10 Destinations I Dream Of Visiting This Year

I’ve been reading about this year’s hottest travel destinations, and dreaming of my next big adventure. For me it’s all about the up-and-coming vacation spots that may not be on everyone’s radar, the Instagrammers who’ve inspired me to put cities on my bucket list that didn’t earlier cross my mind, and the sense of disovery in uncovering hidden gems that are just as worthwhile as the world’s most iconic tourist spots.

Countries that were once considered obscure are now coming into fashion as travelers worldwide look for more authentic, and less touristy, experiences. There are plenty of spots to explore. Here’s my list:

10. Bulgaria

Called “Europe’s rising star” by Thomson, this Balkan nation is a melting pot of cultures that also boasts sunny beaches on the Black Sea. It’s also the top pick for budget destinations on Travelstart Egypt’s blog. Try Nessebar, called the ‘Pearl of the Black Sea’ — it combines a stunning old town, 3,000 years of history and a seafront with beautiful hotels. Sofia, the capital, is as cultured and vibrant as any city in Western Europe.

9. Montenegro

Like Bulgaria, this Balkan country is an underrated European gem with some travellers calling it the most beautiful place they’ve seen. Mountains, medieval villages, sunny beaches on the Adriatic, Venetian-influenced architecture — this small nation has it all. Ranked as the #1 emerging destination by The Resident magazine, Montenegro also has one of the world’s fastest-growing tourism industries. It isn’t likely to stay an insider’s secret much longer.

8. Peru

This South American country was once reserved for the hardcore traveller yearning to trek to Machu Picchu or the Amazon rainforest. It’s now one of the trendiest and quickly emerging destinations. Lima boasts quite a restaurant scene that pulls in foodies, as well as a thriving art scene. If you want, you can leave your backpack at home — Lima has plenty of luxury hotels and shopping to make it a refined experience.

7. Chile

Chile is another fast-emerging country that continues the trend for rediscovering South America, perhaps at a slower and more luxurious pace. Ranked by Lonely Planet last year as one of the best destinations in the world, this naturally diverse country isn’t showing signs of slowing down. It still tops many lists of best destinations for 2017. If you’re a beach addict, you’ve got 6,000km of the Pacific Ocean. If you love nature, Chile has it all, from the glaciers at Patagonia to the Atacama Desert. For more inspiration, check out @TheSlowTraveler on Instagram for gorgeous photos from around South America.

6. South Africa

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Surprisingly affordable, South Africa has much more to offer than safaris — although you will find some of the best wildlife and scenery here as well. You can explore the vibrant culture and difficult history of apartheid at Johannesburg, take surfing lessons in Cape Town or trek the Drakensburg mountains. If you’ve never been on safari, the sight of wild animals in their own environment is unforgettable. And contrary to popular belief, safaris don’t have to be long or expensive — you can arrange for a day visit to a national park if your time or budget is limited (I recommend Felleng Day Tours).

5. Taiwan

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I’ve visited Taiwan recently and still can’t stop thinking about it. Just 180km east of China, Taiwan has the traditional temples, stunning mountains and — surprisingly — exotic beaches. Since it’s not as vast as China, it’s more manageable if you want to explore the country in depth. The food is some of the best I’ve ever had.

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4. Alaska

While Canada has generated a buzz as a hot destination for 2017, I’d recommend going a bit northwest to the US state of Alaska. It’s the most sparsely populated state, known for its wildlife, small and charming towns, mountains and forests. It’s a nature lover’s paradise. Alaska caught my attention recently when travel blogger Kirsten Alana documented her journey there on Instagram (@KirstenAlana). Her photos of sweeping evergreens crossed by trains and icy lakes traversed by canoes inspired me to put it at the top of my bucket list.

3. Thailand

Most travellers won’t need much convincing to put this wildly popular country on their list. The weather in Bangkok is nearly perfect in January, and the beaches are epic — the very stuff of images on screen savers. If you’ve been to Bangkok and the popular islands like Phuket, try a lesser-known paradise like Koh Lanta, a somewhat bohemian and low-key alternative.

2. Laos

Just next door to Thailand is Laos, a Southeast Asian country crossed by the Mekong River and known for its mountains and Buddhist monasteries. Left isolated after long wars, Laos boasts a leisurely old-world charm, friendly locals and exotic temples and scenery.

1. Egypt

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Everyone knows the pyramids and Luxor, but there are dozens of lesser-visited gems that deserve more attention. I’d rank Egypt at the top of the list any day because it’s so accessible, so affordable and so varied in its landscapes. And I’m not just saying that because I live here. From tours of downtown Cairo’s architecture to ecolodges in Fayoum, Egypt offers endless options that make it a destination you can’t ever really cross off your list.

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42 thoughts on “10 Destinations I Dream Of Visiting This Year

  1. Rhyme & Ribbons

    I was in Thailand in January this year and I can honestly say that it was one of the best traveling adventures of my life! x

    Amanda | rhymeandribbons.com


  2. mitme101

    Nice post! When I was younger, there were a few places abroad I would have liked to visit, but traveling the USA is what I am looking forward to now. I will leave the international travel to the youngsters! 🤓


    1. A safari really is an experience of a lifetime, even if it’s just for a day. Giraffes were my favorite! They move so slowly and gracefully – completely different than you’d see at a zoo.


    1. Thank you, Louise. It’s more of a list of places that I’m inspired by at the moment – I go through phases of dreaming about particular destinations… I don’t have much up on this blog yet, but happy exploring.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting to note about Bulgaria, and Montenegro, two places that we had not even considered visiting… but they both sound well worth the trip.

    Our approach with regard to forecasting travel is not so much to do a list of ten, because unlikely we will make it to ten, especially in a year, but we select ONE that we absolutely want to go to and we change our passwords on our computers, emails etc to include that destination. As a result we write that destination every day, multiple times a day when we sign in, that reinforces our commitment and creates a subconscious momentum that makes it almost impossible to not visit that place. Manifesting in a very concrete way. This has worked for the last six or so years. Then we build travel around THAT particular country.

    Hope you make it to some of those on the list.

    Peta & Ben

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should have probably titled this differently, but this is more like a list of places that have been on my mind recently… I don’t think I could ever do 10 in a year – and I’m not sure I’d want to, either. I’ve been really loving the idea of slow travel lately and getting to know one destination over a length of time, staying put and building up a daily routine. I did that in Venice and it was wonderful.

      That’s a brilliant idea with the passwords! I’ve been thinking of making some kind of mood board with my absolute dream destination (Greece) that I could look at daily to remind myself of the islands especially, but changing passwords sounds like another great way to keep Greece on my mind. And with those Greek names, it would also keep hackers well at bay.


  4. I love you ‘to do’ list. When I turned 60 I decided not to revisit anywhere I’d already been. But some places are to good not to revisit. If I revisit anywhere now I try to go when there is an event on. Examples this year are Seville and Valencia. Been to both several times but this year it’s for the Feria de Abril (Sevilla) and for FIB music festival (Benicassim nr Valencia)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. All good choices, but don’t discount Canada too far. It is a huge country but you can choose what type of vacation you want from City to country to skiing to mountain hiking. The low $ does not hurt right now either. Last year, we were mobbed by tourists for the 150 Birthday bash, so looking forward to a more even keel this year. We will do our part as Canadians to see the country and will be driving from Alberta to the East Coast and back. Posts to come.

    Dee, I see you have just started following my retiredanddownunda blog. Thanks for reading. This blog is full and there will be no new posts, but you are welcome to read the back posts including our 2014/15 travels to New Zealand and Australia. If you are interested, my new blog is at https://photoblographysite.wordpress.com/. Cheers. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Allan, I’ve actually been to Canada – very briefly on a day trip when I lived in Spokane, Washington. Still a very memorable trip and I loved the epic mountains and the small-town charm. I’d love to explore the country further, especially Montreal.

      I’m looking forward to your posts from that road trip, and will follow your new blog!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Montreal is a fabulous cosmopolitan city with history. Even better is Quebec City where the history is a bit deeper since its founding in 1608. Great coffee and food and a good place to practice my bad French so everyone can have a laugh, unlike France, where most people just look puzzled when I try French.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I could add, re Thailand, go inland and find a different Thailand to the cities and coastal regions. You won’t find Western food and you might find it all a bit spicy but the people are friendly and very welcoming. Isan is one of my favourite areas and both food and people may surprise you. And avoid trips to Phi Phi Island which is just a mess these days with tourists on overcrowded boats and beaches, backpackers who seem to just want to sit in bars watching movies and listening to current pop music while thinking they are living the live of “The Beach”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Inland Thailand sounds fascinating! There are times in our lives when we’re drawn to particular places for whatever reasons, and I’m definitely feeling the pull towards Southeast Asia these days. It’s still such an exotic and foreign culture to me, and the food is the best in the world.


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