Turquoise, glacier-fed Lake Moraine in Canada's awe-inspiring Banff National Park

20 Travel Destinations For 2017: Make Your Flight Plans Now, Or Regret It Forever

Sick of seeing your friends lying on beaches in Instagram photos while you sit at home, dreaming of escaping on the next outbound flight? Well, what are you waiting for? We spoke to the UK's top experts to find out where you need to travel to this year.

Take a look outside your window right now.

Let me guess – you're looking out at a dreary, wet day, seeing passersby sopping wet or shielding themselves from the sharp winds, as you're sat clutching yet another mug of coffee to warm up yourself up, or at least your hands.

Well, it's about now you should be thinking about your next holiday.

While dry January and the endless wait for pay day might not make the first month of the year the most fun, it's the perfect time to save money and start planning this year's unforgetable weekend breaks, summer holidays and backpacking adventures.

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Beach hut in Bali 😍 #holiday #sun #perfectweather #view #wanttobethere #bluesky #dreaming #bali

A photo posted by @luxury_holiday_destinations on

As a result, we've spoken to the UK's top holiday experts to find out where are the best places to travel to in 2017, the best time to book, the insider's tips and how to get the most out of your money.


Europe

Destination: Bordeaux, France

Why it's good to go in 2017: Bordeaux has completely transformed in recent years. It has an enviable food and wine scene as well as mesmerising history allowing you to lose yourself among the graceful and grandiose medieval side streets of the city. The new LGV Sud-Ouest line, due for completion in mid-2017, connects the city with Europe's high-speed train network and cuts travel time from Paris to just two hours.

Best time to visit: Bordeaux is lovely year-round. The biennial Bordeaux Wine festival happens in June.

Top cultural places to see: Check out the Gothic belfry of the Cathédral St-André for spectacular views. The church's oldest sections date from 1096. Or behold the Monument aux Girondins – the most over-the-top fountain you're ever likely to see.

Insider's tip: At Bar à Vin, you'll find 30 Bordeaux wines by the glass and staff who know their stuff. And it's part of the École du Vin, so you can call your hours of sampling 'educational'.

Janine Eberle, Lonely Planet

Destination: Pistoia, Italy

Why it's good to go in 2017: This year, Pistoia is taking its turn as Italy's Capital of Culture. The €15-million windfall which forms part of the city's award will only enhance the city's pleasures and will fund an array of exhibits, festivals and social programs, as well as big-ticket projects such as the transformation of the historic Ospedale del Ceppo into a cultural centre and a retrospective of the work of native sculptor Marino Marini in collaboration with the Guggenheim.

Best time to visit: July is a good time to visit due to the alfresco Blues Festival. For food lovers, autumn trumps the lot, with market stalls full of freshly harvested fare.

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Top cultural places to see: Head to the airy halls of Palazzo Fabroni for a blast of contemporary art.

Insider's tip: Climb Pistoia's sky-high campanile for awesome views over a sea of terracotta rooftops, the surrounding mountains and even Brunelleschi's famous Florentine dome in the distance.

Paula Hardy ,Lonely Planet

Destination: Finland

Why it's good to go in 2017: 2017 marks the centenary of Finland's independence and they'll be celebrating with gusto. There's a host of centenary events coming up, plus a new national park in Hossa, a fascinating food scene and wonderfully magnetic landscapes, meaning there's something for everyone.

Best time to visit: Head there for December 6th for Independence Day Centenary celebrations, which will be marked with concerts, fireworks and torchlight processions, or opt for long summer days, when city festivals are plentiful.

Top cultural places to see: Stroll through Helsinki and explore locally-sourced menus, design boutiques and architectural icons, including the rock-hewn Temppeliaukion church.

Insider's tip: Head to bohemian Tampere, home to the newly-expanded Moomin museum.

Gabrielle Jaffe, Lonely Planet


Africa & South Africa

Destination: Cape Town, South Africa

Why it's good to go in 2017: This is an African city with a global outlook. Local gastronomy is as impressive as Table Mountain's flat-topped mass, with historic wine estates in every direction, hip markets selling the fruits of the Cape's fertile terrain, and inventive restaurants winning global plaudits. The art and design scene will be given a boost in September by the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), the world's largest museum of contemporary African art and a post-industrial architectural marvel occupying a century-old grain silo.

Best time to visit: For assuredly sunny days outside high summer, come in October, November and March

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Top cultural places to see: Cruise the design shops, galleries and cafes occupying the converted warehouses of creative Woodstock

Insider's tip: To reach Table Mountain's 1000m-high plateau you can ride the revolving cable car or hike up through Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.

James Bainbridge, Lonely Planet

Destination: Madagascar

Why it's good to go in 2017: Definitely one to watch for beach destinations and alternative wildlife. Miavana, the hotly anticipated private island in Nosy Ankoa, is just up and running.

Best time: Generally April - mid December: the north is hot and humid, the east is wetter, and the south is dry. Dec – March are the wettest months.

Top places to see: Nosy Be for beaches, the majestic Avenue of the Baobabs an hour from Morondava; Tsingy stone forest.

Insider's tip: Anjavy Le Lodge has 24 villas on a private island overlooking the Mozambique channel. From £252 pp for four nights, half board. Book through Black Tomato

Tom Marchant, Co-founder Black Tomato Group

Destination: Namibia

Why it's good to go in 2017: Known for its Martian-like desert landscapes and national parks teeming with wildlife – including lions and the elusive leopard – there's so much to do. Plus, it's all accessible by road, so it makes for the ultimate African road trip.

Top places to see: Take a scenic flight over the skeleton coast, where hulking shipwrecks lay bare, half swallowed by the sand, or climb the world's tallest sand dune at sunrise to look out over the oldest desert on Earth.

Best time: Good weather all year, but April and May are the best months, and the dry season, June – October, is best for game viewing.

Insider's tip: When it opens later this year, the place to stay will be the Shipwreck Lodge, Skeleton Coast.

Lottie Gross, Rough Guides

Destination: Marrakech

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Why it's good to go in 2017 Marrakech is perennially hip, but this year there will be one more reason to draw the fashion crowd. Autumn will see the opening of a new museum dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent, showcasing thousands of the great man's pieces and sketches. It will be next to the beautiful Jardin Majorelle, which turns 60 this year, and where YSL's ashes are scattered.

Best time : avoid high summer (end of June – September), when it gets way too hot.

What to see: Djemaa el Fna, the atmospheric main square, the Koutoubia mosque, the souks for shopping. Head out to the Atlas Mountains for mountain biking and trekking.

Insider's tip: Everyone raves about shoe shop Atika, 34, Rue de la Liberté, for Tods look-alikes – but I prefer Cleopatra next door, for soft suede loafers in every hue.

Susan Ward Davies, Travel & LIfestyle Director, ELLE

Destination: Uganda

Why go in 2017: With word getting out about Uganda's compelling mix of spectacular scenery and incredible wildlife, 2017 is set to be the year the country finally emerges from the shadow of neighbouring tourist hotspots Kenya and Tanzania.

Best time: Good all year, but for the gorillas go in the two dry seasons, Jan - Feb and June - September

Top places to see: Swim in volcanic crater lakes south of Fort Portal, hike the Mountains of the Moon, aka the Ruwenzori, the highest mountain range in Africa, or raft the River Nile from Nalubale.

Insider's tip: don't miss the chance to get up close and personal with some of man's closest living relatives on the new Gorilla Habituation Experience. Park rangers take you to track these powerful primates through the aptly named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (above), one of the most remarkable wildlife experiences on Earth.

Keith Drew, Rough Guides


United States and Canada

Destination: Los Angeles, California

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Why it's good to go in 2017: LA has been gaining steam as a cultural destination while becoming more accessible than ever. LA has more museums and theatres than any other US city and the 2016 Metro expansion has made getting from Downtown to Santa Monica and everywhere in between much easier.

Best time to visit: Los Angeles has beautiful, temperate weather most of the year. If you're looking to celeb spot, try January to February, when awards season is in full swing.

Top cultural places to see: First-timers will want to see iconic sites such as the Hollywood Sign, the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Bowl and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, but they'd also enjoy exploring funky and diverse neighbourhoods such as Koreatown and Los Feliz.

Insider's tip: Hike through Runyon Canyon or walk around Griffith Park to get those social media–worthy snaps of the city skyline.

Lauren Finney, Lonely Planet

Destination: Wyoming

Why it's good to go in 2017: The total eclipse of the sun, on 21 August, can be seen directly above Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Best time: August this year, but usually April – June to beat the summer crowds, and October and November for skiing.

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Top places to see: Jackson Hole for skiing, the magnificent Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.

Top tip: the eclipse starts with a partial eclipse from 10.17am and then the total eclipse will happen at around 11.35am.

Susan Ward Davies, Travel & Lifestyle Director, ELLE

Destination: Canada

Why it's good to go in 2017: 2017 is the country's biggest birthday party in recent history, marking 150 years since the confederation. Canadians won't be shy about celebrating, so now is the time to start planning a trip.

Best time to visit: Canadian winters are exceedingly cold. Unless you're coming for winter sports, spring and summer are the best times to visit.

Top cultural places to see: Birthdays are also an opportunity to look back and in 2017, you can review Canadian history in several refurbished museums. Gatineau's Canadian Museum of History is opening a new wing following a $25-million makeover, while Ottawa's Canadian War Museum is hosting a special exhibition about Vimy Ridge, the WWI battle won predominantly by Canadian troops in April 1917.

Insider's tip: The best way into the country's sometimes forbidding wilderness is via its impressive national-park system, which, in honour of the 150th anniversary, is generously waiving all its entry fees this year.If your time is limited, hit Banff, nestled amid the Rocky Mountains that straddle the Alberta-British Colombia border; it balances accessibility with the call of the wild.

Brendan Sainsbury, Lonely Planet


South Asia

Destination: Nepal

Why it's good to go in 2017: The 2015 earthquakes caused devastation, but what is most striking from a traveller's perspective is not how much was lost but how much remains. Landmark temples crumbled, but others came through with just the odd tile out of place. Nepal has all the skills required to repair monuments and infrastructure, but what it does need is income. By visiting Nepal now and supporting local culture and people, you could help a nation rebuild and bounce back even stronger.

Best time to visit: Avoid the summer monsoon from May to September. Prime time for trekking is October to November and February to April, avoiding the coldest part of winter, when snowfall can block high passes.

Top cultural places to see: Spend a few days exploring Kathmandu's temples and backstreets.

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Insider's tip: Getting close to the Himalaya is the quintessential Nepal experience. You can view the mountains from the rim of the Kathmandu Valley or see the peaks up close and personal on treks to Annapurna, Kanchenjunga and Everest Base Camp.

Joe Bindloss, Lonely Planet

Destination: Kuching, Borneo

Why you should go in 2017: The region of Kuching, in Borneo, is having a moment, and Malaysia celebrates 60 years' of independence this year. Kuching is becoming the new Penang, with lots of cool cafes, designer restaurants, street art, and museums springing up all over.

Best time: Temperature is 27 - 32 C year round, dry season is April - Sept.

Top places to see: Chinese history museum, Top Spot Food Court (on the roof of a garage), Jln Padungan, and the beautiful Semmengoh Natural reserve , 24 kms outside Kuching.

Insider's tip: cats are a big deal here, if you're a fan too, don't miss the Great Cat of Kuching statue, the free Cat Museum, and the Meow Meow cat café.

Sam Clark, co-founder of Experience Travel Group, South-east Asia holiday specialist


South America

Destination: Choquequirao, Peru

Why it's good to go in 2017: Imagine exploring Machu Picchu before the hordes and mass commerce. A visit to Choquequirao gets you as close as possible to doing exactly that. Hidden across the deep Apurimac Valley, Choquequirao, was the last Inca refuge from the conquistadors, and there's a growing traveller buzz to see it ASAP. A cable car is scheduled for this year, which will glide up to 3000 visitors a day to the ruins in just 15 minutes.

Best time to visit: Sunny June and July are the ideal times to visit, best synched with a festival in Cuzco. Choquequirao currently closes in the rainy season from November to March.

Top cultural places to see: Spend a day in Lima, enjoying museums, ceviche and pisco

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Insider's tip: Unique to Choquequirao are the stone llamas blanca (white llama) figures. Standing taller than most humans, the designs are inlaid into the lower terraces, forming a pattern of animals across the slopes.

Phillip Tang, Lonely Planet

Destination: Colombia

Why it's good to go in 2017: Since signing a new peace deal, Colombian tourism is rising as quickly as you can say quiet Caribbean coastline. As well as amazing beaches, it's also home to some of the best coffee in the world and its lush jungle provides the setting for the hit Netflix series Narcos…Coffee, beaches and an excuse to watch Netflix, what more do you need?

Best time : Weather is good all year but Dec – March is the dry season.The busiest (and priciest) time to go is during La Semana Santa (holy week, the week before Easter), and Dec – Feb .

Top places to see: The wonderful city of Cartagena (above), sleepy riverside Mompos, the beautiful colonial Villa de Leyva, and Tayrona National Park for the best beaches.

Insider's tip: the Hay Festival takes place every January, in Cartagena.

Radha Vyas, Co-founder of The Flashpack

Destination: Chile

Who says? Susan Ward Davies, Travel & Lifestyle Director, ELLE

Why it's good to go in 2017: Last year was all about Peru, now it's Chile's turn as British Airways starts the first ever direct flights from the UK to Santiago, Chile's capital, on January 3rd.

Best time: Nov – early March (summertime)

Top places to see: Torres del Paine National Park, Atacama desert (the driest in the world) , the beautiful Chilean lake district.

Insider's tip: the stylish Explora Atacama, in the Atacama desert, has just reopened this month, and is giving the first night free to celebrate. Check out sister hotel, Explora Patagonia, in the deep south,


New Zealand

Destination: Taranaki, New Zealand

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Why it's good to go in 2017: From dairy farms to legendary surf breaks, Taranaki's natural assets have long been envied. But in recent years a powerful arts and cultural set has elbowed its way to the fore, sustaining New Plymouth's notable Puke Ariki Museum and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, and one of the world's finest music festivals – WOMAD – held in pretty Pukekura Park. Now that New Plymouth has its own answer to the Guggenheim – the hard-won and community-funded Len Lye Centre – the stage is set for Taranaki's star to shine.

Best time to visit: Visit between November and April to hit Taranaki's black-sand beaches without fear of hypothermia, and linger on the trails of Egmont National Park with ample daylight.

Top cultural places to see: Wander into the wonderful world of one of the twentieth century's zaniest, most idiosyncratic artists. The new Len Lye Centre adjoining the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is a shimmery steel zizz-fest on the outside, all edgy lines and neck-cricking ceilings on the inside, with a collection of Lye's mind-bending kinetic sculptures and eye-popping films.

Insider's tip: A freshly minted alternative to the overburdened Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the Pouakai Crossing is a day-hike sidling around Mt Taranaki and along the Pouakai foothills. Volcanic, panoramic and arguably every bit as scenic as its rival, its Egmont National Park highlights include Dieffenbach Cliffs, Bells Falls, alpine tarns and primeval Ahukawakawa Swamp.

Sarah Bennett and Lee Slater, Lonely Planet


UK & Wales

Destination: North Wales

Why it's good to go in 2017: North Wales is a stunning area with a vast array of activities on offer to keep travellers entertained, including Surf Snowdonia, an inland lagoon, which generates the world's longest surfable human-made waves, and Zip World at Penrhyn Quarry, which boasts the world's fastest zip line. North Wales has also become a haunt of in-the-know foodies, so however visitors get their kicks, once they've worked up an appetite, they'll also be well catered for.

Best time to visit: Go in August to catch the Menai Seafood Festival.

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Top cultural places to see: Blaenau Ffestiniog's Llechwedd Slate Caverns recently launched a new deep-mine tour that takes visitors into the Stygian depths of Snowdonia to learn about the lives of the slate workers, the 'men who roofed the world'. This 150m descent into the underworld aboard Britain's steepest cable railway makes for a spine-tingling storytelling experience for young and old.

Insider's tip: From Llandudno, explore Great Orme, then take a side trip to Unesco-listed Conwy Castle or perfect your carving at Surf Snowdonia.

James Kay, Lonely Planet

Destination: UK

Why it's good to go in 2017: Domestic tourism is enjoying a massive moment, and our travel team is fielding more and more requests for longer stays in UK hotels. And it's not just the post-Brexit exchange rates, but the current mini-boom in fantastic hotel openings.

Top places to see: From seductive urban stays (Hempel style at The Franklin in London and Bath's brand-new boutique townhouse No 15 Great Pulteney), to cool country manors such as The Pig at Combe, above, Forest Side in the Lake District and The Painswick in Gloucestershire, the surge in stylish staycation spots means there's more choice than ever.

Insider's tip: There's so much culture, creativity, great cuisine and beautiful countryside on our doorstep, saving on airfares can free up cash to spend on amazing meals, surf lessons or spa treatments .

Tamara Heber-Percy, co founder and CTO of Mr & Mrs Smith


Indian archipelago

Destination: Andaman Islands

Why it's good to go in 2017: The Andaman islands, above, give you beautiful unspoilt beaches that are way cheaper than traditional honeymoon destinations like the Maldives or Mauritius

Best time: Nov – mid May. Avoid the monsoon (May – September)

Top places to see: From Calcutta, fly east to the Bay of Bengal, to the Andamans. This string of islands is well off the tourist track, and home to some of the world's best beaches, where your only company on the sand might be the odd elephant or two.

Insider's tip: Stay at Jalakara Eco retreat, the first of its kind on the islands. Doubles from £154, room only

Tom Marchant, co founder of Black Tomato group

You can thank us in booking us a seat next to you on the plane. Bagsy the window seat!

Thanks to Lonely Planet's 'Best in Travel 2017' campaign.

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