NatGeo's 16 coolest destinations for 2016

2015-12-09 16:35 - Sam Smith
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Cape Town - National Geographic has released their cool list yet of  top destinations to visit. If ever you wanted to travel, make it happen in 2016 with some of these recommendations.  

According to the iconic world travel and adventure authority, they searched all the corners of the planet to find the most eclectic top spots for culture, cuisine, festive celebrations and gorgeous coastlines. 

Regardless of where you are in the World, you can't NOT have a rocking 2016.

READ: 5 Surprising predictions for 2016's top destinations

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Here is NatGeo's cool list...

16 The Great Barrier Reef 

The seaside escape is 1600 miles of reef, ecosystems and underwater bliss for snorklers, surfers and beach lovers. 

READ: Top 10 islands - number one might surprise you

15 San Sebastian 
The quaint Spanish resort town offers travellers outdoor film and puppetry festivals, gardens with funky Spanish locals and cool pinxto and tapas bars.  

14 Argentina
Next year marks the country's 200th year of independence from Spanish ruling in July. 

Parties and celebrations will mainly take place on San Miguel de Tucumán up north where the freedom documents were signed. If you love a good costume party and parades, Argentina is the place for you. 

13 Kazakhstan 

The biggest city in the middle-eastern country is currently in the midst of a great 'regeneration' says NatGeo, and it is fast becoming the city of sports. 

In 2017, Almaty will host the  Winter Universiade - an international sporting and cultural festival which is staged every two years in a different city - and currently has a few hundred billion rands poured into its development. The country has lifted its visa policy for British citizens until 2017. 

12 Rio de Janeiro

South America's first Olympic games will be hosted in Rio de Janeiro, one of the world's greatest party cities. Thousands will flock to Brazil in the months surrounding August next year - of course, this will be a huge festival. 

READ: Rio reveals first nudist beach

A photo posted by @favelabrazil on

11 Somerset

Somerset in the UK has changed its appearance with a number of boutique B&B'S, retreats and summer resorts. The city's famous town Bath is having a hipster revival too. 

A photo posted by Balikutcha (@ochiethebird) on

10 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Following its tough journey to peace, slowly this Balkan underdog is beginning to show some bling. Journey to an urban wonderland of crossroads for a break from crowds, as few tourists go there due to lack of direct flights.

9 St Vincent and The Grenadines

Located in the Eastern Caribbean, with little care for palm trees and paraphernalia, one wonderful thing about this island is its good flight access. The airport's capacity for big jets will see an increase in the Caribbean gateway next year. 

8 Mozambique

This beautiful African destination neighbours South Africa and is lapped by the warm Indian Ocean. Due to the government's strong tourism plan it will remain an affordable place to snorkel, relax on islands in the middle of the sea and a place to enjoy delicious sea-food.

MAP: New suspension bridge linking KZN and Mozambique will cut travel time by 4 hours

According to NatGeo, Tofo is the place to go. 

7 Shanghai

Treat the family to the largest Disney theme park castle or the Toy Story-themed hotel at the Shanghai Disney Resort. Already it has become a fountain of fascination for visitors from all over the world. 

READ: Most romantic place to propose is Disney World? Really?

6 Nepal

Even though the earthquakes in Nepal saw tourism numbers drop by 85% this year, the country is once again open for travellers to visit.

PICS: Nepal's landmarks - before and after the devastating earthquake

Having always relied on tourism, the country expects to see many travellers volunteering and adventuring through the mountainous landscape in 2016. 

5 Cuba

The Cuban revival has seen many eager US tourists flock to the island, the largest in the Caribbean already and 2016 will be no different.

READ: Is Cuba ready for its tourism rebirth?

The country had been off-limits for US travel. The best way to explore the beautiful streets and towns of the capital Havana is by foot.

4 Ireland

The year 2014 saw Ireland become the world's longest defined coastal touring route, 1 550 miles. The modern and ancient heritage, inspiring museums and scenic green landscapes of the Ancient East is going to the spot to look out for. 

READ: Ireland’s Top Insider Experiences

A photo posted by Aaron Kelly (@aaronkelly87) on

3 Washington DC

Strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue is all you need to feel the hustle and bustle of politics in the US right now. The area, home to the White House, will gather much attention with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in town. 

A photo posted by @mrcam200 on

2 Cost Rica

Visits to the ancient rainforests, hiking trails and hot volcanoes is set to be a hotspot for UK tourists next year. According to NatGeo, numbers have increased by 12% every year and 2016 will be no different. 

READ: 97 countries South Africans can visit without a visa

1. Iran

Yes, Iran is the coolest spot to travel to for 2016. The UK has reopened its embassy in Tehran and their sanctions relief makes growth in the tourism industry very possible. 

READ: The Top 15 cheapest countries to visit in 2015

In July, an accord was signed to rule out Iran's nuclear activities, says NatGeo, suggesting a big 360 for the desert rose. 

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