20 Offbeat Destinations You Must Visit Before the End of the Year
There’s never been a better time to get out of your comfort zone and visit a place you’d never have thought of before. Lonely Planet recently named its Best in Travel 2017 top regions that you need to visit now, before the secret gets out. For added inspiration, we included another 10 to give you 20 offbeat destinations to visit in 2017. Better start planning!
1. Choquequirao, PeruSimilar to Machu Picchu and a two-day hike away from Cusco, Choquequirao is a spectacular hilltop Inca site without the crowds. According to Lonely Planet, this may soon change, as a cable car is slated to open in 2017 and will be able to take 3,000 visitors a day up to the ruins.
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2. Taranaki, New ZealandLocated on New Zealand’s North Island, the Taranaki region is known for its volcano, farmland and a landscape reminiscent of Japan.
Lonely Planet says that new attractions include New Plymouth’s Len Lye Centre, which is New Zealand’s first gallery dedicated to the works of a single artist, while the Mount Taranaki Summit Track is one of the finest one-day hikes in the country.
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3. Azores, PortugalWith their unique volcanic landscapes, colourful festivals, medieval villages, white beaches and subtropical climate, the Azores offer a bounty of experiences in one destination. The secret is out, though: according to Lonely Planet, the archipelago saw an increase of 31 per cent in tourism in the past year.
Portugal even made the list of the safest countries to visit in 2017.
4. North Wales, UKNorth Wales is fast becoming a mecca for adventure travellers, with the world’s longest surfable artificial waves, its fastest zip line and Bounce Below, a huge underground trampoline.
Lonely Planet says that Snowdonia National Park has now been designated a dark-sky reserve which will attract stargazers to the region too.
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5. South AustraliaThose in the know have already discovered foodie heaven in South Australia with its wineries and produce festivals. In 2017, according to Lonely Planet, the Queen Mary 2 will start docking in Adelaide and Kangaroo Island.
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6. Aysén, ChileLocated in the Chilean Patagonia, the Aysén region is the most sparsely populated in Chile.
This may soon change, though, because as Lonely Planet says, there are now new routes to the area’s spectacular glaciers, a growing craft-beer scene and the huge Patagonia Park – which is awaiting national park status – to draw visitors.
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7. Tuamotus, French PolynesiaThe Tuamotus are one of the world’s largest atoll chains. Because they’re remote and still relatively undeveloped, they make for a pristine diving paradise. Lonely Planet says that a new liveaboard dive boat will launch in 2017, making it easier to explore the growing number of dive sites.
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8. Coastal Georgia, USAGeorgia’s coastline boasts countless barrier islands, historic sites, and Southern charm, combined with soul food and great weather.
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9. Perak, MalaysiaPerak, a state on the west coast of the Malaysian Peninsula, is fast becoming one of the country’s hottest destinations.
The capital, Ipoh, is renowned for its quirky eateries while, according to Lonely Planet, Pangkor Island is beginning to focus on sustainability with new nature walks.
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10. Skellig Ring, IrelandThe Skellig Ring is a scenic drive of 18 km in south-western Ireland. The rugged island of Skellig Michael with its ruins of a medieval monastery featured in the final scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and is one of the locations for Star Wars: Episode VIII, slated for release in December 2017.
Lonely Planet says that local businesses are expecting an increase in visitor numbers.
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11. CanadaOK, it's not exactly offbeat, but… Celebrating its 150th birthday earlier this year, now is the time to go on that road trip right here at home. International visitors will be arriving all year long, since Lonely Planet has named Canada 2017’s top country to visit.
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12. FinlandFinland also made it onto Lonely Planet’s list of top countries to visit, since the Scandinavian nation is celebrating its centenary in 2017. The World Figure Skating Championships, the Nordic World Ski Championships and the opening of the new Hossa National Park with its hiking trails are three more reasons to visit.
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13. DominicaAnother one on Lonely Planet’s list of countries to visit in 2017, Dominica is still a relatively unspoiled Caribbean paradise. However, this will change once several chain resorts, including a Hilton and the Cabrits Resort Kempinski, open in 2018.
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14. Ulaanbaatar, MongoliaAccording to Lonely Planet, Mongolia should also be on your list of countries to visit in 2017.
The New Ulaanbaatar International Airport is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017, and the new Shangri-La Centre with its mall, IMAX cinema, five-star hotel and sports club means that you’ll want to spend some time in the Mongolian capital before heading to the Gobi Desert.
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15. Hobart, AustraliaTasmania made it onto Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015 list of best regions to visit. Its capital, Hobart, offers everything from historic sites to foodie delights and a very innovative art museum.
According to Australian travel website Traveller, the 2017 opening of the new waterfront MACQ 01 hotel was the most anticipated hotel opening Down Under.
16. Warsaw, PolandPoland is one of the more affordable destinations in Europe, and with its fascinating mix of old and new, Warsaw is becoming increasingly popular.
Airlines like Ryanair are adding extra flights to Warsaw in 2017, but the big event will be the reopening of the city’s most iconic hotel, which has been around since 1857, as the Raffles Europejski Warsaw.
18. EthiopiaRecent protests have led to a decline in visitor numbers to Ethiopia. However, according to AllAfrica, the Addis Ababa Hotel Trade Sectoral Association and the Ethiopian Tourism Organization are working together to mitigate the effects of the unrest.
Meanwhile, the lack of crowds means this is the perfect time to visit the new luxury Limalimo Lodge in the Simien Mountains National Park.
19. Chitwan National Park, NepalChitwan National Park is home to Nepal’s largest number of one-horned rhinoceros and there has been no rhino poaching in the country in the past two years, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
With rhino worldwide still in danger of extinction, Chitwan is a great place to see them while you still can, especially since the opening of the new Taj Meghauli Jungle Lodge.
20. El SalvadorTravellers to Central America often bypass El Salvador, but as the New York Post points out, the frequent reports of violence from that country don’t mean that you can’t safely travel there.
Tourism is still a fledgling industry, but with some of the region’s best surfing, historic sites and incredible coffee, it’s only a matter of time before the masses discover this magical little country.