49 places you should travel to in 2016

Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef are on the list. Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

It may be hard to believe, but 2015 is coming to a close, and it’s time to start planning for 2016.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a novice, it’s never too early to start thinking ahead to the places you want to check off your travel bucket list in the new year.

From Iceland’s otherworldly terrain to Greece’s glamorous Spetses island, here are the destinations worth venturing to in 2016.

KYOTO, JAPAN: This is the second year in a row that Kyoto has been named the best city in the world by Travel + Leisure, an award which is based off of votes from travellers. The city is rich in history and home to many incredible temples, markets, parks, and gardens.

DARBY, MONTANA: Darby is home to Triple Creek Ranch, which we named the best hotel of the year. The all-inclusive luxury ranch provides guests with private cabins, exceptional food and service, and plenty of activities like snowshoeing, horseback riding, tennis, and cooking classes.

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA: St. Petersburg was voted the best destination in Europe in this year's World Travel Awards. There's an abundance of history to be learned from the city's many ornate palaces and churches, which date back centuries.

SHOAL BAY VILLAGE, ANGUILLA: Anguilla has become the new 'it' vacation spot for Wall Streeters. Its picture-perfect white sand beaches are a large part of the country's draw; Shoal Bay (pictured here) is one of its most popular beaches.

Shutterstock / Forcellini Danilo

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA: Quebec City's claim to fame is the fact that it's the only walled city with cobblestone streets north of Mexico. There's a budding creative scene in the city as well as numerous festivals and fairs during the summer, thanks to the many artsy types who have settled there.

HAVANA, CUBA: It's been a few months since relations between Cuba and the US started to thaw, but that's just now translating to Americans planning trips to the country. From its old coloured buildings to its classic cars and cigars, Cuba is a must-see.

iStock / Nadezdastoyanova

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND: Iceland's countryside has an otherworldly feel to it. The capital, Reykjavik, has a charming array of colourful rooftops and is an amazing spot for photographers to play.


LUXEMBOURG CITY, LUXEMBOURG: It's easy to overlook the small, landlocked nation of Luxembourg, but that doesn't mean it's not worth a trip. The country has a startling number of stunning castles, and Luxembourg City is a picturesque juxtaposition of old and new.

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MT. EVEREST, NEPAL: In order to address concerns of safety and overcrowding, officials in Nepal are considering banning amateur hikers from climbing Mt. Everest. If this does in fact happen, you'll want to take your trip to the peak sooner rather than later.

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GIRONA, SPAIN: El Celler de Can Roca, located in the quaint Spanish city of Girona, was named the best restaurant in the world this year. Complete with a river, medieval architecture, and a walled Old Quarter, this city won't disappoint -- and neither will the food at El Celler.

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SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA: Lonely Planet named Angkor Wat the world's best tourist attraction this year. A massive complex deep in the jungles of Siem Reap, it's actually a 700-year-old city with canals, temples, shrines, and tombs that stretch more than 154 square miles.

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QUEENS, NEW YORK: New Yorkers may be surprised to hear that the borough of Queens was named the top US travel destination this year by Lonely Planet. Tourism has been booming recently, most likely due to Queens' diverse culture and exploding food scene.

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MALIBU, CALIFORNIA: Just last year Malibu was given American viticultural area status, which means it's an officially designated wine-growing area. Malibu's Santa Monica Mountains are both beautiful and an ideal spot for the 50 growers of wine grapes who have settled there.


LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND: Although it may not be as well-known as other Swiss cities like Zurich, Geneva, or Bern, the quaint village of Lucerne is home to an incredibly well-preserved covered wooden bridge, plenty of traditional architecture and cobblestone streets in its Altstadt (old town), as well as a crystal clear lake.

Shutterstock / Boris Stroujko

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: Travel + Leisure voted Charleston the best city in America this year, and with good reason. The historical city is home to impeccably landscaped gardens, old mansions and carriage houses, and amazing waterfront views.

AZORES ISLANDS, PORTUGAL: These nine islands, found 800 miles off the coast of Portugal, have been called one of the Atlantic Ocean's best-kept secrets. Travellers can find just about every kind of natural wonder here, from beaches to lakes to volcanic caves and waterfalls.

iStock / MrbluejeansPt

RENO, NEVADA: Reno probably isn't the first city that comes to mind when you're thinking about vacation, but Hotels.com recently dubbed the city America's most underrated foodie destination. It has plenty of fancy steakhouses, along with all kinds of other cuisine, like Italian, French, and Mexican. Plus the average price for a one-night stay at a Reno hotel is only $85.

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LA ROQUE-GAGEAC, FRANCE: Built right into the cliffs that line the Dordogne River in southern France, La Roque-Gageac is billed as one of the country's most beautiful villages, and it's still somewhat of a hidden gem. The town has its own natural solarium that was formed by rocks and houses a number of exotic plants.


ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Plenty of tourists will be booking a trip to see the United Arab Emirates' version of the Louvre, located in Abu Dhabi and set to open in 2016. The futuristic dome-shaped building looks like it's floating above the man-made lake that surrounds it. It will be home to a vast collection of art that includes Chinese Buddhist carvings, Italian oil paintings, and works from artists like Van Gogh, da Vinci, and Monet that have been lent from Paris' Louvre.

Facebook / Louvre Abu Dhabi

SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: Named one of the best value destinations for 2016 by Lonely Planet, Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of Europe's lesser known destinations. The capital, Sarajevo, sits on the Miljacka River and is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps. It was recently renovated after the 1990s' Bosnian War and has a fair amount of sites and museums to visit.

SINGAPORE: With its mouthwatering street food, incredible cleanliness, efficient public transportation, and pervasive feeling of safety, Singapore is an ideal place for an exciting warm weather getaway. Plus, Lonely Planet has said it's one of the most accessible countries in the world thanks to its high-quality infrastructure.

HANOI, VIETNAM: Named one of Asia's most budget-friendly cities by Lonely Planet, Hanoi is known for its charming old quarter, stunning temples, crowded streets, motorbikes, and the mix of cultures that converge there: Southeast Asian, Chinese, and French.

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SIENA, ITALY: In Siena, travellers can explore soaring architecture and vibrant streets that lead to quaint restaurants and delis. This year, Castello di Casole -- a restored Italian castle nestled among picturesque green rolling hills -- took the number one spot on our list of the best hotels in Europe.

Shutterstock/Nattee Chalermtiragool

PETRA, JORDAN: The half-built city of Petra is one of Jordan's main attractions, but the famous archaeological site has been harmed by harsh winds and rain over the last century, making it all the more important that you see it as soon as possible. However, tourists should avoid touching the walls, as this has also contributed to its damage.

Shutterstock / Ralf Siemieniec

UDAIPUR, INDIA: The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur took the number one spot on Travel + Leisure's list of the best hotels in the world this year. The city is home to fantastic palaces and colourful streets filled with ancient bazaars that are just waiting to be explored.

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MARSH HARBOUR, BAHAMAS: Private aviation company XOJET has named Marsh Harbour the most popular destination for private jet travel right now. The third-largest city in the Bahamas, Marsh Harbour sits on a peninsula and has a variety of restaurants and resorts along its marina.

Shutterstock/Sean Patrick Doran

NUUK, GREENLAND: Greenland's capital hosts an impressive fjord system that sits against a backdrop of majestic mountains. In March 2016, it will also be the location of the Arctic Winter Games, showcasing sports competitions that include everything from alpine skiing to wrestling.


KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL, KENTUCKY: Tourism along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail has been booming since 2014. Distilleries have added new and expanded visitors' centres and are working to offer guests even more types of bourbon during their tours.

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Source: AP

DUBLIN, IRELAND: According to Lonely Planet, more than 40% of Dublin's population is under 30, and the city is bursting with vibrancy, creativity, and fun. Plus, this year marks the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, so you can expect the streets to be filled with celebrations.

Shutterstock/Patricia Hofmeester

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND: If you visit Manchester, don't be surprised to see a growing array of art centres, galleries, and libraries. The city is continuing to evolve into a cultural hub, and this upcoming year is a good time to see how it's changed.


ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS: As the Netherlands' second-largest city, Rotterdam will be seeing several new openings next year, including the Museum Rotterdam inside the Koolhaas-designed Timmerhuis building, and Eurostar services between London and Amsterdam that will make commuting even easier.

Shutterstock/Chantal de Bruijne

MAMANUCA ISLANDS, FIJI: The Mamanucas have pristine white-sand beaches and gorgeous blue waters. It's home to several famous surf destinations and a bustling nightlife scene.


DENVER, COLORADO: Denver has been growing into a popular travel choice over the years. The city offers top-notch coffee shops, some 22 craft and artisan breweries, outdoor activities like skiing and hiking, and the incredible Red Rocks outdoor music venue.


WAIHEKE ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND: Waiheke is filled with coves, beaches, and vineyards just waiting to be explored. Go mountain biking or sea kayaking, or discover the creations of more than 100 local artists who work with everything from sculpture and glass blowing to woodwork.

Shutterstock/Troy Wegman

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA: Australia's weakening dollar makes 2016 an ideal time to head to Queensland and take in its dramatic landscape. Marvel at the clear blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef, relax at the golden beaches of the Sunshine Coast, or get lost in the lush greenery of the Daintree Rainforest.

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MUNICH, GERMANY: Next July, Munich will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Beer Purity Law. The law was created by local dukes to discern what should and shouldn't be included in a brew. A huge beer festival will mark the occasion.

Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

COTE D'OR, BURGUNDY, FRANCE: This region has been a favourite with wine lovers for years. The area is booming now more than ever, thanks to plans for a new wine center and events like the Beaune International Festival of Baroque Opera, which takes place in July.


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