It’s a new year and the world is calling. From the splash of long-forbidden shores to the fizzle of hip urban beer gardens, 2015 has already begun tempting travel lovers with an array of destinations, both fresh and familiar.
“The New York Times” recently released a list of the top 52 destinations of 2015, and while some locations will earn a knowing nod from seasoned travelers, many more will inspire a soft “huh” and – we’re hoping – some exciting new vacation plans.
- Milan, Italy
Sure, Italy is rich with romantic cities like Florence, Venice and Rome but its most vibrant might just be Milan. And this is the year for tourists to explore its charms, as it hosts the 2015 World Expo.
Cuba has long been the forbidden island, a tropical bastion of communism whose mystique was amplified by the fact it was largely off limits to Americans. Now, as part of the détente between the United States and Cuba, Americans wishing to go there will face fewer restrictions
A series of projects has transformed Philadelphia into a hive of outdoor urban activity Public art installations, mini “park spaces” and open-air beer gardens have become common sights.
- Yellowstone National Park
The nation’s first National Park offers new lodging. Yellowstone National Park will get a major lodging upgrade with the $70 million redesign of the largest accommodation complex in the park, Canyon Lodge and Cabins, with more than 500 rooms
- Elqui Valley, Chile
The deserts of northern Chile, whose dry, clear skies and high altitude make for unmatched stargazing, have long been home to some of the world’s largest research telescopes
It’s a year-long birthday party and the world is invited. Singapore is turning 50 in 2015, and the ambitious little city-state is pulling out all the stops to celebrate.
- Durban South Africa
The city’s creative set is staking its claim on a hefty share of the country’s cool quotient. Durban is home to one of the world’s largest Indian communities)
Finally stable and opening up to the world. Bolivia’s days of relentless transportation strikes and roadblocks are mostly behind it. And travelers who try out the now tourism-friendly infrastructure will be rewarded with new attractions once they arrive.
- Faroe Islands
A remote location is home to the New Nordic Cuisine. The Faroe Islands, an archipelago in the North Atlantic, has emerged in the last five years as possibly the most secluded destination for avant-garde food.
Macedonia is known for its moody monasteries and sparkling Lake Ohrid, this former Yugoslav republic is making a play for adventure foodies, And Macedonia is one of the few places without a McDonald’s — they all closed in 2013
- Medellin, Colombia
Many of the once legendary slums have been transformed through some astonishing architectural gems, like the Biblioteca España, a hyper-modern public library and community space in the low-income Santo Domingo neighborhood.
- St Vincent & the Grenadines
The largest development project ever undertaken in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the new $240 million Argyle International Airport will open this year, offering nonstop jet service from North America and Europe to the 32-island nation dotting the Lesser Antilles between St. Lucia and Grenada
- Orlando, Florida
Disney World will no doubt remain the biggest draw to Orlando, but the city is growing up thanks to a string of civic developments, including the $429 million Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, the 62-mile-long SunRail commuter train, both opened last year.
Once avoided now a must visit. This country’s beauty and bounty have been overshadowed by political unrest and economic collapse over the last few decades, but today, the government is finally stable, the overinflated Zimbabwean dollar is gone, and the prices are low. An international terminal at Victoria Falls Airport set to open in July will make it far easier to get to
- Burgundy, France
The renowned wine region has ditched its musty Anglo moniker and reclaimed its French name in all official wine communications. With this rebrand come several changes and a new generation of winemakers and hoteliers.
- Lower Manhattan, New York
More than a decade after 9/11, the southern tip of Manhattan is becoming one of New York City’s most vibrant neighborhoods. The long-awaited One World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial, which opened last year, will soon be surrounded by an appealing array of dining, shopping and lodging establishments
A Safari revival in troubled times. Security fears in neighboring Kenya have inadvertently worked in Tanzania’s favor, as far as tourism goes: Its luxurious new lodges are enticing diverted visitors. The ever-popular Serengeti retains its cachet with high-profile openings
Stay tuned for the second and third installments of 2015’s hottest destinations.