Making travel decisions to venture outside of the United States can at times be a little dicey if you take news and global events into consideration. So, we took all that into account when we created our list of ideas. Whether you’re a food and drink connoisseur, a beach lover, an artist, a history buff, hiker or just looking for some quality comfort, rest, and relaxation. Take a gander at these locations and see if any of them wet your whistle.
10. Angra dos Reis, Brazil
The visa waiver implemented by Brazil during the Olympics was great for encouraging travel outside of large cities, and they hope to bring that waiver back for us to enjoy further. This lovely location lies between Rio and São Paulo. It’s a very popular vacation spot and the place of several attractive beach villas. Fasana, a Brazilian hotel chain has just opened a 54-suite spectacular facility that includes a golf course, marina, spa and fabulous restaurants. You can’t help but love the unique design with high wooden buildings that give the appearance of floating in the air, and each suite has an open-air terrace complete with views of the forest and sea. Ilha Grande is an island that receives so many visitors, they have a daily limit, and the government has pledged $8 million to improve the current infrastructure. So, if you don’t mind a crowd, this should be at the top of your list.
9. Belfast, Northern Ireland
Filled with arts, open air bars, tasty food and the Bullitt Hotel, yes, inspired by the famous Steve McQueen movie, you can’t miss a visit to Belfast. Seedhead is an arts organization, which runs street-art tours and pop-up cabarets, while The Michelin-starred OX and EIPIC lead in the fine-dining arena. The Permit Room offers an internationally inspired breakfast and locally roasted coffee and for saucy nightlife, check out the Muddlers Club, in the Cathedral Quarter, or Vandal, a graffiti-decorated pizza place that doubles as a late-night club, on the top floor of a 17th-century pub.
8. Cambodian Coast
Surrounded by gorgeous islands that were once difficult to get to, now have flights into the Sihanoukville airport through Ho Chi Minh City. Six Senses on Krabey Island offers excellent spa treatments, Koh Russey’s eco resort has great Khmer cooking. The capital city of Phnom Penh offers a great flavor of the area and now has a Rosewood Hotel location in the city.
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7. Cape Town, South Africa
Another great city for arts and design, not to mention the beautiful beaches against towering mountain backdrops. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art is scheduled to open in 2017 at the V and A Waterfront. The MOCAA, comparable to the MoMA or the Tate Modern will also be taking over a former grain storage facility in 2017 and on top, The Silo Hotel a luxury spot from the Royal Portfolio brand. You will be able to stroll between galleries displaying beautiful arts and stop for a taste of the local cuisine. And, when you’re ready to enjoy wine tasting, the Cape Winelands—Stellenbosch, Constantia, and Franschhoek, among others, will be there for the tasting, we mean taking. The Test Kitchen restaurant ranked 22 on the World’s Best Restaurant listing, is joined by its newest sister location, The Shortmarket Club for some of the best food you will ever enjoy!
6. Devon, England
A beautiful rural area, Devon is home to The Lympstone Manor, which has been reimagined by chef Michael Caines, into an elegant 21-room hotel and restaurant. If you’re more into minimalism, the Secular Retreat, designed by Peter Zumthor will be an option you will want to explore. And on the coastline, the Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel is at work on a second location that will bridge the gap between two outcrops.
5. Hamburg, Germany
The mysterious city of Hamburg along the banks of the Elbe River is bursting with new architecture like Zaha Hadid’s River Promenade. A glass structure sitting atop an old brick warehouse is home to the Elbe Philharmonic Hamburg concert hall that just had its debut performance in January 2017. Just around the corner is The Fontenay Hotel opening in the summer of 2017. And the island of Wilhelmsburg had a former air raid bunker turned IBA Hamburg – Energiebunker, an eco-friendly power source. The island is also home to WCW Gallery and not far away, a great little coffee shop, Kaffeeliebe.
4. Hampi, India
With the new Orange County Hampi’s 46 room luxury resort spread across the Vijayanagara-inspired estate just a short jaunt from the UNESCO World Heritage site, Hampi is becoming another Indian hot spot. When the capital city of Vijayanagara was built in the14th century, it was one of the largest cities in the world. Filled with temples and monuments amid huge boulders, rice paddies and banana groves the area has always been a draw for the locals; however, the lack of accommodations kept it off the luxury stop list.
3. Helsinki, Finland
On December 6, 2017, Finland will celebrate 100 years of independence, but rest assured, we will be partying well before that date in the capital city of Helsinki. Sauna is a daily activity of the Fins, and although it isn’t expected to open until 2018, Central Library, designed by ALA Architects will become the new living room for Helsinki. The newest public sauna is Löyly, designed by Avanto Architects, is a modern geometrically designed complex. Sauna Day takes place twice a year, means that several private saunas will open to the public. One of these is in a castle, and another is on a raft. Lilla Roberts is a wonderful place to stay, and they will offer a 150-room sister hotel, St. George, which is expected to open in the summer of 2017 in a 19th-century landmark building.
2. Jebel Akhdar, Oman
Jebel Akhdar is nestled into the Al Hajar Mountains and is known for its impressive views and natural terraces. Spring brings out magnificent and odiferous pink damask rose blooms that cover the hillside. Distillers will make rosewater potions from the blossoms to be used in spas as well as cocktails. A regional boutique hotel, Anatara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is in competition with Ailila Jabal Akhdar, and both locations will offer infinity pools, canyon views, and tremendous pampering. The Anatara also has a cliff side private dining site and six restaurants.
1. Jura, France
Hiding behind the Alpines, this tiny wine region is full of charm and well protected from the larger tourists draws of Burgundy and Switzerland. Their wines have now made the list at some US restaurants including Eleven Madison Park and the French Laundry. If you love wines and wine making, be sure to visit Domaine Andre and Mirielle Tissot’s vineyard, which is co-owned by Stephane Tissot who produces vin jaunes sherry. The local cuisine is also rich with raw milk Comte cheese that is a delicious wine companion. Hiking, cycling, and skiing along quiet mountain trails, lakes and waterfalls will round out your day and then a night of lazy slumber at Les Jardins sur Galantine, a bed, and breakfast that produces a fine wine of its own.