New Year, New Travel
The where, when and why of your next globetrotting adventure begins right here. These unspoiled and unexplored destinations will be hot property soon (according to The Lonely Planet Best In Travel 2016 guide), so get packing.
Place to visit: Viñales Valley
When: July to October
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Viñales Valley in the Sierra de los Órganos mountains of Cuba is home to iconic tobacco plantations and outstanding Karst landscape—keep an eye out for cigar-chewing guajiros ploughing fields, a great photo-op for Instagram, while on your hop-on-hop-off bus tour. Viñales enjoys a lasting relationship with tourism (like rock climbing, salsa dancing, cycling tours, hiking and cave exploration) but still maintains its position as a slow-paced settlement surrounded by some of Cuba’s most striking natural beauty.
Places to visit: Gauja National Park and Riga
When: April to August
Gauja National Park was established to protect the valley of the Gauja river and its unique environs. In numbers, we’re talking about 500 cultural and historical monuments while one-third of all natural preserves are found here. The capital city of Riga is situated at the mouth of the Daugava river. It houses an Old Town with a labyrinth of cobbled streets, a complex system of canals, a buzzing central market and a gorgeous art nouveau district. You’ll need to sip on some Riga Black Balsam, Latvia’s signature drink, to make it through the day.
Place to visit: Okawango Delta in Maun
When: July and August
Picture this: The wildest African safari you can imagine coupled with one of the most luxurious experiences of your life. Touch down in Maun and head to the Okawango Delta for a taste of the good life overlooking hippo lagoons, elephant herds, lions, leopards and cheetah. We recommend staying at camps run by wilderness safaris such as Jao and Kings Pool that are situated deep in the waterland of the delta. Don’t forget your binoculars.
Places to visit: Viti Levu and Kadavu
When: April to May, October to November
Experience a majority of what Fiji has to offer in Viti Levu—visit Kula Eco Park, trek Mount Tomanivi, kayak down the Navua river and picnic in the traditional village of Nacala. Head to Kadavu for a more prehistoric experience as this Garden Island has no real roads or establishments—it’s just you, the expanse of ocean life and terra firma.
Region to visit: The Bavarian Alps
When: May to August
Long known for its grandiose mountains, beautiful lakes and magical forests, Germany’s Bavaria is every nature-lover’s dream come true. Hike to the top of Germany’s tallest mountain, Zugspitze (or more realistically, take a scenic train ride starting in the typically Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen to the mountain summit), and enjoy breathtaking views of around 400 snow-capped peaks spread across four countries—Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. Second on your list should be taking the steam ferry across Chiemsee Lake to visit the castle of the infamous “mad” King Ludwig II.