23 Absolutely Inspiring Places to Visit in 2016

Surely you have been dreaming of places to visit in 2016, if not already have planned some trips. I certainly have been (both). I asked some professional travelers and travel industry influencers for their thoughts, instead of simply writing another list of places I want to go or travel trends.

I asked: “a place you want to visit in 2016 or think people should visit.

Here are the responses from those fabulous travel insiders, in the order I received their replies. I have linked to their main website and two of their social media accounts—so please follow them.

Ocean Beach, San Francisco

Inspiring Places to Visit in 2016

23 Absolutely Inspiring Places to Visit in 2016

Gary Arndt, Everything Everywhere (web : Facebook : Twitter) suggests Alaska.

One of the places I’ll be spending a lot of time in 2016 is Alaska. Next year is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and I’ll be visiting all 8 national parks in Alaska as part of it. 

Craig Zabransky, Stay Adventurous (web : Facebook : Instagram) suggests Mexico City.

If you love cities, this world capital needs to be on your list. Easily a top ten must see city, Mexico City or simply DF (Distrito Federal), offers everything to a traveler; culture, cuisine, art, history, ruins, nightlife, and a vibrant scene. It is the heart beat of a nation. Heck, I love it so much, I created Stay AdvenTours – Mexico City to allow you to explore it with me.

Pola Henderson, Jetting Around (web : Facebook : Instagram) suggests Vienna.

I have thought about returning to Vienna for quite some time, and the reason is… coffee. My last visit there was in high school—before I was a coffee drinker—and I never got to experience Vienna’s grand cafés. Hopefully, I’ll make up for that in 2016.

Nyssa Chopra, The Cultureur (web : Instagram Twitter) suggests Iceland.

2016 should be the year for Iceland—one of the most magical countries in the world. Summer gives you endless opportunities to explore the varied terrains and natural wonders, from glacier lagoons to the midnight sun, while winter brings you spectacularly colorful shows in the sky with its northern lights. 

Barbara Weibel, Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel (web : Facebook : Twitter) suggests Nepal.

Nepal is filled with astonishing natural beauty, rich culture, and the world’s friendliest people. Unfortunately, a severe earthquake this year and recent shortages of fuel and LP gas resulted in a devastating loss of tourism. I have just returned from six weeks in Nepal, which is safe to visit again. Your tourist dollars will do more now than ever before.

Matt Long, LandLopers (web : Twitter : Instagram) suggests Jasper National Park.

Nearly every region of Canada is fun to explore, but a personal highlight was when I had the chance to drive around Jasper National Park earlier this year. Situated within the majestic Canadian Rockies, I honestly can’t imagine a more beautiful part of the world, but there’s a lot more to do here than just gaze wistfully at the scenery. This really is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with a seemingly endless supply of hikes and trails to conquer, and every one has its own visual rewards along the way.

La Carmina, LaCarmina.com (web : Facebook : Instagram) suggests Easter Island.

I am still itching to visit Easter Island, as it’s been on my list for years. I’m fascinated with archaeology and mysterious places, and this far off place remains a rare experience for travelers. My film team and I are also now shooting virtual reality travel videos, and we can’t think of any more mesmerizing place to capture all around in 360°! 

Donna Hull, My Itchy Travel Feet (web : Facebook : Twitter) suggests Molokai.

My travel feet are itching for an off-the-beaten-path Hawaiian adventure on Molokai. The scenic drive to Halawa Valley rivals Maui’s road to Hana. And you’ll discover plenty to explore while beach hopping on Molokai. For the ultimate adventure, take the mule ride along some of the steepest sea cliffs in the world on a visit to Kalaupapa National Historic Park.

Ann Tran, Ann-Tran.com (web : Facebook : Instagram) suggests Vietnam.

My suggestion is to explore new locations that are outside of your comfort zone. In 2016, I will challenge myself to travel to more exotic destinations a bit farther to access from home. Top of my list for the Year of the Monkey would be to visit my homeland, Vietnam. I have not returned since I arrived in the U.S. in 1975 as a refugee. I revel in the experiences I’ve had in all my destinations, and I am grateful for what my new explorations will show me next year.

Megan Jerrard, Mapping Megan (web : Facebook : Instagram) suggests Tasmania.

Tasmania offer travelers and tourists that crazy thing called “fresh air”, and you notice it as soon as you step of the plane or ferry (from Melbourne). With many national parks, lakes, waterfalls, forests and beaches, Tasmania attracts hikers and bush-walkers who are drawn to stunning locations like Cradle Mountain Lake, St. Clair National Park, Wineglass Bay and Maria Island. Five World Heritage Convict sites are located here and the seafood and wine is some of the highest quality in Australia.

Carole Rosenblat, Drop Me Anywhere (web : Facebook : Twitter) suggests Budapest.

It was love at first sight when I visited Budapest last February. The people are friendly and well-informed—every other shop is a bookstore and every other one of those is an antique bookstore—and the architecture is stunning. The waterfront is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And, according to the Telegraph, they have the cheapest alcoholic drinks in Europe.

Jessie Festa, Jessie on a Journey (web : Facebook : Instagram) suggests Bhutan.

I’d love to visit Bhutan (and I am in January!). It’s one of the more difficult places to visit as there is a $200-$250 per night tariff and you must go on an organized tour; however, this only makes me more fascinated by it. I’m eager to learn more about their responsible tourism model, as well as to explore the cultural authenticity (which I’ve been told exists here) and the outdoor adventure.

Leah Walker, Leah Travels (web : Facebook : Instagram) suggests Tyrol, Austria.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Tyrol region of Austria in the winter for skiing and the late spring and fall for hiking. No matter the season, this area in western Austria is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Skiing (and après skiing) the Arlberg at St Anton and Lech-Zürs is extraordinary. Hiking these same mountains after the snow has melted gives yet another perspective. Visit the city of Innsbruck, where you can take the cable car to the top of a nearby mountain for biking or snowboarding and watch an opera in the evening. The Austrian people are some of my favorite, along with their food and, of course, schnapps!

Ed Pizzarello, Pizza in Motion (web : Facebook : Twitter) suggests Rome and Venice.

She ranks neither as the most cosmopolitan or the most historic but Rome deserves to be experienced. Once vying to be capital of the world, Rome now weaves history with new age food, shopping and commerce. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, she wasn’t meant to be viewed in a day. Some people think Venice is dirty or too crowded. Both can be true, but only if you look in the wrong places. Venice isn’t meant to be experienced on the Rialto Bridge. You need to literally get lost, wandering down alleys until you find the true heart of a beautiful city.

David and Veronica James, The GypsyNesters (web : Facebook : Twitter) suggests Tanzania.

After our voluntourism trip this summer, we would suggest Tanzania as a 2016 destination. The region around Mount Kilimanjaro offers everything from alpine summits to tropical rainforests, and there may be no better place on Earth to see so much of Africa’s most famous wildlife. By combining these incredible experiences with helping to rebuild a school and teaching English we had a once in a lifetime trip.

Julie McCool, Fun in Fairfax VA (web : Instagram : Twitter) suggests Virginia National Parks.

The US National Park Service turns 100 in August, so 2016 is the year to visit more of these national treasures. In Northern Virginia, we’re lucky to have easy access to gorgeous hiking in Shenandoah NP, and fascinating history along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. They will both be repeat destinations for us in 2016, and both make wonderful day trips for visitors to Washington DC.

Kay Dougherty, Blonde Brunette Travel (web : Facebook : Twitter) suggests Patagonia.

As the recently self-appointed Ambassadorette of travel to Patagonia I say (tension builds); go to Patagonia! The astounding natural beauty, array of budget options from back-packer to posh-packer, clear air and water, quirky wildlife (not of the bar kind), excellent food and wine and the fact that terrorists have never heard of it make it #1 in my book.

Alyssa Ramos, My Life’s a Movie (web : Twitter : Instagram) suggests Iceland.

A few years ago Iceland wasn’t very high on many people’s “To-Go” list, but now it’s reaching the number one spot, and I couldn’t agree more! It’s definitely a great place to visit in 2016, especially in the summer when it’s not as cold, and there’s plenty of sunlight (AKA 24 hours of it). Iceland is literally like a mythical, natural amusement park; you can take a road trip in any direction and be guaranteed to see waterfalls, mountains, glaciers, horses, fields of pretty purple flowers, and even elf rocks!

Noel Morata, Travel Photo Discovery (web : Instagram : Pinterest) suggests Sri Lanka.

One of my favorite places that I could easily go back to is Sri Lanka, an island country off India’s southern tip. It is truly an exotic and unusual destination filled with stunning landscapes, long sandy beaches, fascinating UNESCO sites , delicious cuisine, stunning wildlife and animal preserves. You should make Sri Lanka as part of your bucket list for places to visit in 2016.

Patricia Schultz, 1000 Places To See Before You Die (web : Facebook : Twitter) suggests Northern Lights.

Seeing the Northern Lights is something you’ll never forget, so try to make it happen in early 2016 (the wintertime season typically lasts until March). They say that beginning in 2016, the frequency and spectacularity of these unpredictable natural displays may be on the wane as the current solar cycle ends. Of the various northern destinations I would recommend, Norway is a favorite—you can cruise its gorgeous fjord-lined coast aboard a Hurtigruten ship and get wake-up calls to head out on the deck when the lights appear.

Chris Christensen, Amateur Traveler (web : Instagram : Twitter) suggests Bosnia Herzegovina.

Bosnia gets much less tourism than its neighbor Croatia but is a fascinating country. See where WWI started, hear how the country survived the much more recent Bosnian War. Great history, good food and much more affordable than western Europe. 

Jessica van Dop DeJesus, Dining Traveler (web : Instagram : Twitter) suggests West coast of Puerto Rico.

If you’re into low key beach life, head to the west coast of Puerto Rico.  From the bioluminescent waters in Cabo Rojo to the turquoise blue waters of Crashboat Beach, the vibe is relaxed and unassuming.  The laidback surf towns of Aguada and Rincon are also not to miss.

Dave and Deb, The Planet D (web : Instagram : YouTube) suggests Greenland.

If people are looking for spectacular landscape, unique culture, adventure, and amazing photo opportunities, they must go to Greenland. It’s a destination that is still untouched and off the beaten path. If you want to visit a place where people say “Wow, you went there?” Greenland is the place for you! 

23 inspiring places to visit in 2016, suggested by travel influencers and travel experts from around the world.


I am certainly inspired by the suggestions from my travel friends. I have been to some of these places—but others, well, they are definitely among my inspiring places to visit in 2016.

OBX sunset

Inspiring Places to Visit in 2016

A huge THANK YOU to those who provided suggestions for this article.

May your travels in 2016 (and every year) be enjoyable and memorable.

Your turn: do you have places to visit in 2016 or think people should visit?


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56 Responses to “23 Absolutely Inspiring Places to Visit in 2016”

  1. Corde the Writer October 4, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    Excellent list. I’ve been to a few of these places. The one that tops the list of must see is Iceland.

    • McCool Travel October 4, 2016 at 7:28 pm #

      Sounds good to me. I was happy to visit Iceland in June but have plenty of other places I would like to see.

  2. suereddel January 28, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    Wow! What a great list some places I’ll need to add to my own. I’d also like to add Paris. They need us to keep visiting. It’s still as beautiful, charming and alluring as ever.

    • McCool Travel January 30, 2016 at 7:52 am #

      I would like to get to know Paris a little more. Thank you, Sue.

  3. Carole Terwilliger Meyers January 27, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

    Well, this should inflate anyone’s bucket list who reads it.

  4. MoreTimeToTravel (@MoreTime2Travel) January 27, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

    What a fun list to read! Some destinations I’ve been thinking about too!

    • McCool Travel January 27, 2016 at 6:25 pm #

      I know. It would be great to be able to see them all in 2016.

  5. jane canapini January 26, 2016 at 9:41 am #

    Love that you sourced these from the travellers who have been to half the globe already. You just KNOW that these places have something special.

    • WordPress.com Support January 26, 2016 at 11:02 am #

      Thank you, Jane. I actually reached out to many other travel experts specializing in very remote destinations. Nice list though.

  6. Kate December 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    I agree with so many of the places on this list; either because I’m going, want to go or have already been and fell in love. US National parks are on my list for 2016. Yosemite so far is planned. Rome and Budapest I can vouch are fantastic European cities. I’d love to explore Iceland in the winter and Canada one day. So many places!

  7. Els Mahieu December 20, 2015 at 5:03 am #

    Iceland seems to be very “in” at the moment! I hope to get there in 2016/17 before it becomes totally overrun! And Bosnia is a place that I’ve been longing to visit for a very long time as well! Good to see that travellers opt for less obvious choices nowadays!

    • McCool Travel December 20, 2015 at 8:11 am #

      Sounds great! I also hope you get to Iceland soon. Me, too.

  8. Voyager Vicki December 19, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

    Lots of great and varied places here. I’m really looking forward to visiting (and revisiting) the Balkans in the fall. I fell in love with Romania (esp. Transylvania) when I was there years ago and think it’s a great destination for a bit off-the-beaten path travel–at least for now. And I’m curious to see the former Yugoslav countries before they all become as discovered as Croatia.

    And Greenland is now on my radar–I’ve been hearing more about it this year.

    • McCool Travel December 20, 2015 at 8:12 am #

      Romania is definitely a place I want to visit. Happy 2016 travels to you.

  9. carolcolborn December 19, 2015 at 10:07 am #

    Would you believe I have been to half of them? But it also means I have 10 more to plan for!!! Oh well, such is the life of a wanderer.

    • McCool Travel December 20, 2015 at 8:12 am #

      Yippee, some new places for you to go. I look forward to hearing about your trips.

  10. Hannah December 19, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    I’ve been to five on the list already but already intend on adding a couple more next year! I’m hoping to get to Vietnam in 2016, and (if I have money) maybe Bhutan as well. I’m just back from 4 months travel, 2 of which I spent in SE Asia and I loved it there. If I could add a destination to this list I would add Myanmar- it was amazing, and might be my favourite country to date!

  11. Janice & George (@SandInSuitcase) December 9, 2015 at 2:28 am #

    Nepal? Mexico City? Iceland? A list that fires up the imagination. We’re hoping to visit more of Europe in 2016. Hey Santa! Could you give us a walking tour from chateau to chateau in France’s Loire Valley?

  12. Shelley December 7, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

    It’s great to see Jasper National Park on the list, and I agree (it’s in my neck-of-the-woods). For the rest, I want to see them all, or again as the case may be!

    • McCool Travel December 8, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

      Thank you, Shelley. Nice part of the world you live in!

  13. alison abbott December 7, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    Wonderful destinations, I am in the midst of putting together my own, but hope to get to Iceland and Viet Nam on your list. It’s interesting to see where others think you should visit.

    • McCool Travel December 8, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

      So many places … Happy 2016 travels, Alison.

  14. suzannestavert December 7, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    Great list and thank you for taking the time to include their links – I have gone thru and followed ones that I have not been following. We are planning a trip to South America – Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls and Mendoza for some great wine!

    • McCool Travel December 8, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

      That is wonderful, Suzanne. I also think they are inspirational travelers.

  15. Anita and Richard @ No Particular Place To Go December 7, 2015 at 4:59 am #

    We’re itching to see the Alhambra in Granada, Spain early in 2016 as well as Morocco. And there are so many fascinating ideas to think about from your great list.Happy travels! Anita

  16. Carole Terwilliger Meyers December 6, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

    Plenty of inspiration here! I think I’ll be revisiting Louisinana, NYC, and China.

  17. Janice Chung December 6, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

    Great list. Loved reading “why” your interviewees wanted to go to certain places…..with Iceland mentioned a few times. Hmmmm…food for thought. I have always wanted to see Tibet because of the monasteries; however Nepal would be great too. I’ll need to investigate both to see how “rough” they might be.

    • McCool Travel December 7, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

      Thank you, Janice. I would not mind a trip to Iceland.

  18. Rachel Heller December 6, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    I’d add Guadeloupe! It’s absolutely enchanting!

  19. MoreTimeToTravel (@MoreTime2Travel) December 6, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    Great list by some very experience travelers!

  20. Jan White December 5, 2015 at 7:56 am #

    Went to Iceland over Thanksgiving, highly recommended. Great food, nice people, clean, safe.

    • McCool Travel December 5, 2015 at 9:14 am #

      Thank you, Jan. I have not yet been to Iceland but I know many who have. Did you see Northern Lights?

  21. Katja - globetotting December 4, 2015 at 10:55 am #

    Given that I live in Mexico City I have to agree that el DF is one of the best places you can visit in 2016 – or whenever! It’s an amazing city!

    • McCool Travel December 4, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

      Thank you for the verification, Katja! 😀 Nice when other people feel the same way.

  22. Theresa z. December 3, 2015 at 10:47 pm #

    There’s a geographical mistake in the part about Austria, Tyrol,
    Tyrol is one of the 9 states in Austria(capital: Innsbruck). However ‘arlberg’ is a mountain in another state called ‘Vorarlberg’ which is right at the western border to Germany, Switzerland..
    Tyrol is located in the east of Vorarlberg.

  23. Kay Dougherty December 3, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    Interesting list although I have to admit that after going to Bhutan I’m pretty sure I’m not cut out for Nepal but many of the other places appeal to me. I shared this on Redditt.

    • McCool Travel December 3, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

      Thank you so much for your contribution and for sharing on Reddit. So many places remain to be explored.

  24. La Carmina December 3, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

    Awesome list and it gives me some new ideas for places to see next!

    • McCool Travel December 3, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

      That is exactly why I love this. Even if I have heard of places, hearing others share their passion makes a destination more memorable to me.

  25. Megan Claire (@mappingmegan) December 3, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    Some fabulous destination suggestions here Charles – thankyou for putting this together and including our suggestions for Tasmania. Looks like you’ve put together a pretty good bucketlist for us for 2016!

    • McCool Travel December 3, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

      Yes, everyone should visit all of these destinations in 2016. I will check in with the world in December. 😀

  26. Pola (JettingAround) (@jettingaround) December 3, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

    Thanks for including me, Charles! Great company and ideas here. Patagonia… ahh! I need to go there finally, it’s been a dream.

    • McCool Travel December 3, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

      Thank you for contributing. My dream also. Maybe I will see you there.

  27. diningtraveler December 3, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Great list Charles!!!

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