With 2015 in the books and 2016 appearing before us as a fresh start, the staff here at Goliath thought it best to take a look at some of the most engaging, enticing and exotic travel destinations our readers could visit in the coming year. With that in mind, we’ve chosen 10 of the hottest travel destinations we could think of, and put together profiles we think could sway some individuals into booking a plane ticket and a hotel or two (and strapping in for the time of your life!). They say travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer, and we couldn’t agree more; that’s why we’re so excited to be able to bring our readers 10 great travel destinations for 2016.
10. Budapest (Hungary)
We purposefully tried to pick some lesser known destinations for this list, especially in regards to Europe. After all, you can only be told to go to Barcelona so many times. With that in mind, we thought we’d recommend Budapest, the capital of Hungary, as one of the most intriguing destinations you could visit in 2016. A historic city filled to the brim with scenic streets, stunning architecture and Hungarian culture, Budapest is an “off the beaten trail” destination that might not attract the same crowds as Paris or London, but is sure to satisfy the wanderer in anyone with its stylish and contemporary lifestyle.
9. Reykjavik (Iceland)
One of the world’s fastest growing tourist destinations, Reykjavik is sliding in at #9 on our list, and for good reason. A modern city which also takes advantage of the unique landscape of Iceland, Reykjavik is becoming a hotspot for young travellers due to its raucous nightlife and the Iceland Airwaves festival usually held in October. And don’t let the weather scare you off; while “Iceland” might give you an idea of what the temperature is like, it doesn’t get too cold in Reykjavik, as the coastal location helps keep temperatures somewhat moderate (although it can drop to sub-zero in the wrong time of year). Consistently rated as amongst the greenest, safest and cleanest cities in the world, Reykjavik is a travel destination that might surprise and delight those willing to try something new.
8. Hanoi (Vietnam)
It doesn’t take long in Hanoi to realize you’re far away from home. From the city’s incredibly interesting architecture (a French colony for quite some time, Vietnamese cities are often strongly influenced by European architecture) to its chaotic collection of motor bikes and hustle and bustle, Hanoi is an experience that’s quite unlike most other places. Home to some of the best food in the world (local soups like pho and strips of barbecued pork sold on the streets rate among the world’s cheapest and most delicious foods) and some incredibly unique culture, Hanoi is a mishmash of a variety of cultural influences that render it a “must-visit” on the travel checklist. While there, be sure to check out the Old Quarter and the garment district, along with a night market or two for some cheap souvenirs or stylish clothing. Important to note is Hanoi’s proximity to Ha Long Bay, often cited as one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO Heritage Site. It’s an easy bus trip there, and most certainly worth the time and money you’d spend.
7. Muskoka Region (Canada)
It’s a little known fact that the Muskoka region of Ontario (that’s in Canada, folks) is one of the world’s fastest growing summer destinations. As luck would have it, the region’s mix of gorgeous lakes, heavy forest and serene weather have people flocking to take part in a destination experience that doesn’t involve rum drinks on beaches, but rather cold craft beers shared whilst gathered on a dock or a lakefront property. The Muskoka region, which has long been a retirement haven for those Canadians lucky enough to have invested smartly in their youth, is receiving a hereunto unseen level of interest as a tourist destination. And as someone who’s spent more than one evening staring up into the stars over a lake or taking a canoe around that very same body of water, it’s great to see this lovely destination getting the love it deserves. Just make sure to get here before it gets too cold.
6. Cape Town (South Africa)
Frequently ranked amongst the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town rates as a must-visit for travel aficionados everywhere. Sandwiched between a mountain range and the ocean, Cape Town has something for everyone with both beautiful architecture and landscapes to die for. Well developed infrastructure and a friendly climate add to the appeal of this South African city, and with several world famous beaches located close by, there’s no shortage of things to do and places to see. After all, this is the best place in the world to swim with Great White Sharks… how’s that for a check off the old bucket list! While you’re there, be sure to check out Clifton Beach, which rates among the world’s finest, and attend a professional sporting event; wildly popular with locals and tourists alike, the country is known for their skill in football and rugby.
5. El Nido (Philippines)
Want to get off the beaten path? Look no further than El Nido, a tiny backpacker’s haven located on Palawan Island in the Philippines. A small town that’s difficult to fly to, El Nido is most easily reached via a long and tedious van ride (we’re talking six hours), but once you’re there you’ll see why it’s worth it. The world’s most beautiful beaches sandwiched between impossibly tall and sheer limestone cliffs describe El Nido, but it’s something that needs to be seen to be believed. Beyond gorgeous, this sleepy little town sees a steady influx of tourists year round, but it’s far enough out of the way that it never feels overloaded with tourists, and the local population is friendly and accommodating. A must-visit if you’re in the Philippines, El Nido rates as one of the better kept secrets in the travel business. It’s a truly spectacular place, and would make for a perfect trek in 2016.
4. Kyoto (Japan)
There’s nothing quite like the beauty that Kyoto has to offer. With its picturesque temples, token cherry blossoms (they bloom in April, for the interested travelers out there) and stylish locals (the women in kimonos are always a hit), Kyoto is an experience unlike any other. A scenic city which seamlessly blends ancient history and oodles of culture with the more technologically advanced ways of modern Japan, Kyoto has a little something for everyone and your experience can change drastically depending on where in the city you stay. Looking for quality eats and the chance to see a Geisha? You want to check out the Gion district. Looking for access to some of the world’s most pristine temples? Staying on the city’s western side offers easy access. Booking a ticket to Kyoto, one of the most beautiful and unique cities on the planet, would be a surefire way to enhance your 2016.
3. Havana (Cuba)
With the United States finally normalizing relations with Cuba (a long overdue measure), there’s no doubt that 2016 will be a huge year for tourism in Havana, the current capital city of Cuba. Could there be a better time for you to go? We don’t think so, and it’s why we’ve rated this fiery city #3 on our list of popular 2016 tourist destinations. Havana, which is known for its lively culture, beautiful architecture and for being Ernest Hemingway’s city of choice (his bar, La Floridite, remains one of the city’s largest tourist draws). With commercial flights to this previously unreachable gem beginning this year, it’s safe to say Americans are about to find out what Europeans and Canadians have known for quite some time, and that’s just how amazing of a city Havana is (and by extension, how lovely Cuba is). Just be sure not to drink too much Bacardi, ok?
2. Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong might be the best kept secret in travel. This teeming metropolis, which combines thoroughly excellent public transportation with amazing food (the dim sum alone is worth the price of a plane ticket, but you can’t miss out on local favorites; be sure to check out tea houses and noodle houses while you’re there) and unparalleled style for a wholly engaging travel experience. While the destination remains best known for those attempting to sneak a peek at the city’s iconic skyline, it’s important to note that there are sub-tropical beaches and islands aplenty surrounding Hong Kong, perfect for those individuals worried about a lack of green space in the city’s overcrowded center. Rest easy, people, as there’s an incredible amount of beauty here. For an extra fun day, bus out to the massive Stanley Market or make your way to see some pandas at the nearby Ocean Park.
1. New York City (United States of America)
At the end of the day, the classics are the classics for a reason. When it comes to travel destinations, nothing beats the Big Apple. It’s what Sinatra was singing about, you know? New York City has as much to offer as any potential travel destination, and it’s one we believe represents the ultimate 2016 travel experience. Whether you’ve got a hankering for some quality food (it’s quite simply the best offering in the world), or you’d like to hum the 30 Rock theme song while wandering around the Rockefeller Center, or you’d like to take a stroll in Central Park, New York City has something for everyone. And if you’re worried the humdrum of the city might wear you out, the boroughs of Brooklyn have made a monumental comeback and have developed a flavor all their own. They’re absolutely worth checking out, and each one offers something unique to your travel experience.