Tropical Japanese Island Tops TripAdvisor’s 2018 Trending Destinations List

It might be your first official week back on the job, but let’s face it: you’re probably already mentally planning your next holiday.

Or, even better, you’re actively researching it.

Where do you want to go this year? Somewhere laid back, breezy and palm tree-y where the Acai bowls are in abundance, like Tulum? Or how about someplace cobblestoned and heavy with history, like Oxford? Maybe you feel like getting crap flung at you by a monkey in Nusa Dua?

If you’re spoiled for choice and needing some direction, it’s here. TripAdvisor have released their annual hottest destinations list and it’s brimming with little-known gems.

Topping the list is a tropical Japanese island, followed closely by a Hawaiian favourite and an energetic Kenyan city.

Here’s the list in full. Drumroll, please.

1. Ishigaki, Japan

Ishigaki in Japanese, means “stone wall”. Contrary to its name, Ishigaki is an island in Okinawa and is therefore surrounded by water.

It boasts sandy beaches and coral reefs and is a superb spot for diving. Food lovers will feel right at home here too, as Ishigaki is known for its soba noodles – called Yaeyama soba – made of flour instead of the more traditional buckwheat.

2. Kapaa, Hawaii

Travellers find this small town, nestled at the base of Nounou (the Sleeping Giant) Mountain on Kauai, mega friendly. It offers a diverse array of hotels, shopping centres and restaurants. Oh, and it’s Hawaii, so the beach is pretty spectacular.

The Kinipopo Shopping Village is a favourite among visitors for its fun eateries and small keepsake shops. Kayaking and water skiing is an obvious activity choice in this natural wonderland.

3. Nairobi, Kenya

Known as the safari capital of Africa, Nairobi is an energetic, modern city that serves as a fascinating introduction to both wildlife and nightlife.

Clubs here pulse with life, shops and markets bustle, and a mélange of restaurants will keep you sated. Top sights include the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre and the black rhinos of Nairobi National Park.

4. Halifax, Canada

Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, is a port city known for its maritime history.

These days it is also well known for its arts, theatre and culinary scene as well as a strong craft brewing culture. The city famously has more pubs and clubs per capita than almost any city in Canada. Cheers to that.

5. Gdańsk, Poland

Regarded as one of Poland’s most beautiful cities, Gdańsk is a port city located on the Baltic coast.

Long Market, at the centre of the city, is one of the main tourist attractions with its colourful facades and home to shops and restaurants.

Interestingly, Gdańsk is a hub for the world’s amber trade. Boutiques throughout the city sell it, making Gdańsk the ideal destination for those who have a particular fondness for the precious fossilised resin.

6. San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose del Cabo is located on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and boasts beautiful beaches and stunning colonial architecture.

Not to be confused with its sister town, Cabo San Lucas which is known for its wild nightlife, San Jose del Cabo offers a much chiller pace.

7. Riga, Latvia

The Latvian capital and the largest city in the Baltics, Riga is a fascinating mixture of proud Latvian tradition and influences from various neighbouring countries.

Riga’s Art Nouveau centre has won a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. The Old City has an abundance of bars and restaurants and can easily be explored on foot while the New Town is quickly reached by an efficient and modern bus and tram network.

8. Rovinj, Croatia

Rovinj is a Croatian fishing port on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula.

The old town, a beautiful tangle of steep cobbled streets and piazzas, sits on a cliff face, with houses packed closely together right down to the seafront.

Located south of the old town is Lone Bay, one of the area’s pebble beaches. The 14 islands of the Rovinj archipelago set just off the mainland are perfect for afternoon explorations.

9. Nerja, Spain

The resort of Nerja is nestled along southern Spain‘s Costa del Sol.

Its seafront promenade, Balcón de Europa, offers stunning views of the Mediterranean and surrounding mountains and below it travellers can find sandy beaches and cliffside coves.

One popular attraction at the seaside town is Cueva de Nerja, a cave which boasts unusual stalactites and stalagmites and is also known for its Palaeolithic paintings.

10. Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca is a port city and the commercial hub of western Morocco.

Architecture buffs will be in heaven at the sight of the mix of Moorish style and European art deco buildings.

The city is also home to Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco. The city also has a thriving art and culture scene – many of Casablanca’s historic Art Deco villas have been reborn as galleries and museums.

Better start writing that Out Of Office reply now.