If, like me, you like to pack for a month when you travel then THIS is for you my soul mates! Following on from Girl Travels World Top Five Places to Visit in 2018 where I rounded up must see short-haul destinations here is my long haul list to make your 2018 unforgettable. These treasured places made the cut because they offer travellers more than the average. A winning combination of freshness, culture and cuisine makes these places precious. There’s an elegance about them, which in my opinion, makes them worth packing your bags for.
Thank you all for joining my adventures in 2017. Here’s to happy long hauling in 2018!
Qatar started my love affair with the Middle East. It was the first place where I experienced a desert and the commanding beauty of the arid landscape captivated me. The Qatari desert boasts Khor al Adaid which is an inland sea in the desert. This rare natural wonder adds an undisputed uniqueness to desert travel.
An illustrious fine art scene in the capital Doha, multi cultural cuisine ranging from Qatar International Food Festival to Alan Ducasse’s first restaurant in the Middle East (Idam) at Muesum of Islamic Art makes for a fascinating place.
When the evenings draw in take a trip down to the market Souq Waqif and cross Doha on a Dhow (a traditional sailing boat) as you admire the skyline from a fresh perspective. Qatar is a rare jewel waiting to be discovered in 2018.
2. Abu Dhabi
The Louvre has arrived in Abu Dhabi! Could any travel news headline top this in 2017? I don’t think so. This year, approximately 300 artworks on long-term loans from 13 key French institutions will be displayed here as well as the museum’s permanent collection. In addition, Sheikh Zayed Mosque was voted second place in the Travellers’ Choice Awards (2016) only beaten to the top spot by 16th century Inca citadel Machu Picchu in Peru.
If that is not enough, Abu Dhabi is home to six oases which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Al Ain, Al Mutaredh, Al Muwaiji, Al Jimi, Al Qattara and Hilli. Al Ain is the city that they belong to and is one of the world’s oldest permanently inhabited settlements in the world.
Such a gilded combination is difficult to beat and makes for the most enriching travel experience. Place Abu Dhabi on your 2018 bucket list ASAP!
Yes, this is the third Middle Eastern destination on a list of five. For me, the region’s freshness is its allure and each country offers a vastly different experience.
Bahrain is a group of entrancing islands in the Arabian Gulf. The country’s unique relationship with the sea and its tradition of pearl diving and trading is celebrated at the Sea Festival at the end of October and it promises to be as informative as it is entertaining. The festival is aimed at preserving and honouring the crafts which are integral to Bahrain’s culture.
Furthermore, Sheikh Salman Bin Ahmed Al Fateh Fort is a cultural landmark which is important in Bahrain’s history. It chronicles the life and times of the country’s ruling family offering a fascinating insight for travellers and tourists.
One of the most popular places with tourists is Al Dar Islands which are a beach lover’s dream offering a secluded resort of diving, chalets, beach huts and entertainment. With such rich and varied experiences Bahrain caters to the most ardent travellers which is the reason it made it to my list.
Iran has been trending amongst bloggers for a couple of years and it is easy to see why. The country’s architecture in particular, has played a pivotal role in promoting it in the era of Instagram and social media.
Iranian architects began the trend of designing buildings that would be easily recognised by the global media and they succeeded. Leila Araghian’s Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge in Tehran (pictured) won the prestigious 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture award. Of course, the country has a lengthy history of fascinating architecture. An example is Arg-e Bam, a city in southern Iran which is home to the world’s largest brick structure and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Iran offers discerning travellers a fascinating journey to a world that has been cloaked in mystery for many years. During this time when Iran’s doors are open I for one cannot wait to walk through them in 2018.
5. Fort Worth, Texas
The curve ball on my list is Fort Worth, Texas. It came up on my radar after a meeting at The World Travel Market held in London. The culture of cowboys has fascinated me for many years but I’d never done anything about it. So 2018 will be my year to change that.
Fort Worth offers a range of experiences from fine dining to cowboy cuisine and rodeos. The Fort Worth Herd is a cowboy cattle drive through the historic Fort Worth Stockyards on E. Exchange Avenue. It can be viewed along the route in any restaurant with outdoor seating.
Near Southside is an area of historic architecture, restaurants, music venues and galleries. Self-proclaimed Restaurant Row on Magnolia Avenue offers farm-to-table cuisine, working breweries and speciality wine shops. With a chance to sample award-winning Texan barbecues, burgers, vegan food, craft ice cream and locally roasted coffee Fort Worth offers an all-encompassing travel experience.
To wind down those long days there is also Fort Worth’s local hero Leon Bridges who is said to frequent local haunts Lola’s Saloon, The Grotto, and Magnolia Motor Lounge. Now where do I sign up?!