THE 50 BEST PLACES TO TRAVEL IN 2018
From a remote, idyllic island to the world’s design capital, these destinations have never been better. Start planning your 2018 travel now.
Our travel experts — from travel writers around the globe to T+L’s A-List travel advisors to our own editors — offer their recommendations. Then, we take a look at what places are now at the forefront of the global conversation, whether for new hotels and museums or major international events. In any given year, the cities and countries we recommend as the best places to travel in the world have a lot going on. And of course, we think about those travel destinations that are perennial favorites to determine which ones are reinventing themselves, ensuring there’s always something new to explore.
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. If you already know where you’re going, share your plans with us on social media with #TLBestPlaces.
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. —Kate Springer
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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 Jiannafrom 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. —Rachel Tepper Paley
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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 Resortboth in the works. —Devorah Lev-Tov
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Buenos Aires, Argentina
This year, Buenos Aires becomes a hub for art, sports, and politics: the inaugural Art Basel Cities program, the Youth Olympic Games, and the G20 will all take place in the city, beginning with the yearlong Art Basel initiative. Though the Argentinean capital is already home to an eclectic collection of galleries, Art Basel Cities promises to elevate Buenos Aires’ reputation in the global art scene by offering professional support for local artists, as well as lectures and workshops throughout the year to draw art lovers to the city.
The project culminates in September with a week of public arts programming developed by Cecilia Alemani, chief curator of the High Line in New York. Then, in October, 4,000 teen athletes from more than 200 countries will flock to the city for the Youth Olympic Games. The southern Villa Soldati neighborhood has seen significant development in anticipation of the events, with new housing, parks, and sports venues that will breathe life into the area well after the Olympians return home. Should you miss out on the world-class athletes, drown your sorrows in a world-class meal. Tegui, an eight-year-old restaurant in trendy Palermo, was recently named one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants — the first time an Argentinean spot has made the list in 15 years. —Sorrel Moseley-Williams
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Los Cabos, Mexico
Located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, the two small colonial towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo have become the hottest vacation destinations in Mexico in recent years. With wide, pristine beaches, lively nightclubs, glam resorts, and a farm-to-table food scene, the oasis of Los Cabos is drawing tourists in record numbers. As a result, the hotel scene is booming, with a clutch of new developments and renovations completed this year along the Tourist Corridor, including the sleek Chileno Bay, an Auberge Resort, and a stunning beachfront Solaz resort.
A new crop of five-star brands are coming in 2018, including the Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the Four Seasons Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, the Montage Los Cabos, 1 Hotel & Homes, and the first Nobu Hotel in Mexico. Foodies will want to make a reservation at Acre, a restaurant-farm from executive chefs Kevin Luzande and Oscar Torres, who are set to unveil 12 new treehouse guest rooms on site. —Christopher Tkaczyk
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Walla Walla Valley, Washington
With more than 300 days of sunshine each year, the southeastern corner of Washington state is home to three flourishing viticultural regions: the Columbia, Walla Walla, and Yakima Valleys. But in recent years Walla Walla has come into its own as the next must-visit destination for oenophiles, golfers, and cyclists. With more than 140 wineries producing European-style Syrahs, Cabernets, and Merlots, there’s no shortage of tasting rooms in the valley, which hosts four weekend-long wine events each year. The region gets its first high-end resort in February, when Va Piano winemaker Justin Wylie and James Beard Award–winning chef Jason Wilson open the 10-suite Eritage on a 300-acre plot north of the city of Walla Walla.
Change is afoot in town, too: There are new tasting rooms from Barons, Bledsoe Family, and Nocking Point, and a historic building is set to open as the Penrose Walla Walla Hotel & Spa next year. —Christopher Tkaczyk
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Although the former Soviet republic might seem remote, Uzbekistan once sat at the very center of the world. In the first millennium, no traveler could pass from Asia to Europe without stopping in the Silk Road strongholds of Bukhara and Samarkand, and as a result these cities evolved into rich cultural centers. For intrepid travelers, today’s Uzbekistan is a promised land: a Muslim-majority nation that’s both safe and affordable, with few tourists and an abundance of well-preserved mosques and harems. And since the death of authoritarian president Islam Karimov last year, the new regime has taken steps toward reform that have given both Uzbeks and the international community reason for optimism. Improving relations with Iran could soon bring a rail link to the Persian Gulf, and in 2016, the Afrosiyob high-speed-train line began connecting the country’s major cities. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan should benefit from the so-called Iron Silk Road, or Trans-Asian Railway — a Chinese-funded network of routes knitting together Beijing and Europe — once a segment connecting the country through Kyrgyzstan is completed. Book a customized journey with Exeter International, which specializes in the region. —Heidi Mitchell
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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. —Diana Hubbell
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