Top 10 destinations for 2018

Lorna Cowan / 06 December 2017

From undiscovered Mediterranean beaches to epic, continent-spanning adventures; from living like a local to getting up close to wildlife – set off in search of your dreams in 2018.

10. Croatia

Hvar, Croatia

Croatia is only a short flight from the UK, taking just two-and-a-half hours to fly to Split from London Gatwick. And with 10 hours of sunshine, even in April, there are plenty of good reasons why a break in Croatia should be on your holiday wish list for 2018.

In the historical city of Split, on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Diocletian’s Palace, as well as an atmospheric Old Town. Sibenik, too, has a medieval heart with a maze of delightful streets to explore.

While cruising Croatia’s coastline, you’ll sail to Brac and Hvar, two beautiful islands in the Adriatic Sea. Brac is well known for its picturesque white pebbled sand beaches – the same radiant stone built Washington DC’s White House. While Hvar, and its bustling port town of the same name, attracts a glamorous crowd, all keen to be part of a glitzy scene.

Can Croatia offer the visitor more? Yes! The country boasts an impressive eight National Parks and a day at Krka is also on the itinerary of the Taste of Croatia tour. The seven magnificent waterfalls found there are guaranteed to enthral.  

Planning to get away in 2018 but not yet sure where to go? If you’re debating between a cruise or an escorted tour, you can enjoy both on Saga’s new Taste of Croatia holiday. With three nights on board a ship exclusively for Saga guests, then four nights in a 4-star hotel on the Sibenik Riviera, simply sit back, relax and let Saga be your guide.

Imagine sitting down in a traditional wine cellar in lstria to mistletoe schnapps followed by a fish stew, perhaps some frutti di mare risotto, or pasta deliciously flavoured with the famous truffles. Read our guide to Croatian cuisine

Discover more about the beautiful country of Croatia. Find out more about our holidays to Croatia here

Warsaw in Poland

9. Poland, Czech Republic and Germany

Love to explore cities around the world and learn more about their historical past? If so, and you’re thinking about a memorable holiday for 2018, then choose Saga’s new Poland, Prague and the Magic of Saxony all-inclusive break – the destinations make it into our guide to the top 10 places to travel to in 2018.

With five nights in hotels, followed by five nights on board MS Johannes Brahms, time is spent in Kraków, Wrocław, Prague and Dresden – that’s four fascinating cities in just one holiday. The German spa town of Bad Schandau is on the itinerary too.

Starting your trip in Poland’s magnificent city of Kraków, with its glorious Wawel Castle and architecturally stunning Old Town, an included excursion takes you to Oskar Schindler’s Factory, now a modern interactive museum devoted to the German occupation of Kraków during World War II. A day at Auschwitz, the largest of the Nazi concentration camps, allows time for solemn reflection.

Wrocław, named the European Capital of Culture in 2016, has a wondrous Gothic town hall and cobbled market square, while Prague in the Czech Republic is awash with attractions - an astronomical clock, a castle, Charles Bridge, to name just a few. As for Dresden, here you can visit Colditz Castle or the Zwinger Palace, take your pick.

Relaxing on board your ship, exclusive to Saga guests, enjoy a welcome reception and Captain’s dinner, as well as a free bar, entertainment and activities. What a magical holiday for 2018.

Browse our huge collection of holidays and cruises, including adventurous touring trips, relaxing beachfront getaways and luxury ocean cruises. Find out more here

A Bengal tiger in Pench National Park, India

8. India

Wild about wildlife and planning a holiday for 2018? Then why not consider a trip of a lifetime, on an expedition across India’s jungles in search of the elusive Royal Bengal tiger? On Saga’s new Wild About India tour, you’ll set off on 10 exhilarating safaris, all in 4x4 vehicles, giving you every chance to see this regal creature in its natural habitat.

Some of these safaris venture across the national park at Bandhavgarh, known for its higher than average number of Bengal tigers, so the odds for a sighting are on your side. Have your binoculars at the ready – the park is also home to sambar deer, wild boar, leopards and sloth bears.

Perhaps though, it’ll be in Pench National Park where you’ll spot the majestic tiger. The forests are said to have inspired author Rudyard Kipling to write The Jungle Book, and it’s easy to imagine the fictional Shere Khan prowling the park. 2018 also sees the release of a new Jungle Book film, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the Bengal role.

When not on the trail of tigers, discover the delights of Elephanta Island, dotted with caves and numerous archaeological remains. Saga’s Wild About India tour also stops off at the sculptured Western Group of temples at Khajuraho. Here, you’ll find excellent examples of ancient art and architecture.

And if you still want a little more animal magic, extend your 13-night holiday with an additional short break in Gir National Park. It’s the last refuge of the endangered Asiatic lion, so not to be missed. 

With its dazzling breadth of experiences and deep spirituality, India never fails to delight the senses and uplift the soul. Find out about our holidays to India here.

 Koukounaries Beach in Skiathos, Greece

7. Greece

Every year, Greece attracts thousands of holidaymakers to its islands. And it’s easy to see why. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re like lazing on a sandy beach in a picturesque bay, learning more about Greek mythology on an archaeological site, or listening to locals’ chatter in a friendly tavern.

For those who enjoy hiking and being close to nature, however, top of your wish list for 2018 should be a holiday island hopping in the Sporades – the islands sit at number 7 in our guide to the top 10 places to travel to in 2018.

Saga’s 14-night Greek Island Adventure starts off in Skiathos, where on a countryside walk you’ll spot pomegranate trees, as well as pistachios and figs. A moderate 6km trek along the Kalamaki peninsula treats you to breath-taking coastal views.

On Alonissos, nature trails can be found on your hotel’s doorstep. Greece has about 6,000 different types of wild flowers and a local botanist can accompany you to highlight the island’s plants – look out for the squirting cucumber! – and animals and birdlife.

If you’re feeling the heat after all that exercise, there are opportunities to cool down in clear turquoise waters surrounding the Sporades Islands’ shores. Reefs are abundant with marine life so go snorkelling or join an optional diving expedition.

Skopelos, the largest of the Sporades, is also on the itinerary, and was the location used in the 2008 film Mamma Mia, starring Meryl Streep. As the lyrics to Abba’s title track go, ‘how can I resist you?’ – indeed it will be hard to resist a holiday here in 2018.

Tempted by a holiday to Greece and her islands? Find out more here

Montreal, Canada

6. Canada

Taking a holiday during the autumn months means you escape the summer crowds. And it also allows you to see a country in all its seasonal glory. Where better then to go in 2018 than Canada, and enjoy the Atlantic Coast during its Fall, when the countryside – and cities - are cloaked in gold, russet and copper tones.

Saga’s all-inclusive cruise, Nova Scotia and St Lawrence in the Fall, departs from Dover – so perfect for those who don’t wish to fly – and crosses the Atlantic via the Azores to Halifax, the lively and vibrant capital of Nova Scotia.

Passengers are also taken to Québec City, the hub of French America and a cosmopolitan destination, rich is culture, heritage and atmosphere. If you fancy something different, why not book an optional helicopter flight and see many of the famous landmarks from above?

In Montréal, after admiring the city’s architecture, there’ll be the opportunity to relax in areas of natural beauty. Walking alongside the St Lawrence River, it’s easy to appreciate an abundance of autumnal colours.                                                                                          

It’s not only on shore, though, that you’ll have a wonderful holiday. On board the classic Saga Sapphire, passengers can enjoy entertainment and activities. If you’ve been inspired by vivid colourful landscapes, pick up a paintbrush and capture the scenes during an informal art session. Or join a representative from ORCA, the foremost whale and dolphin conservation charity, for some whale-spotting on deck.

Whatever you choose, you’re sure to fall in love with Canada in 2018.

Cool mountain peaks and even ‘cooler’ cities, Canada offers a world of experiences. Find out more about our holidays to Canada here

Mijas in Spain

5. Spain: Mijas

See a different side to Spain’s Costa del Sol in 2018 on a holiday near the enchanting mountain village of Mijas – situated in fifth position of our guide to the top 10 places to travel to in 2018.

Although close to the popular coastal resort of Fuengirola, Mijas has all the charm of a traditional Andalusian hillside retreat, with its pretty whitewashed homes and pleasant tapas bars. It really is the perfect location to enjoy all that Spain has to offer – sunshine-filled days, sandy golden beaches, lively entertainment, as well as peace and tranquillity.

The locally rated 4-star Ilunion Hacienda del Sol is new to Saga for 2018, and is the ideal all-inclusive hotel for those who love being near all the action on the Costa del Sol, but also want to unwind in relaxing surroundings. What’s more, with flights from 23 regional airports around the UK, it’s easier than ever to travel there – and Malaga is only a 35-minute drive away.

All-exclusive holidays are always good value for money, so a stay at Ilunion Hacienda del Sol is suitable for those watching their holiday budget in 2018. All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included in the price and a free bar is open 13 hours a day. Guests staying seven nights can additionally join a half-day excursion to Marbella and the Puerto Banús marina.

Keen to explore further afield? Saga also offers optional excursions to Ronda, Seville and Gibraltar to guests staying at Ilunion Hacienda del Sol. The hotel really is a great base for a Costa del Sol holiday in 2018.

Discover Spain and her beautiful islands on an unforgettable holiday with Saga. Find out more here

The Amazon

4. Ecuador

Over the years, South America has become ever more popular as a holiday destination. And rightly so. Twelve diverse countries make up the continent, each offering visitors a unique experience. Which is what you’ll certainly get in Ecuador. It may be South America’s smallest country, but you’ll enjoy big adventures here – making it number 4 in our guide to the top 10 places to travel to in 2018.

Saga’s Amazon, Tribes and Volcanoes tour, new for 2018, starts in Quito, the highest capital city in the world, situated in the Andes and overlooked by an active volcano, Pichincha. A city tour around the historic Old Town is on the itinerary, as is an excursion to a rose plantation – one of the country’s main exports.

If you’re eager to learn more about Ecuador’s culture and its people, you won’t be disappointed. An Ecuadorian cooking class, lunch at a community project and an introduction to Shamanism will help you understand more about life in local villages and is sure to be a highlight of your holiday.

As will, of course, an unforgettable trip down the River Napo, an important tributary of the Amazon. Four nights are spent on board the MV Manatee Amazon Explorer, a fully equipped river boat manned by conscientious and experienced crew. And from the comfort of the observation deck, the panoramic-view bar, or perhaps your own cabin balcony, you can watch the astounding Amazon rainforest pass by.

Combine your favourite hobby with a holiday with Saga's selection of Special Interest trips. Find out more here

A Mongolian ger

3. Russia, Mongolia and China

All aboard! Saga’s Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure is ready to depart. New for 2018, this thrilling tour takes passengers on a once-in-a-lifetime rail journey from Moscow in Russia through Mongolia and onto Beijing, China. Six nights are spent aboard authentic trains, allowing you to experience a holiday like no other, making memories that will last for many years to come.

Not only will you get the opportunity to see the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow, your 18-night adventure includes a tour around Beijing and a visit to the Great Wall of China. An overnight stay in a traditional Mongolian ger is also certain to be a highlight of your holiday. And if you wish, Saga can arrange tickets to see a performance at the world-famous Bolshoi Theatre.

With a guided walk deep underground in Moscow’s opulent Metro stations, known as Stalin’s ‘people palaces’, and an excursion of Kazan, a city destroyed by Ivan the Terrible then rebuilt by Catherine the Great, you’ll step back in time and learn much about Russia’s fascinating past.

However, it’s the train journey itself that is sure to delight and give you a real sense of achievement in 2018. Travelling across Siberia, on your journey along the longest railway in the world, you’ll pass the Ural Mountains, and perhaps one of the most scenic spots, Lake Baikal – the oldest and deepest lake in the world.

Although a comfortable ride, don’t be tempted to snooze as you’ll miss the ever-changing scenery outside your window. And Siberia is a country to be appreciated.

Stretching from the cultural powerhouses of Moscow and St Petersburg in the west, to the frozen tip of Siberia in the east, Russia is vast and ready to be explored. Find out more about our holidays to Russia here

The Northern Lights above Tromso in Norway

2. Norway

If seeing the Northern Lights has always been on your bucket list, why wait any longer. Make 2018 the year you fulfil your dream on a Saga cruise to Norway – this holiday sits at number 2 in our guide to the top 10 places to travel to in 2018. Setting sail from Portsmouth, the 15-night cruise takes passengers north to Bergen and Åndalsnes, before crossing the Arctic Circle and onto Tromsø and Alta.

Be prepared to be spellbound, and not just by the mesmerising aurora borealis. Saga’s Bright Lights in Norway cruise travels through sparkling fjords and beside magnificent mountains – it’s a setting like no other.

Rest and relaxation is guaranteed, but this cruise is also full of adventure, so it’s perfect for those who like an active holiday too. Take your pick from a list of exhilarating experiences - a beginner’s ski lesson, a sled ride pulled by husky dogs, an overnight stay in an Arctic pod, or a boat safari to photograph white-tailed eagles. There’s an excursion for everyone.

Oh, and back to those Northern Lights. While there’s never any guarantee that the natural phenomena will put on a spectacular display, Saga’s Bright Lights in Norway cruise includes a four-hour Hunting for the Aurora Borealis tour – worth £150. Wrap up warm in your complimentary Arctic jacket and head, with an expert guide, to the best location for that evening’s forecast, far away from any light pollution. Then wait… A campfire will keep you cosy as you stare up into the night sky.

Set sail on a magical voyage to the Northern Lights. Find out more here

EXCITING NEWS: Our brand new ship, Spirit of Discovery, has arrived! Are you ready to enjoy a beautiful boutique cruising experience? Book your place on board today!

Butrint in Albania

1. Albania

It’s the Mediterranean’s best kept secret, a new and exciting holiday destination that offers unspoilt natural beauty, historic ancient cities, idyllic rugged coastlines, white sandy beaches and plenty of sunshine. Yes, Albania has been awarded the number one slot in our guide to the top 10 places to travel to in 2018. And it’s easier than ever to get there – on Saga’s new Land of the Eagle tour.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Albania – a three-hour direct flight away from the UK - is making the headlines as the holiday destination to visit in 2018. Greece and Montenegro are its neighbours, the clear turquoise waters of the Ionian and Adriatic Seas lap its shores - it was only a matter of time before the country emerged as a holiday hotspot.

Which is why 2018 is the ideal time to visit this Mediterranean gem – see if first before everyone else. Saga’s 11-night Land of the Eagle tour escorts guests around all the country’s highlights - the capital Tirana, the coastal city of Durrës, as well as UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Gjirokastra and Butrint.

Also on the itinerary is a walking tour around the magical city of Berat, or the ‘town of a thousand windows’, given the name because of its charming collection of white Ottoman houses, peppered on the hillside near the castle.

With further options of joining a wine tasting excursion to the country’s oldest winery, or popping over the border into Macedonia, make 2018 the year you discover Albania. You won’t be disappointed.

Discover more about the beautiful country of Croatia. Find out more about our holidays to Croatia here

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.