There comes a time when your regular vacation hotspots become a little, shall we say, tiresome? If you’re keen to discover somewhere new, somewhere a little interesting and different, then it’s time to grab a map and have a look at some of the undiscovered and possibly off the beaten track destinations that may appeal to your interests. Of course, you don’t even have to head to weird and wonderful places to discover something wonderful, because destinations are changing all the time.
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these five places you should be heading in 2016.
This sun-drenched Caribbean island is about much more than cocktails on the beach, and the good news for US citizens especially is that the embargo which has stopped them travelling to Cuba for many years is now being relaxed somewhat, with direct flights from New York to Havana in the pipeline. Of course, if you’re not a US citizen then it’s not that difficult to travel to Cuba, and in that case you should definitely be booking a flight. The capital, Havana, is a bright and vibrant deal, with a party on every corner, and the sun-drenched all-inclusive heaven of Varadero is perfect for both relaxation and partying fun. On top of this, Cuba is jam-packed with history and stunning scenery to boot.
This landlocked country, located between China and Russia might not have been on your radar to date, but if you’re searching for emptiness, serenity, and peace and quiet, then you’re not going to find anywhere as vast as this. The nomadic lifestyle is still very prevalent here, and it is also named the Land of the Blue Skies, as there are reputed to be around 250 days of bright sunshine throughout the year; despite that the winters are cold at best. There is an abundance of history and sights to see in Mongolia, such as Arkhangai and the beautiful capital of Ulaanbaatar. Hovd is also worth a visit, where you will see traditional Mongol culture, as well as nature in abundance at the eco-reserve of Gun-Galuut.
Iran is slowly opening up to tourism and that is a wonderful thing for anyone wanting to experience history and culture in the best possible way. You might not be aware, but Iran was formerly called Persia, and is a very large Middle Eastern country, which has in the past been difficult to travel to. History is on every corner, but there is also much to see and do aside from that too, such as skiing at Dizin, which is one of the highest ski resorts in the world, and enjoying the sights of the capital, Tehran.
The ‘Stans of Central Asia have been difficult to visit in the past, plagued with visa bureaucracy, and although there is still some of that remaining, it is easing somewhat. For instance, Kyrgyzstan is now visa-free, and one of the easiest countries in this area to visit, full of stunning mountain scenery. Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked nation, and full of activities for outdoor fans. Tajikistan is a little off the beaten track but dripping in culture, Turkmenistan is vast and full of ancient ruins, and Uzbekistan is full of old Silk Road history to explore.
Formerly known as Burma, there aren’t many countries in the world as beautiful and unspoilt as this. Again, a country which was totally closed to tourism but is now opening up, it’s best to get there before everything changes, as tourism tends to have that effect on places over time. Located in South East Asia, Myanmar is full of nature, religion, culture, and basically an awful lot of beauty to behold.
If you’re feeling inspired, these five should certainly be on your visit list.
Photo Credit: Patrik M. Loeff