10 Places in the World That Are Getting More Popular By the Minute
From Málaga and Aruba to Buenos Aires and Montreal, these are the in-demand destinations that are seeing an explosion of bookings, according to American Express Travel, compared to this time last year.
Barcelona and Madrid have long enjoyed time in the limelight, but now Malaga is finally having its moment. Bookings are up 164 percent over last year, according to American Express Travel data. This seaside city on Spain’s southern coast scores points for its diverse architecture—Baroque-style cathedrals, Roman monuments, and Moorish citadels—Mediterranean cuisine, and authentic Andalucian feel. Of course, you can’t talk about Málaga without mentioning its prodigal son, Pablo Picasso, nor the museum dedicated to his work, Museo Picasso Málaga.
Incheon, South Korea
While you’ve likely heard of Seoul, the neighboring city of Incheon should also be on your radar; it’s a long-time transportation hub and home to the massive Incheon International Airport. Bookings are up 87 percent over last year. During the holidays, the streets are illuminated by twinkling lights, Christmas carols, and lots of tasty local treats—you haven’t had a true Korean Christmas until you’ve had a saeng cream cake.
Reno Tahoe, Nevada
Bookings are up 78 percent to Reno, renowned for its casinos, nightlife, the highest concentration of ski resorts in the country, and proximity to Lake Tahoe. If you like to get in a little culture, “The Biggest Little City in the World,” also offers ballet performances at the Pioneer Center and ice-skating at the Rink on the River at the Greater Nevada Field. The buzzy Midtown district is lined with gastropubs, restaurants, and shops. Outside the city limits, you’ll find the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas and some of the best skiing and snowboarding out west on Mt. Rose, Diamond Peak, and Squaw Valley.
Situated at the southern tip of Lac Léman, and surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains, the French-speaking city of Geneva is a global center of finance, economics, and diplomacy—and bookings to this “peace capital” are up 60 percent over the same time last year, according to American Express Travel. Geneva is also home to the headquarters of the Red Cross and the European seat of the United Nations. Switzerland’s most international city also offers ample opportunities for festive fun. Stop by the artisans’ market on Rue de Mont Blanc handmade crafts and souvenirs. Afterwards, warm up with a cup of heissi schoggi (hot chocolate) or a pot of molten cheese fondue, Switzerland’s national dish. Brush up on these must-know French phrases before you go.
Set on an island in the Saint Lawrence River, Montreal gets its name from Mt. Royal, the triple-peaked hill at its center. Its four-season climate means that each quarter has something special to offer. But the winter is especially picturesque, which may be why bookings up are up 59 percent in winter. Snow blankets city—from cobblestone-sidewalks of Vieux-Montréal to the colorful architecture of Plateau Mont Royal. Plus, there are a plethora of parades and cheerful, seasonal attractions—many of which are free—such as Luminothérapie, a spectacular series of light installations that brighten up Place des Festivals during dark days of December and January.
Frankfurt is a major financial hub (home to the European Central Bank) and Germany’s most international city, an enchanting union of past and present. Much of the 2,000-year-old city was destroyed during World War II and later rebuilt. Today, towering skyscrapers live in harmony with historic Gothic buildings, such as the Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew, a preserving 14th century Roman Catholic church. Check out Römerberg and St Paul’s Square, in the reconstructed Altstadt (Old Town), for seasonal markets and decorated stands that are luring 47 percent more bookings this year than last.
One of the Caribbean islands spared by this year’s relentless hurricane season, Aruba continues to trend with travelers looking to escape the cold—travel there is seeing a 31 percent increase in bookings. Sunny skies, beautiful beaches, crystalline waters, and an average winter temp of 81 degrees makes it perfect for those wishing to trade snow for white sand. Check out these photos of beaches with the clearest water in the world to help get you in the mood.
Portland, situated at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, lures travelers with its quirky charm and laid-back vibe: Bookings are up 31 percent to the famed land of coffeehouses, microbreweries, farm-to-table restaurants, and a vibrant art and music scene. Portland’s numerous eco-friendly initiatives, including 350 miles of bike paths, make it one of the healthiest cities in America. This hipster paradise also continues to trend for holiday travel—no doubt due to its lengthy list of parades and unique Portlandian traditions, such as the Festival of Lights at the Grotto, the Holiday Ale Festival in Pioneer Courthouse Square, and The Holiday Express, a yuletide ride on a vintage steam locomotive.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Billed as the “Paris of South America,” Argentina’s cosmopolitan capital blends European glamour and Latin flavor. Bookings are up 28 percent to Buenos Aires, where passion is palpable, red wine flows like water, and stylish porteños (port dwellers) tango till dawn. This sexy and vibrant city is a non-stop party with late-night soirees. Plus, summertime temps add even more heat to the holidays. Craving more travel inspiration? These are the 10 must-visit destinations for 2018.
Bookings are up 23 percent to Lima, which is set on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and steeped in rich heritage and culture. The preserved historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, flaunts century-old churches, monasteries, and residences. Beyond its landmarks, archaeological sites, and museums, “Ciudad de los Reyes” (City of Kings) also boasts an emerging art and thriving culinary scene—with some 16,000 cevicherias as well as internally-acclaimed restaurants. Another perk? Peru is super affordable. Now is a great time to indulge in native delicacies, like lechón and panetón.