The old familiar staples remain. People are always going to want to travel to Italy, Barcelona is going to have another big year, and of course Paris continues to shine. But who are the rising stars in the Northern Hemisphere this year?
Get ready to read about the hot destinations for the spring and summer of 2017! These are places you’ll want to book your guide sooner, rather than later.
For those searching for a less-discovered eastern European experience, with ancient traditions, affordable hotels, and epic scenery to spare, Romania is an increasingly appealing option. The evocative landscapes of Transylvania, with their mountain roads, alpine meadows and horse-drawn carts, can feel truly medieval at times, and travelers are starting to take notice. Head to this part of Europe before more people do.
Iceland's secret has been out for a while. At the New York Times Travel Show, our guide Gudrun had her hands full dolling out fermented shark meat (it tastes better than it smells!) and answering travellers’ questions about Reykjavik and beyond. With many direct flights now between major cities in North America and Reykjavik (and free stopovers en route to Europe via Iceland Air) more people than ever will be visiting these spectacular landscapes.
Wales, United Kingdom
London’s no wilting flower on the international scene – it consistently ranks near the top of most visited cities in the world. But this year we’re anticipating more leisure travelers making their way outside the British capital, and Wales is a destination many are keen to explore. Castles, coastline, superb hiking, and ancient mythology...what's not to love? With the pound under some Brexit stress, the whole of the UK has become extremely good value for North Americans.
Again, the faltering pound makes this destination highly attractive to Americans (and better value for Canadians than it has been in a long time!) But value aside, if you watched The Crown on Netflix and weren’t longing to be transported to the windswept grounds of Balmoral Estate…well, you were in the minority.
This past September, Cuba received its first commercial flight from the U.S. in over 50 years, opening up a new era of travel opportunity for American tourists. And beginning this month, five new cruise lines will be docking in Cuban ports. Are we getting a lot of new requests for Cuban guides? You bet.
Tourism in Colombia has been on the rise for some years, and with the recent awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Santos, travelers are feeling increasingly confident traveling to this diverse and beautiful South American nation. Medellin and Cartagena continue to top the list of destinations, but it’s easy to get off the beaten track and explore everything from verdant coffee plantations to the archeological remnants of ancient civilizations.
River cruises that sail along the Danube and to the Black Sea make Budapest an important – and much anticipated – port. Budapest is also stepping up its presence on the international stage, with a bid for the 2024 Olympics. Travelers are taking note: with almost 600 private tours sold here in the past year, this has become one of our best selling European destinations.