People will travel far and wide for incredible food and drink, and to have a great adventure in a country that offers many entertainment opportunities. In 2017, when you are making the travel plans and deciding where to go, think about what you would like to experience. Some vacation experiences are timeless—you truly don’t need much more than a comfortable resort, warm waters, or fascinating attractions: Tofino, in British Columbia, has a wild food scene; Honolulu will host its first arts biennial this year; and Málaga has amazing hidden museums.
Technology and globalization can make the world feel small and allow you a glimpse into countries you may thoroughly want to explore. Take a look at the list for the best picks for your 2017 vacation.
One of India’s most spectacular monuments will become newly accessible this year with the launch of a high-end resort in Hampi. When the 14th-century capital of the Vijayanagara Empire was constructed, in what is now the southwestern state of Karnataka, it was one of the largest cities in the world. The ruined settlement’s dazzling temples, monuments, and public buildings—strewn across a landscape of giant boulders, banana groves, and rice paddies—have long been a must-visit for dedicated Indophiles. The recently opened resort in a palatial, Vijayanagara-inspired estate less than three miles from the UNESCO World Heritage site area offers visitors luxury and comfort.
Jebel Akhdar, Oman
A two-hour drive from Muscat, in the rocky contours of Oman’s Al-Hajar Mountains, is Jebel Akhdar, an area beloved for its astounding views, craggy wadis, and natural terraces. Come spring, a blanket of velvety pink damask rose blossoms shroud the hills with their romantic scent. From these blossoms, distillers produce soothing rosewater potions that are used in both spa treatments and cocktail menus. To best experience Jebel Akhdar, head to the recently opened Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar luxury resort which promises canyon-view infinity pools and post-hike pampering treatments, the Anantara’s splashy suites, six restaurants, and amenities (like a cliff-side private meal), are unbeatable.
This city on the western coast of Honshu has seen a boost in visits since a bullet-train extension shortened the trip from Tokyo to just 2½ hours. Go for the old wooden teahouses of the Higashi Chayagai district, the beautiful samurai residence in Nagamachi, and the contemporary art museum. Then have your pick of sushi that is just as good as, and much cheaper than, what you’ would find in Tokyo. Try it at Sentori, Kagayasuke, or Omi-cho Market—a favorite of sushi master Masa. For a truly traditional experience, head to the Noto Peninsula and stay in a Japanese farmhouse, where you can forage for wild mountain greens and mushrooms and dine by an indoor fire pit.
Kite surfers have long made a playground of the breezy beaches of Paros, and no wonder: this sunshiny isle is a Cycladic triumvirate of sandy shoreline, history, and culture. Last summer the island debuted a new airport, opening it to larger aircraft and more vacationers. And the fishing village of Naousa, with its boxy white architecture and seaside tavernas, is increasingly sophisticated—check in to the modern, adults-only apartments of Porto Naousa or the elegant Seven Santa Maria, where six airy, all-white suites (and a separate villa) come with a private boat and skipper for exploring the island’s secret coves.
After years in Amsterdam’s shadow, the second-largest city in the Netherlands is stepping into the spotlight thanks to its burgeoning culinary and design scenes. Art is everywhere in this city—more than a thousand pieces, including sculptures by Picasso and Rodin, are scattered throughout Rotterdam. Be on the lookout for one of the newest pieces, Bobbing Forest, a surrealist installation of floating elm trees. The innovative, fun-loving spirit of the city is best embodied by its upcoming attraction, RiF010, an artificial wave park where surfers will be able to show off their skills in the Steigersgracht Canal.
This 115-island nation off Africa’s eastern shore has some of the world’s most beautiful white sands—and lavish new resorts to experience a grand vacation in style. On the private island of Félicité, Six Senses Zil Pasyon is paradise for honeymooners, with five open-air spa pavilions and a plunge pool adjoining each of the 30 villas, which face the ocean. Later this year, Desroches Island’s sole resort will become a Four Seasons: guests can stay in an airy, eclectic-chic beach suite or one of 11 palatial villas. Also ideal for families: the new Presidential Villa on Cousine Island.