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16 Places to Visit in 2016

Struggling to decide where to go next or where to pop on your never ending bucket list? Then here are some places that deserve some attention this year. 2016 is set to be a big year for many countries across the globe with world events such as the Olympic Games, new and exciting infrastructure being built and special anniversaries to be celebrated. Here, I’ve listed the ‘go-to’ places for the coming year and why this year will be a special time to visit them.

  1. Havana, Cuba

    Traveling to Cuba – especially to the capital of Havana – is like stepping back in time. Old architecture, antique looking shops, colourful homes and classic cars from the 50’s make this city rare and unique. Thanks to the tumultuous relationship between Cuba and the USA, Cuba has yet to be introduced to much Americanisation, keeping its unique culture very much alive. Since the countries have since restored ties in 2015 that is likely to change, so get there quick while it’s still stuck in a time warp.

  2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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    2016 will be an exciting year for Rio de Janeiro as they are set to host the Summer Olympics in August. A few problems arose in 2014 whilst hosting the Football World Cup but the city has now improved its infrastructure, tightened security, and added more development to make sure this event goes off without a hitch. But that shouldn’t be the only reason you head to this vibrant city. Head to the beautiful beaches, party the night away, hit up Carnival or head up to Christ the Redeemer for unbeatable views. Or step out of the city and explore the Amazon, Iguazu Falls or the State of Rio Grande do Norte in the north, famous for its long surf beaches.

  3. Botswana

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    Botswana has recently dug themselves out of poverty to become one of Africa’s most stable countries. 2016 marks 50 years of independence for this nature abundant country tightly tucked in the centre of the continent next to South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Visit ‘Africa’s eden’ at the Okavango Delta where the Okavango river ends, spreading water across the land which will eventually evaporate into the Kalahari Desert. It is one of the last places to see the Big Five (elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros) during an African safari.

  4. National Parks of the USA

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    This year marks the 100th birthday of America’s National Park Service, so what better year to visit? Show your appreciation for the beautiful preservation of the 59 national parks across the US and the hundreds of historic landmarks. Yosemite (pictured) has always been a favourite for those who love the rocky mountains, Yellowstone is special for its wildlife and colourful water atop a volcanic hotspot or visit the unique Bryce Canyon for jutting red rock formations. Swap out visits to concrete jungles with overcrowded walkways for hikes in the wilderness.

  5. Latvia

    Latvia has come a long way in the last few decades, coming out of the dark of Communism to regain it’s charm. The Latvian culture is making a huge comeback with ancient traditions regaining hype, food of the past coming back with a vengeance and all the historic buildings are being restored to their original glory. In 2014, Riga was dubbed the European Capital of Culture and it’s cuisine, infrastructure and tourism has only been on the up ever since.

  6. Zhangjiajie National Park, China

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    So everybody remembers that scene in the movie Avatar, where Sam Worthington is flying around on a dragon being all blue and beautiful in this cool mystical world called Pandora. Well that place is real! This pillared forest was the inspiration and backdrop for the film. In Autumn, the rain brings low fog and clouds to the area creating ‘floating’  rock formations. But China’s coolest National Park just got a whole lot cooler. The worlds longest and highest glass bottom bridge will open in the coming months, hanging almost 1,000 feet above the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon below. Soon they will also add the worlds highest bunny jump to the bridge. More scenic places to visit in the Hunan Province include Tianzi Mountain, Phoenix Ancient City, Tiamen Mountain or ‘Heavens Gate’; an enormous hole high up in the mountain side beaming with light, as well as many waterfalls and rivers.

  7. Nepal

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    Last year was a tough year for this mountainous country when a 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit near the capital of Katmandu in April. The disaster killed over 8,000 people and injured 21,000. It left over 2 million Nepalese homeless and the effects are still being felt today, with aid still needed and rebuilding still underway. For a travel experience that will give you some good karma, volunteer at one of the rural communities or simply travel around Nepal and give money to the local economy that way. The scenery is otherworldly, locals are friendly and theres always the appeal of making it to the top of Mt Everest.

  8. Australia

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    The weak Aussie dollar isn’t doing the locals much good, but it is perfect for overseas visitors, making every one of your dollars go further. Its hard to know where to start, from the untouched coastlines of the west to the unique red desert of Central Australia or the bustling cities along the east coast. But it’s the natural wonders in this country you’ll want to get to this year. Make sure to see the Great Barrier Reef before tourism crowds, pollution and global warming ruin the precious attraction forever.

  9. Poland

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    Poland’s tourism numbers have only been growing more and more over recent years and it’s not hard to see why. The beautiful, colourful cities of Krakow and Warsaw are intriguing whilst it’s famous concentration camps (such as Auschwitz) have been a huge part of European history. In 2016, Wroclaw has it’s chance to shine as the European Capital of Culture so what better time to visit and immerse yourself in an exciting culture?

  10. Greenland

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    I’ve always found it ironic that while Greenland is almost always covered in ice, Iceland is evidently always green. 2015 seemed to be the year everybody set their sights on Iceland, so in 2016 lets give Greenland a go. It has the world’s lowest population density but their numbers shall grow in March when they host the Arctic Winter Games. If the beautiful glaciers, sightings of the Northern Lights, chances to see whales and cute colourful towns along the way aren’t enough to have you packing, then the festivities that will come along with the games just might be. Greenland is ready to shine!

  11. Cambodia

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    Cambodia has a lot to sing and dance about this year. Their tourism gold comes in the form of The Temples of Angkor Watt in Siem Reap. It’s not only the largest religious monument in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage centre, but it was recently voted as the worlds #1 attraction in the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List. But that’s not all this country has to offer, with Sihanoukville’s stunning beaches and growing nightlife, National Parks like Seam, many temples and the bustling city of Phnom Penh.

  12. Japan

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    Japan almost seems like its on another planet. The futuristic capital of Tokyo is lightyears ahead of the rest of the world in technology and boasts a thriving food scene. The famous fashions of the Harajuku district will enlighten you on the teen culture and the whole city is set to revamp in time for the 2020 Olympic Games. Japan’s fast bullet trains and efficient transport also mean getting around the country is a breeze. See the beautiful temples gardens and cherry blossoms in Kyoto, visit shrines in Hiroshima or Nagasaki where around 200,000 were killed by atomic bombs in WWII or hit the mountains during winter, famous for their white powder snowfall almost every day.

  13. Uruguay

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    Uruguay often gets overlooked by tourists who visit its two large neighbours Brazil and Argentina, but this small hub of latin culture has a lot to offer. There are many beautiful beaches around Punta del Este, which is known as one of the most glamorous beach resorts in South America. You can also see large colonies of sea lions in the area. With a small population of only 3.4 million and almost half of those living in the capital of Montevideo, there is a lot of outdoor activities available as well as many wineries.

  14. French countryside

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    In 2016, France will host the UEFA European Football Championships, so for sporting fans there’s no better time to visit. With Paris being the cliche tourist spot, its refreshing to see games will be played in stadiums across the country, meaning it’s a great excuse for a trip into the countryside. Every region in France has its own culture, architectural style, music and cuisine. Head east to the Alsace region, influenced by Germany and Switzerland to visit the charming towns of Strasbourg, Colmar (pictured) and Mulhouse. Or south to Provence with the towns of Nice, Cannes, Marseille on the French Riviera or the beautiful walled town of Avignon. Discover the historic city of Lyon or the fine architecture of Bordeaux and its surrounding wine country. Loire Valley is another prime location to find stunning vineyards, villages and chateaux.

  15. Columbia

    Ask anyone who has visited South America and they will tell you that Columbia was a highlight. Its really cheap, the locals are some of the happiest in the world and their culture makes way for a lot of leisure and fun! Not only that, but there are many beautiful nature parks. Tayrona National Park is one, where the jungle meets the beach or visit the San Andres islands. Sierra de La Macarena National Park hosts one of nature’s most breathtaking spectacles; Caño Cristales (pictured). The river contain all of the colors of the rainbow thanks to marine plants known as macarenias. The ideal time to visit to witness this is between July and November, and it is accessible via plane from Villavicencio and Bogota.

  16. Kuwait City

    In 2016, Kuwait will celebrate its 25th anniversary since its liberation from Iraq. Kuwait is one of the oldest regions inhabited by man in the world as it’s location meant it was an important port of trade between Asia and Europe. Deep in history and still valuing the ancient traditions, Kuwait is also moulding itself into a contemporary society. Kuwait is one of the richest countries in the world, so much like the United Arab Emirates has done to Dubai, the desert nation has transformed its major city of Kuwait City into a modern and progressive populace with wealth thrown into the public spaces and infrastructure. Instead of the usual Dubai or Abu Dhabi stopover, why not consider Kuwait City?

 

Where else do you think is set to be an ideal place to visit in 2016? 

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