Where are the discerning travellers headed in 2018? Read on for our top picks.
For a spot of fishing, walking and good old-fashioned relaxing, add the Scottish Highlands on your list for the new year. A magical mix of rivers, lochs, craggy peaks and isolated beaches make this the perfect destination.
Sample some of Britain’s best gourmet meals, soak in the quiet, and indulge in the history.
The haunting highlands have been cloaked in mystery for ages. Some of the world’s most beautiful and romantic castles can be found in Scotland. From Castle Mey in the north to Dunvegan Castle on Skye, there are some magnificent and beautiful discoveries to be had.
Inverness acts as a gateway to the North Highlands with regular flights from across the UK, or you can fly directly to Wick John O' Groats Airport from Edinburgh. Once in the area, explore the northern tip of Scotland with a brand new tourist route, the North Coast 500, Scotland's answer to America's Route 66.
To truly experience the Highlands, book into Glen Affric estate.
Photo VisitScotland/Paul Tomkins
Over 10,000 acres of spectacular country, the estate is owned by the same group as St Barth’s Eden Roc. With attention to any detail desired, there is salmon fishing, mountain biking, clay shooting, archery and walks accompanied by expert guides, with evening Whisky tastings.
Levanto may not be an Italian city name that rolls off the tongue like Venice or Florence, but it’s one to remember. As the seaside gateway to the famous Cinque Terre villages, it is a good base to explore the stunning region and a real gem of the Italian Riviera.
Although the call of the Cinque Terre is strong, there is one missing element to the cliffside villages – the beach! This is where Levanto excels. A trip to the beach is a must for a summer holiday, especially one centred on European luxury.
The beach is long and sandy, with some of the best little cafes to while away the afternoon over an Aperol Spritz.
Levanto seafront, photo Tourism.it
Italians are known for their ornate architectural masterpieces. Look no further that the beautifully maintained seafront Villa Agnelli. Open to the public, the villa’s scent gardens are the highlight.
Take in Borgo Antico, the oldest region of Levanto, and walk around the Piazza del Popolo and Piazza della Loggio, with their monuments such as the Church of Sant’Andrea. Dating back to the 13th century, the church’s oversized rose window is a draw perfect for a holiday photo.
Although it is hard to leave beautiful Levanto, it pays to wander to the neighbouring Riviera di Levante where a string of resorts makes a delightful pit stop.
Khao Lak, Thailand
Visions of Thailand conjure unspoilt beaches, Buddhist temples and a buzzing street food culture. However, by venturing past the typical Phuket beach holiday, one is rewarded in Khao Lak.
Photo Thailand tourism
The beach bearing the name of the area, Khao Lak Beach, is on the southern end of Khao Lak. To walk from one end to the other is one hour, but here are enough spots to stop off for a swim.
The main town, Baan La On, is where the shops and restaurants are, and it is an easy 10 minute drive. Thai food is fresh – fish and tropical fruit – and full of culinary diversity.
Lak Mountain (or Khao in Thai, which means mountain) sits within the Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park. Forest trails and waterfalls are the perfect place to spot wildlife or a leisurely hike. Nearby Khlong Phanom National Park is perfect for nature walks, while Khao Sok National Park is the place for river canoeing and rafting.
Undisturbed beaches surrounded by nature are the focal point of the recent villa-only resorts. Many have an ‘over 18s’ policy, that is perfect for peace, quiet and some romance.
Overlooking the Andaman Sea and the beautiful white sands of Pakweep Beach, Khao Lak is one hour from Phuket International Airport. Think of Khao Lak as the serene alternative to the bustling glitz of Phuket.
Khao Lak is now one of the most popular regions because of its fine dining, boutiques and vibrant culture. It’s really the ideal beachside experience if visiting Thailand – secluded enough to escape the rush.
Gleaming galleries, upscale boutiques, and five-star hotels amongst quaint neighbourhood villages are what make up London. Add in local markets, ancient pubs, and the gourmet cafes known around the world. It’s no wonder that the eccentric and exciting city is the original world city.
Our list for 2018 wouldn’t be complete without London as it remains one of the most iconic destinations for luxury travellers. The historic grandeur spreads to every corner of the city with over 60 Michelin-quality restaurants.
An abundance of luxury hotels are on offer. From The Savoy, The Connaught, and The Dorchester are sublime and full of old English charm.
Take a VIP flight on the London Eye, the tallest observation wheel in Europe and the most popular tourist attraction in London. Amongst the sights are the Tower Bridge, Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral.
From there, head to the banks of the Thames for a visit to the now-iconic Tate Britain, home to British art. A city’s cultural offering is key when choosing a destination, and London packs it in like no other.