Outlook Traveller's Bucket List for 2016

Outlook Traveller's Bucket List for 2016

Here's where you should go this year


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11 Min Read
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Itӳ surprising that Africaӳ fourth largest city and the vast continentӳ diplomatic capital is known so little to the world outside؁ddis Ababa is home to the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and several other internaδional organisations. But if the Ethiopian capital is the gateway to another world of opΰortunity and riches to rural Ethiopians, the sprawling megalopolis of contrasts is also at the mysterious cusp of the ancient and the contemporary for visitors from elsewhere. Named for a Үew flowerҠin Amharic, the official language of the 88 spoken in Ethiopia, the city was founded as the place from which Emperor Menelik IIӳ wife could enjoy mineral baths with her friends. Itӳ also the birthplace of coffee andةn a metro of great bazaars, historic walks, venerated churches, stately government buildings and plentiful museumsشraditional coffee ceremonies honour guests in the old way.
BogotᬠColombia: Not so long ago, Colombia was the byword of glamour gone wrong, and Bogotᡳeen as the acme of a city in chaos. Deterέination has seen the city transform into one with a world-leadΩng public transport system, 300km of bicycle and walking trails, and a green network of 1,200 parks and quality public spaces. Add an entire historic city, and itӳ easy to see why it is referred to as the Athens of South America. The best of Bogotᡩs a treasure of museums, art galleries, international fairs and cultural events.
Hokkaido, Japan: Itӳ taken a while coming (the ambitious project began in 2005) but the bullet train is finally set to speed its way into southern Hokkaido, more precisely to the port city of Hakodate, on March 26. Transportation time will not only be cut down marvellously, it will also open up the famously scenic region to eager visitorsشhe large northern island of Hokkaido is a wilderness paradise of pristine mountains, forests, lakes and seashore. Tourism infrastructure is already expanding. The first service, a 148km stretch via the undersea Seikan Tunnel, will connect the Shin-Aomori Station in Aomori Prefecture to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station in Hokkaido (Hakodate will be 15min away by shuttle). Eventually, by 2030, the Hokkaido Shinkansen will connect the Shin-Aomori Station to Sapporo 360km away. The most anticipated development is the reduction in travel time between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto from 5.5 hours to four hours.
Ljubljana, Slovenia: Itӳ a city without one dominant tourist attraction, and perhaps that is what makes it such an all-round destination. The entire city charms. The Slovenian capitalӳ credentials as one of Europeӳ greenΥst and most liveable cities have seen it get named as the European Green Capital of 2016. Restrictions on veΨicles at the city centre coupled with ample pedestrian and cycling tracks in a city bisected by the emerald-green Ljubljanica River, add to the cityӳ lure. Add some of the most stunning early-modern, minimalist buildings, and the city is referred to as a Ҫewel boxҮ Post a newfound politiΣal stability, the city has also become an active cultural hub for the region.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Well, the stage canӴ get bigger than the Olympics, when the worldӳ atδention will be focussed on Rio (August 5ֲ1). Whether you are anticipating the straight marquee battle between Justin Gatlin and Usain Bolt or looking ahead to rising stars such as Jaheel Hyde in the 400-m hurdles or Si Yajie on the 10m platform, thereӳ a lot happening. The city has been spruced up, new museums have opened, historic sites have been exhumed, and even Christ the Redeemer has reΧained some lost lustre. Copacabana and Ipanema retain their vim. Of course, take adequate protection against zika!
Road of Seven Lakes, Argentina: If the Andes are your thing, then it is difficult to beat this route for sheer natural splendor. Compared frequently to Switzerάand for sightseeing, watersports, trekking and climbing as well as chocolate boutiques and breweries, the Seven Lakes Route is among the most sought after tourist corridors in the region. A long time in the making, a new road has finally been completed recently and has cut travel times considerably. The 237-km road crosses the Lanand Nahuel Huapi national parks and provides access to several lakes in the forest area of the Patagonian Andes.
National Gallery, Singapore: If 2015 was all about Singaporeӳ lively celebrations on turning 50, the opening of the new National Gallery on November 24 would count among its crowning glories. Not only does it now occupy two of the island nationӳ most iconic heritage buildings (the Supreme Court and the City Hall), they have been given such a makeover that the project is already being hailed as a modern architectural classic. The new National Gallery is the worldӳ first museum focused on Southeast Asian art and features mainly two sections: one for the best of Singaporean art and the other as an introduction to the art of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. Home to over 8,000 works, itӳ comparable in size to Londonӳ Tate Modern.
Sk毥, Sweden: Swedenӳ southernmost province, commonly known as ғcania CountyҬ combines the charm of metropolitan Malm��th rolling fields, sandy coastlines and stoic castles. Combined with easy access from Denmark, this is a popular haven. Sk毥, however, is now getting noticed for another tasteful reasonء new wave of Scandinavian cooking is sweeping the area. Often dubbed Swedenӳ Tuscany, or even its larder, the regionӳ culinary reputation has become formiΤable with the addition of three Michelin star restaurants in 2015. Old farms are being transformed into organic bistros, and youӲe likely to gain new-found respect for greens like dill and cucumber. Washed down with their famous ice wine, the unfussy cuisine comes out a winner in the food stakes.
South Island, New Zealand: Itӳ arguably the best possible way to see New Zealandӳ fabled abundance of natural beauty and thereӳ no stinting in scenic treasures along the wayئrom lofty mountains to great lakes, all the way down to the ocean with even the weather varying dramatically with the topography. And, no, itӳ not only for fitness freaksئamilies can take kids along on the easy-to-intermediate sections of the well-mapped trail. The 301-km journey from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean in South Island takes 4-6 days (the trail lies midway between Christchurch and Queenstown), depending on the speed at which cyclists take it up, and even day trips are possible. The logistics would tempt even the most hesitant travellerخine sectional maps show the elevation, trail surfaces, fitness, skill, traffic, safety notes, and highlights, and baggage transfers and toilets are provided. See alps2ocean.com
Vancouver, Canada: Well, okay, it may not be the most liveable city in the world (according to The Economist 2015 Global Liveability Ranking), but itӳ number 3 on the list, and could easily have been number 1 (thatӳ Melbourne). The ranking considers 30 factors including personal safety, public infrastructure and environέent, and Vancouver fits every bill. A stoneӳ throw from Seattle, Vancouver is on the Burrard peninsula, with British Columbiaӳ mountainous wildernesses to its north and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Itӳ large, diverse , laidback and outdoorsy. It has great beaches and one of the largest urban parks in North America (Stanley Park). You can go skinny dipping in the Kitsilano beaches, catch an Alaska cruise, or go ziplining at the Botanical Gardens. Vancouver is also festival central: there are fringe festivals and jazz festivals; the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival and the Cherry Blossom Festival. There are amazing hikes into the mountains and hip restaurants serving delicious seafood under the Modern Canadian Fare movement.
Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom: The world may have been his stage but Stratford-upon-Avon may have a teensy bit larger claim on him, on which ground, this picturesque town by the Avon is spending 2016 celebrating William Shakespeare as their man. The bard, of course, lived for a considerable part of his life here, and the town has been spruced up to welcome an anticipated spike in tourist numbers. A five-year archaeology project has peeled back the years, and multiple trusts and grants have revived every conήection to Shakespeare, real or imagined. Stratford-upίn-Avon will host daylong celebrations on Saturday, April 23, and a whole host of other events around the time. Of course, every theatre, especially those associated with the 17th-century playwright such as the Globe or Barbican, in nearby London, will also have special commemorative performances. Did we mention that Stratford has never looked as prettily historic? See shakespeare400.org.
Vilanculos, Mozambique: A popular beach resort, itӳ the Mozambican capital of waterγports. Vilanculos is also the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago, with its stunningly beautiful islands. Over the years, surfing has become popular, as it provides a temperate climate, unpreΤictable waters and plentiful windء dream for any surfer. The land around offers a mix of beach and safari, and the tranquil coast draws travellers looking for a post-safari snorkel and surfing options. What has also changed for Moκambique of late is newfound political stability, which has made a number of top-notch tourism players like and΂eyond and Interpid Travel start new ventures. See mozambiquetourism.co.za.
Vi?s, Cuba: The Vi?s valley is one of the most scenic parts of rural Cuba. Surrounded by the dramatic cliffsides of the karst mountains of the Sierra de los Organos, this picture-perfect region is often thought of as the real Cubaءn idylάic countryside of tobacco farmers and a culturally rich multi-ethnic society. So once youӶe had your fill of the picturΥsque seediness of Havana, head to the west of the island for a slice of Cuba thatӳ been unchanged for centuries. The valley is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The residents of the small town of Vi?s are quite used to tourism. Thereӳ much to do here, from visiting cigar factories to cavΩng and hiking in the hills, called mogotes. A popular way to see the valley is on horseback. You could also just hang out and enjoy the scenery, or head up to the nearby Marla Gorda, the northwestern tip of Cuba, for some gorgeous sunsets.
Virunga, DRC: Congoӳ fabled Virunga National Park re-opened in 2015 after a gap of two years due to the Congo Civil War. This vast 7,800 sq km park encompasses tropical forests, savannahs, riverine forests, marshlands, active volcanoes, the glaciated heights of the Mountains of the Moon, the geologically ancient Great Rift Valley and is home to the critically endangered mountain gorillas. Africaӳ oldest park (set up in 1925), its heyday was in the 1970s. A long civil war and poachΩng took its toll, and the recent discovery of oil reserves has also cast a shadow. However, Congo is making a huge pitch to make Virunga attractive again. The best way to experience this wonderland is on foot, and to this end, the park organises a few treks to visit the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and to the surreal lava lake of the Nyiragongo volcano, and climbing trips to the Rwenzori mountains.
Washington DC, USA: Hereӳ a good reason to visit Washington DC this year. The ambitious National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will finally open its doors in September 2016. In the works since 2012, the building on the National Mall is all set to be completed in April. A long-standing goal of successive US governments, the NMAAHC promises to tell the unvarnished tale of the African-American experience, from the beginning of the slave trade in the 15th century. Separate galleries will chart the seminal contribution in music, arts and culture in shaping Americaӳ pop culture, as well as the military history of the community.
Zurich, Switzerland : The cosmopolitan charms of Zurich tend to get overshadowed by its economic credentials. The city on the Limmat has a series of new openings scheduled for this year. The opening of the new FIFA World Football Muγeum is a highlight, with the multi-million dollar museum designed to be a stunning showcase for the beautiful game, even as its parent body is under a scanner. There are a thousand exclusive exhibits, an interactive world of experiences with 60 screens, jerseys and other souvenirs from all member nations and much more. Other attractions include the new Museum of Digital Art, the first in Europe, the inauguration of the extension of the National Museum Zurich, and the centenary celebrations of Dadaism.

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