If you’re looking for paradise: Seychelles
If you closed your eyes and imagined the perfect beach, it probably wouldn’t be quite as beautiful as the shores of the Seychelles. This fairy ring of islands dropped into the very middle of the Indian Ocean has mountainous jungle interiors and freshly-milled white sand beaches. Each island is a variation on a tropical theme: Mahé is the biggest, pretty Praslin has hiking trails and La Digue is the relaxed hippie neighbour. You can fly direct to Mahé with British Airways from 2018.
That memorable moment: Watching the Glacis boulders pale as the sand beneath them starts to blush pink in the sunset. Best seen on Billboard-beautiful Anse Source D'Argent, arguably La Digue’s most famous beach.
Where to stay: Its pretty Colonial buildings hidden in the rainforest on the edge of Intendance Bay, Mahé, Banyan Tree offers private villas in wildly romantic settings.
New Orleans turns 300 this year and, to mark this special occasion, it’s planning a low-key affair – not!
If you never miss a party: New Orleans
Boozy, bluesy and brilliant fun, New Orleans is set to be even more lively in 2018. The city turns 300 this year and, to mark this special occasion, it’s planning a low-key affair – not! Expect fireworks in April, a jazz fest in June and plenty of parades. Buy yourself a classy white tricentennial souvenir flag to celebrate and find the party on Bourbon Street and French Street. A multi-storeyed po’boy (an unfeasibly large sandwich) should help mop you up afterwards.
That memorable moment: Getting a wave from a bedazzled dancer on a parade float during the riotous February Mardi Gras.
Where to stay: The Monteleone serves typical New Orleans style and is one of the city’s most famous hotels. Elegant it may be, but its rotating merry-go-round themed bar proves it’s also got the city’s sense of fun.
If you’re shooting for the moon: Tenerife
The Canaries are their own little world swept off the coast of Africa. Tenerife, the central island, is dominated by Mount Teide, a massive, dramatic volcano. Near enough to be an easy, inexpensive trip for visiting Europeans, southerly enough to be pleasantly warm all year around, it’s no wonder Tenerife is set to be a top destination in 2018. Plus, its high-altitude Mount Teide national park is great for cyclists – it’s where Olympic teams train. Tenerife is also fantastic for stargazing. If you visit in summer next year you might be around for the total lunar eclipse on 27 July.
That memorable moment: Popping ‘home’ for lunch. Spot a hand-written sign for a ‘Guachinche’ on the side of the road, park up and be served a rustic meal with a bottle of wine out of someone’s kitchen.
Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton Abama is gorgeous and golf-ready, with a championship course wrapped around the hotel and a private golden beach below, reached by funicular railway.
British Airways fly to Nashville from 2018. Holidays with that make you want to dance all night are just a click away.Holidays in Nashville
Blue, white and green – from the air, Seychelles’ true colours shine through.Book flights and holidays
Rattle through the streets. This traditional tram is decorated with classic Portuguese tile designs, known as azulejos.Book Lisbon holidays
If you’re dreaming of Canada: Toronto
A massive, diverse Canadian city with a delicious melting pot of restaurants and bars, a world-renowned film festival and the gorgeous Lake Ontario waterfront a short drive away. Toronto is a great introduction to the east coast of Canada. Admire the city from the CN Tower, shop at the Eaton Centre, then drive just an hour and a half out to see the second largest waterfall in the world: Niagara Falls.
That memorable moment: The first goal of a hockey game at the Air Canada Centre.
Where to stay: In Downtown Toronto, the Fairmont Royal York sits above a trove of underground shopping walkways and is minutes from the city’s highlights. The guest rooms have been newly renovated but the hotel still retains its original 20s glamour.
If you want a pretty city: Lisbon
Let’s hear it for Lisbon. It’s a beautiful, inexpensive, hilly city with great beaches, gorgeous architecture, balmy nights, sangria and great tapas restaurants. In 2018, Lisbon is having its moment in the sun: it’s the host city for the Eurovision Song Contest. But if you want to get away from all the Scandinavian metal bands, you can take a trip to Sintra, a fairy tale town in the hills just half an hour’s drive away that’s replete with castles and palaces.
That memorable moment: When you realise you can buy the city’s famous pasteis nata (custard tarts) in boxes of six.
Where to stay: Altis Avenida is a boutique hotel in an impressive historic building in the centre of Lisbon with sunlit balcony dining on its top floor restaurant.
If you’re all about the country: Nashville
Lights, music action: it’s not just the fried chicken in Nashville that’s hot in 2018, with British Airways launching direct flights to the city from spring. You’ll find Nashvillians host more than just country classics, with major artists stopping to perform in its hallowed spaces. Look out for U2, Harry Styles and Weezer all touring in 2018. A new major art fair, Art Nashville, promises to entice art collectors from around the world to the city, whilst elsewhere in the Deep South civil rights groups are marking 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King.
That memorable moment: Cramming into the tiny Bluebird Café and feeling the hush fall as the first artist starts playing.
Where to stay: The sleek Omni Nashville is full of beautiful design and modern art. The hotel celebrates Nashville’s musical heritage with a guitar-shaped lobby and direct access to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
If you want to celebrate: Tallinn
Tallinn’s got talent – it might be 1,000 years old but it’s an innovative city with a nascent tech scene. Go along for the music festivals, inexpensive bars and beautiful, crumbly architecture. Plus, you can always go on a short ferry trip across to Helsinki, Finland for the ultimate booze-and-cruise. Estonia itself is a little younger than Tallinn and is celebrating its 100th birthday this year on 24 February. Festivities last all through 2018, including an exhibition of the portraits by the recently rediscovered Renaissance painter Michael Sittow.
That memorable moment: Peeking out from the top of the Soviet Teletorn (TV Tower). Whizz to the top of this piece of straight-up seventies Soviet design for views across to Finland.
Where to stay: Pk Ilmarine Hotel is a modern, functional hotel that’s just a matter of metres from the old town.
If it’s your first time in the Middle East: Muscat
Parts of the Middle East have changed beyond recognition in the last few decades. Not Muscat. Oman’s port capital is as cultured, authentic and friendly as it ever was. With a hard limit on building height there are no skyscrapers here. Instead, enjoy keeping your feet firmly on the ground – experience the desert in the interior’s Wahiba Sands, or enjoy your sand with a side of sea on one of the city’s fabulous beaches. Wander the Mutrah Souk, then stand under the world’s largest chandelier in the extravagantly beautiful Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
That memorable moment: Spotting a shooting star in the night sky above the Hajar mountains.
Where to stay: The Chedi is a serene, elegant hotel on the beachfront. It has gorgeous proportions, modern furnishings, three pools and a fitness centre.
If you want a slice of Med life: Croatia
Croatia is a thin slice of coast and a litter of 1,000 islands with Italianate good looks. It’s relatively untrodden, but hurry up and visit – the country’s tourist trail is growing fast in 2018. The Dalmatian coastline is preposterously picturesque, with charming seaside villages and rocky shorelines, whilst the fortified coastal cities of Split and Dubrovnik both have more than their fair share of beautiful buildings and Game of Thrones tours. Inland there are national parks. Kyrka Falls is well worth a journey from the coast.
That memorable moment: Your first dip off the Dalmatian coast in the sparkling cerulean sea.
Where to stay: Le Meridien Lav is chic, impeccably designed and has an 800m stretch of beach just outside.
Be transported by the swirling sands and the stately serenity of Muscat.
The best fish restaurants in Malta are right here in Marsaxlokk, with bobbing fishing boats (protected by painted evil eyes) and a traditional fish market providing the view.Book Malta holidays
There’s always something new to do in New York, but the sunshine yellow cabs never change.Discover New York
If you love Scandi-chic: Copenhagen
Cool, laidback and friendly, Copenhagen rivals Stockholm as the best Scandi capital to visit. The city is small, compact and easy to enjoy. Buy a bit of Nordic design and get all cosy with a cinnamon bun in a café. Copenhagen has a constellation of Michelin stars in its restaurants and a great approach to cooking with an excellent hipster food and bar scene beyond the big Carlsberg factory. Enjoy the pretty canals, the brightly painted houses, The Lousiana Museum of Modern Art just out of town and the gaudy grandeur of the funfair at Tivoli gardens.
That memorable moment: Realising that your hire bike is electric – and comes with a handy sat nav.
Where to stay: The Anderson is a trendy boutique just five minutes from the station. Take advantage of their daily happy hour – a welcome change from Scandinavian prices.
If you’re seeking culture: Malta
Valletta, Malta’s ancient fortified capital, will be Europe’s capital of culture in 2018. This scorching city, cast from an outcrop of yellow stone, has an impressive backstory, fresher-than-fresh seafood and sizzling beaches. Outside the city walls among the caper bushes there are Neolithic settlements and a short trip by boat will take you to the caves, lagoons and bays that make Gozo, the neighbouring island, just as special.
That memorable moment: A visit to the extraordinary collection of chiaroscuro Caravaggio paintings in the Oratory of St John’s Co-Cathedral.
Where to stay: You’ll see Phoenica presiding over the edge of Valletta. This stunning hotel is historic without being stuffy and overlooks the harbour. Enjoy drinks at its original 1950s Club Bar.
If you like it tropical: Barbados
Barbados is the quintessential, cricket-loving Caribbean destination. The sandy beaches in the east are so beautiful they’ll make your eyes water and the rocky western shores are well worth an expedition. When you go exploring look out for the newly-christened Rhianna Drive in St. Michael, named after the island’s most famous export. If you visit in 2018 be sure to stay in the newly-opened Sandals Royal Barbados. It’s one of the most luxurious hotels you can stay at on the island.
That memorable moment: Planters punch sundowners and calypso music come happy hour.
Where to stay: Sandals Royal Barbados is a brand new, all-suite All Inclusive sitting atop a gorgeous beach in St Lawrence Gap.
1,000 island dressing
Put on your flip flops and your sun hat for an island-hopping adventure in Croatia.Book flights
If you prefer it behind the lens: New York
Photography fans, 2018 is a great time to visit New York. In autumn, Fotografiska New York will open on Park Avenue. A branch of Fotografiska in Stockholm, it’s set to be a leading art museum. New York is always a great place to go, with some of the most iconic sights in the world, great shops, hotels and restaurants. Rates are cheapest in January and February, which is great if you want to save your dollars for the January sales on 5th Avenue. But don’t skimp on a good coat and footwear: these are the coldest months in the city.
That memorable moment: Seeing the skyscraper-stacked skyline recede as you cross to Staten Island on the ferry.
Where to stay: Within walking distance of Central Park and Times Square, New York Hilton Midtown is a popular hotel with its very own ice bar.
If you like Pina Coladas: Mykonos
There’s no getting round the fact that most of the people on their way to Mykonos are going there to party. Greece’s Ibiza is swimming in nightlife and is known for its fun gay scene. If you make it out in the daytime, there are good beaches and clear Aegean waters right by Mykonos town and you can admire the picturesque views of the white windmills from your waterfront table in the centre. Day trips to the twin beauties of the ruined temples of Delos and the classy sugar cube houses of Santorini will be a breath of fresh air after all that ouzo.
That memorable moment: The sun rising at the end of a party at Tropicana on Paradise Beach.
Where to stay: Keep things stylish by staying at one of the villas in the Myconian Villa Collection and enjoy cool Cycladic design and the views from the infinity pool.
If you want to hit the west coast: Oakland
If you want to be clever about visiting San Francisco, fly into Oakland. Not only is it a quicker drive, but you also get the benefits of discovering another quirky Californian city – Oakland itself. When the fog blows over San Fran, the streets on opposite side of the bay often stay sunny. Arty and diverse, Oakland’s sights include a glass cathedral, hidden street art and a trove of nice boutiques. Eat seafood on the shore of Lake Merritt, or at the fish restaurants lining Jack London Square. It’s inexpensive and fun to see a baseball game here alongside the city’s famously zealous fans. Cheer on the Oakland A’s at their home stadium.
That memorable moment: Checking out twin city skylines from the San Francisco Bay Ferry.
Where to stay: Marine-themed to match its setting, the Waterfront Hotel is perfectly situated. It has great views across the bay and is right near Oakland’s main shops and restaurants on Jack London Square.