Top 10 Countries To Visit In 2018
‘Where should we go next?’ is the most hotly question in every traveller mind. Deciding upon a particular destination to visit in a world so far and wide is a task which is not that easy. We have created a list of the top 10 countries to visit in 2018 just for you so that the travel-related decisions get easier for you.
Our winning country is a sinewy sliver of a nation, isolated from the rest of South America (and indeed the world) by the soaring Andes to the east, the vast Pacific Ocean to the west, the bone-dry Atacama Desert up north and the impenetrable wilds of Patagonia down south. From its disparate extremes to the ever-trendier capital of Santiago at its heart, Chile’s citizens will unite in 2018 to mark 200 years of independence. Thanks to new non-stop flights from London, it’s never been easier to catch a plane, raise a glass of pisco sour and toast the celebration. From the colourful streets of coastal Valparaíso to the flamingos of San Pedro de Atacama, the peaks of Torres del Paine and even the moai statues of Easter Island, Chile is never short of inspirational.
2# SOUTH KOREA
South Korea is a compact playground of Asian modernity. High-rises soar in the futuristic capital Seoul, which in 2017 received a huge facelift with the opening of its Seoullo 7017, a high-line park with cafés, bars and libraries along with a disused elevated highway. South Korea has embraced its hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and a new high-speed railway will whisk travellers across the country to the Games. The Olympic year or not, South Korea is an unsung wonderland. You can hike up peaks that seem plucked straight from a scroll painting or surf, swim and sunbathe on sandy beaches along its 1,500-mile coastline. Here are some tips to visit in South Korea.
DON’T MISS South Korea is a food-obsessed nation, the epicentre of which is Seoul’s Gwangjang Market, where vendors serve bibimbap (rice and vegetables) and crispy seafood pancakes alongside more adventurous options such as pig’s trotters.
Portugal has emerged from the long shadow cast by Spain, seizing the spotlight as a dynamic centre for art, culture and cuisine. A spate of artfully designed museums have opened in the past two years, there’s now a celebrated microbrewery scene, and rock-star Portuguese chefs are creating culinary buzz from Lisbon to the Algarve (seven new restaurants received Michelin stars in 2017). Heightening Portugal’s appeal are its incredible affordability and its natural wonders: in 2016, more than 300 beaches earned the coveted Blue Flag rating and two new biosphere reserves were named. Even on a short visit here, you can explore its age-old traditions (classic cooking, vineyards, Baroque architecture), and its embrace of the cutting-edge – from open-air graffiti galleries to nightlife driven by performance art.
DON’T MISS The wineries of the Douro Valley, the world’s oldest demarcated wine region. Take tours, sample produce and overnight on a wine estate, such as Quinta Nova or Quinta do Vallado.
Positioned for dramatic effect, this petite African nation is in the process of being ripped in three by diverging tectonic plates. Magma seethes beneath ever-thinning crust; Martian-like deserts spew steam from fumaroles, and sunken lake shores glisten with huge salt crystals.In geological terms, this is a sprint finish. But in human terms, this is spectacularly slow motion – a reason to make travel plans, not cancel them! Add intoxicating culture, beckoning beaches and incredible whale shark diving, and you have even more reasons to hop on a plane, or ride the brand new train, to witness Mother Nature at her brutal best in 2018.
DON’T MISS Djibouti’s exotic-sounding Bay of Ghoubbet tucked at the western end of the Gulf of Tadjoura. It’s one of the world’s most reliable sites to swim with huge whale sharks.
5# NEW ZEALAND
Twenty-five years ago, long before it was retrofitted to resemble Middle-earth, New Zealand began actively attracting adventure-seekers. A suite of trails, the Great Walks, took tramping travellers through some of the world’s most extraordinary wilderness. In 2018, for the first time since the nine-track network was launched, a new Great Walk opens the Pike29 Memorial Track. This 30-mile route wends between Blackball and Punakaiki on the South Island’s west coast, passing through Paparoa National Park, offering hikers and bikers a sensational experience. Away from active adventures, this is a country where cafés and pop-up bars serve artisan coffee and sublime craft beers on every urban corner. Either way, it’s a wildly exciting place. Read also Top 10 Emerging Travel Destinations Of The World
DON’T MISS Canoe to a campsite on the Whanganui River during a Great Walk that’s actually a river journey and must be paddled from start to finish, or mountain bike the Heaphy Track in winter, when wheels are allowed.
The long history of this Mediterranean archipelago is vividly evident. Prehistoric temples crown hills, 17th-century fortifications stalk the coast, and a warren of tunnels – from catacombs to air-raid shelters – dig deep underground. Its riches have been here for centuries, if not millennia, but Malta is experiencing a moment. This tiny nation’s buzz has been building in preparation for Valletta’s stint as European Capital of Culture for 2018. Expect Baroque, pop and international film festivals, plus a contemporary art biennial. Not to mention a laid-back lifestyle born out of proximity to warm sea, beaches and more than 300 annual days of sunshine.
DON’T MISS Taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon, a beautiful sheltered cove with a white sand seabed and inviting, periwinkle-blue waters to explore.
At this crossroads of the South Caucasus, history is not a thing of the past but informs every complex chess move Georgia makes in the present. Forward-thinking but proud of tradition, this is a country of ancient recipes cooked up in tucked-away taverns where toastmasters raise glasses of spirits to honour heroes old and new. It’s so proud of its wine region that airport immigration officials often welcome travellers with a bottle of red along with their stamped passports. One hundred years ago, Georgia has declared an independent state in the wake of the Russian Revolution: just one of many reasons to raise a glass to toast 2018. Visitors leave mystified by the fact that the whole world isn’t queuing for the experience, particularly given that nationals of many countries can travel visa-free for a whole year – and stunning bang-for-buck means they can afford to do so.
DON’T MISS Pressed against the Azerbaijani border, the remote desert caves of Davit Gareja comprise 15 monasteries carved into the hillside, adorned with detailed frescoes and murals.
This brochure-perfect island is justly famous for its sapphire seas and swanky beach resorts, where water-based fun includes coral reef dives, sea kayaking and lagoon cruises. During its colonial days, Mauritius was known as the ‘Star and Key of the Indian Ocean’ for its strategic position. These days there’s much afoot in the deep blue sky, with the government establishing the island as a hub for flights to mainland Africa – new connections to Mauritius include Air Mauritius and KLM’s service from Amsterdam. Past glories are also getting a spotlight in 2018 when the island celebrates 50 years of independence.
DON’T MISS Hike amid old-growth forests and waterfalls in the Black River Gorges National Park, home to the endemic Mauritius kestrel, pink pigeon and echo parakeet.
The world’s most populous country is big, beautiful and full of promise. Since 2016, China has opened extensive new high-speed rail tracks, creating the largest HSR network on Earth, and once far-flung destinations like Silk Road jewel Gansu and backpacker outpost Yunnan in the southwest have suddenly become more accessible. Key sights have been spruced up, including a state-of-the-art visitor centre for the Buddhist treasure-trove at the Mogao Grottoes, a refurbished ancient town in Datong and even a craft beer trail across southern China on the glitzy new Shanghai– Kunming train. Beijing’s Forbidden City has been upgraded and four previously restricted halls are now open to the public. In late 2017, cultural hub Design Society opened in the cosmopolitan city of Shenzhen, featuring a partnership gallery with London’s V&A Museum.
DON’T MISS China’s mega-sights: walking on the Great Wall, feeling small in Tiananmen Square, seeing the Army of Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an and gawping at the neon skyline of Shanghai.
10# SOUTH AFRICA
Beaches and mountains, wildlife and wine, and let’s not forget exciting culture and cosmopolitan cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg – South Africa has long been one of the world’s most alluring countries. This year the country’s many attractions will be bolstered by ‘Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018: Be the Legacy’, an official programme of events – some sporting, some educational, others devoted to the arts – aimed at honouring the legendary leader. So with more to see than ever, and favourable exchange rates offering great value, 2018 is a phenomenal year to visit South Africa.
DON’T MISS Delving into the troubling – and too recent – history of the country’s past at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and on Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.
Let’s wrap up Top 10 Countries To Visit In 2018 article. Read also 10 SCIENTIFIC WONDERS TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE
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— Sunil Nain