Lonely Planet shows the best 10 places to visit this year
Thankfully Lonely Planet’s travel experts have been on the case to bring you the best spots to add to your bucket list for 2017.
- Zagreb, Croatia
Travellers to Croatia tend to make a beeline for the Adriatic delights of the country’s extensive coastline, but its flourishing inland capital shouldn’t be overlooked. Zagreb is at once cosmopolitan and edgy, with its heady mix of Brutalist architecture and sun-splashed Austro-Hungarian squares brimming with coffee drinkers.
The city is home to a blossoming food and craft beer scene, and with the opening of Zagreb’s long-awaited airport terminal, along with a host of new flight routes, it’s never been easier or cheaper to reach the Croatian capital.
- Gotland, Sweden
Gotland is a special yet somewhat unexpected part of Sweden, boasting the most sunshine and highest density of historical sites in the country and more restaurants per capita in Unesco-listed Visby than any other Swedish city. This ancient Baltic island also has breathtaking scenery, with pastoral countryside, mysterious forests, time-warped fishing villages and tranquil sandy beaches – except in the height of summer, when Swedes flock here from the mainland and the island takes on an exuberant air, accentuated this year by the week-long 2017 Biennial Island Games in June.
- Galicia, Spain
Hundreds of thousands of people stride across Galicia’s rolling green countryside every year, bound for Santiago de Compostela on the world-famous Camino de Santiago. But few are aware that this northwestern corner of Spain is a unique scenic-gastronomic-cultural cocktail that is a dream to explore beyond the Camino.
It yields some of the tastiest seafood you’ll ever savour, to which characterful Galician wines provide the perfect accompaniment. And 2017 is a special year to enjoy Galician wine and food, with Cambados celebrating the year as European City of Wine.
- Northern Montenegro
If the cruise ships queueing by Kotor’s bay are anything to go by, the cat is definitely out of the bag for Montenegro’s stunning Adriatic coastline. Fortunately, overlooked Northern Montenegro is brimming with off-the-beaten-track adventures – without the crowds. What’s more, the country’s compact size and good roads make this remote region more ripe for exploration than you might have thought.
- Leeds, UK
Manchester’s northern cousin has spent the past decade pulling its studenty socks up, reimagining Leeds as a pilgrimage city for craft beer lovers, a budding arts hub and an edgy destination for night owls.
Recent developments have propelled its Victorian city centre and atmospheric mill district into the 21st century, luring stylish boutiques, innovative coffee houses and restaurants, and people seeking an alternative to London.
- The Alentejo, Portugal
Looming clifftop castles, rugged coastlines and a treasure chest of culinary wonders: Portugal’s Alentejo has magnetic allure. This vast region is also home to Unesco World Heritage sites, prehistoric megaliths and many hidden wonders (a soaring Roman temple, an eerie chapel made of bones).
- Northern Germany
Travellers to Germany tend to be tempted by edgy Berlin or quaint Bavaria, but those keen on exploring a part of the country rarely experienced by international visitors should head north.
This country of secret wine cellars and cliff-perched monasteries is truly Europe’s final frontier: little visited, lost in time and always surprising. In Moldova’s capital city Chişinău, leafy boulevards interlace with looming concrete. Its unexpectedly Parisian-style cafe and bar scenes brim with local wine, which continues to rise to acclaim as Moldova plays host to 2017’s Black Sea Wines and Spirits Competition as well as the annual ExpoVin.
- Pafos, Cyprus
The first capital of Cyprus in Roman times, Pafos once again finds itself with that title: the European Capital of Culture for 2017. The award brings with it world attention, significant cultural investment and the opportunity to showcase Paphiot culture. And there’s much to admire. The island of Aphrodite has weathered so many occupations that history has piled monument upon monument on its sun-kissed shores: catacombs, temples, castles, medieval baths, Roman-era mosaics, and the Unesco World Heritage sites of Kato Pafos and the Tombs of the Kings all bring to life a fascinating bygone era.
Inspired by this history, Pafos will transform itself both socially and spatially into an Open Air Factory of 300 accessible events aimed at building bridges between cultures.
- Le Havre, France
One of the best places to be this summer is the Norman city of Le Havre, which will celebrate its 500th anniversary with a five-month-long, art- and music-filled fête.
The harbour town will host concerts, outdoor art installations, avant-garde street parades, costumed dance parties and spectacular fireworks. Highlights include performances by the mechanized giants of Royal de Luxe and a floating Zen temple complete with underwater observation deck.