Scotland named a must-visit holiday destination for 2017

Single-track road through the Scottish Highlands

Scotland is the second best country in the world to visit in 2017, according to Rough Guides.

The travel guides publisher said it was Scotland's "wildlife, whisky and a wonderfully warm welcome" that made Scotland a top holiday destination, as well as a host of new reasons to visit in 2017.

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"Chief among the new developments is the North Coast 500, a rugged road-trip route through the Highlands, past isolated bothies, white-sand beaches and top-notch surf spots," says Rough Guides.

It adds that Scotland's food and drink scene is rapidly evolving, with Glasgow one of the best places for culinary experimentation, while even Scotland's remote pubs offer bottles from microbreweries.

2017 also marks the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book, giving film and literary lovers a great excuse for a trip.

Jacobite steam train on Glenfinnan Viaduct from Fort William to Mallaig.

Rough Guides advises travellers to "hop on the Jacobite steam train (also known as the Hogwarts Express) for a magical journey over mountains and freshwater lochs, hang out in JK Rowling's charming Edinburgh haunts, or hike out to the site of Hagrid's hut in awe-inspiring Glen Coe".

India was named the number one country to visit in 2017 thanks to the economic revolution introducing new wealth into booming cities and technology spreading into unlikely corners. It is now easier to travel to India, with the launch of e-Tourist Visas.

Around Europe, Rough Guides recommends Portugal and Finland for your 2017 holiday, while long-haul travellers should venture into Canada, Nicaragua and Uganda.

See the ten places you must visit in 2017, according to Rough Guides...

Rough Guides' top 10 countries to visit in 2017
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Rough Guides' top 10 countries to visit in 2017
With India celebrating 70 years of independence this year, and new e-Visas making it easier to visit than ever before, it’s Rough Guides’ top destination for 2017. Come to immerse yourself in the compelling cities of a country racing towards the future at breakneck speed, or to explore off the tourist track in the vast rural areas that remain relatively undiscovered.
There’s never been a better year to visit Scotland. J.K. Rowling fans can trace the author’s inspiration on the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Adventure enthusiasts can go off-grid on an epic road-trip along the Highlands’ new North Coast 500 (hailed as Scotland’s Route 66). And those after more sedate pleasures will find a blossoming food and drink scene, with microbreweries and inventive restaurants popping up across the country.
Canada’s 150th anniversary means a slew of fantastic events this year, showcasing everything from the country’s chart-topping music scene to its magnificent national parks. Yet most deserving of visitors’ attention are new developments in Aboriginal tourism, which offer crucial insight into the history of the people who have preserved these lands for generations – and the the challenges they now face.
Uganda’s incredible biodiversity and spectacular landscapes are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve. In 2017, expect this under-explored country to compete with neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania for international visitors. Unparalleled opportunities to see wildlife conservation up close – notably the magnificent mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – are one of the biggest draws. Go now, before the rest of the world catches on.
Whether you want to soak up Bolivia’s truly astonishing scenery or follow in the footsteps of Che Guevara along the “Che Trail” (this year marks the 50th anniversary of his death), make 2017 the year you visit one of South America’s least-appreciated destinations. While visitor numbers remain fairly low, recent droughts mean it’s also more important than ever to invest in the country's wide range of eco-friendly tourism initiatives.
Central America’s largest nation should be top of any adventure traveller’s bucket list in 2017. Nicaragua's new flight routes, affordable prices and some of the region’s most intrepid activities – think sloth-spotting in dense jungle or 'volcano boarding' down an active peak – are just a few of the reasons to come. You’ll find Nicaraguans to be warm and welcoming, and today there’s little to substantiate the country’s reputation as a dangerous destination.
From its booming cities to its balmy coastline, Portugal is thriving. If you’re looking for some of Europe’s best weather and coolest cutting-edge culture, this is the place to come. Check out the burgeoning creative scene in Lisbon, indulge in the country’s food-and-drink capital, Porto, or sample the traditional way of life in little-visited fishing villages on the coast.
There are events aplenty in Finland this year, including celebrations of the country’s centenary of independence and the grand opening of the its fortieth national park. Whatever you come to see, you’ll find Finland to be one of Europe’s most enigmatic destinations. Take time to throw yourself into local life, whether that’s in the front row at a music festival or in a steamy sauna overlooking the Baltic sea.
Tourism in Namibia is finally taking off, and 2017 is a great time to plan a trip. Visit this year to discover a country packed with unforgettable experiences: floating high above the Kalahari in a hot-air balloon; shipwreck-spotting on the almost unfathomable expanse of the Skeleton Coast; walking beneath the sun-blackened trees of Dead Vlei. Whether you’re a budding photographer or adventure-travel addict, you’ll find a trip to remember.

Taiwan’s heady mix of high-tech design, diverse cuisine, ancient sights and untouched countryside is only just starting to get the international recognition that has long been deserved. Get here before visitor numbers skyrocket, and you’ll find some of the world’s best night markets, most beautiful temples and plenty of blissful sub-tropical shores.


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