What’s Hot For 2017

What’s Hot For 2017

Eastern Europe looks set to continue gaining traction as seasoned Euro-trippers venture further in search of more adventurous experiences, while South America’s lesser-visited countries are gaining popularity among US and European tourists alike.

not easy to narrow down next year’s destination hit list to
just 15 when my own is nearly triple the length – and that’s before
picking the rest of the team’s brains. As always, new flight routes
are either a catalyst for (or a result of) places becoming “in” as
travellers scrabble to be among the first to visit. Meanwhile
there’s been a rise in “second cities”, making it easier than ever
to escape the crowds in even the most popular countries. Eastern
Europe looks set to continue gaining traction as seasoned
Euro-trippers venture further in search of more adventurous
experiences, while South America’s lesser-visited countries are
gaining popularity among US and European tourists alike.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New York and LA could hardly get more popular,
but cities such as New Orleans are starting to get their share of
the limelight as alternative American hotspots. With its
cutting-edge live music scene, hip street-food stalls and bourbon
on tap, New Orleans offers something a little more earthy – and can
be done quite cheaply. With British Airways launching direct
flights from London in March, it looks like Louisiana is about to
get a whole lotta of love. Look out for Portland, Memphis and
Nashville too.

Tehran, Iran

Perhaps one of the most exciting travel developments of 2016
happened in September when direct flights launched between London and Tehran. While Iran is a country that has
long been shrouded by sanctions and secrecy, it’s gradually opening
to global travel – and you’re invited. From the bazaars, mosaics
and Iranian funk in Tehran to skiing in the Alborz mountains and swimming in the Caspian
Sea, SUITCASE went on a whistlestop tour of Iran to bring you the
best bits.

Santiago, Chile

While Colombia was the South American destination of 2016, next
year it’s all about Chile. Once overlooked in favour of its hipper
counterparts such as Buenos Aires and São Paulo, Santiago has
recently seen a gentle influx of boutique hotels and last year
Saveur magazine earmarked it as the next great culinary city. With
British Airways launching a direct flight from London to Santiago
in March 2017, this South American sweetheart will no doubt
continue to flourish.

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

While not the easiest place to get to, the picturesque Mostar in
southern Bosnia and Herzegovina is a city waiting to be discovered.
Beyond the iconic Stari Most bridge, its cobbled streets and
intriguing assortment of Ottoman and western European architecture
provide a snapshot of the city’s multicultural past. The
Croat-Bosniak War of the Nineties has kept Mostar largely off the
tourist trail – until now. Those who make the journey will find a
Balkan gem, while the drama of the region’s recent history gives it
extra bite.

Helsinki, Finland

Located on a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland and surrounded by
water on three sides, Helsinki is our latest Scandi obsession. In
winter, the area becomes enveloped in snow as it welcomes holiday
celebrations, with the sounds of Handel’s Messiah wafting through
the air from various symphony performances nearby. It’s also an
excellent launch pad from which to chase the Northern Lights.

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Silk Road cities are fast becoming the go-to for holidaymakers
wishing to get off the beaten track. It’s part of a trend for truly
experiential travel; we’ve made it our goal to visit all six
‘stans’ by 2018. Set against the dramatic snow-capped Tian Shan
mountains, Almaty is a good starting point, offering all the
attractions of a major city without any of the claustrophobia,
while its cafés and restaurants lend an oddly European vibe to the
Soviet backdrop.

Muscat, Oman

Wedged between the Al Hajar Mountains and the Arabic Gulf Coast,
Muscat is a city which retains an old world charm – a rarity among
the ritzy, high-rise cities of the modern-day Middle East. Unfazed
by keeping up with their flashier neighbours in the UAE, Omanis are
known to be a laidback lot who greet travellers with open arms –
make sure you’re one of them.

Warsaw, Poland

Toeing the line between a traditional Euro city break and
something a little less frequented, the vibrant Polish capital of
Warsaw is the place to book for a weekend getaway in 2017. A
mish-mash of restored neoclassical buildings, modern skyscrapers
and Soviet brutalist architecture meet a burgeoning gastronomy
scene and spirited nightlife, making for a compelling mix of
history and culture, while it’s less touristy than Kraków.

Cape Town, South Africa

A breathtaking city of creativity, surprises and new beginnings,
Cape Town is an urban jungle like no other. From the skater boys at
Sea Point and Long Street’s partygoers to the Stellenbosch
winemakers and the businesspeople in Gardens, the carefree notion
of coastal living and the determined drive of a bustling capital
work hand in hand. A glow of excitement surrounds the mother city,
and with something to do at every hour of the day or night, it’s a
ticket for any traveller.

La Paz, Bolivia

Another South American destination on the up for western tourism
is La Paz, the Bolivian capital resting some 3,650m above sea level
on the Andes’ Altiplano plateau. If you think that’s a lofty
statement, check out the recently opened Atix Hotel, the city’s
first Design Hotel. Is it a symptom or cause of its rapid
development? Either way, it doesn’t show signs of slowing in

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The oldest city in Europe to be inhabited continuously, Plovdiv
seamlessly blends ancient ruins with romantic European architecture
and cutting-edge nightlife. Various music and arts festivals are
putting Bulgaria’s second largest city on the map for in-the-know
cosmopolitan travellers ticking off Eastern Europe’s latest hot
spots. We visited this summer to check out nearby Meadows in the
Mountains Festival and, between hippies, hip flasks and plenty of
electro, it’s a weekend we’ll never forget…

Oaxaca, Mexico

Seen the sights of Mexico City? Partied on the beach in Cabo?
While these might be the first places that spring to mind when you
think of Mexico, they don’t begin to scratch surface of the
multifaceted country. One of our favourite places is Oaxaca,
heralded for its ‘foodie’ status and indigenous culture. SUITCASE
recommends heading to Mérida (the state capital of Yucatán) too,
where you can experience rich Mayan and colonial heritage before
hitting the beach among flamingos and pelicans at Isla Holbox, an
island just off Yucatán’s north shore.

Bergen, Norway

While the adage “it’s always raining in Bergen” may be pretty
much spot on, it’s no reason not to spend a good few days exploring
Norway’s so-called second city. Embedded in the Seven Mountains,
Bergen’s web of timber houses, cobbled roads and patches of
greenery make strolling through its streets feel like an adventure
into a bygone era. But don’t be fooled by its quaint veneer. Dig a
little deeper and you’ll find a youthful mentality drives the city.
In fact, it’s been billed as the street-art capital of Europe.

Sligo, Ireland

We travelled to coastal Sligo for SUITCASE Volume 17: Myths and
Legends. While Ireland is a country of familiar scenery, evoking
stunning panoramas and ancient folktales, it is also a place you
need to discover for yourself. Whether you visit in summer for an
icy swim or wrap up in winter to brave the elements, be sure to put
the Irish coast on your hitlist for 2017.

Seoul, South Korea

Not for the fainthearted, navigating the sprawl of Seoul’s
25million inhabitants takes patience, practicality and a sense of
adventure. Indeed, those familiar with the city call it “Tokyo on
steroids”. But Koreans are often one step ahead of the game, and
nowhere is this more apparent than in the city trends, be it
fashion, design or food. So visit Seoul, make like a local and
you’ll be sure to up your style cred for the coming year.

Discover More
What’s Hot in Ibiza for 2019