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Our little black book of enchanting places

This year's hot tickets

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

image: Gozo/i-escape.com

Want to travel with the in-crowd in 2018? Here’s where five leading operators suggest we go and why.

Xaghra Farmhouse, Gozo, i-escape.comi-escape ‘Malta and Gozo continue to ride a wave of popularity and even more so in 2018 with Valletta being European Capital of Culture – expect lots of exciting cultural activities throughout the year on both islands. Xaghra Farmhouse, above, is only a short walk from the main square in Xaghra, one of Gozo’s prettiest and most intriguing towns. The owners can arrange great active days out, such as kayaking, climbing, bike tours, diving and climbing for older kids. There are also painting workshops and photography workshops to be enjoyed and eco-tours to keep everyone busy.' A week’s stay from £1,302 (sleeping up to 8) accommodation only. Nashville, USAimage: AndreyKrav/thinkstock

Abercrombie & Kent ‘Renamed ‘Nowville’ by American GQ, Nashville has been undergoing a renaissance in recent years. The foodie scene is also thriving, thanks to artisans like Five Daughters Bakery. In May 2018, British Airways will launch direct flights from London Heathrow to America’s self-proclaimed ‘Music City’, making it easier for travellers to reach the beguiling birthplace of country music and America’s new capital of cool.' A three-night trip including flights, accommodation and private transfers from £1,350 per person, between 4 May and 30 June 2018.Kazakhstan, ExploreExplore ‘The largest and wealthiest of the ‘Stans’, Kazakhstan has had lots of investment into infrastructure and lots of new openings, meaning its one to watch in 2018. Explore has a new two-week trip timed to coincide with a rocket launch at Baikonur. The trips takes in Almaty, Turkestan and the eerie rusting ships in the middle of the desert where the Aral Sea once was, plus a visit to Cosmodrome at Baikonur to learn about the Soviet space programmes.' Across the Kazakh Steppe costs from £3,499 per person, including flights, accommodation, breakfast and some additional meals and an Explore Tour Leader throughout. Trekking in Colombia, G AdventuresG Adventures ‘A high-profile 12-year peace treaty, a Nobel Peace Prize for its President, and national investments in marketing the country overseas, have all combined to boost Colombia’s reputation as a great place to visit. Inbound tourism has rocketed more than 250 per cent in the past 10 years, outpacing tourism to all other South American countries.' Seven days’ Colombia - Lost City Trekking from £499 per person.  Hill tribe village, VietnamResponsible Travel 'Responsible Travel is all for genuine cultural encounters, but culture can soon become a commodity and this is degrading for communities. Fortunately, travellers are wising up to fake ‘Maasai encounters’ or ‘pygmy experiences’. Responsible Travel believes there is no shortage of cultural experiences that benefit communities. 2018 will be the year for meaningful and rewarding holidays visiting hill tribes in destinations like Thailand or Vietnam.' 16-day cycling trip from £2,349 per person including flights and accommodation.

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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