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2017 brings us new and exciting destinations. Some are old favourites reimagined, others are completely new kids on the block. Even the most seasoned tourist will find some thrilling discoveries here. From a lesser-known trekking route in the Balkan corner of Europe to the snowy drifts of Finland, be one of the first to hop on the plane and explore!

 

Independent Finland celebrates together

Summer of Helsinki, Finland.

Finland’s big day is looming — a centenary of the country’s independence. This celebration will make it an excellent holiday destination with a difference in 2017. Traditionally known for its snow-covered, unspoiled wilderness in winter, some truly stunning trekking routes in the summer, and steamy saunas all year round, Finland has something else planned for 2017. Expect a big “together” party, with the capital’s main street, Mannerheimintie, turning into an outdoor dance floor. Töölönlahti Bay will light up the sky with spectacular fireworks at midnight on December 31st marking the country’s transition into the new century.

 

Bordeaux reinvented

Square in St.Emilion Gironde, Aquitaine, France

The sun-kissed vineyards of the Bordeaux region meant that the area had become synonymous with fine wine. However, over the past few years, the city itself has become one of France’s most vibrant and exciting destinations. A huge renovation effort means that much of the city’s historic architecture has never looked better, and a new high-tech public transport system makes exploring this southern French town easy and enjoyable. If you like your food done well and your wine flowing, Bordeaux should definitely be on your itinerary… especially in June 2017, when the city’s annual VINEXPO event will be showcasing the world’s finest tipples.

A diamond in the rough — Colombia is starting to shine

Cartagena, Colombia - December 19, 2014: People fillip up the seats in Plaza Santo Domingo, a plaza popular among locals and tourists in Cartagena, Colombia.

Though some might argue that Colombia is still a little rough around the edges, the country is definitely developing, and the capital, Bogota, is fast evolving into a vibrant tourist destination, with plenty of boutique hotels and fine eateries popping up across the city. Fun fact of the day: Colombia decriminalised graffiti in 2011, which marked the beginning of a new era of stunning street art covering many of the city’s walls. You won’t find any in Cartagena though — Latin America’s most beautiful city is famous for its stunning architecture as much as for its sandy beaches and plentiful sunshine.

Best 2017 travel destination — Canada is about to party big time

Epic Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Bristish Columbia

Being Lonely Planet’s Best Travel Destination 2017, Canada has a lot going for it. The world’s second-biggest country is famous for the beautiful and vast swathes of wilderness, rocky hiking trails and marine wildlife spotting. And Niagara Falls require no introductions! The urban tourism here also has a lot to offer. From Vancouver to Winnipeg to Toronto, the cities have plenty of history, culture and nightlife to suit every traveller. And with 2017 marking the 150-year anniversary of the country’s confederation, expect plenty of festivities and celebrations across the country.

Walking, wine and heritage — the Balkan Via Dinarica trail

Beautiful summer sunset over Tara Mountain Range in western Serbia.

For serious outdoor junkies, Via Dinarica is the hottest new trekking route that’s fast growing in popularity. Traversing the Western Balkans from Slovenia all the way down to Macedonia, the route crosses several countries, each with their own identity and heritage. Ascend the mountainous peaks at leisure and descend into the valleys, where numerous villages nestle and the traditional way of life is still preserved. Local gastronomy is truly wonderful and each village will have its own delicacy to showcase. So, get those walking boots on and start exploring!

 

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