Some of the best places to visit in 2018
12.01.2018 at 11:27
Travelers today are more aware than ever of all the world has to offer. It’s thrilling to be confronted with so much possibility — but daunting, too. Whether you’re after heart-stopping adventure, a close-up look at history, or the perfect meal, these are the 50 best destinations to discover in 2018.
The jewel of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is home to more than 1,200 islands, but travel between them has long been dictated by expensive yacht charters and sluggish public ferries. In 2018, that’s set to change, now that UberBOAT, from the popular ride-sharing app, has launched on-demand transfers and private tours along the Dalmatian Coast. Hit the high seas in the direction of Šolta, a hilly isle a mere nine nautical miles from Split (the second-largest city in Croatia).
Often overlooked in favor of more-developed, splashier neighbors like Hvar or Brač, Šolta’s under-the-radar nature has proved a boon: The stony islet has become synonymous with pristine nature (pebbly beaches, turquoise waters, lush greenery), medieval villages, winemaking (try the indigenous Dobričić variety), and family-run olive oil purveyors like Olynthia, a fourth-generation producer. After watching the sun set at Maslinica bay, check out the island’s peppering of stylish beach clubs, seaside bars, and open-air restaurants — then drop your bags at the Heritage Hotel Martinis-Marchi, built inside an 18th-century Venetian fort-castle and ideally situated for those who want to explore Šolta’s ancient villages and crystal-clear bays.
Move over, Croatia. Long overshadowed by its neighbor to the northwest, Montenegro is ready for the spotlight. The ancient city of Kotor is already attracting plenty of visitors, like the celebrities vacationing at luxurious boutique hotel Forza Terra, just outside the medieval walls, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of cruisers who’ve arrived with companies like Viking, Celebrity, and Princess. The swank marina Porto Montenegro is thriving in the formerly sleepy coastal town of Tivat, and the complex’s Regent hotel unveiled an expansion in 2017. Nearby, luxury development Luštica Bay is slated to open this summer, with plans for villas, a golf course, and a five-star Chedi hotel. Further west on the Bay of Kotor’s jagged coastline is the site of the country’s most anticipated arrival, the One&Only Portonovi, which will be the brand’s first European outpost when it opens this summer. Plans for the resort, situated on a 60-acre site overlooking the Adriatic, include 140 villas and residences, a tennis club, and a spa.
Ever since Tolminc raw-milk cheeses and Slovenian marbled trout were featured on an episode of the Netflix series Chef’s Table with chef Ana Roš, Slovenia’s culinary star has been on the rise. Hiša Franko, the Soca Valley inn and restaurant that Roš runs with her sommelier husband, is now one of the region’s hardest tables to get — prompting the pair to open a small brewpub, Hiša Polonka. Surging demand for Slovenia’s natural and orange wines has driven local winemakers like Burja Estate and Movia to expand. And in the capital of Ljubljana, adventurous chefs at Monstera, Atelje, and Restavracija JB are helping redefine modern Slovenian cuisine, while the experimental farm and eatery Gostišče Grič has brought in a Swedish celebrity duck farmer and full-time forager to create one of Europe’s most unexpected dining experiences.
Greenville, South Carolina
Once a sleepy second fiddle to Southern culinary powerhouses like Charleston and Nashville, Greenville is stepping into the limelight with hot new restaurants. The town will soon be home to an outpost of Sean Brock's heirloom-crop-focused Husk and a food-centric market hall called the Commons. Other recent additions include modern Italian spot Jianna from Michael Kramer (the opening executive chef of McCrady's in Charleston, pre-Brock) and the moody speakeasy lounge Vault & Vator. It's an impressive collection of quality restaurants for a city of just over 67,000.
Those with a predilection for high-thread-count sheets will soon be able to luxuriate at the Grand Bohemian Hotel, a ritzy boutique property with Carolina charm. In the meantime, discerning visitors can bunk at the swank Westin Poinsett, a historic hotel that was rescued from the wrecking ball in the late '90s, laying the groundwork for Greenville’s great Southern revival.
Grenada, known as Spice Island, remains one of the Caribbean’s under-the-radar gems, even though it’s got what every traveler wants: uncrowded beaches, preserved rain forests, and a lively local culture and cuisine. The island, which was spared from last fall’s brutal hurricane season, is poised to attract new luxury travelers when the Silversands Hotel opens in March 2018. The first major resort to open on Grand Anse Beach in 25 years, Silversands will offer 43 rooms and suites, nine villas, and the longest pool in the Caribbean. After a recent renovation, the beloved Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel is now part of Relais & Châteaux, only the fifth hotel in the Caribbean to be invited to join the celebrated hotel group. Getting to the island is a cinch — JetBlue added daily service from New York City last year, and Grenada is now a port of call for 33 new cruise ships — and visitors will soon have even more options for high-end stays, with Kimpton Kawana Bay and the Levera Beach Resort both in the works.
Political strife and economic woes have taken a toll on Egypt’s tourism industry in recent years, but travelers will soon have a new reason to visit. On the arid plains of Giza not far from the Great Pyramids, a modern monument is under construction that’s more than two decades and nearly $1 billion in the making. The Grand Egyptian Museum will showcase the finest treasures of the pharaohs — including the body and golden funeral mask of Tutankhamen — in a structure spanning nearly 650,000 square feet.
In addition to more than 100,000 artifacts, including pieces currently stored in the vaults of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the new museum will sport a Modernist design courtesy of Heneghan Peng Architects. Chosen from more than 1,550 design proposals from architects in 82 countries, the final building will echo both the geography of the plateau on which it rests as well as the Pyramids themselves. When the museum partially opens in 2018, visitors in the immense atrium can soak in the majestic sight of both the Pyramid of Menkaure and the Great Pyramid of Khufu from a floor-to-ceiling glass wall.
Archipelago Sea, Finland
Finland’s Archipelago Sea is the world’s largest, with 25,000 miles of shoreline and innumerable islands. Still off the beaten track for international tourists, who gravitate toward Helsinki in summer and Lapland in winter, the archipelago is the well-kept secret of the Finns, generations of whom flock to family-owned islands. And there’s never been a better time to join them, with increased airlift — including transatlantic flights on Norwegian Air starting around $350 — and a burgeoning food and beverage scene in nearby Turku, Finland’s medieval capital. (Start at the Kauppahalli, or market hall, where the salmon is as fresh and flavorful as a summer tomato.) The archipelago has a subarctic glamour, with eerie, sunlit summer nights and dark winter days, its rocky, tree-lined islands dotted with storybook wooden cottages. Hike, bike, or drive the islands; or hole up on one all your own.
Salina Island, Italy
Of all the islands that make up Italy’s Aeolian archipelago, Salina is arguably the most alluring: it is not yet a celebrity haven like its neighbor Stromboli, where Giorgio Armani, Domenico Dolce, and Stefano Gabbana have homes; and it’s not yet overrun with the luxury yachts of affluent soccer players like nearby Panarea. That the isle has stayed blissfully unspoiled for this long eludes those who know of its imposing natural beauty — steep mountains blanketed in blossoming trees and wildflowers, small villages speckled with olive and lemon groves, fig trees, and miles of terraced Malvasia vineyards. The Relais & Châteaux property Capofaro Malvasia & Resort is one of Salina’s finest places to check in to, thanks to its secluded location, private beach, Tasca d’Almerita wines, and restaurant spotlighting local flavors (think wild fennel, orange, and caper leaves). Once you’ve settled in, skip on over to the town of Lingua to watch the sun set on the Marina Garibaldi, and order the best almond granita of your life at the Da Alfredo waterfront café.
This German town lays claim to not one but two of the world’s greatest opera houses. Most music lovers know about the acoustically perfect Bayreuth Festspielhaus, built in 1876 by composer Richard Wagner as the home for his summer music festival. But the city also contains the grandest Baroque theater in the world, the Margravial Opera House, built between 1744 and 1748 by Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012, the theater has been closed for repairs for the past six years. It reopens in April 2018 with a performance of Artaserse by the 18th-century German composer Johann Adolph Hasse (tickets go on sale in February). Bayreuth also makes an excellent starting point from which to explore the rest of the region, famous for its hundreds of Bavarian biergartens and vineyards producing internationally renowned Franconian wines.
Visitors may want to return to the Belgian capital in 2018 to visit two cutting-edge museums. The Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art opened in the once-infamous Molenbeek district’s old Belle-Vue brewery this past spring, to showcase contemporary art from around the world. There’s also the Citroën Cultural Centre, a new collaboration with Paris’s Centre Pompidou, which will launch its first exhibition in May. The edgy JAM Hotel, an industrial-chic property with exposed brickwork and concrete beams housed in a former art school, is the perfect place for culture-lovers to stay. Don’t leave town without paying homage to Belgium’s UNESCO-recognized beer culture at youthful breweries like Brasserie de la Senne or Brussels Beer Project, both of which are shirking brewing traditions in favor of more experimental microbrewery techniques.