With a new year comes new travel possibilities, so if you are trying to decide where your next trip will take you, here are Travelista Barbie’s top five places to go in 2017.
This year marks Canada’s 150th anniversary of its confederation, when the country became a self-governing nation within the British Empire, if that’s not a reason to visit I don’t know what is. OK, so you need more, how about the fact that all of Canada’s 200 national parks and historical sites are offering free admission throughout 2017.
Now, I have your attention, Canada has a bit of everything going for it, it has big landscapes, the Canadian Rockies, it has wintery scenes, gorgeous turquoise lakes and city breaks with Toronto and Montreal. So, whether you like to discover the great outdoors, experience incredible food, love experiencing scenic drives or just want to take in the cultural sights, there is something for everyone.
Like Canada, Finland is celebrating this year, as 2017 marks the centenary of its independence. So why visit Finland? Well, its air is one of the cleanest in the world and its landscapes are second to none with 40 national parks you are never far away from a lake or a forest. It is also home to Helskini, a vibrant seaside city that has a laidback vibe, and this year marks the opening of the island of Vallisaari with lots of unspoilt nature mixed in with a great city break, which is easier to get now that Finnair has increased its flights, it now flies five times a week between Heathrow and Helsinki.
Finland also loves their saunas, there are estimated to be more than three million in the country, including one in a burger fastfood restaurant as well as on the Finnair SkyWheel. The country also hosts Sauna Day, twice a year, where private saunas including one in a castle open up to the public. Need another reason? In May, a new Moomin Museum is opening in Tampere and it will house more than 2000 works by artist and writer Tove Jansson.
Tennessee Williams said it best: “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans,” and the ‘Big Easy’ is going to be a whole lot easier to get to from March, as British Airways will be the only airline to fly direct from the UK. There will be four flights a week from Heathrow to the Louisiana city and with a flight time at under 10 hours, it might even make a great long weekend destination.
Embrace the jazz scene, work your way down Bourbon Street and explore the stranger side of life – overground tombs, legendary bars and, of course, Mardi Gras. Plus, it’s a city filled with food experiences from powdered sugar–dusted beignets to bowls of jambalaya, this is a destination to get excited about.
With tough competition from Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and Venice, Lisbon can be a little overlooked when it comes to a European city break, but we think that 2017 is the year that the Portuguese capital, known as the ‘the city of seven hills’ gets some much-deserved recognition. This is an affordable getaway that has a little of everything culture, food, Mediterranean climate, colourful buildings, and sea views.
There are a number of key attractions that you can’t miss, such as the Torre de Belém, this Gothic tower is one of the country’s most famous monuments, while the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Portugals answer to the British Museum has a great array of Egyptian artefacts on show or head to the Museu Colecção Berardo for its collection of modern art. Lisbon is also a great foodie city, with food markets being very popular and you can’t leave Portugal without eating at least one pastel de nata.
Located between Mexico and Guatemala and flanked by the Caribbean Sea, this tiny country is the only English-speaking country in Central America, making it easy to get around, and popular with divers who are attracted by the world’s second largest barrier reef and the Great Blue Hole, the world’s largest hole measuring 1000 ft across and 412 ft deep. In recent years, Belize has also become one of the most popular eco-tourism destinations in the region with its lush rainforest, rare wildlife, stunning beaches, offering hiking, kayaking, bird-watching, horse riding, snorkelling, and for the extreme traveller, cave tubing, where you ride down rivers through the limestone caves.
Belize is also the epicentre of the ancient Maya world and the Mayan Temples are a spectacular site that you can’t miss. If all that wasn’t enough of a reason to book a flight, it also has great temperatures all year round, averaging 29°C, making it a popular choice and it has also started to attract high-end luxury hotels including the Naïa Resort and Spa. This breathtaking retreat encompasses 19 acres of secluded beachfront and lush landscapes within the private 200-acre Cocoplum Community of Placencia, Belize, and houses 35 beach houses, a yoga studio and a spa to relax in style.