- British Airways is launching the UK's first-ever direct flights to Chile in January, bringing the South American country closer to British travellers. Highlights include the natural wonders of Patagonia and Atacama, UNESCO-protected sites and world-class wine. The new connection between London Heathrow and Santiago de Chile will be the airline’s longest route, operating four times a week. Try: World Expeditions' Chile: Bike, Hike and Raft holiday which combines the best the country has to offer in 13 days, from £3,290 per person.
The spotlight will be shining on this Nordic gem in 2017 as Finland celebrates the centenary of its independence on 6 December 2017. It’s set to be the most significant commemorative year for this generation of Finns. Events and celebrations will take place throughout the year across the entire country - from outdoor art exhibitions and concerts, to figure skating championships and countless Finnish sauna parties. Try: Trafalgar's 20-day Nordic Adventure trip, from £3,175 per person, to immerse yourself in the Finnish culture.
- To celebrate the vibrant cultural history between the UK and India, 2017 will see a dynamic year-long festival of events and art exhibitions across both countries to mark the cultural ties and India’s 70th anniversary of Indian Independence. Additionally, the British Library’s 1225 Edition of the Magna Carta and Shakespeare's First Folio will tour India and Madame Tussauds is scheduled to open in New Delhi. Try: Wexas Travel's 12-day Essence of Rajasthan experience that takes in Delhi’s rich royal heritage, the beauty of the Taj Mahal and the pink city of Jaipur, from £2,245 per person.
Denmark's second city is a European Capital of Culture in 2017 and a whole host of events and activities will celebrate Aarhus' local culture. Art installations and sculptures will be set up across the city including Life-boats, a sailing sculptural installation along Europe’s waterways and an exhibition called The Garden, where visitors can see and enjoy how art, nature and urban life complement each other via a 4km art trail across the city. Try: Insight Vacations' 15-day Country Roads of Southern Scandinavia holiday which takes in Aarhus over two days, as well as off-the-beaten-track places in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, from £2,750 per person.
- 2017 marks 100 years since the revolution which uprooted the Russian population and replaced Russia’s traditional monarchy with the world’s first Communist state. Considered one of the defining moments of the 20th Century, it began with the abdication of Tsar Nicholas ll, the last Emperor of Russia (15 March 1917) and lead to a seizure of state power (7 November 1917) instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917. Try: Travellers can discover the passion and grandeur of Russian history, art and culture along the country's waterways on Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection's 13-day Imperial Waterways of Russia cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg, from £4,499 per person.
Science fanatics in North America are gearing up for one of the biggest natural events in years, with the first total solar eclipse in continental USA since the 1970s taking place on 21 August 2017. From Oregon in the west, to South Carolina in the east, the centre line will cross through ten states - although everyone in continental USA should be able to see at least a partial eclipse. The total phase of a solar eclipse looks best to the naked eye so no telescopes will be necessary. Try: World Expeditions' 19 August 2017 departure of its 14-day Best of the West trip and you will experience the magnificent solar eclipse at the Yosemite National Park, from £2,195 per person.
- Lonely Planet has named North Wales one of the world's top regions to visit in 2017. The only place in the UK to feature in the Best in Travel 2017 book, North Wales is a playground for thrill-seekers, a haven for foodies, a hideout for stargazers and a goldmine for heritage seekers. But what caught the eye of Lonely Planet, is the way the former industrial landscape has been reinvented and repurposed to create a series of truly world-class attractions, from high-speed zip lining and inland surfing, to underground trampolining in a 176-year-old disused slate mine. Try: Ty Gwyn Coaching Inn is a great base for exploring the delights of North Wales, with rooms starting at £30 per night.
The London-Amsterdam route has always been one of Europe’s largest international airline markets but as of 2017 UK travellers will have a convenient alternative to flying from the heart of the British capital. In December, Eurostar is launching its long-awaited direct, high-speed service between the two cities, which will also call at Antwerp and Rotterdam, allowing for more choice to anyone looking for an easy break across the Channel. Try: Take advantage of the new Eurostar service and venture on a fascinating Amsterdam to Bruges bike and barge trip over eight days with UTracks, from £750 per person.
- 2017 celebrates the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and to mark the occasion there will be plenty of events taking place. Parks Canada, which represents Canada's National Parks, is offering all visitors free admission to national parks, national historical sites and national maritime conservation areas throughout the year. Some of the best celebrations will include huge New Year’s Eve parties in the biggest cities and the Inspiration Village popping up in Ottawa. Try: Wexas Travel's 16-day Rockies and Rainforest self-drive itinerary which includes visits to Vancouver Island, Whistler and the Rocky Mountains, from £2,405 per person.
Despite already being a popular tourist destination thanks to its golden beaches and rolling vineyards, South Africa is set to remain at the top of traveller’s wish lists for 2017. The weakness of the South African Rand against the pound means that those with a thirst for adventure can make an already good-value destination even more affordable. To cater to the increased demand, Thomas Cook Airlines has announced a new direct winter flight from London Gatwick to Cape Town, commencing 15 December 2016 until 20 March 2017, with prices starting from £600. Try: Thomas Cook offers seven-night holidays at the four-star Harbour House Hotel, in Hermanus, from £1,125 per person, including flights.
- Jordan has waived visa fees and introduced a money and time-saving tourist pass to attract more visitors, but even more exciting is the discovery of a new huge monument at Petra buried under the sand and the development of the 370-mile Jordan Trail that crosses the country from north to south. While visiting in 2017, you can visit the 'new' low point on the planet: the Dead Sea, with its surface level that keeps being re-estimated as it drops by more than a metre a year. World Expeditions' five-day Best of Jordan trip, from £750 per person, ticks all the right boxes and is ideal for travellers short on time but eager to sample the country's quintessential delights.
Life just got easier for travellers looking to head to the 'Big Easy' thanks to British Airways' new direct flights to New Orleans launching on 26 March 2017. New Orleans' diverse heritage is the driving force behind the unique and exotic city. The contributions of people from African, the Caribbean, France, Spain, Germany and more created a society unlike any other. Its neighbourhoods are where the culture and creativity of the city come to life, from the historic French Quarter to the elegant Garden District. Try: Wexas Travel's 15-day Rhythms of the Deep South Self-Drive holiday, from £2,945 per person, takes in Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, Natchez, Lafayette and New Orleans.