ZM Photo/shutterstock Everyone seems to be discovering this affordable gem in Eastern Europe at the same time: Recently Lonely Planet named the Julian Alps one of the top 10 regions to visit. The New York Times featured the charming medieval capital city of Ljubljana in its 36-hour destinations (we also found an amazing tree house there). National Geographic awarded the capital is Legacy Award, and local chef Ana Ros was named the World’s Best Female Chef in Pellegrino’s “The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards.” The small nation with the big green image (it’s one of the world’s most eco-friendly destinations) offers rafting, hiking, boating, and biking in the summer; alpine skiing in the winter; and fabulous food and culture year-round.
artem evdokimov/shutterstock Portugal welcomes tourists with open arms with a delightful mix of history and modernity, lively cities and white-sand beaches, the freshest fish and the richest pastries, says Aviva Patz, Deputy Editor of ReadersDigest.com. Portugal offers all the greatest hits of Europe, but at a wallet-friendly price, “The people are super friendly,” she enthuses, “and you won’t go broke while you’re here.” As if that’s not enough to make it a “Must Go” in 2018, it’s also family friendly and there are frequent well-priced flights with the country’s national airline carrier TAP.
Simply walk the winding, picturesque cobblestone streets lined with shops, restaurants, fountains, and statues of leaders and poets, you’ll see signs of Portuguese culture everywhere. Step into a shop to down a shot of Ginga, the signature cherry liquor (drunk on the spot in a tiny chocolate cup), or listen to a live performance of Fado, traditional Portuguese folk music with a singer and two guitarists. The Anantara Vilamoura Hotel, in the southern region of Algarve, marks the arrival of every evening with a breathtaking performance of Fado, which is a bit like soulful opera. From the Vilamoura, beaches and lush vineyards are just a quick drive away for a taste of quintessential Portugal.