Abercrombie & Kent Founder Geoffrey Kent has announced his top travel destinations for the coming year. They are:
Why Go: There is so much more to Iran than what appears on the news, starting with her warm and welcoming people. With 5,000 years of history, the country has seen empires and conquerors come and go, leaving their mark on ruined cities like Persepolis and Pasargadae.
How to Go: Immerse yourself in all aspects of this enigmatic country on Persia: A Tapestry of Ancient and Modern Iran. 12 days from $5,695
GK Travel Tip: Iran is a photographers’ dream, from the intricate, colorful tilework found in mosques, to the friendly locals. For something different, don’t miss the Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, also known as the “Pink Mosque” with its multitude of tiles depicting pink roses.
Japan’s Ryukyu Islands
Why Go: Comprising some 55 islands, including Okinawa, the rarely-visited Ryukyu Islands boast some of the world’s best beaches and scuba diving along with seven UNESCO World Heritage sites.
How to Go: Choose a luxury expedition cruise that island-hops from Osaka through the East China Sea to the Ryukyu Islands, as well as Taiwan and Hong Kong, with many ports only accessible by small ship. Japan, Hong Kong & the Ryukyu Islands Cruise: A Special President’s Journey (May 28-Jun 12, 2017) 16 days from $15,495; solo travellers save 75 percent on single supplement.
GK Travel Tip: Historically most of this archipelago was part of an independent kingdom and it continues to show in the distinctive architecture, music, food and independent spirit.
Why Go: From unforgettable Iguassu Falls to the non-stop thrills of Rio and the pastel-colored buildings of Salvador, Brazil is a world in one country. Set out on a unique jaguar safari in the Pantanal or take a private Carnival tour for a peek behind the scenes at the world's biggest party.
How to Go: Brazil is the latest country to house a local A&K office. Tailor Made Brazil: Amazon and Pantanal Adventure – 13 days from $7,995
GK Travel Tip: Jaguars are notoriously difficult to spot in the wild, which makes a visit to the Pantanal so rewarding. Home to the world’s greatest concentration of jaguars, your chances to see them are excellent. On our last trip, we saw several, along the river bank and swimming in the river.
Why Go: Visually arresting, Iceland is Europe's most talked about destination. In the summer months, travelers marvel at the midnight sun, while winter delivers the spectacular northern lights. Explore Reykjavik — or a massive glacier — on foot, ride Icelandic horses or go four-wheeling, snowmobiling and whale watching.
How to Go: Iceland: Geysers & Glaciers – 11 days from $8,995
GK Travel Tip: Iceland’s geo-thermal baths are a must, but I highly recommend going off the beaten path to Northern Iceland to Hofsós, for a dip in a thermal swimming pool set on a hillside overlooking the sea -- designed by the same architect as the Blue Lagoon.
Why Go: Whether a first-time traveler or a veteran safari-goer, Kenya never fails to reward with spectacular wildlife sightings. Boasting possibly the greatest game reserve in Africa, the Masai Mara, Kenya is not to be missed by anyone looking to experience the ideal combination of timeless natural wonder and luxury.
How to Go: Kenya Safari in Style – 10 days from $6,995
GK Travel Tip: Whereas safaris used to last more than a month, today’s travelers are much more time conscious. I recommend focusing on one country where you can have multiple spectacular safari experiences, like Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Masai Mara Game Reserve, in just a week and half.
Why Go: A less-visited side of Europe can still be found in three of its most eclectic and inviting capital cities, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. Sample Norwegian cuisine at a cooking class, cruise the Oslo Fjord to watch a sunrise and learn the secrets of the Vikings and their mighty longships.
How to Go: Scandinavia: Stockholm, Copenhagen & Oslo – 10 days from $8,995
GK Travel Tip: The effects of the Nordic food revolution are being seen around the world. Discover its roots at Mathallen Food Hall during a cooking class on modern Norwegian cuisine.
The Silk Road
Why Go: The ancient Silk Road was a network of overland trade routes that linked China with the Mediterranean. Modern-day globetrotters can make the epic trek from Beijing to Tashkent through the vast hinterlands of Asia, immersing themselves in some of the oldest cities in the world, including legendary Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.
How to Go: Explore Samarkand (and many other exotic destinations) in luxury and style on Around the World by Private Jet: The Tropics to the Arctic – 26 days from $129,000; waived single supplement available for solo travelers.
GK Travel Tip: A must in Samarkand is to visit the Khujum carpet factory. Their pure silk rugs are a work of art and a good investment as they last forever. All the carpets are woven by hand and can take one or two years to complete.
Why Go: Another destination on the rise, the Philippines offers idyllic beaches, a rich culture and history and wonderful, flavorful cuisine. Stroll the storied lanes of Old Manila, venture by helicopter to the World War II stronghold of Corregidor and float down the Loboc River.
How to Go: The Philippines: Islands of Paradise – 12 days from $9,795
GK Travel Tip: Each region has their own take on the same food, so it makes even the same dishes taste different. Don’t miss out on a taste of the coconut vodka, crafted by hand from local coconuts, and sample the desserts, tinted violet by ube, a local yam.
Why Go: With competitive airfares, a favorable exchange rate and removed from many of the threats that affect other parts of the globe, international visitors are flocking to Australia. The challenge is how to choose between Melbourne, Sydney and the Outback, and still find time to enjoy the Yarra Valley wine lands and also explore Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef?
How to Go: Wings Over Australia 13 days from $25,495
GK Travel Tip: The best way to appreciate the beauty of Sydney is from a private cruise through Sydney Harbour, which gives you unmatched views of the city’s landmarks such as the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, as well as some of its lesser-known coves and bays.