By Briana Seftel
Starting to plan your vacation for 2018? Check out our top picks for travel destinations in the new year.
It's Malta's time to shine. The smallest member of the European union has beautiful beaches, historic cities, ruins, and practically a church for every day of the year! In 2018, the capital of Valletta will be a European Capital of Culture, bringing even more vibrancy to this archipelago 50 miles south of Sicily.
Uruguay? Yes way! Wedged between Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay is not only one of the safest countries in South America, it's also one of the most enjoyable to visit. Whether you choose beachfront glamour in Punta del Este or old world charm in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay is well worth a trip.
The capital of Mexico's Yucatan is bursting with amazing cuisine, colonial architecture, museums, and Mayan ruins. Cosmopolitan yet quaint, Merida's proximity to Chichen Itza, Ek' Balam, and the beaches of Cancun make it a great destination and base for your Mexico vacation. Merida also ranks among the safest cities in Mexico.
Indonesia's island province of Bali remains one of the most sought after destinations in Asia for its beautiful beaches, moss-covered temples, and colorful ceremonies. The Island of the Gods offers travelers incredible diversity in a small package, from the rice fields of Ubud to the sunny beaches of Sanur.
Don't count out Canada: our neighbor to the north truly has some spectacular scenery. Whether its the snowy Canadian Rockies or the dizzyingly blue waters of Banff National Park, Canada is stunning natural beauty. With vibrant cities like Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto and some of the happiest people in the planet, Canada has something for everyone.
Gold Coast, Australia
Australia's Gold Coast is set to host the Commonwealth Games for the first time in April, making this city in Queensland one hot destination. The Gold Coast boasts 43 miles of pristine coastline, making it a surfer's paradise. Aside from beaches, it has World Heritage-listed rainforest and national parks, including Lamington, Border Ranges, Main Range and Nightcap.
The Scottish Highlands are the Scotland of your imagination: endless green mountains, misty lochs, and eery castles. Pass through The Trossachs National Park, marvel at the sensational seascape of the North Highlands, and see if you can spot Nessie at Loch Ness, Scotland's most famous loch.
Feel your "seoul" come alive in South Korea! 5000 years of culture and history meet the brazen modern in South Korea, where life never stops moving. The northern county of Pyeongchang is set to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, meaning all eyes will be on South Korea in the new year.
Is it Germany? France? No, it's Alsace! This region in Eastern France is a unique blend of German and French cultures and is home to some incredible sites. See where Riesling comes from in the Rhine Valley, stroll the old town of Colmar, and get into the holiday spirit at the famous Christmas Market in the Alsatian capital of Strasbourg.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
No where else on the planet do you get more up close and personal with wildlife than the Galapagos Islands. Home to a variety of endemic species including the Galapagos tortoise, iguanas, and penguins, the Galapagos caught the eye of Charles Darwin in 1831 and still enchants visitors today.