Discover a whole new side to classic bucket-list destinations in 2017. Travel writer Anna Hart shares her favourite under-the-radar festivals, attractions and scenes around the globe so you can create new memories in the new year ahead

Top 2017 destinations

Explore your favourite city…

Be illuminated in Sydney

Vivid Sydney

Sydney is justly famous for its marina, beach bars and world-class rooftop restaurants, but don’t overlook the city’s vibrant street art scene and roster of arts and culture festivals throughout the year.  During the relatively mild winter months, the city plays host to the largest “light, music and ideas” festival in the southern hemisphere. From Friday 26th May to Saturday 17th June 2017, Vivid Sydney (pictured above) treats an 800,000-plus crowd to mind-bending outdoor lighting sculptures and skyline flourishes such as the Sydney Opera House flashing neon. Throw in an immersive music programme and talks by the likes of Turner Prize nominee David Shrigley, and you’ve got a Sydney like you’ve never seen it before.

Urban hiking in Singapore

Urban hiking in Singapore

Everyone knows about Singapore’s space-age botanical gardens and unsurpassed streetfood scene, but this tiny, characterful English-speaking nation-state has rebranded itself as the world’s best destination for urban hiking. The relatively new Southern Ridges Trail is a 10km meander through lush forest and canopy walks (pictured above), spanning Mt Faber, Telok Blangah, Kent Ridge and Hort parks, and crossing the Henderson Waves, Singapore’s highest suspended pedestrian bridge at 36m above Henderson Road. Tip: if you want a ‘greatest hits’ shorter version of the walk, stick to the 4km section between Kent Ridge Park and Mount Faber, where Faber Bistro makes the perfect spot for a relaxed late lunch.

Museum-hopping in Honolulu

Honolulu museums

Most travellers fall in love with Hawaii for its impossibly perfect white-sand beaches and luxurious resort scene, but too few visitors take advantage of the quirky and engaging museums the destination has to offer. Our favourite is the Shangri La (pictured above), formerly the American heiress Doris Duke’s extravagant 1930s mansion, and now an award-winning museum of Islamic art.

Finding your zen in New York City

Solstice in Times Square New York

New York might be the city that never sleeps, but the frenetic pace of life in the capital has given rise to a new generation of yoga and mindfulness obsessives, paradoxically making the city the perfect city to find equilibrium. Free yoga classes are on offer in most Lululemon stores and are a great way to connect with local yogis. But the highlight of the yogic calendar in NYC is the summer solstice on June 20th, when Mind Over Madness Yoga transforms Times Square into the world’s least-likely pop-up yoga studio (pictured above). Where better to centre yourself than the centre of the world?

Vintage shopping in Vancouver

Eugene Choo vintage shopping

Vancouver’s outdoorsy charms need no introduction; this coastal, mountainous, craggy Canadian city is home to some of the most rugged and healthy urbanites on the planet. But in recent years Vancouver has also grown a superb vintage and independent boutique scene, making it something of an insider’s secret amongst fashion editors and serious shoppers. SoMa (South Main) should be your first port of call, where a new independent boutique or atelier pops up with regularity. We think a pair of chelsea boots by local shoe designer John Fluevog might just be the best souvenir in town, but vintage junkies should also make a pilgrimage to Mintage and Woo Vintage. It’s also worth a stop at Eugene Choo for vintage-inspired designs and one-of-a-kind gems (pictured above).

Make a splash in Copenhagen

Swimming in Copenhagen

To many travellers, Copenhagen conjures up festive images of the Tivoli and Christmas markets, the very epitome of hygge, but in the summer months, the city fully embraces its waterside location and visitors and locals are encouraged to leap in. Boats and stand-up-paddle boards replace bicycles, and the water is famously so clean that you can swim in the harbour itself. Serious mermaids should sign up for the annual TrygFonden Copenhagen Swim, a 2km open water swim tour through the canals, past parliament buildings and other urban landmarks (pictured above).

Get back to nature in Cancun

Cancun Zoo Mexico

Sure, Cancun does fun-in-the-sun spring-break debauchery, but this gorgeous Mexican city on the Yucatán Peninsula has spent recent years seriously ramping up her eco credentials. For animal lovers and would-be conservationists, Cancun offers award-winning and innovative wildlife sanctuaries and parks like Xaman-Há Aviary and Croco Cun Zoo, for unforgettable animal encounters with the feel-good factor (pictured above).

May these top destinations inspire your next adventure. Search your dates and find your next on-trend holiday here

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