ABTA’s top travel destinations for 2017

Posted on January 24, 2017 by Guest Writer
Kerala, India

Where to go on holiday in 2017? It’s a question many people will be asking as the New Year’s firework smoke clears and the Christmas break become an increasingly distant memory. And it’s a good question.

To answer it, we’ve taken a look at the annual ABTA Travel Trends Report which tracks the latest travel trends. From the most popular holiday destinations to the ‘ones to watch’ and everything in between, the ABTA report is a great source of inspiration.

ABTA’s report declares that the ever-popular Spain is expected to be the year’s top performing destination, Portugal, Italy and Cyprus are also getting plenty of early bookings for 2017. Croatia, Cape Verde and Mexico are tipped to be very popular this year too, but there are plenty of up-and-coming destinations to watch in 2017 according to ABTA. We take a look here:

Top 12 travel destinations in 2017

Andalusia

Andalusia

Proximity to the UK and easy access via major airlines to Málaga, Seville, Jerez and Gibraltar help make Andalusia an enduring favourite. Recent investment has rejuvenated many areas of southern Spain which offers one of the best climates in Europe.

Aside from the stunning beaches and internationally renowned golf courses, there’s a vast amount of diverse countryside to enjoy which remains relatively unblemished by development. You’ll stumble across tranquil white villages hugging the hillsides, national parks, cork oaks and pine trees, along with hiking, horse riding and biking opportunities aplenty. Furthermore, the local cuisine and culture will have you in raptures as you savour the local wines, cured hams and freshly caught fish, and marvel at the Andalusian art of Flamenco. Don’t miss: Malaga, home of wine and famous artists; Seville, a mecca of Flamenco and Granada with its famous Moorish Alhambra.

 Azores, Portugal

The Azores

This archipelago is composed of nine spectacular volcanic islands dotting the Atlantic Ocean. The remote destination is perfect for of adventurous, nature-loving tourists.

The islands’ dramatic seas and volcanic landscapes are popular among nature lovers who also come to spy the dolphins, whales and manta rays. What’s more, this “Hawaii of the mid-Atlantic” is heaven for all kinds of water sports as well as canyoning, paragliding, riding and hiking. The Azores is a favourite for all things outdoorsy with breath-taking natural scenery, dramatically pitted with deep craters and calderas, the islands are rich with shimmering lakes along with lush vineyards and orchards. Steaming geysers and sulphur springs with health-giving waters also abound.

Pink beach in Bermuda islands

Bermuda

Floating in the balmy, turquoise waters of the Sargasso Sea, Bermuda is the archetypal Caribbean retreat.  Its scenic golf courses, colonial hotels and genteel vibe is paired with excellent reef diving, snorkelling, cycling, hiking, sailing and adventure activities. The 35th America’s Cup will take place in Bermuda in June 2017 and Ben Ainslie, the world’s greatest sailor, will be leading Great Britain’s challenge.

Bermuda’s beautiful coastline is composed of pink, picture-perfect, sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Inland, you can marvel at an abundance of subtropical flowers and plants interspersed with quaint pastel hued cottages. Meanwhile, Bermuda’s museums and art galleries add an element of urban sophistication to your stay.

Lake General Carrera (Chile)

Chile

Thanks to new direct flights from the UK, Chile’s incredibly diverse landscapes will be much easier to reach in 2017.

This long, narrow strip of land, sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes to the east, is filled with natural phenomena, packing a wealth of diverse mountain, desert, glacial and coastal landscapes into a relatively small space. For this reason, Chile has earned the enviable reputation of one of the world’s best adventure destinations. It offers plenty of cultural treats too: tango halls, art galleries, museums, parillas and wine all await you, as do its open, warm people.

Whether you’re seeking solitude in some of its 36 national parks, basking on the beach or taking in the big city sights, Chile offers you an incredible time. Don’t miss: a cruise to view the San Rafael Glacier whale watching in Francisco Coloane Marine Park; the volcanic Easter Island; and the parched Atacama Desert.

Irish County Kerry

County Kerry

Feel the force in beautiful County Kerry. The latest Star Wars movie was filmed on this stunning county’s Skellig Islands and is attracting fans as well as lovers of some of Ireland’s most iconic scenery.

Surf-pounded cliffs and soft golden strands; emerald-green farmland, crossed with tumble-down stone walls; misty bogs and clouded mountain peaks: County Kerry is incredibly picturesque no matter what time of year you visit.

With one of Ireland’s finest national parks on its doorstep, the lively town and tourist attraction of Killarney is jam-packed with colourful shops, pubs, restaurants and spirited traditional music. Don’t miss out on a drive along the Ring of Kerry skirting the mountainous, island-fringed Iveragh Peninsula or a shorter, more compact trip to Dingle Peninsula with its ancient Christian sites and wild, sandy beaches. Kerry’s unique beauty indeed makes it one of Ireland’s most popular tourist spots but it’s easy to escape the crowds to discover its countless hidden coves and un-trodden mountain trails.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Croatia

Croatia’s many islands range from isolated getaways to dance festival extravaganzas. Meanwhile, Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik are increasingly seen as popular city break destinations.

Croatia is rich with the deep, sapphire waters of the Adriatic and a thousand-plus islands. But its beauty goes even deeper, the country is packed with glittering waterfalls, lakes, mountains and ancient walled towns.

Not content as a sun and sand destination alone, Croatia shows off its vibrant cities with baroque buildings surrounded by ancient forts which are a treat to explore. History buffs will be completely spoilt for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, especially in Dubrovnik which is undoubtedly the most famous historic location in Croatia. The city’s Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval walled cities on the Mediterranean. And if it’s lively nightlife you are after, resorts like Brac and Hvar will have you dancing by night and soaking up the sun by day.
Denmark

Denmark

Civilised cities, world-class design and delicious cuisine – Denmark is a picturesque, crescent-shaped peninsula and archipelago of some 450 islands dotting the Baltic Sea. A blend of traditional charm and forward-thinking design as well as excellent museums and sumptuous cuisine combine to make Denmark an excellent city break destination. In 2017 Aarhus will be in the spotlight as the European City of Culture.

To many, the liberal lifestyle of the Danes is enviable. Not only are they friendly and happy people, they are fiercely proud of their country too.

Kerala, India

Kerala

2017 marks the 70th anniversary of India’s independence, and what better way to celebrate than with a trip to the southern coastal state of Kerala?

Kerala is a world away from the frenzy of many other destinations in India. This coastal state in India’s deepest south is shaped by almost 600 kilometres of awesome Arabian Sea coast, glistening backwaters as well as spice and tea plantations on the rolling hills of Western Ghats.

Kerala is home to wild elephants, exotic birds and tigers. It’s also a place where vibrant traditions such as temple festivals and snake-boat races frequently bring even the smallest villages to life. You’ll find history all over, with Hindu temples and Christian churches dating back hundreds or thousands of years. Cultural activities include martial arts, dance and age-old ayurvedic treatments.

Sardinia

Sardinia

ABTA regards Sardinia as the “hot” Mediterranean island of 2017. European holidaymakers come to Sardinia to enjoy a blissful Italian break without the noise and commotion of mainland Italy.

The island of Sardinia boasts some of the Mediterranean’s most idyllic beaches and is well served in terms of pretty seaside resorts, restaurants and sundown bars.

Most people think of the upmarket Costa Smeralda, but there’s so much more to Sardinia. For a more down-to-earth holiday, there are plenty of lovely quiet beaches and rugged interior landscapes to for you to explore. There’s also fabulous seafood and, for history buffs, there are the evocative remains of Sardinia’s ancient Nuragic heritage, as well as Roman ruins, Pisan churches and Spanish Baroque architecture.

Cape Town aerial, South Africa

South Africa

Deserts, jungles, surf and spectacular fauna: South Africa has it all in one trip. In fact, South Africa embodies most things you might dream of. Lions roam freely in vast game reserves such as Kruger National Park; vineyards stretch across the Cape Winelands; and mountains cascade into the sea along vast stretches of unspoilt coast. You can also expect an abundance of dramatic, sweeping terrain and safaris, along with increasingly modern cities, complete with some exciting cultural and gastronomic scenes. Don’t miss Cape Town, Table Mountain, Johannesburg and Durban.

The South Africans are welcoming people, and their country’s turbulent past brings with it a dramatic history lesson plus the promise of something new, positive and exciting every time you visit.

Atlanta Skyline

USA – The Southern States

This is the land of jazz, rock and roll and blues. Icons like Martin Luther King Jr and Bill Clinton, and novelists like William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty are all Southern-born, as are bourbon and Coca-Cola. Most visitors won’t want to miss beautiful New Orleans, Savannah and the New South powerhouses of Nashville and Atlanta.

New Orleans is home to French/Cajun cuisine, superb live music, a relaxed, happy pace of life, colourful architecture and a riotous Mardi Gras. The plantations up the river in Baton Rouge bring a series of historic, grand mansions to visit while towards the south west you’ll find yet more of the colourful Cajun culture with its characteristic cuisine and music. Lafayette’s Acadian Cultural Center and Acadian Park give a good background to the culture of the area.

For other wonders, head to Thibodaux for the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center; Abbeville and Breaux Bridge for crawfish excellence; and New Iberia, St Martinville and Opelousas for an appreciation of traditional architecture.

Halong Bay Vietnam

Vietnam

New direct routes from the UK have recently brought Vietnam closer to the West. Versatile Vietnam offers an unparalleled combination of mountains, beaches, and modern and ancient wonders.

From superb cuisine to stunning landscapes, this corner of Southeast Asia dazzles the senses. Peaceful paddy fields give way to frenetic urban sprawls like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City where a youthful population embraces the future – four decades now separate Vietnam from its former days of conflict and destruction.

In enchanting Hoi An, boutiques fill the French colonial buildings while a world away in the north are the ethnic markets of Sapa. Around Vietnam, you can adventure in or simply admire the lush jungles and jagged mountain peaks so iconic of this nation. And once you’ve absorbed it all, it will be time to relax on its world-class beaches.

Get informed of the reasons for covering your holidays to all the top locations above:

ABTA's Top Travel Destinations for 2017