Six destinations to watch

Looking for someplace less well trodden than the typical tourist hot spots? Sarah Khan recommends you get to these destinations before everyone else does.

Destinations to get to

 

1. Boston, USA

Boston has long been overlooked in favour of its glitzier north-eastern neighbour (and bigtime sports rival) New York City. But the historic city has undergone a quiet revival, giving it a contemporary edge. The Waterfront area has been transformed, with a vibrant foodie scene booming in the Fort Point neighbourhood (dinner at the artsy Tavern Road is a must). South Africans can easily get to this city via any number of European hubs, but when Emirates added a route to Boston via Dubai last month, it added a whole new level of convenience and access. www.bostonusa.com

 

2. Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Ethiopia has been a destination to watch for some time, mostly thanks to its Historic Route, encompassing the Blue Nile Falls and Lalibela’s rockcut architecture (check out this beautiful photoblog: Christmas in Lalibela). But now there’s renewed interest in the country’s south with the opening of the 15- room Bale Mountain Lodge last year. It’s the only resort in Bale Mountains National Park, making it a new must-see destination for wildlife seekers (look out for black-maned lions and the rare Ethiopian wolf). Ethiopian Airways flies direct from Joburg to Addis Ababa, 400km northwest of the lodge. www.balemountainlodge.com

 

3. Millahue Valley, Chile

The Vik Hotels group, which helped transform Uruguay’s once-sleepy Jose Ignacio with its stylish retreats, opened the idyllic Viña Vik Millahue hoping to do the same for Chile’s under-the-radar Millahue Valley. It also launched the region’s first winery a few years ago, and in April added a 22-suite hotel on the sprawling 11000-acre property, giving you all the reasons you need to visit. www.vikhotels.com

 

4. Coorg, India

For years the lush Coorg region, in the southern state of Karnataka, has been popular with weekending Indians drawn to its expansive rain forests and rolling coffee plantations. But since the opening of the world-class Vivanta by Taj – Madikeri, Coorg at the end of 2012, foreign travellers have eventually woken up to the area’s natural beauty. Getting to the luxury hotel is undeniably a trek – a seven-hour drive from Bangalore airport – but it has potential to become India’s next big resort destination. Get there while it still feels secluded. www.vivantabytaj.com

 

5. Portugal

With the state of the rand these days, Europe’s medieval villages, cosmopolitan cities and scenic beaches might seem out of the question. Lucky for us, there are other places that aren’t doing so well either. Portugal’s recent financial woes have translated into great deals on lavish wines in Porto, beach breaks in Algarve, and city living in Lisbon. No matter what aspect of European culture is beckoning you, Portugal has it all – and at a fraction of the price of its better-off neighbours. All you need is a Schengen visa to unlock its treasures. www.visitportugal.com

 

6. Fez, Morocco

Stroll around Fez’s historic medina for a day and you’ll probably be able to count the number of tourists you encounter on just one hand. But the soulful city’s long-awaited new airport terminal might finally see the light of day in 2014, meaning better access for global travellers. Will it ever become like Marrakech, land of sexed-up riads (traditional courtyard hotels) and Vegas-style resorts riddled with American, French and British accents? Unlikely. However, soon you might need more than one hand to keep track of the foreigners descending upon its ancient labyrinth. www.visitmorocco.com

This story first appeared in the April 2014 issue of Getaway Magazine.