No matter what 2024 holds, it seems travel is guaranteed to feature, with 80 per cent of UK travellers planning to take at least the same number of trips as in 2023.
And some of the year’s hottest destinations are right on our doorstep, with Paris taking centre stage for the Olympics and Germany hosting Euro 2024, plus more far-flung destinations to tempt you out of Europe.
“While 2024’s top destinations may be geographically disparate, they are interconnected by their unique sense of place, vibrant cultural identities, and breathtaking topographies,” says Tom Marchant, co-founder of Black Tomato. “We’re seeing an increased desire for clients to chart new courses and paths, and explore some of the remotest corners of the world.”
So whether you’re looking for an exotic city break, an escape to the world’s wild places or sunshine close to home, we’ve rounded up the hottest places to go in 2024.
Norway is having a moment, helped along by a new trend for cool destinations — quite literally after some of the recent heatwaves.
With the solar activity cycle set to peak over the next couple of years, it’s also a great time to see the Northern Lights, while for fans of TV show Succession, where the action shifted from Manhattan to this slice of Scandinavia, binge watching has led to binge travelling.
Original Travel has seen a huge 250 per cent increase in enquiries for holidays in Norway, which has shot to become the company’s third biggest-selling destination after Italy and Greece.
The region of Nordland is being tipped by National Geographic Traveller as one of its 30 most exciting destinations to visit in 2024, with the town of Bodø becoming one of the three European Capitals of Culture.
The area’s new Six Senses Svart is also due to open, the world’s first energy-positive hotel run by its own solar power, and promising zero-waste dining.
Add in the chance to learn more about Sami traditions, the spectacular glacier scenery and being able to discover a remote area of Europe, and this wild part of the world is looking wildly attractive.
Even for those who’ve explored widely in Asia, Taiwan is often overlooked. But as the country’s oldest city, Tainan, celebrates its 400th birthday in 2024, it’s the perfect time to change that.
Founded by the Dutch in 1624, who named it Fort Zeelandia, it’s a contrast to the high-rise high-tech modernism of the current capital Taipei and one of the best places to discover Taiwanese heritage.
Characterised by its colonial beginnings, as well as Spanish, Japanese and Chinese influences, one of the biggest temptations is just strolling around its historic streets, discovering gardens, museums, markets and temples down little alleys, as well as the 17th century Chihkan Tower and lantern-lined Shennong Street.
Even the city’s department store comes with over 90 years of history — the oldest in Tawain, it has retained its retro interior.
Tainan is also known for its street food, including coffin bread, hollowed-out white bread which has been deep fried and filled with cream soup.
While you might not associate Malta with Hollywood, the little Mediterranean island has been playing an ever bigger role on screen over the past few years.
And as well as featuring in Sir Ridley Scott’s recent movie Napoleon, where the capital Valletta doubled for the French city of Toulon, it’s also due to play a starring role in the sequel to blockbuster hit Gladiator.
The new film, set for release in late 2024, follows in its predecessor’s footsteps with the island standing in for ancient Rome. A mocked-up Colosseum and other Roman buildings have been constructed just outside Valletta, while Fort Ricasoli, in Kalkara is another of the filming locations.
And with its mix of golden stone buildings, winding streets and attractive harbour, the Unesco World Heritage site of Valletta is always tempting even if you’re not directing a multimillion dollar picture.
New York State
Forget the Big Apple, it’s time for the rest of New York state to shine in 2024, with the focus on its state parks. New York State Parks and Historic Sites celebrate their centennial this year, with 60,000 acres of beaches, campgrounds and trails — as well as golf courses — to explore.
Home to the oldest state park in the United States, Niagara Falls, which dates back to the late 19th century, there are also some new additions to tempt visitors here.
The Niagara Falls Heritage Gateways Project is set to have a new spiralling observation deck along the edge of the state park, for even more impressive panoramic views.
Meanwhile, the old Niagara Gorge Discovery Center will become Great Lakes 360, a living museum celebrating the area’s ecosystem and enabling people to learn more about local wildlife.
If you’re looking for a US city break, nearby Philadelphia has been named one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities to visit in 2024, thanks to its role as the “birthplace of the United States” and the nation’s first World Heritage City, along with its energy, museums and great places to eat.
Tallinn might be the first stop for most British visitors to Estonia, but it’s the country’s former Unesco City of Literature of Tartu which is stepping into the spotlight in 2024, as one of three European Capitals of Culture.
Set around 110 miles from the capital, Tartu and the wider southern Estonia region will be staging a year of events from outdoor art installations to concerts, film screenings and more.
The city’s Kissing Students fountain is even inspiring a series of events called Kissing Tartu, including a kissing demo in the Town Hall Square.
If that doesn’t inspire a visit, you’ll also find street art festival Stencibility and a major exhibition celebrating 100 years of surrealism.
Add in the city’s impressive museums, its vibrant nightlife and café scene as home to the country’s oldest university and a green makeover coming to Tartu’s public spaces, and you won’t be short of reasons to book a trip.
Let the train take the strain
The hottest travel for 2024 is all about the journey as well as the destinations, with exciting new sleeper trains and revived train routes.
- Austria’s Nightjet sleeper service is rolling out 33 new trains, plus routes including Paris to Berlin.
- European Sleeper is extending is Brussels to Berlin route to travel via Dresden and on to Prague.
- Look out for a series of Italian itineraries for the new Orient Express La Dolce Vita sleeper train — expect five-star service, lashings of nostalgia and routes from the Alps in the north as far as Sicily.
- Further afield, the Eastern & Oriental Express is returning to Asia from February, with two luxurious journeys from Singapore through Malaysia, complete with Golden Age style and plenty of luxury.
- Book ahead for the 1920s-inspired Midnight Trains, launching its first service from Paris to Venice via Milan in 2025, and which promises to be a hotel on rails rather than your average train.
Dates for the diary
FEBRUARY — Craving some winter sun? British Airways is adding a third weekly flight to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands this month.
MARCH – EasyJet is opening a new base at Birmingham airport this month, with 16 new routes launching to destinations across Europe and north Africa from March 18 and running through the summer.
APRIL — the Great American Eclipse will take place on April 8, with parts of Mexico, the US and Canada plunged into darkness for up to four minutes and 27 seconds as the moon completely covers the sun. Mazatlan in Mexico is first to see the moon’s shadow, followed by 13 states from Texas to Maine and the maritime provinces of Canada.
MAY — Greenland is due to get two new international airports from May this year, with longer runways and new terminals at both the capital Nuuk and at Ilulissat, opening the country up further to tourism.
JUNE — Virgin Atlantic launches a new summer route to Las Vegas from Manchester on June 2, operating twice a week. One of several new routes for 2024, the airline will also be flying from London to Sao Paolo daily from May.
JULY — the opening of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the first time the French capital has hosted the event since 1924, with events across 95 venues.