Vol. 9, Issue 8January 2018


Best Regions to Visit in 2018

If you’re looking for a vacation destination that is a little out of the ordinary, consider Lonely Planet’s Best Regions to Visit in 2018.

1. Belfast and the Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland (photo). Once a city riddled with violence, Belfast has become a hip and exciting place to be. Grab a drink at one of the many bars or restaurants. Check out the amazing museum in the chic Titantic Quarter. You can also take a drive -- with car or club -- along the Causeway Coast, with its many golf courses and jaw-dropping scenery. Golfing with those views can make any shot look good.

2. Alaska. Wildlife runs, well, wild in Alaska. You can see grizzlies, bald eagles and humpback whales among the majestic mountains and breathtaking glaciers and fjords. And in the summer, you have up to 20 hours of daylight to explore. Alaskan cruise ships are expanding their capacity as well as their offerings to provide something for everyone.

3. Julian Alps, Slovenia. Because more than two-thirds of this region is protected by the Triglav National Park mandate, visitors are in for a pristine experience. The area used to appeal mainly to serious adventure tourists, but locals are beginning to offer accommodations for all types of travelers.

4. Languedoc-Roussillon, France. The South of France has long drawn tourists. But this region is taking its turn in the spotlight. Check out the history and the beaches, and then relax with the area’s famous wines.

5. Kii Peninsula, Japan. If you’re looking to avoid the crowded sites of Japan, head to this cultural area full of temples and shrines. You also can take in the incredible scenery and relax in a hot spring.

6. Aeolian Island, Italy. These seven islands are off the tip of the boot of Italy. Drive or stroll to see the ocean views, volcanoes and black sand beaches. But you better hurry, because this is becoming a more popular – and crowded -- destination by the day.

7. Southern U.S. 2018 is the 50-year anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and that makes it a good time to visit sites associated with the struggle for civil rights, which are located across the south. Plus, New Orleans turns 300 in 2018, so you know that will be a year-long party.

8. Lahaul and Spiti, India. These two valleys are both spectacular but different. Spiti is desert dry and has some of the world’s most beautiful Buddhist art. Lahaul, on the other hand, has plenty of water to go along with some incredible temples.

9. Bahia, Brazil. This colorful, tropical playground is full of outdoor adventure. Head to the white sand beaches, check out the coral reefs and amazing waterfalls. Getting there is easier than ever because of travel improvements made when the FIFA World Cup was held nearby in 2014.

10. Los Haitises National Park, Dominican Republic. In this Dominican paradise, you can experience the Dominican Republic’s cultural history while exploring a varied and beautiful ecosystem. Tourism is increasing, and the park is responding with improved infrastructure. But if you want to avoid the crowds, go soon.

Photo: World