Global events worth traveling for in 2017

Mark your calendar with this year’s most important events happening across the globe. We’ve listed a few of the new and recurring events, we are looking forward to in 2017

Join Helsinki for LUX, a light show in January part of Finland 100
Join Helsinki for LUX, a light show in January part of Finland 100 © Jussi Ratilainen

Get ready, 2017 is a year full of cultural events you’re not going to want to miss. Monumental birthdays, historical inaugurations, astronomical happenings – you get the picture, it’s going to be epic.

Finland 100 – Finland

As part of Finland 100, check out LUX in January, as Helsinki's landmarks light up the dark winter nights

As part of Finland 100, check out LUX in January, as Helsinki’s landmarks light up the dark winter nights © Lauri Rotko/Visit Helsinki

In 2017, Finland will celebrate a century of independence from Russia. The year of festivities will be launched with a banging blue and white firework in Helsinki on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 2016. The theme of the celebration, Together, reaches out to Finns and friends of Finland to unite over events, both in Finland and abroad, that honor the country’s culture and history.

Finland 100 is still accepting project proposals and will continually update the program on their website. At the event’s launch, and across the country all year, Luminous light art installations will come to life, outlining Finland’s natural and historical sites. Remember the Moomin of your childhood? Children (in life and at heart) can revel in the world’s only Moomin Museum, inaugurated for Finland 100, complete with over 2,000 original works from the Finnish children’s books.

When: the opening ceremony is on 31 December 2016

Where: Töölönlahti Bay and Kansalaistori Square, Helsinki, Finland

Find a flight to Helsinki

Canada’s 150th birthday – Ottawa, Canada

Get ready for Canada's big birthday at Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Get ready for Canada’s big birthday at Parliament Hill in Ottawa

On 31 December, blow out 150 candles in Ottawa to kick off Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. Just make sure to save some breath for the exceptional events happening all evening, like the pyro-musical fireworks, concerts, and the official birthday countdown happening on Parliament hill.

The entire country will celebrate by having free admission to the National Parks throughout 2017. Drive to nearby Ontario to Bruce Peninsula National Park, where frozen cliffs give way to pristine icy waters. In October, November, and December, join the Royal Astronomical Society for the Dark Sky night, wandering through the stretches of wild plains under a blanket of constellations. In the deep winter months, cross the bridge at Point Pelee National Park that sits almost out of place atop the marshes that have frozen over.

When: the opening ceremony is on 31 December 2016

Where: Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada

Find a flight to Ottawa

2017 Asian Winter Games – Sapporo, Japan

A night skate in Odori Park, a Japanese winter wonderland

A night skate in Odori Park, a Japanese winter wonderland

For the third time, the Asian Winter Games will be hosted in Sapporo, host of the 1972 Winter Olympics. For all the chills and thrills of the opening and closing ceremonies, grab your seats at the Sapporo Dome on 19 and 26 February, respectively. The dome itself also puts on quite the show with its iridescent shell designed by Japanese Architect Hiroshi Hara, and retractable surface – baseball games are played on artificial turf, while football games are played on a grass field that can be slid in and out of the stadium when needed.

11 winter sport disciplines will be practiced, including figure skating, curling, and ski jumping. Viewers can watch ski-jumpers soar off the 426-foot hill at the Ōkurayama Ski Jump Stadium. Others might opt for a white winter’s walk through Sapporo’s central park, Odori Park. It’s the perfect spot to test your pre-Olympian skills on the ice skating rink.

When: 19 – 26 February 2017

Where: Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan

Find a flight to Sapporo

Ferrari Land opening – Tarragona, Spain

Ferrari-lovers, get ready! Europe's first Ferrari Land is about to open

Ferrari-lovers, get ready! Europe’s first Ferrari Land is about to open

Get those engines revving and be the first in line to experience PortAventura World Parks & Resort’s new theme park – Ferrari Land. On 7 April 2017, Tarragona, Spain will be home to 20,000 square feet dedicated to the sports car, with rides such as the tallest vertical accelerator in Europe. With speeds reaching from 0 to 112mph in 5 seconds, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

For the Räikkönen (legendary Ferrari racer) wannabees, test the 1870 feet of track on the family racing circuit or one of the several F1 simulators. Grab a bite of Italian food and play the tourist in front of recreations of the Campanile of San Marco, the Colosseum, and La Scala. It’s like two holidays in one!

When: 7 April 2017

Where: Tarragona, Spain

Find a flight to nearby Barcelona

Belmond Andean Explorer launch – Cuzco to Arequipa, Peru

Discover the Peruvian Andes aboard the Belmond Andean Explorer

Discover the Peruvian Andes aboard the Belmond Andean Explorer © Richard James Taylor

All aboard! There’s a new train in town, and it’s chugging through the Andes. The Belmond Andean Explorer, to be launched in May 2017, starts its journey in the historic capital of the Inca Empire, Cuzco. From the Lounge Car (complete with a grand piano) or the open deck of the Observation Car, you’ll be able to catch views of the Altiplano. The wide stretch of the Andean Plains, reaching the high altitude of 11,400 feet, makes this one of the highest train journeys on Earth.

Depending on the itinerary you choose, you’ll have the chance to explore Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon, and the Sumbay Caves. After two nights aboard the train, sleeping in luxurious cabins and dining on fine local foods, you’ll arrive at your destination – the white city of Arequipa, known as such for the white volcanic stone present in the historic center’s architecture.

When: May 2017

Where: Cuzco, Peru

Find a flight to Cuzco

Eurovision Song Contest – Kiev, Ukraine

Jamala, winner of last year's Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm

Jamala, winner of last year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm © Andres Putting

The annual extravaganza Eurovision Song Contest hits Ukraine in 2017. On 9, 11, and 13 May , the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, Ukraine will be the stage for the contest’s 62nd edition.

Head to Sofiyska Square to catch the Red Carpet with all the contestants lining up for the opening ceremony. This ceremony will take place inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Saint Sophia Cathedral. Beneath the cathedral’s 13 cupolas and amid mosaics and frescoes, one question will be on everyone’s mind – which one of the 43 participating countries will win this year?

When: Finals take place on 13 May 2017

Where: Saint Sophia Cathedral, Kiev, Ukraine

Find a flight to Kiev

Total Solar Eclipse – Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Glasses on, eyes up to the sky - it's a Total Solar Eclipse in Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Glasses on, eyes up to the sky – it’s a Total Solar Eclipse in Hopkinsville, Kentucky

From Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina, brace yourselves for a total solar eclipse. The location to see the best corona (when the moon aligns with the Sun, revealing a ring of light from the Sun’s outer atmosphere) is Hopkinsville “Hoptown”, Kentucky.

While the eclipse will only be visible for two minutes and forty seconds on 21 August, events around the eclipse will go on from the 19 – 21 at the Summer Salute festival, like live music, food vendors, and family games. On Hopkinsville’s Eclipseville website, you can also find recommended public viewing areas in nearby parks, as well as official (and highly recommended) solar eclipse viewing glasses.

When: 21 August 2017

Where: Hopkinsville, Kentucky, USA

Find a flight to nearby Nashville

Star Wars: Episode VIII filming – Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

Star Wars fans are taking over Malin Head, starting with Farren's bar

Star Wars fans are taking over Malin Head, starting with Farren’s bar

Happenings from another galaxy have been popping up all across Ireland. If you’re around the area of Malin Head, in County Donegal, you may have seen a curious structure resembling the Millenium Falcon, Han Solo’s spaceship. The arrival of this spacecraft, as well as spotting of the Hollywood cast, is without doubt for the filming of the new Star Wars: Episode VIII, due to premiere in December 2017. As the cast and crew are sworn to secrecy regarding dates and locations of shooting, you have to be up for quite the treasure hunt to spot the film sites.

Other locations along the Wild Atlantic Way are also to be featured in the film. In Ceann Sibéal, a Jedi village has been built, as well as a replica of Skellig Michael, a rocky island and Christian monastery recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where filming of the previous Star Wars movie took place.

When: filming will continue throughout 2017; the movie comes out in December 2017

Where: Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

Find a flight to nearby Donegal
Looking for more inspiration? Check out our guide to bring back only the best souvenirs from your different travels