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15 Travel Destinations You Need To Visit In 2016

15 Travel Destinations You Need To Visit In 2016

Picture of Hazel Rowland
Updated: 3 January 2017
We’ve all heard the clichés: that Paris is the city of light, that New York is the city that never sleeps, and that if you’re bored of London, then you’re bored of life. Sure, these cities have much to offer, but you won’t find any such obvious choices for our list of destinations to visit in 2016. Instead, be inspired to travel somewhere unexpected with our specially curated selection of travel destinations that you may never have thought of visiting.

Leipzig, Germany

Hasn’t Berlin been the capital of cool too long for it to be, you know, still cool? With Berlin rent prices on the rise, Leipzig is fast becoming the home of young creatives and plays host to a burgeoning club and techno scene. The city has a strong musical past too, with the likes of J.S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn and Richard Wagner having all at one time or another called it their home.

Detroit, Michigan

One of the hardest hit cities during the economic downturn, Detroit is bouncing back in a big way. Due to the low costs, many creative people are leaving cities like New York City and moving to Detroit to continue their career or begin anew. The city has, therefore, become hot spot for contemporary art. That along with the many new restaurants, shops, and hotels make Detroit a must-visit city for 2016.

Syros, Greece

Everyone knows Mykonos, the glamorous party destination of Greece, but fewer will have checked out the sleepy island of Syros, half an hour away by boat. This is traditionally an island where the Greeks holiday, meaning there’s minimal tourist tat. Instead, enjoy the electric restaurants that line the busy port and explore the unpopulated north of the island, home to small churches, wild horses and majestic sunsets.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Dodge those rising London prices and head up north to Scotland’s stunning capital city. Boasting a rich cultural heritage, a long and fascinating history, and a burgeoning arts scene, Edinburgh is a must-visit at any time of year. Add to this surprising affordability and close proximity to breathtaking countryside trails, and you’ve got yourself a stellar holiday.

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand and the most accessible city in the world by sea (evidenced by one in three Aucklanders owning a boat). Auckland touches the Pacific Ocean on its west coast, the Tasman Sea on its east, and the distance between the two is only 16 kilometers. It also the home to the Sky Tower, which is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere at 328 meters.

Caye Caulker, Belize

This Caribbean island is only about a mile long and is without any paved roads or cars! As well as a plethora of well-priced and delicious food and an intimate yet vibrant nightlife, there are many opportunities to scuba dive and snorkel, in which you can explore the Belize Barrier Reef (the second largest in the world!).

Toruń, Poland

Sure, there are those popular Polish destinations like Warsaw, Kraków and the tri-city Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot, but there is another gem to be discovered. Toruń is one of the oldest cities in Poland, and its Old Town is listed in both the Seven Wonders of Poland and the National Geographic Polska as one of the 30 Most Beautiful Places in the World. Climb the Bell Tower of City Hall to get an incredible view of the whole city or sit bankside along the Vistula River to see a panoramic view.

Rovaniemi (Lapland), Finland

Ever wonder where Santa Claus lives? Visit Lapland and see the magic of Santa’s hideaway, the ethereal Northern Lights, The Midnight Sun, blankets of snow and reindeer. Rovaniemi, the capital city of the Finnish Lapland, is the largest populated city near the Arctic Circle as well as Santa’s post office. If you’re looking for a truly unparalleled Christmas experience, this is the place to go. The ‘Lapin taika,’ Finnish for ‘the Magic of Lapland,’ can be seen in the expansive natural beauty of the land, its cultural treasures, and the legends of the Sámi people.

Birmingham, England

Aside from being the home of the balti, canals and Cadbury World, Birmingham has a lot to boast about. England’s second city is ripe with cultural attractions, including a huge high-tech library, the most Michelin-starred restaurants in Britain outside the capital, and a thriving music scene with more bands, festivals and small venues than you can shake a stick at.

Corsica, France

An island located in the Mediterranean Sea just south of France, Corsica boasts a diverse layout made up of gorgeous beaches and jagged mountains. Although Corsica contains more well-known cities such as Bastia and Ajaccio (bragging rights as the birthplace of Napoleon), the best plan is to road trip around the island to get a glimpse of its gorgeous terrain, partake in some outdoor excursions, and visit the small villages settled on the coast.

Blackpool, England

While some of the negative things you’ve heard about this shiny, seaside town may be true (don’t bother packing a swimming for one, and never visit in the middle of your Raw Food Diet), it is impossible to avoid the charms of Blackpool if you give it a chance. It has all the great hallmarks of a British seaside town — a seaside funfair, an arcade pier, a waxwork museum, and more sticks of rock than you can… well… shake a stick of rock at. A trip to Blackpool promises loads of fun and gaudy experiences and memories, all without the Southern coast price tag (we’re yet to find a cheaper, and tastier, cone of chips).

Zakopane | Courtesy Joseph Richard Francis

Zakopane | Courtesy Joseph Richard Francis

Zakopane, Poland 

Head south from Krakow’s Gothic streets and cobblestone squares to the self-proclaimed winter capital of Poland — Zakopane. It’s nestled between the spikey tips of the High Tatras, covered in a blanket of white snow from early December and awash with bursts of greenery in the spring. Take a stroll up Krupowki Street to see the curled streetlamps glistening with stalactites of ice, eat smoky oscypek cheeses in the traditional taverns, or hit the winding hiking trails that cross the mountains over to Slovakia in the south.

Andorra

A beautiful and tiny country in the middle of the Pyrenees, Andorra is a perfect destination to enjoy winter sports in the cold season or for hiking when the snow melts. The low taxation means plenty of bargains on food, fashion, and perfumes. However, you might want to avoid the shopping areas and, instead, relax in Caldea (a spa resort), embrace the nature in Ordino or enjoy the arts at the café La Fada Ignorant.

Cuenca, Ecuador

A few hours south of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, the city of Cuenca lies surrounded by four rivers that make up part of the Amazon watershed. Its climate is warm, wet, and thick. A closely knit colonial city of narrow streets in an easily navigable grid, it’s perfect for wandering from monument to monument, pausing in any of the city’s parks. Less urban and crowded than its northern neighbor Quito, Cuenca is a great access point for reaching archaeological sites and national parks, including beautiful park El Cajas.

View of Lake Wakatipu between Queenstown and Glenorchy | Courtesy Naomi Clear-Vekinis

View of Lake Wakatipu between Queenstown and Glenorchy | Courtesy Naomi Clear-Vekinis

Queenstown, New Zealand

Known as the Southern Hemisphere’s prime destination for the extreme sports lover, Queenstown, quite simply, would suit any admirer of the earth’s majesty. Well-known Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters, such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai, were partly filmed in the surrounding areas. A trip to this Kiwi city is an absolute must-add to any bucket list, and we’d dare you to disagree upon seeing the view of Lake Wakatipu (see above image).