Best of 2017: The Top 7 Places of the Year
It’s that time of year again, where we take a look back and make those best-of lists of everything from our favourite songs to our favourite flicks. But, in our case, we’re taking a look back at travel: where we’ve been this year, and why they are perennial favourites that keep us wanting to go back again and again. Spoiler alert! We just can’t get enough of our own true, north, strong and free backyard.
Here, click through for our countdown our top 7 best places of 2017.
#7 The United Kingdom and Northern Ireland
Brexit has made Britain (www.visitbritain.com/ca/en) one of the hottest topics of 2017. And, it has impacted the British Pound in a way that makes England (we’re at the gardens at Blenheim Palace, above), Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland much more appealing and affordable. London is worth the splurge, with some of the best hotels and restaurants on the planet. Paired with a vast array of free galleries and museums, well, pip, pip, cheerio. For more on London’s hottest hotels, click here.
Known for its natural wonders, dramatic landscapes and Reykjavik’s up and coming cosmopolitan lifestyle, the sudden, intense surge in demand for this destination that started last year is continuing for 2017. If anything, Iceland is growing in popularity and they are continuing to receive an overwhelming amount of tourist arrivals. But it’s not just Insight or Zoomer that says so. Hotel search engine Booking.com says Reykjavik is the number 1 destination trending globally on the company’s search list. www.visiticeland.com
Greece is a Hall of Fame destination. Its warm people, warmer sunshine and well-honed level of hospitality all help to overcome the country’s economic woes. Its open-arms welcome to the refugee crisis, which resulted in a Nobel Peace Prize nomination – for a country! – shows a people with compassion and generosity, able to rise above. Opa! www.visitgreece.gr
This island, known for its all-inclusive resorts and pristine beaches offers a few other reasons to visit, including nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other island in the Caribbean. Plus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent visit and the pending open relationship with United States has put Cuba on the map. And, according to Virtuoso, the global network of luxury travel agencies, in its 2017 Virtuoso Luxe Report, Cuba topped the list as both an emerging destination and one in danger of losing its distinctive character. gocuba.ca
#3 Hong Kong
MasterChef Canada’s irreverent co-host Alvin Leung has brought a new currency to the Chinese culinary scene to Toronto and around the world. In Canada, the Scarborough, Ont.-raised “Demon Chef” has also partnered with the show’s first winner, chef Eric Chong, to open R&D in Toronto’s Chinatown. But it’s in Hong Kong where this master wields his sharpest knife at Bo Innovation, his three Michelin-starred restaurant. Whether you have a 24-hour layover en route to another destination in Asia or days to explore, Hong Kong offers innumerable ways to immerse yourself in its East-meets-West, Old-meets-New fusion of culture. For a local favourite, and also Michelin recognized, don’t miss dim sum at Tim Ho Wan or braised beef Hong Kong style at Celebrity Cuisine – the city is a veritable foodie paradise. And do sail the harbour at sunset. Take in the city’s skyline while on the Aqua Luna, one of Hong Kong’s remaining traditional red-sail junks. For more on dim sum in Hong Kong, click here.
In Sacred Valley, “enjoy the stunning scenery and panoramic views, then watch as a local shaman performs a centuries-old ritual just for you and expresses reverence to the Earth,” the experts at Insight Vacations told us. In Cusco, meet Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, an expert in traditional weaving, to learn how the TreadRight Foundation is helping protect this ancient skill.
Wallet-friendly alert! It is a second-to-none luxury experience in a relatively accessible exotic destination at accessible prices, making it easy for people to cross Macchu Picchu off their bucket lists. visitperu.com
#1 Canada, from coast to coast: #Canada150
With Canada‘s 150th birthday in 2017, many Canadians are looking to explore their own “backyard,” and here’s a spoiler alert to 2018: The experts at Globus are seeing a great interest in Newfoundland and Labrador – where Celtic and Viking history and Canadian generosity and hospitality go hand in hand. The scenery is spectacular and so is the seafood – and so are we. Read our touring around Newfoundland story here.