With 2015 nearly at an end, its that time of year to look at the best places to go in 2016 to help you plan your new year adventures. There are 16 hot spots that made the list and they’re some of the most incredible locations the world has to offer. Many of these places are best to travel to now before the crowds, as we predict them to be some of the world’s best destinations on the cusp of mass tourism. Here we go!
Jerusalem is considered a sacred and holy city to Jews, Muslims and Christians around the world. In the present day, the three monotheistic religions are represented in the city, with a 7th Century Islamic gold dome, the Western Wall and Via Dolorosa being the most prominent locations in the city. Tourism is picking up in Jerusalem, and there’s little wonder why given it is one of the oldest cities in the world and reveals layers of history.
15. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has seen a strong increase in tourism over recent years, given its untouched scenery, lush beaches, friendly locals, tonnes of elephants (literally), famous tea history and relatively cheap prices in comparison to its surrounding neighbours. If you enjoy wildlife, nature and have an interest in colonial history, this is a fantastic destination that is still somewhat flying under the radar (but perhaps not for long!)
14. Bagan, Myanmar
This ancient city has quickly become one of the most sought after countries to explore and will continue to experience rapid growth in tourism coming into 2016 and beyond. Known as a “temple town”, Bagan is a fantastic city to explore both on foot and in the air, on one of the iconic balloon trips over the city.
13. San Francisco
Los Angeles and New York have long been considered the entry points to the USA for foreigners, however more and more travellers have been falling in love with another coastal favourite; San Francisco. Although it has always been popular for travellers, San Fran has really taken off in recent years – not just for visitors but for residents as well. Regarded as one of the best cities to live in, rent prices have now soared above those in Manhattan!
12. Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro re-launched itself on the international scene in 2014 with the FIFA World Cup and since then, tourism has been constantly increasing. In 2016 this city will still be a traveller’s favourite as it offers a great insight into Brazilian culture and is a beautiful city to experience from above. Don’t miss the views from Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain and perhaps even paragliding over the city!
Located on the Eastern coast of Central America is Belize, a country not known to many but to those that have been, it is regarded as one of the most incredible places on earth to get in touch with nature. The wildlife is unique, the landscapes are unique, and resorts like Ka’ana Resort (pictured above) who focus on sharing the nature + luxury + adventure activities with their guests are set to thrive in 2016 as more and more luxe travellers are looking for more than a holiday lounging in the sun.
10. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world to travel to, with hotel prices constantly increasing as land is more and more difficult to come by. Regardless of the prices, it remains a traveller’s favourite and is set to be one of the most visited international hubs in 2016. If you do choose to stopover, consider staying for more than a few days as there really is so much to see here beyond the major tourist attractions. For examples there are some great hikes throughout Hong Kong with sweeping views of the city and surrounding ocean.
The Bahamas have long been a favourite for travellers seeking sun, sand and crystal blue waters. With more and more travellers venturing as far and wide as possible, we’re predicting a turn around in the trend with more travellers taking more trips more often, to destinations close by. For US residents there really is no better vacation destination than the Caribbean… or to the coast of Mexico!
8. Countryside China
When you see this image, you instantly think of China. Its a no-brainer because the location is in the name! However more and more travellers are becoming intrigued with new destinations in China beyond the Great Wall and major cities, as this country has so much natural beauty to offer visitors. With travel throughout China becoming more accessible and more affordable, countryside China is set to WOW its visitors in 2016 and beyond.
7. Crete, Greece
When you think of island hopping Greece, your mind will likely immediately wander to Santorini or Mykonos. However Greece’s largest island, Crete, has a lot to offer visitors as well. With so much on offer from white sands to white mountains, Crete is a must stop for anyone visiting Greece and its dynamic islands.
6. Zurich, Switzerland
This huge Swiss city has managed to retain its’ small-town Swiss vibe, despite ever-growing outwards. This is by far my favourite city in Switzerland and a great stopover point throughout your European travels. I’ll be flying into Zurich next year at the start of my travels and cannot wait to get my hands on that famous Swiss chocolate again!
Situated in South Asia, the Maldives have long been praised for their natural beauty, offering travellers an island experience like no other. If you’re looking for a honeymoon spot in 2016, this could easily be it. While the Maldives have been popular over recent years, we predict they’ll only continue to grow in popularity in 2016.
4. French Countryside
French culture has long been obsessed over by the rest of the world and while it is certainly nothing new, it will only continue to grow in 2016. This is perhaps a bit of a personal inclusion as the French countryside has long been an area on the top of my places to explore… and in 2016 I refuse to let this one go out of my reach! Idyllic towns such as Colmar and Annecy are on top of the list.
3. Maui, Hawaii
Hawaii is (understandably) one of the most visited states in the United States as it is so loved for its idyllic beaches and tropical climate. While most travellers head straight to Waikiki Beach (Oahu Island), the more experienced visitors to Hawaii know that Maui is the pick of the islands. With more and more travellers looking to venture beyond the hot spots in 2016, Maui tourism is set to take off.
2. Tasmania, Australia
Tasmania has quickly fallen on everyone’s radar as one of the must visit locations in Australia and predictions are that tourism growth will continue well into 2016 and beyond. Being a Tasmanian myself I am more than a little biased, but don’t be surprised when you see this little island off the coast off Australia popping up in many other travel lists as it is truly a hidden gem!
1. Havana, Cuba
They say you should save the best for last so what better location to finish with than Havana, Cuba, the city that appears to have been caught in a time warp. At the beginning of 2015 I swore to myself I would reach this city before the year’s end, but alas, I still am yet to go. Travellers who have been to Cuba often cite it as one of their most memorable experiences and it is hard to question why. Before the influx of tourism really kicks off and America arrives, you should do your best to visit Cuba and in particular Havana in 2016 (I again pledge to do so!)