If you’re looking for inspiration on travel in 2018, you’ll find that the Year of the Dog offers an incredible mix of new destinations on the rise as well as an abundance of enticing new reasons to visit many of the all-time favorites. We’ve selected a few to highlight here, along with some suggestions of other great places offering plenty of amusements ranging from festival fun and new attractions to major sporting events and new adventures:
Malta: There is no shortage of reasons why this Southern European island country with a fascinating heritage is high on the radar of seasoned travelers and industry experts in 2018, and very likely in years to come. Located between Sicily and Tunisia in the Mediterranean Sea, it was selected as a European Capital of Culture in 2018 by the European Union along with partner city, Leeuwarden. The capital city of Valletta will be the official host of a year-long tradition of celebrations and special occasions, but there will be plenty of action throughout the entire island this year. Just a few of the spectacular events planned for Valletta 2018: Malta Fashion Week, the Malta International Arts Festival, Valletta Pageant of the Seas and Valletta Film Festival. You also won’t want to skip a visit to nearby island Gozo, the location of the collapsed Azure Window that was featured in Game of Thrones and now a popular dive site.
Asheville, North Carolina: Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the convergence of the Swannanoa and French Broad Rivers, this scenic Southern town has a rich history, plenty of natural attractions, a thriving brewery and arts scene and much more. Asheville is home to a number of iconic landmarks including the largest private home in the country, Biltmore Estate. Built for George W. Vanderbilt II, its approximate 8,000 acres contains the 250-room Chateauesque-style mansion and gorgeously landscaped botanical gardens. Revered for its cycling terrain, Asheville will host the highly prestigious Haute Route in May. Nearby Mill Spring will be the site of the FEI World Equestrian Games in April. With its nearly 6,000 foot peaks, Ashville has also provided a magnificent backdrop to a number of blockbuster films in recent years, including the Last of the Mohicans, Forrest Gump and Dirty Dancing.
Cambodia: Massive ancient ruins set in thick green jungles, beautiful, unspoiled beaches, great food and hospitable locals are just a few of the reasons millions of tourists visit the Kingdom of Cambodia each year. Since emerging from its painful past, the nation’s newfound political and security stability have made it an increasingly popular destination. At Angkor, you’ll not only see the largest religious monument every built, but get the chance to explore the ruins of an entire ancient city that was the capital of the Khmer Empire from the ninth to the 15th centuries. And as Forbes points out, the openings of a number of luxury hotels and the much-anticipated Shinta Mani Wild from Bill Bensley will enable travelers to explore lesser-known regions of the country in 2018.
Orlando, Florida: This family vacation hotspot dubbed “The Theme Park Capital of the World” is taking hospitality and entertainment to a new level this year with added attractions along with new offerings in dining, hotels and resorts. Beginning in spring, you can experience the new Fast & Furious-Supercharged ride at Universal Studios Florida and in early summer, Toy Story Land debuts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In March, LEGOLAND Florida kicks off the first virtual reality (VR) roller coaster experience designed for kids. SeaWorld Orlando also launches its share of new experiences in 2018 including Infinity Falls, a river rapids ride through a “lost river jungle…past the remains of an ancient civilization.” New accommodations in Orlando will include the boutique Delaney Hotel, Universal’s Aventura Hotel and the tropical vacation cottages of Margaritaville Resort Orlando. On the culinary scene, you’ll find a wealth of new restaurant openings including Bem Bom On Corrine and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. For more on Orlando’s new offerings in 2018, visit http://bit.ly/NewInOrlando2018.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: An exciting cultural fusion of “Latin flair with old European grandeur,” this cosmopolitan city pulses with an invigorating energy that captivates visitors every year. Buenos Aires is heralded for its impressive architecture, exceptional cuisine, vibrant nightlife, art and cultural offerings and much more. In 2018, the city will be the setting of world-class events including the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, which will include free access to four parks featuring competitive sports, music, arts, sports initiation, educational programs and more. A sampling of other major happenings in the Argentinean capital includes the International Tango Festival and World Cup, Argentine Open polo tournament and the BA International Jazz Festival. Find “21 Reasons Why You Should Visit Buenos Aires” here.
Curious about more destinations with big plans for 2018? Stateside, New Orleans and San Antonio will both mark their tricentennials in 2018. The Minneapolis Big Build will also provide plenty to explore in this beautiful city known for its parks and lakes. For those who want to travel abroad, the Faroe Islands, Jordan, Milan and Sanya, China are among the many destinations topping the lists of travel sites this year.
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