by Travel + Leisure Staff:
Putting together our annual list of the best places to travel is a process that takes several months—we survey writers based around the world, talk to our A-List travel specialists, and look at the most exciting hotel and restaurant openings. While news and global events have a large impact on the places we choose, we also pay attention to cities that are worth revisiting: Philadelphia, in particular, may surprise you with the amount of growth and development it has seen in recent months. North America made a strong showing on this year’s list—more than a quarter of these places are within reach for a long-weekend trip from the United States.
We know that people will travel far and wide for incredible food and drink, which is why that was a key factor in our decision-making. In 2017, you’ll want to head to Jerusalem for its exciting Levantine food, Oslo for its coffee culture, Belgrade for craft beer, and Valle de Guadalupe for coveted Mexican wines.
While beach vacations are timeless—you truly don’t need much more than a comfortable resort, warm waters, and a good book to read—tack on a bit more time if you’re visiting these places: Tofino, in British Columbia, has a wild food scene; Honolulu will host its first arts biennial this year; and Málaga has amazing hidden museums.
Technology and globalization can make the world feel small and thoroughly explored. But there are always places to discover—and rediscover—for yourself. Take a look at last year’s list for additional inspiration, and share your own picks with us on social media using #TLBestPlaces.
Tofino, British Columbia
Known for its year-round swells, Canada’s surf capital comes with a cold-water reputation that has helped to keep it a relative secret from the rest of the world. But lately, this remote Vancouver Island gem is seeing more visitors for a new reason: wild food. Chefs are using ingredients foraged straight from the Pacific Ocean and huge swaths of temperate rain forest—Tofino’s front and backyard. The salmon is so recently caught that chefs try not to grumble over the fact that the still-tense flesh is difficult to clean. Check out the new Sea Monster Noodle Bar, where the broth simmers with dried kelp and the poke is made with fresh-caught tuna. At Wolf in the Fog, order smoky potato-crusted oysters and sourdough toast topped with just-plucked chanterelles. Pair it with forest-fresh beverages, like the rye infused in-house with raw cedar or Tofino Brewing Company’s seasonal Spruce Tree Ale, steeped with locally foraged Sitka spruce tips. And stay at Long Beach Lodge Resort, where magical days on Cox Bay Beach include foraging treks with chef Ian Riddick—so you can see what the same food looks like in the wild. —Nina Kokotas Hahn