As part of our Destinations to Watch series, all week we’ll be profiling noteworthy destinations to keep on your radar this year. Whether it’s a hot emerging destination or an established location that’s been given new life, keep your eye on these places this year. We’ve taken a look at cruise ports, as well as places in Central and South America, Asia and the Caribbean to keep in mind. Today, we turn our eyes to Europe.
Faroe Islands: This small chain of islands, located roughly equidistant from Iceland, Norway and the U.K., should be the destination you set your sights on in 2018. The word started to get out about the Faroe Islands midway through 2017, but that’s expected to increase even more this year.
The best time to visit is in summer, where the islands can see up to 22 hours of sunlight a day. However, much like the U.K., because of its location, the weather can be a bit temperamental. Those with exploratory souls shouldn’t take issue with this, though. There are 18 islands in total (although one is privately owned), and the capital is Tórshavn, which only has a population of just under 20,000—the smallest capital city in Europe. It’s located on the southeast coast of Streymoy Island and is dotted with colorful, turf-roofed buildings. Note: All islands combined have roughly 50,000 occupants.
The real reason to visit is for the scenery. There are several waterfalls that are Instagram-worthy, including Mulafossur, Fossá, Bøsdalafossur and Svartafoss. En route to these waterfalls, you’ll find rocky cliffs, grassy valleys and incredible harbors. For particularly eager travelers, a road trip through the islands is possible within one day but we could spend a week enjoying the beauty of each. Apparently on clear days you can see Iceland from the 3,000-foot-tall peak, Slættaratindur. A bonus for wildlife fans: On the island of Mykines, you can find a colony of puffins that outnumber the people.
Malta: Malta is no secret to classic car buffs. Each year it hosts the Malta Classic, a four-day event in capital-city Valletta where pre-1976 car owners show off their prized possessions. The events conclude with the Malta Classic Grand Prix, where cars race through the narrow streets and tight bends of Mdina.
New for 2018, however, is Valletta being named a European Capital of Culture. The city is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 7,000 years of history. This year, as part of the celebration, it will be hosting film and arts festivals, nightlife events and carnivals in addition to its always-present ancient architecture, World War II history and diving sites. Another reason to visit? It’s endorsed by Meghan Markle, fiancée of Prince Harry. She has said her favorite place to stay is the Casa Ellul. Also good to know is that the Corinthia Palace Hotel will be offering a special package year-round in celebration of being named the European Capital of Culture.