50 places to travel in 2018

Ecuador

Guayaquil, Ecuador.
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Cuenca, Ecuador, took home the title of South America's Leading City Break Destination as per the World Travel Awards. While lesser known than Quito, Cuenca, which dates back to the 16th century, is equally beautiful, and a similarly colonial city. In fact, its historic center, filled with cafés and galleries, is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Quayaquil is also worth a visit. While often dismissed as a necessary layover en route to the Galapagos islands (another must-visit), a refreshed riverfront, as well as new hotels and restaurants popping up all over town are enticing visitors to spend more than just one night.

Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia

Raja Ampat Islands.
SARAWUT KUNDEJ / Shutterstock

The sparsely populated Raja Ampat Islands are still a hidden gem in Indonesia, and the ideal spot for underwater enthusiasts.

In the heart of the Coran Triangle, the islands host three-quarters of the world's coral varieties, with a backdrop of lush jungles and white-sand beaches, as well as hidden lagoons and caves to explore.

Lima, Peru

Lima has become a culinary powerhouse in recent years, featuring a whopping three restaurants on the Diner's Club World's 50 best restaurants list. When you aren't eating fresh ceviche, or Chifa, distinctly local Chinese-Peruvian fusion cuisine, or taking a walk along the steep cliffs of the city's waterfront parks, there's gorgeous colonial architecture aplenty, museums filled with artifacts, and even the vestiges of an ancient civilization to explore in the middle of the city at Pucllana Temple.

Paris, France

Paris, France.
Unsplash/John Towner

Paris is a timeless destination, but 2018 sees a few additions that make it a must-visit. A new, immersive art experience called l'Atelier des Lumières will open to the public in April, and already has people the world over buzzing with excitement.

Later that year, the LVMH Theme Park— a $70 million steampunk themed park created by the fashion house that owns Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Louis Vuitton and other luxury brands — also makes its debut.

Pyeongchang, South Korea

Pyeongchang.
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Pyeongchang is hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics, making a visit this year a once-in-a-lifetime trip. The XXIII Olympic Winter Games will take place February 9 to 25, at two of the area's main ski resorts, Alpensia and Yongpyong.

Nearby Seoul boasts the newly opened Seoullo 7017, also known as the Seoul Skygarden or Skypark, an elevated park built on a former highway overpass, similar to New York City's High Line.

Oslo, Norway

Norway is celebrating 50 years of marriage between their king and queen, making 2018 a great year to visit its capital.

Currently, there's a lot of buzz surrounding the city's unrivaled coffee culture, but the 1,000-year-old city is also filled with trendy Scandinavian design, stunning architecture, fascinating museums, and hip new spots, especially along its newly revitalized waterfront.

And since the city's opera house is also turning 10, there will be plenty of cultural events and performances. Hurry before word spreads — Oslo's sleek new airport has already increased tourism.

Chile

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.
Unsplash/Pepe Reyes

Chile is becoming more and more of a hotspot for travelers.

There's Parque Patagonia in Patagonia, a wilderness area that opened in 2016, the Atacama Desert, which boasts new sunrise balloon rides, and the remote and rugged Terra do Fogo archipelago, which is filled with wildlife.

Even better, Chile is celebrating 200 years of independence in 2018, meaning that there are bound to be cultural events and activities aplenty.

Tasmania

The tiny, remote island state of Tasmania is often overlooked, but that's changing thanks to a bevy of new restaurants, vineyards, breweries, and distilleries. While a vacation here can be spent sampling the exports of one small local producer after the other, a ticket to the annual Taste of Tasmania will do the trick, too.

In 2018, The Aboriginal Land Council is launching the Wukalina Walk, a new, four-day guided showcasing the culture of the Palawa people.

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan.
willcao911/iStock

Taipei may not be as popular as other large Asian cities like Tokyo or Beijing, but that doesn't mean it's any less exciting.

Some of the country's best street food can be found in Taipei's multiple night markets or just outside of the city in Jiufen, a former mining village nestled into the mountains.

Experience the country's culture at the National Palace Museum or the National Revolutionary Martyr's Shrine, or get outdoorsy with a trip to the Yangmingshan National Park or Beitou Hot Spring.

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
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The world's largest coral reef and the largest living structure on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef is incredibly rich and diverse, and home to hundreds of animals and plants.

Unfortunately, it has decreased by more than half its size because of rising temperatures in the past 30 years. Coral bleaching thanks to acid pollution is another concern, leading scientists to predict that the reefs could be completely gone by 2030.

Snorkel or scuba dive among this natural wonder before it's gone! And if you want to help, there are plenty of science groups and even a a turtle rehabilitation center that welcomes volunteers.

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