For the discerning traveler, impeccable timing isn’t just a luxury—it’s a strategy. As we close the book on this year, it’s time to map out the future—not just to seek out newness, but to compile an informed ledger of 2024’s essential destinations. What’s on the horizon, you ask?
Consider Paris: the eternal city of light, now channeling its inner athlete in preparation for the 2024 Summer Olympics, with plans to revamp the Seine into something more than an aquatic venue (think river-turned-riviera). Meanwhile, Costa Rica is flexing its eco-intellectual muscles with more vascularity, offering a masterclass on pairing wild exploration with eco-luxe hospitality. Globally, there are a slew of locales on the cusp of a breakthrough, from an up-and-coming West African gem to a Canadian province where indigenous cuisine is making an epicurean comeback.
Here’s the scoop for 2024: anticipate a year where the everyday is sidelined in favor of the magnificent. Consider this your call to adventure—where every pinpoint on your map is set to become tomorrow’s conversation piece. So, ready your carry-on; it’s time to answer the call of the refreshingly unexpected and wholly uncharted.
Kangaroo Island, Australia
For the wildlife enthusiast and budding conservationist
Kangaroo Island, a short flight from Adelaide, stands as Australia’s retort to the Galapagos. In this biodiverse sanctuary, over a third of its expanse is zealously guarded for its ecological treasures, hosting not just its eponymous hoppers but also a mosaic of nearly 300 bird species. Come December 2023, the Southern Ocean Lodge is slated to swing open its doors again, three years after being razed by bushfires. Perched on precipitous cliffs, it offers up to 50 guests a communal throne to witness the wild’s theater. The island is a veritable command post for the eco-curious, where the Island Guardians Toolkit, a brainchild of the Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance, transforms guests into active stewards of this ecological Eden. Armed with an app, visitors morph into citizen scientists, tracking spiny echidnas and on the lookout for elusive orchids, weaving themselves into the island’s ongoing quest for conservation.
For the sophisticate and the sports enthusiast
In 2024, France reimagines itself as a stage for global festivity, heralding the Summer Olympics. Paris will metamorphose into a vast Olympic arena, its scope stretching from Versailles’ manicured lawns to the wave-caressed reaches of French Polynesia. Meanwhile, Normandy is gearing up to ignite the heavens, commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day in a blaze of remembrance, and its Impressionist Festival is poised to drench the region in a deluge of artistic legacy. Bibliophiles, take note: Strasbourg ascends as the UNESCO World Book Capital, promising a confluence of literary grandeur and cultural discourse.
For the eco-conscious explorer
For the environmentally attuned traveler, Costa Rica’s sustainability and biodiversity are more than brochure fodder. Thanks to government-sponsored conservation, over a quarter of its territory is zealously protected as national parks or wildlife refuges. And next year, options for luxury accommodation are soaring canopy-high. The grand opening of Nekajui, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the Waldorf Astoria Residences Guanacaste and the revamped Four Seasons Resort Peninsula Papagayo are expected to redefine sustainable opulence. For those drawn to the call of the wild, the Hilton Curio Collection’s Botanika is a stone’s throw from the natural splendors of Corcovado. And with U.S. airlines like Delta initiating a clutch of new direct flights, “pura vida” is in closer proximity than ever before.
For the nomadic soul
Mongolia, with its vast landscapes and nomadic heart, welcomes the solitary wanderer and the culture-seeking traveler alike in 2024. Ulaanbaatar stands as an oasis of warmth in a world of regional frictions, now more welcoming than ever, with streamlined visa processes in effect until 2025. Propelled by the ambitious “Years to Visit Mongolia” campaign and the launch of a $650 million airport, Mongolia opens its seemingly endless steppes and ancient customs to those seeking the luxury of vastness and the wealth of time-honored ways.
For the historian and the naturalist
Scotland roars to life for the historian and the naturalist in a grand display of environmental and historical bravado. The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve (the country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site) now proudly boasts an area of 3,780 square miles—a verdant empire nearly double its original size. This is where wild landscapes bow to the legacy of Scottish lore, encircling Alloway, the hallowed ground of Robert Burns’ birth. It’s a vital thread in the first-ever UNESCO Trail, a trailblazing path linking 13 of Scotland’s natural and historical crown jewels stretching from the heart of Glasgow to the untamed majesty of Wester Ross on the northwest frontier.
For the cultural connoisseur
Québec, Canada is an electric mélange of French-Canadian energy and enduring Indigenous traditions. Here, the cultural connoisseur can immerse in the profound legacies of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Venture to Nunavik, Québec’s northern crown, where the celestial dance of the aurora borealis paints the night. In the cobblestoned heart of Old Québec City, Sagamité restaurant is at the vanguard of a boreal food revolution, expanding its epicurean domain with boutique lodgings and a craft brewery come the new year. Anticosti Island, the province’s newest UNESCO site is well worth exploring for its otherworldly canyons, ancient forests and raging falls. This island is a chronicle of earth’s primordial upheaval, hosting over a thousand fossil species from the planet’s first extinction event.
For the epicurean adventurer
Sculpted by the last Ice Age, the wilds of Finland’s Saimaa region serve as both playground and pantry. Europe has acknowledged the latter by declaring it next year’s European Region of Gastronomy. Wild meets refined on the plate: Smoked reindeer and vendace (a freshwater fish) unite to celebrate Finland’s bountiful larder while venturing into vintner territory at Ollinmäki Vineyard. Come summer, the Savonlinna Opera Festival and Joensuu’s rockfest add a rhythmic bass that marks the end of summer—and near 24-hour sunlight.
For the intrepid (après) skier
Niseko, Japan’s alpine paradise, is shredding its “Aspen of the East” image with a flurry of fresh experiences. At its epicenter is Niseko-yo, a gourmet galaxy that tempts with self-grilled yakiniku delights at Hokkaien and the trailblazing pizza omakase at Baby Crosta. Chuya teahouse in Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, provides a serene teatime escape before transforming into the suave Chuya cocktail bar as dusk falls. Meanwhile, Singapore’s elite Mandala Club is set to debut Popi’s and the Snow Parlour, redefining après-ski with a swanky blend of Hokkaido-inspired culinary and social finesse.
For the artfully and architecturally inclined
Malta’s transformation into an art powerhouse in 2024 is unmissable. With the European Union-backed Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS) sculpting a modern narrative within the original ancient walls of Floriana (slated to open in October), and the inaugural UNESCO-endorsed Malta Art Biennale promising a groundbreaking start to a Mediterranean summer, Malta beckons the culturally curious. Witness the fusion of bygone battlements and avant-garde expression—a not-so-subtle spark signaling Malta’s rising star in the global art scene.
For the eco-savvy traveler and the cultural aficionado
Bali, in 2024, stands as the epitome of eco-conscious travel fused with deep cultural immersion. The island also introduced a new tourism tax to fuel various conservation initiatives, an ethos that dovetails with luxe green-minded boltholes like Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay and the soon-to-debut Ayana Estate. Culinary artisans at Banyan Tree’s Buahan and Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve are redefining gastronomy with their zero-waste approaches, exalting indigenous tastes. Spearheading the sustainability revolution, Desa Potato Head’s Collective Waste Centre is on track to be a paradigm shifter in environmental stewardship, positioning Bali as not just a getaway but a visionary blueprint for the future of mindful globetrotting.
For the history buff and the urban explorer
Egypt, in 2024, represents an anachronistic adventure where past and present (and future, even) collide like spectacular supernovae. Cairo is poised to be a pharaoh’s dream and a traveler’s revelation in the year ahead. Africa’s third most populous city transforms into a crossroads of time as the Grand Egyptian Museum finally swings open its doors, ending years of anticipation with treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb and beyond. The sands of Saqqara have relinquished new secrets, offering up mummies and artifacts that stand ready to meet the modern eye. The capital’s skyline will be punctuated with plush stays, as the likes of Hyatt Centric and Waldorf Astoria weave contemporary luxury into the tapestry of time. The Nile’s eternal flow sets the stage for majestic cruises, with new ships from Viking and AmaWaterways charting courses to Luxor and Aswan.
For the art lover and the urban trendsetter
Miami is reimagining its cultural landscape in 2024, introducing the Underline—a verdant, ten-mile riposte to NYC’s High Line—thriving beneath the city’s Metrorail. The urban artistry of Miami is in full renaissance; Wynwood Walls and the expanded Museum of Graffiti are casting a kaleidoscopic sheen across the cityscape. Allapattah is the neighborhood du jour, with the 8,000-square-foot Marquez Art Projects anchoring an edgy art scene. Meanwhile, The ReefLine submerges art into oceanic depths, intertwining sculptures with sea life in an audacious blend of creativity and marine conservation.
For the beachcomber and the eco-conscious traveler
In 2024, Sierra Leone will become better connected than ever with Freetown’s airport enhancements and smoother arterial roads. The country is an open invitation to the beachcomber and the eco-warrior, boasting pristine Atlantic coastlines and lush highlands teeming with chimpanzees. Grassroots conservation thrives here, with initiatives like Bureh Beach’s surf school and the Tasso Ecotourism Project, which champions the protection of mangroves and parrots. Luxury also finds a home in Sierra Leone, from Freetown’s boho-chic Toma to the first Hilton hotel, and the Estuary Resort‘s new huts present a serene gateway to the golden shores of John Obey Beach.