Our list ranges from Eastern Europe to West Africa, but each of these cities I've visited personally, or they have been highlighted lately by many travel magazines and travel enthusiasts. Some of these destinations are classics, and some are in lesser known corners of the world. These places are worth adding to your bucket list for next year!
1. Budapest, Hungary
Buda-Pest, a Eastern European city, divided by the River Danube, is having a moment right now. It's a city with two sides, each with a distinct look, feel, and culture. For so long people have spent their time exploring Western Europe, but it's time for the East to shine. People are taking notice of it's strong heritage, food scene, night life, castles, and thermal spas.
2. Marrakech, Morocco
A classic North African destination that has the ability to wow even the seasoned traveler. It's labyrinth like madinas, colorful spices, traditional food, desert, and artisan handicrafts will have you wanting to visit over and over throughout your life time.
3. Cape Town, South Africa
As a former colonial port city it still carries much of its earlier influence on its sleeve. But don't let that fool you, it is a incredibly rich experience with breathtaking landscapes, beach activities, safaris, wineries, and history.
4. Helsinki, Finland
It just might be the best kept secret in Scandinavia. Finland is constantly overshadowed by it's neighbor Sweden, but not much longer. Helsinki is a cool city with a huge farm-to-table food scene, very nature oriented, and it's design community is started to get noticed abroad.
5. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is the type of destination for every type of traveler: the spiritual, the party animal, the nature lover, the foodies, the digital nomad, the health and wellness enthusiast, sun-seeker, and the culture aficionado. Whether you spend time in lush and beautiful Ubud, or party the night away in Kutu, it's a dream come true.
6. Tulum, Mexico
This Mexican town off the Caribbean coast which is the most trendy place to be in the whole country. It's picturesque, has an amazing food scene, and is close to cenotes, Mayan ruins, and a close proximity to Cancun & Playa del Carmen.
7. Kyoto, Japan
It's the ancient capital of Japan, and modern keeper of culture. It's famous for the bamboo forest, geisha's, Buddhist temples, and for preserving many Japanese architecture and traditions.
8. Ilha Grande, Brazil
Just off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state lies this breathtaking island. Spend a few days away from the city to boat around the island, go on hikes, and relax on this unspoiled tropical island. Brazil is even easier to get to now that they started their 5 day e-visa for qualified countries.
9. Phú Quốc, Vietnam
It's a Vietnamese island off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand, but it's white-sand beaches and dense tropical jungles have been rivaling it's Southeast Asian counterparts. Although not the sleepy island it once was, you can still enjoy entire beaches all to yourself.
10. Dakar, Senegal
Dakar is one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. You can spend your days completely immersed in local markets, city beaches, and enjoying its rich music and nightlife scene. You can visit the Lake Retba, nature reserves, or the House of Slaves and its Door of No Return. Not to mention it's fashion and textile's are off the charts, especially traditional West African Islamic clothes and embroidery.
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