After a tumultuous 2016, we’ve pulled out the top four places to visit to kick off 2017 the right way.
1. Cape Town
Nestled beneath the breathtaking Table Mountain, Cape Town is a celebration of fascinating people, gourmet gastronomic treats and gorgeous sunny weather. It is an uplifting and welcoming city to start your year the right way, with wine tastings in the Cape Winelands, the silver-sanded, upmarket beaches of Clifton, Camps Bay and Llandudno as well as a vibrant local culture in the city itself. If you get there in time, Tweede Nuwe Jaar is an explosion of colour, music and festivities. Held annually on 2 January, the minstrels of the Kaapse Klopse joyously take to the streets in a unique Cape style with lively song and dance.
Start the new year in awe of one of the world’s most spectacular sights, the northern lights. Visible from many locations, perhaps the greatest spots to gaze upon this ethereal natural phenomenon can be found throughout Scandinavia. Great swathes of reds and greens explode across the purple darkness of the evening sky. They intermingle beautifully with burning silver stars which overlook the striking landscapes. Settle down amongst the geysers and blue ice of the astonishing geography of Iceland. Alternatively, look upon the Aurora Borealis from the northernmost region of Svalbard, Norway, lost deep in the polar night.
3. Costa Rica
A hidden central American gem, Costa Rica enjoys a year-round tropical climate and a strong ecotourism identity. A lively oasis serving as an ideal early 2017 holiday, observe a thriving wildlife amongst its lush rainforests and along its idyllic white beaches. White-headed capuchin, mantled howlers, the endangered Geoffrey’s spider monkey and the Central American squirrel monkey can all be found in the Corcovado park while sloths, ocelots and green turtles, such as those in the extremely popular Tortuguero National Park, live beneath skies filled with 840 species of bird. Hike the spectacular Arenal Volcano and other active volcanos or tour the local springs after a day spent zip-lining.
The region of Patagonia, found in Argentina and Chile, transforms into a wonderful winter environment of snow-capped mountains and budding springtime landscapes. Green shoots stretch out from the browns and golds of autumn and winter, flora blooming back into life as animals emerge again from their seasonal hideouts. While the days are shorter, the lodges and hotels are less crowded which means you will have a far more exclusive experience in this South American wilderness getaway. Additionally, winds die down during this time and costs are lessened due to a lack of demand which sees it as a lovely escape when looking for that early 2017 holiday.