2015 Wunderlust Places You Need to Visit This Year
Is 2015 the year you promised yourself you would do more travelling? Sure, there are certain things that might prevent you from doing the amount of globe trotting you wish you could, and yet at a certain point you need to take the plunge. Take the time off work, and remind yourself that you don’t need to order pizza for the third time this week – that money could be better spent on seeing the world. When it comes to your ultimate travel destinations, you’ll obviously already have a few contenders. There are also some less likely candidates – places you might not have even considered. So what are some of the hottest travel destinations for 2015?
When travel bible Lonely Planet voted Brisbane the hippest city in Australia, swiftly followed by Rough Guides voting it one of the most beautiful cities in the world, many residents of Sydney and Melbourne responded with, “Seriously?” While not as well known as its southern counterparts, Brisbane has so much to offer. With a population of 2 million, it’s big and yet not overwhelming. It has plentiful open spaces and modern architecture, and the majestic Brisbane River is almost everywhere you turn. It offers a fun, enjoyable urban and cultural experience on a manageable level.
Iran is not as much of a forbidden destination as you might think, and you can get direct flights there from many European capitals, such as Berlin, Rome and Paris. English is widely spoken, and residents of Tehran are cultured and well-educated, simply doing their best under a political system that many would think of as oppressive. The traditional aspects of Iranian life sit side-by-side with more western influences, and you’ll be surprised at the amount of luxury shopping that can be done here. Tehran might not be on everyone’s list, but you’ll never forget it.
When it comes to Havana, we cannot put it any other way: GO NOW. Now that the US and Cuba have restarted diplomatic relations, it will be infinitely easier for US tourists to visit their neighbour. Some unique delights of Cuba could change in the coming years, such as those stunning old cars and the refreshing lack of chain stores, although such changes won’t happen in a hurry. Old Havana will always be stunningly beautiful, but it’s best to sample the country before it becomes too crowded. Don’t just limit yourself to the capital, and a private Cuba tour will show you a slice of the country that many visitors don’t get to experience.
Marseilles used to have a bad reputation, seen as a city with a huge rate of crime that should be avoided. The city has been cleaned up in recent years, and crime has subsequently plummeted. Take a stroll along the waterfront, which was previously heavily industrialised, and marvel at the beauty on offer. Marseilles was a European Capital of Culture in 2013, and French authorities spent €7 billion on redeveloping the city, particularly its waterfront, with a huge number of stores, restaurants and galleries now on offer. Be sure to eat some local seafood that’s been freshly hauled from the local waters.
Often overlooked in favour of Buenos Aires in Argentina, Chile’s capital city is a sprawling urban centre that is unrecognisable from the military dictatorship that only ended in the early 1990’s. Even the landscape is dramatic, and the snow-capped Andes are visible from most spots in the city. Visit Cerro Santa Lucia, a small hill in central Santiago that was the village from which the city grew. The old village has been lovingly maintained, and the views are amazing.
Berlin has become a bit of a theme park for those seeking a gritty European city break with an electro soundtrack. Those in the know now head to Warsaw, with its thriving electro party scene that hasn’t become a stereotype in the way Berlin has. And while Berlin is still cheap, partying in Warsaw will make you think the barman has made a mistake when he hands back your change. He hasn’t – this place really is amazing value.
Many visits to the British mainland start in London and end in Scotland. Wales is hardly a secret, but it’s a mystery why more people don’t spend a few days in Cardiff. The architecture is inventive, and the people are warm – not to mention that wonderfully lilting Welsh accent. The bar scene is amazing, and the city has the highest concentration of castles of any city in the world.
San Sebastián, Spain
Barcelona, Madrid, the Canary Islands… there’s hardly a shortage of great places to visit in Spain. For something a little different, head to San Sebastián on the northern coast, not so far from the French border. The city has beautiful beaches that aren’t overrun with tourists, and the Bay of La Concha is simply stunning. The city will be a European Capital of Culture in 2016, and yet with its plentiful galleries and arts festivals, you might think that this is a permanent title.
Saint Helier, United Kingdom
The Jersey Islands are a curiosity. Proudly British, and yet close to France, these islands offer relaxing isolation in the heart of Europe, just a short boat ride from both France and the British mainland. Saint Helier is the capital city, and only has a population of 330,000 people. Be sure to visit the Central Market on Beresford Street, which has been in operation since 1882. The countryside around the city offers a romanticised notion of Britain, with rolling green hills, and sheep… lots of sheep.
Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
Most visitors to New Zealand head straight to the imposing landscapes of the South Island, but the North Island’s Bay of Plenty demands attention. Mount Maunganui is a relaxed beachside village, with an amazingly laid back vibe, despite the high rise holiday apartments dotted around the town. The beaches stretch for miles, as you will see once you take a hike to the top of Mount Maunganui itself. The town is a popular docking destination for cruise ships, and the population of Mount Maunganui seems to explode when one of these mammoth floating cities pulls up to the dock.