As the new year settles in and the excesses of the festive season become but a gluttonous dream, it’s time to turn your attention toward the most important decision to be made in 2017: where to go on your next vacation.
From snow-dusted mountains in the Canadian Rockies to the bewitching shimmer of the Northern Lights, we’ve got the latest on the most exciting adventure destinations to visit in 2017.
Explore national parks for free in Canada
Travel pundits seem agreed on one thing: 2017 is the year to visit Canada. Why? With the country’s 150th anniversary of confederation celebrated in 2017, there’s been no better time to visit, particularly given that all national parks have free entry for the entire year.
Choose from boat tours through the fjords of Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland, the skiing paradise Banff, Canada’s first national park and sensational views from the passenger seat of a helicopter across glacier-laced Kluane National Park.
For more inspiration, check out our guide to Canada’s most spectacular national parks.
Discover Patagonia at its wildest in Chile
Another hot travel destination for 2017 is one of our favorites: Chile. A country where the cultural vibrancy of the capital blends into landscapes shouldered by volcanoes, glaciers and thousands of miles of wilderness, it’s no wonder that it has acquired a reputation as the ultimate place for adventure travelers.
While visitors can easily pass a few days embracing the dining culture of Santiago, the vineyards of nearby up-and-coming valley, Colchagua or relaxing with a pisco sour on a beach in Viña del Mar, it’s the possibilities offered by Patagonia in the far south that will have you boarding the next plane here.
Global hiking greats such as Torres del Paine are just a few hours’ flight from Santiago, while expedition cruises through untouched fjord systems and national parks so remote that they receive fewer than 1,000 visitors per year are the icing on top of an adventure holiday in Chilean Patagonia.
See shimmering skies and experience exceptional hiking in Finland
Its fjord-riddled neighbor Norway might have once topped the lists when it comes to Scandinavian travel, but adventure seekers are now discovering Finland in their droves.
Lapland in the far north of the country has the clearest skies and the best chances of viewing the northern hemisphere’s strangest phenomenon, the Northern Lights. Expect sparkling, illuminated skies up to 200 nights per a year.
With 39 national parks, the wildest of which are in the far north of the country, Finland is also an unmissable gem for those seeking an adventure into silent, pristine nature. Protecting the country’s incredible biodiversity, Finland’s national parks are also open to the public. What’s more, 2017 is an excellent year as the country celebrates its 100 years of independence with the opening of a new national park.
Conquer mountains and discover iconic landscapes in Scotland
Oft-ignored by foreign travelers in favor of the glamor of the English capital, London, Scotland is an adventure playground that merits a visit in its own right. Leave your technology at home – you won’t be needing it, even if you could get signal – and venture into the Highlands.
Here, discover the largest national park in Britain, the Cairngorms, where Munros (mountains with a height over 3,000 ft. (914m)) grace the horizon and visitors are likely to stumble upon secret lochs and more than a few magnificent ancient castles.
Make the most of Scotland by conquering Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, with a trip to Fort William and the western edge of the Grampian Mountains. Although Ben Nevis doesn’t have quite the same mesmerizing elevation of the highest peaks in other countries – it stands at only 4412 ft. (1,345m) – but with weather conditions regularly comparable to the Arctic, it’s still a challenge to beat the odds (and the clouds) to reach the summit.