The jewel of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is home to more than 1,200 islands, but travel between them has long been dictated by expensive yacht charters and sluggish public ferries. In 2018, that’s set to change, now that UberBOAT, from the popular ride-sharing app, has launched on-demand transfers and private tours along the Dalmatian Coast. Hit the high seas in the direction of Šolta, a hilly isle a mere nine nautical miles from Split (the second-largest city in Croatia).
Beyond offering a glimpse into ancient history, Jordan is also making a name for itself as a luxury destination. Hilton opened the Dead Sea Resort & Spa in March 2017, making it the first Hilton in the country. Located at the lowest point on earth, some 1,345 feet below sea level, the resort offers beach access, Middle Eastern cuisine, and treatments containing the mineral-rich black mud. —Jess McHugh
To better accommodate the millions who visit Iguazú Falls, a UNESCO site of 275 mighty waterfalls straddling the border of Argentina and Brazil, nearby Cataratas del Iguazú Airport is being modernized and enlarged. Within Iguazú National Park, the Ecological Jungle Train, which takes visitors on a 25-minute journey to the epic Devil’s Throat cascade, is converting from gas to environmentally friendly electric trains. Starting this February, travelers will be able to bed down at the long-awaited Awasi Iguazú resort where 14 rainforest villas will each have plunge pools and guests will have access to a personal excursion guide and 4WD vehicles. Expect visits to native Guarani tribes, river kayaking, and jungle treks led by a resident biologist. Selvaje, an upscale 12-room lodge, will also open early this year and will offer a menu of couple-friendly activities, from picnics to spa treatments. For the ultimate in romance, though, Argentinean travel outfitter Mai 10 (run by Travel + Leisure A-List Agent Maita Barrenechea) can arrange private dinners alongside the falls under the light of a full moon. —Nora Jean Walsh
Ever since Tolminc raw-milk cheeses and Slovenian marbled trout were featured on an episode of the Netflix series Chef’s Table with chef Ana Roš, Slovenia’s culinary star has been on the rise. Hiša Franko, the Soca Valley inn and restaurant that Roš runs with her sommelier husband, is now one of the region’s hardest tables to get — prompting the pair to open a small brewpub, Hiša Polonka. Surging demand for Slovenia’s natural and orange wines has driven local winemakers like Burja Estate and Movia to expand. And in the capital of Ljubljana, adventurous chefs at Monstera, Atelje, and Restavracija JB are helping redefine modern Slovenian cuisine, while the experimental farm and eatery Gostišče Grič has brought in a Swedish celebrity duck farmer and full-time forager to create one of Europe’s most unexpected dining experiences. —Nicholas Gill
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