It’s time to start thinking about traveling, holidays, and planning where to go in 2017. With so many destinations to choose from, we know picking one is never an easy task, so we decided to put together a selection of the best in travel from our previous years in order to inspire you. These are personal suggestions, based on the things we love seeing and doing.
Without further ado, here are our recommendations for where to go in 2017 with 5 countries and 5 places you should consider visiting and why. No more excuses, it’s time to pack your bags and go!
5 countries to visit in 2017
We’ve been to Iceland a few times and would return now if there was an opportunity to do so. There’s no shortage of things to do in Iceland, whether you just want to relax and soak in hot springs and do a quick tour of the highlights, or if you want to see more of the country’s picture-perfect landscapes, waterfalls, glacier lagoons, and many other things.
Hikers and photographers, this is a premium destination for you.
Iceland used to be a summer-only destination, but these days winter trips are getting more popular due to excellent opportunities to see the northern lights and more adventurous tours such as exploring ice caves. Summer, between June and early September, still is the best time to visit if you want to take advantage of the great outdoors and venture further afield.
We have an extensive collection of articles about Iceland, including a super useful ultimate guide for a road trip.
Portugal is our country and we can’t recommend it enough. With almost 900 years of history, Portugal is a small country but one with many things to keep you busy. Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve are the tourist hot spots but there are many other places to visit such as the Douro Valley, the Azores, Aveiro or Coimbra, just to name a few.
Culture and art play a big role and so does the food, which is varied and delicious. Portugal is also very budget-friendly and welcomes visitors from around the world.
All year-round. The summer months are the busiest with excellent conditions to enjoy the many beaches of the country. Spring and Autumn are great to explore more of the country without the heat and, in some cases, the crowds.
Discover 15 Portugal highlights as selected by other travel bloggers. You won’t want to miss these.
Montenegro is a small mountainous Balkan country that, despite its compact size, comes with breathtaking landscapes and views, some of the finest in Europe. You can spend the morning bathing in the Adriatic beaches and the afternoon hiking in the mountains.
The Bay of Kotor is Montenegro’s most famous tourist destination and for a reason. The fjord-like features of the bay are impressive and the whole region is very picturesque. A hike up to Kotor’s upper walls is highly recommended. There are also other places not to be missed such as Cetinje and Bar. Nature-wise, Lovćen, Lake Skadar, and Durmitor National Parks are a must, especially the latter with its many high peaks and Tara canyon, one of the deepest in the world.
This part of Europe is still largely unexplored and only now it’s starting to appeal more to travelers, years after the collapse of Yugoslavia. While Kotor and the Adriatic coastline beaches bring in a good amount of tourists during the summer months, the rest of the country remains pretty much off the beaten path. We visited in September and recommend it, but late Spring is also an option if you want to avoid the high season.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina is the second Balkan country to make this year’s selection and we can only say good things about it. The country is often associated with conflicts and unsafety, but these are now mostly in the past and are not a concern to travelers. It is not only perfectly safe to travel there but everyone is very friendly and kind. Due to this troubled past, Bosnia and Herzegovina remains one the least visited countries in Europe, especially if compared to its neighbor countries, and provides an incredible value to visitors because it’s pretty cheap.
The country has an immense history dating back many centuries and it can still be felt in the old town of Sarajevo, Mostar, and other less known places such as Jajce or Travnik. Driving in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a great experience and the country offers some of the best scenic drives in Europe.
Unless you’re after a budget winter sports destination, Bosnia and Herzegovina is primarily a summer destination. After all, Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics and the country has some ski infrastructures. For a better experience, our advice is to travel after the summer when the temperatures are slightly colder but still pleasant – which is exactly what we did and had a great time. This applies mostly to Mostar and Sarajevo since the rest of the country hardly gets any visitors.
Jersey is one of the Channel Islands between England and France and, even with this privileged location, not a lot of people know about it. With a mix of British and French culture, rich history, beautiful beaches, and nature, Jersey has the perfect ingredients to be a great destination.
We recommend Jersey because we thoroughly enjoyed our time there, especially how peaceful and tranquil the island feels like. Jersey is very green and has a magnificent coastline with scenic beaches and perfect shades of blue. Not to mention Elizabeth’s and Mont Orgueil Castles, which are a must-visit while on the island.
Temperatures in Jersey are very mild and late spring to late summer are the best months to enjoy the island’s relaxed way of life. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway destination in Europe, think about Jersey.
You can read more about to how to spend a weekend getaway in Jersey and watch our popular video about the island.
5 places to visit in 2017
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia’s crown jewel and most famous nature attraction. While it’s not a secret anymore, visiting these stunning cascaded lakes is a must for anyone who enjoys the outdoors and beautiful scenery. If you’re planning to visit Croatia’s Adriatic coast, consider adding Plitvice Lakes to your itinerary and you won’t regret it.
It’s better to visit in the spring when the crowds are not as intense, the water runs at maximum power, the temperature is more comfortable, and the tickets are cheaper. All good reasons.
We have all the details about how to spend a great day at Plitvice Lakes National Park and also a video of the amazing cascaded lakes.
Egypt is one of the most important countries in history with its ancient civilization leaving behind an incredible collection of temples, tombs, and other monuments. Luxor is considered by many the world’s biggest open air museum and we have to agree, it’s a dream for many to visit Egypt! The Valley of Kings and Luxor and Karnak temples are some examples of the best Luxor has to offer.
Another good reason to visit Luxor is to help a country that deserves to get back on track, and the Egyptians are eager to welcome travelers. There is a notorious effort to make sure everything is safe and we had no issues whatsoever there, even when going around on our own, including at night.
Avoid the extreme temperatures of the summer months and visit during the cooler months. This is much better because you’ll be spending most of the time outdoors exploring the temples and with limited shade. Other than that, the time to go to Egypt is now because there are no crowds as tourism still struggles to recover.
Read our complete guide of Luxor in 3 days or more.
Kosovo is one of the youngest countries in the world and only a handful of people travel there, and the ones that do tend to only visit the capital, Pristina. Yet, there’s a lot more to discover. Prizren, for example, was one of the best and most interesting places we visited during our time in the country. Considered to be the cultural capital of Kosovo, Prizren is a compact city with an Ottoman-era old town filled with mosques and churches. There’s even a fortress at the top of a hill overlooking the city.
Now! Tourism in Kosovo is just starting and you’ll be one of the first to set foot there and explore some of the best places, such as Prizren, with virtually no other travelers. With good weather, Prizren is a joy of a city to visit.
Piran is not your typical Slovenian town, quite different in fact. This coastal town located on a small peninsula has an Italian feeling to it due to the Venetian-style architecture of its old town. Narrow streets, towers and even a wall with great views make Piran a must-stop on any trip to Slovenia. And in typical coastal style, you can have great seafood outdoors or just by one of the cafés.
Summer is the prime time on the Adriatic coast and the region is quite busy, so you’re better off visiting some other time. Rest assured that even a few hours are enough to become fascinated by Piran.
Península de Zapata, Cuba
Península de Zapata is home to some of the best Cuba has to offer in terms of nature and wildlife – Ciénaga de Zapata. Its vast swamps and forests create the perfect habitat for diverse wildlife species, including many rare and endemic ones like crocodiles, manatees, and hundreds of birds. Since 2001, Ciénaga de Zapata has been a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This is a very different side of Cuba that not a lot of people get to visit.
The region is also great for snorkeling and diving.
All year round. The weather in Cuba is generally very good, even during the rain season, and you can safely visit any time of the year. Most people that visit the region skip the national park and nature reserve, so you’re likely to be one of the few that sees it.
We have a list of the best things to do at Península de Zapata. Check it out!
These are great suggestions! Ice caves in Icland sounds incredible. And the more I hear about Slovenia and the rest of the Balkan area, the more I want to visit! Time to start planning…
I’ve been to quite a few of these already – I’d recommend Zadar and Nin in Croatia too. I definitely have Iceland on my own wish list for this year.
Croatia’s coastline is beautiful, great suggestions!
Wow, you have named so many of my favorite places I have been to and some also that are on my radar to visit, wonderful choices for 2017
I have to say the Balkans look absolutely stunning. I am especially intrigued by Montenegro and Slovenia, especially as they are not very touristy yet.
Indeed! Beautiful countries. We have been pretty much to all of them and it’s difficult to pick a favorite.
What a wonderful list of beautiful places to see. I’ve always wanted to visit your country, as a friend told me that it’s his favorite in all of Europe! And Blagaj–the Tekija–that clear blue-green water–wow that’s on my list for sure!
You should! Portugal is great 🙂
Bosnia has plenty of places that are very much off the tourist trail. And very safe as well!
Iceland IS so amazing, but sadly, it is becoming over run with tourist who are not taking care of the island like it shouldbe. Plitvice is also stunning and Croatia is so cheap! One of our favorite countries!
That’s right. Unfortunately, most tourists are not very respectful. On the bright side, there are still many places in Iceland barely anyone visits!
The other Balkan countries are even cheaper.
Great suggestions! You are giving me wanderlust, lol! I would love to go to all of these spots–Iceland is one of our favorite places and we just can’t seem to stop thinking about another return visit. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one place I’ve been wanting to visit for so long–maybe we will have to make plans to visit this year finally!
Iceland is great. We’re always thinking about our next trip there!
Check out the Balkans. Loads to see there!
You’ve really hit upon some fantastic destinations in this round-up, including some of my personal ‘must-dos’! I’ve been wanting to go to Montenegro and Slovenia for years. Your photos just confirm why. Hopefully we’ll get there soon!
The Balkans are great region to visit and still very affordable compared to the rest of Europe. 🙂
Hello from Croatia.
I am glad to find my homeland on your list! 🙂
Since I have visited majority of the places from your list, I would be fine visiting Iceland in June!
We definitely need to visit more of Croatia. We love that region!
I am dying to go to Iceland this year for the diverse natural beauty! I would also like to visit Cuba now that it is available to Americans!
Two great ideas for 2017!
Great list of recommendations, We will be going to Iceland, have been a few times before and it’s quite beautiful! Would love to go to Cuba, I think mostly because for me it has been forbidden for so many years. So many beautiful places to visit!
Iceland is amazing. We go every year!
Cuba is very interesting and there’s a LOT to see there besides Havana. Highly recommended.
Piran is a nice town but the waters there are very dirty and not suitable for swimming
It didn’t very inviting for swimming but the rest is pretty nice!
Fantastic bucket list for 2017. I would love to visit & experience Glacier island. Looks amazing. Thanks for the recommendations.
Incredible! Wonderful list of beautiful places. I would love to go on all of these places. Looking aventrous. Thanks for the recommendations.