The Up-and-Coming Travel Destinations You Haven't Heard About (Yet!)

From Santiago to Seoul, here's where to go next!

up and coming travel destinations 2018
Luciano K Hotel

Cuba had its moment as a hot travel destination, but the beauty of travel is that there's always another hotspot emerging. In fact, there are lots of hotspots — from lesser-known European cities like Lisbon and Cardiff to more far-flung spots like South Korea and Australia. Pack your passport and sense of adventure and check out these up-and-coming travel destinations.

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Luciano K Hotel - Santiago, Chile
Luciano K Hotel
Santiago — Chile

Peru gets most of the attention, but Chile is the South American country to keep your eye on. In the capital of Santiago, new boutique hotels like Luciano K have sprung up, the Barrio Italia, with boutiques and design shops, is the hip new neighborhood, and cutting-edge restaurants like Boragó have received global accolades. The city is also the launching point for eco-adventure trips to the Atacama Desert.

More: Looking for More Great Destinations? Check Out Our Travel Bucket List!

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Bürgenstock Resort
Lake Lucerne — Switzerland

With the recent opening of the Bürgenstock Resort, Lake Lucerne in Switzerland is once again on travelers' radars. The complex, once a jet-set resort in the 1950s, has been totally transformed. Set on a bluff, it offers breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains, and it features four hotels, 12 restaurants, a golf course, and a state-of-the-art spa. The jewel in the crown is the recently opened Bürgenstock Hotel, featuring 102 rooms and the Spices Kitchen & Terrace.

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up-and-coming destinations
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Vail in Summer — Vail, Colorado

Vail is a top ski resort, but summer is quite the up-and-coming season. Trade your skis for boots to take a guided trek with llamas or tackle backcountry trails. Mountain biking, fly-fishing, and whitewater rafting are also available. Hop on the Eagle Bahn Gondola for gorgeous alpine scenery and to take part in the Epic Discovery adventure program (summer tubing, rope courses, etc.).

The Vail Craft Beer Classic takes place in June, with events like beer pairing lunches in restaurants like White Bison. There are free concerts in an amphitheater, culinary hotspots like Sweet Basil, and cocktails at Root & Flower. A top place to stay is Hotel Talisa, a new luxury Rocky Mountain retreat on Gore Creek near Vail Village.

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Belfast — Northern Ireland

There's plenty going on in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. Game of Thrones fans know that the hit HBO show has filmed here — there are numerous GoT tours available — and the Titanic Quarter, the former shipyard where the ill-fated liner was built, is now a buzzing area with the Titanic Belfast museum and the just-opened Titanic Hotel. You can also take a driving tour along the coast to see the famous Giant's Causeway rock formation.

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Seoul — South Korea 
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Seoul — South Korea

Urban renewal projects like Skygarden, a highway transformed into a High Line-like linear park, are adding some much-needed green space in the South Korean capital. There's also the ultra modern Dongdaemun Design Plaza mall, as well as the 14th-century Gyeongbokgung Palace. The trendy Insadong area has craft shops, tea houses, and Korean barbecue and kimchi restaurants.

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Hamburg, Germany
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Hamburg — Germany

There's a lot happening in Hamburg, Germany's second-largest city. The striking new Herzog and de Meuron-designed Elbphilharmonie concert hall is making waves with its ultra modern design. Museum-wise, you can visit the traditional Kunsthalle, or see a contemporary exhibit at the Deichtorhallen, housed in two restored 19th-century market halls. Plus, the five-star Fontenay hotel on Lake Alster recently opened its doors.

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Detroit Foundation Hotel
Detroit Foundation Hotel
Detroit — Michigan

Motor City is definitely getting its groove back. The new QLine streetcar is up and running, the old Detroit Fire Department headquarters has been turned into the trendy Foundation Hotel (its Apparatus Room is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Lents), and in the works is a spanking-new arena for the Red Wings and Pistons. Plus, craft breweries like Urbanrest Brewing Co. are popping up all over town.

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Cardiff Millennium Centre
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Cardiff — Wales

If you haven't been to Wales yet, you're definitely missing out. In the capital of Cardiff, two hours by train from London, you can visit Cardiff Castle and the futuristic-looking Wales Millennium Centre, an arts complex in the redeveloped Cardiff Bay area. Dine in restaurants like Clink, the Potted Pig, and the new steakhouse from top British chef Marco Pierre White in the Hotel Indigo.

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Al Bustan Palace
​Al Bustan Palace
Muscat — Oman

This sultanate on the Arabian peninsula is poised to garner more attention this year. In the capital of Muscat, there's the new National Museum of Oman, as well as the Royal Opera House and the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (open to non-Muslims). The Al Bustan Palace is still one of the world's most lavish hotels, and a new coastal resort from Kempinski just opened.

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Africola, Adelaide — Australia 
Adelaide — Australia

Though not as known as Sydney and Melbourne, there's much to recommend in the coastal town of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. In terms of hotels, there's the swanky Mayfair, and there's a Sheraton and a Sofitel in the pipeline. Dining-wise, Orana, from chef-owner Jock Zonfrillo, is garnering top honors across Australia, as are other culinary hotspots like Africola and Penfolds Magill Estate in nearby Magill.

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Todos Santos — Mexico
Hotel San Cristobal
Todos Santos — Mexico

If you like Mexico's Cabo San Lucas, but want something a little more laid-back, then Todos Santos just might be the place for you. This bohemian beach town (an hour north of Cabo on the Baja California peninsula) has art galleries, craft shops, and great surfing strands. Stay in the Hotel San Cristóbal, a stylish 32-room boutique hotel on Punta Lobos beach from hip Austin-based hotelier Liz Lambert.

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Abu Dhabi — United Arab Emirates

While often overshadowed by Dubai, Abu Dhabi is poised to attract plenty of global attention, especially after last fall's opening of a new branch of the Louvre museum. Designed by noted architect Jean Nouvel, the ultra modern domed building will showcase both ancient and contemporary art.

Additionally, a new water taxi service that'll take tourists to the city's top attractions, including the Louvre, is expected to launch soon.

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Cape Town — South Africa

Cape Town, with its mountain and sea panoramas, has always been known as one of Africa's most beautiful cities, and now, as an added incentive to visit, it recently debuted the largest contemporary art museum on the continent. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, housed in a former grain silo, is devoted exclusively to African art and artists. Also within the building is a posh 28-room boutique hotel called The Silo.

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Marrakech — Morocco

A new museum has opened in Marrakech. The Musée Yves Saint Laurent, housed in a desert-hued contemporary building, is dedicated to the history of the iconic fashion brand, and it honors founders Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Visitors can expect plenty of couture garments and accessories on display.

While you're in the Rose City, you can also visit the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square and shop in the medina.

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Fogo Island Inn
Newfoundland — Canada

Nature lovers should put Newfoundland, one of Canada's Atlantic provinces, on their travel radars. March through June, massive ice floes can be seen in "Iceberg Alley" (from Greenland to the North Atlantic), and there's also whale watching, hiking, and bird-watching. The top place to stay is the architecturally stunning Fogo Island Inn, and award-winning Raymonds is one of Canada's top fine dining restaurants.

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Seville — Spain

Madrid and Barcelona get more love, but don't overlook Seville. Top attractions include the Seville Cathedral and Alcazar Palace, which appeared in Game of Thrones. You'll find contemporary works at the Andalusia Contemporary Art Centre, and the recently opened Mercer Sevilla, housed in a former Andalusian palace, is a gorgeous boutique hotel with modern interiors and a rooftop pool and bar.

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Valletta — Malta

As the designated European City of Culture for 2018, you can expect a lot of buzz to be centered around the capital city of Valletta. There will be festivals and special exhibits throughout the year, as well as the recently opened MUZA, a new national art gallery and a new public square, Piazza de Valette. You can also check out the city's historic sites, which include the Saint John's Co-Cathedral, dating back to the 16th century.

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up-and-coming destinations 
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Greenville — South Carolina

If you've been to Charleston, check out Greenville (a few hours from both Atlanta and Charlotte), an up-and-comer known for its small-town charm and booming culinary scene. Stroll the downtown area, snap photos in Falls Park, see artwork from Jasper Johns and Andrew Wyeth at the Greenville County Museum of Art, and tuck into gourmet farm-to-table fare at The Anchorage and a branch of Sean Brock's Husk.

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up-and-coming destinations 
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Antwerp — Belgium

One of Europe's most buzzed-about places is Antwerp, a gorgeous port city on the River Scheldt. Check into the hip Hotel Julien, lunch on moules frites and Belgian beer in the medieval Grote Markt (central square), shop in the flagship boutique of famed Belgian designer Dries Van Noten, and check out DIVA, a new diamond-themed exhibit in the Diamond District, the centuries-old area where the majority of the world's diamonds are cut and traded.

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up-and-coming destinations 
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Mexico City — Mexico

Mexico is known for its beach resorts like Cancún, but it also has a very cosmopolitan capital city — making it one of the top up-and-coming spots in Latin America.

A visit to Mexico City can include everything from shopping and culture to high-end dining and nightlife. After a visit to the modern Soumaya Museum, dine in the award-winning restaurant Pujol, from Mexican celebrity chef Enrique Olvera, and stay in glam hotels like Las Alcobas.

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up-and-coming destinations 
Baglioni Hotel Carlton
Milan — Italy

While most trips to Italy include Rome, Florence, and Venice, the capital often gets overlooked, but with some of Italy's best shopping and world-class art, it's time to discover Milan. Spend some euros along boutique-lined Via Montenapoleone, see The Last Supper fresco by Leondardo Da Vinci, and stay at luxe hotels like the Baglioni Hotel Carlton, which offers a signature program where guests can meet the top experts in their fields, including tailors, watchmakers, and chefs.

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up-and-coming destinations 
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Auckland — New Zealand

Harbor cruises, bungee jumping, and seeing Maori-focused exhibits are some of the top things do in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. The city straddles two harbors, so you're never far from the water, plus, the 1,076-foot SkyTower has jaw-dropping skyline views. Dine at the trendy Depot Eatery and Oyster Bar, and stay at SkyCity Grand Hotel. Plus, a new waterfront Sofitel debuts this fall.

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up-and-coming destinations 
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Mendoza — Argentina

If you've been to Napa and want to see other wine regions around the world, head to the up-and-coming Mendoza region, which is the heart of Argentina's wine country. Spend your days sipping world-class malbecs and other robust red wines in scenic vineyards in the shadow of the Andes Mountains. Some of Mendoza's most popular wineries, called bodegas, include Lopez and Zuccardi.

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up-and-coming destinations 
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Krakow — Poland

If you love grand architecture, Krakow is definitely worth a visit. In this up-and-coming city, you can explore the Old Town where you can take a tour of the 13th-century Wawel Castle, visit the Wawel Cathedral, and stroll the main square (the largest in Europe).

There are also plenty of cafes, plus beer bars like Omerta, serving both local and Europeans brews, and hotels like Copernicus and the Sheraton Grand, featuring a rooftop bar overlooking the castle.

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up-and-coming destinations 
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Richmond — Virginia

If you're a foodie, you might have heard rumblings about Richmond, Virginia. Well, the rumors are true — Richmond has one of the country's fastest growing culinary scenes. Check out hotspots like L'Opossum, Brenner Pass, and Pasture, and be sure to partake in the craft beer scene in Scott's Addition neighborhood. Book now for tickets to the four-day Fire, Flour & Fork Festival in November.

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Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
Bahamas — Caribbean

The Bahamas is upping its hotel offerings in a big way, making it a must-visit Caribbean island. Joining long-established but always-upgrading Atlantis on Paradise Island (Fish by José Andrés and Sip Sip eateries are not to be missed) is the stunning Vegas-like Baha Mar complex on Nassau, home to three resorts, including a Grand Hyatt and SLS, an elegant casino, and restaurants like Three Tides.

Also new is the Caribbean's first winery called Bahama Barrels, which is owned by Graycliff, Nassau's most exclusive restaurant (Jimmy Fallon was recently spotted dining in the elegant mansion).

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up-and-coming destinations
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Manchester — England

There's more to England than London. There's plenty going on in Manchester (aside from football, that is!). Historic attractions like the cathedral and The Old Wellington Inn pub are definitely worth checking out, but the city has a surprisingly modern side, with places like the renovated Quays waterfront area (home of the Daniel Libeskind-designed Imperial War Museum). Stay in upscale hotels like the Lowry Hotel and The Principal Manchester.

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up-and-coming destinations
Hotel Chaco
Albuquerque — New Mexico

Sante Fe gets most of the love in New Mexico, but Albuquerque is poised to make a big splash due to recent openings, such as the 50-Mile Activity Loop, a multi-use trail and bikeway path, and the Hotel Chaco, a luxury boutique hotel in Old Town. Dine in the Level 5 rooftop restaurant, and try some craft beers at Marble Brewery. Don't forget to take a Breaking Bad tour!

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up-and-coming destinations
Park Hyatt St. Kitts
St. Kitts — Caribbean

Though not as well-known as some of the other islands in the Caribbean, St. Kitts is definitely having a moment. A dazzling new resort, the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, is attracting major buzz. Located on Banana Bay, the 126-room resort has a pampering spa, a lagoon-style pool, and the Fisherman's Village restaurant with a seafood menu. Though hard to leave, you'll want to visit Brimstone Hill Fortress and take a ride aboard the 18-mile-long Scenic Railway.

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up-and-coming destinations
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Kyoto — Japan

Tokyo is a must-visit for any trip to Japan, but many are also adding a few days in Kyoto (especially during spring's cherry blossom season!). This former imperial capital is known for its temples and shrines and the Gion geisha district, but it also has a modern side. Browse among the contemporary works at the National Museum of Modern Art, and stay in a minimalist room at The Ritz-Carlton.

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