SKIING IN JAPAN, swimming in Bermuda and dancing in Uruguay… these are just some of the recommendations the editors over at National Geographic Traveler are suggesting you incorporate into 2016 holiday plans.
While budget constraints will keep most of us closer to home this year, let’s take a look at their Top 20 destinations and dream…
1. Côte d’Or, Burgundy, France
Travel tips from NatGeo: Go in July for the Beaune International Festival of Baroque Opera or October and November for the harvest festivals and autumn foliage.
2. Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
What you’ll see: One novelty spot is the world’s largest cashew tree which covers nearly two acres. It was planted in 1888 and has been growing out, not up, according to NatGeo.
Where to stay: Bermuda’s first and most famous pink cottage colony – Cambridge Beaches Resort and Spa which was founded in 1923.
4. Danube River
NatGeo says: “Herodotus called it the “greatest of all rivers” 2,500 years ago, and it still may be. Winding through ten countries, it’s like a medieval version of Route 66, except your stops will be at 13th-century Gothic churches rather than diners, and you’ll be treated to views of Transylvania instead of tumbleweeds.”
5. Eastern Bhutan
What to eat: Stay away if you can’t handle hot. Bhutanese cooking is all about the chillies. The national dish, ema datshi, is a spicy stew of chilies and cheese ladled over red rice.
6. Capability Brown’s Gardens, Britain
How to get there: This one is close to home. Take a flight to London, hire a car and you’re just 40 minutes on a motorway (the M40) to this delightful scenery.
7. Glasgow, Scotland
What to watch before you go: NatGeo recommends 1998 film My Name is Joe starring native Peter Mullan. The drama depicts one of the city’s poorest neighbourhoods.
When to go: June to August for the midnight sun, mild weather, and hiking and boating; September to April for the aurora borealis and snow sports; 6-11 March for the Arctic Winter Games.
9. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
What to Read Before You Go: Explore the Geology of Kilauea Volcano is a guide by US Geological Survey volcanologist Richard Hazlett. He tells visitors what to look for when visiting Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
10. Hokkaido, Japan
What to eat: Hokkaido’s signature snack is Rokkatei‘s Marusei butter sand, a sandwich cookie stuffed with a raisin-dotted butter cream, says NatGeo. The treats aren’t widely available outside of Hokkaido.
11. New York City
Why now? Even if you’ve been a dozen times, New York has changed in the past few months. The skyline is different and worth a second – or third, or fourth… – look. NatGeo says to check out the One World Observatory on the 100th to 102nd floors of the newly-built One World Trade Center.
12. Okavango Delta, Botswana
When to Go: June to August (high-water season) for mokoro and boat safaris; May to October for clear skies and ample water levels; year-round for dry (land-based) safaris and wet (water-based but not flood dependent) safaris.
Cultural Tip: The equivalent of “How are you?” in Filipino culture is “Kumain ka na ba?“ (Tagalog for “Have you eaten?”)
14. Masurian Lake District, Poland
Cultural Tip: When canoeing or sailing on the lakes, greet passing boaters with a friendly “Ahoy.”
16. Tangier and Smith Islands, Chesapeake Bay
What NatGeo says: ”Life here is slower and quieter than on the mainland. Even with regular ferries, these are secluded places: few stores, almost no cars, and no bars (both Tangier and Smith are dry). The islanders constitute a tough and independent lot: Tangier folks refused to join the Confederacy over slavery, while Rhodes Point village, on Smith Island, was once known as Rogues Point for area pirates who operated from there.”
17. San Diego/Tijuana
In the know: At the dozens of Chinese restaurants in town (when the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 suspended immigration from China into the US, many Chinese chose to settle along the border in Mexico), recipes regularly incorporate local ingredients such as avocado, chilies, jicama, and taco beef.
Chosen quote: ”Uruguay may never emerge from the shadows of its neighbours, but for a land where banknotes feature artists and writers instead of generals and admirals, that may be a good thing.” —Wayne Bernhardson
19. Winnipeg, Canada
What NatGeo says: Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, doesn’t usually find its way onto bucket lists… but it has reasons to visit.
20. South Georgia Island
Where to Stay: There are no overnight accommodations on South Georgia. Passengers sleep aboard the ship.