Here are the recommendations for interesting sites to visit this year from the New York Times.
- Canada – The country’s 200 national parks and historic sites offer free admission to celebrate the country’s 150th anniversary of confederation. From the turquoise lakes and mountain peaks of Banff to the rolling dunes and redstone cliffs of Prince Edward Island, the country is a great destination. The exciting cities of Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Quebec are charming, each in their own way. As a bonus, the exchange rate is favorable for the American dollar.
- Altacama Desert, Chile – Great for adventure seekers and stargazers to its vast outer worldly landscape of wind-carved dunes and salt lakes, Chile’s largest telescope is located at the renovated Explore Altacama Hotel.
- Agra, India – Navigating the sprawling, magical Taj Mahal will be easier when an orientation center opens this year. Pictures don’t do it justice. You have to see it. Nearby streets have been repaved and the new Agra Pavilion is a glass-walled dining complex.
- Zermatt, Switzerland is a neighbor to the legendary Matterhorn. Whether skiing or sightseeing, it’s a treat along with Switzerland’s first electric cog railroad.
- Botswana, Africa – The Okavango Delta is rife with lions and elephants, and the safaris are a mind-opening experience, up close and personal in the wild animal world.
- Dubrovnik, Croatia – With its limestone-paved streets and 80-foot-high walls surrounding the old town, this is the crown jewel of the Dalmatian Coast. This is a real gem to visit.
- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming – Great place to watch the total solar eclipse which you can enjoy for two minutes and 20 seconds on August 21st. If you miss the eclipse, you’ll still be surrounded by the jagged peaks, mountain lakes and wildlife of a pristine and premier national park.
- Tijuana, Mexico – Though still rough around the edges, this fast-growing border town is on the rise, with a luxury condo boom and a new bus rapid transit system. The city is also having a culinary renaissance, fueled by craft breweries, stylish coffee shops and globally infused restaurants.
- Detroit, Michigan – No kidding! It’s the comeback city named in 2015 as UNESCO City of Design. The new Qline Streetcar opens in April and connects downtown to the Detroit Institute of Arts and the entertainment focused District Detroit.
- Hamburg, Germany – A haven for architecture and design, the meandering promenade along the Elbe breathed new life into the riverfront and the nearby Warehouse District, which made the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2015.
- Marrakesh, Morocco – A new museum opens this fall, featuring the work of legendary fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent. It’s adjacent to the Jardin Majorelle Public Garden, which is home to a museum dedicated to Berber culture and the designer’s private residence.
- Greenville, South Carolina – Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this small city maybe the next major food destination. Before or after feasting, you can enjoy the city’s many public art works or hike the 21-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail.
- Pedrigal, Ecuador – A natural beauty, that’s still natural. A great stopping place before or after a Galapagos excursion. This valley south of Quito is surrounded by huge volcanoes and grassy steppes, and a great place for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
- Penzance, England – The Cornish port town in southwest England has been featured in the BBC 18th Century Costume drama. Besides the scenery, the best thing to see is the art deco inspired Jubilee, one of Europe’s last salt water pools.
- Osaka, Japan – Kyoto represents the Japanese spirit, Tokyo its heart, and Osaka is the country’s insatiable appetite. There are 91 Michelen-starred restaurants and April 28 will kick-start a 10-day food festival celebrating flavors from Japan’s 47 perfectures.
- Sikken, India – With a new airport opening this year and the first rail link in the works, adventurers can trek Khangchendzonga National Park, a Himalayan haven of forests, valleys and mountains, including the world’s third highest peak. Spiritual seekers can pursue nirvana around this historically Buddhist land.
- Ile de Porquerolles, France – Only 10 minutes by ferry from the mainland, this four-mile-long, under-the-radar Mediterranean island is an unexplored refuge with mountain biking trails, sandy beaches and one rustic vineyard. This car-free island has one idyllic village.
- Stockholm, Sweden – A beautiful city spread across 14 islands with a very favorable exchange rate and free admission to all state-owned museums. It is the political, cultural, media and economic center of Sweden.
- Madagascar – This island nation (the size of France), off the east coast of Africa, has emerged as an ecotourism paradise. Whale sharks and humpbacks cruise the undersea world, fat-trunked baobab trees dot the land, and more than 90% of the island’s mammals are not found anywhere else.
- Sanya, China – With stunning white sand beaches and shimmering blue waters, this southernmost province on Hainan Island is known as the Hawaii of China.
- Cypress – A cultural and culinary renewal on a Mediterranean island. The City of Paphos has prepared a slew of events for its role as a 2017 European Capital of Culbase. The entire island boasts renewed attractions, especially in Nicosia, where the A.G. Leventis Gallery opened its collection of 800 artworks.
- Great Barrier Reef, Australia – The 1,450-mile-long reef is the world’s largest living organism; a mosaic of 2,900 coral reefs and 900 islands. Although threatened by climate change, it is still an idyllic place to explore this fragile, extraordinary natural wonder.
- Minneapolis, Minnesota – If you liked the music of Prince, you’ll love the City of Lakes. You can paint the town purple with a visit to First Avenue, the club featured in the pop genius’s film “Purple Rain,” go on a Prince-themed tour or travel outside of town 20 miles to Paisley Park, his domain for over two decades, for a public tour.
- Comporta, Portugal – Only an hour south of Lisbon, this hippie-chic, protected nature reserve and former fisherman’s village is underdeveloped and teaming with European A-listers.
- Astana, Kazakhstan – Aims to be a refuge of silk road luxury. There is a boom of hotels in Astana, the capitol, which hosts the 2017 World Expo, and highlights future energy solutions. The bio-diverse Tian Shan Mountains were included in the 2016 World Heritage list.
You could travel all year with this list. We’ll do the other half next month.