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The 10 Countries AFAR Readers Wanted to Visit Most in 2017

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The 10 Countries AFAR Readers Wanted to Visit Most in 2017
In 2017, AFAR readers were all over the map. Throughout the year, our print issue explored destinations in-depth, from Australia to Israel, and on AFAR.com we brought you the latest in travel news and all-things inspiration. Of course, our #traveldeeper community doesn’t just daydream about travel—you (yes, you!) get motivated and hit the road. Over the past 12 months, AFAR Experiences hosted excursions that took travelers from Bermuda to New Orleans and Tokyo—and those were just a few of the destinations that were topping our readers’ wanderlists. Scroll through the slideshow for the 10 countries AFAR readers wanted to visit most in 2017.
Photo by Thomas Kelley/Unsplash.com
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    10. Ireland
    Sure, it’s a relatively small island in the North Atlantic, but Ireland has a huge diversity of experiences to offer. From its lush, green scenery and terrain to its rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder Ireland sparked so many travelers’ interest in 2017. (We’d also like to think this poetic story from our March/April issue had something to do with it.)

    Plan your trip: Ireland
    Photo by Thomas Kelley/Unsplash.com
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    9. Kenya
    Kenya’s landscape calls to be explored, from its expansive grasslands to its towering peaks, all the way to its long-stretching coast. The East African country offers some of the best safari experiences on the continent, but this year, our readers tuned into the many reasons to love Kenya beyond the 4x4.

    Plan your trip: Kenya
    Photo by Harshil Gudka/Unsplash.com
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    8. Canada
    Canada—a country that spans six time zones—was absolutely buzzing in 2017. As if its epic wilderness, contemporary cultural attractions, and incredibly welcoming locals weren’t enough to attract travelers, this year, the country celebrated its 150th anniversary with ongoing celebrations offering experiences for visitors of all stripes.

    Plan your trip: Canada
    Photo by Dan Newman/Unsplash.com
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    7. Japan
    It seemed like all in-the-know travelers were marveling over Japan’s many wonders this year. So what exactly is there to do on a trip to the island nation? Get lost in Tokyo’s endless side streets, soak in Okinawa’s traditional onsens, snowsurf down Hokkaido’s snow-covered peaks, or explore Kyoto’s mystical temples and shrines—whatever you do, just don’t forget to try the sushi.

    Plan your trip: Japan
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    6. Italy
    For food and art lovers, there’s nothing quite like a trip to Italy. With an unrivaled cache of Renaissance-era art and some of the world’s most delicious cuisine, we’re never surprised to see this country top travelers’ must-visit lists. It doesn’t matter whether you go for the art, the food and wine, or the ancient history—it’s always a good time for an Italian escape.

    Plan your trip: Italy
    Photo by Jonathan Korner/Unsplash.com
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    5. Curaçao
    When the small island of Curaçao finally started to pop up on travelers’ radar, it popped up in a major way. The Dutch Caribbean island—located just off the north coast of Venezuela—is best recognized for its world-class water activities, its delightful blend of cultural influences, and its brightly colored capital city, Willemstad (which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Sold? There’s more—this sunny getaway is just a three-hour flight from Miami.

    Plan your trip: Curaçao
    Photo by Ausflug Klein/Flickr
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    4. Iceland
    Iceland was on just about every traveler’s list this year. And for good reason: The landscapes are surreal. The locals are friendly. And thanks to the route of the Ring Road, it’s fairly easy to check out the country’s most awe-inspiring sights. The Nordic island nation also just so happened to land itself on the cover of our July/August “Dream Trips” issue (accompanied by a captivating account of a search for the ideal Iceland). Because—well, we don’t think we have to explain why.

    Plan your trip: Iceland
    Photo by Jeremy Goldberg/Unsplash.com
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    3. Switzerland
    We can’t think of a single thing outdoor adventurers love that Switzerland doesn’t offer. Snow-capped peaks? Check. World-class ski slopes and hiking trails? Check. Cozy alpine cabins to enjoy after a long day of activities? Check. When you add fondue and Toblerone chocolate to the mix, it’s hard to blame our readers for flocking to this country in 2017.

    Plan your trip: Switzerland
    Photo by Dino Reichmuth/Unsplash.com
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    2. Thailand
    Once again, it’s no accident that Thailand's bustling capital was featured on the cover of our “Cities We Love” issue earlier this year. Thailand was a hot spot to visit in 2017, both inside-and-outside of the ever-exhilarating city of Bangkok. To the north, you’ll find forests, mountains, and temples galore. The south contains some of the world’s best beaches and diving. Need we say more?

    Plan your trip: Thailand
    Photo by Evan Krause/Unsplash.com
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    1. Mexico
    Mexico experienced its fair share of tragedy this past year when multiple deadly earthquakes caused destruction across the country. But amid the devastation, local people exhibited resiliency, strength, and humanity—solidifying the many reasons Mexico remains worth visiting. In 2017, Mexico was the most sought-after country by our dedicated community of travelers. And with Mexico City being named the World Design Capital for 2018, we don’t see that changing anytime soon.

    Plan your trip: Mexico
    Photo by Filip Gielda/Unsplash.com
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    What’s Next . . .
    Photo by Justin Kaneps