With 4.7 billion people looking to get away in 2024, all signs are pointing to another record-breaking year for travel, despite the cost-of-living crisis. Travellers are broadening their horizons, searching for less tried and tested locations and more immersive experiences. We’ve picked the brains of our global network of contacts to come up with five destinations that we think should be on everyone’s bucket list in the coming months. So, if you’re looking for some inspiration, read on!
An archipelago of nine volcanic islands renowned for their breathtaking natural beauty, the Azores stretch 370 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, some 850 miles west of mainland Portugal. Each island has its own unique qualities, from São Miguel, one of the most active geothermal areas on earth, to the picturesque landscape of Pico, home to Portugal’s highest mountain. To the east meanwhile, Santa Maria’s climate is hotter, drier and a lot less humid; it can also lay claim to the only white sand beaches in all of the islands. As one of the first archipelagos in the world certified as a sustainable destination, the Azores are also committed to the protection of their wildlife and resources. British Airways flies direct from London Heathrow to Ponta Delgada and from 4 June to 26 September 2024, Azores Airlines will now be offering the same route on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The rugged, remote Indian Ocean isle of Madagascar really does have it all: verdant landscape, wonderful beaches, unspoiled rainforests and colourful towns bursting with character. With approximately 90% of all plant and animal species found in Madagascar endemic – from the lemur to six species of its notational tree, the swollen baobab – it’s small wonder that the world’s fourth largest island is sometimes referred to as ‘the eighth continent’. Aside from the sightseeing, you will find plenty of opportunities for first-class water sports such as diving, swimming, snorkelling and canoeing. Look out for the opening of Voaara Madagascar in March, a tropical resort with luxurious elegant bungalows and villas and a community-led ethos.
Once a hidden gem, Albania has recently become Europe’s fastest-growing holiday hotspot, thanks to its incredible beaches, idyllic views, warm hospitality and reasonable prices. The ‘Jewel of the Balkans’ recorded 5.1 million tourist arrivals in the first half of 2023, compared with 3.9 million throughout the whole of 2022.Most head for the country’s famous Riviera – Europe’s answer to the Maldives – but it would be wrong to assume that this is the only area worth visiting. Further north are the rugged, unspoiled Albanian Alps, where travellers can enjoy awe-inspiring hikes through Valbona Valley National Park, Theth National Park and Komani Lake, or perhaps indulge in a spot of kayaking, rock climbing or paragliding. Meliá Hotels International is just one brand looking to expand its presence in Albania, with plans to open seven hotels across the country by 2026.
The Cyclades – the Greek island group that includes big hitters like Mykonos, Santorini and Paros – have become an Instagram and TikTok staple thanks in no small part to their vibrant nightlife. But those wanting a more laid-back and authentic atmosphere, without the crowds and often eye-watering prices, should head to Naxos, where its 20,000 locals are outnumbered four to one by goats. The largest of the Cyclades, Naxos ticks almost every box with its rich history, miles of sandy beaches, charming villages and no less than 200 Byzantine churches. Windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing and water-skiing enthusiasts will also be in heaven. Although there are no direct flights, ferries from Athens, Santorini or Mykonos make it an accessible location.
The 118 islands that make up French Polynesia sprawl across 4,000 square kilometres of the Central Pacific. The best-known group are The Society Islands, comprising Tahiti, Moorea and idyllic Bora Bora. In contrast, the little-visited Marquesas that lie nearly 1000 miles north-east, are among are the most remote islands on the planet. The country is known for its chilled atmosphere, amazing year-round climate and turquoise lagoons; in short, it is a holidaymaker’s paradise. 2024 will see hotels across the region continue their quest to offer a world class offering. This summer will see the opening of Westin Bora Bora Resort & Spa, a luxury resort located at the base of Mount Otemanu. Guests here will enjoy access to an infinity pool overlooking the water, as well as the opportunity to dive and snorkel in the expansive nearby lagoon to interact with marine life.