Can you believe 2015 is almost over? With this, new travel trends are coming and fantastic places are emerging. In today’s age of terrorism, travel will still thrive and I want you to know you shouldn’t postpone your travel plans because of this. Carry on, and live the life you always imagined.
Whether you want to tango your way to Uruguay or see the northern lights in Greenland, here are the best travel destinations for 2016. Gear up and make sure to add these outstanding places for next year’s adventures!
#20 – POLAND
Parks, old towns, castles with a taste of nature — Poland is one of the top destinations to visit in Europe. It has a very rich tradition and history full of hospitality. A land of natural beauty, Poland is abundant in idyllic lakes and beautiful mountains which are the best views in Eastern Europe.
Currency: Polish zloty
Best time to go: September/October
Things not to miss: The elegant city of Wroclaw, the jewish Kazimierz (Krakow), the lovely summertime feel in Sopot, nightlife in Warsaw, hiking the Tatra Mountains, visit Auschwitz-Birkenau (the most notorious extermination camp!), solitude in the Mazurian Lakes, take a peek in the work-hard-play-hard city of Poznan, eat some gingerbread in Torun, visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Destination Highlight: The Mazurian Lakes
Language Tip: Good morning/afternoon is “dzien dobry” and good evening is “dobry wieczor”.
#19 – BHUTAN
With a very remarkable heritage, Bhutan is home of the most authentic of everything. Culture is deeply rooted and the warmth of the people is very overwhelming. It’s just full of magic and mystery! If you are seeking to escape bustling destinations, Bhutan will give you the best treatment.
Currency: Bhutanese ngultrum
Best time to go: March-May & September-November
Things not to miss: Religious festivals like Gomphu Kora Festival and Monggar Tshechu, reflect in Buddhist temples and shrines, the Paro Valley, views of the Himalayan Valley, visit Punakha Dzong, spiritual retreats.
Destination Highlight: Eastern Bhutan
Language Tip: How are you? = Ga Day Bay Zhu Yoe Ga ?
#18 – MEXICO
A mixture of stunning coast lines, ancient temples and semi-‘Hollywoodinized’ culture, Mexico is one of the great civilisations of the world. Rich in Spanish traditions, it is home to the most multi-cultural and loving people.
Currency: Mexican Peso
Best time to go: December – April
Things not to miss: Diving in Cozumel, the Zocalo in Mexico City, the ancient religious ritual of Voladores de Papantla, Colonial town of Guanajunato, the pyramids of the sun in Teotihuacan, cliff diving in Acapulco, the maya sites of Palenque and Chichen Itza, Baja Beaches, visit Cancun, whale watching in Baja, Silver Jewellery in Taxco, The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the famous Tequila, train ride in Copper Canyon, the spiritual Tulum, Museum of Frida Kahlo, listen to Mariachi, nightlige in Playa del Carmen, visit the Oaxaca Markets.
Destination Highlight: Tequila, Jalisco (the birthplace of tequila)
Language Tip: Donde es la peda? = Where is the party?
#17 – SEYCHELLES
Never heard of it? Imagine yourself sunbathing on a powder white sand, not sharing the beach side with other people. See it? That’s Seychelles. Famous as a honeymoon destination, Seychelles is full of marine reserves and magnificent beaches. Worry not — it is definitely an affordable destination!
Currency: Seychellois rupee
Best time to go: All year round (tropical country)
Things not to miss: whale swimming, the pyramid shaped island of Silhouette, beaches of the West Coast, the exclusivity of North Island, tropical paradise of La Digue, wildlife sanctuary in Fregate, outdoor adventure in Praslin, luxurious white beach in Denis.
Destination Highlight: La Digue
Language Tip: I’d like a room with a bathroom – Zher voo-dray ewn shom-brer a-vek ewn sal der bun. Note that they also speak French.
#16 – MOROCCO
A Western favourite, Morocco continues to fascinate through its rich culture and crafts. There is a mixture of Western and Islamic culture and you will find great interest in deep immersion. Different tribal groups such as the berbers are still present. This is also where most of the Game of Thrones Season 1 episodes where filmed.
Currency: Moroccan dirham
Best time to go: April-May
Things not to miss: the Atlas Passes (trekking), the colourful town of Chefchaouen, the dramatic cascades of D’ouzoud, the medieval city of Fez, arts and crafts, the city of Tangier, camel trekking and camping at the Sahara Desert, Todra Gorge, the beautiful Mosques, tea drinking, stunning Kasbahs, The Jemaa Al El Fna in Marrakech, see the Barbary Apes, the seaside town of Asilah, the famous GOT filming location of Essaouira, Roman city of Volubilis, colonial city of Casablanca, beautiful Riads.
Destination Highlight: Tangier
Language Tip: Assalam Oualaikoum means “peace upon you” is used as “hello.”
#15 – IRELAND
Ireland will fetish of beautiful landscapes. A combination of nature and rural living, Ireland is full of myths and life traditions. You know the Irish loves to drink so nightlife (even ‘daylife’) is pretty much… ALIVE. Make sure not to be overdosed with morning and afternoon drinking!
Best time to go: July-August (peak months); May-June & September (good months)
Things not to miss: Killarney National Park, Skellig Michael, the mountain valley of Glendalough, the rock of Cashel, walking in Connemara, spectacular cliffs in Dun Aengus, drinking Guinness, horse riding by the beach, cliff walks in Horn Head, pre-historic site of Bru Na Boinne, visit Derry’s City Walls, climbing the Croagh Patrick, cracked limestone terraces in The Burren, The Giant’s Causeway.
Destination Highlight: The Burren
Language Tip: Bolloxed means very drunk. 😉
#14 – INDONESIA
You think it’s just Bali? Then you’re wrong! Indonesia is more than that! You will be mystified with the myriads of languages, deeply rooted culture and the most amazing food in Asia! Beaches, mountains, volcanoes — this tropical country is definitely a must see.
Currency: Indonesian rupiah
Best time to go: All year round (tropical country)
Things not to miss: Borobudur Temple, Surfing at G-land, Ubud, visit the dragons in Komodo Island, Gili Islands, Cruising the Borneo River, Krakatau (the world’s most famous volcano), The region of Sulawesi, climbing volcanoes in Lombok, Yogyakarta, Bandung, Semarang and Bali. (See also: 5 Hot Destinations in Indonesia)
Destination Highlight: Yogyakarta
Language Tip: Dimani toiletnya? = Where is the toilet?
#13 – MALAWI
Numerous countries in Africa is slowly becoming a popular tourist destination and Malawi is one of the impressive places we all have to see. It has stunning lakes, terrific mountains and a rich culture that takes tourists into unparalleled excitement.
Currency: Malawian kwacha
Best time to go: April-May
Things not to miss: visit the skeletons in Maravi Mountains, Chisi fortifications in Zomba, Mwalaumodzi in Nsanje, visit Nguludi slave house in Chiradzulu, Manchewe Waterfalls in Livingstonia, Go cycling along Lake Malawi. (See also: 107 Free Things to do in Malawi)
Destination Highlight: Liwonde National Park
Language Tip: Muli bwanji? = How are you?
#12 – PORTUGAL
Often overlooked because of Spain, Portugal is a mixture of ancient cities and captivating beaches. It has a low volume but high in frequency — meaning, if you are looking for an outstanding place to relax (even a short holiday), Portugal is your mate.
Best time to go: June and September
Things not to miss: Parque Nacional da Peneda-Geres, Kayaking on the Mondego River, Medieval Monsaraz, University town of Evora, Algarve Beaches, Biking in the Mountains of Algarve, Canal trip in Aveiro, Rio Duoro Valley, The village of Alfama in Lisbon.
Destination Highlight: Parque Nacional da Peneda-Geres
Language Tip: Tudo bem? = “Are you well?” This is a most common greeting than “como esta.”
#11 – JAMAICA
Jamaica is not only rich in beaches but it is also full of outdoor activities like rafting, snorkelling and hiking. It is home to all-inclusive resorts and of course, Bob Marley. 😉 Jamaica’s landscapes are considered to be the most beautiful in the Caribbean.
Currency: Jamaican dollar
Best time to go: October to mid-December
Things not to miss: YS Falls Cascades, Ironshore and Rose Hall, Dunn’s River Falls, Canoe Valley Wetland, Hellshire Beach Recreation Area, Bob Marley Museum, Martha Brae, the controversial marijuana tour (not legal but doable).
Destination Highlight: Hellshire Beach Recreation Area
Language Tip: Wah gwaan = What’s up?
#10 – AUSTRALIA
Probably not popular because Australians are travellers themselves (long-term even!). Australia is pretty good in the chill life because of their stunning beaches and surf points. Considered a developed country, Australia is a combination of cosmopolitan cities and extremely impressive landscapes.
Currency: Australian dollar
Best time to go: It varies on traveller’s interest(s) — Spring (September – November); Summer (December – February); Autumn: (March – May); Winter (June – August)
Things not to miss: The Great Ocean Road, Bondi Beach, The Franklin River, Sailing in the Whitsundays, The Kimberley (Australia’s last frontier), Kangaroo Island, South Australia wineries, Blue Mountains, fearsome crocodiles in the north, Fraser Island, Wilpena Pound, Atherton Tablelands, surf the country’s world famous waves.
Destination Highlight: South Australia wineries
Language Tip: When they say “thongs,” they are referring to your slippers/flip flops.
#9 – ICELAND
Magical glaciers, fizzing hot springs and spectacular landscapes, Iceland is definitely a must see. Tourists are slowly swarming the island so much they are about to outnumber the Icelanders. It has a really small population and ‘Icelandic’ is the official language. The famous Northern Lights can also be seen here!
Currency: Icelandic krona
Best time to go: All year round, depending on your interest. Iceland is looks different in every season!
Things not to miss: Porsmokr National Park, Skaftafell National Park, Hiking in Hornstrandir, The Blue Lagoon, the erupting Geysir, Flatey, Hot Springs in Landmannalaugar, Breidavik (beach), Swimming/dipping in the volcanic crater of Askja, Lake Myvatn, Whale watching tour from Reykjavik or Husavik, Runtur (the legendary nightlife).
Destination Highlight: The Blue Lagoon
Language Tip: Eg heiti… = My name is…
#8 – FIJI
An addition to the stunning beaches crew, Fiji has some extraordinary coral reefs and astonishing island beauty. Like Seychelles, it is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world. But worry not as they are slowly welcoming backpackers in the island! Fiji is also a very good place to surf.
Currency: Fijian dollar
Best time to go: All year round
Things not to miss: White water rafting in the Namosi Highlands, Bouma National Heritage Park, hiking Waya Island, the picturesque Navala Village, snorkelling, surfing, kayaking, luxury cruise to the Mamanucas and Yasawa Islands, Fiji Museum, shark diving in Beqa Island.
Destination Highlight: Namosi Highlands
Language Tip: O yau mai… = I am from…
#7 – BOTSWANA
Botswana is one of the African countries privileged with the best wildlife extravaganza in the world. An extraordinary place, it is one of the most exclusive countries in Africa. Breathtaking landscapes can also be found in the country.
Currency: Botswana pula
Best time to go: December
Things not to miss: Delta and Falls Overland, Moremi Game Reserve, D’kar, Tuli Game Reserve, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Chobe National Park, Okavango Delta, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Makdadikgadi National Park, Khama Rhino Sanctuary.
Destination Highlight: Okavango Delta
Language Tip: Le kae? = How are you?
#6 – MYANMAR
Slowly making their way to democracy, Myanmar is one of the most beautiful countries in Asia. Myanmar had a 15-year tourism boycott which made it inaccessible to tourists for a very long time. Now everyone is on their way to this magnificent and culturally rich country!
Currency: Burmese kyat
Best time to go: March to May & October to February
Things not to miss: trekking in the north, hot air balloon ride in Bagan, Yangon, River trips in Ayeyarwady, Inle Lake, Mountain top monastery in Hpa-an.
Destination Highlight: Northern Myanmar
Language Tip: Ya ba de! = it’s alright!
#5 – PALAU
A beautiful archipelago with volcanic islands, forest and lagoons , Palau is the new tropical trend in 2016. It is full of diverse marine life and of course, our very own favourite — BEACHES! Palau is also one of the best diving spots in the world.
Currency: United States dollar
Best time to go: October to May
Things not to miss: Palau marine life, New and Big Drop Offs, Chandelier Cave,World War 2 Japanese ships, New and Big Drop Offs, Peleliu Wall and Cut, Mandarin Fish Lakes, Jellyfish Lake, Blue Hole/Blue Corner, German Channel, Ulong Channel.
Destination Highlight: Blue Corner
Language Tip: Ke uangerang? = how are you?
#4 – CUBA
Like Myanmar, Cuba also drove to the direction of welcoming tourists, but slowly. A lot of American tourists are looking forward to visit Cuba and in the years to come, they are expecting a big leap in tourism. Make sure to include this in your 2016 bucket list!
Currency: Cuban peso
Best time to go: May – October
Things not to miss: Punta Gorda in Cienfuegos, trekking the La Plata Mountain Trail, Plaza de Armas Book Market, Varadero Beach, Old Havana, Salsa clubs in Havana, Havana’s Malecon, Trinidad Old Town, The Hershey Train, experience classic American cars, Alejandro Robaina Tobacco Plantation, diving the Southern Coast.
Destination Highlight: Diving the Southern Coast
Language Tip: Que bola? = What’s up? or How’s it going?
#3 – GREENLAND
Scientists revealed that the Northern Lights will be dimming for a decade. Meaning, they will be difficult to see after next year. Clearly, 2016 is the best time to go or wait 10 years before you do. Greenland is one of the most beautiful places to see the Northern Lights. Aside from that, it is rich in wilderness that will give the adventurer in you a challenging spree.
Currency: Danish krone
Best time to go: All year round, depending on traveller’s interest.
Things not to miss: The Souther Fjords, Ilulissat Kangelua, Arctic Highlights, Museums, Nuuk Region, Sisimiut Region, Southern Greenland, The Narsaq Peninsula, Kangerlussuaq.
Destination Highlight: Southwest Greeland
Language Tip: Suminngaaneerpit? = Where are you from?
#2 – URUGUAY
A country that has the poorest and most amazing President, Uruguay deserves recognition in the coming years. It is a rather expensive country similar to Argentina but different in terms of culture. Drinking mate in parks is the trend. The East is home to the best tourist spots of the country, more popular to the Argentines.
Currency: Uruguayan peso
Best time to go: December – March
Things not to miss: Punta del Este, the colonial city of Colon, Cabo Polonio, Punta del Diablo, Wine tasting in Montevideo, Villa Serrana, learn how to dance Tango, watch live football!
Destination Highlight: Punta del Este
Language Tip: Como andas? = How’s it going?
#1 – PHILIPPINES
The Philippines has been overlooked a lot of times because of Thailand. But honestly, the best beaches in the world are in this country. A wide variety of water sports and island hopping are most popular. I bet you will never leave the Philippines like many other foreigners I know!
Currency: Philippine peso
Best time to go: November to May
Things not to miss: Boracay Island, Apo Reef Marine National Park, Chocolate Hills and Tarsiers in Bohol, surfing in Siargao, the Banaue Rice Terraces, Puerto Galera, diving in Coron, island hopping in El Nido, Spanish colonial city of Vigan, Filipino food, whale shark encounter in Oslob, Mount Mayon in Bicol, Mount Pinatubo.
Ready for 2016? Pack your bags and go! What’s your dream destination for 2016? If it’s not in the list, feel free to add it by leaving a comment below!
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Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She’d like to believe she’s not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.