Where to travel in 2018
2018 is almost upon us, so what better time than now to start thinking about where to visit in the new year. Here are five of our favourite vacation destinations for the New Year…
China has a wealth of attractions for visitors. Its spectacular national parks and scenery include the Taklamakan and Gobi deserts, Hainan’s tropical beaches and forests, the Yangtze gorges and much more. China’s 4000 years of history have left their mark in the temples and national monuments, such as the 4,000-mile Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace (the world’s largest), the world’s longest canal between Hangzhou and Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an and the Dali Pagodas. Sample the very best in Chinese cuisine on the streets and in luxury hotels in Shanghai and Beijing.
South Africa is one of the world’s top travel destinations. Whether you self-drive or join a tour, the stunning wildlife, game parks, ocean and desert scenery, and world-class food and wine will ensure your trip to South Africa is a memorable one. Begin your holiday in Cape Town – the laidback community on South Africa’s southern tip. Explore the Cape Winelands of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, and visit the dreamlike Kirstenbosch Gardens, before taking the cable car to the top of enigmatic Table Mountain. Game parks such as the Kruger are easily reachable from Johannesburg, as is the wonderful elephant and rhino orphanage, the David Sheldrake Wildlife Trust.
If you’re looking for a holiday that combines superb cuisine, fabulous beaches and intoxicating history, then Malta is highly recommended. Located just 50 miles south of Sicily in the Mediterranean, the landscapes in Malta range from limestone caves, craggy fields, rocky coves and sheltered inlets. It’s perfect for a sailing holiday… come into port at Valetta and explore Byzantine churches, Templar palaces, Roman ruins and British forts. The towns of Mdina, Mosta and Marsaxlokk fishing village are outstanding, as are the Għar Dalam Caves and Museum, just a short drive north of Valetta. As you’d expect, the seafood in Malta is superb and the country offers guests a selection of fine restaurants from rustic hideaways to sophisticated fine dining.
Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie fans will already love the outstanding landscapes awaiting visitors to New Zealand. From vertiginous mountains and glaciers to deep fjords, rolling hills to surf beaches, and even volcanic plateaux and subtropical rain forests. The Maori heritage is alive and well here too, with museums and monuments and sacred sites celebrating the former Polynesians who travelled to New Zealand around 700 years ago. Hire a car in Auckland on the North Island and travel via Rotorua (it sits above an active volcano) down to Wellington on the South Island. Queenstown is the world’s adventure sport capital, and you can also make day trips from here to Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park.
Portugal boasts an impressive cultural heritage, in addition to spectacular scenery ranging from the winelands of the Douro Valley to the beaches of the Algarve. Start your holiday in Portugal’s enigmatic capital Lisbon with its world-renowned restaurants and café and bar culture. Arguably Europe’s most scenic capital, Lisbon’s architectural heritage is magnificent: Visit the Jeronimos Monastery, the resting place of explorer Vasco de Gama, climb the Belem Tower for superlative views of the city, be a knight for the day at St George’s Castle and savour the multi-billion pound artworks at the Berardo Museum.
Head north via train or car to Porto for the best wine tasting in the country. The terraced vineyards here are probably best enjoyed by boat on a Douro River cruise. This UNESCO World Heritage site is unmissable with some of the most majestic scenery in Portugal. After a day’s sightseeing and vino tasting, rest your head at the charming Vintage House Hotel on the riverfront in Pinhao or at the five-star Yeatman hotel in nearby Gaia.
Visit any one of these exciting destinations, or anywhere else around the globe, by chartering a private jet with Chapman Freeborn.