Chilly Iceland was hot with travelers in 2016, and Thailand had its heyday the year before that. But next year’s hotspot just may trounce them both with its mix of stunning beaches, colonial towns, vibrant cities and lush islands.
But it looks like visitors will be stopping over even more in 2017: Travel + Leisure recently named Portugal its Destination of the Year, calling attention to the fact that U.S. travel to Portugal increased 22 percent in the last 12 months. The travel experts at Fodor’s put the country’s Minho region on their “Go List” for next year, and Lonely Planet calls the Azores one of the world’s best regions to visit in 2017. Skift reports Portugal’s tourism “boom” shows “no signs of slowing,” as European visitors head there in droves.
It’s safe to say we’ll be hearing LOTS about Portugal in 2017. Some highlights to consider for your forthcoming to-see list:
Lisbon and Algarve: The popular city and beaches
A first-timer’s trip to Portugal should include the capital city of Lisbon, which gets plenty of attention for its scenic day hikes and scene-y nightlife. A 2.5-hour drive brings you to the Algarve, Portugal’s equally popular coastal region, where you can search for the perfect hidden beach.
Minho: The lesser-known wine region
Fodor’s calls Minho the most beautiful part of the country, with a national park that sounds straight out of a fairytale. This stunning river valley also turns out an incredible (and cheap!) local wine.
Comporta: The beach you may not have heard of
MAAT: The newest museum on the map
The Azores: The islands that put Hawaii to shame
Dubbed the “next Iceland,” these increasingly popular islands some 800 miles off the coast won’t be a secret much longer. Head over now to go free diving, waterfall rappelling, volcano hikes and whale watching before everyone else.