With 2014 coming to a close, it’s time to reflect and take a look at the up and coming trending destinations for the new year. Sure, its tempting to want to go back to the old favourites – London, Paris, New York… but what about discovering somewhere new?Today we´re presenting 50 incredible destinations for 2015. Where will you go this year?
Two hundred years after Napoleon Bonaparte suffered his final military defeat, Corsica, his birthplace, stubbornly resists its own cultural Waterloo. Though this Mediterranean island has deep, historic ties to Italy and has been part of France since 1769, its 300,000 inhabitants retain a fierce pride in their own unique culture, including the proverb-rich Corsican tongue. But to keep that birthright vibrant in the face of tourism and its homogenizing effects, their battle remains constant. Olive groves and quiet villages dot the slopes and isolated valleys of the interior, vast swaths of which are protected by the Parc Naturel Régionale de Corse, which covers more than 40 percent of the island. Hiking trails lace forests of oak and pine.
When it comes to Tunisia, the conversation has moved on from safety to recovery for tourism, and a renewed appreciation of why the country is such a compelling destination. Most travel warnings have been dropped and travellers are once again tuning in to North Africa’s most compact package. This year prices will remain tempting to lure travellers back, and lower crowds will mean that those who do come will get a more rewarding experience whether they stay in cosmopolitan Tunis, head for Star Wars sets or explore the Roman remains that dot the north of the country.
Currency fluctuations mean that for certain travellers South Africa is more affordable than it has been for many years. Instead of just rejoicing in the undercooked rand, consider what South Africa offers value-seeking travellers at any time. How about fantastically accessible wildlife watching for all budgets, bargain public (and traveller-friendly) transport and free entry to many of the country’s museums? Most visitors will find something to please their budget, whether it’s a cheap-and cheerful Cape Town seaside cafe or an affordable safari campsite. Come in South Africa’s shoulder seasons (March to May, September and October) for the best combination of low crowds and comfortable weather.
It feels like we’ve heard this one before: ‘Beautiful, undeveloped tropical paradise seeks underfunded travellers for discreet liaison. Applicants must enjoy no-nonsense budget buses and simple, idyllic beach hut accommodation (fales), owned by local families, who tend to throw in dinner.’ So as with so many places before it, we’d say get to Samoa soon. Best visited by jumping off from New Zealand or Australia, these islands are one of the best travel deals in the Pacific.
The markets of Apia, Samoa’s capital and largest town, offer a great introduction to everyday life. Maketi Fou, the biggest, is the place to come for souvenir hunting and Samoan street food.
While many budget-traveller favourites have grown up and got proper jobs running overpriced resorts, Bali never stopped delivering the goods. In fact, while backpacker-friendly beachside bungalows and other affordable digs still abound, with reasonable costs for food and transport thrown in. Bali is also pretty stonking value for mid-range adventurers who delight in air conditioning, distinctive Balinese style and a large range of quality places to stay. And of course, Balinese spa treatments are rightly famous, and cheaper than in many other places.
That Portugal’s Algarve region trumps prices at other European resort areas isn’t a surprise to regular visitors. This surf and family-friendly region remains the destination of choice for a more-than-sun seaside holiday, and it’s not all that great-value Portugal has to offer.Once a powerful seafaring kingdom that dominated the merchant routes to Africa, South America and the Orient, Portugal today is a friendly, low-key place with a laidback vibe and a fantastic coastline, much of it fringed by golden sands and endless dunes. Its rolling interior is perfect for exploring on foot, by kayak, by bike or even on horseback – though a large part of the country’s charm comes from languorous days on the beach, dining on fabulously fresh seafood and kicking back with a beer to watch the sunset over the Atlantic.
The austere heart of Japanese Buddhism beats loudly at Koyasan, a monastic complex that lies two hours by train south of Osaka. Koyasan marks its 1,200th anniversary in 2015.
Established by revered scholar-monk Kobo Daishi in 816 as the headquarters for his Shingon school of Esoteric Buddhism, Koyasan remains one of Japan’s most pristine and sacred sites, manifesting a masculine side of Japan worlds away from the hostesses and Hello Kittys of Kyoto.
As China gets mightier and smoggier, Taiwan feels calmer and cleaner. When China restricted access to the internet, Taiwan provided free Wi-Fi islandwide. When China marginalized its ethnic groups, Taiwan reintroduced indigenous Formosan languages to schools. Taiwan ranks in the top 50 (out of 178) on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), while China sank to the 118th spot.
But Taiwan is much more than China’s contrarian runaway bride. The sweet-potato-shaped island—a tad smaller than Switzerland (but no less mountainous)—has a high-tech global urban sector and a thriving aboriginal society. In one decade, “Made in Taiwan” went from being a sign of bad quality to a national statement of pride.
Skyscraper-filled capital Taipei, with a population of seven million, has been named 2016’s World Design Capital. A flurry of new buildings opens in 2015, including a performing arts center designed by Rem Koolhaas’s firm.
Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar
“Forbidden Islands” sounds like something from a fairy tale, and stories about Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago do seem like a fantasy: hundreds of undiscovered white-sand beaches, dense unexplored jungles, and clans of the mysterious Moken sea gypsies. Klaus Reisinger, who co-directed a documentary titled Burma’s Forbidden Islands about the island chain, calls the area “one of the last paradises left on earth.”
The Burmese government kept the area off-limits to foreigners until 1997. Since opened to a handful of tour operators, the 800 islands scattered off the southern coast of Myanmar, in the Andaman Sea, are so seldom visited that many of them are known only as numbers on navigation charts.