2017 is the year to shelve the ‘tourist’ tag and pick up the ‘traveller’ tag. It is a time to try a place that you have never thought of visiting before.

There’s so much that travel can teach you, more than what you will ever learn in school. It makes you have a wider perspective of the world.

For this article, the purpose is to present you 9 places where your learning should take place this year. These places offer an unmatched blend of luxury and adventure and may turn out to be the best places you will ever visit.

Mauritius

Mauritius, a little Island country in the Indian Ocean, is simply enchanting. It is blessed with boundless turquoise waters ideal for sports such as wind and kite surfing. Besides having a taste of street food and local rum, you can also take the time to explore churches, mosques, temples, and lighthouses from the country’s rich history as a colonial business capital.

While in Mauritius, make sure you visit Le Morne Brabant, which is a striking UNESCO World Heritage site that acts as an extraordinary testimony to the fight against slavery. The mountain’s dark cliffs served as a hideout for runaway slaves.

Cyprus

A trip to this luxurious Mediterranean Island cannot be complete without visits to the Byzantine monastery, which is a mosque, and the tombs of eminent Roman and Hellenistic officials, all of which are part of an expansive UNESCO world heritage site.

You can also visit the port town of Kyrenia, where you can enjoy swimming, snorkelling, and even a boat cruise. If you are looking for vibrant bar and restaurant experience, then Limassol, Cyprus’ second-largest city should not miss in your itinerary.

If you love horseback riding, then Pissouri village should be your destination of choice while in Cyprus.

Ecuador

Endowed with magnificent mountains, beautiful beaches, hot springs, volcanoes, and the rich wildlife of Galapagos Islands, Ecuador is a perfect destination for bargain travellers, trek enthusiasts, and history lovers. In fact, Charles Darwin’s evolution theory was inspired by the endemic species in the Bartolome Island in the country’s Galapagos Islands.

Some of the most remarkable features in Ecuador include:

  • The Chimborazo volcano – Ecuador’s highest mountain
  • Cuenca historic center (founded in 1557) – one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ecuador.
  • The Society of Jesus’ Quito’s Jesuit Church – The spectacular baroque church has enough gold leaf to excite the most jaded travellers.

South Korea

South Korea is blessed with plenty of adventurous travellers’ enchantments, which include mountains, national parks, and islands. The country also boasts world-class ski resorts. What else do you expect to find in a country that is preparing to host Winter Olympics in 2018?

For a more urban experience, you can sample Korean barbecue in Seoul or unwind in Busan, which is a coastal town. Also, make sure you visit Seoraksan National Park, which prides itself as the home to South Korea’s third-highest mountain.

Kazakhstan

Ranked number 9 among the world’s largest countries, Kazakhstan is a perfect travel destination for city lovers, architecture enthusiasts, and wilderness explorers. You can start your expedition in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, which boasts swanky restaurants and clothing markets. Afterwards, you can take a trip to the soaring Tian Shan Mountains, which is home to the magnificent Almaty Lake. You’ll also get a chance to trek in the sacred forests where numerous modern fruit crops were first grown.

Another remarkable feature in Kazakhstan is Almaty’s wooden Ascension Cathedral. Despite the fact that it was built without nails, this cathedral is among the few buildings in the city that survived the 1911 earthquake. If you love swimming, then the city of Aktau, which lies on the Caspian Sea, should be your ideal destination.

Latvia

Formerly part of the Soviet Union, this Baltic Sea jewel is a great place to spend a summer holiday. Riga, the country’s capital, prides itself as the European Capital of Culture, a title it has held for the last three years. Virtually half of Latvia is made up of untouched, accessible natural environments. The country also boasts numerous historical old towns, castles, and churches.

Some of the country’s most remarkable features include:

  • House of the Blackheads – Located in Riga’s town hall square, this iconic house was constructed in 1334, brought down in World War II, and reconstructed in 1999.
  • Gauja National Park- Holds over 500 historical and cultural monuments.
  • Kemeri National Park – features a range of wetlands that you can traverse by a boardwalk.

Slovenia

The charming Slovenia is blessed with breath-taking features such as the snowy crests of the Julian Alps, the straggling Postojna Cave, the magnificent Lake Bled, and the vibrant Ljubljanica River. You can sample the local foods in outdoor restaurants that are constructed along the river walk in Ljubljana, the country’s capital. If you love water activities, then you can row or swim in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Bled. If you have had enough of Lake Bled, you can stroll the spectacular Vintgar Gorge.

Laos

The beautiful country of Laos is endowed with spectacular waterfalls, lustrous green rice fields, and soaring mountains. You cannot run out of things to do here. Once you’re done with cave kayaking and zip-lining, you can have a taste of the country’s unique cuisine before joining a yoga retreat or helping on an organic farm. If you love swimming, Kuang Si Falls offers one of the most refreshing swimming experiences. Also, make sure you visit Buddha Park in Vientiane, which is probably the most striking sculpture park you will ever see.

Newfoundland, Canada

Newfoundland boasts 18,000 miles of pristine coastline with about 200 walking trails. Also worth mentioning are the 22 species of whales, which pass through Newfoundland and Labrador between the months of May and September. This part of Canada is also gifted with fantastic, glacier-carved fjords, which make it a dream destination for nature lovers. The most remarkable features here include:

  • Icebergs, which arrive from the Arctic every spring to places such as Trinity Bay.
  • Gros Morne National Park, which features lofty fjords that you can tour by boat.
  • The Fort Amherst historical site in St. John’s, which honors Col. William Amherst, who recaptured the region from the area from the French in 1762.

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