On October 29, Lonely Planet will publish its “Best of 2016”, a compilation of travel destinations that will attract a lot of attention next year. Ten regions will gain in popularity, starting with Transylvania in Romania, where the city of Cluj-Napoca is looking forward to meeting art fans and its Airbnb hosts are waiting for reservations.
Based on the criteria of special events, ongoing buzz, value for money and that extra something that is wholly subjective and inexplicable, this Australian/British guide has named the coolest travel destinations for 2016, for which reservations will have to be made soon before hordes of tourists arrive.
Clear blue waters and sublime beaches are not necessarily in fashion now. The hottest destination is in Europe, in the Romanian region of Transylvania, where adventurers can meet up with free-roaming wolves and bears and become vampire hunters in Brasov.
“Transylvania is experiencing a renaissance,” says Lonely Planet. As a matter of fact, Uber, the mobile app which connects you with a driver, has recently opened an office in Bucharest.
Italy is expected to make its mark with the Friuli wine region, which is currently somewhat overshadowed by its neighbour, the Veneto region. Lonely Planet notes that “the word may be out, but this is still a very little visited destination, even by other Italians”.
France also has a place in this top ten with an unexpected representative in the form of Auvergne. The travel specialist sees the region as a little-known treasure, elaborating that “its glacier-carved valleys and volcanic peaks are more reminiscent of Iceland than the heart of France, but somehow it has long been overlooked for being too peaceably rural”.
But that’s all changing, as French travellers weary of tourist-clogged rivieras seek escape” in Auvergne which “has responded by reinventing itself with ambitious art projects and a portfolio of wilderness adventures, without ever losing its small-town charisma”.
Proof that travellers are seeking out authenticity, Bavaria gives Germany eighth position in this top ten. Lonely Planet describes it as the most welcoming of Germany’s 16 Lander.
Surprises in 2016
Lonely Planet arranges its travel forecasts into three categories: regions, cities and countries. While some of the winners are “classics”, like Australia and Japan, others are likely to arouse travellers’ curiosity. The island of St Helena, which is known to the French as Napoleon’s last destination, is opening its doors to tourists via a new airport that will soon be opened.
Europe is also featured with Montenegro, which has now established itself as a must-do destination. Kotor, which also is ranked number one city, has not yet been overwhelmed by tourists. But that is not likely to last, as cruise lines are increasingly making stops there.
Few travelers will have guessed the guide’s top country destination 2016, as it is Botswana. This African country will celebrate 50 years of independence next year. The guide describes Botswana as “a unique destination: an unusual combination of desert and delta that draws an immense concentration of wildlife… wild, pristine and expansive”.
All Lonely Planet’s travel destinations can be found in “the Best of 2016”, which will be released on October 29 priced at US$14.99 (RM64.37).
Other chapters will help adventurers who are short of ideas such as those dedicated to best value destinations, special anniversaries to celebrate in 2016, “final frontiers”, and “most extraordinary sleepovers”.
Lonely Planet’s Top 10 regions:
1. Transylvania, Romania
2. West Iceland
3. Valle de Vinales, Cuba
4. Friuli’s wine regions, Italy
5. Waiheke Island, New Zealand
6. The Auvergne, France
7. Hawaii, US
8. Bavaria, Germany
9. Costa Verde, Brazil
10. St Helena, South Atlantic
Top 10 cities
1. Kotor, Montenegro
2. Quito, Ecuador
3. Dublin, Ireland
4. George Town, Malaysia
5. Rotterdam, Netherlands
6. Mumbai, India
7. Fremantle, Australia
8. Manchester, UK
9. Nashville, US
10. Rome, Italy
Top 10 countries: