Travel is one of the most reliable ways to expose yourself to new things, learn about new cultures, and expand your mind to new ways of being. So we think you should make 2018 your year of doing all these things. And while travel is definitely a luxury—taking time off work and coming up with the money to go on vacation isn't always easy—it is definitely one of the most worthwhile uses of any spare funds you might have. Plus, in a time when so many Americans (including the president) are promoting horrifically xenophobic, bigoted ideas about any culture that doesn't fit their "American" idea (meaning: white and Christian), it's pretty much your duty to go out there and see why this type of virulent prejudice is so dangerous, as well as baseless.
This year should, therefore, be one of exploration—of the world, of America, of yourself—so that you can see for yourself all the wonders to be found, near and far. Here are our picks for the 18 places you should definitely add to your 2018 travel bucket list. Happy trails.
Punta de Mita & Sayulita & San Francisco aka Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
Okay, so this is not exactly one place, but rather three little villages located along the coast of Mexico's Bahia de Banderas, and we can't recommend strongly enough visiting the entire, gorgeous region. Each of these townships has its own distinctive feel, though all of them are low-key and friendly in the manner of most surfing spots. Which, surfing is what most travelers come to the area for; the waves vary depending on the time of year (we were just there in January, and they were... intimidating, but that only adds to the fun!), but there's real continuity in the laid-back, super-friendly atmosphere. Whether or not you're into surfing, the beaches are expansive and offer plenty of opportunities for long strolls and the most spectacular sunsets you've ever seen. (Just look at the above sunset! No filter needed.) Also, each of these towns has a unique, vibrant town center, with San Francisco (San Pancho, to the locals) being notable for bearing a distinctly artistic vibe. Why go now? Beyond the obvious "why not," we would still encourage you to check out these little towns before they become the kind of "everyone you know is going there this year" spots that other travel destinations have become.
Where to Stay: Spoil yourself with a stay at the W Punta de Mita, which is the kind of place where you could happily spend every single day of your vacation and not even think about leaving the property—or even your room, thanks to the spectacular ocean views you can take in while sitting in a huge soaking tub. But, you know, you probably will want to leave your room eventually, and check out the huge pool, hot tubs, and incredible spa (get a "local" body wrap and be prepared for your skin to feel meltingly soft). The food is delicious, and there's plenty of options, including a ceviche bar right on the beach (it's been fashioned out of an old Chevrolet truck, so it's called the "Chevycheria"), where you can enjoy the freshest fish of your life; or check out Spice Market, the Asian fusion fine dining restaurant (don't miss the black pepper shrimp and the coconut cake).
Where to Eat: Offsite, don't miss Las Palmas Restaurant & Bar, right on the beach in San Pancho. Grab a table set in the sand and watch the waves crash down, while you sip an icy cold Paloma. I strongly recommend the savory, umami bomb of a tuna tostada and an aguachile dish; my favorite was the maracudja (passionfruit). In Sayulita, don't miss the Sayulita Wine Shop, where you'll find an incredibly comprehensive collection of mezcals, tequilas, and more—including biodynamic wine from a Mexican vineyard that's over 400 years old! Then, swing by Naty's Cocina for exceptional tacos (we like the marlin!) and delicious agua frescas.
What to Do: SURF. If you're staying at the W, you can take surfing lessons with their in-house team, the wonderful Sergio and Abdul. We'll be frank, we had no experience surfing before and were, honestly, terrified. (Which is sensible! The ocean is scary. It doesn't care about you.) The waves were really rough when we were out there, and the beach even had a red flag, meaning not safe for swimming. But we were in really good hands with Sergio and Abdul, who totally allowed us to do what we were comfortable with and take things at our own pace. Sure, this meant that most of the time we were diving into the waves to avoid wiping out, rather than hanging ten. But that's okay! We still had an amazing time and never felt overwhelmed. Plus, we got to appreciate the beauty of watching other people catch some wild waves—and we did that from the safety of our boogie board, which we had gotten once we realized that maybe this wasn't going to be the trip on which we learned how to become a surf goddess.
New Delhi, India
India’s capital city should be on your list of places to visit in 2018 not only because of its endlessly fascinating history, a-freaking-mazing food, superb shopping, stunning architecture, etc., but also because one of the most luxurious hotels in the world opened up there recently and—wait for it—you can get a room there starting at $130 per night.
Where to stay: The Andaz Delhi is an absolute treat and the perfect place to enjoy a little fanciness while also learning so much about such a special city. Also, 2018 is the year they open their Hong Kong Club, which, frankly, looks dope as hell.
Where to eat: Cafe Lota. Ever had palak patta chaat? Well, if not, there's no better place to make it happen than at Cafe Lota.
What to do: Try a calligraphy lesson with the talented Qamar Daga, shop at Dilli Haat market, stroll through the peaceful Lodi Gardens, and take a day trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Note: As tempting as it might be, don't feed the monkeys.
San Luis Obispo, California
To most people, San Luis Obispo is a reluctant rest stop on many coastal California road trips, but this underrated gem is actually a peaceful getaway in its own right—and a much-needed one from what already feels like the longest year ever. Flanked by the Pacific Ocean on one side and endless vineyards (read: wine tastings) on the other, there's plenty for you to do, no matter the season. Hot springs, hippie-run antique stores, and weirdo boardwalk beaches also abound a short drive south of the township. Or, if you’re more of an outdoorsy kind of person, surfing, swimming, and jet skiing are all solid options, as well. Hiking is also huge in the area, but be sure to slot out some time to peep a famed string of volcanic formations known as the Nine Sisters.
Where to Stay: Make sure to stay in the surreal Madonna Inn (think: a Twin Peaks fever dream set in a Swiss ski chalet); it's a place so bizarre that Grimes filmed her otherworldly “Flesh without blood/ Life in the vivid dream" video there.
Where to Eat: When near the ocean, there’s bound to be great seafood, and SLO’s specialty is clam chowder, particularly from the award-winning Splash Cafe. Allergic to shellfish? Apple Farm’s famed garden brunch will keep you filled up till dinner.
What to Do: Stroll along the quirky Avila Beach Boardwalk all-year-round, and make sure to take a dip in the ocean or get some primo sunbathing time if you’re there in the warmer months. Going in the winter months? Stop by the nearby Monarch Butterfly Grove for a dreamy Instagram opportunity.
We’re going to say this now: 2018 should be the year of being one with nature. Yes, ceramics and knitting and all of that are all great forms self-care when our world is in shambles, and we definitely recommend doing that if you can’t get out of whatever city you live in. However, there’s something particularly therapeutic and perspective-giving about watching 15-foot waves crash from the shoreline and feeling the earth rumble slightly beneath you. All to say, go visit Oahu’s North Shore and take in the power of the ocean.
Where to stay: Instead of opting for the city vibe of Honolulu, stay on the North Shore, at Turtle Bay Resort, where you can soak up maximum nature.
Where to eat: Ono Seafood, yes, is technically an hour drive in Honolulu, so you'll definitely need to rent a car. If the fact that this is the best poke I've ever had in my life doesn't entice you and you'd rather eat something nearby (your loss!), allow me to suggest the next-level açai bowls at Haleiwa Bowls.
What to do: Go get dirt under your nails on the intense little hike known as Crouching Lion in Kaaaw. Go to Laniakea Beach to observe some turtles doing their majestic turtle thing. Take a surf lesson at Turtle Bay Resort. But please, don't be dumb and try to go swimming or surfing in some massive waves you can't handle. Respect Mother Nature, and she'll respect you back.
Once you recover from the super-long U.S.-to-Indonesia flight, that makes you feel like you've been launched into the future (at least timezone-wise), Bali is as magical as you’ve probably already witnessed through Instagram. There are so many wonderful parts to explore (like Gili T and Seminyak), but we’re going to focus on Ubud because, in our opinion, it has the most to offer in terms of experiences and adventure.
Where to Stay: Indigo Tree Villa. This charming, yet isolated, villa is an Airbnb, but rather than being its own residence, it’s part of a larger resort. Meaning, you get lots of amenities (spa services, three different pools, shuttle service into and out of town) for very low prices.
Where to Eat: Bali’s not necessarily known for its rousing cuisine, and the quality varies greatly depending on where you eat. One way to guarantee you’re getting great food, though, is by making it yourself in a cooking class—with some help from the locals.
What to Do: If you’re not a fan of primates, do not go to the monkey forest. Honestly, don’t even get in the vicinity because the monkeys roam well outside the forest. But, if you are at all curious, we recommend going, because it will definitely be the most… memorable part of your trip.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Depending on who you ask, Florida is either the perfect beach getaway or a boring and rainy prison. I'll be the first to admit that for the majority of my life, I identified heavily with the latter, mainly because I was pissed that every time I visited the so-called Sunshine State, it was, in fact, a rainy prison. Recently, though, a trip to Fort Lauderdale changed my perspective on the state as a whole.
Where to Stay: Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach. I don't know about you, but one thing (and, arguably, the only thing) that deters me from traveling is feeling trapped in the idea that I have to go out to eat every single night. Obviously, this problem could be easily solved if one were to book an Airbnb, but what if none are available, or if you (aka me) want to simply stay in a freaking hotel? (It is a vacation, after all.) Turns out, the ability to cook in the comfort of your fancy schmancy room is one of many great things about the Conrad. Aside from the fact that it's absolutely gorgeous and is literally a five-minute walk from the North Beach, the rooms function like mini-apartments and come fully equipped with a spacious living room, bedroom, and kitchen (with a dishwasher!) So, if you're looking for an experience that's luxurious and homely, the Conrad is your best bet.
Where to Eat: In the event that you don't want to cook in your hotel room during your stay, I highly recommend S3, which has something for everyone and, you guessed it, is right near the beach. With nearly 100 different platters for you to choose from, the restaurant is perfect for anyone who doesn't know what they're in the mood for. Tip: Go for the tempura cauliflower, Mac and cheese with smoked gouda and prosciutto, and salmon Kamikaze roll.
What to Do: You should definitely visit a beach or two, see the Frank Stella exhibit at the NSU Art Museum, and go to Downtown Hollywood to feast your eyes some insane street murals. But, above all else, you should most definitely pay a visit to the Brew Urban Cafe, a quaint, vibrant coffee shop that also looks like the coolest library ever (and functions as a communal workspace!). It's easy to lose track of time in there, but if you're looking to escape from the sun, work, and, well, life in general, this is the easily the best place to do it.
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the largest metropolitan area in New York State outside of New York City. The renaissance of its waterfront has breathed new life into the city and surrounding areas, making it the destination for wholesome outdoor culture and dining. What's more, the expansion of the University of Buffalo has spawned a handful of up-and-coming neighborhoods that lend themselves to Instagram-worthy college town vibes. Oh, and there's over five Wegmans stores. That's really all you need to know. Wegmans.
Where to Stay: Located in the heart of downtown Buffalo, The Curtiss Hotel is one of the freshest places to stay. It's within walking distance of stellar dining, quaint bars, and Shea's Performing Arts Center which caters to off-Broadway productions and topline musicians. If you're looking for the best view in town, hit up the rooftop bar. That outdoor fireplace isn't there just for looks.
Where to Eat: Wegmans! But, also, you have to experience the endearing kitschy gaudiness of Salvatore's Italian Gardens. The decorating may be over-the-top, but the food is hands down the best in Buffalo. We suggest getting a steak au poivre with asparagus. It's a spiritual experience.
What to Do: Visit The Albright-Knox Art Gallery. It's one of the oldest art institutions in the United States, housing some of finest Matisse paintings and a sculpture garden to get lost in. If you're feeling like rubbing elbows with Buffalo's hip crowd, take a stroll Elmwood Village. It's home to boutiques, coffee shops, and all-around good vibes. Also, go to Wegmans.
Big Sky, Montana
They don't call it Big Sky for nothing. About an hour's drive from Bozeman, Big Sky is where you go to feel small and infinite at the same time. It's a haven for winter sports—the powder is some of the best in the world—and come summer, the wild comes to life in ways National Geographic photos don't do justice. Bring a camera (film, if you're really feeling the fantasy) and explore. You always hear people saying, "Go West." Well, now's the time to go.
Where to Stay: Lone Mountain Ranch. If you're going to escape to Montana, you may as well get yourself a cabin in the woods on land that caters to every outdoor sport imaginable.
Where to Eat: You want barbecue? Gallatin Riverhouse Grill knows barbecue. Trust us on this one.
What to Do: Go. Out. Side. Seriously. There is no excuse to stay inside when the great wide open is at your doorstep. If you're really looking for a more catered experience, drive out to Yellowstone National Park. You'll get all the Ansel Adams luxury you want.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Mexico's Riviera Maya is a stretch of Caribbean coastline that extends from Cancun to Belize. If you're looking to plant yourself on a beach, it's got all the picture-perfect white sand and sparkly turquoise water you'd ever need. But that's just the beginning: From Mayan ruins you can climb and swim around to trendy new restaurants, this area's vibrant local culture is what makes it way more than your average tropical getaway.
Where to Stay: Andaz Mayakoba Resort, a new concept resort in the Mayakoba development where hotels are built in conjunction with the gorgeous coastal landscape—rooms face the ocean or a lagoon, with private pools and decor by local artists, plus several restaurants with legitimately great food. Plus, if you opt into the Red Cabana and Studio Package program, 30 percent of the proceeds will be donated to (RED)'s fight against AIDS (and you'll have access to special poolside cabanas, plus a 90-minute spa treatment that's so relaxing, you'll forget your day job). The restaurants on the property also have over 25 different tequilas and mescals, including a custom crafted tequila unique to the property.
Where to Eat: Casa Amate, the award-winning upscale restaurant at the Andaz. Overlooking the lagoon and built around an Amate tree, the menu is inspired by traveling through Latin America, with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. For a more hands-on experience, the OllaCeviche open air restaurant on the property offers special ceviche, guacamole and taco cooking classes along with mezcal, tequila, and craft beer tastings.
What to Do: You might recognize the crystal clear pools and dramatic jumps of the Cenote Tankah from Instagram, but a visit IRL feels totally untouched by outsiders, special thanks to the reservation-only visitation policy. Dive into these Mayan ruins, say hi to the bats, and don't forget to wash off your sunscreen and bug spray: There are strict rules to preserve these ecological spots, which only contributes to the magic.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Do you remember the not-so-great Sex and the City 2 movie in which Abu Dhabi was proclaimed to be the "new Middle East"? Well, in real life back then, it was still Dubai that was having a moment, with no one really flying to Abu Dhabi unless they happened to take Etihad Airlines. (In real life, the movie was also shot in Morocco, but that's another story.) But 2018 is the year that Abu Dhabi can claim that title. With the recent unveiling of Louvre Abu Dhabi and openings of Guggenheim and Warner Bros. World on the way, the capital of the United Arab Emirates is gearing up for its official coronation.
Where to Stay: Until the Abu Dhabi EDITION opens later this year, stay at the Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort on Sir Bani Yas Desert Island, home to thousands of free-roaming animals and vast Arabian nature which you can observe from the comfort of your own luxurious pool villa, set in the middle of the desert.
Where to Eat: Experience the opulence that is Friday (the weekends here fall on Friday and Saturday) brunch in U.A.E. at Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi. With every cooking station imaginable and unlimited drinks, pace yourself or you will end up having to get a room in the hotel to wait out your food coma. (Which now that we think about it, is not such a bad idea.) Since you won’t want to eat ever again after this experience, get a liquid dinner at Rosewood Abu Dhabi’s La Cava, a beautiful wine bar featuring wall-to-wall cabinets housing 1,000+ labels, or at the Emirates Palace, where you can get coffee with actual pieces of gold in it.
What to Do: Take in the art scene at the aforementioned (and Instagrammable) Louvre Abu Dhabi museum; go inside the spectacular Sheikh Zayed Mosque, one of the few places of prayer open to non-Muslim visitors; and check out Ferrari World, where you can take a ride on the Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest rollercoaster.
Seto Inland Sea islands, Japan
Colloquially known as Japan's Art Islands, the 12 islands in the Seto Inland Sea of southern Japan are former fishing villages that together now make up one of the most impressive art destinations worldwide. With more and more people discovering this Yayoi Kusama heaven (her pumpkins are displayed in plain sight everywhere) and an increasing number of journalists traveling here to report back, this might be the last year that you will have the opportunity to explore this art commune without having to elbow tourists.
Where to Stay: One of the few accommodations on the islands (most people travel here from inland via a ferry), Benesse House is also one of the most stunning properties you'll stay in during your entire visit in all of Japan. Built by Tadao Ando, a prolific Japanese architect, on high ground overlooking the Seto Inland Sea and Setonaikai National Park in a way to be one with the surrounding nature, this architectural masterpiece boasts 10 incredibly designed rooms with incredible views of the water and greenery. In addition to housing, Benesse holds a museum (also designed by Ando), that's open to the guests after public hours, of paintings, sculptures, photography, and installations and a museum shop, which you'll have a hard time leaving without souvenirs for everyone you know.
Where to Eat: Given that you probably won't be over the views even after staying at Benesse House (yes, it's that stunning), get to know what Setouchi's seasonal cuisine is like at the onsite Terrace Restaurant that also boasts stunning views.
What to Do: See as much as art possible. (We've heard reports from people who've spent nine hours art-hopping from island to island.) Some to get you started: Chichu Art Museum, an Ando-designed museum featuring artworks from the likes of Claude Monet and Walter De Maria; Teshima Art Museum, an open gallery space featuring overheard openings that are meant to resemble raindrops and shoot water; Naoshima Bath "I♥ 湯", a Japanese bathhouse museum; Art House Project, a residential space that has rotating galleries and art installations; ANDO Museum, another Ando-designed museum dedicated to the architect's work; Lee Ufan Museum, you guessed it, an Ando-designed space that holds the works of artist Lee Ufan.
Beacon, New York
Whether or not you live close by, in New York City, the town of Beacon is a solid getaway if you're looking for somewhere cute, quaint, and quiet to escape the hectic noise of everyday life. It's the ideal place either to get lost in nature or immerse yourself in art. Dia: Beacon, the town's expansive contemporary art museum that comes without the crowds of New York City, has quite a few interesting exhibits coming up in 2018. One we're looking forward to is Keith Sonnier's Dis-Play II, a spectacle of lights, fluorescent powders, glass, and film projections that will go up this July. But even if museums aren't your thing, Beacon is such a peaceful little town with so much to offer, I think anyone could benefit from unwinding here—something we all need after surviving 2017.
Where to Stay: If you're looking for a more luxurious stay, The Roundhouse on East Main Street is a gorgeous historic property overlooking the creek, but there are also plenty of cozy (and less expensive) Airbnbs to be booked if you're looking to get away on the cheap.
Where to Eat: There are a ton of great places to eat in Beacon, but if you're looking for some good old comfort good, Poppy's is a must. The unassuming burger joint boasts some of the best local grass-fed beef (and delicious veggie burgers, too!) and Hudson Valley-grown produce. Season permitting, be sure to finish off your meal with a stop at Beacon Creamery, where you can enjoy homemade renditions of classic ice cream flavors (and plenty of boozy flavors, too).
What to Do: After you check out Dia: Beacon, walk up to Main Street to peruse a variety of galleries, antique shops, and clothing stores (American Gypsy Vintage is our favorite!) or hike Mount Beacon for some of most breathtaking views of the Hudson around.
Johannesburg, South Africa
There are many reasons to make 2018 the year you go to South Africa, but for art and music lovers, Johannesburg is the destination you'll most want to check out. We've written about the vibrant city before, but then our focus was mostly on the bustling street art and gallery scene. And while this is still a totally valid reason to go, there's so much more happening in the city, like a rising culinary scene and an active musical nightlife.
Where to Stay: Check out the Hallmark House, a 46-room luxury hotel located on two floors of a towering building in Johannesburg proper (lots of local hotels are actually far outside the city center in the suburbs). The views from your hotel room are bound to be breathtaking, and since it's located in the city's Maboneng district, you won't have to travel far to indulge in gallery- and club-hopping.
Where to Eat: We recommend an urban picnic lunch, courtesy of Picnic in the Sky. This company provides you with a picnic basket and blanket, which you then take to Market on Main, a local vendor-filled market. Once you've got all the food you could possibly want, you'll take your basket up to the top of the Carlton Centre building, which, at 50 stories high, is the tallest building in Africa. Alternately, check out Marble, which is the ideal restaurant for all you meat-lovers out there.
What to Do: There's no shortage of things to do in Johannesburg, but here's a rough outline. For music lovers: Go to Orbit, the city's preeminent jazz club. For art lovers: Head to the Art Strip, and check out galleries like Everard Read and Circa. For history lovers: Book a walking tour with Past Experiences, and find out all about the complicated, colorful history of this incredible city. And don't forget to visit the Apartheid Museum. Attendees are randomly given "white" or "non-white" tickets when they enter, to show the essential arbitrariness of racial designations. Once inside, you'll learn about the intricacies of apartheid's brutal laws, and perhaps better understand why such an awful system was established and perpetuated, and how similar ones can be avoided in the future.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Celebrating its 300th anniversary this year, New Orleans will be welcoming a huge influx of visitors wanting to get in on all the good times. So why don't you join them? An undeniably special place (seriously, the vibrations in New Orleans operate at a different frequency than just about anywhere else), the city has had a real renaissance as of late, so it's a better time than ever to get on down there and eat some beignets.
Where to Stay: We recommend you Airbnb this trip, not least because there are tons of options to be found, and since New Orleans is both pedestrian- and bike- and public transportation-friendly, you'd be well-advised just to pick a neighborhood you want to hang out in, and take it from there. We recommend trying to book something in the Marigny neighborhood! But if you do want a hotel, check out our 2017 guide to NOLA, which has a bunch of options.
Where to Eat: This is a tough one. You almost can't go wrong in New Orleans, there's such a wealth of amazing food. However, we'd definitely recommend going to Cochon, sitting at the bar, and getting a plate of wood-fired oysters with chili butter. Yum. And, of course, you've just got to get a po'boy or three. Go to Parkway Bakery, where a friend of mine SWEARS is where Beyonceé goes to get her po'boys. Oh, and definitely do go to Cafe du Monde for beignets—just go late at night, when the crowds are quieter but the need for some fried dough still reigns supreme. Also! One last thing: For great cocktails with ridiculous names (think: Hillbilly Hotbox) and insanely good sandwiches (plus, the deviled eggs with fried chicken skin), go to Turkey and the Wolf, and question why it is you'd ever leave this amazing place.
What to Do: What to do? Well, if you aren't in a permanently vegetative state because of all the food you've been eating, just get out there in the city and explore. It's easy to do if you go on a tour, of which New Orleans has plenty. Like, there are swamp tours and voodoo tours and cemetery tours and... well, every tour you could imagine. Or, you know, you could do karaoke at a 24-hour dive bar, like Kajun's. There's always that.
Arenal, Costa Rica
For such a relatively small country (spend 10 days here, and you can explore it coast-to-coast), Costa Rica has a truly diverse array of geographical wonders: gorgeous beaches, lush rainforests, towering volcanoes. And while we think you should kind of go everywhere you can when visiting this Central American treasure, let 2018 be the year you go to the country's Arenal region, where a now-dormant volcano is responsible for a paradise of hot springs. Trust us: Taking a soak in them is the best possible way to rid yourself of the stress induced by reading the news too much.
Where to Stay: Get yourself to Tabacon Thermal Resort, and realize that there is such a thing as heaven—at least there is on earth, anyway. This incredible resort has gorgeous rooms with insane showers, but you'll mostly want to spend your time lounging in one of the many natural hot springs occurring on the property. They're all set in such lush surroundings, that you feel like you're living your best jungle life all the time, not least because you'll see lizards, frogs, and butterflies just darting around as you relax in what feels like your own private Eden. Hot springs aren't your thing? (Which, why??) Check out the pool, which has a swim-up bar and one of our favorite water slides of all time. Oh! And don't miss getting a massage in one of the resort's open-air villas. You will never feel more relaxed than while you get your muscles worked over to the tune of jungle sounds.
What to Eat: Costa Rica isn't exactly known for its great cuisine. (Nothing is perfect.) But the food at Tabacon is quite good, and we were big fans of the "typical" meal, aka rice and beans and a protein. The important thing to remember to do with everything savory you eat is to DROWN it in the incredibly delicious Salsa Lizano, which is kind of like Worcestershire sauce, but also totally its own, incredibly delicious thing.
What to Do: Other than the hot springs... there's tons to do! Make this an adventure trip and go zip lining! And horseback riding! And white water rafting! And go on a nighttime jungle walk! (Supervised, of course.) Seriously, do it all. It's a magical place, and you have a much higher chance of seeing adorable monkeys hanging adorably from trees if you just get out there and have fun.
While you really don’t need an excuse to go to Sardinia’s glimmering Costa Smeralda, this May will welcome the 10th edition of Porto Cervo Wine & Food Festival, a boutique event focusing on the area’s best food and wine. Showcasing an array of winemakers, local producers, and world-famous dishes and chefs, expect rich programming of demonstrations, panels, and, of course, indulgent tastings.
Where to stay: Hotel Cala di Volpe is the definition of luxury, an exceptionally beautiful hotel meant to mimic picturesque Sardinia villas overlooking picture-perfect azure waters. The setting of The Spy Who Loved Me and many fashion shows and celebrity concerts, this Mediterranean paradise will make it hard to leave its premises with its many onsite restaurants and bars and concierge services that can make anything happen.
Where to eat: Il Pescatore, the only pieds dans l’eau restaurant in Costa Smeralda, which boasts remarkable seafood and, of course, seafront views. For a nightcap, stop by Il Portico for equally spectacular views and its famous frozen Bellinis.
What to do: For those who want to escape the glamour of Sardinia and get to know the region’s history, visit the eight archeological sites in Arzachena, which include several Neuralgic complexes, a necropolis featuring giant graves, and many impressive monuments.
With the 2018 FIFA World Cup taking place in Moscow in June, one should really make their way to Russia’s capital before the crowds descend down on this beautiful city. Filled equally with historical monuments and stunning architecture as it is with innovative restaurants and stylish bars, it’s really the best of both worlds.
Where to stay: History buffs will enjoy staying at the Hotel National, Moscow’s most historic hotel, located across the street from Kremlin; or Metropol, the setting of last summer’s very popular novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, which is just a stone’s throw away from the famed Bolshoi Theatre. Don’t expect modern amenities; instead, travel back in time as you nosh on blinis and caviar and take in the grandeur of the surroundings.
Where to eat: Hands down the best Russian restaurant in the city, Café Pushkin on the famous Tverskoy Boulevard is worth every penny. Intricately decorated by floors—there is a Pharmacy and a Library!—to mimic decor of decades past, you can’t go wrong with any of their signature dishes like the Pozharsky veal cutlet and Beef Stroganoff in sour cream with the most delicious housemade pickles.
What to do: Check out the former chocolate factory, the Krasny Oktyabr, turned into a complex of galleries, cafes, and restaurants. Cross the water to visit the Kremlin and the remarkable Red Square, where during winter you can ice skate in and sip on mulled wine. Also, do yourself a favor and go see ballet (any production, doesn't matter!) at the Bolshoi Theatre. Russia's ballet is unlike any other.
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If you felt like everyone you knew was at Woodford Folk Festival ahead of New Year's Day this year, yeah, us too. Expect this to be the case even more so at the end of 2018, with Australia's third largest city gaining popularity with savvy travelers.
Where to Stay: If you're coming down for the festival, you'll likely be camping on the grounds. But if you find yourself in Brisbane prior to or post the festival, check in at the TRYP located in the city's hip Fortitude Valley. Featuring multicolored graffiti and quirky art throughout the property, this "street art hotel" will have you Instagramming every corner.
Where to Eat: One of Brisbane's most popular restaurants, Aria focuses on seasonal dishes and uses primarily local ingredients. It's not cheap, but the waterside views are worth just the price tag alone. Don't even get us started on the food and wine list.
What to Do: While at the Woodford Folk Festival, participate in the many activities and workshops that are not limited just to music. Learn about the benefits of Chinese medicine, participate in hilltop sunrise ceremonies, make pottery, and meditate as the clock strikes midnight on New Year's. When you're back in Brisbane, also, check out the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, because, hi, koalas.