With the end of the Christmas holidays, many find themselves, often guiltily, wistfully pondering as to when their next holiday will occur. The very reality of the society we live in today is that there are many reasons not to travel, ; “I just have simply too much work” and “I can’t afford to travel, not now” being favourites of many.
Well, when there’s a will, there’s a way and Graham Hughes demonstrated this when he travelled every single country in the world, all 201 for $100 a week. Hughes is an inspiration for any souls that find the 9-5 mundane and yearn to explore, to learn, to experience the wonders of Earth. In 2015, these are the places you should be saving every cent to see..
By Samin Sekandar
“To see the world, things dangerous to come, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life”. Anyone that watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty will immediately recognise that quote as the motto of Life Magazine, the magazine featured in the movie and they’ll also know why Iceland makes the list. Whilst Greenland is referred as to the location, it is actually Iceland where the 2014 Outstanding Location Feature Film was shot.
This incredible country is literally shimmering in natural beauty with winter months offering must see before you die views of the Aurora borealis. Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, is mind boggling large and breathtakingly beautiful, and surrounded by Jökulsárlón (literally translates to ‘glacial riverlagoon’) is a sight to behold. Add volcanos,Geysir hot springs and numerous waterfalls to the mix and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be converting your money into Icelandic Krona right now.
Home to the internationally renowned Sapporo Snow Festival and the birthplace of miso ramen, Sapporo has something for everyone. Surrounded by spectacular mountains, Sapporo is one of Japan’s youngest major cities and features beautiful 19th century European architecture which look down upon tree-lined streets. It is the main city on the Hokkaidō island and there are many sights that are close to city.
One of these sights lies 100km away from Sapporo and is a common name among ski-lovers, Niseko. Niseko’s main economy is tourism and for very good reason. it is one of only three ski resorts in the world to receive a 5 (Outstanding) on powederhound.com sharing its prestige with famed Whistler (Canada) and Telluride (USA).
With some of the best powder in the world, it’s a playground that skiers and snowboarders alike have come to dream of. If you’re apprehensive about foreign language and have a desire for the thrills and spills of the snow, Niseko is the place to be, catering for everyone ranging from the first time skier to the next Shaun White and is the most English friendly out of all the ski-resorts.
There are also many hot springs that are near impossible to leave on especially cold days and are an amazing experience. The best time to visit and experience Sapporo’s true beauty is in the winte(December – February).
Located in western Asia overlapping into south-eastern Europe, Turkey quite literally demonstrates the best of both vastly different continents with a diverse, rich history coupled with unparalleled landscapes that is apparent everywhere you look.
From the hot spring town of Pamukkale, iconic for it’s sparkling white calcium shelves and the springs that have been used as spas from second century BC, to the large palaces, bazaars and mosques in Istanbul that serve as a reminder of Turkey’s fascinating history as the capital during the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, it isn’t hard to understand why Turkey has been one of the most popular travel destinations for many.
This year holds extreme significance however, as April 25, 2015 will mark the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC’s, and whilst every remembrance is an emotional affair in Gallipoli, 2015 will be something special that every proud Australian should make an effort to witness for a literally once in a lifetime memory that you will remember forever.
The old adage that good things come in small packages couldn’t ring truer for Montenegro, a country that is 1/3rd bigger than Melbourne and referred to as ‘the pearl of the Mediterranean’. The extremely compact size makes it a travellers dream as everywhere you go, you are guaranteed views that will make you dread the day you have to leave.
Steti Stefan (St Stephen) is an island city and hotel resort that can be accessed by car and if money is no issue, a night stay is a must do, to experience why it’s hosted the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Sylvester Stallone and recently Novak Djokovic’s wedding. Inland there is no end of beautiful beaches ranging from the sandy to the pebbly and with rugged mountains as far as the eye can see, there is no shortage of things to do.
Featuring some of the most stunning views Europe can provide, with weather to suit, any lover of the outdoors must book a trip to the pearl of Mediterranean.
Charming old mosaic pavements, a land full of sunshine and an experience unlike any other. Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and it’s main attraction. This city has character, real character, a trait that so many lack and it is immediately becomes as clear as Lisbon’s waters from the moment you touch down in Lisbon Portela Airport, that Lisbon is a city like no other.
The nightlife in Lisbon makes anything else you’ve experienced look like a hen night for grandma’s, with most of the action going down in Bairro Alto, the centre of Lisbon which promotes over 250 all unique in their own sense bars. Lovers of seafood will be singing their praises as Lisbon has access to some of the most diverse and fresh ocean and river creatures in the world, with the Atlantic Ocean on it’s border and the River Tagus bubbling right through the City of 7 hills (shoutout to Rome, but Lisbon was built on 7 hills too).
Adding to all this is cutting edge designs, beautiful architecture and the humble people, and it’s no wonder that CNN rated Lisbon as possibly Europe’s coolest city.
The Tasmania of Asia, Sri Lanka packs a lot of punch, especially for a country that isn’t commonly thought of as a tourist destination. 1/3rd smaller than Tasmania, Sri Lanka like Montenegro is perfect for tourists looking to experience everything in a short period of time.
The diversity and vibrant culture all stems from the people and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone with bigger smiles and even bigger hearts. The Sri Lankan people represent so much of their country that tourism authorities have gone to the extent of admitting that “the secret of Sri Lanka’s attraction lies with it’s people” and they are referred to as the “Essence” of Sri Lanka.
However, Sri Lanka isn’t just home to some of the happiest souls in the world, they also have a multitude of world class beaches and when the waters rough on one side it’s bound to be calm on the other side of the island, making it perfect for beach lovers. The so called ‘finest island in the whole world’ by a certain Marco Polo also has 8 World Heritage sites and a very large variety of wildlife including leopards and elephants. Also, be sure to stop for a cuppa’ as the “Ceylon” tea is considered to be among the finest in the world.
Literally every postcard including a beach is guaranteed to be from the Maldives, which features water so clear you’ll question whether it’s natural, sand as white as pre-Maldives you and unbridled luxury. The country has over 1000 individual islands with over 100 of these private island resorts, which allows even those with a tight budget to be able to experience the wonderful, picture-perfect islands.
Put away your Snapchat and Instagram filters, X-Pro II has no power in the Maldives with even the most novice of photographers able to pick up snaps of the exotic marine life to make their friends green with envy. A regular entry in many must go-to travel lists, it is impossible to encapsulate the Maldives in words but it is truly what dreams are made of.
A picture may say 1000 words, but experiencing the sheer perfection of the Maldives, which may be the most beautiful place on Earth, will leave you speechless.
Festivals, football, family, the big three of the biggest country in South America, Brazil. Not only geographically the largest, but also the most visited country in South America and why wouldn’t it be. The extremely multifaceted list of tourist attractions range from the Amazon to Christ the Redeemer, from the internationally acclaimed Sao Paulo Museum of Art to the 4km Copacabana beach, one of the most famous in the world.
If even these can’t satisfy you, Iguazu Falls is on the border and is so beautiful that upon sight, Eleanor Roosevelt, the US First Lady at the time exclaimed “Poor Niagara”. However Brazil is world famous for one thing and that is of course, soccer. Arguably the most famous football stadium in the world, the Maracana hosted the largest soccer attendance ever, with over 200,000 packed into the stadium.
However these days, the capacity has been greatly reduced but the atmosphere has remained the same, and a ticket to a Brazil home game is guaranteed to give you goosebumps for the rest of your life.
Italy is one of the most iconic countries in the world with all people from history buffs to food lovers rejoicing in what Italy has to offer and has offered The amount of sites there are to visit is absolutely insane with the Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa and Sistine Chapel merely the tip of the iceberg that is Italy’s main attractions.
However Italy’s phenomenal history doesn’t stop it from being one of the most modern places in the world, with Milan being every girls dream. Known as “The City of fashion”, it’s essentially heaven for any girl that identified with the Isla Fischer starring movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic. Once you’ve managed to drag yourself away from the unparalleled shopping and historical sites, it’s time to eat. Italian food is world famous and nowhere else is it better than it is at home. Delicious and a nightmare for chronic dieters, the food in Italy will make you question if you’ve truly eaten before. Gelato, pizza and pasta are all foods that Italians brought to the forefront of today’s cuisine and of course there is no place that makes it better than at home, in Italy.
Italy is a beautiful place and if you get the chance, try to spend some time in each area as they vary greatly and will combine for a far richer experience.
Yes, that’s right, Australia is one of the best travel destinations in the world. One whole continent is one of the best travel destinations in the world. Now before you say that a whole continent can’t be a best travel destination, and I’d normally agree with you but Australia is the exception.
No other country, let alone continent is as diverse and consistently mind boggling as Australia. Whilst locals may take the rich natural beauty Australia possesses for granted, tourists certainly don’t, with Australia’s tourism market booming and honestly why wouldn’t it be because is there anything Australia lacks?
The largest living structure on the planet and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef, running along Queensland, is 2300km of unparalleled attractive and diverse marine life. If underwater animals aren’t your thing, then the animals on ground certainly will be, with exotic fauna running wild all through Australia. Uluru, located in the middle of Australia is one of the most historically important and unique attractions of the world and is also the world’s second largest monolith (the first is Mt Augustus, which is also in Australia).
Liveability; Australia boats 4 cities in the top 10 of the 2014 most liveable cities in the world, with Melbourne coming in at #1, and it’s not hard to realise why Australia has become a prized destination for many travellers and those looking to put together a new life.
There are many more reasons as to why Australia is one of the best destinations in the world goes on and on and when you add to the beauty, some of the friendliest people(Readers Choice Survey had Melbourne as the worlds friendliest city, with Sydney coming in at 5th) in the world, and it’s no wonder why tourists keep coming back for more.
By Samin Sekandar