New flights. New walking trails. New experiences. Here are the destinations you will add to your travel wishlist for 2017.
1. Canada’s National Parks
Why they’re hot? They’re free and ready to party!
Canada’s national parks are spectacular, from the dinky 15 sq km Georgian Bay Islands National Park to Alberta’s vast Wood Buffalo NP – the size of Denmark. But their scale is rivalled by the variety of geography available, taking in snow-swept tundra (Wapusk NP, Manitoba), Rocky Mountains (Jasper NP) and the dense old-growth rainforest of British Columbia (Pacific Rim NP). And to top it off, admission will be free during 2017, to mark 150 years of the Canadian Confederation: the perfect reason to find yourself celebrating in ‘the Great White North’.
From capital Ottawa, head south to Ontario’s Thousand Islands NP and grab a kayak to explore the titular chain of granite that pierces the St Lawrence River. Further west, Bruce Peninsula NP lies along the western shoreline of Georgian Bay, with fine trails and a marine park to explore, while Point Pelee NP is home to some of Canada’s best birdwatching. Alternatively, Mont-Temblant NP in Quebec boasts one of the most dramatic via ferrata on Earth. With so much choice on offer, this is a party you won’t want to miss.
2. Patagonia, Chile & Argentina
Why it’s hot? It’s 40 years since Bruce Chatwin explored the region, and you can too with new flights
Back in 1977, Bruce Chatwin shook travel-writing with the release In Patagonia. Hitting readers like a hard shot of pisco sour to the soul, four decades on, travellers still cling to tattered copies, as ripe a glimpse into Patagonia’s history, people and myths as anything since. So what better time to follow in his footsteps – especially with the launch of direct flights to Santiago, Chile?
Stand on the beaches of Argentina’s Puerto Madryn, as Chatwin did, where Welsh pioneers first landed in 1865 and continue to Trevelin, the archetypal green valley the settlers sought. Track Ruta40, meeting gauchos and stopping at estandas (ranches) en route; visit Mylodon Cave, where Chatwin sought his mythical sloths, in sight of the white-dusted peaks of Chile’s Torres del Paine NP; and cross into ‘Fireland’ (Tierra del Fuego NP).
But don’t stick to the book: this is a place to forge your own adventure, exploring sub-polar magellan forests, whale-rich seas and sweeping glaciers. Chatwin would heartily approve.