Jan 16, 2016
Is your 2016 calendar looking a bit blank right now? Well, it's time to start peppering it with holiday dates. Here are ten of this year's most alluring destinations.
A springboard for awe-inspiring adventures - such as plunging into dormant volcanoes and horse riding under the Northern Lights - Reykjavik is Europe's quirkiest little capital. Travellers love its shabby-chic coffeehouses, stylish seafood eateries and eclectic Nordic architecture.
Hewn by thousands of years of wind and rain, Cappadocia's otherworldly rock formations are a breathtaking sight - especially from a hot air balloon. These so-called 'fairytale chimneys' are irresistible at ground level, too, with an increasing number housing chic cave hotels and atmospheric tearooms.
Landlocked, politically-stable Botswana - which celebrates 50 years of independence in 2016 - ticks all the boxes for a memorable African safari. Train your cameras on elephants, giraffes and meerkats on the parched Kalahari plains, snap zebras, hippos and lions in the lush Okavango Delta, and bed down in luxury game lodges decorated with indigenous arts and crafts.
Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Rolling vineyards, olive groves and surreal sculptures dot this bucolic, bohemian getaway in the Hauraki Gulf, a 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland. A favourite of oenophiles and artists, Waiheke also lures active types. Bring your best walking shoes, or sea-kayak around the island's secluded coves.
The Netherlands' 'second city' sports a string of cool new boldly-designed landmarks and cultural attractions - many masterminded by Rotterdam starchitect Rem Koolhaas. In the dazzling, cube-strewn Timmerhuis, the innovative Museum Rotterdam will explore the evolving character of Europe's busiest port when it opens in early 2016.
Banff National Park, Alberta
Canada's oldest national park offers a gripping blend of rugged outdoorsy experiences with soothing spa treatments and pumping nightlife. Go hiking, mountain biking, skiing or snowboarding against a majestic Rocky Mountains backdrop, then recuperate in a natural hot spring or a craic-fuelled tavern.
Set around a winding bay fringed by towering peaks, this fjord-tastic port is less crowded, but arguably more charming than Dubrovnik, its old rival up the Adriatic coast. Spectacular views can be had from Kotor's ancient lofty fortifications, while its maze-like medieval quarter shelters monuments, cafes and fishy restaurants.
Palau is a dreamy tropical paradise made for 'getting away from it all'. Comprising more than 500 western Pacific islands, this beach-blessed archipelago is ideal for kicking back with a book and cocktail, but it's also one of the planet's best snorkelling and diving hotspots - not least because fishing is now banned in most of the country's marine territory.
Wedged between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, this little-visited, glacier-riddled land mass has huge tourism potential. Polar bear-spotting, dog sledding and whale watching are among the pulse-raising activities available in Greenland, which will host the Arctic Winter Games in March (2016).
The whisky-fuelled capital of Tennessee is the undisputed home of country music, with iconic venues such as the Grand Ole Opry and the honky tonk bars of Lower Broadway. But it's a burgeoning hipster haven, too. Cutting-edge galleries, vegan bistros and vintage clothing shops permeate Nashville's invigorating patchwork of neighbourhoods.
Top Image: Christine Zenino