Every year, the travel specialists at geography and exploration magazine National Geographic draw up a list of the best trips to make over the next twelve months – and they've seriously outdone themselves with this year's selection.
From Ethiopia to Georgia, Ireland to Chile the editors have handpicked the finest sights across the globe to keep us stocked up on wanderlust for the whole of 2018. Check out some of the incredible destinations that caught our eye just below.
Laid-back Harar, Ethiopia
Little frequented by European travelers, with most preferring the more easily accessible countries of North Africa, Ethiopia's Harar has been hailed as "the most surprising city in East Africa" by the magazine.
Recognised as the fourth holy city of Islam by UNESCO, the colorful, maze-like streets of Harar are home to more than 110 mosques and many more shrines. The city is also known for its exceptional local beer, high-quality coffee and khat, a flowering plant containing an amphetamine-like stimulant said to cause euphoria.
Another pull to the area: hyenas (seriously). As National Geographic informs us, the city welcomes crowds of hungry hyenas every night which are given spare food scraps by the city's "hyena men." Now that's the kind of experience you can't put a price on.
Argentinian canyons and cosmopolitan Tbilisi
Next up is the Argentinian province of Jujuy, found in the deep north-west of the country and home to the dramatic mountain valley of Quebrada de Humahuaca.
Inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site back in 2003, the deep canyon is surrounded by beautiful peaks, dominated by groups of menacing cacti. In the southern region of Purmamarca, you'll find the Seven Color Hill, called so – unsurprisingly – for its layers of colored sediment that give off evolving tones of yellow, red, purples and greens.
For a more cosmopolitan break, the Georgian capital of Tbilisi has made the cut for its "authentic charms." On the menu: long sulfur dips at one of the city's many public baths, plump khinkali spiced meat dumplings and legendary local hospitality.
A swing around Tbilisi's rapidly developing centre will give you a look at stunning architecture, including Persian, Arab, Byzantine, Ottoman and Russian influences.
Sydney Opera House and Oaxaca, Mexico
No stranger to these kinds of lists, Sydney, Australia's largest city, has been given another mention thanks to the recent renovation works on its world-famous Opera House. Costing no less than $273 million, the update gave the venue's one thousand rooms a sprucing up and kitted it out with state-of-the-art acoustics.
Finally, inspiration-hungry travelers have been encouraged to give Oaxaca a visit. Situated some 470 km from the Mexico capital, the city is mostly recognized for its Day of the Dead celebrations which honor deceased family members and friends.
But it has so much to offer the rest of the year with local markets selling all kinds of treasures from agave plant-based alcohol Mezcal to woven textiles, handmade according to prehispanic methods. Head along to the coast and there are some pretty sweet beach spots too.
Check out the list in full, arranged in alphabetical order, just below:
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Dublin, Ireland
- Friesland, the Netherlands
- Harar, Ethiopia
- Jordan Trail, Jordan
- Jujuy Province, Argentina
- Labrador, Canada
- Malmö, Sweden
- Oahu, Hawaii
- Oaxaca, Mexico
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Ruaha NP, Tanzania
- San Antonio, Texas
- Santiago, Chile
- Seoraksan National Park, South Korea
- Sydney, Australia
- Tbilisi, Georgia
- Tétouan, Morocco
- Vienna, Austria
To find out more about each of the destinations, you can hit up National Geographic's official ranking right here.