We continue our rundown of some of the top destinations to visit in 2017. This article is Part 2 of 2. Click here for Part 1.
Tunisia is a melting pot of cultures: spectacular Roman ruins find their home next to spiralling Turkish minarets and colonial French architecture. It has been neglected by tourists in recent years, but if you’re patient and adaptable you’ll find a maelstrom of exciting ideas and experiences. The capital, Tunis, is a particular highlight, with the sprawling medina and the ruins of ancient Carthage. Down the coast you’ll find the walled city Sfax – Africa’s own Capital of Culture – home to some of the best tea in the country at Café Diwan.
Elsewhere in Tunisia you’ll find the Great Mosque of Kairouan, one of the oldest in the world, and the magnificent amphitheatre of El Djem, an ancient relic as big as the Colosseum, without the crowds. Film buffs could even take a trip to Tataouine in the far south of the country to visit the site of Luke Skywalker’s homestead in the original Star Wars, the remains of which are still visible in the desert.
7. North Wales
If you read Lonely Planet, you might have noticed that they’ve named North Wales as one of their top destinations for 2017. It’s not without reason – North Wales has reinvented itself as something of an adventure playground, offering zip lining, rafting, mountaineering, surfing… and golf courses. Behind the scenes, the region has quietly revolutionised its restaurant scene, and also boasts hundreds of excellent pubs in its towns and villages.
Only in North Wales can you go surfing while surrounded by mountains, as you can in the WaveGarden in Snowdonia; if that doesn’t take your fancy, you could always go trampolining in a cave or zip-lining through an abandoned quarry. It’s not only for thrill seekers: North Wales has something to offer for the more relaxed tourist, too. You can browse through independent shops in Colwyn Bay, visit renowned medieval castles in Conwy and Caernarfon – both World Heritage sites – or simply enjoy some fine dining by the Irish Sea. North Wales might not be home to the most popular destinations in the UK, but it’s done enough to make it stand out from the crowd.
This year, you might have heard something about hygge, the Danish art of comfort. It’s the latest in a long line of Nordic exports to the UK, ever since Nordic Noir first hit our screens several years ago. The best way of discovering what hygge really means is to curl up under a blanket with a cup of tea and roaring fire, but, failing that, you could go to Denmark and see how the natives get to grips with it. Whether it’s trendy Copenhagen or historic Aarhus, Denmark is one of the coolest places around.
Luckily for you, Denmark is a very small country, so it’s possible to stay and Copenhagen, using it as a base from which to explore Odense – home of Hans Christian Andersen – and Aarhus, or outside the cities to Legoland and the lush green Island Sea. Staying in the capital wouldn’t go amiss – it’s a haven for contemporary design, fine cuisine and excellent beer, as well as all the historical sights and museums you’d expect to find on the tourist trail. Head there at Christmas, wrap up in a Sarah Lund jumper and settle down with a cup of hot Glögg and you might just find the true meaning of hygge.
Football fans will know a thing or two about Catalonia. After all, it’s the home of mighty FC Barcelona, of Pep Guardiola and Xavi. Barcelona itself is a wonderful, quirky city, combining superb beaches with excellent art museums and a weird, half-finished cathedral; a visit there wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Nou Camp – Europe’s largest football stadium – either for a game or simply for a tour of the ground.
But Catalonia isn’t just Barcelona. There’s also Girona, a beautiful old city within reach of wild Pyrenean scenery, and if you’d rather relax and soak up the Mediterranean sun, the famous Costa Brava has long been the last word in fine beaches and luxurious resort hotels. Millions of visitors a year can’t be wrong! Whether you like wine, festivals, birdwatching, football or art, there’s something for everyone in Catalonia.
10. Hyderabad, India
Hyderabad is a city of contrasts. At this confluence of cultures, languages and religions, you’ll find beautiful old mosques, Hindu temples and British colonial cathedrals bunched together with famous landmarks and superb restaurants. Elsewhere, the gleaming modern metropolis is filled with shopping malls and hi-tech industry juxtaposed with sprawling bazaars. The bustling old walled city, contains some of India’s most spectacular and underappreciated sights including the Charminar Gate and the Golkonda Fort. Hyderabadi food is also exemplary and no visit to this part of the country is complete without sampling a spicy local biryani; the street food here is some of the best in the country.
Since 2017 is the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, there’s nothing more appropriate than a short trip outside of Hyderabad to the Mamanduru Forest Village, home to some unique Indian wildlife. Although you’re unlikely to spot Shere Khan prowling the undergrowth, a trek exploring waterfalls, canyons and even prehistoric rock paintings under the thick canopy of trees is still an excellent way of experiencing India’s natural beauty in an environmentally responsible way.
This article is Part 2 of 2. Click here for Part 1.
El Djem Amphitheatre – Image by Walid Mahfoudh via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
If Carlsberg did Canoeing – Image by Ashley Perkins via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Denmark #15 Odense – Image by Nelson L via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Barcelona – Image by Moyan Brenn via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Bonalu Procession (2013) – 214 – Image by Rajesh_India via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.o)