• Posted:Thursday, October 30, 2014
  • Comments: 3

These Are the 14 Places You Must Go in 2016

These Are the 14 Places You Must Go in 2016

Giving you the jump on all the best destination before everyone else gets there, here are the top 15 places to visit in 2016.

Iceland to See the Northern Lights

Iceland, Northern Lights

Although it might be chilly, seeing Iceland in the winter is bound to leave you in awe. Party in cool-as-ever Reykjavik, defrost in the Blue Lagoon or take a road trip around the island. Nighttime brings the real show stopper. The Northern Lights are visible from all over Iceland, but it’s best to get at least 20 minutes outside the capital for the brightest view.

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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Few islands around the world hold such diverse natural beauty as Sri Lanka. Exotic wildlife like elephants and water buffalo roam, tea plantations cover rolling hills and idyllic coastline stretch the island’s perimeter. Although a gruesome history lies in the past, this country just off the tip of India, is now emerging as the hottest place to visit in Asia.

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Scotland for Up Helly Aa

Scotland, Up Helly Aa

A pyromaniacs dream, the annual Up Helly Aa may be one of the most unique festivals you are yet to hear about. Located in the remote Shetland Islands northeast of Scotland, this region endures a dark and cold winter—except during Up Helly Aa. Celebrating Viking culture, the town of Lerwick erupts during the festival with the locals carrying torches, drinking, dancing, singing and eventually lighting a huge Viking ship on fire.

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Straddling two continents, Turkey epitomizes the mix of East and West. While cruising the Bosphorus, gaze over to Europe on one side and Asia on the other. From Julius Caesar to the Silk Road, this land which was formerly the Ottoman Empire, has seen it all. You can feel the region’s legacy as you wander the Old City of Istanbul. Visit ancient ruins and taste flavors from all around the world in just one day.

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Nepal for Holi

Holi Festival, Nepal

While India is more famous for this color throwing festival, Nepal also holds the festivities. While Nepali teenagers sometimes take the color smearing to the extreme (think being bombarded with color-filled water balloons by five 13 year olds at once) it’s all in good fun. Also, many travelers say that Holi in Nepal is much more of a comfortable experience than in some parts of India. Get messy while jumping to dance music in Kathmandu’s ancient Durbar Square or in the foothills of the Himalayas at laid-back lakeside Pokhara.

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Northern Laos

Northern Laos

The crazy days of binge drinking and hedonistic river tubing are now over in Vang Vieng, but that’s an even better reason to visit! Nowadays, tourists don’t completely overrun this small Laotian village. You can still tube down the infamous river too, but this time in a more tranquil way. About five bars dot the river, giving you enough places to party while still letting you enjoy the stunning scenery. A few hours away is the colonial town of Luang Prabang with shimmering gold temples, night markets and rolling hills covered in lush jungle. It is equally worth a visit.

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Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Still off the radar for many tourists to Europe, this gem of a city is Slovenia’s capital. Pronounced Lub-lee-yana, this city is full of picturesque bridges, narrow pedestrian walking streets and outdoor cafés. It might just be one of Europe’s most pleasant cities you never thought of visiting. It also lies in the center of the country and is the perfect the jumping off point for visiting lakes, castles and the sea.

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Belgium for Tomorrowland

Belgium, Tomorrowland Festival

Reaching a scale of over 180,000 attendees, Tomorrowland might now be the world’s most epic music festival. A sight for the senses, the whole festival grounds are transformed into a fantasy-like stage with special effects, fire, smoke and confetti. Located in Boom, Belgium, if you want tickets you’ll have to snag them fast. Last year the tickets sold out within an hour.

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Quirky, tropical and gorgeous, Taiwan is officially called The Republic of China. We won’t get into politics though. Plain and simple, this large island in the South China Sea is a pleasant surprise to travel around. Taipei will keep you entertained with its strange and exciting themed restaurants and the xiao long bao (soup dumplings) will keep you coming back for more. Next, travel to Hualien County on the east coast. Here the luscious green mountains dive straight into the cyan-blue sea.

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Lagos, Portugal

Inexpensive destinations can be hard to come by in Europe. Luckily, Portugal still remains as one of Europe’s more affordable destinations without sacrificing any charm. It’s also not completely overrun by tourism yet. In Porto, partake in peaceful wanders through the colorful, narrow labyrinth of houses on the riverside. Then head over to one of the many wineries for Port tasting. In Lisbon, take a ride on the classic yellow trolley. After that, head south to Lagos and sunbathe on the rocky coastline.

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The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico, USA

New Mexico, Balloon Fiesta

This annual festival held in October is a joy to experience from below, and above. Spanning over nine days with over 750 balloons, this is the largest balloon festival in the world. The biggest event of the Fiesta is the mass ascension where the balloons set off in two waves eventually filling the entire sky. Not all balloons are made equal though, some inflate into different shapes from elephants to butterflies.

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While the rest of Southeast Asia may be overrun by the backpacker circuit, it’s less noticeable in Vietnam. The country feels authentic and less commercial, giving the traveler a truly unique experience. Don’t let the communist government and huge propaganda posters scare you, the people are welcoming, the scenery is unreal and the food is to die for. It’s a narrow country too, making for easy travel. Start and the top and make way your way down by train or by bus, or vice versa.

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Channel your inner Indiana Jones and experience Petra, a true archeologist-at-heart’s dream. Although located between a few high intensity countries, Jordan is said to be the Middle East’s most easy-going place to visit. Feel at ease and take a road trip through Moses’s promise land, float in the sea salt-rich Dead Sea and learn about Bedouin culture.

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Thailand for 2015

If you’re looking for the ultimate party then your number one pick has to be Thailand. Not only is there the world famous Full Moon Party over on Koh Phangan every month (as well as the bonus ball Half Moon Party), but every night’s pretty much party night on the islands and beaches across this beautiful country. That’s not to mention Bangkok’s Khao San Road, which is packed with locals and travelers alike, all looking for a good time.

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Have you visited any of our top picks for 2016 or do you have any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments…

Jessica Wray is a Californian, an over-thinker, a spicy-food lover and a serial expat. She has studied and lived in Latin America, taught English in South Korea, backpacked Asia and now lives in Madrid, Spain. Follow along with her on her blog, Curiosity Travels, as she tackles her mid-twenties all while calling different parts of the world home.

Thanks to Moyan Brenn, Garret Clarke, Vicky Brock, Moyan Brenn, fabulousfabs, Jean-Marie Hullot, Gilad Rom, Global Stomping, Alexander Synaptic, MDPN, Randy Pertiet, Jessica Wray, Dennis Jarvis, jeanfrancois beausejour, Mikhail Koninin and William Cho for the most excellent photos from Flickr. Please note, all were under Creative Commons license at time of publishing.

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Spam filter, please enter the answer to 11 + 12
  • Posted: Friday, November 21, 2014
I am a fanatic about Europe. I love and I am in love with Europe.
  • Posted: Friday, November 21, 2014
This is great, but where is place #15?
  • Posted: Monday, November 10, 2014
I suggest also Ukraine. Ukraine is a wonderful country, not yet very know but with wonderful tourist sites. The capital Kiev is an example of transition between soviet era and new Europe era. You can stay in Maidan Square where in the winter of 2013 - 2014 there was revolution of dignity. Kiev also is a wonderful city for nightlife with it's club and it's girls. Other important city is Lviv in the west of Ukraine that is considered the cultural capital of Ukraine. If you like the sea in summer you need visit Odessa, big city with a big history and many many club that in summer transform this city in a Ibiza. If you are interesting you can visit our websites and contact us. Here you can find many informations. (http://www.ukrainaviaggi.com.ua and http://www.ukrainaviaggi.it)
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