BEST LIST Portmanteau Press Picks Top Twenty

The Best Places to Travel in 2017

January 6, 2017

A new year means fifty-two weeks of endless jet-setting possibilities. It’s time to begin planning your next adventure. 2017 is the year to tick some incredible destinations off your bucket list, fulfil your resolution to travel more and turn your wanderlust into a reality. Here’s some globetrotting inspiration for your year of travel ahead. Bon voyage!

Cape Town

1. Cape Town

Cape Town is famous for the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain, gaining its title from it’s characteristically flat peak, it stands majestically in the centre of the city as cable cars glide up and down the cloud-draped cliffs. Nature lovers will be in their element with the vast national park, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and a rugged coastline with stretches of incredible beaches. Cape Town is a melting pot of cultures – Afrikaners who descend from the original Dutch colonists, the large Cape-Malay community, European Jewish immigrants and the Xhosa. Notable places to venture around town include the upmarket beach-side suburb of Camps Bay, the brightly-coloured streets of Bo Kaap, the creative hub of Woodstock and the popular Victoria & Albert Waterfront. Drive along the famous Chapman’s Peak for striking coastal scenery, spend a weekend away at the picturesque wine lands or go on a safari to get up close to African wildlife.

Udaipur

2. Udaipur

The ‘Venice of the East’ is easily up there on the list of the most beautiful places on earth. Lavish royal residences decorate the shimmering Lake Pichola which is fringed by the rolling Aravalli Hills. The most splendid of these architectural marvels is the Lake Palace; sitting in prime position in the centre of the lake the opulent marble palace seemingly floats on the surface of the water. It’s does not come as a surprise that the Lake Palace was chosen as a location in the 1983 James Bond film, Octopussy. Fortunately for visitors it’s now a luxury hotel so you can also have the pleasure of staying in one of the most romantic locations imaginable, or if you’re on a tight budget you can at least attend one of the numerous hostel rooftop screenings of the film. Back on the mainland there’s plenty to discover – majestic palaces, temples and havelis, colourful narrow streets and bustling bazaars.


Chefchaouen
3. Chefchaouen

High up in the Rif Mountains in Northern Morocco the striking blue-washed village of Chefchaouen cascades down the rugged mountainside. The walls of the old town are bedecked with a palette of powdery-blue hues, a tradition that originated over five-hundred years ago by Jewish exiles from Spain. The resulting effect is one of the prettiest medinas in Morocco and a dream for photographers. In modern times, Islamic and hippie culture peacefully coexist as the Rif Mountains hold a reputation for the easy-availability of ‘kif’ (cannabis). Explore the surreal labyrinth at dawn to amplify the other-worldy atmosphere – weave your way through the quiet, narrow lanes studded with ornate doorways sheltering stray cats and catch a glimpse of a figure wearing traditional hooded-cloaks before they disappear down an empty alleyway. Twist your way through town towards the lively souk where merchants sell  beautiful handicrafts, share a table with the locals to feast on tasty tagines at the much-loved Restaurant Beldi Bab Ssour and hike up to the Spanish Mosque for the ultimate sunset views.

Hong Kong

4. Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a vibrant, densely populated harbour city. The once colonial British outpost remains an international hub and thriving commercial centre in Asia today. Modernity meets nature as a lofty skyscraper skyline sits against the lush, mountainous backdrop of Victoria Peak. Catch the Star Ferry for a quintessential experience and be sure to climb aboard the rambling tram up to ‘The Peak’ for a show-stopping lookout. Embrace the renowned Hong Kong food scene, chaotic streets bright with neon lights and world-class shopping. Check out the ex-pat neighbourhood of Central, where plenty of hip stores, bars and eateries will keep you entertained. For the ‘height of luxury’ stay at The Ritz-Carlton, the highest hotel in the world that boasts stunning views of Victoria Harbour. After a day of serious shopping, sip cocktails at Ozone as this next-level bar will have you feeling like you’re floating in the clouds.

Girona

5. Girona

Girona is more than just the setting for the latest season of cult television series Game of Thrones. This old Northern Spanish city is only a short drive from Barcelona. Girona sits on the steep slopes along the banks of Onyar River, notable for the fringe of brightly coloured houses and multiple pedestrian bridges that span across it. It’s a treasure trove to explore – a picturesque riverside, striking gothic buildings, winding cobbled streets and timeworn medieval walls. Plus, it’s home to one of the best restaurants in the entire world, El Celler de Can Roca and a famous Willy Wonka-esque gelateria.

Aspen

6. Aspen

Although this old mining town is now a glitzy playground of the rich and famous, it still retains its Colorado cowboy swagger. Downtown Aspen has an abundance of heritage buildings rich in history, such as the Hotel Jerome, once frequented by a heady mix of movie stars, writers and cowboys. Cosy watering holes with live country music performances fit in seamlessly with high-end designer stores, exclusive supper clubs, art dealers and a trendy modern art museum. Aspen Mountain (AJAX) and Snowmass are incredible skiing destinations and boast plenty of swanky après-ski options. If you have a day off from skiing you must hire snowmobiles and enjoy a high-speed adventure to the spectacular Maroon Bells.

Lisbon

7. Lisbon

Lisbon is often overlooked in Euro-trip itineraries, although this Southern-European capital is arguably a highlight. A pretty city with undeniable appeal – century-old trams ramble up and down the steep hills, cobbled streets are lined with pastel-coloured buildings covered in bougainvillea and sweeping sunset views over terracotta rooftops with a shimmering ocean backdrop. Catch a bus to Belem where you can admire the grand gothic Tower of Belem and (more importantly) sample the legendary pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tart). Lisbon’s nightlife is without a doubt a highpoint; whether you roam between the wine bars of bohemian Barrio Alto, find your way to a hidden rooftop venue atop a multi-storey car park or party until dawn at the renowned Lux nightclub.

Marrakech

8. Marrakech

Marrakech has long held a romantic allure for foreign visitors intrigued by the city’s rich cultural tapestry. Berber, Arabic, and European cultures collide to create an utterly mesmerising, chaotic metropolis that will delight bohemians, artistic types and aesthetes who flock to Morocco’s ‘capital of cool’. The North African sun beats down on this exotic, ochre-coloured city as the call to prayer rings out from the Koutoubia Mosque vibrating within the ancient city walls. If you stand on one of the centuries-old riad rooftops to peer into the distance you will discover beyond the palm trees, that Marrakech is dramatically edged by the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. Be transported back thousands of year in the Old Medina, get lost in the labyrinth of Medieval alleyways, haggle for artisanal crafts at the bustling souk where the scent of amber, musk and orange blossom lingers in the air, sip sweet mint tea on a rooftop overlooking the mayhem of the main square Jamaa el Fna and then escape the searing heat by retreating to the cool, tranquil oasis of the Jardin Majorelle.

 Sydney

9. Sydney

Sydney ranks amongst some of the most stunning cities in the world; with spectacular sights such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and the antiquated ferries decorating the sparkling, natural harbour. The amazing weather, relaxed cafe culture, friendly locals and assortment of beautiful beaches make it a perfect holiday destination. Learn to surf at Bondi Beach and choose the banana pancakes for brunch at Bills, climb the Harbour Bridge, ride the green and gold ferry to Manly, defend your fish and chips from hungry seagulls at Watson’s Bay, swim with the locals at hidden Eastern Suburbs beaches, hike the coastline from Bondi to Bronte, order a flat-white from bearded baristas in Redfern, shop Australian brands in the grand Queen Victoria Building, admire the gorgeous streets of Paddington, wake up early to buy fresh seafood at the Fish Markets, delight in the didgeridoo performance at Circular Quay and see an evening show at the Sydney Opera House.

Paris view

10. Paris

Paris is always a good idea. The ‘City of Light’ is utterly beguiling and captivates millions of visitors each year with its effortless beauty, style and architectural grandeur. Once you’ve ticked off the main attractions and spent enough time being cultured in the countless museums and art galleries, it’s time to explore the delightful arrondissements. Must visit neighbourhoods include; quaint Montmartre, classic Saint-Germain-de-Pres and fashionable Le Marais. Enjoy Paris ‘like a local’ with a picnic by the Seine, meander around picturesque streets, shop in exquisite department stores, procure pastries from renowned patisseries, read philosophy on park benches, sip coffee at sidewalk cafes and drink wine along Canal Saint Martin. C’est la vie!

Hamilton Island 

11. Hamilton Island

The Whitsundays is the Australian version of paradise and in the heart of this heavenly pocket of the world lays Hamilton Island. A tropical island blessed with balmy weather, magnificent ocean views, warm azure water teeming with colourful marine life, long pristine stretches of beaches lined with palm trees swaying gently in the breeze and hiking trails with unique natural flora. Hamilton Island’s reputation for luxury is not undeserved with internationally acclaimed accommodation qualia and an outstanding 18-hole golf course. If you feel like some extravagance; try a helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef or hire a super yacht to go snorkelling at the famous White Haven Beach.

 New York

12. New York

The Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, 5th Avenue… these iconic sites which have been countlessly depicted in literature, music and film make the city instantly recognisable. There is something magical about flying into JFK airport and seeing that familiar skyline for the very first time. There is an inexhaustible list of things one ought to do when in town; stand at the very top of the Empire State Building, spend a night out on Broadway, laugh out loud at a stand-up comedy club, ride the subway, catch a yellow cab, picnic in Central Park, admire art in Upper East Side, listen to jazz at the Village Vanguard, watch baseball in the Bronx, shop the latest trends in SoHo, peruse records on Bleeker Street, queue for brunch in the West Village, grab a slice at Joe’s Pizza, walk the High Line, order a pastrami sandwich at an old-school LES deli, cycle over the Brooklyn Bridge, sample bespoke cocktails at an East Village speakeasy and find your inner hipster at warehouse parties in Brooklyn.

13. Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a Scandinavian crown jewel; an effortlessly trendy, cosmopolitan city overflowing with culture, cafes and industrial-style bars. It’s contemporary chic meets old-worldy charm. Visiting Copenhagen is a must for lovers of fashion, design and architecture. Take time to sit along a promenade cafe and watch a parade of good-looking, stylish locals stroll by. Cycle along picturesque canals and colourful, cobbled-stone streets. While you’re here, stick around for the culinary revolution of ‘new Nordic cuisine’. Don’t leave without an afternoon picnicking on fresh strawberries in one of the city’s beautiful gardens.

IMG_0068

14. Washington D.C.

 As you’d expect from the capital of the USA, Washington D.C. is imposing, impressive and boasts a fascinating political history, epic monuments and outstanding museums. For something more local; don’t miss the tree-lined, historic neighbourhood Georgetown and you cannot leave town without ordering a hotdog and chilli fries at Washington D.C.’s culinary institution popular amongst the state politicians (Psst, President Obama!), Ben’s Chilli Bowl. There is no prettier time to visit Washington than in spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and the Tidal Basin is skirted with plumes of pale pink.

Isla Mujeres

15. Isla Mujeres

Located in the pristine waters off the coast of Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a haven of palm trees and crushed-coral beaches that feels blissfully far removed from the mainland. Drive around in golf-carts to discover the Mayan Temple, swim with majestic whale sharks and pay a visit to the sea turtle sanctuary. When you need a rest, kick back in a hammock with an ice-cold beer and snack on ceviche fresh off the boat. Heavenly.

16. Tasmania’s East Coast

You’ll be amazed how much natural beauty one road trip can pack in – from the fiercely coloured Bay of Fires, striking views of the Hazards mountain range, national parks with unique bushland and of course the world famous Wine Glass Bay. Plus, along the way there are quaint country towns to explore, native wildlife such as wallabies to spot out the car window, pit-stops to feast on an abundance of local produce, taste wine at renowned wineries and experience some of Tasmania’s most luxurious accommodation such as Saffire Freycinet.

Rome

17.  Rome

It’s impossible not to fall in love with Rome. The ‘Eternal City’ can easily be described as ‘a living museum’ with ancient historical sites seamlessly standing amongst the chaos of a modern European city. Take for example the impressive archaeological site of the Colosseum, which stands majestically in the centre of a ring road roaring with a throng of vespas. There’s an endless parade of awe-inspiring art, architecture and culture to experience. Once you’ve ticked off the main sights and museums – take some time to stroll along the River Tiber, meander the cobbled streets of Travestere and Monti, loose yourself in the charming piazzas, relax in alfresco cafes sipping aperitifs with the locals and indulge in incredible cuisine in classic trattorias. Let’s not pretend that Italian food isn’t high up on the agenda – pizza, pasta and gelato per favore!

Big Ben

18. London

Expect to find iconic sights at every turn. Not to mention the wealth of history, architectural majesty, cultural institutions, picturesque neighbourhoods, stylish shopping and a thriving foodie scene. There is something timeless about London; it’s both a cutting edge capital and a historic city with a touch of old-worldly charm. That marvellous mix of when old and new collide is what makes London one of the most visited destinations in the world. It’s a place where both tradition and innovation thrive to create a culturally rich, vibrant and ever-evolving city. Get your bearings with the expansive view from The Shard, catch a double decker bus or head underground to ride ‘the tube’, marvel at the old-fashioned department stores, order a pint at a London pub, stroll the picture-perfect streets of Notting Hill, spend rainy days in the magnificent museums and art galleries, cycle through Hyde Park, spend the day amongst the trendy crowds at Brick Lane Markets and treat yourself to a traditional English afternoon tea at The Ritz.

Mexico

19.  San Cristobal de las Casas

A picturesque Spanish colonial city will enchant you with it’s colourful, cobbled-streets and leave you with the feeling that time has stood still in this part of Mexico. San Cristobal de las Casas is set in the Chiapas highlands and surrounded by traditional villages and pine forests. The town is still home to one of Mexico’s largest indigenous communities, which allows for a unique insight into ancient customs, traditions and clothing. Shop locally made handcrafts, explore the beautiful town that has a surprisingly cosmopolitan centre and hike up the steep stone steps to the hilltop church for stunning views of the valley. There’s an underlying bohemian culture amongst many of the foreigners who chose to stick-around, so you could even practice some yoga when you’re in town.

Barcelona
20. Barcelona

Avant-garde, innovative flair seems to run through the veins of Catalan people and the pulsing seaside city of Barcelona is the lifeblood of Catalan creativity. It’s impossible to not be captivated by this whimsical, metropolis rich in history and deeply rooted in creative visionaries. Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi’s unique, modernista designs have become the face of the city. Art-enthusiasts will be enamoured with Museau Picasso and Fundacio Joan Miro. History-buffs will delight in wandering the narrow, winding streets of the Gothic Quarter, whilst those seeking summery vibes can take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea. The culinary landscape is a feast for the senses, and a trip to La Boqueria Market is a must. In the evening; wind your way through the labyrinth of laneways and partake in a ‘moveable feast’ joining locals in some late-night revelry as they hop between trendy tapas bars and traditional bodegas.

My opinion is, and will always be, my own. The Portmanteau Press only includes content that aligns with the aesthetic, standard and values of the brand. All photographs are captured by and belong to Eddie Hart unless otherwise stated. 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Margaret Cherryman January 7, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Eddie Hart, you make everywhere sound so exciting and beautiful. I just long to pack my bag and be
    off to some of your suggested destinations. Thank you for your wonderful photo’s of these incredible,
    lovely places.

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