The top travel destinations for 2017

All you need to know when it comes to getting away this year


Once you've eaten all the latkes and played all the board games, youre going to need another way to fill the bank holidays. And when its cold and grey outside,  whats better than planning your holidays for next year? Here's our hot list of the top travel destinations for 2017.

The Azores, Portugal

The westernmost point of Europe, these volcanic islands might be part of Portugal but they’ve stayed firmly off the beaten track — until now. With a 31 per cent increase in tourism over the past 12 months, Lonely Planet has tipped the archipelago as one to visit in 2017 before the crowds take over. Dubbed the “next Iceland”, there are hot springs and lush volcanic craters along with tea and pineapple plantations, year-round whale watching and pretty Portuguese villages to discover.


There’s nothing like a new flight route to catapult a destination to everyone’s attention and Belize is the latest, getting a direct route from Heathrow with American Airlines last month, saving those precious holiday days previously spent in transit in the USA or Mexico.

Around the same size as Israel, you can also pack plenty into a trip once you arrive — jungle, Mayan civilisations, snorkelling and diving on the world’s second largest barrier reef to name a few. Family travel specialists Stubborn Mule have tipped it as their top destination for family adventure too.

The Skellig Ring, Ireland

Chances are you’ve already seen Skellig Michael, even if you didn’t realise it. The setting for the final scene of the latest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, it’s due to play a bigger role in the upcoming sequel and see the same boost in visitors as other high-profile film and TV locations. To reach the remote island, a World Heritage site that was home to monks until the 12th century, you need to take a boat from the mainland. The 18km Skellig Ring route is also worth a visit, following Ireland’s beautiful wild coastline and connecting to the Ring of Kerry.

The new flights

New direct flight routes mean these four destinations will be stepping into the spotlight in 2017.


British Airways is launching its longest direct flight in January, to the Chilean capital Santiago. With the city’s Palacio Cousino reopening after seven years, following repairs to damage from the 2010 earthquake, as well as new hotels in heritage buildings and a new cable car in the middle of a natural reserve, there’s something for everyone.

New Orleans

BA is also starting the first non-stop flights between Heathrow and New Orleans in March, bringing the Big Easy, with its music, food and unique culture, a step closer.


One of Lonely Planet’s top destinations for 2017, increased airline links are making it easier to head off the beaten track, and discover the scenery, wildlife and centuries of culture here.

Portland, Oregon

With its reputation as the heartland of hipster USA, the west coast city will get new flights from Delta from May, for an American break that’s perfect for foodies with microbreweries, small batch distilleries, home-roasted coffee and innumerable food trucks.

As well as the city’s own temptations, it’s a great base to discover Oregon’s spectacular scenery and dramatic coastline too.

Watch out for several new US routes from Manchester as well, with Virgin Atlantic starting flights to Boston, New York and San Francisco.

The anniversaries


2017 is going to be a huge year for Canada, marking the 150th anniversary of the Confederation. There will be events across the country throughout the year, including free national park entry all year and a string of new museum openings in the capital Ottawa.

Throw in a zip-line along the gorge edge at Niagara Falls, a new Unesco World Heritage site in Labrador plus Montreal’s own 375th anniversary, and you’re almost guaranteed to find a celebration whenever and wherever you visit.


After 800 years of being fought over by Russia and Sweden, Finland gained its independence in 1917, so next year is set to see plenty of events to mark the date — all designed to bring locals and visitors together.

From Nature Days exploring the landscape to a new 11,000 hectare national park opening in the pine forests of Hossa, a Moomin museum in Tampere and an August feast in the capital Helsinki, the country is showing off its unique culture and landscapes with pride.

Sri Lanka

One of 2016’s hot destinations, thanks to a string of luxury hotel openings, Sri Lanka is continuing its moment on the top destinations list in 2017 as it celebrates 150 years since the first tea bush was planted in the country.

As well as exploring the plantations of the hill country, you can discover the leopards of Yala National Park, the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa and the rock palace of Sigiriya, along with unspoiled beaches and buzzing cities.


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