Travellers want to get off the beaten track and explore spectacular scenery.
2017 was the year for dreaming of faraway places. Whether you wanted to escape the political maelstrom on American soil, save money by retiring abroad, spend more time in nature, or simply lust after idyllic scenery from the comfort of your arm chair, the following top 10 articles of the year offer something for everyone.
Our most popular slideshow of the year, this one had a strong financial slant to it. We love writing about frugality and simple living as much as we love traveling the globe, so this felt like a perfect fit. The list was compiled based on data from the Annual Global Retirement Index and suggests retirement destinations as diverse as Malaysia, Malta, and Mexico, all offering affordable monthly costs in fabulous climates.
More in TreeHugger: 10 countries with low cost of living and great climate
My personal favorite, this slideshow features the haunting ruins of buildings and settlements now being reclaimed by nature. You will see old villages overgrown by moss in China and Italy, a sand-filled house in the Namibian desert, a lone house on an eroding island. Melissa writes:
"Eventually, abandoned structures become completely swallowed up by vegetation and the earth itself, leaving few traces of our human footprint. The following unusual locations are at the beginning of their journeys back to nature, offering the first few glimpses of what is yet to come."
More in TreeHugger: 8 dreamlike abandoned settings being reclaimed by nature
Why stay in a boring hotel when you can rent a quirky hobbit house, homesteader cabin, or hobbit hole? This slideshow features unusual short-term rentals available across the United States (with one in British Columbia, Canada). Some are so beautiful, or situated amid such stunning scenery, that you'll wish you owned it yourself; thanks to Airbnb, you can pretend for a night.
More in TreeHugger: 8 offbeat rentals for a fairytale getaway
Building on the success of our earlier "retire overseas for less" slideshow, this one features specific international cities that meet a number of healthy, safety, affordability, and ease of living standards, based on data from Live and Invest Overseas. While this list shares some destinations with the other slideshow, it has some gems of its own -- places you might not think of when imagining a life outside North America.
More on TreeHugger: 8 exotic places where you can live on a shoestring
Airbnb and the National Park Foundation came together in an unusual partnership this year, with the goal of making unique accommodations more accessible to park visitors. So long, boring roadside motels! Melissa writes:
"What's great about this is that when you're going to a majestic national park, how wonderful it is to swap cookie-cutter lodging for something offbeat and enchanting, like a converted sheep herder wagon or a tipi."
More on TreeHugger: 9 heavenly havens to rent for a National Park vacation
Inspired by an ice skating trail located close to my home, I got thinking about this most Canadian of winter activities and wanted to compile a list of all the wonderful places to skate. I love the idea of going somewhere on skates, as opposed to skating in circles. Plus, no arena experience can compare to skating on a frozen lake...
"...avoiding bumps and cracks, crunching over snow or crackly ice, immersed in the silence of a forest that stands along the water’s edge – although there are plenty of sounds if you know how to listen. You can hear cold tree branches cracking, chickadees singing, the eerie thud of contracting ice. If you skate at night, you may hear owls, even wolves."
More on TreeHugger: 10 beautiful ice skating trails in Canada
2017 marked the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation. In honor of that celebration, I recalled the countless camping trips I've taken throughout my beloved country, all the way from Newfoundland to B.C. By the time I was 18, I'd camped in every province. These are some of the most memorable and beautiful places I've been.
More on TreeHugger: 11 of the most beautiful places I've traveled in Canada
The pyramid at Giza is the sole remaining architectural wonder of the ancient world. Lost forever are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the lighthouse of Alexandria, among others. These vintage-style travel posters reveal what we've lost over the centuries:
"We are a restless species that seems to find it all too easy to knock old things down and build shiny new ones, a practice that not only disrupts our relationship to the past, but also lacks in sustainability."
More on TreeHugger: The Seven Wonders: Travel posters celebrate our lost ancient treasures
Take a peek at the places people most want to stay, based on data collected by Airbnb. From a solar-powered treehouse in the Philippines to a glass-walled house overlooking a Brazilian beach to a rammed-earth home in the jungle of Botswana, these incredible accommodations are the stuff of travellers' dreams. Even if you never get to stay at one of them, they will hopefully remind you of the interesting places now available to stay, thanks to the Internet and the sharing economy; the Hilton has never looked so unappealing!
More on TreeHugger: 15 of the most desirable Airbnb homes around the world
In this slideshow we feature the 10 most striking beaches in the world, based on a survey conducted by Flight Network. These beaches are truly stunning, noted for their pristine waters, pink or white sands, or compelling rock formations. They will likely give you a bad case of travel bug, so our sincerest apologies in advance!
More on TreeHugger: The 10 most beautiful beaches in the world