Put These 10 Places On Your List For 2015
You'll find the best things off the beaten track.
2014 is winding up and the new year is upon us. As work slows down (for the lucky few of us), it’s time to start fantasising about your 2015 dream holiday destinations.
With so many incredible places on the planet, don’t get overwhelmed if your wishlist has grown exponentially to the point where it resembles a world atlas contents page. You’ve gotta break it down. You’ve got to make some short-term goals. And that’s where we come in.We’ve complied a list of the top 10 must see destinations of 2015, many of which remain off the beaten track so you can get in before the prices go up. Commence day dreaming… now!
If your knowledge of Albania extends as far as Liam Neeson in Taken 2 then you’re sorely under-informed about this spectacular Southeastern European country. After breaking free from its communist shackles in the early ’90s, Albania has now become a safe place to travel but still, barely a tourist sets foot there.
The cities are a little rundown but endearingly so but the country’s real draw card is its breathtaking untouched natural beauty.
Swim in the Blue Eye – a 50 metre deep natural spring which emanates a fluorescent blue colour – or one of the hundreds of Ionian and Adriatic beaches along the winding coastline where wild lavender and sage grow on the shore among the sand, pebbles and ancient castle ruins. You’ll be the only one there.
The low number of tourists also means Albania is a super cheap holiday and a country full of the warmest and friendliest people imaginable.
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
This picturesque island country in the Indian Ocean has been on the avid traveller’s radar for the last four years, ever since the 26-year-long civil war came to an end. But while the colourful destination’s eastern and southern coastlines have become popular beach and surfing destinations, and the country’s centre a mecca for tea and yoga lovers, the north is still relatively unexplored.
Previously closed off to tourists due to military fighting, Jaffna is now open for business. Dotted with towering Hindu temples and fragrant fruit trees, this untouristy city is becoming a bastion of traditional Tamil art, culture and cuisine. Go to Jaffna to experience the real Sri Lanka. Or go for the curries alone.
Flinders Island, Tasmania
Bobbing around inconspicuously in the Bass Straight, Flinders Island has been keeping pretty quiet on the self-promotion front. You might have thought it was just a destination for your olds only but for a few day getaway with your wilderness-loving mates, the place is hard to beat.
One of the most remote locations in Australia, it’s strewn with shipwrecks and awash with natural beauty. Think deserted beaches, awesome caving, diving in crystal blue waters and hiking up mountains. Finish that off with some locally-grown food and top notch wine and, ahhh, relaxing bliss.
Cuba still feels like stepping into a time warp and Havana, with its colourful streets and old-school cars, is oozing with the country’s laid-back retro vibe. Like a Tarantino movie set, the capital city is all about fat cigars, political graffiti, salacious street food, Cuban dancing and men in sombreros playing guitar on the roadside.
Modernisation is bound to hit the shores of Cuba sooner or later, so put this one at the top of your list. Also, take advantage of not being an American – they have to visit on a pre-arranged group tour – and soak up the atmosphere of Havana off your own bat.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
This is one of Europe’s most underrated countries with an almost unsurpassable beauty. Still recovering from a war that ended in 1995, Bosnia & Herzegovina feels like it hasn’t quite caught up to 2015 yet – in the best way possible. You’ll be welcomed into guesthouses and family homes with offerings of chocolate and coffee and shown around the towns as if you are the only visitor.
Visit in summer for quintessential European alfresco dinning and drinking without the tourist prices and long bar lines. The Southeastern European country is super easy to get to, conveniently located on the Balkan Peninsula near Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro.
The most intriguing new country on the well-trodden South East Asian traveller’s trail is Myanmar. Know as Burma in the West, the country is full of off-the-beaten-track experiences. Take meandering boat trips past gilded pagodas, visit local markets to feast on unique Burmese food and explore the landscape as diverse as a living National Geographic.
It’s only been open to tourists for a few years and with new land border crossings from Thailand and relaxed visa restrictions, now’s the time to see Myanmar before the mainstream rush heads over from Bali.
More gritty than pretty this Soviet city is often overlooked in favour of more visually appealing European destinations, but its bohemian and artistic vibe has some hailing it as the new Berlin. The Serbs love their food and booze so the former Yugoslavian capital is home to some of the coolest café and bars, the type you imagine to have been filled with poets and writers in the early 1900s.
Check it out before its authentic vibe becomes too trendy and the travel hipsters move in.
It’s the largest country in Central America, bordering Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south, but Nicaragua is one of the least visited countries in the area. Not for long.
A land of lakes and volcanoes, deserted surf beaches and lush rainforest, it’s a chill-with-a-coffee-by-day and party-with-rum-by-night kind of country and it’s going through a tourism revolution. Get a group of friends together and book out a secluded cabana before the crowds drive the prices up.
Seoul, South Korea
Skyscrapers, flashing lights, crazy colours and K-pop. There’s nothing like the high-energy city of Seoul to get your heart racing. A mix of ultra modern Asia and South Korean soul, this hip yet traditional city is at once the birthplace of ‘Gangnam Style‘ and a hub of teahouses and temples.
It’s never a bad time to visit a city where you can shop all day and party all night – but don’t overlook the incredible museums and galleries, too.
Mere mention of the Silk Road is enough to set any traveller’s sensors off and Uzbekistan – unknown, exotic and fabled – is right in the heart of it. The trade route seems to come alive as life spills onto the streets of this land-locked central Asian country.
In the ancient cities, bazaars and mosques swell with the millions of inhabitants, while in the countryside camels trek through desolate landscapes, deserts and mountains. It’s becoming more popular by the day so get this country on your 2015 travel wishlist, stat.