Happy New Year my Wandervogels! I’m manifesting a 2016 full of new adventures, new destinations, and new memories. I have a feeling you’re all hoping for the same. As a start, I’ll give you my 16 best places to explore this year. Read away and let the wanderlust take over!
16. Sicily, Italy
Italy’s hidden gem. My family comes from Sicily, and each time I have gone back I am in awe. I am trying to think of its best features and I don’t even know where to begin. Is it the rugged mountains that circle the island? The seemingly endless supply of incredible food? The ancient ruins that stand casually in every town? Or maybe it’s the fact that every local is so dang nice. Whatever it may be, go now, before the rest of the world finds out about this jewel of a destination.
15. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is buzzing right now. What once was a dreary, gray, war-torn city has rapidly become a place for youth center of Europe. It’s seamlessly connecting Germany’s rich history to the modern world. People of all shapes, colors, and backgrounds are flocking to Berlin to discover this young city for themselves.
14. Buenos Aries, Argentina
Someone once told me that Buenos Aries had all the class of European cities such as London or Paris, but with a South American charm. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a dream. Hoping to see for myself this year.
13. The Ring Road (Route 1), Iceland
There is hardly anywhere left in the world as untouched as Iceland. All the natural beauty, in the form of glaciers, hot springs and volcanos, still remains. The Ring Road circles the small island, allowing travelers to see beauty however they want. The very present northern lights are an added bonus. Sounds like the perfect road trip, doesn’t it?
12. Orcas Island, Washington, U.S.A.
The classic American small town! Also one of my favorite places in the world. The downtown is right on the water and its streets are lined with cafes and bookshops. Its brimming with activity during the summer months, but the peaceful offseason is also a perfect time to go and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. Also, if you want a place to stay on island, my family’s house is on both Airbnb and Homeaway. Click here and here to check us out!
11. Ljubljana, Slovenia
I have read a lot about Ljubljana lately and it struck an instant chord with my wanderlust heart. The capital city hasn’t been changed much for the past fifty years (and was left untouched by WWII), making you feel as if you have stepped back in time. Just don’t ask me to pronounce it….
10. Phuket, Thailand
Phuket has been on my bucket list forever. This casual, beachy oasis attracts travelers through their candy colored water, picturesque mountains, stunning rock formations, and nearby rainforests. As an added bonus, Phuket has a huge population of elephants. I’ve been trying to get my family to go for years because I’m slightly obsessed with Phuket already.
9. Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
Ahhh, Little Corn. The worst name for the most incredible place. Measuring about five square miles, the tiny island is the ultimate getaway. There is very little electricity, allowing anyone who wants to to just drop away for a bit. The island is surrounded by the worlds second largest reef making breathtaking scuba/snorkeling views and the locals are some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever encountered while traveling (second only to the Irish. It must be something about islands…). Not to mention there are dogs just roaming the island. You heard me rights, DOGS. Sweet little puppies wanting to play everywhere you go. Seriously this place is Heaven.
As much of a mermaid I consider myself (I feel happiest by the sea), I also have a love for the simple beauty of deserts. I think this is why Oman is so intriguing to me. Half of the country graces the shores of the Arabian Sea, while the other half is covered in golden, sandy, desert dunes. Oman is an enigma, one I want to discover myself.
7. Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls has been calling luxury travelers to its waters for decades through high-end resorts and safaris. Recently though, their has been a hostel boom, making it easier (and cheaper!!) than ever to experience the beauty of the Falls without having to sell your soul for a place to stay. So my words of wisdom for you is this: DO go chasing waterfalls, they’re pretty cool.
6. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
So. Many. Cool. Animals. If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I love animals. The only interesting part of sophomore year biology was learning about Charles Darwin and all the tortoises he found in the Galapagos. Alongside, these shelled beauties, there are dozens of other interesting animal friends to discover. Unfortunately, many of these creatures are near extinction, so the sooner you go and teach the world how to coexist with them the better.
5. Victoria, Canada
Oh, Canada, how I have made such memories with you? I actually got stuck in Victoria unintentionally for five days this summer (blog post on that misadventure coming soon) so I got to know the city pretty well. Victoria is exciting. There is always something going on, whether it be symphonies on the harbor or a food festival on Government St. The whole city is walkable, making it even easier to experience it all.
4. San Fransisco, California, U.S.A
Shamelessly putting my own home city on my list…? Yep. Resident or not, SF is booming right now. Music Lover? We have small concert venues and huge festivals (Outside Lands>Coachella). Are you into tech? We only have the headquarters of Google, Facebook, and Instagram, NBD. Sports fanatic? Levi Stadium is home to Superbowl 50 in February. As you can see I love bragging about my city, but hey, San Fransisco lives up to it. Come visit and I’ll show you around myself!
3. Tasmania, Australia
Tassie! Or at least thats what the locals call it. Tasmania is giving of all of the beachy, colorful Australian vibes, but in a much more seclude place (meaning less tourists). What more could we ask for? Bonus points if you spot a Tasmanian Devil while you’re there.
2. Glasgow, Scotland
Okay you all saw this coming. It’s no secret that Scotland has my heart, and picking a city from it was easy. Glasgow is charming the hearts of everyone who sees it. It has a reputation for being a dirty, boring, industrial city but, let me say, that is not the case at all. A growing art scene has drawn a lot of young creatives, making the city inspiring to all. I wrote about the can’t miss sites in my blog post here!
1. Havana, Cuba
Yay for lifted travel bans! Cuba has always intrigued me, partly because of its interesting relationship with the U.S., partly because eating cuban food is quite an experience. Whatever brings you there, I support it. Cuba is waiting to be explored in the new year and I have a feeling it has a whole lot to show us.
That’s it from me! Now I want to hear from you. What would you add to the list? Let me know in the handy comment section down below. See you all soon :)