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The 10 best places to travel this year

From city streets to glaciers to cherry blossoms - here are 10 places to tick off your list

Our world is full of treasures to discover. Whether you dream of wandering through an electric new city, channeling your inner explorer in wild, natural landscapes, or basking on a secluded, white-sand beach, you’ll never run out of new places to travel.

So where’s next on your list? To get you feeling inspired, here are the countries Lonely Planet has named the hotspots for 2016.

Elephants at sunset in Botswana

1. Botswana

Explore wild plains where elephants, lions and zebras roam free. Botswana is a treasure trove of wildlife and dramatic natural landscapes, from raging rivers to shimmering lakes to vast flood plains.

Nearly half the country is made up of national parks and reserves. For a truly iconic African experience it’s hard to go past Chobe National Park – home to huge herds of elephants, an enchanting lake, incredible sunsets, and one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in the country.

Cherry blossoms over river at night in Tokyo, Japan

2. Japan

Cherry blossoms, bright lights and delicious sushi – nature, tech and culture sit side by side in elegant, pulsing Japan. Wander through Tokyo’s eclectic neighbourhoods, soak in natural hot springs and be enchanted by the serene peaks of Mt Fuji.

For itinerary inspiration, check out some of the best places to hit the slopes, our guide to cherry blossom season, or a local’s tour of the hotspots of Yokohama.

New York City

3. USA

From iconic cities to breathtaking landscapes, there’s never a shortage of American adventures to be had. Be dazzled by the energy of New York City, stroll along Santa Monica pier, take a classic road trip along Route 66, or get back to nature in your choice of scenic national parks, from Yosemite to the Grand Canyon to the Everglades.

Here’s our pick of the best outdoor adventures, a walking tour of New York City and a guide to exploring Hawaii with kids.

Palau islands aerial view

4. Palau

This is one of the best kept island secrets, and it’s not too far from home. Dip into the crystal waters of Palau and discover a serene, secluded paradise, rich with green forests, sparkling lagoons and a bounty of marine life.

An archipelago of over 200 limestone and volcanic islands, this Pacific Ocean treasure is heaven for snorkellers, divers, kayakers and island-hoppers.

Riga, Latvia at twilight

5. Latvia

Be charmed by Art Nouveu architecture and the medieval Old Town in Riga, and get immersed in history in the many museums and churches.

Outside of the cities, there are beaches, lakes and forests aplenty to explore. Wander the windswept coastline along the Baltic Sea, go trekking or cycling through lush valleys and nature reserves, and discover picturesque lakes and rivers.


6. Australia

There’s so much to explore in our beautiful country – take a short break close to home and see our landscape with fresh eyes. From the cities to the bush, there’s something for every type of traveller.

Check out the top 10 family Australian travel destinations, discover the beauty of the Tasmanian wilderness, or finally tick Uluru off your bucket list with an incredible desert break.

Gdansk, Poland

7. Poland

Stunning old towns, rugged wilderness and hearty soups and dumplings await. Step back in time in Krakow and discover beautifully preserved Gothic and Renaissance churches, abbeys and monasteries. Then head to the national parks for your fill of eerie lakes and woods.

Punta del Diablo beach in Uruguay

8. Uruguay

Mellow and eclectic, this Latin American gem is full of hip beach resorts, breezy promenades and cool architecture. With over 300 km of coastline, it’s paradise for surfers, with sleepy fishing villages and charming colonial towns dotted around for variety.

Stroll around buzzing and cosmopolitan Montevido for a taste of the nightlife, or head to laid back Colonia del Sacramento for a slower pace.

Charming colourful houses in Greenland

9. Greenland

Two words: polar bears. Plus, plenty of shimmering ice, breathtaking glaciers, fjords and mountains, charming towns, and of course, the exquisite Northern Lights.

Greenland is the world’s biggest island, and the least populated. With the sea around it almost permanently frozen, you’ll be chilly – but the spectacular scenery is well worth rugging up for.

Beautiful Fiji beach

10. Fiji

Dip into a blue lagoon, hit the surf or explore pristine rainforests. Fiji is the perfect spot for an island getaway. A vibrant fusion of Polynesian, Melanesian, East Indian, Chinese and European cultures awaits, along with all the waterfalls, palm trees and white-sand beaches you’ve been dreaming of.

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