Each New Year brings about new popular destinations for the upcoming 12 months. While some of these may be considered old favourites, several of them are just starting to make a name for themselves. These are 7 of the hottest spots for the next couple of years.
1. Tallinn, Estonia
(photo by: lyng883)
The city’s incredible old town features medieval spires and streets and a lot of atmosphere. It’s a relatively small European city and is quite easy and fun to explore by foot. You can also get around on the local network of trams, buses, and trolleys; and if you buy a Tallinn Card, you’ll be able to use the transportation network with little difficulty.
The city has a long and storied history and one of the best places to revisit it is at the Rocca-al-Mare Open Air Museum where you’ll see typical Estonian watermills, taverns, and windmills as well as an early 20th century cathedral. Town Hall Square is also a delight as it’s the home to St. Olav’s spire, which was the world’s tallest at one point.
2. Essaouira, Morocco, Africa
(photo by chigley)
This destination features some interesting French, Berber, and Portuguese-inspired buildings and architecture. The city lies next to the Atlantic Ocean on the western coast of Morocco. The beach is long and beautiful and offers several seawater spa outlets as well as some pretty spectacular sunsets over the warm, blue ocean water.
The nearby Purple Islands lie just offshore and add to the beautiful scenery. If you’d really like to get a taste of the local culture you can stay in a traditional home which has been turned into a guesthouse. These are known as riads and are quite popular. The famous Gnawas and World Music Festival is also held there each year.
3. Moscow, Russia
(photo by: davidden)
This amazing city is filled with history and culture. It has just about everything you could imagine from one of the world’s most cosmopolitan centers. Along with the ancient, historical buildings, you’ll find an ultra-modern world as well and they both live together in harmony. Some of the most interesting attractions include the Kremlin, Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the KGB Museum, Lenin’s Mausoleum, Boulevard Ring, and Pushkin Square. Moscow can be easily reached by plane or train. For example, if you are traveling from Europe you reach Moscow from Helsinki by taking Helsinki – St. Petersburg train and then a Sapsan train from Saint Petersburg to Moscow.
4. Riga, Latvia
(photo by azwegers)
This wonderful city is the capital of Latvia and is the largest in the Baltics. It features a lot of local Latvian traditions as well as influences from the various nations that have occupies it throughout history. It has been an independent nation since 1991 and the Art Nouveau center has been designated as aUNESCO World Heritage Site. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars in the Old City and it’s quite affordable when compared to other parts of Europe.
The New Town can be reached by the city’s modern transportation system, but you’ll likely have more fun exploring the area on foot.
5. Fethiye, Turkey
(photo by houghtonbird)
This thriving seaside town lies on the Mediterranean Sea and is home to a busy working harbor. It’s definitely not a tourist trap but offers plenty of restaurants and shops. There are also some historic ruins around the city and you’ll never be stuck without anything to do and see. There’s a small ghost town nearby called Kayaky, and this can easily be hiked to. If you’d like to paraglide or soak up the sun, you can head to the beautiful beach at Lüdeniz.
6. Bordeaux, France
(photo by alvarolopez)
This popular French city was actually under British control for about 300 years, which makes it quite unique. It’s a popular destination with wine enthusiasts and the city gets a lot of its energy from the large number of university students who call it home. It’s interesting to see a large French city that’s not actually French in many ways.
7. Zurich, Switzerland
(photo by johnkarakatsanis)
Switzerland’s largest city is a popular shopping and contemporary art destination. You’ll find some magnificent works of art at the Kunsthaus as well as the Rietberg Museum. Some of Europe’s most vibrant shopping areas include Niederdorf and the Bahnhofstrasse. There are plenty of bars, clubs, galleries, churches, and department stores here, as well as a scenic river and Lake Zurich. The transportation system is among the best in the world and you can also explore the town by bike.