Top Five Bucket List Destinations for 2018
For those not fortunate enough to have been there already, there are five destinations that should make anyone’s bucket list. Anyone tempted to make a repeat visit will discover that each of these very special places has compelling new events and attractions in 2018.
Marrakech is certainly having a moment. The ground-breaking African contemporary art fair 1-54 takes place in February 2018. October 2017 saw the keenly-awaited opening of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, a final labour of love by his partner Pierre Bergé.
Experienced travellers will always choose a luxury riad as their fantasy Moroccan base. In the seductive heart of the ancient medina, Riad Dar Housnia Marrakech combines inspiring classic architecture and design with modern comforts and a wonderful hammam and pool. Riad Camilia enjoys a similarly spectacular location in the vibrant centre of the city. Its Arabian nights aura is enhanced by two splash pools and magical rooftop views of the bustling streets and Atlas mountains beyond.
No-one should miss the opportunity to visit Brazil. Even in a nation of such overwhelming diversity and attractions, Barrinha is one spot that must make the bucket list. Prea is the best place in the world to sample kitesurfing for the first time. It has a 15km sandy beach and the largest Cabrinha kiteschool in the whole of South and North America. For those travelling from the international airport at Fortaleza, the Cachaca Museum makes a fun stop with regular new activities. Right in the fishing village of Barrinha, Vila Flor da Vida, with its clean, modern lines and spectacular surroundings offers beachfront luxury and mesmerising stargazing.
For Europe-based travellers there are must-see destinations closer to home too. The pristine island paradise of Formentera in the Balearics is certainly one of them. It combines history and culture with a very contemporary emphasis on fitness and wellness. May 2018 will see it host its annual half marathon, while in October Formentera hosts the hugely successful cycling tour, with different routes for different abilities. For families and groups of friends exploring the island, boho-chic Marisol is one perfect villa on Cap Barbaria. In the same neighbourhood, Leonor delivers an intriguing architectural fusion of industrial style with traditional stonemasonry. The important hub of Sant Francesc de Formentera, sees visitors spoiled for choice, from the hippy charm of the Dalia villa to the chilled rural charm of Can Jaume. The imposing residence at Can Carlota is ideal for larger family gatherings or corporate retreats, and just ten minutes from one of the island’s many stunning beaches.
The Spanish region of Andalusia is justifiably famed for its many colourful festivals and pageants. Semana Santa, or the Easter Holy Week, is a particularly bewitching time to visit. Settlements across the region have processions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, vivid street decorations and live music and brass bands. El Carligto & Hunting Lodge is the ideal hilltop retreat after a day exploring festivals, with many serene spaces inside and out to unwind. The enthusiastic owners can provide the inside track on hidden local treasures and out of the way festivals and occasions to maximise the experience and sensory overload.
The Italian lakes are never far from the pages of style and travel magazines in 2018, and Lake Como is the hub of the activity. An important exhibition by silk entrepreneur Antonio Ratti runs until mid-April 2018. Summer and early autumn see the Lake Como festival, an engaging combination of music, fireworks and celebrity guests. The energy is infectious. Prestige Villa Concetta is an imposing landmark manor perfect for any truly exceptional occasion. There is room for up to 11 guests to enjoy the splendour of the perfectly preserved and restored Italian marble and furnishings, and a scenic walk to Lake Como itself.
This aspirational itinerary guarantees a year of unforgettable new experiences for even the most seasoned traveller.
By Phileas French, Travel Writer