Top 15 Travel Destinations in 2015
As 2015 draws to an end, I'm Iooking into the new year, which naturally means new places to discover. The old favorites I can't shake the thought of, mixed with up-and-coming hotspots, off the beaten path treasures and those certain countries on the brink of change. 2015 is all about exploration and discovery, and go time is drawing near. Let's put the lust in wanderlust.
Here it is, my 2015 bucket list of travel:
The Top 15 Travel Destinations in 2015
1. REYKJAVIK, ICELAND
When I think of Iceland I imagine sitting in an old, crowded pub wrapped up in winter warmth sipping a dark ale. Swimming in thermal baths, walking along pastel-colored houses, and being amongst active volcanoes and vikings makes this place all the more desirable.
Slovenia falls into the undiscovered gem category, a Balkan country with cobblestone streets and pristine alpine beauty. To date, it is more off-path than neighboring Austria, making it more affordable and less touristy though just as picturesque.
I'm always intrigued by places so unknown, and the Middle East definitely falls in this category. So ripe with history and culture and that unmatched desert beauty, I just picture driving along the twirling Arabian peninsula, camping on beaches and taking in the golden light.
4. SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka is said to be like a less developed Vietnam or Thailand. Given my love for Asia, and especially a less-developed Asia, this makes Sri Lanka a must-visit destination. Tourism here is making a quick comeback and is only expected to pick up more, so 2015 is a great time to make the trip.
Finland tops my list of Scandinavian countries, and I swear it's not just because there a sauna in every hotel room or home. The forests and lakes that span on forever, plus light that never dwindles in the summer and shines the northern lights in the winters also gives it high marks on the list.
Ever since I studied in Barcelona I've wanted to visit Portugal. Days spent looking over the Terra-cotta rooftops of Lisbon, strolling through cobblestone streets in the south and hanging out in cafes along the Iberian Peninsula make Portugal endlessly appealing.
7. ABU DHABI, UAE
There is something so intriguing and mystical about this place. Maybe its the location along the Arabian Gulf, or the white mosques set against a periwinkle blue skyline. Abu Dhabi is becoming a major attraction in the Middle East, offering a less-flashy alternative to nearby Dubai.
Japan has long been on my must-visit list, likely due to the boundless fresh sashimi, prime skiing, karaoke bars and a welcomed noodle-slurping culture.
Whether it be to visit the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, or go hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, or pay homage to Rumi with the whirling dervish, Turkey is full of culture and character. A merging of worlds, where the progressive West meets the traditionally Islamic East.
10. Bosnia and herzegovina
Tourism is still under the radar in Bosnia & Herzegovina, making the country's old charm and lush scenery remain unchanged. The fishing villages and greenery make this land seem like a Balkan dream. I imagine this country will only change in coming years, as more people discover it as a prime, affordable destination.
Oh, Cuba. This place is only growing in popularity, so there really is no better time to visit than the present. Havana nights, Cuban sandwiches, sailing around the Caribbean. I'm ready to make my dream of driving around in a vintage "Yank Tank" (their slang for American car) eating ice cream in a fedora a reality.
12. Cape town
Cape Town, or The Mother City, has just about everything to capture your heart. Vineyards, botanical gardens, hiking trails and afro-chic cafes are just some of the things that give this town it's spark. The colors and scenery put this place long on my wish list, I hope to make 2015 the year.
13. New zealand
New Zealand is one of those places of unmatched beauty. It's location in the southern hemisphere makes it's isolated culture especially unique, and the diversity between the cityscapes of the North Island and adventure travel of the South make it a popular destination for almost all.
14. Český Krumlov, Czech republic
This little town in southern Bohemia is nothing but charm. Baroque buildings unchanged from the 18th century are the homes to little cafes and bars lining the Vltava River - the same river that runs through Prague. I'm sure this town would be enough to enchant me well beyond my intended visit.
"Land of Lakes and Volcanoes," Nicaragua is quickly growing in tourism, making 2015 an ideal time to visit. The symbols of the nation - wind over water, fire from the earth - show the passion and poetry in this land of ancient stories and revolution.
Where do you plan on going in 2015? What places come to mind on your must-see list?