Lonely Planet and Afar Media selected the very best places to travel in 2016. (Lonely Planet released its book Best In Travel 2016 and Afar magazine released its “Where To Go In 2016” issue, also available online.)
Some of these places are celebrating big anniversaries, some are in the midst of a resurgence, and some have landmarks that are nearing extinction — but all of them have something special going on right now. Read full story on BuzzFeed. Choose one, or choose them all — whatever you do, happy adventuring!
WHY GO IN 2016: Because this year, Botswana celebrates its 50th year of independence, which is huge. But also, Botswana is just beautiful, a country made primarily of desert and delta, with 17% of its lands devoted to its national parks.
Bonus: Lately, “car park pimping” is on the rise. It’s basically when the clubbers of the capital city Gaborone move the late-night party to suburban car parks, where they set up pop-up DJ tents and rage into the wee hours of the morning.
WHY GO IN 2016: For starters, the government is trying to devalue the Japanese yen, which means that the country is more affordable than ever right now. Also, the 2020 Summer Olympics are being held in Tokyo and, even though that seems far away, the city is already gearing up for all Olympics everything.
Bonus: Japan is just a wild, wild place. Any country where you can literally buy everything from umbrellas to women’s underwear in vending machines (true story) deserves to be explored in this lifetime. Now’s your moment.
3. Any of the national parks, USA
WHY GO IN 2016: Ours is always a land of treasures, but this year is extra special because it’s the 100th anniversary of America’s National Park Service (NPS). So hit up any of the national parks to take in the beauty, the purple mountains majesty, of the good ol’ U.S. of A.
WHY GO IN 2016: Australia is a perennial favorite that makes nearly every bucket list, ever. But this year just may be the year to really buckle down and book that ticket, because many of its key wildlife areas are under potential distress — so it’s a good idea to see them before it’s potentially too late.
Large parts of the Great Barrier Reef, for instance, may be torn up by a string of proposed mining ports. And some of Tasmania’s forests may be torn up for export. Go now to catch their full beauty while you can!
WHY GO IN 2016: “Portugal is heating up as a cultural hub,” says Afar. For starters, foodies are loving its capital city, Lisbon, which has tons of amazing eats. Also, Porto has a major art scene going on, and the 200-mile beach between Porto and Lisbon is becoming increasingly popular.
But aside from those two cities, Afar says that both locals and visitors are truly loving Portugal’s cute, smaller villages, which are just begging to be explored.
6. Granada, Nicaragua
WHY GO IN 2016: “Granada is quickly becoming the Portland of Nicaragua,” according to Afar. That’s because coffee tourism is growing by the minute, with new cafés popping up throughout the area. What’s more, it’s in a great location. Travelers who want to ditch the city vibe for a minute can take advantage of easy outdoorsy half-day trips, like Las Islets in Lake Nicaragua or the Mombacho Volcano.
WHY GO IN 2016: Of course Ireland is always beautiful. You know this. But this year could be different, because the country has recently launched a bunch of new travel services that allow you to see it by land, sea, and air.
WHY GO IN 2016: Now that the American travel restrictions to Cuba have been lifted, the country has seen a big increase in tourism — and that’s likely to only get bigger, so it’s better to go now before it gets played out. “A new weekend tour from Insight Cuba will also roll out in January, making it even easier for Americans to get a taste of the island without taking too many vacation days,” says Afar.
WHY GO IN 2016: The country’s tourism industry took a huge hit following the devastating earthquake in April. But the tour operator company Intrepid Travel partnered with the Nepalese government and a team of experts to analyze the damage, and concluded that it’s actually safe and secure to go there now.
Bonus: Your money will likely directly fund relief efforts, so you’ll kill two birds with one stone, reminds Afar.
WHY GO IN 2016: Mostly because the country is killing it in the conservation department — which makes it insanely beautiful. “It has as much to fear from rising sea levels and environmental degradation as any other Pacific nation, but it’s tackling those fears head-on, and is leading conservation efforts in the region,” according to Lonely Planet.
That makes its snorkeling and diving some of the best in the world; some people even call it an “underwater Serengeti.”
This is aTop 10 for us, but read full story on BuzzFeed.com!