Best travel destinations for the year: The 16 best places to travel to next year – It’s time to start planning for the travel highlights of next year.
Go. Go now. Everyone is talking about travelling to Cuba, and with good reason. This is a country on the cusp of change, an island nation that’s slowly been revealing itself to the world for some years now, but is about to completely throw open the floodgates as relations with the US improve. The embassy has reopened. The tourists won’t be far behind. Get there now.
With great deals to be had on trans-continental flights that stop over in Reykjavik, this cold little country is turning itself into a tourism hotspot. Most will visit to see its natural attractions, from the hot springs to its striking mountains and plains. What you don’t hear enough about, however, is the arts scene, with some of world’s best indie bands calling Reykjavik home.
There’s never a bad time to plan a trip to Antarctica. This is bucket-list stuff, the sort of journey you’ll never forget. It’s a cruise across the notoriously rough Drake Passage. It’s that first sight of the world’s coldest, most inhospitable continent; it’s setting foot among a huge colony of penguins; hearing the gunshot crack of calving glaciers; spotting whales and seabirds and seals from the side of your ship. Plan to go there. Now.
4. MARGARET RIVER
It’s often overshadowed by big-name competition such as the Barossa or Yarra Valleys, but Margaret River produces some of Australia’s best wine, and it’s also one of our most enjoyable areas to holiday in. When you’re not slurping the region’s finest exports, there are great beaches in Margs, as well as the 135km Cape to Cape Track, a coastal hike that will help work off the effects of living the good life.
5. HONG KONG
You think Australians are obsessed with food? Check out Hong Kong, a city filled with gourmands, a bustling, blaring metropolis where every single person is thinking about their next meal. It’s not just local Cantonese food that’s good – although this is the home of dim sum. In Hong Kong there’s cuisine from all over China; in fact from all over the world. If you travel on your stomach, this city should be on your menu.
A few years ago it was the World Cup, and in 2016, Brazil will play host to another of the globe’s biggest sporting events: the Olympic Games. Rio de Janeiro is getting set for a party that’s going to be even bigger than its usual parties, with athletes and spectators from around the world descending upon its famed beaches, its samba clubs, its caipirinha-peddling kiosks and its buzzing streets in the name of sport and pleasure. You don’t want to miss it.
Any region of Spain, from Andalusia to Galicia to Catalunya, could easily entice you to visit the Iberian peninsula. However, in 2016 all the action will be in the Basque country, with the beachside town of San Sebastian being named Europe’s City of Culture for the year. That means even more good food, even more festivals and events, and even more of an excuse to just wander the alleys of the city’s old town soaking up one of the best destinations in the world.
8. SRI LANKA
How much can you fit into a small island? How about soaring, rainforest-covered mountains, ancient temples, bustling, sometimes chaotic cities, charming little towns, endless beaches, and even more in between? Sri Lanka is as culturally rich as its colossal neighbour to the north, as diverse and interesting – but it’s far more manageable for the solo traveller.
The unlikely hero of Australia’s arts scene – thanks to MONA – is also the unlikely hero of Australia’s food scene, with some of the country’s best produce originating in Taswegia. They’ve got all the good stuff down there: the wine, the cheese, the seafood, the fruit… even the whisky. Once you’ve finished stuffing your face, Tasmania is also home to some of our most spectacular and pristine national parks.
Sports fans will appreciate the fact that France is hosting the European football championships next year. However, there are more reasons than that to visit the country. With the Champagne and Burgundy wine regions recently being awarded UNESCO heritage listing, it’s as good a time as any to hit the cellar doors and see what all of the fuss is about.