Thursday, 2 August 2018

The 25 places you need to visit in 2018, according to the world's top travel experts

According to Business Insider, the more you travel, the more you realise there's so much of the world still to discover.

In order to help you put together your 2018 travel bucket list, Business Insider asked the world's most esteemed travel experts — from the likes of Airbnb and Lonely Planet to independent bloggers and backpacking Instagrammers — for the one destination everyone should visit in the new year.
Including three experts who simply couldn't pick just one location, their answers have been compiled into a list of must-see places to visit in 2018.

Whether it's a spot set to be the next big travel trend or a completely under-the-radar natural phenomenon that you need to see in your lifetime, scroll on to discover the 25 best places to visit in 2018, according to the world's leading travel experts.

Trek to the Royal Highlander Festival in Laya — the highest settlement in Bhutan.

Sebastiaan Rijntjes, Co-Founder of travel blog Lost With Purpose, believes that the trek to Bhutan's highest settlement, Laya, should be on every seasoned traveller's bucket list for 2018.

"In October, Bhutan will celebrate its third annual Royal Highlander Festival in Laya — one of the highest settlements in the world at almost 4,000 metres," Rijntjes said.

"The festival celebrates Himalayan nomad culture, so expect highlander sports such as archery and horse riding, yak beauty contests, and endlessly colourful nomad attire. If you're lucky, you might even get to meet the king of Bhutan!"

Watch classic cars cruise past in Viñales, Cuba.

Tom McDermott, Editor at online shop and journal Huckberry, believes the colourful streets and lush countryside of Viñales, Cuba, is a destination everyone should take the time to experience in 2018.

"The surrounding countryside is incredibly beautiful, and the town square is full of live music and dancing until late into the night," he said.

"Stay at Casa Dovales for some of the best home-cooked meals around, walk towards the Mural de la Prehistoria to find brightly painted homes nestled in the foothills, or spend some time playing cards at a local cafe and watching the classic cars cruise down the street."

 Catch a wave along the Alentejo Coast, Portugal.

Maya Goldfine, Product Editor at Huckberry, endorses the clear waves and breathtaking cliffs of Sines and Porto Covo along the Alentejo coastline in Portugal.

"São Torpes is my favourite surf spot. The beaches are empty and the waves easy to ride — and the water doesn't chill you to the bone, which is unusual for the Atlantic coast," Goldfine said.

"The area is just as amazing as the ever-popular Algarve coast, but far less visited, especially by American tourists. It's definitely a locals-only vacation spot."

Soak up some culture in Valletta, Malta.

Valletta, capital of Malta, is a highly-underrated holiday destination according to Dmitrijus Konovalovas — Co-Founder and Managing Director of travel inspiration and itinerary building website IQPlanner.

"Valletta, European Capital of Culture 2018, is offering a packed calendar of events to add to its existing charm," he said.

Support the communities beaten down by 2017's hurricanes across the Caribbean Islands.

As well as Valetta, Konovalovas believes there will be an upswing in socially responsible tourism in 2018.

"Given recent events in the Caribbean, we believe there’ll be a movement aimed at supporting these beloved destinations that depend upon tourism," he said.

"Now is the time to find a well-priced Caribbean holiday and to support the region as it recovers [from Hurricanes Maria and Irma in September and October this year]."

Descend into the carved depths of Antelope Canyon, Utah, USA.

Antelope Canyon in Utah features all of the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the Grand Canyon with a fraction of the queues, according to Pablo Carrington — Managing Director of luxury independent hotel group Marugal.

"Less well-known than the Grand Canyon and much smaller, these slot canyons are spectacular and, depending on the time of day, you can visit them with no other tourist in sight," Carrington said.

Find some peace in Tokyo, Japan.

"My favourite city on earth is Tokyo," said Gilbert Ott, founder of air miles advice website God Save The Points.

"It’s always a good time to go there, but as they begin to prepare for the 2020 Olympics, there’s already a special buzz about the place.

"It has this reputation for being manic, but most of it is really not. It’s actually the most orderly place on earth, and you could eat dinner off the streets. The politeness of the people and culture is something you have to see to believe."

Sail to Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia.

"The place that stole the show for me this year — and will no doubt be ruined within five years — is Nusa Lembongan," Ott said.

"It’s a 30-minute boat ride from Bali, and it’s equally if not more beautiful but with virtually no one on it.

"Tourists are starting to find it more and more, but it remains beautiful beyond words and extremely cheap. Massages are $7 (£5.30) an hour, and a chef for the night for up to four people is less than $50 (£38) all in — dishes, ingredients, everything."

Wrap up warm and catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights in Iceland.

Niamh Walsh, Chief Editor of travel search platform HolidayPirates, believes the trend will be "looking north" for travel in 2018.

"Whether it's heading to Iceland to see the Northern Lights, Norway to see the Fjords, or simply a visit to Santa in Lapland, people are definitely eschewing the normal, sunny holiday destinations in favour of something more out-of-the-box," Walsh said.

"Seeing the Northern Lights is something adventurous travellers will find easier to do in 2018. Until recently, it's always been difficult and expensive to access many of the regions where they're at their brightest and most beautiful.

"But with more airlines offering low-cost routes to Iceland, this breath-taking natural phenomenon will be much more accessible — and this extra special experience should not be missed."

Spy on some of Chile's most remote wildlife along the Terra do Fogo archipelago.

"Chile is definitely a hot spot for UK travellers in 2018," said David Warne, Product and Commercial Director of luxury and tailor-made holiday company Wexas Travel.

"In recent years, Chile's more remote, activity-led destinations and excursions have become a key reason to consider the country for a getaway. Patagonia and Atacama are must-see destinations, especially Tierra Patagonia — a stunning hotel set on the edge of Lake Sarmiento — and Alto Atacama — known for its spectacular views for stargazing," Warne said.

Kayak across Lake Bled, Slovenia.

When it comes to jaw-dropping natural beauty, James Asquith, founder of app Holiday Swap and the youngest person to visit every country in the world, says travellers should look no further than Slovenia's Lake Bled.

"Chances are that you recognise the picturesque Lake Bled, just not know it by name. Stunning in its own right all year round, with activities to suit all weather, Lake Bled is a must-see natural site," Asquith said.

Learn all about the astonishing slave history at Whitney Plantation, Louisiana.

For Abi King, Writer and Founder of conscientious and luxury travel blog InsideTheTravelLab, Whitney Plantation on Louisiana's Great River Road boasts incredible views and unbelievable historic sites relating to the historic slave trade in the Deep South of the US.

"Not only will you find the legendary hospitality of America’s Deep South, see beautiful bayous, and taste grits and gumbo, but you’ll gain insight from visiting the first museum to show life through the eyes of the people enslaved in the US," King said.

Grab some tapas in Seville, Spain.

Tom Hall, Editorial Director of travel expert brand Lonely Planet, is backing the Spanish city of Seville in 2018.

"Fabulous food, beautiful architecture, great weather. No wonder Lonely Planet voted Seville the top city to visit in 2018," Hall said.

Snap stunning holiday photos while immersed in the Azores archipelago's wildlife on Sao Miguel Island.

For James McClure, General Manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb, travellers should head to the island of Sao Miguel, Portugal for an idyllic holiday destination.

"Last year, I visited The Azores and stayed in a listing on Airbnb on Sao Miguel island," McClure said. "The countryside is a beautiful mix of New Zealand, the Peak District, and Jurassic Park.

"Volcanic lakes, forested hills, hot springs, plus beautiful old cobbled streets in the towns make up this idyllic location."

 Cruise past Norway's Trollfjord.

According to Chris Austin, Senior Vice President of luxury cruise firm Seabourn, "There's nothing lovelier than a Scandinavian summer — especially on a cruise.

"Sail through marquee ports such as Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, and St. Petersburg. Visit hidden harbours, sheltered coves, and glide between the magnificent towering cliffs in Norway’s Trollfjord. From here, you can take part in kayaking, Zodiac cruising, and some scenic trekking experiences," Austin said.

Feel like the only tourist in Tunis, Tunisia.

When it comes to local hospitality, ancient landscapes, and neighbourhoods untouched by tourism, travel photographer and Passion Passport community member Zach Murphy thinks the Tunisian capital has it all.

"When I arrived, I was blown away by incredible hospitality, as well as cultural and historical sights I could have never imagined. I went to some of the most remote places in the Sahara desert and got way off the beaten path with a couple dollars and complete strangers," Murphy said on his Instagram account.

"I drank hundreds of tiny coffees with old men on the side of the street and declined just as many cigarette offers. I walked around historical ruins in cliffs that seemed to have been deserted yesterday yet held ancient secrets to wealthy Arab kingdoms. I got lost in winding old towns where I was the only tourist. But I was never hassled, never had to haggle, and really felt like I could seamlessly fit in with the local flow of life."

 Hike to the Callandish Stones in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland.

Paul Hughes, CEO and Founder of minibreak index Rare Escapes, believes that travellers need look no further than Scotland's Outer Hebrides for their next adventure.

"Everyone has to visit the Outer Hebrides on the West Coast of Scotland," Hughes said.

"This is a land shrouded in ancient history, with spectacular standing stones [Callandish Stones] sat in a landscape of beautiful white sand beaches, mountains, Golden Eagles, and — best of all — there won’t be another tourist in sight."

Take a road trip to Gullfoss, Iceland.

"My wife and I don’t enjoy busy cities or tourist-centric place, so for us, Iceland is perfect," said travel photographer Lachlan Menzies, who goes by @loch_irl on Instagram.

"If you can (weather permitting), hire a car and take your time. Four hours out of the capital city, in any direction, you get a sense of isolation. The culture still has many components which hark back to Iceland’s small hamlets when people lived off the land and sea."

Menzies, who described Iceland's landscape as "prehistoric," recommended Gullfoss waterfall for an unforgettable landmark that photography will never do true justice.

 Grab a spa break in Tallinn, Estonia.

Online travel and leisure retailer analysed data on the fastest growing destinations this year in order to determine the biggest travel trends for 2018. The city on the top of their list was Estonia's capital city — Tallinn.

Reigo Eljas, Country Director at, said: "I might be a bit biased as this is my hometown, but Tallinn is the perfect destination to start the new year as you mean to go on with a warm spa break in the winter.

"Also, it’s not every year a country turns 100 — so join the celebrations and combine a visit here with a trip to Helsinki (just a two-hour ferry ride). We think a combination twin-city break will be a huge trend for 2018."

Jump on a train to Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Amsterdam is also going to see an uptake in minibreaks from British travellers, according to's predictions.

"Amsterdam has become a hub of hot hotels and slick restaurants," Eljas said.

"The new Eurostar route from London in spring 2018 will really open up Amsterdam for a more relaxed and convenient way of travel — particularly for repeat visitors, who can include a quick day stopover in Brussels, too."

Party on the beaches of Dakar, Senegal.

India Dowley, Digital Editor of Suitcase Magazine, told us that, while Ghana's been a big destination for UK travellers in 2017, Senegal will be the next west African hotspot.

"Senegal is another emerging west African destination, thanks to its great beaches for surfing, music venues, culture, and food," she said.

Surfing spots around Dakar, Senegal's capital, aren't in short supply, and a keen surfer can find good waves all year round here.

See the frozen waters of Lake Baikal, Russia.

"The more you travel the more it seems to you that you don't travel enough!" said Instagram stars and travel bloggers Murad and Nataly Osmann — the beauty and brains behind viral photography account @followmeto.

"All the places we've been to are worth-seeing, but if you ask us to name one place, we would say that Lake Baikal is definitely a must-see in 2018. It's the world's largest freshwater lake and the world's deepest lake. It was a crazy trip and we were so amazed to see it frozen over that we made a series about it."

 Stargaze in Teide National Park, Tenerife.

Cristina Pereira, Royal Concierge Manager at the Royal Hideaway Corales Resort, believes that Teide National Park in Tenerife deserves to be recognised as a holiday hotspot in 2018.

"Considered one of the best places in the world for stargazing, we recommend that our guests [at the Royal Hideaway Corales Resort, Tenerife] visit Teide National Park," Pereira said.

"Here, they can stargaze from an altitude of over 3,55o metres in a landscape with practically no light pollution whatsoever. We recommend guests admire this awe-inspiring natural spectacle from Teide National Park's cable cars, where they can be accompanied by an expert astronomer."

Sail over Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland in a ski lift.

"Switzerland is phenomenal. From the snow-capped alpine regions to the countless waterfalls and green landscapes, picture-perfect scenery lurks around every corner," said Jonny Clayton, the keen Aussie traveller behind travel Instagram account @jonny.melon and travel blog Dare To Travel.

"Lauterbrunnen, the valley of 72 waterfalls, is Mother Nature at its finest!" Clayton said.

Take in the culture of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"Bosnia and Herzegovina is definitely the place to be in 2018," said travel Instagrammer Mili Shah, known on the platform as @runway_wings.

"Sarajevo is a magical city where people from all over the world amalgamate to create a wonderful puzzle. But Mostar is another culture in itself and cannot be missed.

"Visit the 16th Century Stari Most bridge to witness a 450-year-old tradition where divers get together once a year and dive 20 metres into the cold waters of the Neretva River."

Source: Business Insider UK| See the original article here.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

22 reasons why everyone is going to Portugal right now

According to The Telegraph everyone seems to be going to Portugal right now. Indeed, this week the country reported gleefully on another record year for overseas arrivals. Just over 12.7 million foreigners visited the country in 2017 – up 12 per cent year-on-year. Here's why it is proving so popular.

 1. Lisbon’s timeworn charm
“Set against the ever-present backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, this dainty sun-kissed city lives in a Latin fairytale of timeworn manners and traditions,” says Telegraph Travel’s Lisbon expert, Guyan Mitra. “Check out the century-old wooden trams and iron funiculars that still lurch and rumble their way through the city. Or witness the best of this bygone heritage by wandering through the Baixa district, where age-old herbalists, haberdashers and tailors rub shoulders in the baroque streets of the ornate city centre.” Portugal's capital is a "Latin fairytale" according to our expert.
2. Pretty Porto
“With its medieval heart, contemporary buzz, magnificent gold-leaf-laced churches – oh, and a rather nice signature tipple – Portugal’s second city merits a visit at any time,” writes Telegraph Travel’s Adrian Bridge. Carved in two by the Douro river, downtown Porto has a faded sophistication, while the seaside suburbs have witnessed something of a renaissance in recent years, home as they are to a burgeoning collection of bars, restaurants and cafes, which offer an authentic slice of local life.

3. The wine, of course
Portugal’s national drink (port or porto) is ubiquitous across the country, particularly in its eponymous home. Any bar and restaurant worth its salt will sell the fortified wine, but for larger quantities head to one of Portugal’s plentiful off-licences, which sell anything from dusty, 100-year-old bottles worth €1,000, to more affordable vintages.

 4. The Harry Potter connection – and a spectacular bookshop
JK Rowling taught English in Porto back in the 1990s and was a regular at the Livraria Lello bookstore, which is one of the most famous shops in the city. Apparently, its decorative bookcases, carved wooden ceilings and lavish staircases inspired the Hogwarts Library in her Harry Potter books.

 5. Freshly-baked pastel de natas
Nowhere does custard tarts (or pastel de natas, as they’re called here) quite like Portugal. And perhaps nowhere in Portugal does them as well as Pasteis de Belém in Lisbon, which is why queues for the sweet, rich and perfectly crisp tarts often stretch along the pavement.
6. The weather
Perched on the western edge of Europe, Lisbon is the continent’s sunniest capital city, boasting an average of 2,799 hours of sunshine a year, pipping Athens, which has 2,771 hours of sun a year, to the post.
7. It has Madeira
“Madeira is not Ibiza. It attracts a more mature clientele, and raving is limited to enthusing about the island’s dramatic scenery and botanical wonders,” writes Telegraph Travels’ destinations expert, Gavin Bell. Bell was particularly enthused by the island’s cornucopia of fine food and wine, plus the landscapes which he said could have been “dreamt up by Tolkien”.  

8. Your pound goes further
The vote for Brexit hit travellers in the wallet, but trips to Portugal soften the blow. Yes, it takes the euro, but the country remains one of the most affordable destinations on the Continent, offering visitors the elegance of Western Europe for Eastern European prices. In fact, in its annual Holiday Money Report, the Post Office declared Portugal the second best value destination for a European getaway, after Bulgaria. 
9. This bridge
Located in Lisbon, this record-breaking structure is named after the famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama.

10. This spectacular stadium
Portugal’s unexpected victory at Euro 2016 ignited further interest in a sport that already enjoys semi-religious status across the country. There are bountiful opportunities to watch a game, but for something special head to Estádio Municipal de Braga, a stadium carved out of a rock. Listen out for the phrase “o jogo Inglês”, which means “the English game” and is used disparagingly to describe boring football. Charming. 

11. You can whack people with mallets
St John’s Day (June 23) is celebrated with gusto in Porto. There are church services, all-night parties and, weirdly, inflatable mallets, which are used to club fellow revellers with.
12. The beaches are exquisite
Portugal’s exquisite coastline, reliable weather and fine seaside resorts make it one of Europe’s best destinations for a beach break
13. The waves
Thanks to the rolling swell of the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is one of Europe’s best surfing destinations with a wave for every ability. Best of all, the breaks are relatively uncrowded.
14. It boasts ‘Europe’s answer to Hawaii’
Floating in the Atlantic Ocean, some 850 miles from mainland Portugal, the Azores was described as “the Hawaii of the Atlantic” by Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater. “They are lost in deep seas; steep-sided, beautiful, wild,” he wrote. “This is not to say the weather matches the glow of Pacific America – cloud and rain dog the Azores as much as sunshine – but such climactic inconstancy only adds to the aesthetic. Every day is different.”

15. Its secret cities 
Everyone has heard of Lisbon and Porto, but how about Guimarães, Tavira and Sintra? If those names don’t ring any bells you’re missing out on an opportunity to discover what Portuguese cities were like before the tourists arrived.
16. Opulent hotels abound
And because money goes further in Portugal, a luxury stay is refreshingly affordable.
17. The nightlife
From the thronging streets of Lisbon and Porto to the pumping seaside resorts of the Algarve, Portugal’s love for a night on the tiles is no secret. Less known, however, is the country’s growing affection for Afro-house, which is being imported from Africa like its going out of fashion. The genre has found fertile ground in Lisbon’s vivacious clubbing scene, but it’s poised to spread across the country.   
18. Fado bars
At the core of Portugal's musical tradition is the distinctive song form, fado – literally “fate” – which is predominantly slow, resigned and melancholy in character. The music is lyrical, soulful and accompanied by guitars – the Spanish-style guitar known in Portuguese as viola and the Portuguese pear-shaped guitarra. To catch a live performance drop into one of the country’s wonderful fado houses.

 19. It’s home to Europe’s most underrated river
The Douro might not conjure the imagery of the Seine or even the Thames, but it’s comfortably one of the most beautiful waterways in Europe, as it snakes through vineyards, bucolic villages and Porto, where it is spanned by the city’s iconic iron bridge.
20. There’s a chapel made from bones
The interior of the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) in Evora is, rather morbidly, decorated with human skulls and bones from some 5,000 corpses. The chapel was built by a Franciscan monk in the 16th century, who wanted to remind worshippers that life is transitory.

21. It has one of Europe’s best pools
The Leça Swimming Pool complex, designed by the eminent Portuguese architect, Alvaro Siza, is one the continent’s best bathing spots. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Leça da Palmeira, near Porto, its saltwater swimming pools are carved into the rugged shore and are popular with architecture aficionados as well as bathers.
22. It’s home to Serralves
The most visited museum in Portugal, Serralves is also one of Europe’s most influential contemporary arts museums. Located in Porto, this wonderful exhibition space sits in manicured gardens, which are scattered with works from the likes of Richard Serra and Claes Oldenburg.   
Source: The Telegraph | See the original article here.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Bike Tour "Grand Prix Portugal National Road 2"

A wonderful road that holds the best of our history, representing a guardian of our memory. A heritage united by an incredible umbilical cord that truly aggregates, from end to end, Portugal.

 The Bike Tour "Grand Prix Portugal National Road 2" is much more than a portentous sports event, which is a major competition at world level. It's a project that aims the promotion, stimulating and valuing this fascinating road.

There will be many actions throughout the year, but everything will have the epicenter and its peak in the Bike Tour.

Now, everyone to the road to see the cyclists pass!  :)

Together we will build the most fascinating project of national cycling "Bike Tour Portugal National Road 2 - The biggest road in Europe".

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Top 10 - Most beautiful beaches in Europe

Sunbathe in the golden sand beaches of the Algarve, dive into the crystal-clear water of Corfu, or swim to explore the depths of Formentera. From the United Kingdom to Italy, moving to Croatia, Portugal and Spain, join us on a short visit through the ten most beautiful beaches found on the European coastline. Brought to you by

Benagil (Algarve, Portugal)

Not all beaches are as noticeable to the world. Some are like hidden gems, surrounded by breathtaking scenarios. Such is the case of Algar de Benagil, a beach found in Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal. An intriguing landscape located under the homonymous sea cave of Algar, a somewhat secluded spot with a natural oculus through which sunlight pours, illuminating this wonderful surface covered in golden sand.

Tuerredda (Sardinia, Italy)

The Tuerredda beach is located in the province of Cagliari, on the southern coastline of Sardinia. Deep blue waters, a strip of fine sand, and the Mediterranean scents carried by the sea breeze make this landscape a precious Italian jewel. The multiple colors of the water change constantly from a deep blue to emerald green. Its sandy depths are the perfect habitat of many sea creatures.

Kaputas (Turkey)

The Kaputas beach is considered as one of the best beaches in Europe and one of the most attractive destinations in the entire Mediterranean region. It boasts a wild nature and a non-polluted sea. This location offers a perfect view for visitors looking to enjoy the beauty of the landscape while resting in a fascinating granular sand bay.

La Concha (San Sebastian, Spain)

Seen from the highest point, the shape of this San Sebastián beach resembles a shell with a pearl. In fact, this beautiful beach located in the Basque Country receives its name after that shell-shaped form. It is a marvelous coastline covered in fine sand, and it offers ideal waters for surfing and sunbathing in the Cantabrian Sea.

Paleokastritsa (Corfu, Greece)

There's no need to travel all the way to the Caribbean Islands to enjoy the depths of the sea or diving into different shades of turquoise colored waters. You can do it at a much closer location by visiting the village of Palaiokastritsa, located on the Greek island of Corfu. Its beaches can be found on rocky shores and all of them offer incredible bays, open to practice swimming or scuba diving. Palaiokastritsa tops the selection of best beaches in Europe that you must visit this summer, according to travel search engines such as Skyscanner and TripAdvisor.

Zlatni Rat (Croatia)

A beach located in a wide isthmus of white sand that changes its form depending on the Mistral's wind and the strong tides. That's exactly what you'll experience if you go on a vacation to the Zlatnia Rat, on the Croatian coast. It's currently one of the most visited places during the summer holidays, a destination where visitors can still enjoy transparent waters and one of the most remarkable beaches in Europe.

Ses Illetas (Balearic Islands, Spain)

The clear waters and the fine golden sand are signatures of the Ses Illetes beach, located in Formentera. This sea paradise is a perfect retreat for relaxation, to enjoy incredible sunsets, or walking through its sand dunes. In addition, the depths of this beach are covered with 'posidonia oceanica', a seagrass species that forms an entire ecosystem, certainly a wonderful choice for scuba divers.

Inchydoney (Ireland)

Consider making a visit to Inchydoney in your next trip, a beach next to the town of Clonakilty, in the Irish county of Cork. Surrounded by dunes, this beach is a perfect destination for friends and families looking to explore coastal areas or surfing in incredible surroundings.

San Teodoro (Sardinia, Italy)

With less than 5,000 inhabitants, the town of San Teodoro, in Sardinia, is proud to offer its visitors some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. The blue and transparent sea, an authentic natural pool, becomes the ideal place for recreational diving because of its shallow depths. Its fine white sand recalls the Caribbean tropical scenery.

Bantham (Devon, England)

If you are looking for a different beach full of surprises, visit the Bantham beach, in the county of Devon, located in the southern region of England. This maritime enclave offers incredible views to the Bigbury Bay since it's surrounded by impressive natural scenery.

Source: TourismReview | See the original article here.