Is travelling more one of your new year’s resolutions? Why not pick exotic and off the beaten track destinations this year instead of going to those old vacation stereotypes.
Here are 5 under-the-radar travel destinations for 2018 to consider.
1 – Qatar
Qatar is a rapidly growing Middle Eastern country on the coast of the Persian Gulf that you definitely need to have on your radar for 2018, whether it is for a short city break, a layover in between a multi city flight or a long-haul trip. It is just a 6-hour direct flight from London and has great connections to other countries making it an ideal transit destination with visa free entry for certain countries.
It is such a diverse country that has something for everyone, whether you are into culture and art, food (they have the world’s largest Nobu), adventure, wellness and spas, photography, as everything is stunning, or want to simply soak up the sunshine and make the most of the beach to relax.
2 – Basel, Switzerland
Basel is Switzerland’s third largest city and is filled with a vast variety of art and culture. It is located on the Rhine River in northwest Switzerland, close to the country’s borders with France and Germany. In fact, it is so close that you can actually take a tram from Basel, to either of these countries. It is also just over an hour’s flight from London, making it ideal for a city break.
You will fall in love with the cobbled streets, the colourful buildings, the clean crisp fresh air, the cosmopolitan vibe, as well as the greenery everywhere.
It is an architecture and art lovers dream with its mix of both traditional and modern architecture, such as the medieval old town centre as well as modern skyscrapers and museums. There are fabulous spots dotted around the city which offer magnificent views of the River Rhein, where you can also relax and sunbathe in the summer. It is truly picturesque.
Getting around Basel is super easy, and if you are a tourist and staying at one of the hotels in Basel, you can actually use the trams and buses for free. This is fantastic as it is an ideal way to explore and discover the city and the transport system is so easy to navigate. I love to immerse myself in a city by either walking or using the public transport as you come across so many things off the beaten track and would hugely encourage this to anyone.
3 – Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya was once the capital of the Kingdom of Siam as well as a major trading port and area of commerce. It is located about 80 kilometres north of Bangkok, making it perfect for a day trip from Bangkok whilst visiting Thailand. It takes just over an hour to drive there and is super convenient and totally worth the visit.
It was devastated by the Burmese in 1767 and the ruins of the old city now form the Ayutthaya Historical Park, which is an archaeological site with the ruins of palaces, various Buddhist temples, monasteries and statues. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I particularly found visiting the various Buddhist temples a highlight and would recommend it to anyone as it provides a fantastic insight into the culture, traditions as well as amazing to see the varying designs between the temples as well as different styles of Buddha statues. You can even see the iconic Buddha head entwined in tree roots here.
Read more here.
4 – Athens, Greece
Athens is perfect for a city break and such an eclectic, vibrant and cultural city which boasts ancient monuments that will leave you in awe, such as the Parthenon, one of the wonders of the ancient world.
It is also a European city you can visit all year round as the weather is really pleasant.
They have some lovely restaurants, roof top bars and breath-taking views, making it a fantastic blend of culture, history and gastronomy for that perfect trip.
Read more here.
5 – Mexico City, Mexico
Often overlooked in favour of the beach destinations in Mexico, the city is a charming one with so much to offer from history, culture, amazing food (lots of Latin America’s Top 50 restaurants) are from Mexico City, shopping, art and architecture.
There is so much to see and do that you could easily spend a week here. Combine it with a trip to the coast, or experience it in its entirety.
Read more here.
By Binny Shah