I have always hated the idea that X is the “new” place to go. But I do believe that there are places that are particularly relevant at a moment in time. I also find that destinations can have moods, which become determining factors in how much I enjoy my time there. For instance, just as I am attracted to people who are optimistic and enterprising, I am inspired by destinations that exhibit these same sensibilities. Looking to the year ahead, these are the places that I would encourage people to travel to now because their spirits are palpable, particularly distinct and relevant. Moreover, many are destinations on the verge of change, so I encourage you to go now so you don’t miss a special window into a place and time.
Why Go Now: Because it really could become the next financial capital of Europe and you can feel the excitement.
With the youngest population in Europe, its fastest growing economy and a chance at replacing England as the next center of business in Europe, Ireland manages to meld its ancient history with a forward-looking attitude. Dublin teems with great gastropubs, and young designers as well as techies who work for Google, Airbnb, Facebook all have offices here. With Belmond’s launch of the Grand Hibernian and the beautifully renovated Ashford Castle and one of our favorite country house hotels anywhere—Ballyfin, there are now great ways to explore the countryside in style as well.
Who Should Go: History buffs and lovers of the outdoors
Read More: Indagare’s Ireland destination report.
Related: Spotlight on Ashford Castle
Why Go Now: Because Botswana offers seriously authentic safari experiences and is a role model for sustainable conservation.
Botswana celebrated 50 years of independence in 2016, and in that time, it has grown from a poor British protectorate to the fastest growing economy in the world that is lauded as a beacon of wildlife conservation. The country’s low volume, low impact approach to tourism has resulted in some of the most exclusive luxury camps in Africa, with a real sense of remoteness in their lack of fences within vast private concessions. There are now three flights weekly from Cape Town to Maun, the entryway to the Okavango Delta, making it an easy combination for travelers who want to combine the dynamism of the South African coast with the authenticity of a Botswana safari.
Who Should Go: Travelers who want an authentic safari experience
Read More: Indagare’s Botswana destination report.
Related: Bostwana Indagare Journey
Why Go Now: Peru offers multidisciplinary magic in a destination that still feels like a secret discovery.
Visitors headed to Peru expect to be astonished by Macchu Pichu, one of the great wonders of the world, but there is so much more to the country than its most famous landmark. The Sacred Valley evokes the drama of the Grand Canyon; Cusco has been called Florence of South America because of its incredible cultural treasures and Peruvian food was declared one of the world’s most influential as far back as the 19th century by the great French chef Escoffier. Peru’s layers of history including the eras of the Incas, the Conquistadors and even the Shining Path are fascinating as are the Indian villages of Lake Titicaca and the Amazon expeditions that can be added to an itinerary.
Who Should Go: Outdoor adventurists, epicureans, families
Read More: Indagare’s Peru destination report.
Related: Peru Indagare Journey
Why Go Now: Because, as the fourth most entrepreneurial country in the world, you will find yourself looking at things in a new and refined way. The stunning city of Stockholm, with more than 50 bridges connecting its islets, offers a great mix of history and hipness (think fashion-forward concept stores, design boutiques and avant-garde eateries). Stockholm’s SoFo (south of Folkungagatan) neighborhood is a seven-block area with great one-of-a-kind shopping. Plus, the outstanding Ett Hem, a 12-room property located in a posh townhouse, provides reason enough to visit the Scandinavian city.
Who Should Go: Design lovers and outdoor enthusiasts
Read More: Indagare’s Stockholm destination report.
Related: Neighborhood Spotlight: SoFo
Why Go Now: The country is resolute and offers a special glimpse into a region in flux.
As a safe haven in the midst of turmoil in the Middle East, Jordan stands a tiny but fierce bastion of peace. While war rages in Syria and terrorist acts continue to keep visitors away from Egypt, in Jordan you can visit one of the greatest historic monuments, Petra; sleep in a luxury tented camp in Wadi Rum; float in the Dead Sea (while it still exists) and see the Dead Sea scrolls, all in the company of the incredibly warm and hospitable Jordanian people who can offer an incredible lens on the issues of the modern Middle East.
Who Should Go: Adventurers, history buffs and families
Read More: Indagare’s Jordan destination report.
Why Go Now: The country is newly energized with a young and diverse population.
There’s a renaissance happening in the land of the explorers, and well-heeled travelers are taking notice. Chefs, designers, inspired entrepreneurs and the like are flocking, daily, to Lisbon and Porto, lured by the inexpensive rent, easily confirmed visas (the Golden Visa program, where non-European citizens can live without a visa if they invest in companies in the country) and the attraction of living in one of Europe’s most enterprising countries. Collaboration quotients are high and so not only are the cities seeing new restaurants, shops and ateliers pop up constantly, but also group endeavors, like concept stores that host pieces by multiple artisans plus a café, restaurant or two. Portugal is quickly becoming a favorite spot for those who appreciate great value for money and want to experience a European country where the entrepreneurial spirit and optimism is on display in new ventures, including sleek resort hotels.
Who Should Go: Travelers who enjoy visiting up-and-coming destinations
Read More: Indagare’s Portugal destination report.
Related: Why Go Now: Portugal
Why Go Now: Japan exhibits an amazing juxtaposition of modern life and ancient ritual—a balance that becomes ever more relevant for us all to reconcile.
Almost very aspect of daily life in Japan has been transformed into a ritual. Taking a bath involves a special ceremony of scrubbing and dousing; there are ceremonies around breakfast, tea, entering a home; preparing a bed; even the opening of a department store. I found that the ritualization of daily life forced me to appreciate not just the moment but reconsider how we are present in our day’s at home as well. Exploring Japan allows us to examine how to embrace the old with the new, the urban and the rural.
Who Should Go: Culture hounds, foodies, families
Read More: Indagare’s Japan destination report.
Related: Favorite Finds: Japan
Why Go Now: Because France needs you and your support.
The city is reeling still from the Bataclan massacre and the country from the Nice attacks of last summer. Parisians may be proud but their beloved capital, which thrives on its tourism industry, has been severely wounded. This poignancy makes the city even more romantic and dramatic. In addition, the Ritz has reopened as have special museums like the Picasso and the Rodin; the food is as wonderful as ever but it’s easy to get reservations almost everywhere and the dollar is strong so shopping, whether in the Marais or in the flea market, is more fun.
Who Should Go: People who love culture, shopping, food and romance
Read More: Indagare’s Paris destination report.
Related: Paris Restaurants to Know Now
Why Go Now: Because its climate (and tourist market) is changing and it is worth seeking out its untouched wildernesses.
In Iceland, one minute you might find yourself wandering through field of flowers; but then a short drive can take you to a glacier where you can explore active volcanoes or later traverse an arid desert. Herein lies the magic of Iceland—a country with such remarkable and quick-changing landscapes that it offers thousands of activities for the outdoor adventurer. The country welcomed a record number of tourists in 2016, and that number will surely rise this year, as Iceland’s first five-star hotel is opening at the Blue Lagoon and worldwide climate change threatens to alter the country’s landscapes all the more. Come now while it is still possible to get away from the crowds and into stark natural beauty.
Who Should Go: Outdoor enthusiasts, families
Read More: Indagare’s Iceland destination report.