As you begin compiling goals and resolutions for next year, start by making travel a top priority. Vacations can make you more productive at work, after all.
To help you get started, CNBC rounded up places known for their rich culture, excellent food and breathtaking scenery that deserve a spot on your travel bucket list.
Oslo, Norway, the country’s capital, is not only known for its stunning scenery, but its rich history as well. The Vigeland Park features more than 200 sculptures from artist Gustav Vigeland and the Fram Museum, touted as the “home of the world’s strongest polar vessel,” shows visitors what it’s like sailing through some of the coldest places on the planet. Be sure to visit between April and September, when the days are long and light-filled.
Glacier National Park, Montana, US
See the glaciers before they disappear at Glacier National Park in Montana. Established in 1910, the park stretches across more than 1,500 square miles of land, including 762 lakes, 175 mountains and 26 shrinking glaciers. Visitors can camp, bike, boat, hike, ski and fish while soaking in the area’s awe-inspiring surroundings. Driving or biking across Going-to-the-sun Road, which cuts through the middle of the park, is a can’t-miss and offers unparalleled views of Glacier’s flora and wildlife.
Fresh off the PyeongChang games, Tokyo will be buzzing with excitement as the next city in line to host the Olympics. Learn the history of Japan’s capital at the Tokyo National Museum before unwinding in one of the city’s many serene gardens, such as the Imperial Palace or Koishikawa Korakuen. Taste the local cuisine at the Tsukiji Market, which serves up everything from sushi rolls to fresh sea urchin to sweet dumplings.
The coastal location of Granada, Nicaragua made it a strategic trading location in the 16th century, and today the city retains a rich culture and mixture of architectural influences. Stop by the Iglesia de Merced for breathtaking views from the church’s bell tower and venture just outside of the city to explore Nicaragua’s lush landscape, including beaches and hot springs. Frommer’s also named the country one its top places to go in 2018, noting that “despite the tourism boom, crowds remain rare and prices low.”
An underrated Mediterranean gem, the island of Malta is small, but packed with things to do. Valletta, the nation’s capital, glows gold in the sunlight and serves as the commercial heart of the country. Take the city by foot and be sure to plan stops to St. Johns Co-Cathedral, Upper Barrakka Gardens and the new Parliament Building, all while viewing the city’s signature Baroque architecture.
In Hamburg, Germany, spend your days exploring the city’s historical charms, such as the expansive Rathaus town hall, and your nights imbibing at its many riverside bars. Embrace Hamburg’s thriving music scene with a visit to the Elbphilharmonie, the expensive and much-delayed waterfront concert hall that finally opened in 2017, or an early morning stop at Sunday’s Fischmarkt, where revelers close out of a night of partying with food and live music.
The second-largest city in Portugal after Lisbon, Porto is known for quaint cobblestone streets, local wineries and leisurely pace. Porto’s food scene is booming, with Michelin-starred restaurants like The Yeatman and Antiqvvm garnering international acclaim. Ribeira Square, a UNESCO World Heritage site, overflows with charm from colorful houses to riverside shops and bars.
Known for its miles of white sand beaches, striking scenery and raging nightlife, Phuket, Thailand provides a mix of relaxation and fun. It’s a big island, but don’t miss touring Phang Nga Bay, which features a natural limestone formation famous for its appearance in the James Bond flick “The Man with the Golden Gun.” It’s best to visit between November and April to experience Phuket’s dry season and avoid spending your entire trip indoors, U.S. News reports.