4 Hot Travel Picks for 2018
If you haven’t started making out your travel “to do” list yet, get your pen ready. Here are our favorite hot spots for next year.
Why you should go: Boasting the world’s greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, Italy is perfect for history and architecture buffs. From visiting sites like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa to embracing La Dolce Vita through the country’s amazing food, wine and vibrant nightlife, there’s lots to explore. Major cities like Rome, Venice, Milan, Verona and Florence, are relatively close and Italy’s great train system makes visiting them all fairly easy.
Don’t miss this: The Park of the Monsters (Parco dei Mostri) in Bomarzo. Commissioned by grief stricken Prince Pier Francesco Orsini in 1552, the park was designed to be a shocking “Villa of Wonders.” Its bizarre and interesting sculptures have fascinated artists like Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali.
Why you should go: Scotland is a fascinating blend of bucolic landscapes and lochs, distinct history and thriving nightlife in cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow. Get a view of Scotland’s history, and insight into other cultures around the world, at the National Museum of Scotland; or tour the Laphroaig Distillery, where they’ve been crafting Scotch whisky for more than 200 years.
Don’t miss this: Spend the night in a castle! Built in the mid-1800s by Sir James Matheson, the gothic-revival Lews Castle edges the serene Stornoway harbor in the Isle of Lewis. Beautifully restored, it’s now comprised of luxury accommodations through AAA Preferred Partner, Natural Retreats. Guests enjoy log fire hot tubs, kitchens and stellar vistas.
Why you should go: With its Mediterranean climate and an average of 2,600 hours of sunshine per year, Croatia is one of Europe’s sunniest spots. (In the summer, the sun doesn’t go down until after 9 p.m.!) Add to that a seemingly endless amount of stunning beaches, lush mountain ranges and eight awe-inspiring national parks — it earns a well deserved spot on the top of your travel bucket list. Croatia is also home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites like The Historical Complex of Split, comprised of the ruins of Diocletian’s Palace, 12th- and 13th-century Romanesque churches, medieval fortifications and other historical buildings. Game of Thrones fans will recognize it as a backdrop for many scenes for the show.
Don’t miss this: Plan a visit to perhaps one of the world’s quirkiest museums. Created by film producer Olinka Vistica and sculptor Drazen Grubisic, The Museum of Broken Relationships is the product of the demise of their four-year relationship. The museum explores “love, pain, drama, irony, humour and reconciliation” of break-ups. The museum inspired pop-up shows in 20 countries and a second permanent museum in Los Angeles, California.
Napa Valley, California
Why you should go: Located about an hour north of San Francisco, Napa Valley is one of the country’s most esteemed wine regions. Glorious landscapes, fantastic food and varied festivals are other reasons to visit. If you plan to tour wineries, let someone else do the driving and consider hiring a car or taking a guided tour. The wineries are as varied as the wines they produce — from small production, family owned wineries like Del Dotto Historic Caves to sprawling Sterling Vineyards (where you can take an aerial tram up the winery’s entrance).
Don’t miss this: Although there are really no bad views in Napa Valley, to really appreciate the vistas, consider admiring them from 2,000 feet in the air. Many balloon tours even include a Champagne post-flight breakfast.
—Sarah Henshall, Senior V.P. of Travel & Branch Operations
For more travel inspiration, stop by your local AAA office to plan your next getaway. Or, call 800-398-0379 to speak with your AAA Travel Agent.
(Go Magazine Nov/Dec 2017)