Even though a new year is about to begin and we’ve all just had our scheduled holiday, we’re always planning our next holiday right away! The world has changed a lot this past year and it has been pretty hectic for everyone. So, we’ve compiled a list of amazing places for you to explore on your next break when you just want to get away from it all. These places haven’t allowed the likes of dubious politics to ruin their appeal, they’re all happy places filled with natural wonders and full to the brim with activities for any kind of person!
Thanks to word of mouth, and now social media, we all know New Zealand is a place of abundant natural beauty. So, it’s not news that New Zealand is an awesome place to visit, but it’s first on the list because does mother nature ever get boring? If you haven’t been yet, or even if you have, we’ve sought out the hidden gems of this popular destination that you should definitely check out in 2018! There are so many spots and islands that go largely unseen just because the place is extremely vast and so not everything gets the attention it deserves.
Lake Tekapo is one of those places. It’s a small town located at the end of a lake of the same name surrounded by the Mackenzie Basin which is on the Te Waipounamu, or the South Island.
Flickr | Rodney Topor
The picturesque town’s beauty is surreal and is any photographer's, blogger's or instagrammer's dream come true! It even has a quaint church built in 1935 by the pioneering families of Tekapo, which offers unspoilt views of the lake and the Southern Alps. Like most lakeside towns, every view is a spectacular one. Experience natural hot springs overlooking the pristine lake, air safaris over Mt. Cook, snow tubing and star gazing in the clear night skies. However, the jaw dropping beauty of the Lupine fields is what sets this place apart from any other. If you just want your eyes to be blessed, or if you are looking for that perfect snap, the pretty purples against the dramatic mountain peaks will blow you away.
Flickr | Shellie
If you’re looking for somewhere that’s not half way around the world and is a bit more financially friendly, then Malta is seriously underrated hub of culture! The capital city, Valletta, is home to baroque era cathedrals, a stunningly preserved palace form the 1500s, and not to mention, its Grand Harbour which provides striking views with the city’s romantic architecture as a backdrop. The city was built in a mere fifteen years, entirely by hand as mechanical tools had not yet been invented. It’s impressive constructions were started in 1566 and have lasted to this day.
Flickr | dr_zoidberg
Every corner is decorated with some beautiful stonework, be it a fountain, plaza, cafes or statues. If sightseeing and architecture is not your thing, then why not relax on one the many beaches? If you’re a surfer or sunbather, there is plenty of space to enjoy both sea and sun. The Maltese culture is known for its relaxed approach to daily life which makes it even better as a holiday destination. Having been an important port, Malta has been heavily influenced by the Middle East, Africa and of course the Mediterranean regions. The result is the Maltese language being an intriguing mix of English, Arabic and various dialects of Italian. It has become a unique and pleasant reflection of its influences resulting in a charming tourist spot overflowing with fortresses, temples, gardens and amazing weather!
Flickr | Juan Antonio Segal
Northern Italy might sound oddly precise since Italy as a whole is magnificent from top to bottom. There is a reason for this specificity; Northern Italy is where you can find Hafling. Hafling is actually a part of South Tyrol which is an autonomous province, and over 60% of the population speaks German as a first language. So, it is a place full of surprises. All the more reason to go and visit it! Going by its most recent survey, there is only a population of approximately 760. If you need some peace and quiet in 2018, which you probably will considering the political upheavals we experienced globally in 2017, the Hafling is the place to be.
Flickr | Georg Weis
A natural paradise, you will witness wild horses and cows roaming side by side, along with ideal hiking terrain. Needless to say, the views are breath taking considering it is a very mountainous region. You can enjoy luxury spa days in the five star accommodations available. If you want something a bit more active then have no fear because canyoning experiences and skiing on offer. This is truly an untouched part of Italy, so far removed from the common, bustling tourist spots we are so used to seeing in the country.
Flickr | pilot_micha
No one needs much convincing of Fiji’s natural beauty, with stretches of immaculate white sand beaches surrounded by turquoise waters, Fiji has been and will be a dream destination for the foreseeable future. However, it somehow still managed to up its game last year when new resorts appeared and one was crowned by Travel + Leisure readers as the best hotel in 2017! Did you know that Fiji is comprised of over 300 islands? Each has been bestowed with eye watering natural beauty. Fiji’s landscape is so varied; it makes it the perfect paradise to enjoy numerous activities, from lush flat beaches to green mountainous terrain, Fiji is made for those once in a lifetime experiences like cliff diving, waterfall hiking trails and so much more!
Flickr | Madeleine Howard
Fiji has managed to maintain its status as a utopia because it takes sustainability and conservation seriously. From its stunning temples drenched in history, to the natural environment, Fiji is at the forefront of eco-tourism. It is known as the soft coral capital of the world, making it an unforgettable diving spot. In fact, we have been working in Fiji for a long time for that very reason. Running marine conservation, teaching and medical projects and internships are vital part to what we do in Fiji!
Flickr | Michael Coghlan
Often described as ‘old school cool’ and being one of the most influential Latin American countries. Being the only Caribbean country with a rail transport system and having one of the highest literacy rates in the world, Cuba remains proud of its culture. For decades it struggled with recovering from the Cold War and refused outside influence, particularly from the US. Now it has opened itself up to visitors who can marvel at its preserved aesthetic. Its timeworn appearance only gives it that much more charm and inimitable atmosphere. Cuba has started to move into the future by retaining its past and putting it on display for all to see.
Flickr | Alexander Schimmeck
Now, private enterprise is ensuring that Cuba is reigniting its creativity and preserving itself in the most fruitful way; there has never been a better time to visit. Home to staple Caribbean beaches, Cuba also offers remarkable architecture and a history that leaves you expecting the unexpected. Known for one of the most famous revolutions in the world led by Ché Guevara, the Museum of the Revolution is a must see sight along with the vast amount of wildlife. Cuba is home to an incredibly diverse ecosystem, you’ll be able to visit wetlands, forests, and the largest swamp in the Caribbean which are heaving with unique life. It is known to be one of the best bird watching spots!
Flickr | Francesco Veronesi
We hope the New Year is great for you all and full of exciting travels!