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The 25 Best Places to Visit in 2018

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Is 2018 the year that you finally make travel a priority and start ticking those long dreamed of lands off your bucket list? With travel more accessible than ever before, chances are your dream destination list is getting longer and longer, making it increasingly harder to decide where your next vacation should be.

We’ve put together this guide to help you discover the best places to visit in 2018. Whether you are travelling on a shoestring budget or seeking a bit of luxury, and no matter if you are travelling solo or bringing the whole family along, we’ve got all the top, must-see destinations right here. You simply have to decide which to visit first.

Travelling on a budget? You don’t need deep pockets to have a good holiday. No matter how much cash you might — or might not — have to spend, there's a destination with your name on it. Especially if you’re willing to sleep in a bunk-bed in a dorm with a few strangers or are up for cooking your own meals, virtually no destination is totally off-limits for budget travellers.

From the beaches of Australia to the temples of Vietnam, there are plenty of exciting options for backpackers, students, or otherwise thrifty travellers who simply like to save their money for the next holiday. 

1. Vietnam

Vietnam tours and holidays
Vietnam is known for its stunning rice paddy fields, beaches, cuisine and culture
Vietnam holidays
Halong Bay offers visitors clear, emerald waters to snorkel and dive

Highlights

  • Take a boat ride through Halong Bay and go snorkelling or diving in the emerald waters between the rocky islands
  • Walk the streets of Huế, the Forbidden City and Vietnam’s ancient imperial capital
  • Bicycle around any of the islands in the lush Mekong Delta and spend the night in a local homestay

Home to some of the most impressive countryside in the world, Vietnam is the perfect destination for budget travelers who love getting outside and exploring unbeaten paths. There is so much to do and explore in Vietnam, from historic temples and rural rice paddy fields to sprawling beaches and bustling cities. For budget travellers, one of the best parts of Vietnam, though, is the food! Here you’ll find delicious yet inexpensive cuisine, and you can easily fill up on banh mi sandwiches and pho noodle soups that will likely not cost more than a few dollars.

Budget Facts

  • Average meal cost per day: USD 9.70
  • Average budget accommodation per day: USD 21*
  • Backpacker vibe:         

2. Peru

Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca city in the Andes of Peru
Trek to the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu
Santa Cruz trek in Peru is one of the best treks available.
Llaca Laguna in Peru with Ocshapalpa and Ranrapalca peak in the background
Ausangate Trek is one of the best treks in Peru.
The painted mountains are one of the many stunning views on the Ausangate trek
Máncora a town and beach resort in the Piura Region in northwestern Peru
Amazing beachfront on Mancora Beach, Peru

Highlights

  • Climb to the very top of Machu Picchu and explore the famous Inca ruins at its summit
  • Explore Huascarán National Park, including its glaciers, lakes, lagoons and the incredible Mount Huascaran
  • Take a break or catch some waves on an unspoiled beach in the laid-back beach town of Mancora

Peru is a magical country, a complete mix of colourful and contradictory sights to be discovered. Sparkling beaches that surfers can only dream of, a wild Amazonian jungle, a one-of-a-kind multi-colored desert and the snow-capped peaks of the Andes. It’s hard to think of a destination that offers more diversity for the adventurous traveller. From the busy capital city of Lima to the charming colonial town of Arequipa and all the way to the top of Machu Picchu, you certainly won’t be bored on your visit to Peru — even on a budget.

Budget Facts

  • Average meal cost per day: USD 11
  • Average budget accommodation per day: USD 21*
  • Backpacker vibe:         

3. Cambodia

Cambodia beach holiday
Relax on the stunning white sandy beaches of Sihanoukville
Cambodia holidays
Battambang is speckled with intricately carved temples

Highlights

  • Experience the ancient, majestic atmosphere of Angkor Wat at sunrise before wandering around the impressive complex
  • Take some time to relax on the stunning white sandy beaches of Sihanoukville
  • Tour Cambodia’s best-kept secret, Koh Rong Samloem Island, with its pristine beaches, blue ocean water and authentic atmosphere, for a remarkably low cost

You might come to Cambodia for the temples of Angkor Wat, but you’ll stay for the beaches, islands and charming villages. This is one of the world’s cheapest destinations, yet somehow continues to be overlooked by backpackers and other budget travelers in favor of its neighbors (like Vietnam and Thailand). Well, we think 2018 is a great time for that to change. Drop by the city of Battambang, just a 3-hour drive from Angkor Wat, for some gorgeous French Colonial buildings and a taste of the country’s flourishing art scene.

Budget Facts

  • Average meal cost per day: USD 11
  • Average budget accommodation per day: USD 12*
  • Backpacker vibe:         

4. Australia

Uluru Rock during sunrise.
The Uluru Rock is a mysterious and majestic rock formation and the namesake of the national park
Summer in Australia is the best time to visit the country.
Bondi Beach in Sydney draws many visitors thanks to its white sands and blue waters

 Highlights

  • Camp under the stars near the famed Uluru Rock in the red center of the Australian outback
  • Take a photo of the famous Sydney Opera House — a landmark that anyone would recognize
  • Go surfing at Bondi Beach, one of the world’s most famous surf beaches

Australia probably isn’t the first destination that comes to mind when you think about cheap travel, but if you are clever about it even this vast, exotic country can be explored on a budget. If you want to see all Australia has to offer, consider renting a caravan and driving it from city to city. Otherwise, pick a handful of destinations (think Adelaide, Cairns, Perth or Darwin) and make the most of your time in and around each one. Save your pennies on food and accommodation so you can take part in once-in-a-lifetime excursions (like a Great Barrier Reef dive), or simply take advantage of the free activities like bush-walking and exploring the country’s villages and cities on foot.

Budget Facts

  • Average meal cost per day: USD 13
  • Average budget accommodation per day: USD 32*
  • Backpacker vibe:          (particularly on the East Coast)

5. Portugal 

Portugal holidays
Explore the colorful buildings and romantic architecture of Pena Palace
Pyrenees hiking trail
A hiker on the Santiago de Compostela journey

Highlights

  • Explore the colorful buildings and romantic architecture of Pena Palace
  • Go camping in Peneda-Gerês National Park and keep your eyes peeled for deer, golden eagles, and even wolves
  • Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims and walk the way of St. James path, which starts in Lisbon and leads to the famous Santiago De Compostela in Spain

Portugal is the only European country to make it on our list, as it is one of the continent's most budget-friendly destinations. While the Algarve Coast might stretch your wallet, Portugal has many options for the budget-conscious. Try Porto, a gorgeous port city famous for its wine, or Alentejo for some delicious (and cheap) seafood. Even the capital city, Lisbon, can be done on a budget if you travel smartly. Just do us a favor and make sure to have a pastéis de belém (custard tart) — you won’t regret it.

Budget Facts

  • Average meal cost per day: USD 15
  • Average budget accommodation per day: USD 22*
  • Backpacker vibe:        

Travel can be a time to relax, pamper yourself and enjoy the finer things in life. If you are a luxury traveler, the world is truly your oyster — but some destinations are certainly better than others. If you’re looking for a tailor-made vacation with plenty of premium food and wine, stunning views and once-in-a-lifetime excursions, these destinations are perfect for you. Spy exotic animals in their natural habitats on safari in Tanzania or on a New Zealand cruise, or sway in a hammock above the turquoise waters of the Maldives or Galapagos Islands. No matter what ‘luxury’ means to you, there’s sure to be something on this list you’ll love.

1. Tanzania

Tanzania is where adventure and eco-tourism come together.
Giraffes strolling through Serengeti National Park
Wildebeest migration from Tanzania to Kenya, Africa
A herd of wildebeest in Masai Mara as seen from a hot air balloon

 Highlights

For many travelers wanting to go on a safari, Kenya tops the list. However, Tanzania has safari experiences to rival its neighboring country, with just as much wildlife variety, if not more. This country is also home to Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, along with flamingo-filled Lake Empakaai, the famous Serengeti National Park, and Olduvai Gorge, one of the most important palaeolithic sites on Earth. If you’re looking for a luxury travel destination in 2018 that is memorable and unique, Tanzania should be your number one choice.

What makes it luxury: Tanzania is home to some of Africa’s most luxurious safari tours, with tour packages that include spending the night in glamourous Instagram-worthy tents and up-close views of the majestic plains of the Serengeti National Park.

2. Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands seen from an aerial view
Galapagos Island's view from Bartolome Island
Iguanas are found abundantly in Galapagos

 Highlights

  • Sail from island to island aboard a luxury yacht or catamaran, spotting dolphins and whales along the way
  • Come face-to-face with the most peculiar — and often curious —creatures on Earth, from tortoises and iguanas to sea lions
  • Base yourself in top-quality luxury accommodation while you spend your days explore the unique landscapes and wildlife on the island

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the diversity and beauty contained in the Galapagos Islands needs to be seen to be believed. The islands get their name from the shape of the shell of the giant tortoise, a species that can often be found off the coast and on the beaches of these 35 volcanic islands. The wildlife is possibly the biggest draw for visitors to the Galapagos, along with fantastic diving sites and luxurious hotels. Best of all, the weather is pleasant year-round, making this the perfect luxury getaway any time of year.

What makes it luxury: Located about 1,000 km off the Pacific coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are not easily reached. Most of the few visitors who get the chance to explore this part of the world come via luxury cruise.

3. Maldives

Maldives luxury holiday
A scenic flight above the islands in the Maldives
A Luxury holiday in Maldives
A hotel on stilts above crystal clear waters is the essence of a Maldives holiday

 Highlights

  • Relish a private picnic of lobsters and champagne on a sandbank
  • Spend your days strolling along some of the most beautiful and peaceful beaches in the world
  • Relax in a hammock that swings over the Indian Ocean

If you’re a fan of glamorous resorts, pristine waters and absolute bliss, the Maldives is a destination made for you! Located just southwest of India in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is an archipelagic country made up of an incredible 1192 coral islands — 100 of which contain some of the most luxurious overwater resorts on Earth. With hotels on stilts above crystal clear waters, a perfect tropical climate, world-class snorkeling spots and pristine white sandy beaches, what more could you ask for in a tropical vacation destination?

What makes it luxury: The Maldives is a postcard-perfect destination, with luxury resorts that are comfortable, secluded and peaceful.

4. Amalfi Coast 

Amalfi Coast in Italy
The Amalfi Coast has a pleasant seaside climate even during the winter
Hiking in Italy via Sentiero degli Dei, Amalfi Coast.
Sentiero degli Dei Amalfi Coast, Path of the Gods.

 Highlights

  • Explore the sprawling Caserta Palace, which was modelled after the Palace of Versailles and contains a 300-acre park
  • Stop by local villages and wander around the local ceramic shops for unique traditional souvenirs
  • Savour a five-star authentic Italian meal of seafood, wine and cheese at one of the area’s top-class restaurants

Italy’s Amalfi Coast is known for its winding roads, gorgeous pastel-colored hilltop villages, and sandy beaches. The area is also home to some of the country’s grandest hotels and restaurants, make it one of Europe’s top destinations for luxury travelers. For the ultimate Amalfi Coast experience, rent an old sports car and take it for a spin from one coastal town to the next — or charter a boat instead! Either way, the views are stunning.

What makes it luxury: The Amalfi Coast is essentially Italy’s equivalent of the French Riviera, so get ready to bask in exotic sports cars, stylish tourists, and some of the region’s best restaurants.

5. New Zealand

Huka Falls in New Zealand is a must see for all luxury travelers
The Huka Falls is a mesmerizing sight to see for all travelers in New Zealand
New Zealand is quickly becoming a top luxury destination in 2018
Stunning reflections of Mount Cook and and Mount Tasman on the still waters of Lake Matheson

 Highlights

  • Ride in a helicopter and see the incredible Huka Falls from above
  • Take a cruise from Akaroa Beach for a chance to spot the rare Hector’s dolphins in the wild
  • Tee-off on cliff-top golf courses in the Bay of Islands, surrounded by landscape so scenic it might just put you off your game

New Zealand is world-renowned for its beauty and is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations for 2018, especially among luxury travelers. With island resorts only accessible by helicopter, some of the most breathtaking golf courses on Earth, and 14,000km of coastline dotted with luxury yachts, it’s easy to see why. You can also enjoy fantastic gourmet dining and world-class local wines. Whether you are looking for bespoke adventure or just a week of comfortable indulgence, New Zealand has something for you.

What makes it luxury: New Zealand combines rugged nature with refined luxury, with incredible spas and resorts found in some of the most remote locations.

Finding the perfect travel destination for your family requires planning and research. It’s important to choose somewhere with access to enough activities for the kids, but mom and dad’s interests should not be ignored either. Do you choose an easy, accessible, all-inclusive beach holiday? Or go for education and cultural-exposure and take the kids on an off-the-beaten path adventure? To help ease the frustration of finding the perfect destination, here is a list of some of the best travel spots for families in 2018. From Orlando’s theme parks to the swimming paradise that is the Algarve Coast, here is a mix of popular and unusual places to visit for families.

1. Algarve Coast, Portugal

Algarve Coast is known for its beautiful beaches
Spend a sunny day with your family on the beach in Algarve Coast
Algarve Coast is one of the best places to visit in 2018
A beautiful cave in Benagil, Algarve Coast in Portugal makes for a perfect family getaway

 Highlights

  • Get wet and take a day trip to one of the area’s water parks, like Aquashow Park Hotel, Aqualand, or Slide & Splash
  • Take a boat ride from Sagres and spot the marine life — from dolphins and porpoises to sea turtles and shearwaters
  • Relax on the sand while the kids build a sandcastle or splash in the water at one of several stunning beaches (try Alvuro or Maia Praia beaches for the most little-kid friendly spots)

With miles and miles of gorgeous golden coastline nestled between charming whitewashed towns, Portugal’s Algarve Coast is a perfect holiday destination. While this area is picking up large numbers of tourists each year, it is still relatively quiet when compared to other destinations in Europe, making it perfect for a family vacation. Portugal is also one of the continent’s most budget-friendly countries to visit right now, so you don’t have to spend an absolute fortune to take the family on holiday. Get ready for some sun!

Family Facts

  • Why it’s great for families: Gorgeous beaches to relax on (for the parents) and warm, clear waters for swimming. Several beaches are very family-friendly with shallow, calm waters and nearby or onsite facilities such as cafes, restaurants and washrooms.
  • Recommended age: 3+

2. Myanmar

Myanmar is an interesting destination for families.
Monks playing at a monastery in Myanmar
Holy sites around old Bagan
The ancient city of Bagan during sunset

 Highlights

  • Watch the sunset from the roof of a temple at the ruins of Bagan
  • Ride a local long-tail boat around Lake Inle and explore the floating markets and villages on stilts
  • Visit an eco-camp and hang out with baby elephants for the day

A visit to Myanmar is a chance to give your children a mind-opening experience they won’t get anywhere else. 2018 is said to be the year to visit this country, now that it is open to tourists but has not yet become crowded with visitors. Take the whole family on an educational, cultural trip that includes visits to hidden gems like the Tomb-Raider-esque ruins of Inwa or the Buddhist temple ruins at Bagan. Explore the large city of Yangon, with its glitzy Shwedagon and other gilded Buddhist pagodas. If you prefer to relax, there are plenty of beautiful beaches where you can stretch out a towel and build sand castles (such as Ngapali Beach).

Family Facts

  • Why it’s great for families: The people of Myanmar love children and will go out of their way to make travel comfortable and welcoming for you. There are also plenty of exciting activities for children, from beaches to elephant camps.
  • Recommended age: 6+

3. Grand Canyon, USA

Grand Canyon is the perfect family holiday destination for 2018
A trip to the Grand Canyon is the perfect way to spend quality time with your family
Grand Canyon is one of the best family destinations for 2018
Nature's work of art are the beautiful sandstone formations in the Lower Antelope Canyon

 Highlights

  • Visit Hopi House in the park to see a traditional Native American dance performed by the Navajo tribe
  • Take a helicopter ride for a view of the Grand Canyon that your family won’t soon forget
  • Get active and hike part of the South Kaibab Trail for unbeatable views of the canyon on a short (but steep!) walk

A trip to the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, USA is a wonderful option for families. This world-famous landmark is a must-see at least once in your life, and why not let your children tick it off their bucket list at a young age? It’s sure to be an educational visit as you explore the geological history of the area through its many layers of red rock. Take some amazing family photos from the park’s many viewpoints, like Yavapai Observation Station and Lipan Point (which also gives you great views of the Colorado River). Rent a car and make it a full-on road trip to make some extra great memories.

Family Facts

  • Why it’s great for families: The Grand Canyon is a very accessible destination and an ideal spot for people of all ages and abilities. Family-friendly infrastructure includes a handy shuttle service, well-marked and paved roads, an educational nature center, gift shops and plenty of helpful park rangers.
  • Recommended ages: All ages, but be sure to bring a child-carrier if you plan on doing any hiking/walking with little ones.

4. Florida, USA

Disney castle at Disneyland Florida is perfect for family holiday
Disney Castle lights up before the fireworks begin
Florida  is the perfect destination for families in 2018
Go for exciting water activities in Florida that is suitable for families

 Highlights

  • Get an autograph from Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World
  • Swim with dolphins at Discovery Cove Water Park
  • Hear your kids squeal with delight as they spot alligators on an airboat ride in any of Florida’s many swamps

This is perhaps the least surprising location on our list of destinations for families, as families have been enjoying Florida for many years. With countless theme parks (Disney World, Universal Studios, Seaworld and more) and plenty of cities to explore (Miami, Tampa, Orlando to name just a few) there is something for every family. If busy cities and theme parks aren’t for you, you can also spend your days relaxing at one of Florida’s many popular beaches, from Clearwater Beach to Daytona. Let’s not forget the fantastic natural life here, be sure to check out an alligator farm or turtle hospital.

Family Facts

  • Why it’s great for families: Florida was built for families. Visitors will find an activity or center around every corner sure to keep both you and your children interested and busy. The state is known for its theme parks, water parks and wildlife conservation.
  • Recommended children’s ages: Ages 3+

5. Thailand 

Floating Market in Thailand
Visiting the floating markets in Thailand is a must for all travelers
Thailand holiday
Tour a few stunning ancient temples and visit an elephant rehabilitation center in Chiang Mai

 Highlights

  • Grab some sticky rice and fresh-cut mango from a street vendor before hitting any of the fabulous kid-centred playgrounds, water parks and indoor amusement parks in Bangkok
  • Tour a few stunning ancient temples and visit an elephant rehabilitation center in Chiang Mai
  • Take a ferry ride from Krabi to the laid-back and still relatively unspoiled island of Koh Lanta for an inexpensive and low-key beach holiday

Whether you choose to go budget-style or opt for a little extra luxury for the family, Thailand caters to all tastes. Thailand is the perfect spot for any parent who wants to experience unconventional travel with kids without costing an arm and a leg. Thailand promises endless adventure and exploration in a still relatively tourist-friendly atmosphere. It is hard to go wrong here — the food is excellent, the beaches are stunning and the people are very friendly. The country is also filled with enough culture, islands and wildlife to create lasting memories of that ‘one awesome family holiday’

Family Facts

  • Why it’s great for families: Thailand has great tourist infrastructure and is chalk-full of kid-friendly activities that include swimming, hiking, boating sightseeing and theme parks. It can also cater to a range of budgets, styles and tastes.
  • Recommended children’s ages: Ages 4+

If you are someone who loves outdoor adventuring and are always seeking out the next thrill, chances are you’re always on the lookout for new destinations that promise grand adventures. Our planet is full of varying terrains and landmarks just waiting to be explored by jumping into head first. With so many destinations that promise epic outdoor adventure, it can be tough to choose which one to visit to get your adrenaline fix. From white-water rafting in Chile to glacier-climbing in Iceland, here are some of the top adventure and outdoor destinations for 2018.

1. Chile

Torres del Paine O trek leads you to Los Torres
Los Torres as seen from Mirador Torres on the O Circuit
Ice-hiking on Glacier Grey in Patagonia
Hikers on an ice-hike trip of Glacier Grey
Villarrica Volcano in Chile
The Villarrica Volcano as seen from Pucon
Kayaking in Rio Futaleyfu
With rapid grades of IV+, Rio Futaleufu is a kayaker's dream come true

 Highlights

  • Trek the famous Circuit Trail in Torres del Paine National Park, where you can stop to explore Grey Glacier and kayak through the majestic fjords
  • White-water raft down the wild and mighty Rio Biobío
  • Head to Chile’s stunning Lake District to climb the legendary Villarrica Volcano, the country’s most popular — and most active — volcano

Home to the Andes mountains, a prime adventure spot, Chile has a huge variety of outdoor activities to offer its visitors. In the north, the stark Atacama Desert offers incredible opportunities for hiking desert trails and mountain biking through canyons. When here, try sand-dune boarding for a new experience. To the south, the Lake District is home to volcanoes, lakes, rivers and ancient forests where opportunities for white-water rafting, kayaking and hiking abound. Think of skiing an active volcano! Don’t forget incredible Patagonia — the heartthrob of any outdoor enthusiast. Speckled with mountains, grasslands, lakes and glaciers, you will be spoiled for choices for an adventure escapade.

Adventure Facts

  • Recommended duration: 15 days
  • Fitness level required: Moderate. Most activities in Chile are suited for anyone with an average to high level of stamina

2. Nepal

A trekker getting close to Everest Base Camp
A trekker getting close to Everest Base Camp with Mt. Everest and its 8850 meters looming in the background.
Stupa near Namche Bazar with Mount Everest and Lhotse in the background

 Highlights

  • Feel your heart drop to your stomach as you take the world’s third-highest bungee jump off a 160m-high bridge over the gushing Bhote Koshi River
  • Experience the thrill of reaching the top of the world by trekking one of the most iconic trails in the world — Everest Base Camp
  • Realign your overworked chakras on an authentic yoga retreat set in a Buddhist monastery in the hills around Kathmandu Valley

For a small country, Nepal’s natural and topographical diversity makes it an ideal adventure ground. Picture white-water rafting in raging Himalayan rivers, mountain biking through hilly terrains, trekking to the lap of the highest mountains in the world and spotting a Bengal tiger while on safari in the jungles of Chitwan. Nepal has so many exciting adventures to offer. Truly a Disneyland for thrill-seekers, Nepal will not disappoint.

Adventure Facts

  • Recommended duration: 10 to 14 days
  • Fitness level required: Moderate to high. While activities like bungee may not require a good fitness level, an Everest Base Camp trek or 3-Peaks climb demands visitors to be in good shape and ideally have some previous experience.

3. Indonesia 

Mount Bromo is an Indonesian volcano with a view
Mount Bromo (on the foreground) is another easy hike fit for all hikers
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan at Bali Indonesia
A spectacular view of Pura Ulun Danu Bratan in Bali, Indonesia

 Highlights

  • Hike one of the many still active volcanoes spread across the country to experience one of the most magnificent sunrises of your life, we recommend hiking either Mount Batur or Mount Bromo.
  • Go snorkeling or diving to see the Manta Rays before you catch the Komodo dragons in Komodo Island.
  • For the beach bums, catch some awesome waves in the stunning beaches of Bali.

If you want to experience the ultimate adrenaline rush from the land to the sea then Indonesia is the place to be! With more than 17,000 islands within its territory, Indonesia caters to all adventure seekers. Wake up very early in the morning (more like midnight) and conquer the top of Mount Batur to see a spectacular sunrise and jaw-dropping views of Bali. Neighboring Mount Batur is another active volcano, Mount Agung, which is the highest point in Bali offering a more secluded hiking experience. Balian beach in Bali is the best surf spot if you want to ride some killer waves. However, try the beaches in Java and Sumatra for a thrilling surf experience sans the crowd. The Komodo Island offers more than 30 dive sites for all levels. Underwater photography enthusiast? Try Sabolon Island as it has clear waters and is also a great diving starting point. Want to swim with the majestic Manta Rays and see the enormous Komodo Dragons? Go to Manta Alley in the Komodo National Park. For an epic adventure experience, hitchhike from one island to another on a boat from Lombok to Flores. Filled with beaches, dragons, wildlife, and volcanoes, Indonesia will guarantee epic adventure trips that are budget-friendly.

Adventure Facts

  • Recommended duration: 10 days
  • Fitness level required: Moderate. Except for surfing, most adventure trips are suited for all types of travellers.

4. Iceland

Gullfoss waterfall  is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland
A rainbow glides over Gullfoss, making it look ethereal. Gullfoss is fed by the Langjokull glacier, which features a 30 meters long manmade tunnel
Mýrdalsjökull glacier is the fourth largest glacier in Iceland
While visiting Katla volcano, be sure to check out the incredible ice caves of Mýrdalsjökull glacier
Landmannalaugar in Iceland is a trekkers paradise
A hiker treks along the colorful mountains of Landmannalaugar
Day hikes around Eyjafjallajökull Volcano is safe
A hiker near the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano as it smoulders in the distance

 Highlights

Probably best known for its mesmerizing aurora borealis (or northern lights), this relatively new-on-the-tourist map Nordic country has many other tricks up its sleeves than just a single natural phenomenon. Iceland showers adventure-seekers with opportunities to explore glaciers, hike volcanoes, trek through stunning landscapes, navigate through lava caves and craters and more. With a bounty of surreal activities to try in Iceland, it will be one adventure trip that you will talk about for a long time to come.

Adventure Facts

  • Recommended duration: 8 days
  • Fitness level required: Iceland can be enjoyed with a moderate level of fitness, though higher levels are required for longer, multi-day hikes.

5. Jordan 

Jordan is rich in history and adventure, great for outdoor enthusiasts
Jordan is rich in history and adventure.
Jordan Tour Highlights
Discover the stunning Petra on a multi-day hike for a taste of Indiana Jones adventure

 Highlights

  • Trek from Dana Nature Reserve to the ancient city of Petra
  • Camp under the stars in Wadi Rum and get an early start on a day of desert hiking
  • Soak in the hyper-thermal hot springs near the Dead Sea and let the minerals take all your worries and pains away

Jordan may have a reputation for its rich history and culture, but it is definitely climbing its way up to the top of adventure lists. Explore the desert of Wadi Rum on a quad bike, or better yet get a bird’s-eye view of the terrain as you skydive off a plane. Discover the stunning Petra on a multi-day hike for a taste of Indiana Jones adventure. In Wadi Mujib, prepare for an incredible hike that involves climbing and abseiling, and takes you across rivers, up and down waterfalls. Stop by the coastal city of Aqaba for a dose of windsurfing and snorkeling.

Adventure Facts

  • Recommended duration: 15 days
  • Fitness level required: Trekking through Jordan’s desert conditions requires a high level of fitness

Observing a wild animal in its natural habitat is a thrilling experience, especially when combined with a new, exotic destination. For some, a safari-like drive or boat ride may do the trick, while others might opt for more interactive, adventurous options such as shark cage diving, scuba diving, or camping inside nature reserves.

Whatever way you like to interact with wildlife when you travel, there is a unique wildlife experience to suit every personality. Some of the best destinations for seeking out wildlife in 2018 include the following.

1. Uganda

December - January is the best time to visit Uganda for gorilla tracking
Mountain Gorillas are one of the protected species in Uganda found in national parks. They are highly social and live communities featuring complex social relationships.
February is the best time to go to Uganda to see the tree climbing lions
If you visit around February, head to Queen Elizabeth National Park to see the tree climbing lions hanging lazily on tree branches

 Highlights

For a small country, Uganda packs a punch. A tapestry of landscapes and cultures, the ‘pearl of Africa’ is a big wildlife destination. Although best known for the experience it offers with mountain gorillas, visitors also have a good chance of spotting the big five. Witness flocks of cape buffaloes and African elephants in Queen Elizabeth National Park, encounter fascinating tree climbing lions in Ishasha, and if you are lucky enough, you may also spot a leopard.

Wildlife Facts

  • Wildlife rating:         Uganda is one of the best places in the world to encounter gorillas.
  • Explorer rating:        The variation in species and experiences will keep you looking forward to one thrill after another.
  • Recommended duration: 10 days

2. Antarctica

zodiac cruising in antarctica
A group cruises among icebergs in Antarctic waters
Getting to Antarctica
A group of King Penguins in Falkland Islands

 Highlights

  • Discover one of many penguin colonies, each of which can be home to up to 1.5 million penguins
  • Try to spot Antarctica’s most threatening predator, the leopard seal, resting on an ice floe as you explore the frozen terrain from a zodiac boat
  • Don a serious wetsuit and head out in a sea kayak to experience the marine life up close — watch for breaching whales!

Although more famous for its stunningly ruthless landscape of ice, sea, rocks, and snow, Antarctica is also a treasure trove of wildlife. Its unique landscape provides the perfect conditions for wildlife species such as penguins, seals and whales to thrive. The diversity of penguin types here is incomparable to anywhere else on Earth, with gentoo, adelie, chinstrap, rockhopper, Macaroni and king penguins all making their home on Antarctica and the surrounding islands. Several species of whales can also be spotted off the coast, including humpback, sperm and killer whales.

Wildlife Facts

  • Wildlife rating:        The number of species that thrive in Antarctica is unique but understandably limited given the harsh conditions.
  • Explorer rating:  + bonus. Antarctica is only for committed explorers and gets extra explorer points for being weird and wonderful.
  • Recommended duration: 10 days; opt for the fly-cruise option available from Chile.

3. Greenland 

Polar bears can be sighted in Greenland.
Sight polar bears on your visit to Greenland.
Whales in Greenland
A number of whale species can be spotted in Greenland.

 Highlights

  • Sail through the sweeping fjords and glide between glaciers along the country’s coast
  • Trek to Lake Iluliartoq where you can spot ravens, musk oxen and arctic foxes while camping out and living off the land in the traditional Greenland way
  • Explore the wild, frozen beauty of Greenland’s vast icescapes on a dog sledding adventure led by the local Inuit

For an arctic wildlife adventure, it doesn't get much better than Greenland. The country is home to arctic wolves, lemmings, and musk oxen. But perhaps one of the biggest wildlife attraction in Greenland is the polar bear. Witness these mammoth snowy predators in action as they hunt off sea ice in Northern and Eastern Greenland, sometimes coming ashore in Southern Greenland after drifting along the east coast. Spot humpback, minke, and fin whales on whale watching tours. If you keep an eye out, you might even be lucky enough to spot the rare beluga whale and narwhal.

Adventure Facts

  • Wildlife rating:         There are some curious creatures to be seen but variety is limited due to the country’s harsher climate.
  • Explorer rating:        Unless you are on a cruise, getting from place to place requires the use of unusual modes of transport. Expect to travel either by boat or dogsled.
  • Recommended duration: 6 to 10 days

4. Brazil

The colorful toucan in Brazil rainforest
The colorful toucan can be found in the Amazon rainforest.
A jaguar perched on a tree in Brazil
A Jaguar is an exotic aimal that is a must-spot when on a trip to Brazilian rainforests.

 Highlights

  • Trek deep into the most remote corners of the Amazon jungle in search of exotic wildlife like the loud howler monkey and brown-throated sloth
  • Snorkel through the calm rivers of the Pantanal wetlands and swim among hundreds of colorful fish
  • Visit Buraco das Araras, a massive sandstone chamber in Bonito, to witness impressive flocks of macaws

Brazil is blessed with 60% of the world’s Amazon Rainforest. To top it off, there are coastal forests, mountains, grasslands, and the Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland. It comes as no surprise that Brazil is home to some of the greatest biodiversity in the world. Whether you are trekking through the jungles or simply lazing around in a boat, you will find opportunities to see plenty of wildlife. Sloths, spider monkeys, capuchins, foxes, pumas, jaguars, dolphins, otters, hummingbirds and macaws are just some of the animals you will spot during a safari holiday in Brazil.

Adventure Facts

  • Wildlife rating:       There are many unique and exotic species to be seen in Brazil, many of which you won’t see outside South America.
  • Explorer rating:       An expedition into the Amazon can be challenging and is a must-do for many hardcore explorers.
  • Recommended duration: 10 to 12 days

5. South Africa

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa
The famous black-maned Kalahari Lion is a probable sight at Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Best time to visit Kruger National Park in South Africa
A tourist captures a shot of a couple of Elephants in the National Park
Safari Near Cape Town in Garden Route Game Lodge
Visitors on safari at Garden Route Game Lodge enjoy sighting of a lion and a lioness
Dipping Pool in the wilderness
A tete-a-tete with wildlife in Royal Malewane in South Africa

 Highlights

  • Visit Addo Elephant National Park to see the Big Seven — the traditional Big Five plus southern right whales and the great white sharks
  • Go shark cage diving in Gansbaai for an interactive session with great white sharks
  • Encounter black-maned lions in the dramatic landscape of Kalahari desert

There is a reason why South Africa is acclaimed as one of the world’s top wildlife destinations. Whether you want to spot the prized big five — lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants, and buffaloes, or are interested in the marine big five — whales, sharks, seals, dolphins and penguins, South Africa has them all. We recommend a multi-day, cross-country safari in order to witness an evolving tale of terrain and wildlife in this African paradise.

Adventure Facts

  • Wildlife rating:       South Africa offers variety and excitement combined with knowledgeable and friendly guides.
  • Explorer rating:  There are unlimited opportunities for exploration, most of which is in safe terrain under easy conditions.
  • Recommended duration: 10 days

Whether you’re a history buff looking to explore the ancient ruins of Petra or Machu Picchu, a wildlife fanatic wanting a close encounter with the ‘Big 5’, or a budget traveller ready to live as the locals do, the perfect adventure awaits. We are certain that with so many amazing options you will find the ultimate destination for 2018.

If you're thinking of volunteering in one of the above places, check out Travellers Quest who may be able to help you. 

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