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Have you visited a destination that you just fell in love with? A place that you would return to in the blink of an eye if time and money were no issue? WJ asked some of our Travel Bloggers Influencer Network (#TBIN) colleagues for their expert opinions on their bucket list travel destinations for 2017, and they shared some fascinating information. Take a look at their recommendations – plus WJ has included our favorite picks, too.
Some of the best wine I’ve sampled has been in South Africa. Although I’ve visited Stellenbosch (a town located about 30 miles/50 km east of Cape Town in the Western Cape) a couple of times, I’d definitely jump at the opportunity to go back in 2017. This quaint university town where the vistas are spectacular, is one of the best places for wine lovers to explore. Not only is the white Cape Dutch architecture beautiful, but there are wonderful vineyards where one can sample (and purchase) some of the finest wine (which is not available outside of the country). From scenery, to tasting rooms, to restaurants, to accommodations, and to the history of the region, there are more than 150 wine farms and estates to suit every palate.
We would love to return to Malta. An archipelago of three islands in the Mediterranean south of Sicily, Malta is absolutely gorgeous. It has something for everyone: you can explore the megaliths of Ggantija, marvel at the Roman mosaics, visit the medieval capital of Mdina, take a boat ride to the crystal blue waters of the “Blue Lagoon”, or enjoy the shopping and nightlife of St. Julian’s. Malta is a kids’ paradise, with plenty of rocks to climb on, beaches to dig in, and Mediterranean water to snorkel in. The Maltese people love families and were warm and accommodating to us. Even though we spent a month in Malta, but there’s so much more to explore!
Last year I traveled to Bermuda for the first time for a quick and much needed vacation. I must admit I wasn’t prepared to fall so much in love with the island, but I did, in so many ways! Simply put, Bermuda is absolutely stunning. From its drop-dead gorgeous beaches to the colorful architecture everywhere to its rich historic heritage, I spent a few days exploring it all, completely fascinated. Bermudians were the most friendly people I’ve met in all my travels, and I was blown away by their kindness and welcoming attitude. I feel I have still plenty to discover, and I yearn to go back this year and spend more time on the island, at a slower pace, to truly experience what Bermuda is all about.
Denali National Park in Alaska is the epitome of an “untouched wilderness”. We have been fortunate to experience a lot of amazing destinations over the past few years but after visiting Denali, this is undoubtedly a place we can’t wait to revisit in the near future.
Those fortunate enough to join the “30% Club” will have the amazing experience of seeing the the tallest peak in North America – Mount Denali! Trust us when we say, it’s worth the effort of going back time and time again to admire the beauty of this view.
Whether you are an avid hiker that loves the outdoors or perhaps someone that enjoys the thrill of impromptu wildlife encounters, Denali National Park welcomes visitors from all across the world for these very reasons. Grizzly bears, Dall sheep, moose and caribou are just a few examples of wildlife you can expect to see. Be sure to keep a safe distance but most importantly, enjoy this once in a lifetime experience!
If time and money weren’t an issue, you wouldn’t see me for dust – I’d head straight for Moab in Utah, where we spent an incredible week in 2014. Although the desert heat can get pretty intense at times, it’s well worth it to be right on the outskirts of Arches National Park with its hauntingly beautiful red rock formations. Moab also has plenty of action-packed activities for the adrenaline seeker, and I’d love to join another off-road jeep safari through the Canyonlands National Park – one of the highlights of our trip and an experience I’ll never forget.
What one place would you return to in 2017 if time/money were no issue?
The Maldives! Having lived in Asia for nearly ten years, I have visited a lot of beautiful beach destinations across Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia – but nothing beats the Maldives. For me the Maldives epitomizes the ethos of barefoot luxury – dining with your toes in the sand as you gaze over the most incredible stretches of gleaming white sand, and azure waters. Divers will also be in heaven with its vibrant marine life – and where else can you dine on stilts over a family of nurse sharks, or watch squid swimming by as you eat your breakfast?
It’s not often we choose to return for a second visit to any given destination because it always feels as if there is somewhere new calling to us. But, hands down, we would return to Aix en Provence at the drop of a dime. Words, can often fail in describing the emotions of finding oneself in a particular destination. A destination that takes hold and won’t let go of your soul. Aix en Provence did that for us. Using the city as a base while we explored the south of France, we fell madly in love with the city, the people, the culture, the outdoor markets, the cobblestone streets, the French language and the outdoor cafes. Living in an apartment just a stone’s throw from the historic center, we would shop the markets for fresh produce and rotisserie chicken and dine al fresco, on the balcony, while sipping wine and watching the world go by. It doesn’t get much better than that. And, it is our hope to return to Aix en Provence and call it home for several months so that we can do justice to the experience of living in the south of France.
Hands down, British Columbia has been the highlight of our travelling career so far. Craig and I lived on B.C’s Sunshine Coast during the summer where we hiked, biked, and swam in lakes. I would highly recommend taking the scenic 40-minute ferry ride from Vancouver to Gibsons to explore the outdoors of the Coast. One of the benefits of living on the Sunshine Coast is being so close to the best city in the world, Vancouver. walk, cycle, or even rollerblade around Vancouver’s Stanley Park is not to be missed. As the first dump of snow falls, head to the hills! Whistler’s Blackcomb offers some of the best skiing in the world. Sand, sea, and snow, B.C really has it all.
Maui is wowy!
Being an absolute ocean lover and passionate scuba diver, there is always one thing that makes me say ‘This trip was perfect’: crystal clear waters and an abundance of fish in the water. You’ll find that all over Hawaii but because we found some really nice hidden beaches, I’d say Maui is my favorite of the three islands that we visited (Oahu, Maui, the Big Island). But it’s really hard to choose and in general Hawaii a gorgeous place to call home. Oh wait, we are talking about travel destinations… well, if I could and would have to decide on where to settle down one day, it would be Maui!
For my 40th birthday, three girlfriends and I took a southern Iceland road trip. The country was safe, clean and unbelievably beautiful. Although I didn’t expect it, the food was fresh and rich and the people were funny and friendly. I am an outdoor girl and experienced some of the best hikes and snowmobiling on glaciers, to waterfalls and alongside the shoreline. Natural hot springs can be found hidden around the country. I would happily return to repeat anyof these adventures. But because I went in fall, I missed a couple of things I would love to return to do. I would love to return in the summer to SCUBA dive in Silfra, a crevice of water between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. Spelunking in an ice cave is high on my bucket list too,but must be done in winter when the caves are more stable. Now that I am more serious about photography, I would love to return to Iceland to get better pictures of the Northern Lights.
There are so many amazing national parks to visit in the United States, but the one that I can always go back to would be Zion National Park in Utah. With so many wonderful hikes, scenic trails and truly jaw dropping panoramic views, Zion keeps me enthralled with its beauty especially with all the changes of the seasons.
UNESCO sites are one of my favorite things to explore, so as the Old Town of Hoi An has been in that category since 1999, I had to pay a visit. Located 20 miles/30 km south of Danang (known for China Beach), Hoi An is situated on the Thu Bon River. The compact Old Town architecture has an abundance of Japanese and Chinese influence, is best explored on foot and is interesting to wander around. There is also a local food market that is great for people-watching, and make sure to see the Japanese Covered Bridge which was first constructed in the 1590s. In the evening the colorful lanterns light the streets and are a wonderful sight to behold when wandering Old Town.
What one place have you visited and would return to in 2017 if time and money were no issue? Now it is your turn to tell us what makes you love the place and yearn to revisit. You know the drill… send us an email or let us know on WJ’s Facebook page.
Viv and Jill – AKA: WJ