Grappling with post-election blues? If recent events have left you feeling a little stressed and deflated, set your sights on a short sojourn to combat election fatigue. For those looking to escape the tourist hordes, it's becoming increasingly difficult to discover under-the-radar locales that offer much-needed rest and recovery. The honeycomb mountains of Cappadocia have become commonplace, and the once quiet pagodas of Myanmar sing with the click-click of cameras. So where to next?
To find out which travel hot spots are poised to be huge in 2017, we scanned flight and tourism data and spoke to travel experts to create your must-see bucket list. Containing a mixture of lesser-known locales (you're about to hear a lot more about Pyeongchang) and popular hubs that will return to the limelight (Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2017, so 2017 is a great time to visit), these are the places to consider now for your next vacation.
Don't delay booking your flights—these are the travel locales everyone will be talking about in 2017.
Macedonia is a well-explored travel destination for its neighbors in Turkey and Greece, but it's remained refreshingly under the radar among American travelers. The tiny landlocked country is perched between Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania in southeastern Europe.
So why is the Baltic nation attracting attention as of late? Named one of Lonely Planet's must-see destinations of 2017, the lake town of Ohrid is set to undergo major changes thanks to a planned lakeshore development. Go now to relax by the placid lake, wander the café-lined cobblestone streets, and explore the beautiful churches and medieval castle that dot the hills.
We hear you: Travel experts have forecast Cuba as a rising destination since U.S. restrictions eased in March, but a few key factors suggest it's just getting started. A number of airlines have started offering daily flights from New York to Havana from as little as $99 one way, making the journey easier than ever. Add intensified international attention (thanks to Chanel's cruise show on the streets of Havana) and a growing offering of Airbnb properties, and it's clear that tourism in the Caribbean island nation is in its infancy.
Ready to plan a trip? Look beyond Havana, which is already experiencing huge changes since U.S. visitors were granted access, and consider Viñuales. The New York Times has dubbed it "the real Cuba," thanks to pastel houses that dot the village, abundant tobacco farms, and limestone cliffs shrouded in mist that offer for an unforgettable climbing adventure."
The Azores, Portugal
Love Iceland? Lonely Planet has named the Azores the next big hot spot that will saturate social media in the coming year. "The 'next Iceland' analogy extends beyond the archipelago's positioning as a fascinating cross-the-pond pit stop," the Best in Travel 2017 guide reads. "Its natural assets resemble an array of superlative sights pulled from other destinations: lush Hawaiian volcanoes, medieval Portuguese villages, gurgling Scandinavian hot springs, towering Irish cliffs and rugged Patagonian craters."
Thomas Spagnola, senior vice president of supplier relations at CheapOair, says this travel destination won't remain a secret. He points to airline data that suggests Portugal has seen a steep increase in tourism over the last 12 months. Specifically, the Azores has seen a surge of 31% more travelers year over year, meaning 2017 is the time to book a trip.
Prince Edward Island, Canada
As for Canada, 2017 is poised to be a big year. The country celebrates its 150th birthday with a host of events and festivities planned throughout the year, including free admission to all of its national parks.
While western Canada tends to draw the most attention, Todd Powell, CEO and co-founder of Vacations by Rail, says eastern destinations are on the rise. Destinations like Québec outpaced growth of their western counterparts in spring/summer 2016 and are set to swell when birthday celebrations begin.
If a quaint beach getaway sounds enticing, consider Prince Edward Island. The relaxed locale offers a ton of culinary offerings, from Raspberry Point and Malpeque oyster–tasting to a visit to the potato farms and nearby vodka distilleries.
Mykonos and Santorini garner traveler attention thanks to their glitzy nightlife and world-renowned sunsets, but we've noticed a slightly lesser-known island rising to the fore: Milos. The volcanic Greek island sits in the southwest of the Cyclades and is perhaps best known as the original home of Venus de Milo.
Milos is by no means an unknown destination among Europeans—the beaches swell with bikini-clad visitors in the summer months—but recent blogger coverage of Sarakiniko Beach suggests the former is about to get even more popular. This month, fashion and travel blogger Nicole Warne of Gary Pepper Girl posted pictures of the startlingly white beach on Instagram, causing a travel frenzy.
Declaring that it was "love at first site," Warne posted pictures enticing enough to lure any sun chaser to its unique shores—picture snow-white rocks that look like they've been dusted with powder, azure turquoise water rippling in the Aegean breeze, and a cloudless sky.
Pyeongchang, South Korea
If you're not familiar with South Korea, get ready—you're about to hear a whole lot more about the East Asian nation in the next two years. Pyeongchang is set to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, establishing it as a premier ski and snowboard destination. And now is the best time to go to make the most of the updated resort facilities without the Olympic crowds. Consider Yongpyong, one of the top ski resort areas with 13 lifts and a gondola.
It's taken more than two decades for Albania to catch up to its Eastern European counterparts after communist rule, but the naturally diverse nation is starting to emerge as a top travel destination. According to Spagola, flight data reveals more tourists are flocking to Albania to explore its unspoiled Mediterranean coastline, Balkan towns, and picturesque mountains.
Our top pick? If you're beached out after lounging in the sun in Milos, venture to northern Albania. Theth is a gorgeous village set against the dramatic peaks of Shala mountains. Spend your time hiking the rugged mountain ranges or take a dip in the piercing blue river that intersects the lush landscape.
Are you planning a big trip soon? Where are you headed?