The big events for travellers in 2018

With a little planning, you can combine a holiday with a front-row seat (if you're lucky) at some of this year's most envy-inducing events.

Whether you're into regal pomp and ceremony, poignant war remembrance, high-level sporting competitions, Modernist art or sparkly street parades, here's a round-up of the best events happening on the planet in 2018.

The royal wedding

FILE - In this Monday Nov. 27, 2017 file photo, Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle pose for photographers during a photocall in the grounds of Kensington Palace in London. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry on May 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Photo: Matt Dunham

Royalists and romantics will be among those flocking to England to celebrate the May 19 nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The pair will wed at Windsor Castle, the Gothic pile 40km west of London that's the world's oldest and largest inhabited castle, but expect a glass or two to be raised throughout the country - especially as the government is considering extending pub opening hours until 1am over the wedding weekend. The royal wedding date also coincides with the FA Cup Final, which will be held at Wembley Stadium, and the Scottish Cup Final in Glasgow. The newlyweds should also show up in Sydney later this year for the Invictus Games (October 20-27), a sporting event for wounded, injured and ill military personnel and veterans that was founded by the prince in 2014. See www.royalcollection.org.uk, www.invictusgames2018.org

New Orleans turns 300

Participants march in the

Photo: AP

New Orleans knows how to party any ol' year - so imagine how lively things will be in 2018 as Crescent City celebrates its 300th birthday. Apart from the usual marquee events (Mardi Gras, February 13; Jazz Fest, April 27-May 6), the city is marking its tricentennial with a packed calendar that includes a festival of lights, exhibitions, gala dinners, block parties, concerts - and even a cook-off between visiting Navy ships. Bourbon Street is undergoing a long overdue makeover (including installation of safety bollards). Music aficionados are better off pointing themselves towards more interesting parts of the city, such as Frenchmen Street, to catch a lively night of tunes. Order a Sazerac - a cocktail that's a New Orleans specialty - to toast the city's birthday and its extraordinary comeback from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. See www.2018nola.com

See also: 'Begpacking' and 11 other travel trends that need to die in 2018

Sydney Mardi Gras

The singer wore a beaded outfit for Believe,

Photo: AP

Gay icon Cher is jetting into Sydney to star at the gay pride festival's famous all-night party that winds up at 8am on March 4. After the Grammy, Emmy and Oscar winner dropped a strong hint on Twitter in late December, the party for 12,000 revellers sold out within hours. Organisers have now rejigged the venue to release more tickets that will go on sale to Mardi Gras members on January 15 and to the public on January 17. The party winds up the multi-faceted, glitter-laden festival starting February 16 that includes the March 3 street parade where star-spangled floats and community groups will no doubt celebrate Australia's long-awaited legalisation of same-sex marriage. The program also includes cabaret shows, exhibitions, talks, film screenings and more. See www.mardigras.org.au

Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

Just jealous ... Paul Donovan, Gold Coast Tourism chairman says media in Brisbane and in southern states criticise the Gold Coast because wish they lived there.

Photo: Michelle Smith

Speaking of same-sex weddings, fingers will be crossed for newly-wed athletes Luke Sullivan and Craig Burns, who have delayed their honeymoon until after the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (April 4-15). They hope to be among the 6600-plus athletes from 70 nations and territories competing for medals in 23 sports. Those disciplines include swimming and diving (taking place at Southport's Gold Coast Aquatic Centre), beach volleyball on Coolangatta's golden sands and mountain-biking through the Nerang State Forest. The April 4 opening ceremony will feature a collaboration between Bangarra Dance Theatre and indigenous youth and elders from South-East Queensland. Multiple ARIA award winner, Queenslander Katie Noonan, is music director for the opening and closing ceremonies. See www.gc2018.com, www.destinationgoldcoast.com

See also: The 18 hottest destinations to visit in 2018 named

Winter Olympics

The Alpensia Sliding Center, the venue for luge, bobsleigh and skeleton events at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, stands in this aerial photograph taken above Pyeongchang, Gangwon, South Korea, on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. With less than 100 days to go before the?Games?start on Feb. 9, organizers have sold little more than 30 percent of the target of 1.1 million tickets, which range from $18 to $1,340.?Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

Photo: SeongJoon Cho

Get cracking if you want to be a spectator at the 2018 Winter Olympics - the 17-day event kicks off in South Korea's Pyeongchang County on February 9. Two ski resorts, Alpensia and Yongpyong, will host most of the snow sports, alpine speed events will take place in nearby Jeongseon, and all ice sports will unfold in the east-coast city of Gangneung, which can be reached from Seoul via a two-hour high-speed train departing from neighbouring Incheon. See www.pyeongchang2018.com

Viennese Modernism

Liveable and great to visit: Vienna.

Photo: Shutterstock

In 1918, Vienna wept when an artistic quartet at the vanguard of Viennese Modernism - painters Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, architect Otto Wagner and design pioneer Koloman Moser - died. A century later, Vienna is devoting a series of exhibitions and events to their astonishing legacy. Visit the Leopold Museum, which holds the world's largest Schiele collection, and see Klimt's masterpiece, Kiss (Lovers), at the Belvedere, which holds the largest collection of his paintings. The Wien Museum celebrates Wagner's visionary projects (March 15-October 7) such as the Postal Savings Bank and the City Railway. The MAK (Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art) devotes an exhibition to Moser (December 19-April 22, 2019). See www.wienermoderne2018.info, www.leopoldmuseum.org, www.belvedere.at, www.wienmuseum.at, www.mak.at

Armistice centenary

The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing war memorial in Ypres, Belgium.

Photo: Shutterstock

On November 11, 1918, hostilities officially ceased on the Western Front of the First World War after four years of bloodshed and bombardment that killed millions of citizens and military personnel. Multiple events will commemorate this centenary. On August 8, a service at France's Amiens Cathedral will mark the centenary of the Battle of Amiens, the start of the Hundred Days Offensive that led to the Armistice with Germany. At St Symphorien Cemetery near Mons, Belgium, where the war began in 1914 and where its first and last casualties lie, multiple events including a commemorative service will mark the November 11 Armistice. At Ieper (formerly known as Ypres) in Belgium, there will be concerts in St Martin's Cathedral and a special Last Post ceremony at 11am at the Menin Gate Memorial. At Canberra's Australian War Memorial, 62,000 knitted red poppies - each representing an Australian on the Memorial's Roll of Honour - will be placed in the Sculpture Garden (October 5-November 11). See www.visitflanders.com, www.awm.gov.au

Top of the Gorge Festival

This year heralds the arrival of a brand-new festival. Somerset's inaugural Top of the Gorge Festival (June 22-24) celebrates the United Kingdom's largest gorge - Cheddar Gorge - with an action-packed weekend skewed towards outdoor enthusiasts. Climb the 4.8km-long limestone gorge's weathered crags and pinnacles, try trail-running, mountain-biking, caving or axe-throwing, or simply chill out above the gorge, located between Bristol and Glastonbury, and listen to music and talks or indulge in a spot of stargazing. See www.nationaltrust.org.uk