A new year calls for new additions to travel to-do lists. To get inspired, we asked our Nat Geo Travel Facebook fans to share their picks for 2015’s must-visit destinations.
We kick things off with a nod to one of the world’s most beloved musicals. Coco V. suggests a trip to Salzburg, Austria, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music. The city is honoring the occasion with tours, musical performances, and exhibitions throughout the year, culminating with a blowout gala in October.
Don’t let Sri Lanka‘s size fool you—there’s a lot to do on this island. History buffs will flock to the nation’s six archaeological UNESCO World Heritage sites, while wildlife enthusiasts will find bliss seeking out sightings of Sri Lankan leopards or blue whales. All this, combined with rich food and friendly locals, makes Sri Lanka Hestia M.’s must-visit destination.
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, Coco V. recommends Montserrat, a mountaintop crowned by a Benedictine monastery in Catalonia, Spain. In addition to being a place of great religious significance, Montserrat scores high on the charts for natural beauty. Coco’s favorite aspects of her journey? Locally made cheeses, towering peaks, and solitude. Best of all, Montserrat is a mere hour northwest of Barcelona, making it an ideal destination day trip.
For our more adventurous travelers, Augusto C. proposes the Cape Verde Islands, a cluster of islands found 350 miles off Africa’s northwestern coast. Home to pristine beaches, volcanic peaks, and bustling city centers, there’s enough to satisfy any globetrotter. For Augusto, the reason to trek to this remote archipelago is simple: “Because you have it all.”
Karen G. insists that there’s more to Death Valley National Park than scorching temperatures and unending desert. “You can hike the valley floor one day to see the lowest point in North America and climb a mountain peak the next,” she writes. Its 3.4 million acres make Death Valley the largest national park in the continental United States, meaning there’s more than enough park to explore.
For Charlotte R., visiting Lord Howe Island is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Situated more than 400 miles from Sydney Harbour, the island is known for its premier scuba diving sites. But there are plenty of activities for landlubbers, too, including hikes, bird-watching tours, and museums. The government limits the amount of visitors allowed at any given time, making the New South Wales island a naturalist’s dream.
Helena G. nominates Dubrovnik, Croatia.”Even for the seasoned European traveler, it offers a bit of an exotic appeal,” she writes. While the views alone are enough to awe any visitor, the city’s history as a Mediterranean trade hub adds unique cultural flair. Plus, you can indulge your Game of Thrones fandom; Dubrovnik’s old town serves as King’s Landing on HBO’s hit show.
Keith C. describes Newfoundland’s Fogo Island as one of the “most rugged and modern sights on the planet.” In addition to Fogo’s scenic coastline, the island earns renown for its rich local heritage and growing artisan community. Travelers should take a peek at the Fogo Island Inn, an architectural marvel that draws guests from all over the world to the tiny Canadian island.
“I felt like I was standing at the beginning of time,” writes Jennifer E. of traveling to Egypt. In addition to exploring ruins in Luxor and camping in the Sahara Desert, travelers can follow her lead by cruising around in a glass-bottom boat in Dahab or snorkeling in an underwater museum in Alexandria. But the one thing that Jennifer insists tops the list of things to love about Egypt? Its people.
Rounding out our list, Gaia Z. recommends a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. While known for its vibrant Mardi Gras celebrations and zesty cultural olio, the city is also remembered for the devastation it suffered at the hands of Hurricane Katrina. As the 10th anniversary of the epic storm approaches, New Orleans is standing tall and open for business.
Which destination do you think should be on any traveler’s must-visit list? Share your recommendations with the Intelligent Travel community in the comments section below.