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by Grace Smith

The Best Places to Travel in 2016

Coming back to work after the holidays can leave a lot of us in a bit of a slump. The cure? Start planning your next vacation! We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best cities to visit this year. So start packing, because it’s never too early to start planning your next vacation! Here are our picks for the 10 best places to travel in 2016.


#10. Nashville, USA

 

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If banjos, cowboy boots, and big hair are the first things that come to mind when you hear Nashville, then you are definitely correct. However, poke your head out of the local saloon and you’ll hear the subtle buzz of construction and new business. Nashville has been seeing an extended period of growth and it’s a great indicator showing that the US Economy is back up on the rise.

Despite it once being somewhat uncool and ‘old school,’ several young people are moving to Nashville thanks to the blossoming job market and the low cost of living. With abandoned buildings up for grabs on almost any corner, newcomers aren’t wasting time with these forgotten treasures. They’re getting their creative juices flowing to transform these skeletons into hip new coffee shops, breweries, and independent fashion boutiques.

The result? An old-time city with a fresh, new twist. It’s a healthy blend of the old and the new, the classic with the modern. If there was a good time to go, now would be a great time to hit up Nashville!


#9. Rome, Italy

 

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Rome is an absolutely stunning city with jaw-dropping churches, lively piazzas, and it’s overly contagious European culture. This year in particular is a great time to visit Rome since Pope Francis has announced that 2016 is an official global jubilee Year of Mercy. With that in mind, there will be thousands of pilgrims travelling to Rome, so make sure to make travel plans well in advance.

Another great reason to travel to Rome this year is to witness the long-awaited unveiling of the restored Colosseum. Armies of archaeologists have spent the last several years scrubbing and squeaking every nook and cranny of the Colosseum, and it is finally open to the public.

The Trevi Fountain has also been cleaned up and restored, so make sure to catch it in all of it’s foamy glory after drinking a cappuccino at one of the local coffee shops.


#8. Manchester, England

 

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The ‘has-been’ catalyst of the Industrial Revolution has found it’s new place in the modern buzz of London town, having settled into it’s new position as a hub for arts and culture. Even the English Government agrees as they’ve invested over 75 million pounds to build a new, multi-purpose arts space that will have a theater with a 2200 seat capacity.

With the younger generations moving into the city at a rapid pace, the nightlife in Manchester is something you must experience as local Mancs enjoy a good party every day of the week (the weekend starts on Thursday). The bar and club scene caters to every kind of party you might be looking for. From the college scene on Oxford Road, to the Gay and Lesbian clubs on Canal Street, to the high-end lounges down the street, there is no doubt that you will be able to find something that suits your fancy.

Manchester also offers a plethora of amazing shopping centers curated with independent and local designers. King Street is littered with high-end, recognized designers featuring everyone from Georgio Armani, to Jimmy Choo, to Prada. If you’re not interested in designer level shopping, the Trafford Center is an amazing shopping center with 230 stores and 47 restaurants. You’ll definitely want to spend a few days there as it has a wide variety of retailers that we’re sure will tickle your fancy!


#7. Bangkok, Thailand

 

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Bangkok is an eccentric city that lives for the hot summer nights, which turns out to be every night since the average temperature during the ‘winter’ time is about 27 degrees Celsius. It’s never jacket weather here, so feel free to bring your favorite shorts and flip flops!

With the amount of tourists and expats coming into Thailand, Bangkok has become more multicultural in order to appeal to the growing demographic of foreigners. The result? A foodie’s dream! You can find amazing sushi restaurants all over Bangkok, as well as some Indian and Mexican restaurants scattered across the city. Of course, traditional Thai food is out of this world and is definitely a “must-taste” for any foodie. Just make sure to ask for “not spicy” when ordering your food, which means only one chili by Thai standards!

The locals in Bangkok are extra friendly and are always willing to help tourists, whether it’s with directions or teaching you words in Thai. The city buzzes with life and you can see that the locals are proud to live in such an amazing place. Bangkok specifically is amazing for travel as you will never have to wait for a cab.

The city is also extremely convenient. Have a craving to go shopping at 6am? There’s always a shopping mall open. Need aspirin at 3am? There’s a 24/7 pharmacy down the street almost anywhere. Hungry in the middle of the night? There’s always someone selling food outside. It’s such an easy place to travel and live in that it’s no wonder why tourists come back time and time again to revisit the city. It quickly begins to feel like home!


#6. Kotor, Montenegro

 

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Kotor is one of the most picture perfect cities you can visit, literally. From the Bay of Kotor, to the small cobblestone streets of the city, it’s hard to find a camera angle that isn’t completely breathtaking. What makes the city so memorable is the culture and life that’s happening around you. The locals catch up over coffee at local cafes while eating freshly baked bread straight from the baker’s over. There’s nothing else like it.

Don’t bother going to high-end,expensive restaurants, the real flavors of the city come out within the local markets that are squished together in the main town, Stari Grad. The local shops provide an array of amazing foods, smoked meats with dollops of honey and cheese to match, you can sample all the meat and cheese that your heart desires. Afterwards, look for a local vineyard to sample some authentic, locally made wine.

The beautiful Bay of Kotor is absolutely incredible, no wonder it has become the landing spot for several cruise ships and visitors. Luckily the city hasn’t been completely run down and taken over by the tourist industry – yet. Who knows how long that will last. So make sure to visit this captivating city before it’s too late!


#5. Rotterdam, The Netherlands

 

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Being a tourist in Rotterdam might be one of the simplest migrations to make. The public transit system is straightforward and timely. Wait times for trains and buses are almost unnoticeable, making it easy for you to get to your final destination. The culture in Rotterdam is cozy and friendly, with locals always willing to lend a hand to the stray tourist floating around the city.

One of the most characteristic things about the city is it’s unique and futuristic architecture. Thousands of architecture connoisseurs flock to the city seeking inspiration and stare in awe of all the amazing masterpieces in their surroundings. The Markethal Rotterdam is a must-see with it’s unique inverted-U shape. The building houses an indoor marketplace which has small shops inside that carry everything from fish, to poultry, to cappuccinos, to sweets. The ceilings inside the Markethal feature beautiful floral murals that stretch from one side to the other. The Markethal is always full of life and chatter while the smell of eccentric foods permeates throughout the air.

Don’t forget to take in the view of the amazing “vertical city,” the largest building in the Netherlands. The futuristic and innovative building was built by architect Rem Koolhaas, who won awards on many of his architectural projects.

The city is filled with amazing sights to see and you will never experience a dull moment. It’s a great mix of old traditions and modern, urban air which make it an intriguing place to discover.


 

#4. Krakow, Poland

 

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Frequently referred to as the cultural capital of Poland, Krakow is the fourth largest city in the country and holds several attractions such as the world-renowned Jagellonian University, Wawel Castle, and one of Europe’s largest market squares. Krakow used to be the capital of the country up until the end of the 16th century when Warsaw took the honor.

The Main Market Square was laid out in 1257 and was a remarkable piece of town-planning. The grid-like pattern of the streets and the tree-lined sidewalks for pedestrians make it a breeze to carouse around the city and take in all of the amazing sights. The Wawel Castle is just south of the Market Square and has been said to be one of the most beautiful Royal Houses in all of Europe. Today, the castle is in it’s best shape in years thanks to restoration efforts implemented by the Polish Government.

Despite the amazing landmarks that the city holds, the nightlife in Krakow is unbeatable. Famous for their vodkas and beers, the Poles are not shy about their drinking culture. As a visitor to the city, the choice of which bar to hit up is overwhelming since every building can have anywhere from 1-3 bars/nightclubs in it. Even some of the coffee shops offer spirits and shooters with your order! Keep in mind that Krakow has more bars per square meter than any other place in the world. So if you’re planning to bar hop, you probably won’t get too far!


#3. Mumbai, India

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2016 looks like it’s going to be the year that this powerhouse of finance, fashion, and film finally come of age. The city is investing into it’s rapid growth and development as it is predicted to overtake China as the fastest growing economy of the year. The change can be seen all over the city as abandoned cities in the slumps are transformed into upscale shopping centers and boutiques. Commuters enjoy an air-conditioned ride in the new monorail system while rocking local designers from head to toe and showing off their latest cell phones and gadgets.

Despite the new monorail system, many locals and tourists still rely on the original, overcrowded train network throughout the city where you can usually catch some daredevils in action. Adrenaline junkies have made a sport out of climbing on top of the overcrowded carriages and performing stunts while the train is in motion. It’s unbelievably dangerous but makes for some interesting YouTube clips.

Of course, the food in Mumbai is to die for. Everything from butter chicken to chaat papri is readily available from vendors on the street. Interestingly enough, the the government is imposing a charge for possessing beef products. So if you’re a big fan of beef dishes, make sure to try them before chefs begin to taper them off of their menus!


 

#2. Fremantle, Australia

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Fremantle is a charming little place in Australia with classic Victorian buildings that somehow dodged the wrecking balls of the 1970s. In 1987, Fremantle polished itself up for the annual America’s Cup yacht race. Once the races ended, the city faced a “what now?” moment, which forced it to start planning for the future. The result was a process of reinvention and investment into the arts, the development of the new Notre Dame University, and the revitalization of the city’s waterfront.

A day in Fremantle is an interesting blend of artisan food, great coffee, craft beers, local boutiques, and lots of art and music. Freo (as they call it) is the home of Australia’s handcrafted beer and has gained a huge following throughout the entire continent. The local brews offer awesome dishes to pair with their beverages as well as a family friendly environment that welcomes anyone and everyone.

You can also head over to the harbor to grab some fresh seafood or fish and chips to devour. The Fishing Boat Harbor is a crux in the Fremantle food scene and features tons of seafood eateries along the walkway.

If you do go, make sure to stop by the Fremantle prison which was built by convicts in the 1850s and used for 136 years. You can take a tour during the day or – our favorite – do a spooky Torchlight Tour during the nighttime!


 

#1. Dublin, Ireland

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Dublin has seen it’s dark days but has recently shown to be bouncing back from it’s gloomy past. The lively spirit of the Irish locals shines through as you walk down a cobblestone road to grab a coffee at a local hipster shop. Right now is a great time to travel to Ireland since it’s great value for your money. Accommodation, travel, and other necessities are all affordable, so you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank.

It’s estimated that over 40% of the population in Dublin is under 30, giving the air a youthful vibrancy with a breath of fun and creativity. You can get a mini-tour with a local Dubliner at the Little Museum of Dublin who will tell you about their hometown in exchange for a free pint. Of course, a pint of Irish beer is on everyone’s to do list, and you can do so at any one of the artsy bars scattered all over the city.

2016 marks a special year for Dublin as it is the 100-year anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. For those who don’t know, in 1916 an armed rebellion broke out in the streets of Dublin, fighting against British rule. The uprising caught support and sparked a chain of events leading up to the creation of the Irish Republic. So try to plan to make it to the city for the festivities as the government has put aside over 20 million Euros for the celebrations!


Where will 2016 take you? Got any plans to go anywhere this year?
Travel bloggers absolutely love our Ivy Convertible Dress thanks to it’s flowy design and wrinkle-resistant fabric. It’s the perfect dress for the Henkaanista on the go! Make sure to check it out as well as our travel light packing guides in our handy dandy travel section!

 

Grace Smith
Grace Smith



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