This year marks Canada’s 150th anniversary since confederation, and there’s never been a better time to visit. Head to Banff National Park for dramatic views, Prince Edward Island for bucolic countryside and coastlines, or Montreal for exquisite architecture and buzzing city vibes.
In 2015, a catastrophic earthquake hit Nepal, causing mass devastation. Among other things, it upended the country’s tourism industry – but this year Nepal looks set to be getting back on its feet. Many of the trekking trails remain undamaged, and the country is still as beautiful as it ever was. Plus, a visit will help pump much needed income back into the country.
Melbourne is a dream of a city, loaded with beautiful buildings, great food and incredible cocktail bars, like the Black Pearl, Bad Frankie and Above Board. Stay in Fitzroy to have the best of the food and drink scene within walking distance, then be sure to plan a day trip to rock jump off Mount Martha or a longer road trip down the Great Ocean Road to see the Twelve Apostles and the Bellarine Peninsula.
This often overlooked wonderland is finally beginning to get some of the recognition it deserves: the country picked up an award last year at the World Travel Awards, and new flights have just been announced direct to Santiago. Head to the city for fine dining and culture first, then pick any of the 36 national parks to explore, or make the pilgrimage to the stunning Marble Caves.
Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, will be unveiling a new state-of-the-art airport this year, a key symbol of the country’s recent economic boom. If you’ve got the money, you can stay in luxury at the new $500-million Shangri-La complex opening this year. Or, if beautiful scenery is more your thing, the “blue pearl of Asia”, Khuvsgul lake has recently been connected to the capital by paved road, making it a much less daunting drive away.
If you’re into rugby, New Zealand will be hosting the British and Irish Lions tour in June and early July. If not though, there’s still more than enough to satisfy: not only is the country home to some of the most ridiculously beautiful sites in the world (and the Lord Of The Rings set), it’s also just opened the largest downhill mountain-bike park in the southern hemisphere.
Skip nearby Dubai and head to Oman instead. It’s modern and glitzy, but laden with as just as many ancient traditions and breathtaking natural sights as eye-wateringly luxe hotels.
The beautiful, mountain-surrounded capital city of Muscat is the best place to stay, if for nothing else than to experience the $120 million futuristic theme park launching this year. Though resort fans should know this year will also see a host of new complexes (Anantara, Kempinski, Jumeirah and more) popping up across the region.
Scotland has it all. Glasgow is a gritty haven of art, music and good cocktails; Edinburgh is full of pretty historic buildings; and it’s easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world. The Trossachs and Finnich Glen are my favourite spots, but there’s everything from island hopping to camping under the stars in national parks on offer.
If you’re stuck for where to start, check out this list of life-changing things to do in Scotland.
As Eastern Europe slowly becomes more and more of a tourist destination, Romania is an still an outpost of undiscovered sights. It’s wildly cheap to get there from the UK and wildly cheap to stay. Plus, there’s more castles then you can shake a stick at (Bran, Peles, DRACULA’S castle…), painted monasteries and the Palace of Culture.
If you want to visit Asia on a budget, South Korea is one of the best undiscovered spots out there. The currency is currently £1 to1430 South Korean won, and nothing out there costs more than a few thousand – which is incredible value for a place this high quality.
The myriad palaces, the Boseong green tea fields, the island of Jeju-do (above), the cherry blossoms in Jinhae and the ancient tombs in Gobungun (above) are just a handful of spectacular spots. FYI, if you’re staying in Seoul, be sure to go in the latter part of the year, when the Sky Garden opens.
It’s Finland’s 100th years of independence and they’ll be opening their 40th national park to celebrate, so there’s no better time to go. Visit the new park, catch the Northern Lights at the Arctic Circle, see the snow topped trees at Riisitunturi or just find a quiet spot to stargaze. Whatever you do, it’ll probably be magical as fuck.
UNESCO named Chengdu a “City of Gastronomy”, calling it “the cradle and center of Sichuan cuisine”, and the heritage of the region is undisputed. You’ll find the awe-inspiring Leshan giant buddha nearby, and the teahouses dotting the city are some of the most authentic in China. Despite this, the area is still described by those who’ve been as one of the most untouched, naturally vibrant spots in the country.
Both Cyprus’ Paphos and Denmark’s Aarhus share the title of the European Capital of Culture this year – but Paphos is just a touch sunnier, so wins it for me. Combining heart-achingly beautiful beaches and sea with a deep history (literally – there’s an archaeological site), you can soak up as much culture as you do sun here.
You may think of Colombia as a place only for the most hardened of travellers, thanks to its turbulent reputation. But that’s really now a thing of the past, with President Juan Manuel Santos earning the Nobel Peace Prize last year, and Pope Francis due to make the first papal visit in 30 years, this 2017.
Cartagena city, the haven that inspired Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love In The Time Of Cholera, is an ideal place to fall in love with the country. Untouched by the conflict, the Old Town is a vibrant daydream of colonial mansions and open courtyards, while the whole city showcases the best of Colombia’s culture and hospitality.
In general, the whole of the American Midwest is a sorely overlooked part of the US. State Michigan must be the creme of the crop though. It’s a riot of colour and sweeping views, thanks to its position next to four of the Great Lakes, and the beautiful Upper Peninsula, and is home to over 300 waterfalls and mile upon mile of uncrowded beaches and charming towns.
It’s a given that Lisbon is filled with culinary delights, but this year if you’re heaing to Portugal, be sure to check out Porto. The city is somehow still flying under the radar, which I imagine won’t be happening for long, given it’s still relatively inexpensive, full of great sandwiches, and resoundingly pretty. And if a city break isn’t for you, there’s always the mesmerising Algarve coast.
A new $150 million airport has just opened in Zimbabwe’s famous Victoria Falls, making it now ridiculously easy to visit this eye-popping world heritage site. Plus, there’s been a recent crackdown on poaching and a push on biodiversity in Hwange National Park – a much less pricy, less crowded alternative to the parks of Kenya, South Africa and Botswana.
A safe haven from Zika virus, Bermuda is the perfect alternative for those wary of travelling to the Caribbean, thanks to its crystal clear waters and sunny skies. Plus, they’ll be hosting the America’s Cup this June, making this by far the best yacht event to attend this year (because none of the other yacht events will be in BERMUDA).