London, Paris, New York, Barcelona, Bangkok. These are some of the world’s most popular travel destinations and for good reason. Great nightlife, vibrant, plenty to see and do. They regularly take the top spots on many “must see destinations” list. But how about something different? Check out Traveling Top Tens recommendations for the Top Ten Must See Destinations for 2018. Grab your passport, book your tickets and discover these amazing countries.
10 – Kazakhstan
The comedy movie, Borat has given Kazakhstan a poor reputation but in reality it is a rich, prosperous country with some of the best natural scenery in the world. The largest city of Almaty makes a good entry point to Kazakhstan with outstanding views of snow capped mountains. Skiing is one of the main draws for Almaty with the resorts of Chimbulak, Ak-Bulak and Tabagan been a bus ride away. Been so close to so many mountains, hiking is always a popular activity.
If you’re a fan of the outdoors and a fan of hiking then there aren’t many better places to visit than Kazakhstan. Other hiking destinations are Kolsai Lakes and Karkaraly National Park. For people with an interest in history, the 1600 year old city of Turkestan is a good choice to visit. The highlight of which are the Sauran Ruins.
9 – Moldova
The least visited country in Europe. This small country in the Balkans borders Romania and the Ukraine and is easily accessible from the UK. The bus service is excellent, allowing visitors to get quickly and easily to most parts of the country. Whilst the capital, Chişinău is not all that exciting, Moldova itself is home to several famous wineries which are the main draw for tourists. The most famous of which is Milestii Mici which features over 200km of underground tunnels. Other must see sites are the Capriana monastery and the 13th century cave monastery of Orheiul Vechi. Due to its small size, all sites are easy to get to from the capital.
For those looking for something in the outdoors, Moldova features plenty of caving, hiking, cycling and horse riding opportunities. Horseback is an excellent way to explore this lovely little country.
8 – Uruguay
Whilst Brazil, Bolivia and Peru are top destinations for travelers to South America, Uruguay is a lesser known gem. Bordering the two giants of Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay is the continent’s second smallest country. Montevideo, is a small but lively capital city with a host of attractions crammed in it’s borders. Popular places to visit are Ciudad Viuja (the old town) which is a pleasant place to walk around, the National History Museum and Barrio Reus which is a delightful old neighborhood of brightly colored houses.
Cycling along the 22 km Rambla which goes along the scenic waterfront is a must do. Within easy reach of Montevideo are the beach resorts of Punta del Este (One of the top resorts in South America) and Piriapolis. Also nearby is the world heritage town of Colonia. Away from the capital the coastal town of La Paloma is worth a visit and has a good surfing spot at La Aguada beach.
7 – Ghana
Do you want to visit Africa but worried about the many issues some parts of the continent have? Ghana may be the place for you. A very friendly country which is considered the best place for first time visitors to Africa. Ghana is a safe, stable country with a rapidly growing tourist industry. The main reason to visit is to take a safari tour at Mole National Park where you can see buffalo, monkeys, lions and elephants. Kakum National Park is also worth a visit and features a long canopy walk which is great for seeing birds.
For those interested in history, there are a number of historical sites to visit. Most well known is Cape Coast which features the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cape Coast Castle. There is also a beautiful beach to relax on and a number of cultural activities to take part in such as traditional drumming and cooking classes.
6 – Taiwan
When people think of Taiwan the first thing that comes to mind are electronics and other products. However there is much more to Taiwan than factories and electronic products. It is a beautiful island with gorgeous mountain scenery, a number of excellent hikes and well maintained cycling trails. The capital city, Taipei is becoming an increasingly popular destination with a number of must see sites such as the former tallest building in the world, Taipei 101 and the old hot spring resort of Beitou.
For those wishing to venture out of the main city there are a host of other sites to see. Most visited is Taroko Gorge, a 19km long canyon on the east coast. It is easily accessible from the nearby city of Hualien. Other popular destinations are Sun Moon Lake, a picturesque lake set among the mountains which is located in Nantou and Kaohsiung, the 3rd biggest city in Taiwan. This city is home to a number of temples and scenic bike routes.
With a good train service, a High Speed Rail and signs in both Chinese and English, Taiwan is an extremely accessible country for visitors. Welcoming people and little crime means your trip will be a pleasent one with little to worry about from scams, hawkers and pickpockets.
For more recommendations of what to see in Taiwan, check out our new article. Top Ten Places to Visit in Taiwan below.
5 – Georgia
On the very edge of Europe, on the coast of the black sea. Georgia is a country with a large mix of landscapes and climates. From mountain peaks to gorgeous beaches and resorts, Georgia has something to offer any traveler. The capital city Tbilisi is one of the most emerging travel destinations in the world as more and more visitors are starting to discover this beautiful old city and it’s range of ancient churches, fascinating museums and excellent art galleries. Gergeti Trinity Church is a noteworthy site with it’s stunning mountain views. It is almost like something out of Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings.
Outside of the capital there are a number of other destinations to visit. The city of Gori (Famous for been the birthplace of Stalin), the historic city of Kutaisi (Home to two world heritage sites) and the cave monastery of Vardzia. A recommended journey by Traveling Top Tens is a train journey from Kutaisi , stopping at Gori to visit Stalin’s birthplace and finishing at the capital of Tbilisi. A trip which let you experience a number of fascinating sites and the picturesque scenery of this gem of a country.
4 – Kosovo
Tourism in Kosovo is growing by the year and it’s no surprise. Although a small country, Kosovo contains a wealth of interesting attractions and historical sites for tourists. Pristina is a lively city with a booming nightlife which, although crowded and popular lacks the alcohol fueled problems many popular nightlife cities suffer from. For those looking for a city with great bars but without the drunken tourists and partying teens, Pristina is the place to visit. In the daytime, visits to the world heritage site of Gracanica monastery and the Ethnographic museum are “must sees”.
Away from Pristina, the city of Prizren is worth a visit. A small city with a free to visit fortress overlooking it, the old streets and it’s number of ancient churches, mosques and Turkish bath houses are a joy to walk around. Although the nightlife in Pristina is good, if you’re really looking for a good time then the city of Gjakova is the place to be. During the summer the streets are full of young crowds visiting the clubs and bars. Like Pristina, although the nightlife is thriving the city lacks many of the alcohol related problems seen in the Greek and Spanish resorts. Highly recommended are the bars HD (The most famous in Gjakova) and Cacoo Bar. Look for Gjakova and Kosovo to become one of the top destinations in Europe in the coming years.
3 – Cuba
Cuba is a country that is catching the eye of more and more tourists and for good reason. The main appeal lies in Havana, specifically the gorgeous classic cars that can be seen driving along every street. If you are a car enthusiast, Havana is a must visit. It is even possible to take a tour in style by hiring a car and driver to take a cruise around the city. Classic cars aren’t Havana’s only appeal however. The Malecon sea wall is thriving at nighttime with youngsters congregating here to party on weekends. There are plenty of museums and historical sites too. Cuba is famous for it’s cigars so a must visit is to one of the cigar factories and museums where you can take a tour. Plaza de la Revolucion finds it’s way onto most tourist lists. This famous square features a huge image of Che Guevara.
A particular gem is to visit Tropicana. A former mafia hangout with a $60 entrance fee, it is well preserved and well kept. Hidden and reclusive along a narrow road, it isn’t difficult to imagine the mafia bosses and criminals heading here in times gone by to talk business. The club features old traditions such as table service and cigars available. Despite it’s entrance fee, Tropicana is a must see destination.
2 – Kyrgyzstan
Considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Kyrgyzstan is a gem which should be a world famous destination. With a good visa policy, it is now very accessible. Kyrgyzstan is famous for it’s horses and the Kyrgyz are excellent horsemen. By far the best way to experience this gorgeous country is by horseback and there are plenty of companies offering the opportunity to do so. Lake Issyk Kul is the most famous destination. The beautiful lake is encircled by the Tian Shan mountain range. Hiking, horseback riding and swimming in the waters are the most popular activities here.
Most will enter at the capital, Bishkek which although new and lacking in historical sites, does make for an excellent base camp to start hiking the Tien Shan mountain range. Burana Tower is the last remnant of a thousand year old city on the ancient silk road and is located a mere bus ride away. Osh is second largest city and is over 3000 years old. A lovely place to visit, as with all of Kyrgyzstan there are plenty of nearby hiking sites to explore. Sulamein Sacred Mountain is a famous World Heritage site in Osh and is full of ancient sites of worship.
1 – Albania
Now it’s time for the Number One destination for 2018, Albania. The capital Tirana is accessible from Prizren and Pristina in Kosovo via a highly recommended bus journey. This bus route weaves it’s way through some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in Europe. Western media has painted Albania with a bad reputation but those willing to visit will be rewarded with a truly stunning country. Whilst the capital, Tirana is a charming and friendly city, the main appeal of Albania lies in it’s northern mountain scenery, it’s stunning beaches and it’s large number of ancient cities and castles.
If beaches are your thing then you can’t go wrong with Vlore. The town boasts a number of beautiful beaches. After a day relaxing, Vlore has a thriving nightlife with a number of bars along the sea front. For day time trips; take your pick. There are a host of historical sites to choose from such as the nearby Kanina castle and Orikum ancient theatre.
This great country also has a number of historical sites. The most well known is Apollonia, the ruins of an Ancient Greek city. Another site worth visiting is Rozafa Castle. It served as a fort for the Ottoman, Roman and Serbian Empires at various points in history.
There are too many places in Albania to visit to list here. So why not check out our follow up article, Top Ten Places to Visit in Albania.