The world is full of beautiful and fascinating places – but some get more love than others. We asked loveEXPLORING readers to tell us the most underrated places in the world. Thousands answered our call, and here’s what they said.
Egypt is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the immense Pyramids of Giza, and much more besides. But, according to loveEXPLORING readers, this sun-baked north African country still isn’t getting the attention it deserves.
Security concerns have led to a dip in tourism over the past couple of years. But those who make the trip are rewarded with otherworldly desertscapes, the intricate mosques of Cairo, and the ancient towns, tombs and temples along the Nile Valley. The curious city of Alexandria, with its awesome library, is worth a visit too.
From the glittering salt pan of Salar de Uyuni to an unspoiled swathe of the Amazon jungle, Bolivia truly packs a punch when it comes to natural wonders. But it remains one of South America’s least-visited countries.
Staycations are great, especially in the UAE, a country filled with glamorous five-star hotels, beautiful beach resorts and mind-blowing desert retreats. But sometimes you just need to climb aboard an aeroplane thesize of a small village to jet off to a far-flung corner of the globe. Here are our essential escapes for those suffering from some serious wanderlust.
Dust off your clogs in Amsterdam
The Dutch capital is known for many things, not least its impatient cyclists (cross roads carefully in this city or risk being taken out by a speeding bicycle) and, of course, its intricate system of canals. Its walkways are just as elaborate as its waterways, making Amsterdam a great city for those who enjoy wandering among beautiful architecture, quirky boutiques and interior design shops (stopping only to scoff a whole year’s worth of pancakes in one day). Then become one of the millions of visitors a year who stroll or cycle through the city’s huge green Vondelpark. Art aficionados won’t want to miss the Van Gogh Museum, while those taking a summer trip shouldn’t miss a canal cruise.
Travellers looking to get off-the-beaten path in Europe this year should look no further than the cities of Valletta and Leeuwarden, which are both celebrating their role as a 2018 European Capital of Culture.
The Maltese capital and the Dutch city will hold the title for 2018, celebrating with cultural programmes that are sure to show visitors a new side of the lesser-visited cities.
The city of Valletta is a Unesco World Heritage Site, containing a staggering number of historic sites on a tiny peninsula. The entire Mediterranean country covers just over 300 sq km – but there is plenty for visitors to see and do while they explore the archipelago. Malta is currently holding a week-long celebration to kick-off its cultural programme, with huge crowds expecting to celebrate on Saturday. The Times of Malta reports that 100,000 people are expected to take part in celebrations in Triton Square, St George’s Square, Castille Square and St John’s Square.
But if you can’t make it there in time for this weekend, throughout the year there will be festivals like the Valletta International Baroque Festival, art exhibitions, film exhibitions and much more.
Valletta has been officially inaugurated as the European Capital of Culture. Over 140 projects and 400 events have been planned for Valletta in 2018 around three main themes: Island Stories, Future Baroque and Voyages.
About one fifth of Malta’s 450,000-strong population was in the streets of the capital as Valletta was officially inaugurated as the European City of Culture on Saturday.
“Malta is once again prepared to punch above its weight,” Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told the opening ceremony at the Mediterranean Conference Centre.
Valletta was chosen as the European City of Culture on October 13.
“We did not have to start from scratch. We simply had to look around us and tidy up those buildings and prepare our home to welcome our visitors,” Muscat said.
The title has triggered several key infrastructural projects, among them a new museum of art and a revamp of the famous Strait Street.
Many other buildings and places in Valletta have been renovated for the year, such as the Triton Fountain.
The Catalan theater group Fura dels Baus performed a show on Saturday evening with acrobats on ropes.
With about 6,000 inhabitants, Valletta is the smallest capital in the European Union.
With the opening of Valletta 2018 just a few days away, The Malta Independent on Sunday spoke to Chairman of the v18 Foundation Jason Micallef about the upcoming programme, plans for once V18 ends and issues which have cropped up in relation to the festival.
The opening of V18 has been called a ‘festa’, a typical Maltese celebration. Keeping the European context in mind, how do things like the European diversity angle fit in?
The word festa is universal. We thought it was very important to have a European and international dimension in whatever we do. There, in one word, we are putting together what 2018 means for us: a festa. Festa means a large amount of colours, happiness, faces and diversity. A festa is unifying. Hispanics, English, Italians all recognise the word. To me it was a brilliant idea.
From road trips through Arizona to Portugal’s most unspoilt region, Kate Lough shares her predictions for where you’ll be holidaying next year
1. Andaman Islands
Think of the Andaman Islands as the new Maldives – except much more off-grid. The Indian archipelago consists of 300 uber remote islands characterised by palm-fringed sandy beaches and lush rainforest.
Whereas the Maldives now has hundreds of resorts vying for your attention, the Andamans are only set to get its first luxury resort in March 2018 when the Taj Exotica opens. The 75-villa beachfront hotel will be set on the crescent-shaped Radnanagar Beach on Havelock Island, which is perfectly perched between dazzling coral reefs and jungle.
2. Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast has been quietly reinventing itself in a post-Troubles era as a city break destination with clout. Its starring role in HBO phenomenon Game of Thrones no doubt contributed.
Top tips to help you plan a trip to Malta and Gozo to visit the megalithic temples: which are the best temples to visit? What about the museums? Combination tickets, the most practical place to stay, booking in advance for the Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum, guided tours & transport, food and souvenirs.
Partway between mainland Europe and Africa in the Mediterranean Sea lies the small island of Malta and its even smaller neighbour, Gozo. These islands are best known for their megalithic temples built by Neolithic inhabitants some five to six thousand years ago. The temples are a testament to a tradition of prehistoric architecture that is totally unique to this part of the world. Recognising their international importance, UNESCO classified six of them as parts of the ‘Megalithic Temples of Malta’ World Heritage Site. Not surprising then the temples are a popular tourist attraction.
NEW YORK (AP) — From Malta to Minneapolis, here’s a look at some destinations around the world that will be making news in 2018. They include designated culture capitals, places hosting sporting events and even a couple of cities — San Antonio, Texas, and New Orleans — celebrating their 300th birthdays.
Minneapolis hosts the Super Bowl on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis. The city is encouraging visitors to embrace winter with 10 days of “Bold North” events and activities leading up to the big game. On the other side of the world, the snowy mountains of Pyeongchang, South Korea, host the Winter Olympic Games, Feb. 9-25.
Eleven cities in Russia — including Moscow and Sochi — host the FIFA World Cup, June 14-July 15. The dates coincide with St. Petersburg’s “white nights,” the summer solstice season when city skies never get completely dark.