2016 Wanderlust Destinations

As 2015 comes to a close, we look forward to where the New Year will take us, near and far. We have compiled a list of the upcoming year’s ‘wanderlust’ resolutions featuring our travel editors’ top choices for the most exciting destinations yet to be fully discovered.

From an iconic city such as Santorini to a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Patagonia, there is a an adventure waiting to happen just a plane ticket away.

Havana, Cuba

Ever since the United States restored diplomatic relations with Cuba, Havana has been on the cusp of irreversible change and I’m itching to experience it before the time capsule bursts. I imagine Havana surrounded by colorful, colonial glory and being irresistibly seductive with its vintage American cars, street side salsas, and strong mojitos. With a subtropical climate, Cuba is great to visit year-round; though you may find the best deals during shoulder season in April, which is typically hot, but not unbearably so.

 

Suggested by: Rachel Bale (@departmentofwandering) | Photo Credit: Guillaume Baviere


Quito, Ecuador

Despite their iconic status, the Galapagos Islands aren’t the only reason to visit Ecuador. Quito has an alluring charm that is hard to resist. Boasting a host of dramatic titles as the world’s highest capital city (at 2,850 meters), being the first city to be named a UNESCO World Heritage site, and being the only destination in the world where you can simultaneously have one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in the Southern Hemisphere. The winter months (June, July and August) are an ideal time to visit, as the skies are usually clear and sunny with mild temperatures.

 

Suggested by: Rachel Bale (@departmentofwandering) | Photo Credit: Adam Reeder


Patagonia, Argentina/Chile

Located at the bottom tip of South America, the Patagonia region is shared by both Chile and Argentina, divided by the Andes mountains. Patagonia contains a richly diverse landscape with grasslands and deserts on the Argentine side, and electric blue glacial fjords contrasting lush temperate forests on the Chilean side. The prime time to visit is in either the spring or fall when Patagonia’s infamous winds are less severe and seasonal color changes make for exceptional scenery. This is a destination where every moment is worth capturing, so be sure to bring a good camera.

 

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Suggested by: Annisha Lashand (@cobra.scales)


Reykjavik, Iceland

With black sand ice beaches, glacier lagoons, and Aurora Borealis, Iceland captivates me. Reykjavik being the capital city offers a base to plan your adventures around this otherworldly country. I often hear that if you want a travel experience that will challenge you and renew your sense of gratitude for the planet Earth, visiting Iceland will do just that — journey to Skaftafell park, the geo-thermal area of Lake Myvatn, and harness the healing powers of Bláa lónið (Blue Lagoon). Tourist season peaks from mid-June to August; the best time to visit in is an autumn to avoid high travel costs and overcrowding. Daylight and nightfall share similar hours to North America during this season if you prefer to avoid the harsh adjustment to longer day or night hours.

 

Suggested by: Annisha Lashand (@cobra.scales) | Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn


Copenhagen, Denmark

With its pristine outdoor spaces, active way of life, environmental consciousness, vibrant art scene and rich history, all set against its iconic and colorful Neoclassical architecture, Copenhagen sits at the very top of my wanderlist. Must-see landmarks include the Tivoli Gardens and the Little Mermaid Statue in addition to experiencing some of the world’s best restaurants touting New Nordic cuisine such as Noma (currently undergoing a majorly innovative rebuild). I’m planning to visit over the summer months, when I hear the city’s culture quite literally spills onto its sidewalks through outdoor cafes, music festivals and art exhibits.

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Suggested by: Valeria L. Palmertree (@valenptree) | Photo Credit: Roman Boed


Kyoto, Japan

I was first introduced to Kyoto during an episode of PBS’s “Mind of a Chef,” during which David Chang visits Kikunoi, the three-Michelin-star restaurant located at the foot of the Higashiyama Mountain Range. The menu, which changes with each season, draws direct inspiration from Kyoto’s natural surroundings, and is meant to evoke a direct taste of place. In fact, this taste of place is distinctively at home in Kyoto, which is best known for ‘kaiseki dining.’ Located on the island of Honshu, the ancient city also offers countless opportunities to explore Buddhist temples, shrines, gardens and architectural gems that have survived. The best time to visit is said to be in early fall and late spring in order to avoid the cold and rainy seasons. For optimal photo-ops, March brings plum and cherry blossom season!

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Suggested by: Valeria L. Palmertree (@valenptree) | Photo Credit: Juan Salmoral


Singapore, Malaysia

Two words: Hawker centers. The non-corporatized open air food complexes replete with stall after stall of specialty chefs serving the one dish they’ve been cooking all their lives. This is no mall food court; this is a haven for a nation that counts the simple act of eating as a literal way of life. In Singapore, happiness is life, and life is food. Local greetings avoid redundancies like ‘how are you?’ or ‘what’s up?’; they instead ask ‘have you eaten?’ Singapore maintains a fairly consistent tropical climate of 80-ish degrees all year round with no slow seasons, so start looking for the best flight deal!

 

Suggested by: Jordan Bailey (@boundlesscuriosity) | Photo Credit: Chris Moseley


Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is the Scandinavian mecca for fashion, design, technology, and all things progressive: a city for the modern traveler who finds joy in a century-old aesthetic and contemporary charm. The Stockholm Archipelago is an inexplicably lesser-known destination of 30,000+ islands just outside the city center that prove to be a worthwhile maritime jaunt. The best time to visit Sweden depends on your personal preference. With a bustling summer season, flowers blooming in the spring, and the Northern Lights appearing in the winter, maybe you just need to listen to the Swedes’ saying, “there’s no bad weather, just bad clothes.”

 

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Suggested by: Jordan Bailey (@boundlesscuriosity) | Photo Credit: Tommie Hansen


Santorini, Greece

Chances are that you have seen the iconic images of ancient white and blue structures over-looking the blue seas of Santorini. With pristine sunsets that fill the sky with an eruption of color and art, the island is a photographer’s dream and the perfect romantic destination for honeymooners. The best time to go for sight-seeing, while still experiencing warmer weather is the shoulder season (May and June, September and October), as the weather is still hot enough to relax by the beach.

 

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Suggested by: Elizabeth Berthaly (@lizzberthaly) | Photo Credit: Edward Dalmulder


Seminyak, Bali

My passion for fashion, color and textiles comes alive when Bali comes to mind. Ask any bohemian style icon/fashion label that catches my eye, and chances are that they have been influenced by Bali. I dream of visiting the fresh green rice fields showcasing the natural beauty and bounty of the earth. I lust for a vibrant, hand-embroidered cushion, a traditional token from local Balinese markets. The best time to visit falls between September and October, just before the wet season starts.

 

Suggested by: Elizabeth Berthaly (@lizzberthaly) | Photo Credit: Edward Dalmulder


Tokyo, Japan

I’ve heard that visiting Tokyo is like peeking into the future. I love the excitement of big cities and Tokyo is a place with its finger firmly on the pulse of all things cool, kooky and a little crazy.  The best time to visit is in autumn; September to November has milder temperatures (Japan gets very hot), beautiful autumn foliage and slightly thinner crowds compared to summer and cherry blossom season.

 

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Suggested by: Genevieve Hassall (@wanderbug_world) | Photo Credit: Yoshikazu Takada

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