A picture-perfect trio of islands lapped by turquoise waters, the Maltese archipelago has all the charm of nearby Sicily with far fewer tourists. Valletta, the tiny nation’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site, feels like something plucked straight from Westeros. The historic walled city dates back to 1565, and has a vibe that’s Mediterranean with a North African twist. This underrated destination is finally stepping into the global limelight as a 2018 European Capital of Culture. To celebrate the occasion, the city has planned more than 140 projects and 400 events throughout the year. The festivities begin on January 20, with contemporary dance, a choral symphony, and acrobatic performances across the city’s four main squares. Should you miss the grand opening, swing by in February for Carnival, or in June for the Malta International Arts Festival and the Valletta Film Festival. —Diana Hubbell
Philip, while under the influence of drugs, commits to memory an anti-viral formula sent via messenger. The information is passed on to fellow Traveler Derek via Jenny so it can be synthesized and distributed to other Traveler teams as well as people targeted to be saved in order to minimize the spread and mutation of a flu like virus that historically killed 70,000 people. However, two weeks after dissemination, people around the world start getting sick with a virus even more dangerous than the original one. With no contact from the Director, and the death toll rising, Marcy and the team rush to find a solution before it's too late.
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Over the past few years, South Korea’s Gangwon Province has shed its sleepy past and come into its own as a prime winter-sports destination — a transformation that will take center stage during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics (February 9–25). Ahead of the big event, the region will debut a new high-speed rail line that will whisk travelers from Incheon International Airport to the resort town in just 70 minutes, making it easier to access the Taebaek Mountains’ panoramic pistes and tourist-friendly attractions. Powder hounds will want to lodge at the InterContinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort, which commands a prime location at the foot of the Alpensia ski slopes, steps from two Olympic-class runs, and is one of a handful of hotels built for the games. Break from all the outdoor action at the Ocean 700 indoor water park, complete with wave pools and tubing rides. —Talia Avakian
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
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