Ten Must-Visit Places Worth Travelling Overseas for in 2018

Check for cheap flights and lock in a date.
Jasmine Crittenden
Published on December 20, 2017

If you're keen to score good deals on flights and accommodation, then it's never too early to start planning next year's international adventure. Chances are, though, that between Christmas shopping and hitting the beach, you don't have a lot of spare time on your hands. So, we've done some research for you. Here are ten spots around the world that are definitely worth a visit in 2018. For spectacular scenery, head to the Azores Islands off Portugal; for incredible colonial architecture and watery sunsets, try Cartagena in Colombia or Valletta in Malta; for world-class cocktails and Gordon Ramsay-defeating laksa, make tracks to Singapore; and for a live music marathon, there's New Orleans, which is gearing up to celebrate its 300th anniversary.


New Orleans turns 300 this year, so prepare for the shindig of all shindigs. Official tricentennial events include gigs, art exhibitions, parties, film screenings and more. There's a block party dedicated to Martin Luther King, a burlesque opera celebrating Tabasco sauce and a concert telling the story of jazz history, among loads of other happenings. 2018 will also mark 13 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, but rebuilding has been extensive and tourist numbers have recovered to pre-2005 numbers (about 10 million visitors annually). In between anniversary parties, head to Bourbon Street for a 24/7 music festival, St Claude Avenue for jazz bars and Royal Street for art galleries.


With a population of more than 21 million, Mexico City is one of the biggest cities in the world. Once considered a place to avoid, on account of its high crime rate and even higher pollution levels, the metropolis has transformed over the past few years. Public spaces have opened up to emphasise majestic architecture; restaurants and cantinas are flourishing; art exhibitions, live gigs and museum are countless. Be sure to visit the Palacio Nacional, famous for the Diego Rivera murals which convey Mexico's history from the moment the Quetzalcóatl (a serpent god of the Aztecs) arrived to the 1910 Mexican Revolution.


Like Mexico City, Colombia was once struck off many travellers' lists for fear of kidnappings, guns and cocaine deals. However, it too, has gone through a bit of a renaissance. The country's most beautiful city is Cartagena, which you'll find on the northern coast, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Expect dreamy sunsets, stunning 16th century architecture, brightly-coloured flowers and old-fashioned horse and cart. A short boat ride away are the Rosario Islands, part of a national park that offers exceptional snorkelling and diving. Other spots for underwater aficionados include the Providencia and Santa Catalina islands: the gateway to the world's biggest coral reef system.



The extraordinarily beautiful Azores Islands lie in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,360 kilometres west of Portugal. They form one of the nation's two autonomous regions, the other being Madeira. If you're looking for a nature-centric holiday, this is the place to go to. You'll be wandering along calderas covered in greenery and filled with sparkling lakes, lazing about on subtropical beaches watching out for whales and dolphins (year-round), diving among loggerhead turtles and blue sharks, and walking through intricate cave systems. Even though the Azores are becoming more popular with visitors, the natural environment continues to be well protected by the locals — only 5% has been developed.


Valletta is the capital of Malta, an island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, about 80 kilometres south of Italy and 284 kilometres east of Tunisia. Described by locals as "the city built by gentlemen for gentlemen", it was created in just 15 years from 1566 — entirely by hand. Not only the complex architecture — dotted with forts, churches, palaces, fountains, sculptures, hidden gardens and narrow alleyways — is spectacular, but the location, too. Valletta covers the rugged Mount Sceberras peninsula, which is flanked by two deep, steep harbours.

John Robinson


Sheffield? You're probably thinking gloomy weather, industrial cityscapes and, of course, steel. While all these things are or have been true of this Northern English city, there's a lot more to it. Firstly, Sheffield is the happiest city in the UK, according to a 2013 survey. Secondly, there's a happening arts scene, which has given rise to several big bands, including Arctic Monkeys, Pulp and Def Leppard. The theatre complex is also the largest outside of London. Thirdly, extensive redevelopment during past few years has added loads of greenery and, if you're keen to get deeper into nature, the Peak District National Park is just next door.

Göran Höglund


While we're on the topic of happiness, let's talk about Bhutan. This tiny Himalayan nation, which lies just east of Nepal, is famous for measuring progress in terms of Gross National Happiness (GNH), instead of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). On top of meeting lots of friendly people, you'll find yourself surrounded by dramatic mountain scapes, ancient monasteries and prayer flags.
If you can, venture to Laya, Bhutan's highest settlement — and one of the highest in the world — at 3,800 metres. It's home to just 3,000 indigenous Layap people and every October hosts the Royal Highlander Festival, a celebration of their unique culture.

Jasmine Crittenden


Have you always struck Singapore off your list because it's "boring" and "sterile"? Such things are often said of this island city found just south of Malaysia, but, get beneath the surface, and you'll discover some diverse, dynamic neighbourhoods — as well as the best laksa on the planet. A good way to start is with a ramble around Little India, which should include curry at Banana Leaf Apollo and chilli crab at Wing Seong Fatty's. After that, head to Katong, home to Singapore's Peranakan population, whose culture combines Chinese, Malay, Indian, Arabic and European influences. Finally, be sure to end a hot day with a stop at one of Singapore's many new cocktail bars, such as the Tippling Club, which came 31st in the 2017 World's Best Bars Awards. More tips are in our Less Obvious Guide To Singapore.

Arian Zwegers


Georgia is smack bang in the middle of the Caucasus, with the Black Sea to the west, Russia to the north and Turkey to the south. So, on one side, there's beautiful coastline, and the other, rugged mountains. In between, you'll pass flower-dotted meadows, rushing rivers and enchanting villages, with tavernas full of welcoming, carousing locals. Yes, they'll probably expect you to sing. Although tourism is growing, Georgia still has a wild, undiscovered feeling to it. The best way to travel is with an openness to adventure and surprises, rather than a strict itinerary.

Vahid Yarmohammadi


Speaking of adventure and surprises — if you're a fan of them, then book a ticket to Tehran, the buzzing, colourful capital of Iran. For a shopping experience you're unlikely to forget, spend a morning getting lost among the mazes of The Grand Bazaar, poring over spices, gold jewellery and handwoven carpets. At the Golestan Palace, you'll get an insight into Iran's royal history; it was here that the Qajars, the country's second to last dynasty, had their seat of power. Think marble fountains, blinding mirror halls and magnificent furniture. The city also has a strong contemporary art scene. Check out Aaran Gallery for work by young artists and A.J for photography.

Published on December 20, 2017 by Jasmine Crittenden
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x