7 Best Cities to Visit in 2017

January 24, 2017
VMD Staff

Traveling this year? Here are the 7 best cities to visit in 2017.

Have you made the decision to travel this year? Good for you! But of all the unique and diverse places on Earth, where will you go? Well, you’re in luck. National Geographic Traveler magazine has made your decision a little easier by naming seven best cities to visit in 2017.

Marrakech, Morocco

Brimming with markets, gardens, palaces, and mosques, this nearly 1000-year-old city is truly magical. Towering minarets, snake charmers, and fire-eaters in Djemaa el-Fna Square, the El Bahia Palace filled with dazzling tiles and carvings, and the souk (market) with its winding, narrow streets, are just some of Marrakech’s charms.

The temperature is more comfortable and the crowds are lighter in Marrakech from March to May and October to November. Early December is the best time to visit if you’re interested in the Marrakech International Film Festival.

Madrid, Spain

Madrid boasts parks, gardens, and more than 60 museums, including the Museo del Prado and the Reina Sofia. With more than 2,000 rooms, the Palacio Real rates among Western Europe’s largest palaces. Parque de Retiro, the city’s 330-acre, fountain-filled oasis, is soothing and the food markets and Michelin-starred restaurants are can’t-miss. Few large capitals have managed retain the neighborhood infrastructure and warmth of a small community as Madrid has done.

The weather in Madrid is generally dry and mild in May, June, September, and October. You can catch end-of-season sales at clothing stores from January 7 to February 28 and July 1 to August 31.

Anchorage, Alaska

Surrounded by national parks and filled with wildlife, Anchorage is the only American city to make the list this year. Anchorage offers pubs and restaurants within a mere 30-minute drive of Alaska’s wilderness where fishing, hiking, and spotting brown bears are just some of the adventures.

November through April for the best months for skiing, dog sledding, and seeing the northern lights in Anchorage, with March 4 marking the ceremonial start of the 2017 Iditarod. Enjoy close to 20 hours of daylight every day from mid-June to mid-August.

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul is a huge city where modern skyscrapers, high-tech subways, and pop culture are found alongside Buddhist temples, palaces, and street markets. Of all the exploring you can do here, don’t miss the shops of flashy Gangnam, street food in Gwangjang Market, a panoramic city view from the observatory deck of N Seoul Tower, and Bukchon Hanok Village, the site of more than 900 traditional Korean homes and guesthouses.

From March through May, flowering cherry trees, azaleas, chrysanthemums, and other spring plants are in full bloom. September, October, and November are the best times to experience comfortable temperatures, clear skies, and fall foliage in the gardens of Seoul’s royal palaces and in Bukhansan National Park.

Moscow, Russia

The colorful domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral, the central Red Square, and the imposing Kremlin museum are just a few of the sites you can explore in the cosmopolitan capital of Russia. Contemporary Moscow can be found at Winzavod, a wine-bottling factory turned art center, and by walking through one of the city’s central neighborhoods. During your walks, share drinks and zakuski (appetizers) with your companions, grab a blin (thin pancake), or sit down to a nice bowl of borscht and pelmeni (meat dumplings in one of Moscow’s many restaurants.

Peak tourist time in Moscow runs from June through September. Go in May and October for lower rates, lighter crowds, and balmier weather. You can catch FIFA Confederations Cup Russia soccer matches this year on June 17, 21, 22, 24, 25, 28, and 29, and July 2.

Cartagena, Colombia

Located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Cartagena is home to exquisite beaches. Stroll the walled Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where brightly painted colonial mansions line the winding streets, and visit Bocagrande, a fashionable district filled with trendy, open-air cafés.

You’ll find little rain and lots of fun in Cartegena from December through March, including the 57th annual Cartegena International film festival, which is happening March 1 through 6.

Hamburg, Germany

Located on the Elbe River, Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and Europe’s second busiest container port. Take a leisurely stroll along Hamburg’s many waterways and canals to understand why the city has been called the “Venice of the North.” Speicherstadt, a port warehouse district, is part of HafenCity, a large inner-city development project.

Visit in May through September for the mildest temperatures. Outdoor festivals abound during these months, including the annual Hamburg Port Birthday celebration from May 5 through 7. Go in December to enjoy Christmas markets galore.