The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018
Travelers today are more aware than ever of all the world has to offer. It’s thrilling to be confronted with so much possibility — but daunting, too. Each year, we curate a list of the best places to travel in the months ahead.
Our travel experts — from travel writers around the globe to T+L's A-List travel advisors to our own editors — offer their recommendations. Then, we take a look at what places are now at the forefront of the global conversation, whether for new hotels and museums or major international events. In any given year, the cities and countries we recommend as the best places to travel in the world have a lot going on. And of course, we think about those travel destinations that are perennial favorites to determine which ones are reinventing themselves, ensuring there’s always something new to explore.
Whether you’re after heart-stopping adventure, a close-up look at history, or the perfect meal, these are the 50 best destinations to discover in 2018. Take a look at the Best Places to Travel in 2019 for additional inspiration and if you already know where you're going this coming year, share your plans with us on social media with #TLBestPlaces.
The jewel of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is home to more than 1,200 islands, but travel between them has long been dictated by expensive yacht charters and sluggish public ferries. In 2018, that’s set to change, now that UberBOAT, from the popular ride-sharing app, has launched on-demand transfers and private tours along the Dalmatian Coast. Hit the high seas in the direction of Šolta, a hilly isle a mere nine nautical miles from Split (the second-largest city in Croatia).
Often overlooked in favor of more-developed, splashier neighbors like Hvar or Brač, Šolta’s under-the-radar nature has proved a boon: The stony islet has become synonymous with pristine nature (pebbly beaches, turquoise waters, lush greenery), medieval villages, winemaking (try the indigenous Dobričić variety), and family-run olive oil purveyors like Olynthia, a fourth-generation producer. After watching the sun set at Maslinica bay, check out the island’s peppering of stylish beach clubs, seaside bars, and open-air restaurants — then drop your bags at the Heritage Hotel Martinis-Marchi, built inside an 18th-century Venetian fort-castle and ideally situated for those who want to explore Šolta’s ancient villages and crystal-clear bays. —Kate Springer
Greenville, South Carolina
Once a sleepy second fiddle to Southern culinary powerhouses like Charleston and Nashville, Greenville is stepping into the limelight with hot new restaurants. The town will soon be home to an outpost of Sean Brock's heirloom-crop-focused Husk and a food-centric market hall called the Commons. Other recent additions include modern Italian spot Jianna from Michael Kramer (the opening executive chef of McCrady's in Charleston, pre-Brock) and the moody speakeasy lounge Vault & Vator. It's an impressive collection of quality restaurants for a city of just over 67,000.
Those with a predilection for high-thread-count sheets will soon be able to luxuriate at the Grand Bohemian Hotel, a ritzy boutique property with Carolina charm. In the meantime, discerning visitors can bunk at the swank Westin Poinsett, a historic hotel that was rescued from the wrecking ball in the late '90s, laying the groundwork for Greenville’s great Southern revival. —Rachel Tepper Paley
Grenada, known as Spice Island, remains one of the Caribbean’s under-the-radar gems, even though it’s got what every traveler wants: uncrowded beaches, preserved rain forests, and a lively local culture and cuisine. The island, which was spared from last fall’s brutal hurricane season, is poised to attract new luxury travelers when the Silversands Hotel opens in March 2018. The first major resort to open on Grand Anse Beach in 25 years, Silversands will offer 43 rooms and suites, nine villas, and the longest pool in the Caribbean. After a recent renovation, the beloved Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel is now part of Relais & Châteaux, only the fifth hotel in the Caribbean to be invited to join the celebrated hotel group. Getting to the island is a cinch — JetBlue added daily service from New York City last year, and Grenada is now a port of call for 33 new cruise ships — and visitors will soon have even more options for high-end stays, with Kimpton Kawana Bay and the Levera Beach Resort both in the works. —Devorah Lev-Tov
The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018
Buenos Aires, Argentina
This year, Buenos Aires becomes a hub for art, sports, and politics: the inaugural Art Basel Cities program, the Youth Olympic Games, and the G20 will all take place in the city, beginning with the multi-year Art Basel initiative. Though the Argentinean capital is already home to an eclectic collection of galleries, Art Basel Cities promises to elevate Buenos Aires’ reputation in the global art scene by offering professional support for local artists, as well as lectures and workshops throughout the year to draw art lovers to the city.
The project culminates in September with a week of public arts programming developed by Cecilia Alemani, chief curator of the High Line in New York. Then, in October, 4,000 teen athletes from more than 200 countries will flock to the city for the Youth Olympic Games. The southern Villa Soldati neighborhood has seen significant development in anticipation of the events, with new housing, parks, and sports venues that will breathe life into the area well after the Olympians return home. Should you miss out on the world-class athletes, drown your sorrows in a world-class meal. Tegui, an eight-year-old restaurant in trendy Palermo, was recently named one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants — the first time an Argentinean spot has made the list in 15 years. —Sorrel Moseley-Williams
Los Cabos, Mexico
Located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, the two small colonial towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo have become the hottest vacation destinations in Mexico in recent years. With wide, pristine beaches, lively nightclubs, glam resorts, and a farm-to-table food scene, the oasis of Los Cabos is drawing tourists in record numbers. As a result, the hotel scene is booming, with a clutch of new developments and renovations completed this year along the Tourist Corridor, including the sleek Chileno Bay, an Auberge Resort, and a stunning beachfront Solaz resort.
A new crop of five-star brands are coming in 2018, including the Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the Four Seasons Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, the Montage Los Cabos, 1 Hotel & Homes, and the first Nobu Hotel in Mexico. Foodies will want to make a reservation at Acre, a restaurant-farm from executive chefs Kevin Luzande and Oscar Torres, who are set to unveil 12 new treehouse guest rooms on site. —Christopher Tkaczyk
Walla Walla Valley, Washington
With more than 300 days of sunshine each year, the southeastern corner of Washington state is home to three flourishing viticultural regions: the Columbia, Walla Walla, and Yakima Valleys. But in recent years Walla Walla has come into its own as the next must-visit destination for oenophiles, golfers, and cyclists. With more than 140 wineries producing European-style Syrahs, Cabernets, and Merlots, there’s no shortage of tasting rooms in the valley, which hosts four weekend-long wine events each year. The region gets its first high-end resort in February, when Va Piano winemaker Justin Wylie and James Beard Award–winning chef Jason Wilson open the 10-suite Eritage on a 300-acre plot north of the city of Walla Walla.
Change is afoot in town, too: There are new tasting rooms from Barons, Bledsoe Family, and Nocking Point, and a historic building is set to open as the Penrose Walla Walla Hotel & Spa next year. —Christopher Tkaczyk
Although the former Soviet republic might seem remote, Uzbekistan once sat at the very center of the world. In the first millennium, no traveler could pass from Asia to Europe without stopping in the Silk Road strongholds of Bukhara and Samarkand, and as a result these cities evolved into rich cultural centers. For intrepid travelers, today’s Uzbekistan is a promised land: a Muslim-majority nation that’s both safe and affordable, with few tourists and an abundance of well-preserved mosques and harems. And since the death of authoritarian president Islam Karimov last year, the new regime has taken steps toward reform that have given both Uzbeks and the international community reason for optimism. Improving relations with Iran could soon bring a rail link to the Persian Gulf, and in 2016, the Afrosiyob high-speed-train line began connecting the country’s major cities. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan should benefit from the so-called Iron Silk Road, or Trans-Asian Railway — a Chinese-funded network of routes knitting together Beijing and Europe — once a segment connecting the country through Kyrgyzstan is completed. Book a customized journey with Exeter International, which specializes in the region. —Heidi Mitchell
Political strife and economic woes have taken a toll on Egypt’s tourism industry in recent years, but travelers will soon have a new reason to visit. On the arid plains of Giza not far from the Great Pyramids, a modern monument is under construction that’s more than two decades and nearly $1 billion in the making. The Grand Egyptian Museum will showcase the finest treasures of the pharaohs — including the body and golden funeral mask of Tutankhamen — in a structure spanning nearly 650,000 square feet.
In addition to more than 100,000 artifacts, including pieces currently stored in the vaults of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the new museum will sport a Modernist design courtesy of Heneghan Peng Architects. Chosen from more than 1,550 design proposals from architects in 82 countries, the final building will echo both the geography of the plateau on which it rests as well as the Pyramids themselves. When the museum partially opens in 2018, visitors in the immense atrium can soak in the majestic sight of both the Pyramid of Menkaure and the Great Pyramid of Khufu from a floor-to-ceiling glass wall. —Diana Hubbell
The Moroccan city has attracted an artistic crowd since the 1960s, when everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Mick Jagger fell for its vibrant sensory landscape. Now the city’s cultural scene is being reinvigorated, thanks to two landmark happenings in the world of art and design. First came last October’s launch of the YSL Museum — a striking geometric building next to the Jardin Majorelle, which Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé, bought and restored in the 1980s. Then, in February, the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair will debut at the storied hotel La Mamounia. Marrakesh has had an art biennial since 2005 — the next is slated for 2020 — and the city is home to a number of well-regarded galleries. But the arrival of 1:54, which has editions in London and New York and draws names like Billie Zangewa and William Kentridge, is set to position the city as a hub for African art. There’s also hotel news. Oberoi is poised to open its third African property here, a lakeside resort surrounded by citrus orchards. And Royal Mansour has added a 6,450-square-foot pool flanked by seven air-conditioned cabanas. —Flora Stubbs
It’s no secret that Fiji is home to some of the world’s most spectacular scenery — powdery beaches fringed with palms, crystalline waters with colorful reefs, and rugged coastlines covered in greenery. But the islands’ new crop of luxury accommodations is making a case for the archipelago’s man-made phenomena as well. At the exclusive, family-owned Kokomo Private Island Resort, which is spread across 140 acres of dense tropical rain forest and white-sand beaches, guests will have their pick of 21 beach villas (among the most spacious in Fiji) and four hilltop residences featuring infinity pools and walled tropical gardens. If you’re a diver, you’re in luck: the Great Astrolabe Reef, which is teeming with kaleidoscopic corals and exotic marine life (like reef sharks, rays, and dolphinfish), is in the resort’s backyard. The luxury ante will only be upped in March when a Six Senses debuts on Malolo Island. Set on a private beach, the boutique property will offer the brand’s namesake spa and wellness offerings (including yoga, meditation, and nutrition and sleep counseling), plus a restaurant with ingredients sourced from the resort garden. Also slated to open in 2018: Nihi Fiji, from hotelier James McBride and Christopher Burch — the same duo behind Nihi Sumba Island, which Travel + Leisure readers named the best hotel in the world for 2017. —Melanie Lieberman
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Rising above its associations with the annual hot-air-balloon festival, Albuquerque will this year set out to prove itself as a fully-fledged destination. The Sawmill District, just north of the historic Old Town, is being revived as a creative center, anchored by the arrival of the Hotel Chaco. The design of this boutique property, which opened in April, is inspired by the state’s indigenous culture, with handmade Navajo wool textiles and pueblo-inspired motifs. Come spring, downtown ABQ will also see the arrival of a new entertainment hub: the $40 million One Central, which will have a sleek bowling lounge, as well as upscale stores and restaurants. And just outside town, visitors will soon be able to experience the striking Sandia Mountains in a nail-biting new way. The proposed Mountain Coaster, an alpine sled-style ride that plunges riders down the mountainside in a total vertical drop of 380 feet, is due to open this fall. Getting to Albuquerque is becoming even easier, thanks to new nonstop flights from major U.S. cities via Southwest, United, and Alaska Airlines. —Melanie Lieberman
Until now, Zambia has had little recognition as one of Africa’s great safari destinations. Yet experts know it as the birthplace of the walking safari — as well as the home of some of the most highly trained guides on the continent. In South Luangwa National Park, visitors can expect to see more animals than baobab trees, while Liuwa Plain National Park is the setting for the world’s second-largest wildebeest migration, when tens of thousands of the creatures head across the plain from neighboring Angola. Last year saw the arrival of Liuwa’s first permanent camp: King Lewanika Lodge, a six-villa safari lodge overlooking a watering hole where hyenas and antelope gather. —Mary Holland
Archipelago Sea, Finland
Finland’s Archipelago Sea is the world’s largest, with 25,000 miles of shoreline and innumerable islands. Still off the beaten track for international tourists, who gravitate toward Helsinki in summer and Lapland in winter, the archipelago is the well-kept secret of the Finns, generations of whom flock to family-owned islands. And there’s never been a better time to join them, with increased airlift — including transatlantic flights on Norwegian Air starting around $350 — and a burgeoning food and beverage scene in nearby Turku, Finland’s medieval capital. (Start at the Kauppahalli, or market hall, where the salmon is as fresh and flavorful as a summer tomato.) The archipelago has a subarctic glamour, with eerie, sunlit summer nights and dark winter days, its rocky, tree-lined islands dotted with storybook wooden cottages. Hike, bike, or drive the islands; or hole up on one all your own. —Molly McArdle
Colombia’s Pacific Coast
Since the government’s 2016 peace deal with the FARC paramilitary group, memories of Colombia’s civil war have begun fading. As a result, new parts of the country are becoming accessible — among them the Pacific coast, which contains a once-dangerous strip of virgin beach and rain forest known as El Chocó. Regular commercial flights now connect travelers from Bogotá and Medellín to the fishing villages of Nuquí and Bahía Solano. From there, small boats run along the shore to chic eco-lodges like Punta Brava, which sits above two private beaches, and El Cantil Ecolodge, which is near surf breaks and a thermal spring. —Nicholas Gill
Iguazú Falls, Argentina and Brazil
To better accommodate the millions who visit Iguazú Falls, a UNESCO site of 275 mighty waterfalls straddling the border of Argentina and Brazil, nearby Cataratas del Iguazú Airport is being modernized and enlarged. Within Iguazú National Park, the Ecological Jungle Train, which takes visitors on a 25-minute journey to the epic Devil’s Throat cascade, is converting from gas to environmentally friendly electric trains. Starting this February, travelers will be able to bed down at the long-awaited Awasi Iguazú resort where 14 rainforest villas will each have plunge pools and guests will have access to a personal excursion guide and 4WD vehicles. Expect visits to native Guarani tribes, river kayaking, and jungle treks led by a resident biologist. Selvaje, an upscale 12-room lodge, will also open early this year and will offer a menu of couple-friendly activities, from picnics to spa treatments. For the ultimate in romance, though, Argentinean travel outfitter Mai 10 (run by Travel + Leisure A-List Agent Maita Barrenechea) can arrange private dinners alongside the falls under the light of a full moon. —Nora Jean Walsh
Salina Island, Italy
Of all the islands that make up Italy’s Aeolian archipelago, Salina is arguably the most alluring: it is not yet a celebrity haven like its neighbor Stromboli, where Giorgio Armani, Domenico Dolce, and Stefano Gabbana have homes; and it’s not yet overrun with the luxury yachts of affluent soccer players like nearby Panarea. That the isle has stayed blissfully unspoiled for this long eludes those who know of its imposing natural beauty — steep mountains blanketed in blossoming trees and wildflowers, small villages speckled with olive and lemon groves, fig trees, and miles of terraced Malvasia vineyards. The Relais & Châteaux property Capofaro Malvasia & Resort is one of Salina’s finest places to check in to, thanks to its secluded location, private beach, Tasca d’Almerita wines, and restaurant spotlighting local flavors (think wild fennel, orange, and caper leaves). Once you’ve settled in, skip on over to the town of Lingua to watch the sun set on the Marina Garibaldi, and order the best almond granita of your life at the Da Alfredo waterfront café. —Rocky Casale
Move over, Croatia. Long overshadowed by its neighbor to the northwest, Montenegro is ready for the spotlight. The ancient city of Kotor is already attracting plenty of visitors, like the celebrities vacationing at luxurious boutique hotel Forza Terra, just outside the medieval walls, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of cruisers who’ve arrived with companies like Viking, Celebrity, and Princess. The swank marina Porto Montenegro is thriving in the formerly sleepy coastal town of Tivat, and the complex’s Regent hotel unveiled an expansion in 2017. Nearby, luxury development Luštica Bay is slated to open this summer, with plans for villas, a golf course, and a five-star Chedi hotel. Further west on the Bay of Kotor’s jagged coastline is the site of the country’s most anticipated arrival, the One&Only Portonovi, which will be the brand’s first European outpost when it opens this summer. Plans for the resort, situated on a 60-acre site overlooking the Adriatic, include 140 villas and residences, a tennis club, and a spa. —Meredith Bethune
With its recent 150th anniversary celebration, pop-culture cred (Drake, Ryan Gosling, and Justin Bieber have Canadian roots), and charismatic prime minister, the Great White North has finally begun to receive the international recognition it deserves — and Toronto has been preening itself for this lead role. Luxe properties and forward-thinking restaurants have been popping up across the city: there’s Queen Street’s historic Broadview Hotel, which reopened in the burgeoning East End with guest-room details like vinyl turntables and burgundy velvet drapes, and the stylish Bisha Hotel downtown, where the likes of Lenny Kravitz and celebrity chef Akira Back have lent their design and culinary expertise. In stereotypically modest Canadian fashion, Brothers Food + Wine — one of the city’s most exciting new openings — is housed inside a tiny, nondescript space just above the Bay Street subway station, but dazzles with seasonal dishes like crispy steelhead trout with braised gem lettuce and yogurt-and-caper sauce. Next up: in Spring 2018, the Museum of Contemporary Art will move into a century-old former factory in the Junction Triangle. —Jennifer Salerno
Pyeongchang, South Korea
Over the past few years, South Korea’s Gangwon Province has shed its sleepy past and come into its own as a prime winter-sports destination — a transformation that will take center stage during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics (February 9–25). Ahead of the big event, the region will debut a new high-speed rail line that will whisk travelers from Incheon International Airport to the resort town in just 70 minutes, making it easier to access the Taebaek Mountains’ panoramic pistes and tourist-friendly attractions. Powder hounds will want to lodge at the InterContinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort, which commands a prime location at the foot of the Alpensia ski slopes, steps from two Olympic-class runs, and is one of a handful of hotels built for the games. Break from all the outdoor action at the Ocean 700 indoor water park, complete with wave pools and tubing rides. —Talia Avakian
San Antonio, Texas
This year is San Antonio’s 300th anniversary, and the city is marking the occasion with events, activities, and new infrastructure. Ahead of the festivities, there’s been a flurry of development: In the past few months, the botanical gardens completed an expansion; the city’s first food hall, the Bottling Department, debuted at the Pearl; and San Antonio’s iconic passenger barges got an upgrade, with colorful electric models replacing the old gas-fueled boats. In January, the city will unveil Confluence Park, an expanse of trails and science-focused education facilities near the convergence of San Pedro Creek and the San Antonio River. A commemorative week is planned for early May, with celebrations at each of San Antonio’s five missions and the dedication of San Pedro Creek Culture Park, a once-unremarkable drainage ditch that’s been transformed into a waterfront promenade with public art and performance spaces. Ruby City, a new David Adjaye–designed art center that will house more than 800 pieces from the Linda Pace Foundation Collection, is expected to be completed at the end of 2018. And boutique stays still in the works — including a Thompson Hotel and the third location of the Saint Hotel — hint that San Antonio’s heyday is just beginning. —Devorah Lev-Tov
A picture-perfect trio of islands lapped by turquoise waters, the Maltese archipelago has all the charm of nearby Sicily with far fewer tourists. Valletta, the tiny nation’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site, feels like something plucked straight from Westeros. The historic walled city dates back to 1565, and has a vibe that’s Mediterranean with a North African twist. This underrated destination is finally stepping into the global limelight as a 2018 European Capital of Culture. To celebrate the occasion, the city has planned more than 140 projects and 400 events throughout the year. The festivities begin on January 20, with contemporary dance, a choral symphony, and acrobatic performances across the city’s four main squares. Should you miss the grand opening, swing by in February for Carnival, or in June for the Malta International Arts Festival and the Valletta Film Festival. —Diana Hubbell
The Emerald Isle has seen a rush of American visitors recently, spurred by favorable exchange rates and increased airlift. If you haven’t yet made the trip, now’s the time to go. Adare Manor, a hotel set in a grand 19th-century mansion on 840 acres of rolling County Limerick countryside, reopened in November after an 18-month overhaul. The picturesque estate now has a new 42-room wing, a redesigned golf course, and the first La Mer Spa in the British Isles. Ireland’s whiskey scene has been quietly blooming for the last decade, and recently historic estates have embraced the trend. In August, Slane Castle in County Meath opened its new distillery to the public, and later this year, the iconic Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow will debut its own craft facility. In Dublin, Pearse Lyons, a wealthy Irishman with Kentucky-bourbon bona fides, recently opened his namesake distillery in the former St. James’s Church, and more whiskey destinations with visitor centers are soon to come from the Dublin Liberties and Roe & Co. And now that Luas, Dublin’s light rail system, has finally completed its latest expansion, getting around the city is a breeze — the $433-million project has linked two lines and added new stops near many of the city center’s most popular sights. —Lila Battis
History buffs and intrepid travelers have long been attracted to Jordan and its famous archaeological site of Petra, a “lost” citadel dating back 2,000 years. And despite political unrest in the broader region, the country remains a safe destination to discover the wonders of the Middle East. After playing out Indiana Jones fantasies amid the rose-colored, rock-cut façades of Petra’s famous landmark, Al Khazneh (the Treasury), set out to unearth the nation’s other historical attractions. In the lesser-known city of Jerash, 170 miles from Petra, you can see the ruins of an ancient Roman settlement, including the second-century Hadrian’s Arch, while in the protected desert wilderness of Wadi Rum, you’ll find some 25,000 rock carvings that trace the early development of the alphabet.
Beyond offering a glimpse into ancient history, Jordan is also making a name for itself as a luxury destination. Hilton opened the Dead Sea Resort & Spa in March 2017, making it the first Hilton in the country. Located at the lowest point on earth, some 1,345 feet below sea level, the resort offers beach access, Middle Eastern cuisine, and treatments containing the mineral-rich black mud. —Jess McHugh
Thai tourism is as robust as ever: more than 21 million international visitors poured into the capital in 2016, making it the world’s most visited city. To accommodate all those arrivals, the metropolis is welcoming a bevy of posh new hotels in the coming year. The Waldorf Astoria Bangkok will have a spa, rooftop bar, and outdoor infinity pool overlooking the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, while the 155-room Bangkok Edition will open this summer in MahaNakhon, a towering skyscraper with a swirl of cubical cutouts wrapping around the building. Four Seasons and Capella both have properties in the works on the Chao Phraya Estate, a lush riverfront development that’s part shopping and dining destination, part tropical escape. The Michelin Guide will make its long-awaited debut here this year, drawing attention to one of the world’s most dynamic culinary scenes. And for art lovers, there’s a flock of brand-new multipurpose creative spaces to explore, including the Thailand Creative & Design Center, which just relocated to a former General Post Office on historic Charoen Krung Road; Warehouse 30, a series of World War II-era warehouses revamped by starchitect Duangrit Bunnag; and ChangChui, an immense complex of bars, shops, and restaurants constructed out of upcycled materials, including an airplane salvaged from the scrap pile. —Diana Hubbell
U.S. travelers have historically overlooked Mauritius in favor of other Indian Ocean destinations like the Seychelles and Maldives. That could all change, though, now that this remote, idyllic island some 1,200 miles off the African coast has become easier to reach. A flurry of new airline services launched at the end of 2017: KLM began servicing Mauritius from Amsterdam, and British carrier Thomas Cook Airlines introduced biweekly flights in November. Upon arrival, travelers can take in dreamy lagoon views from the newly reopened One&Only Le Saint Géran, fresh off a multimillion-dollar renovation. Every room and suite now has a private terrace or balcony, marble baths with cascade showers, and sophisticated teak, stone, and leather accents. Guests can also look forward to updated dining experiences — like lunch spot La Pointe, which grills fresh-caught seafood over firewood and coconut embers, or open-air restaurant La Terrasse, which offers Mauritian specialties. Unchanged at Le Saint Géran is its aura of exclusivity, thanks to the resort’s unique position on a private peninsula jutting out from the island’s eastern shore. —Melanie Lieberman
The Peloponnese, Greece
The Greek highway system has seen several recent upgrades, with a new route making the 2,000-year-old olive trees and lesser-visited ruins of the Peloponnese, the country’s southernmost swathe of mainland, more accessible. Completed in late 2016, the new A71 highway from Lefktro to Sparta shaves off two hours of driving time from Athens, and has also connected the Lefktro region to nearby Kalamata Airport, about 90 minutes away. Meanwhile, ports have been expanded at Gytheio and Katakolon — the latter a stopping point for the Viking Star, which launched in 2014. Farming is still integral to the region, and agritourism resorts like Eumelia constantly refresh their food and wellness-themed workshops, in addition to serving local dishes like maniatiki pasta with dry mizithra cheese, and moustokouloura, or cookies made with grape molasses. Goddesses seeking more temple-like accommodations should head to Porto Heli, on the eastern side of the Peloponnese, where everyone is talking about Amanzoe’s new Villa 31, a serene space with grandstand views of the surrounding coastline that contains a unique installation by light artist James Turrell. —Adam Harney Graham
São Paulo, Brazil
While São Paulo’s concrete sprawl doesn’t offer the verdant beauty or mythic beaches of Rio de Janeiro, its thriving art and food scene has in recent years transformed what was once just Brazil’s financial capital into its cultural epicenter. Stroll the city’s gritty alleyways and avenues to see where celebrated street artists Os Gemeos and Eduardo Kobra got their start. São Paulo’s Art Biennial, which is second to Venice’s in longevity, kicks off in September 2018 and showcases contemporary talent, both international and homegrown. For a truly immersive experience into Brazilian fare, don’t miss Alex Atala’s D.O.M., named one of the best restaurants in the world. Atala champions native ingredients — from priprioca root to ants, often foraged from the Amazon region by the chef himself — and weaves them into his inventive dishes. The arrival of luxe hotel brands is another signal of the city’s burgeoning cosmopolitan status. The prestigious Oetker Collection, with only nine other properties (in glitzy places like Seychelles and the Côte d’Azur), recently opened Palácio Tangará, a gorgeously appointed mansion set in leafy Burle Marx Park, a welcome oasis from the city’s high-rises. The Four Seasons will also debut a new property in mid 2018, marking the brand’s first foray in the country. —Karen I. Chen
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
Leaf-peeping and a thriving farm-to-table food scene (the country’s first CSA sprouted here) lure out-of-towners to the bucolic far western corner of Massachusetts. But the arts have long been their own major draw: Tanglewood, the Clark Art Institute, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival all call the area home, as does MASS MoCA, a popular modern art destination housed in a circa-1800s textile mill in North Adams.
Last summer, the museum expanded its artistic footprint by over 130,000 square feet, making it the largest contemporary art space in the country. The new Building 6 houses long-term installations by artists like James Turrell, Louise Bourgeois, and Jenny Holzer. Two new museums are still in the works for North Adams, both spearheaded by former Guggenheim director Thomas Krens. At the Global Contemporary Art Museum, curators will work directly with artists to acquire and commission site-specific pieces, while the Extreme Model Railroad & Contemporary Architecture Museum will showcase works by the likes of Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, all built in miniature as part of an elaborate model train system. Design is also top-of-mind at Tourists, a modern take on the roadside motel that’s set to open this summer. The resort — situated on 55 acres at the convergence of the Appalachian and Mohawk Trails — will have 48 rooms, each with floor-to-ceiling windows that put the focus on surrounding vistas. —Fiorella Valdesolo
Luang Prabang, Laos
Landlocked Laos might be quieter than Southeast Asian neighbors like Vietnam and Thailand, but 2018 could transform the country into the region’s next hot spot. Wattay International Airport, in the capital of Vientiane, is set to complete a terminal expansion to accommodate more international links next year, but the biggest changes are foot in the UNESCO World Heritage–inscribed town of Luang Prabang, in central Laos. This serene riverside spot lures travelers to its golden Buddhist temples, French-colonial architecture, hiking trails, nearby elephant sanctuaries — and now, glamorous new digs. Last year, the design-forward Azerai opened inside a century-old French-colonial building that was formerly an officer’s quarters. The debut concept from Aman Resorts founder Adrian Zecha has airy, light wood interiors that nod to local culture in their use of batik textiles and Laotian artwork. There’s also an 80-foot swimming pool in a tree-shaded central courtyard. The upcoming Rosewood Luang Prabang aims to be a destination in itself. Opening in mid 2018, this highly anticipated resort will feature pavilion-style villas, luxury tents, and a spa that seems to float above the jungle. —Kate Springer
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Big Easy turns the Big 3-0-0 this year, and in this city where the good times roll, the parties will be epic — think citywide art shows, supersized Mardi Gras parades, and a festival of lights using landmark buildings as backdrops. Thirteen years after Hurricane Katrina, there is much to celebrate: The Central Business District, once a dead zone after dark, now crackles at all hours thanks to four new hotels (the Ace, Troubadour, Catahoula, and NOPSI), each with its own rooftop bar. The neighborhood is also home to new restaurants like Maypop — a Vietnamese-Creole joint from acclaimed chef Michael Gulotta. Another area coming to life is the three-mile riverfront, where a renovated Spanish Plaza will reopen this spring. More riverfront updates, including a new Four Seasons Hotel, will roll out in the next few years. Toast the tricentennial at the Sazerac House, a French Quarter museum dedicated to the official cocktail of New Orleans, opening later this year. —Allison Entrekin
With an exciting influx of new and revamped hotels, an up-and-coming restaurant scene, and a blossoming wine industry, Idaho’s capital city—traditionally known as a convention destination — has started to attract the attention of leisure travelers. Boise’s invigorated downtown is evidence of the trend, with the newly opened Inn at 500, a 110-room boutique property whose perks include balconies overlooking the capitol, and its on-site restaurant, Richard’s, owned by James Beard Award-nominated chef Richard Langston, leading the way. (Meanwhile, Hotel 43 and The Grove both recently unveiled swank renovations.) The city’s craft-beer scene continues to impress; one noteworthy newcomer is White Dog Brewing, whose rustic taproom features a 24-foot “frost rail” that keeps your beer, well, frosty. In other toast-worthy news, Boise has become a hub for Idaho’s growing wine industry. Oenophiles shouldn’t miss a stop at the new downtown tasting room of Coiled Wines. Owner Leslie Preston — a native Idahoan who sharpened her skills at Clos du Bois and Stags’ Leap in California — makes a spectacular dry Riesling. Getting there is easier than ever: to meet rising demand, American Airlines has launched new nonstop service from Chicago O’Hare, while Southwest now runs a nonstop from San Diego. —Blane Bachelor
Mexico City, Mexico
The city has cemented its reputation as a must-visit destination with its most recent honor: it’s been named 2018 World Design Capital, the first ever in the Americas. It’s no wonder: despite challenges like the recent earthquake, young Mexican creatives are no longer searching for opportunities abroad but staying to build something meaningful at home. Their success is evident in arts initiatives like Zonamaco and the Material Art Fair in February, Design Week Mexico in October, and the Condo Fair, which will debut in Mexico’s capital in April. Aesthetes have plenty of design-forward places to stay and eat, too. Bed down at Downtown Mexico, the newest hotel by Grupo Habita, which plans to open another property, Catedral M X, nearby in 2018. Or book a room at the Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City, which unveiled an ambitious redesign by Gilles & Boissier in 2016. Dine at Enrique Olvera’s world-famous Pujol, which relocated last year to a mid-century house and has a fresh, pared-down look. The new space is outfitted in natural materials — a fitting design for a restaurant that celebrates wood-fired cooking. —Laura Itzkowitz
Those who think they’ve seen and done it all in the Bahamas should think again. Baha Mar, the multibillion dollar hotel and casino development on Nassau’s Cable Beach, will be fully up and running when Rosewood resorts launches there this spring. (Baha Mar’s Grand Hyatt and SLS properties are already drawing visitors with their sophisticated, contemporary rooms.) On neighboring Paradise Island, the iconic Ocean Club resort is under new management with Four Seasons. And at Atlantis, the adults-focused Cove resort now has an outpost of Sip Sip restaurant, Julie Lightbourn’s Harbour Island favorite, while the family-friendly Coral Towers debuted a new lobby, guest rooms, and pool courtesy of star hotel designer Jeffrey Beers. And T+L’s World’s Best winner Kamalame Cay has added stylish beach bungalows — stand-alone suites that start at a whopping 450 square feet and feature private verandas and outdoor showers. —Jacqueline Gifford
For proof of Abu Dhabi’s burgeoning status as the cultural capital of the Middle East, look no further than Saadiyat Cultural District, which is quickly becoming a treasure trove of world-class art and groundbreaking architecture. The multibillion-dollar initiative has already resulted in one major project, the Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened in November. Though its construction was controversial, the museum has quickly become the premier creative beacon in the Emirates. Work is under way nearby on the Zayed National Museum, by Norman Foster; the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre, by Zaha Hadid Architects; and the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which when completed will be the largest Guggenheim museum in the world. The city’s hotel-building campaign is also in full swing: this year Marriott debuted a 400-room hotel in the Al Forsan sports center, and next year will see the opening of the Abu Dhabi Edition and Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas. —Dylan Essertier
A century ago, Shanghai was China’s star city, a cosmopolitan center of art, technology, and finance. Today, it’s reclaiming that mantle, parlaying the economic boom that began in the 1990s into a world-class array of cul