2017 Travel Agenda – Where to Go When in 2017

As 2016 draws rapidly to a close, it’s the ideal time to start planning a 2017 getaway.

Below is our 2017 travel diary, compiled with the help of our top clients from across the world.


Celebrate Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is one of the biggest festivals in the world and there is no better place to experience it then in the great cities of China. In 2017, Chinese New Year will take place on 28 January and will celebrate the year of the rooster.

In China, Chinese New Year is a vibrant time of year offering fireworks, temple fairs, lantern festivals and parades. In Hong Kong, the Tsim Sha Tsui Night Parade offers a truly astonishing variety of colourful floats, live music and dance music whilst in Xian, the Lantern Festival which takes place on the magnificent ancient walls offers a spectacular riot of colour. In Beijing, the Ditan Temple Fair, celebrating the Spring Festival showcases local folk customs and performance and is a great place to sample traditional snacks.

China specialist operator Wendy Wu Tours has a dedicated 10-day tour designed to immerse visitors into the cultural traditions of this unique time of year with departures in 2017 and 2018 from £2,645pp. www.wendywutours.co.uk/china/tours/chinese-new-year-2017.htm


Go wild at Rio Carnival

Renowned as one of the biggest street parties in the world, the Rio Carnival will take place from 24 to 28 February 2017. The five-day celebration is an explosion of colour, dancing and music and held at the peak of the summer season in Rio de Janeiro, finishing at the beginning of Lent.

Events take place across the city culminating in the Samba Parade where samba schools from across the city showcase the characteristics of their neighbourhood with enthralling performances. Accommodation is in high demand during this time of the year so it’s necessary to book ahead before arriving in Rio. For more information about travelling to Latin America, please visit www.lata.org.

…Or the Tenerife Carnival closer to home

There’s also plenty of carnival spirit to be soaked up closer to home in 2017 with the return of the Tenerife Carnival from 19 February to 5 March. The carnival arrived in Tenerife with the conquistadores at the end of the 15th century and the island embraces the Latin spirit with a number of street parties, live concerts and vibrant, colourful performances. Many of the events take place in the capital city Santa Cruz but also across the island.

Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife is the Canary Islands’ newest live music venue, with concerts and dance performances taking place throughout the year, not just during Carnival. Having opened in late 2016, Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife is quickly establishing itself as the party hub of the island. Standard double rooms from €250 B&B. www.carnavaldetenerife.com / www.hardrockhotels.com/tenerife



Head to the mountains at Skimo 6 in Andorra

Running along a spectacular route in the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, Skimo 6 is a long-distance mountain skiing race in Andorra where teams of two or three people compete against each other in spectacular surroundings. The race celebrates its second anniversary this year and will take place on 5 March 2017. The route starts at Naturlandia and finishes at the Grandvalira Grau Roig sector, passing six high mountain huts, as well as several highlights of Andorra including the el Nou, l’Illa lakes and the Madriu Valley - a UNESCO World Heritage site. www.skimo6.com / www.visitandorra.com

Dance with the devil in Costa Rica

The Feria de la Mascarada usually takes place in late March - although dates can vary every year. The traditional event has roots in the colonial era and is celebrated by the people of Barva, a small town north of San Jose in Costa Rica.

For four days locals and travellers don huge colourful masks of devils, celebrities and political figures, before parading the streets and dancing in the squares. The town of Barva can be reached from Costa Rica’s capital San Jose with a 40 minute bus ride. For more information on visiting Costa Rica or Central America, please visit www.visitcentroamerica.com / www.lata.org


Discover ‘Heroes, Myths and Legends’ on Guernsey

The Channel Islands Heritage Festival returns for its third year with a ‘Heroes, Myths and Legends’ theme between 8 April and 10 May 2017.

In celebration of the colourful history of this small group of islands in the English Channel, the Channel Islands Heritage Festival will feature family-friendly adventures, guided walks, exclusive openings of historical monuments, and themed tours on Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Herm and Sark. This year, the events will explore the heroes, myths and legends that have defined the islands’ enchanting status and drawn visitors to their shores for centuries.

Highlights include the world’s largest geocaching treasure hunt, where visitors are encouraged to explore, find and log geocaches across the Channel Islands in a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices (such as a smart phone). Adventure specialist Outdoor Guernsey is also offering an exclusive opportunity to coasteer to Guernsey’s Creux Mahie cave and explore Le Long Cavaleur - a narrow coupée created through natural erosion. www.outdoorguernsey.co.uk / www.visitguernsey.com

Don’t forget to look up in Genoa

Genoa will host two Rolli Weekends in 2017 (1-2 April and 14-15 October), offering visitors exclusive access to its incredible palaces and some of the finest ceilings you’ll ever witness! Several of the city’s 42 palaces in the historical centre - collectively known as the ‘Palazzi dei Rolli’ - will have their doors flung open to the public over the weekends.

Genoa, located in north west Italy, was once Italy’s most powerful republic and its palaces were built by the wealthiest aristocratic families in the 16th century. Due to official ‘rolls’ (scripts) or ‘Rolli’ issued in 1576 about these palaces, they became known as the Rolli Palaces. Today the palaces, which are all located in Genoa’s Old Town, have UNESCO World Heritage status due to their historical, economic and aesthetic significance. www.visitgenoa.it


Dance till sunrise at Ibiza’s opening parties

The iconic opening parties in Ibiza have become a reference for music lovers and party-goers with venues each trying to outdo each other with world class DJs, dazzling pyrotechnics and spectacular performance. In Ibiza, the season typically starts with the International Music Summit (IMS) which for 2017 will take place from 24 to 26 May at Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza, located at Playa d’en Bossa. The ultimate electronic music experience, IMS is a comprehensive three-day event featuring live seminars and debates amongst the leaders of the international music community. www.internationalmusicsummit.com

Another opening party not to miss is at Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel; the island’s most popular outdoor venue. The 7th Ushuaïa opening party will take place on 27 May 2017 and the combination of its open-air club and unbeatable line-ups means it’s always the place to be seen. www.ushuaiaibiza.com

Embrace a cultural spring in Madrid

The Fiestas San Isidro celebrates Madrid’s patron saint with a calendar of music, shows and a variety of activities for the whole family. Scheduled to take place from 11 – 15 May 2017, the festivities are the highlight of the spring cultural calendar in Madrid and include a comprehensive programme of street processions, dance performance and live music and theatre.

Guests to Madrid this year could stay at the recently opened Only You Hotel Atocha. The new urban-style boutique hotel faces Atocha railway station and overlooks the Paseo Infanta Isabel and Alfonso XII street, close to Madrid’s spectacular Retiro Park. It has 205 elegant rooms, as well as a drinks and food menu inspired by New York and South American cuisine. www.onlyyouhotels.com/hotel-atocha / www.esmadrid.com


Enjoy open-air theatre at Athens and Epidavrus Festival

The Athens and Epidavrus Festival has been running for 62 years and is a collection of open-air theatre, opera, classical music and dance events held in venues across Athens. These include modern venues and the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus, at the base of Acropolis Hill. The famous, ancient, open-air theatre of Epidavrus in the Peloponnese is also a key venue. This theatre, despite being 2,000 years old, has an audience capacity of 13,000 and has such good acoustics that actors can speak without microphones and still be heard by the people in the back row. Many of the ancient Greek performances are in Greek but have English subtitles. The 2017 programme is still to be announced and tickets will be available through www.greekfestival.gr / www.visitgreece.gr

Live a little at the Lobster Fest in Belize

Locals in four parts of Belize celebrate the start of the lobster season with the annual Lobster Fest (2017 date TBC), the biggest gastronomic event of the year. The largest and most popular Lobster Festival is held in the town of San Pedro on the Island of Ambergris and consists of a whole week of outdoor food stalls offering lobster cooked in every way possible: grilled, ceviche, kebabs and even chowder. Many restaurants and bars offer free live music and discounted prices on drinks and food throughout the week. Twenty four hour beach parties are also enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

For more information on visiting Belize or Central America, please visit www.visitcentroamerica.com / www.lata.org 


Enjoy the 25th anniversary of the Sani Festival

The Sani Festival celebrates a quarter of a century of arts and culture in 2017. Taking place in July and August (dates TBC) in the grounds of the Sani Resort in Halkidiki, the festival always has an eclectic line up of jazz pop and classical music. The event has grown to be one of the Mediterranean’s leading musical celebrations and in 2017 guests will be able to stay in the new five-star Sani Dunes Hotel, which opens in June.

The hotel and surrounding resort will cost €24.2 million and will be built on 41 acres of land – comprising of 136 rooms and suites, three restaurants, an indoor pool and spa. Sani Dunes promises to provide exceptional cuisine and a grown-up environment, although children over 12 will be able to stay. One night in a double room with a pool view costs from approximately £495 (€554). www.saniresort.com / www.visitgreece.gr

Soak up a fortnight of live music on the Canary Islands

The ‘Festival Internacional Canarias Jazz & Más Heineken’ will return for the 26th year in 2017, offering an expansive calendar of musical events across Tenerife, La Palma, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

Focusing on jazz, but also encompassing a range of musical styles, the festival attracts local and international artists and received 30,000 visitors in 2016. This year’s event will take place for two weeks in July and is expected to be bigger than ever. Visitors to the events on Fuerteventura could base themselves at the Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real – double rooms from £171 B&B. www.canariasjazz.com / www.atlantisbahiareal.com


Observe 70 years since India’s independence from the British Empire

This year marks 70 years after India’s Independence from the British Empire in 1947. Each year the date is observed with great fervour with events and ceremonies taking place across the country. Wendy Wu Tours has three new India tours including the 22-day ‘Enticing India’ trip from £2,990pp, which visits the Red Fort in Delhi where the official anniversary celebrations take place each year on 17 August with a 21 gun salute.

Guests will also travel down the River Ganges, marvel at the Taj Mahal, admire Khajuraho’s ornate temples, discover the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur and spot Bengal Tigers in Ranthambore National Park. www.wendywutours.co.uk

“Goodness gracious great balls of fire” (in El Salvador)

Adventurers seeking a more unusual festival will find lots to enjoy in the Las Bolas de Fuego (Balls of Fire) festival in El Salvador. Taking place in the small town of Nepaja on 31 August, the residents commemorate the eruption of a volcano in 1922 that caused an evacuation of the town. During the evacuation the locals believed that the ‘balls of fire’ coming out of the volcano were as a result of a fight between their patron saint, San Jeronimo, and the devil. Nowadays the event sees two teams throwing fireballs at each other in an organised, but edge-of-your-seat fashion. For more information on visiting El Salvador or Central America, please visit www.visitcentroamerica.com.


Stuff yourself at the Guernsey Food Festival

Taking place 14 – 24 September, the Guernsey International Food Festival is a foodies dream. The festival showcases Guernsey’s delicious local produce and varied cuisine with special promotions in bars and restaurants, as well as gala dinners, gastronomic tours, chef masterclasses and live cooking shows. The Big Guernsey Market will run over the first weekend and a beer & cider festival over the second. The full line up for 2017 will be unveiled closer to the date. www.visitguernsey.com


Be Amazed at the Human Towers in Tarragona

This unique tradition of building castells (human towers) originated in Valls in the Costa Daurada towards the end of the 18th century. Since then it has attracted visitors from around the world and in 2010, UNESCO declared the castells as a ‘Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’.

The 27th Tarragona Human Tower Competition will take place on 7-8 October in the Tarraco Arena Plaça of Tarragona, with 42 local groups (colles) participating. Over 6,000 spectators will enter the arena to enjoy this prestigious Catalan event.

The human towers are formed by castellers who stand on the shoulders of one another in a succession of levels (between six and ten). Before, during and after the performance, musicians play songs on wind instruments known as gralla. www.eng.concursdecastells.cat / www.costadaurada.info


Honour those who have departed during the Day of the Dead, Mexico

The Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is celebrated annually on 1 and 2 November as a reunion of dead relatives with their families. For Mexicans, it’s a colourful and lively celebration with activities including the decoration of graves, burning incense, prayers and chants for the dead and parades through the streets.

For more information about travel to Mexico or Latin America, please visit www.lata.org.


Get in the Christmas spirit in Quito

In early December, Quito celebrates the Fiestas de Quito which commemorates the foundation of the city in 1534. The festival recreates the spirit of the Old City inviting locals and tourists to come together to celebrate Christmas. The festivities begin with the election of the new Queen of Quito (a beauty pageant contest held every year), who then presides over the revelries of the city.

The Fiestas de Quito also includes street plays, parades, and a number events taking place across various locations in the city. For example the Quitania festival takes place on the Plaza Quitumbe and La Carolina Park hosts a music festival featuring a range of national and international artists. www.quito.com / www.lata.org


Images from left to right:

1. Abriendo Mentes, Costa Rica, Copyright KateHood.com
2. Nuevas Esperanzas, Nicaragua 
3. Vidarte Space, Brazil