By Anna Ley, Charis Cheesman, Naoise Murphy, Aaron Bell and Claudia Mulholland
There’s no better way to beat the January blues than to plan your next trip out of the bubble. From Hull to Tanzania, we’ve got you sorted.
This East African country has got to be the most diverse of destinations.
Trek up Kilimanjaro, visit the Maasai tribe, or join the safari circuit, and if you’re lucky, gape at the wondrous spectacle of the Great Wildebeest Migration, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
The animals begin their movement between July and September; with the whole of September off, university students can consume the scene when peak tourists have retreated back. For a cheaper option, head to one of the lesser known parks (a great example is Tarangire, which boasts the greatest density of elephants – that’s the one everyone really wants to see, right?). And another perk of a smaller park is seeing the beautiful creatures up close!
Throw yourself into the thriving Southern capital, Dar Es Salam and follow the Tanzcat regatta’s Zanzibar Raid (a 4-day annual sailing sprint from Dar to Zanzibar and back) to the crystalline currents of Zanzibar’s shores. This island is drenched in history, and you can also swim with a pod of dolphins in this world ranking shallow diving destination.
Multicultural, tribal and unique, Tanzania offers a plethora of possibilities to the explorer, trekker and nature lover. – Anna Ley
You may or may not be surprised to hear that Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, is this year’s city of culture. Despite being the butt of many a joke, it would be rude to omit it from our travel destinations of 2017 compilation with that crown. Hull may not be top of your ‘to visit’ list, but perhaps if you’re ever going to visit this would be the year?
Situated where the River Hull meets the Humber estuary, this city holds a population of approximately 258,000 people. If you’re an art snob, note that the Ferens, a renowned art gallery in Hull, has opened again after its face-lift. Another thing to look out for this year in Hull is a beautifully vivid film about how different cultures have shaped the city, displayed dramatically on the sides of the Deep, Hull’s aquarium. Though a staggering 68% of Hull voted to leave the EU last June, their city has been shaped by many waves of immigrants over the centuries… and this film emphasises that well! – Charis Cheesman
The fabulous new Elbphilharmonie concert hall is the star of the show in Hamburg this year. Architecturally it’s a stunning sculpture of shiny, wave-shaped glass, dumped incongruously on top of a warehouse building, and it has certainly been controversial, going massively over budget and taking ten years to complete. And aside from its impressive musical legacy, Hamburg is brimming with culture of all kinds, from abandoned trainyards turned into creative spaces and the five galleries of the ‘Art Mile,’ to the infamous party scene in Reeperbahn, which hosts the largest club festival in Germany.
The industrial-chic feel of the city and its plethora of coffee shops and multicultural eateries means it offers all the trendy German hipster-ness of Berlin, minus the capital city price tag. Get there in 2017 while it’s still cool. – Naoise Murphy
It’s only by strolling through the cobbled streets of Aarhus, past bars and cafés, craft shops, record stores and art galleries, that you’ll realise Aarhus could have been founded to be the ‘European Capital of Culture.’ You can take in the sights from the rainbow viewing platform of ARoS, the modern art gallery in the heart of the city, or visit the new dockland area with the striking ‘iceberg’ style residences, bars, and hotels. There has never been a better time to see this Scandinavian idyll: expect plenty of music, arts, cooking, and events throughout the year and no more so than during the beautiful Danish summer. Snakker du Dansk?! – Aaron Bell
Competitive in price and popularity, Croatia is quickly becoming Europe’s hub for young people. The country is littered with National Parks, like Plitvice Lakes. Hike the forest pathways that meander through the six pools of turquoise, collapsing upon each other in a symphony of waterfalls for a mere £21 in peak season. For a notably quieter and more accessible option, if you are staying in the South towards Dubrovnik or Split, Krka National Park offers a similar experience for the same price, and here you are able to actually swim in the waterfall!
Dubrovnik is a place everyone should visit. This Adriatic city welds history to happening nightlife. Take a stroll around the medieval walls, absorb the familiar sights of Game of Throne’s King’s Landing, wander through the doorways nestled within the city walls, sip a cocktail against breathtaking sea views or party against a panoramic backdrop on the terraces of 360 Degrees. For cheaper beer and crazier scenes, head North to the clubs of Zadar, Zagreb and the islands of Hvar. Why not weave Pula’s Outlook Festival (7th-10th September) into your itinerary, Europe’s biggest sound system festival, which is celebrating its tenth birthday this year.
The waters are as crystalline as the Caribbean and Croatia does in fact have some white sand beaches: soak up the sea breeze on beautiful Brac Island and laze upon Zlatni rat, its uniquely shaped sandy beach. Pure paradise.
With EasyJet flights to Split from £52, Croatia is a country of boundless beauty and bustling nightlife at a bridled price – surely every student’s dream combination. – Anna Ley
The second you step off the train at Matera Centrale station, it’s not hard to see why this city in the Italian province of Basilicata is a UNESCO world heritage site and set to be the European Capital of Culture for 2019. Brimming with history, spectacular views and unadulterated Italian culture, the breath-taking Matera offers visitors the chance to step back in time and off of the well beaten tourist track to experience life in a prehistoric troglodyte settlement.
Matera is yet to be discovered by the throngs of tourists that keep Rome and Naples booming throughout the hot summer months- it’s not a hard hitting, party heavy holiday destination. But what Matera lacks in city bustle, it makes up for with authentic Italian charm. Pass the days peering into perfectly shady cave dwellings and spend the evenings sampling homemade Italian cuisine as you watch bare foot children dance, ice cream in hand, to the music of accordionists who line the narrow, cobbled streets.
To experience the untainted Matera, fit to fall off the screen of a Fellini film, visit in 2017 and beat the crowds that will make the journey south to Basilicata as the city is, justly, crowned Capital of Culture in 2019. – Claudia Mulholland
Photographs (from top): Anna Ley, Dom Fellowes via Flickr, Jan O via Flickr, Aaron Bell, Leon Yaakov via Flickr, Claudia Mulholland