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Our Favourite Travel Photos of 2017

Our year in photos, from a trek through the Atacama desert in Chile to a wild ride at Asia's largest water park.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Photo: Carlos Hernandez

JANUARY

Seoul

Located on the edge of the South Korean capital’s always-on Dongdaemun district, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza is a cultural centre of more than 900,000 square feet, housing galleries, a design museum, a café and more. Conceived by the late Zaha Hadid, it resembles an enormous silver spacecraft by day, but at night, the 45,000 aluminum panels that make up its exterior light up in a spectacular display of colour.


Valle de la Muerte’s sand dunes

Photo: Gallery Stock

FEBRUARY

Atacama Desert, Chile

The Valle de la Muerte’s sand dunes, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes, look otherworldly. Trekking through the sand is worth it for the breathtaking vistas, but be sure to pack a water bottle. With an average annual rainfall of .1 millimetres in some areas, it’s one of the driest places on earth.


Algiers

Photo: Sinan Cakmak, Anzenberger, Redux

MARCH

Algiers

The hillside capital shows off Algeria’s vast history, fusing Islamic and Berber influences with those of the Roman, Ottoman and French eras. Get oriented with a hike up the path (or take the cable car) to the Notre Dame d’Afrique basilica, which offers views of the mazelike streets and deep blue Bay of Algiers below.


Marseille

Photo: Hemis/Alamy

APRIL

Marseille

In the summer, the best way to reach Calanques National Park is over the dazzling turquoise sea. Hire a kayak in Marseille and paddle 7.5 kilometres until you reach the protected area’s secluded beaches, hidden between limestone cliffs that jut into the Mediterranean. You won’t be able to resist jumping in, but be warned: The water can be chilly, even at the height of summer.


Reykjavik

Photo: Gavin Hellier/Stocksy United

MAY

Reykjavik

Soak up the spray of Skógafoss, one of many waterfalls that cascades into the Skógá River on Iceland’s southern coast, 150 kilometres from Reykjavik. This 60-metre-high force roars down a wall of former sea cliffs, creating a dramatic natural border between the mountains and lowlands. For a wider view, hike between glaciers through the Fimmvörðuháls Pass, just east of the falls.


Mumbai

Photo: Francesca Manolino/LUZ/Redux

JUNE

Mumbai

India’s biggest city also boasts the largest water park in Asia. Take a 10-minute ferry ride from Gorai Creek at Mumbai’s northern tip to wade into Water Kingdom’s wave pool or slip down its 39 waterslides, including the seven-story What-a-Coaster. To experience the beat of Bollywood music within the park’s limits, join the rain-dance party at the Aquadrome, where a sprawling dance floor is bathed in sprinklers and laser lights.


Charlottetown

Photo: Rubens Abboud/Alamy

JULY

Charlottetown

Show your stripes at Cavendish Beach, just 40 kilometres from Charlottetown – the birthplace of Confederation. Red sand dunes give way to sweeping views of the grey-blue Atlantic, where adventurers may feel inclined to try their hand at kite boarding or deep-sea fishing. Those who prefer to stay dry can take part in a Sensational Sandcastles lesson and get to work building their own with a professional castle artist.


Orlando

Photo: Kent Phillips

AUGUST

Orlando

Head into the blue at Walt Disney World’s newest 12-acre attraction, Pandora – The World of Avatar, for a 3-D ride on the back of a banshee, the hit film’s dragon-like creatures. For a more down-to-earth (sort of) adventure, take a slow boat down a bioluminescent river surrounded by mythic wildlife. Stick around until nightfall to see the park’s illuminated waterfalls running down vine-covered mountains.


Lima

Photo: Brian W. Ferry

SEPTEMBER

Lima

Residents of the upscale neighbourhood of Miraflores are used to seeing green, as they head down the district’s leafy cliffs from Puente Villena to the Costa Verde oceanfront. This string of rocky beaches 10 kilometres from the city centre is a year-round favourite for walkers enjoying the view along the bluffs in the sea breeze, as well as wave-hunting surfers and paragliders looking to take sightseeing to new heights.


Belize City

Photo: Paul Dykstra/Alamy

OCTOBER

Belize City

Barefoot on the sand is the best way to explore the five-acre island of Tobacco Caye, a 30-minute boat ride off the Belize coast from the town of Dangriga. Check into a cabana at one of the island’s four lodges and kick back in a hammock overlooking the Caribbean Sea. When you’re ready to dive in, snorkel the nearby Belize Barrier Reef, home to giant green sea turtles and 500 species of fish, who (greatly) outnumber the island’s 30 or so human inhabitants.


Daylesford, Australia

Photo: Marnie Hawson/DMR Tourism

NOVEMBER

Daylesford, Australia

Follow the buzz to Des and Debi O’Toole’s honey stand in Daylesford, a 90-minute drive from Melbourne. The roadside stall is stocked with honey from their apiaries in the Central Highlands, where bees pollinate in open pastures. Sweeten the deal with fresh spring varieties from regional flowers, like Salvation Jane.


St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Photo: Berthold Steinhilber/Laif/Redux

DECEMBER

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

On Bequia, the second-largest island in the Grenadines, take a water taxi to the Moonhole, a former home built into a volcanic rock face. Americans Tom and Gladdie Johnston designed the dwelling from whalebone, driftwood, stone and seashells, back in the 1960s. Visit at the right time and you might spot the setting moon through the arch behind the house.

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