Nevermind the new-year resolutions. January is the perfect time to make your 2017 wish list of where to go with the family (or as a couple…or with your girlfriends for a weekend away). I’ve been mentally preparing my list for a while, now I’m making it official. Here are my top picks for 2017. Where are you going?
I’ve been mooning over Lisbon for ages, since I heard about this cool motorcycle sidecar tour at the Four Seasons Lisbon, and since listening to friends talk about it. One friend lists the delights, including,
In addition, our good friend Maria from One Tiny Leap knows it well and has loads of advice and inspiration, including where to stay with kids, a weekend guide and best beaches.
On BritMums, we featured the Danish city of Aarhus (www.visitaarhus.com), one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2017 and Denmark’s second-largest city, in our list of best places to go in 2017. It’s definitely made the Jenography list too. There is an entire year of mind-blowing events, new experiences and collaborations. A few of the temptations:
Over the Christmas season you may have felt the presents but now you can really feel the presence (sorry!), between 14 January and 26 March at Disneyland Paris. With “Season of the Force” you can relive epic scenes with a nighttime show with state-of-the-art projections, special effects and live Star Wars characters. Stormtroopers will patrol the streets (make sure you have your papers!). And in a slightly more down-to-earth move, from spring, you’ll be able to stay in the new country chic leisure complex, designed with the Pierre et Vacances Center Parcs group, which includes a geothermal lagoon, gardens, “Enchanted Island” and more.
The UAE has the reputation for glitz and Dubai is a frequent destination for many of the families we know. But for several years Abu Dhabi has been gaining a reputation as a fantastic place to visit for grown-ups and kids and not just because of the expected attractions. There are of course beaches, sand skateboarding (yes please!) plus the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, the Yas Waterpark (15 football pitches of rides, slides and attractions), the Arabian Wildlife Park, the Corniche (with beach, play areas, cycle paths and restaurants)…
Susan from Best Bits Worldwide, an expert in finding the best of luxury travel, shares our enthusiasm for Abu Dhabi. “I have been to Abu Dhabi twice, flying with Etihad to Bangkok…but I’ve never left the aeroport. It’s time to land and stay! 2017 is my year to see Abu Dhabi – I can feel Ferrari World calling me!” says Susan.
Don’t miss out on Saadiyat Island, which is being transformed into a cultural destination — the centre of a modern Arab Renaissance — with the Louvre Abu Dhabi (the first branch outside of France), a New York University campus. the Zayed National Museum, alongside boutique hotels, golf, upscale dining and more. visitabudhabi.ae
Cyprus is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 2017 it’s the other European Capital of Culture and also a personal favourite destination of mine to which I can’t wait to return. Here’s my plan: Book into the Almyra hotel right on the waterfront, ideally in one of the Kyma Suites with lawnside terrace and rooftop lounge, or one of the Family Suites with connecting rooms. Then visit the best of the city’s sites which are being turned into an Open-Air Factory of Culture, taking in the Jazz Encounters (29-30 April), and one of the theatre productions of Lysistrata or Trojan Women.
This award-winning historical theme park turns 40 this year and brings history to life with a new show, a themed hotel and 2 new restaurants. Le Grand Carillon features melodic choreography as bell ringers play famous music tunes on 70 giant bells. We hear about “bonkers accommodation” from a reliable source: Renaissance-style glamping tents, a Middles Ages Citadel (new for 2017) where you’re guarded by knights, and an “Ancient Rome” villa where you may even hear lions roar, to name a few. Plus we love a menu that includes sardines in oil (brain food!), chicken basquaise, manchon de canard and Viennese chicken sandwiches for the kids. The park is 1 hour from Nantes Atlantique aeroport and there is a shuttle service (reservation needed) between the TGV station of Angers. www.puydufou.com
It’s my home state but that’s not the only reason why I recommend visiting the Lone Star State. There’s so much to discover, from quintessential Texan experiences with cowboys and cattle to exploring the breathtaking variety of landscape in the biggest state in the continental U.S.
Some places to put on your list: