Those intimidatingly well-travelled and rather clever folks over at Lonely Planet have just released their annual picks of the best places to travel to in 2016. Categorised into ten of the best cities, regions and countries, the lists are a veritable smorgasbord of wanderlust inducing locations. Some are obvious and already on many of our travel bucket lists (Fiji anyone?), but in true Lonely Planet style many of the destinations are a little surprising and off the regular beaten tourist track. So pop your feet up and have a look over the five most surprising winners in for 2016, and the full lists of countries, cities and regions you should definitely add to your bucket list this year….
Nestled in a secluded part of Montenegro’s Gulf of Kotor, this city is a gem for anyone travelling to Eastern Europe. Built into the hills above the bay and walled all around, Kotor pleasantly surprises visitors with its windy marbled lanes, beautiful churches, shops, bars, restaurants and hidden piazzas. Perfect for a romantic break, architectural excursion or just to take the opportunity to see somewhere amazing – Kotor should be a highlight for all Eastern European adventurers in 2016.
Where the hell is Palau we hear you say? According to Wikipedia – “Palau is an archipelago of more than 500 islands, part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean, well known for its scuba-diving and snorkelling sites.” Do we really need to say anymore? Located off the coast of the already perfect Philippine islands, Palau has also turned ALL of its marine territory (referred to as the Serengeti of the sea) into a protected sanctuary. Just do a quick google search now – we challenge you not to groan in wanderlusting agony.
Once the hub of the UK’s industrial revolution, in the last few years this city in the North West of the UK has experienced a real resurgence off the back of a hefty government investment into the arts and an influx of upwardly mobile creative types escaping London’s ever increasing expense. A city in a state of change, Manchester should be on any UK travel itinerary due to its rich industrial heritage and history, and contrasting selection of trendy new multi-form art places.
Yes, Transylvania! So much more than cheesy Dracula memorabilia and wooden karts bumping down mountain roads, this region in central Romania is stepping well away from its undead perceptions and stepping into the chic 21st century. With art galleries springing up, some of the best value skiing available and nature tours that will blow your mind, Transylvania is well worth a visit in 2016.
Just a two hour drive from Reykjavík, Western Iceland is one of the most unexplored parts of the country. Offering breath-taking views of the Atlantic, cloud-covered glaciers, rugged lava fields and thundering waterfalls, visiting this part of Iceland allows you to pack everything that makes this country unique in, and boy is it worth it.