It’s that time of year when all the major travel publications publish their lists of places you should go for the upcoming year. These lists provide travelers with knowledge of what the travel industry sees as the next set of big destinations. Three well-known travel publications, Lonely Planet, Travel & Leisure, and AFAR have recently published theirs.
After perusing the lists, I have developed one of my own for 2016. I selected my destinations based on those that are often overlooked and could provide the greatest opportunity for impactful travel and adventure, or will experience major events in 2016, making them ideal destinations for the year. We do not present the destinations in any order and I should disclose that I have none financial incentive to promote one destination over another.
The slogan of Greenland’s tourist board is “Be a Pioneer”. Greenland, with the world’s lowest population density, is often overlooked as a travel destination, primarily because of its cold climate and the difficulty and expense of travel to Greenland-the only two options for travel to Greenland are from Iceland and Denmark.
Greenland has much to offer adventurous and intrepid travelers who make the journey, such as the 2016 Arctic winter games. Where else could you watch snowshoeing or pole-pushing (a team sport that is the opposite of tug-of-war).
Greenland offers an unparalleled selection of outdoor activities such as dog-sledding, glacier hiking, whale-watching, and the famous northern lights. With all of that, it’s easy to see why Lonely Planet selected Greenland as one of the top destinations for 2016. Greenland is easily one of the most-overlooked travel destinations, so you may enjoy beautiful landscapes all to yourself.
Forget the Panama Canal or the Darien Gap, Travel & Leisure selected Panama as a go-to destination in 2016 because of the tropical islands of Bocas del Toro. Bocas del Toro, an archipelago of nine islands and hundreds of cays, is a picturesque spot to spend several days lapping up waves of the Caribbean Sea and exploring the many nature reserves. These lush and laid-back islands, not far from the Costa Rica - Panama border along the Caribbean Sea, are where I proposed to Carrie back in July 2009.
According to Travel & Leisure, “Its remoteness and simplicity have made it a favorite among backpackers, surfers, and adventures”, which is what led Carrie and me to explore the islands of Bastimentos and Bocas del Toro (main island). The travel by small fishing boats between islands, the remote beaches nearly all to yourself, and the fresh seafood make Bocas del Toro the perfect Caribbean destination for 2016.
Southern France, particularly Côte d’Azur, is an extremely popular international travel destination, with visitors flocking to well-known cities like Nice, Cannes, and Saint Tropez. Côte d’Azur, synonymous with cloudless skies, topless beaches, super yachts, and a vibrant nightlife, rightly attracts travelers from across the world. I traveled to Nice last summer and loved it.
France will play host to the UEFA Euro 2016 (June 10 - July 10), with four games scheduled in Nice. A trip to Nice this coming summer is the perfect opportunity to combine live national-level soccer with an idyllic beach vacation at one of Europe’s best beaches.
Nice, the second most popular tourist destination in France, after Paris, has a vast range of hotels and restaurants, catering to every budget, and the Nice Airport is the perfect gateway to the region, with a range of domestic and international flights, as well as easy access to surrounding areas like Monaco, Provence, and the islands of Corsica and Sardinia.
President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran, which still faces hurdles at home, has brought a renewed interest in travel to the country, especially for those who want to see the country before sanctions are lifted and tourism increases. According to AFAR and Travel & Leisure, there is no better time to consider travel to Iran than now.
If walking amongst the ruins of Persepolis, the Persian Empire’s capital and the rich blue-tiled Shah Mosque nearly void of other travelers, or shopping in the 15th century labyrinth-like Tabriz Bazaar in search of the perfect carpet or spices, then Iran is your ideal destination. Iran possesses the third largest selection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Asia, offering a vast selection of sites for travelers.
American travelers should be aware that the visa process can take up to 90 days and requires a confirmed itinerary from a tour provider, so plan accordingly. For those who love defying stereotypes and travel off the beaten path, Iran is definitely for you.
USA - National Parks
Described by writer and historian Wallace Stegner as America’s ‘best idea’, the National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016. Appropriately, AFAR and Lonely Planet selected the USA and its national parks as a must visit in 2016. If you haven’t visited one of America’s great national parks such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, Badlands, or Zion then this is the year to do it.
“From earth-rending canyons to alligator-infested swamps”, America’s national parks have something to interest and captivate everyone. Visiting one of the national parks is the perfect opportunity to celebrate one of America’s greatest achievements and to spend time outdoors with friends and family.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain
Now is time to start thinking about and planning your travels for 2016. Looking to travel to one of these destinations? Or maybe you have another destination in mind?