,300 miles off the coast of Chile. The island is famous for more than 900 monolithic carved stone figures known as moai that are scattered across the landscape. Even today no one knows why they were created or how they were moved, however everyone I know who has seen them describes the experience as mystical. I have promised myself that 2018 will be the year I visit the moai on Easter Island.
Botswana’s been on our world travel bucket list for years. Its tremendous opportunities to see animals include exploring the Okavango Delta via a traditional canoe, birdwatching in the Okavango Panhandle, mingling with 120,000+ Elephants estimated to reside in Chobe National Park, and having a traditional Big 5 safari experience at Moremi Game Reserve. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to do all of the above in 2018!
I’d like to get to Baffin Island in Nunavut, Canada in 2018. I have a goal of visiting every national park in Canada and there are two on Baffin I would like to visit: Quttinirpaaq National Park and Auyuittuq National Park.
The Azores are not typically where you think of for a street art destination but you should. Ponta Delgada now has beautiful murals on many buildings throughout the city from the yearly street art festival. Head to these beautiful islands to enjoy the street art and so much more!
For a largely overlooked tropical paradise one should visit Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania in Africa. With a rich Swahili culture, this island has a relaxed vibe and a fantastic cuisine derived from a mix of East African, Indian, and Middle Eastern influences. You can first choose to stay in Stone Town, whose Old Town is on UNESCO World Heritage List, and then head to one of the many resorts and beach front properties that are spread around the island. Zanzibar is one of my favourite islands in the world.
Bordeaux had me at hello. Known as the center of a major winemaking region, this laid-back port city in southwestern France is becoming a hot destination. There’s the interactive wine museum (La Cité du Vin) featuring top-floor wine tastings. In the picture-perfect old town, you can wine and dine outdoors next to medieval city gates. And the alternative space DARWIN across the river promotes eco practices and urban culture.
Wow, take a breath after reading that lists of amazing places to visit in 2018.
A giant McCool Travel THANK YOU to those who provided suggestions for this article. Please follow these amazing travel experts to see what inspiring places they visit in 2018.
My travel friends’ suggestions inspire me to to find new places to visit in 2018. I have been to some of these places but others are definitely among my inspiring places to visit in 2018.
May your travels in 2018 (and every year) be enjoyable and memorable.
Your turn: do you have inspiring places to visit in 2018 or think people should visit?