As unbelievable as it may be, the end of 2015 is just around the corner. Now’s the time to start planning for 2016 and deciding which places you’d like to visit. Whether you’re an expert traveler or a newbie, there’s no better moment than now to begin designing your travel bucket list for next year! From Iceland’s awe-inspiring landscapes to Greece’s captivating Spetses Island, these are the must-see destinations for 2016!
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- Kyoto, Japan
For the second year running, Travel + Leisure has awarded Kyoto as the world’s best city according to votes from travelers. Home to some of the most exceptional temples, markets, and parks in all of Japan – not to mention its rich history – it is no surprise that this ancient metropolis has once again been recognized as a favorite destination for tourists.
- Darby, Montana
Darby is the proud host of Triple Creek Ranch, which we named our top hotel destination this year. This lavish all-inclusive ranch offers private cabins with extraordinary meals and service plus a plethora of activities like snowshoeing, horseback riding, tennis court sessions, and cooking classes.
- St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg has been crowned the leading destination in Europe at this year’s World Travel Awards; a remarkable feat that is owed to its captivating and timeless wonders, such as churches and palaces which were built centuries ago. Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and let it take you back through time!
- Shoal Bay Village, Anguilla
Anguilla has quickly become the most sought-after destination for Wall Streeters looking to escape. Its idyllic white sand beaches serve as a large part of its allure, with Shoal Bay (pictured) being one of the island’s crown jewels. Whether you are seeking out some sun or simply want to relax and unwind in paradise, Anguilla is your ideal vacation spot!
- Quebec City, Canada
Quebec City is unique in North America as the only fortified city with cobblestone streets. The creative energy of Quebec City’s artists has given rise to an abundance of festivals and celebrations during summer, making it a vibrant cultural hub!
- Budapest, Hungary
Experience timeless beauty and history without breaking the bank in Budapest. Home to our award-winning Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, it’s no wonder why this stunning city has become a top destination for travelers! Take advantage of its picturesque Danube River location with boat tours that will leave you breathless.
- Havana, Cuba
Relations between Cuba and the US have improved in recent months, and as a result, it’s now easier for Americans to make plans to visit this beautiful country. From its vibrant colored buildings, classic cars, and renowned cigars, enjoying all that Cuba has to offer is an experience not soon forgotten! Don’t miss out on your chance – plan a trip today!
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- Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland’s countryside is as if you’ve stepped onto another planet. Reykjavik, the capital, boasts an enchanting array of rooftops in vibrant hues that provide a captivating backdrop for photographers to explore and capture masterful shots.
- Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Don’t be deceived by its size – Luxembourg is a hidden gem with captivating castles and an exquisite view of the old merging with the new. From the charming capital city to stunning towns in rural areas, this small yet smashing landlocked nation deserves your visit!
- Mount Everest, Nepal
Nepal officials are currently debating taking extreme measures to ensure the safety and comfort of those climbing Mount Everest, including banning amateur hikers from ascending. If you’ve been considering a trek up to the world’s highest peak, now is undoubtedly the time to go! Before any restrictions take effect that could inhibit your ability to reach what many have deemed as “the top of the world”.
- Girona, Spain
El Celler de Can Roca, situated in the charming city of Girona, Spain was crowned this year’s Best Restaurant in the World. Boasting a river walkway, and historic and ancient architecture embodied by its walled Old Quarter—Girona provides an experience to remember! And don’t forget about El Celler either – it is worth visiting as you will be transported into a world that tantalizes all 5 senses with every bite!
- Siem Reap, Cambodia
This year, Lonely Planet announced Angkor Wat as the world’s top tourist spot. Located in Siem Reap and enveloped by jungle foliage, this ancient city is a breathtaking experience like no other; comprising canals, temples, shrines, and tombs spread over an impressive 154 square miles! 700 years old yet still captivatingly beautiful – it’s time you visited Angkor Wat!
- Queens, New York
New Yorkers may be stunned to discover that the borough of Queens is now ranked as the number one US travel destination this year according to Lonely Planet. This surge in tourism can mostly be attributed to Queens’ vibrant cultural diversity and ever-growing food culture.
- Malibu, California
Last year, Malibu was graced with the esteemed title of an American viticultural area – officially making it a recognized wine-growing region. The picturesque backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains makes for an ideal environment to cultivate grapes, and this has prompted 50 vintners to set up shop here.
- Lucerne, Switzerland
When you think of Switzerland, the cities of Zurich, Geneva, or Bern may come to mind first. Yet nestled in between these more popular destinations lies an enchanting village—Lucerne. Here travelers will find a remarkable wooden bridge covered by an intricate roof and storybook cobblestone streets that wind through its Old Town district. The lake nearby appears like glass reflecting the mountainside surrounding it—a sight that must be seen to be believed!
- Spetses, Greece
With the recent economic crisis, Greece is now offering unprecedented travel deals – making it an ideal time to visit! And while Spetses may not be as well-known as Mykonos or Santorini, it certainly holds its own when it comes to glamour. From horse-drawn carriages and yachts sailing off into the horizon to grand mansions and fancy hotels – you’ll find plenty of luxurious offerings here in spades! Plus boutique shopping that won’t break your budget…what more can you ask for?
- Charleston, South Carolina
This year, Travel + Leisure awarded Charleston the top spot for the best city in America – and it’s plain to see why! This historic metropolis is brimming with beautiful gardens, stately mansions, and carriage houses, plus dazzling views of the waterfront.
- Jinshanling, China
Home to a section of the Great Wall, this Chinese town is an incredible site that travelers should strive to experience as soon as possible. Unfortunately, due to overfarming and natural erosion coupled with people’s desires for engraved bricks from the wall, two-thirds of it has been destroyed. This makes viewing what remains of the historical monument even more paramount!
- Azores Islands, Portugal
Nestled 800 miles off the coast of Portugal, these nine spectacular islands conceal some of the Atlantic Ocean’s best-kept secrets. From tranquil beaches and picturesque lakes to volcanic caves and breathtaking waterfalls, this hidden paradise offers something for everyone in search of a unique natural wonderland.
- Reno, Nevada
When planning a vacation, Reno may not be the first city that springs to mind; however, Hotels.com recently named it America’s most underrated foodie oasis! You’ll find everything from lavish steakhouses and French bistros to Mexican taquerias – all at an average of just $85 per night for hotel stays. Don’t miss out on this hidden gem in Nevada – pack your bags and experience Reno’s delicious culinary delights today!
- La Roque-Gageac, France
La Roque-Gageac, situated on the cliffs along the Dordogne River of southern France, is a hidden treasure among some of the country’s most stunning villages. It features its unique solarium fashioned from rocks and adorned with various exotic plants—a truly breathtaking sight to behold!
- Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
In 2016, the spectacular Louvre Abu Dhabi will open its doors to a wave of eager tourists in the United Arab Emirates. The remarkable dome-shaped building seems as if it is floating atop the surrounding artificial lake. Inside lies an incredible selection of artwork from different eras and cultures – Chinese Buddhist carvings, Italian oil paintings, and pieces by da Vinci, Van Gogh, and Monet among them. These masterpieces have been proudly loaned from Paris’ legendary Louvre Museum for your perusal!
- Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina
Lonely Planet named Bosnia and Herzegovina one of the most cost-effective travel destinations in 2016, making it an ideal spot to explore Europe’s hidden gems. In Sarajevo, the capital city situated along the Miljacka River surrounded by breathtaking Dinaric Alps mountainscapes – which have recently been restored after the Bosnian War — there is no shortage of sightseeing opportunities. With a variety of museums and sites available for exploration, Bosnia and Herzegovina offers a truly unforgettable experience!
For an unforgettable getaway, Singapore is unrivaled with its tantalizing street food, pristine cleanliness, efficient public transportation system, and feeling of safety. According to Lonely Planet, it even has the best infrastructure making it one of the most accessible countries in the world!
- Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi, as credited by Lonely Planet, is one of the most affordable cities in Asia and renowned for its traditional old quarter, gorgeous temples, bustling roads full of motorbikes, and an amalgamated mix of Southeast Asian Chinese and French cultures.
- Sayulita, Mexico
Once a modest, secluded haven for surfers, Sayulita has transformed into an exciting and vibrant hub of nightlife activity with its exquisite dining, and magnificent villas tucked away in dense jungle landscapes – you’ll never tire from the sheer beauty of this place!
- Kruger National Park, South Africa
Adventure seekers will be awestruck by this park, one of the continent’s largest game reserves. Visitors can expect to observe the majestic “Big Five”– lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffaloes –all in their natural habitat. To top it off, two of our editor-approved hotels reside here: Singita Sabi Sand and Singita Kruger National Park.
- Siena, Italy
This year, Castello di Casole—an exquisite Italian castle situated amid idyllic rolling hills—took first place on our list of Europe’s best hotels. In Siena, travelers can enjoy the charming cobblestone streets that lead to quaint eateries while marveling at the grandiose architecture.
- Wroclaw, Poland
In 2016, Wroclaw has been chosen as the best European City of Culture and is now considered one of Europe’s most renowned cultural hubs. Events such as festivals, concerts, conferences, and art gatherings are often held here in this fourth-largest city in Poland! Not to mention all the captivating buildings and stalls that sell an array of delights from scrumptious cheese to beautiful pottery – you will be spoiled for choice when visiting Wroclaw!
- Petra, Jordan
Petra, the remarkable half-built city of Jordan, has endured detrimental winds and rain that have caused wear and tear on the famous archaeological site. It is vital to experience Petra as soon as possible – yet it is also essential that you protect its ruins by not touching them during your visit. As such, visiting this enigmatic destination will be a memory you cherish forever while preserving its beauty!
- Udaipur, India
Crowned the No. 1 hotel in the world by Travel + Leisure, The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur is a must-see destination! With its stunning palaces and vibrant bazaars that are bursting with culture, you won’t want to miss out on exploring this captivating city.
- Marsh Harbour, Bahamas
As the most requested destination for private-jet travel, XOJET has identified Marsh Harbour as the place to be. Located on a peninsula in The Bahamas’ third biggest city, it offers guests an array of amazing restaurants and resorts around its marina.
- Nuuk, Greenland
Nestled amidst majestic mountains and stunning fjords, Greenland’s capital will serve as the home to an incredible winter sports festival in March 2016: The Arctic Winter Games. Spectators can witness athletes from different nations compete in a vast array of thrilling events including alpine skiing, snowboarding, and even wrestling!
- Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Kentucky
Since 2014, Kentucky Bourbon Trail tourism has skyrocketed! Distilleries are constantly expanding and renovating their visitor centers to provide guests with a one-of-a-kind experience. Tourists can now try an even wider variety of bourbons while exploring the area.
- Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor is an undiscovered paradise, crowned by Lonely Planet as one of the best cities to explore in 2016. This charming destination boasts a plethora of cafes, plazas, and stunningly beautiful mountain-encircled bays that offer something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation – Kotor has it all!
- Taipei, Taiwan
All culinary enthusiasts should put Taipei at the top of their must-visit list! This vibrant city is renowned for its savory street foods, ranging from delectable noodles to delicious dumplings. In particular, we recommend strolling down Yongkang Street to experience these mouthwatering treats firsthand. Then be sure to journey up towards Muzha Tea Plantations and indulge in a steaming cup of tea surrounded by enchanting mountain views.
- Chobe National Park, Botswana
Get ready for a Botswana adventure in 2016! Believe it or not, direct flights will be available, making this once-low-profile destination much more accessible. Its stunning national parks like Chobe National Park are teeming with some of Africa’s most luxurious lodges – you won’t regret your trip here!
- Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands have become the go-to destination for those seeking an out-of-this-world culinary experience! According to The New York Times, in the last five years, these North Atlantic islands have grown into a major foodie haven. With its array of eateries serving modern dishes made with local and seasonal ingredients, it’s no wonder why travelers are flocking here – come explore this unique paradise before everyone else does!
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- Riga, Latvia
Latvia has made astounding advancements in the past 25 years, making it one of Lonely Planet’s top destinations for 2016. Historic castles and manor houses have been restored to their original glory; meanwhile, Riga boasts an impressive collection of Art Nouveau-style buildings that will take your breath away! It is no surprise that Latvia is now being recognized as a must-visit destination with its incredible growth over recent decades.
- Dublin, Ireland
Lonely Planet reveals that Dublin’s population is dominated by those under 30, making it a city full of vitality, imagination, and amusement. To add to the allurement this year commemorates 100 years since the 1916 Easter Rising – you will find an array of festivities in their streets!
- Manchester, England
Manchester is quickly becoming a cultural epicenter, with an ever-expanding selection of art galleries, centers, and libraries. This year promises to be the best yet for experiencing how this city has transformed – so make sure you visit it!
- Rotterdam, Netherlands
Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ second-largest city, will be a hub for openings in the upcoming year. For example, you can visit Museum Rotterdam inside Koolhaas’s Timmerhuis building and enjoy speedy transportation between London and Amsterdam via Eurostar services! This enhanced connectivity makes commuting easier than ever before.
- Mamanuca Islands, Fiji
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Mamanucas, with its breathtaking white-sand beaches and striking blue waters. With well-known surf spots as well as a vibrant nightlife atmosphere, you’ll never want your stay here to end!
- Montevideo, Uruguay
Uruguay is an economical option compared to Brazil and Argentina, plus the country boasts a never-ending list of enthralling activities. Go on a guided tour around its wineries; attend an authentic tango performance while you dine in style, or simply amble through historic squares. Uruguay promises something for everyone!
- Denver, Colorado
Denver has rapidly become a beloved destination among travelers for its plethora of desirable amenities. Enjoy all the city offers, from delectable coffee shops and twenty-two craft breweries to thrilling outdoor activities like skiing and hiking, topped off with an incomparable performance experience at Red Rocks venue. Denver is sure to provide an unforgettable journey!
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is a captivating destination with golden shores, snow-capped peaks, and impressive structures. But next August it will be even more special as the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics! Nowhere else can travelers witness such extraordinary sights while being part of an Olympic celebration like none other.
- Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Waiheke is brimming with stunning coves, beaches, and vineyards that are ripe for exploration. Whether you want to go mountain biking or sea kayaking, discover more than 100 local artists’ works of sculpture, glass blowing, and woodwork – Waiheke has it all!
- Queensland, Australia
Embrace the opportunity to visit Queensland, Australia in 2016 while its currency is in a weakened state! With breathtaking views of the Great Barrier Reef’s glistening blue waters and tranquil sun-kissed coastlines along with lush forests like those found within the Daintree Rainforest – it truly is an ideal place for vacationers to get lost in.
- Munich, Germany
As Munich celebrates the 500th anniversary of its Beer Purity Law in July, a monumental beer festival will commemorate this historic achievement. Created by local dukes centuries ago to stipulate what can and cannot be included when brewing, this law has endured for five hundred years! Join us as we celebrate a spectacular festival like no other.
- Côte d’Or, Burgundy, France
This breathtaking region has been a beloved destination for wine aficionados for years, and it is only getting better. With the upcoming construction of a state-of-the-art wine center and festivities such as the Beaune International Festival of Baroque Opera held in July, this area is truly booming!
This piece of content was first featured on Business Insider for all to read.