6 Hotspots in 2016 To Get You To Travel More
Every new year, thousands of people write “travel more” on their real (or mental) lists about things to change this year, but whether for finances or time, most people never get around to knocking through this must-do on their list.
If you’re determined once and for all, and are just looking for the inspiration to push you over the edge and book that ticket, here are 7 hotspots around the world that are begging for a little TLC from tourists. You better hurry quick though, before the word gets out!
Durban, South Africa
Depending on what the stars look like where you are, you could be in a part of the world that breeds a particular harsh winter full of parkas, subzero wind chill, and snow boots that get plenty of slush practice. Durban isn’t like that; it’s beautiful sunshine all year round.
Located on the eastern coast of Africa, this getaway is totally below the radar, and exactly why it’s perfect for making last minute plans. While Capetown may be getting all the visitors, Duban is the cooler older sister, with the same picturesque coast town feel but with much fewer tourists. With ocean view cottages on Airbnb starting at $25 a night, a veritable smorgasbord of sandy stretches for beach lovers, sun tanners, and lovers of the board, and adorable little cafes (like 9th Avenue Bistro and Freedom Cafe), you can’t go wrong breaking free from the 9-5 and parking your butt on a beach chair here in the sun.
For wild adventurers, I suggest grabbing a ride on Natal Sharks Board Boat Tour—they tag and release sharks and other wild fish that surround Durban’s beachfront and easily depart from Wilson’s Wharf (which also happens to be a great place to catch a sunset). Or if you’ve brought the kids along, uShaka Marine World is a great place to let them stare at the great blue beyond and all the creatures who live there up close and personal (bonus: it’s inside so on a rare rainy day, you’ve got backup).
For old, old world, it’s best to head to Morocco, and even though Bergman and Bogart think differently, Casablanca is not the place to be; the new favorite is Marrakech, with its jam-packed medina, old palaces, and lush gardens to take strolls in.
Accommodation here is a real treat; guest houses are many, with rooftop terraces, free brunch, and courtyard pools, and the best part of any adventure in the city is wandering within the medieval stone walls, getting lost in the bright, detailed architecture, and taking in the colorful culture. And food follows close behind with its influences from all over the world and tasty spices. Make sure you grab a couple of kebabs (chicken and lamb are best), a camel burger (if you’re brave), and couscous (my personal favorite).
Must-visits include climbing the Atlas Mountains, taking a ride in the Sahara, visit Agader Beach, and wandering in the city medina. But for a real treat, check out these great gardens (there’s more than one in this list so you better plan accordingly!); Majorelle, Bahia Palace, Badi Palace, Riad Enija, Jnane Tamsna, and Dar Si Said garden and greeneries are great places to start.
Zwolle, The Netherlands
Amsterdam is usually on the top of everyone’s list (probably because it’s a great, and cheap, place to have a layover) but Zwolle, the lesser-known hotspot of The Netherlands, is a great getaway for history buffs who aren’t as enamored by the free lifestyle of the Amsterdamians.
Complete with medieval city walls, Dominican monasteries, and great art galleries (give a nod to the Museum de Fundatie, their resident collection and traveling exhibitions are a great way to spend your afternoon), Zwolle is the perfect destination for lovers of sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying the view. No need to stand in line at the hotspot tourist attractions all trip, the key to taking in all the grace and beauty of this riverside town is in the cute shops, the comfy streetside cafes, and walking to check out the Sassenpoort (it’s the old town city gates, definitely worth an Instagram feature!).
If you’re a fan of the bed and breakfast, Zwolle is the place to grab one of these cozy accommodations. You can park it in a one room garden house at Ada’s Spiekertje, a 2-bedroom townhouse with B&B In de Hoogstraat, or get out of the city and enjoy the quiet farm life just outside Zwolle (a 20 minute bike ride to town) in B&B Theetuin Stadsland.
Cuba has long held the interest of the vintage lovers of the world. More than just an obsession for old 1950s tv’s, cars, and fashions though, Cuba is that rare gem, where for the time being at least, time seems to have very little effect at all.
Rolling by 1960 Fords, stumbling across dance sessions in the middle of town squares, and smelling the wafting delicioso air of a food stand (or spying bright, ripe market fruits and veggies) is just part of the regular day charm. Make sure to check out the dazzling architecture, from the classic Hotel de Nacional de Cuba to the unique Cuban National Art Schools, to the white sandy beaches, because pretty soon, Cuba’s greatest masterpiece (its ability to resist the sands of change) will wear away and Starbucks will pop up on every corner.
Things not to miss: the pork and the baseball games. When it comes to pork in Cuba, just take whatever’s available; roasted, sandwiched, marinated, served with eggs, it’s all delicious and better than any bbq you’ve had at home (and note to self, the stuff on the street is just as good, if not better, than the restaurants). And when it comes to baseball, it’s like attending a jam-packed football game with the most dedicated fans in the world; it brings life, and a whole new take on a game that can get slow fast.
Put your stakes away Van Helsing, Transylvania is so much more than just a destination for the bloodthirsty kind.
While it’s true, Transylvania is finally cashing in on the Dracula-themed tourism, the time to go is now to see the real gems (before all the kitsch gets worse) . From villages in the Carpathian mountains that have changed very (very) little since medieval times and have magnificent fortified churches, to the excellent cross country hiking and rock climbing, it’s a veritable vacation not only for the antique lovers, but also the ones who like to get their hands a little dirty. Also, if you like to drive like a professional they’ve also got a rather cool, definitely one-of-a-kind, road through the mountains named the the Transfăgărășan Road, and while it’s only available for passing a few times a year, it’s one wild ride.
Where to stay: If you’ve got the resources, you want to stay in one of the Count’s estates. No, not that Count, but a certain Count Kalnoky, who fate would have it, has lineage about as prestigious as Vlad himself. Teaming up with Prince Charles, the Count has refurbished and renovated Transylvanian hunting lodges, estate houses, and more, to their former glory and if you feel like living like a King, this is definitely the place to do it.
Labelled the next big hipster destination a million travel blogs over, Perth gets a great recommendation (and all the stars) because it’s more than just a city, or the wild, or the place to hang ten–it’s all of those things.
When it comes to Perth, the key is to get into the diversity; you can pet kangaroos at the Caversham Wildlife Sanctuary, get into the local music scene with great music festivals (everything from St. Jerome’s Laneway to Good Life), or you can just park it on Cottesloe beach for that Indian Ocean sunset everyone keeps talking about. Head over to Fremantle to check out the markets and the hipster grilled cheeses at Toastface Grillah, for shopping and perusing, check out the Hay Street & Murray Street Mall to grab a cup at a cafe and pick up bespoke chotskies, or just take it easy with a sky-high walk through King’s Park–whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong in Perth.
For accommodation in the city, I suggest checking out COMO the Treasury and Richardson Perth if you’re into the high-style, boutique atmosphere. For something laid back, check out the Pension of Perth, and for something more sand friendly, grab a beachside cottage like Heart of Subiaco–and you’ll need no excuse for spending everyday working on your tan.
Whether you’re more likely to pick a spot with a bustling metro center, or a place that offers some much needed, much appreciated R&R, these global must-see destinations are just one resolution away from being a reality. So what are you waiting for?