What holiday scenario could beat having a paradisiacal beach all to yourself, or a never-ending blanket of snow with not a soul in sight? Most of us ache for the chance to cross unchartered tourist territory, with ‘hidden gem’ tips the travel holy grail.
And as the new year dawns, the desire in us to discover and explore new frontiers feels refreshed. But how to find those places that are novel and exciting but have not yet become part of the tourist trail? To make life easy for you, Booking.com dug into its internal data to find the trending destinations for 2017.
The data experts at Booking.com analyzed destinations based on growth in search to find the most aspirational places to visit next year. When analyzed against wider trends, the patterns of growth revealed some tantalizing options. Read on to find out where you should go for your 2017 adventure.
Reykjavik’s appeal lies largely in its peculiarity. Its visitor numbers are rapidly on the rise, as people seek out an atypical travel experience. Every café or bar is brimming with quirky collected items and kept at a wonderfully cosy temperature, thanks to thermal underground heating. Outdoors you’ll be struck by the bracing cold but it’s a fairly small city so you’ll be able to explore much of it by foot. For the novelty factor, check out the penis museum or Café Babalu’s Star Wars-themed toilets. Alternatively, Reykjavik’s epic cathedral, colourful architecture and proximity to the northern lights are major draws.
Given that the Great Barrier Reef is disappearing and that Cairns is the gateway to it, it makes sense that many travellers are heading here to catch this phenomenal wonder while it's still blooming. Regular tours operate out of Cairns to snorkel or scuba dive. The world’s largest coral reef is a humbling sight, an inspiring example of the sheer scale and might of nature. Expect to have your breath taken away by blindingly bright colours and rare species.
Savannah is the epitome of Southern charm and hospitality, known for its leafy prettiness and Southern cooking. Its avenues are lined with weeping willows and grand, antebellum architecture, and its parks dotted with fountains and flowerbeds. Its culinary strength lies in soul food, drawing on many historical influences such as old trade routes and the insidious slave trade. As a result lots of exotic ingredients make up local dishes, from barbecued meats and gumbo (thick, flavoursome fresh meat or fish stew) to creamed corn and fried chicken.
Puerto Rico, Caribbean
As a shining example of blissful island life but with added character, Puerto Rico is the Caribbean destination of choice. It possesses the region’s largest area of virgin tropical rainforest and beaches with pearl-coloured sand and crystalline blue waters. But it’s not just vibrant because of the multi-coloured wooden buildings that populate its well-preserved colonial capital. Its dynamic history forged a lively Spanish, Indian and African island identity. There’s salsa dancing in the street and tapas-style platters, all served up in a distinctly tropical style.
Though Tokyo may be seen as its flashier, more popular sister, Kyoto is increasingly taking the lead as a global trending destination. What makes it so intriguing is its ability to straddle its role as a centre of the technology industry with its ancient history. Tea houses, hypnotic gardens and serene Buddhist shrines exist alongside the bullet train and a pulsating city centre full of Michelin-starred restauraunts.
This stunning little Brazilian coastal town has a flawless beach. Painted, rickety wooden fishing boats decorate the broad stretch of bleached sand but the best bit by far is the Pôr do Sol (Sunset) dune. This mountain of a sand is a popular sunset viewpoint; climb to the top with a drink or two for a captivating view. It’s supposedly one of the few spots on earth where you can enjoy an ‘Emerald Sunset’, wherein the tip of the setting sun turns bright green just before it disappears below the horizon.
Mumbai is hectic but thrilling. The drive from the airport to the city centre is a dive in the deep end, sitting in a rickshaw or taxi as they play dodgems in the noisy, sun-drenched streets. The endless curiosity, energy and friendliness of locals is so infectious, it's not surprising it's such a booming travel destination. Not to mention the palpable spirituality and history of the place. The culturally-inclined will find a strong selection of different creative scenes and attractions, from art galleries and museums to world-class restaurants. For an unbeatable Mumbai experience, head to a cinema for a Bollywood screening where you can take part in the singing of the national anthem before the film and enjoy riotous popcorn throwing and singalongs.