Instagrammable attractions, short breaks and going local: just a few travel trends we’ve picked up from our latest insights. It seems we’re looking for more authentic experiences away from the main tourist sites, but also visiting multiple weekend and short break destinations, not to mention those ineffably ‘cool’ places that you just have to post on social media.
So where should you lay your holiday hat in 2017? We’ve predicted the top travel destinations for next year:
Skyscanner’s Top Seven Hotspots for 2017
- Asturias, Spain
- Cornwall, UK
- Okinawa, Japan
- Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
There is more on each of these great destinations listed below:
|Increases in flight searches (2015 v 2016)**||59%|
|Average Flight Price***||£175|
|Key reason to visit in 2017||Lost & Found Festival, The four-day extravaganza in April 2017|
Old favourite Malta, which has seen an increase of 59% in flights takes the top spot for places to go on holiday this year, thanks to speedy flight times and direct routes from more than 10 UK airports, but it’s no longer all about those – admittedly gorgeous – beaches. Malta’s reinventing itself as a seriously hip weekend break contender, with new boutique hotels and cool bars down at the Valletta waterfront complimenting an emerging dance scene centred around clubbing capital, Paceville. In fact, the Maltese islands are one of the best new music destinations in the making, with big-name international events lined up for 2017 like Annie Mac’s Lost and Found bringing us the unexpected concept of the ‘castle rave’. In addition to the great music and dance scene, the country continues to be popular with Game of Thrones fans as they continue to seek out the filming locations.
Find out more about Malta’s diverse attractions in our video guide
|Increases in flight searches (2015 v 2016)||108%|
|Average Flight Price||£128|
|Key reason to visit in 2017||Flight prices have dropped 26% YoY|
If ever there was a contender for the maxim ‘visit before everyone else does’, it’s Asturias. This fertile principality in Northern Spain may be way behind the Costa del Sol in terms of fame but therein lies its appeal and the ability to escape the crowds – plus a coastline to rival any found around Marbella. In a place where you could be trekking in the Picos de Europa National Park in the morning and swimming in the Cantabrian Sea in the afternoon, it’s no wonder that we’ve seen interest in flights to the area increase by a huge 108% in the last year. The simply stunning scenery of Alpine Europe, which provide some stunning ‘Instagrammable’ moments, coupled with the best of Spanish food and fiesta-loving culture will likely result in main hubs like the city of Oviedo not staying a secret holiday destination for long.
|Increases in flight searches (2015 v 2016)||39%|
|Average Flight Price||£650|
|Key reason to visit in 2017||Festivals that showcase island life|
No longer the preserve of billionaires, we’ve seen Barbados becoming the very definition of affordable luxury in the past year, with flight prices dipping and good value all-inclusive resorts like Sandals Barbados drawing the idea of Caribbean paradise within reach. Rooms at the Sandals resort start from £650 per night compared to the more upmarket Sandy Lane Hotel which cost £1,400 per night (January 2017). The glamour of Barbados is still to be found in the nightlife of St Lawrence Gap and the presence of reality stars from the likes of Lucy Watson and Jess Woodley, but its authentic, exuberant culture remains the outright winner. Don’t believe us? Visit during July and August for the Crop Over festival, and celebrate the sugar cane harvest in traditional Barbadian style – that is, dancing to carnival music in the streets with a rum punch in hand. Want more tips on how to spend your time? Check out our best things to do in Barbados.
|Increases in flight searches (2015 v 2016)||21%|
|Average Flight Price||£133|
|Key reason to visit in 2017||The new Tate St Ives opens in Autumn 2017|
With new year-round flights from around the UK and travellers looking more favourably at UK destinations as a way to make their pound go further, it looks like Cornwall will be travellers’ staycation favourite in 2017. Much of the region still waits to be discovered, even by holidaymakers who’ve been coming here for the cosy fishing villages and Caribbean-esque beaches for quite some time. A region of artistic tradition since before Tate St Ives came on the scene, Cornwall still has a vibrant community of working artists and great independent galleries, inspired by the kind of wild beauty you’ll find in abundance around the Bedruthan Steps and Bodmin Moor. Add to this the kind of top culinary names you don’t normally see outside London (Rick Stein’s acclaimed seafood restaurants in Padstow are just the start), and Cornwall’s appeal stretches way beyond Newquay’s bubbling surf. For inspiration to keep you busy, we’ve rounded up 15 of the best places to go in Cornwall.
|Average Flight Price||£163|
|Key reason to visit in 2017||Homestays offer insight into traditional culture|
Home to some of Europe’s most intriguing unexplored frontiers, travellers are beginning to get off the beaten track in Romania, with the number of people looking to travel to lesser-known destinations like Timisoara up by 76% last year. New routes from Ryanair and Blue Air are also making the destination a good value option for a weekend break, while still remaining an authentic place to travel. Farm homestays and village markets in areas like Maramures provide insight into traditional trade, wine-making and artisan crafts preserved for centuries. While tourists come for all the usual holiday activities like many included in our helpful guide as well as skiing, horse-riding and hiking in the great Romananian outdoors, it’s the clip-clop of a horse and cart past fields of workers making hay by hand, under the shadow of the snow-capped Carpathian mountains, that forms the lasting impression of this travel destination.
|Increases in flight searches (2015 v 2016)||44%|
|Average Flight Price||£666|
|Key reason to visit in 2017||Some of the most beautiful secret beaches in the world|
Bargain return flights as little as £411 from the UK make Japan’s southern prefecture more accessible to UK visitors than ever, and it shows: Skyscanner experts have seen a rise of 44% in people looking to fly to Okinawa in the last year. Japan might not be synonymous with beach holidays, but this sub-tropical destination has everything more intrepid travellers could want from an island escape: undersea coral gardens, castaway shores and incredible caves. Hilton and Hyatt have recently opened hotels in Okinawa, pointing the way for mainstream holidaymakers to access this remote string of islands. And if you end up staying a little longer than intended, expect your health to improve: Okinawa’s residents are known for their strong sense of community, plant-based diet and active outdoor lifestyle, said to be a few of the reasons why people here are famous for living longer.
7. Ras Al Khaimah
|Increases in flight searches (2015 v 2016)||209%|
|Average Flight Price||£475|
|Key reason to visit in 2017||Cheaper than Abu Dhabi and Dubai|
Travellers wanting to go beyond the slick cityscapes of Dubai are increasingly looking to Ras Al Khaimah to offer a vision of the Middle East at a more authentic level – and a lower cost. Check out our video guide to see for yourself! The hotel industry has certainly been paying attention of late, with new expansions by Ritz-Carlton and Hilton in the emirate, but RAK’s best sights are found away from the high-rise lifestyle that the UAE has become so famous for. Instead, a pearl-diving museum, an abandoned fishing village (Jazirat al-Hamra) and a lofty hilltop fort (Dhayah Fort) are amongst the most-visited. Arguably the finest attraction with many instagrammable moments, however, is the Hajar Mountain range, which overlooks an otherworldly landscape of red dunes and volcanic rock formations perfect for a day’s jaunt in a Jeep.
There are currently no direct flights to RAK from the UK, but you can fly to Dubai from the UK and transfer to Ras Al Khaimah from as little as £57 by taxi. Alternatively, fly to Doha in neighbouring Qatar and get a short flight (one hour) to Ras Al Khaimah.
Published November 2016. Prices correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.
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** based on flight searches from the UK to named destination between January 2015 – October 2015, compared to the flight searches between January 2015 – October 2016.
*** Average flight price decreases are based on Skyscanner’s data on average flight prices from the UK to named destination between November 2014 – October 2015, compared to the average flight price between November 2015 – October 2016.