As 2017 came to an end, I think we all took a deep breath and reflected on our triumphs and our tribulations, our leaps and bounds and our missteps, our strengths and our weaknesses; you know, the usual, cliché yearly reflection. After that, we all came up with at least one New Year’s Resolution. Mine? I’m going to live more, take more risks, seek out more adventures, and not always play on the safe side of things. That got me to thinking… Many people say that for their New Year’s Resolution, they want to “travel more”. In honor of that, I’ve compiled the top seven destinations to visit in 2018 and, of course, why.
When we think of Rome, we normally think of Julius Caesar, the Vatican, and their breathtaking architectural structures, such as the Pantheon and the Colosseum. Rome has severely influenced architecture, government, and the arts since its creation; and today, they continue to impress the world with their fashion, cuisine and commerce. However, I promise you will regret it if you don’t visit the Trevi Fountain (hello, it’s in practically every movie that takes place in Rome), the Sistine Chapel (come on, who wouldn’t want bragging rights about seeing Michelangelo’s work with their very own eyes), and the Piazza di Spagna/Spanish Steps (not many want to even utter the word exercise while on vacation, but climbing these steps in spring to the view at the top makes it totally worth it)!
Of course, we’ve all heard of the Sydney Opera House or the Sydney Harbour Bridge; but Sydney is so much more than that. They have it all! Between the expansive city, relaxed beach town, and cultural haven, Sydney offers something for everyone! Darling Harbour is Sydney’s waterfront district with the famous SEA LIFE Aquarium, museums, restaurants, and shops, all surrounded by a beautiful marine backdrop. Bondi Beach is famous partly for being less than 15 minutes from Sydney’s city limits and partly for the great surf and even greater coastal scenery. The Rocks, a historic area that was once home to the indigenous Gadigal people, is full of history, personality, quaint cobbled roads, and features a guided nighttime expedition to explore the land (and the ghosts that are rumored to be roaming around). And if you’re anything like me, you wouldn’t be able to leave Australia without seeing some Koala Bears and Kangaroos, and that makes Taronga Zoo a must!
The seaside city of Porto, nicknamed the City of Bridges, is a combination of coastal vistas, historic elements, enchanting architecture and iron bridges. While in Porto you must see the Dom Luís I Bridge, which is particularly notorious because the architect was a student of the man who created the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The Crystal Palace Gardens show off flourishing flora, twisting paths, and spouting fountains. It is a great place for photo ops that will be sure to make all your friends on social media green with envy (he he, get it?)! If you find yourself in Porto and don’t stop to sample their noteworthy port wine, you might as well not even mention to others you visited this coastal city in the first place. Make a wine tasting appointment at one (or five) wineries for an excursion your taste buds will thank you for later.
We’ve all seen the episodes of Friends where the gang (minus a very pregnant-with-triplets Phoebe) travels around the globe to London in support of their best friend, Ross, tying the knot. They show your typical tourist attractions (thanks to Joey and Chandler), such as the city bus tour and famous landmark buildings; but there is so much more to London than guards wearing funny, furry hats and tacky, two-floored, red buses. Of course, you must immerse yourself in London’s history by visiting the Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the Tower of London. If you’re looking for a birds-eye view of the beautiful and bustling city, the Coca-Cola London Eye is privy to over 55 of London’s most unforgettable landmarks! But when you’re looking to have some excitement separate from architecture, check out the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London in The Making of Harry Potter (eek!) where you can score a behind-the-scenes tour of Harry Potter, including props, costumes, and sets that are famously fun from the movie. For extra entertainment, check out the London Dungeon, which is a 90 minute attraction that takes it’s company through London’s dark, ancient history in an interactive tour.
Paris has so much to offer, so to fully appreciate The City of Love or The City of Lights, (depending on who you talk to), that one trip is just not enough time to soak up the true Parisian experience. The iconic staples are a must, such as he Eiffel Tower, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Versailles Palace. If you’re looking to get a bit of historical education thrown your way, the Musee de Louvre is the way to go; between being considered as one of the paramount art museums in not just Europe, but the whole world, and holding thousands of masterpieces, such as the “Mona Lisa”, it’s no wonder that the Musee de Louvre is known as the most visited museum worldwide! If you want to go a step further in history, visit the Le Marais, which is one of Paris’ oldest sectors, and also home to hidden courtyards, quaint cobblestoned paths, Old-World French architecture, and old-school bakeries and delis. It is also a great place to enjoy lively nightlife, with chic boutiques, popular clubs, and opulent galleries. If you are looking for something a bit less romantic, the Catacombs should be put to the top of your list. 65 feet beneath Paris lays skull-and-boned carved channels that stretch miles in every which way, the Catacombs were created to provide a safe-space for the city’s deceased. This attraction might be a bit pricy, but it is definitely worth it!
So, for this destination, I may be just a wee bit biased, considering my family is actually from the Amalfi Coast (shout out to the Motondo’s!). But even if I wasn’t repping my heritage, the Amalfi Coast is one of those places that you need to visit before you die. It is rich in Italian history, between its old-world allures, such as their timeworn, brightly-colored homes, their long-standing seaside towns, and its exceptional delicacies, (think of everything you’ve ever ordered in an Italian restaurant and then forget about it, because it doesn’t even compare to what real Italian cuisine is). You will never want to leave. If you’re not looking to break the bank, simple trips to the beach or hikes exploring the stunning hills will do just the trick! Exploring the Amalfi Coast by land is amazing, but it’s like only reading half of a book. In order to gain the whole experience, boat or ferry tours allow you to see unobstructed views of the architecture, diverse landscapes, and colorful architecture that will leave you breathless!
You can live in New York your entire life and still not see all there is to experience within The City That Never Sleeps. From the Empire State Building to Broadway to the Statue of Liberty to Central Park, it never ends. Before you embark on your journey to The City, if seeing a show on-Broadway is on your bucket list, it would be smart to buy your tickets ahead of time to ensure great seats. You can spend an entire day shopping on Fifth Avenue, or at least perusing your way through the high-end stores, if you’re a shopping fool. Central Park is great if you’re looking to people-watch or get in some (extra) exercise surrounded by lush trees, walking paths, and peek-a-boo views of skyscrapers. If you have little ones (or, okay, I might’ve done this two years ago, but whatever), visiting Toys R Us at Times Square is very exciting, as they have a Ferris wheel inside with everyone’s favorite childhood characters! There are endless amounts of escapades to endure in in New York City.
2018 is filled with 365 days destined for adventure. Where will your adventures take you?