8 destinations on my radar for 2015
“Where am I going next?” This is a question constantly on every travelers mind. I’m currently in the pre-planning stages of our next big trip and I always enjoy this phase. With nothing yet on the books my mind is free to wander, the entire world an array of endless possibilities. I enjoy researching travel almost as much as the trip itself; I can easily spend hours pouring over travel magazines and blogs, each picture and story adding a little more fuel to my wanderlust. Polar bear safari in Manitoba or tango in Buenos Aires? Overwater bungalow in Bora Bora or a villa in Tuscany? At this stage the world is my oyster. Steve (my partner in crime) is having a milestone birthday this year (one of those that ends in zero) so my thoughts are leaning towards somewhere big, somewhere grand, somewhere epic.
or just somewhere we know we’ll have a good time.
So while I continue to scour the web for flight deals and a room with a perfect view take a look at some of the destinations that are piquing my interest in 2015.
I got my first taste of Moorish architecture when visiting Seville and I was instantly fascinated by the detailed arches and intricate patterns. Ever since I’ve been dying to head to Marrakesh- staying in a boutique riad ( a traditional Moroccan house with and interior courtyard), wandering its labyrinthine streets to the Medina and sampling some of its exotically spiced cuisine (or a little grilled cobra if I’m feeling extra adventurous). A few days in the Atlas mountains are in tall order as well. Hiking throughout its snow capped mountains exploring local Berber villages and winding down at a luxury kasbah would be a great compliment after bustling streets of Marrakesh.
Iceland has been at the top of a lot of travel lists lately and for good reason. Glaciers left behind expansive landscapes and feed some of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls while geothermal activity gives us volcanoes, geysers and hundreds of thermal pools (including the otherworldly Blue Lagoon). Relatively quick flights from the East Coast and Reykjavik’s nordic cool are just are few more reason’s there has never been a better time to visit the Land of Ice and Fire.
I have a recent obsession with port wine and there is no better place to taste it than vineyards of Portugal’s Duoro River Valley. Exploring the area on one of the new river cruises on the Duoro would allow me to leisurely experience the area with an ever changing view out my window.Wandering through Lisbon’s charming cobblestone streets, viewing the city’s vibrant ceramic murals (while looking for some ceramics to take home myself) and enjoying some of the world’s best seafood is right up my alley. Spain has been one of my favorite destinations in Europe and I’d love to see how its Iberian neighbor compares.
After visiting Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula I discovered the work of wildlife photographer Roy Toft. He leads small group photo safaris to some of the world’s most wild and remote places- Botswana, Alaska, Costa Rica; but what truly captured my imagination were his photos from the Pantanal region of Brazil. These expansive wetlands and dense jungles are some of the most primal landscapes on earth and home to an abundance of exotic wildlife including hyacinth maccaws, caimen, giant river otters and capybara (the world’s largest species of rodent). Jaguars, both regal and elusive, also call the Pantanal home and the chance to spot one in the wild is a once in a lifetime experience.
Grand imperial architecture, minimalist design and viking history are all big draws for my first visit to Scandinavia but what’s really luring me up north is the food. Home to Noma, ranked the best restaurant in the world since 2010, as well as 14 other Michelin starred restaurants Denmark’s Copenhagen is arguably one of the best cities for foodies. Steve’s cravings are a bit more on the casual side though no less delicious. His reply when asked why he wants to visit Copenhagen?
“I think I just really want a danish”.
Who doesn’t dream of running away to one of the island paradises of the South Pacific? Everyone knows about the legendary diving and world class beaches but did you know that you can also partake in caving and whitewater rafting? I have had an itch for adventure and Fiji may just be the best remedy.
South Africa has occupied a top spot on my bucket list for quite some time. I could spend months exploring Cape Town’s cosmopolitan vibe and tasting South Africa’s world renown wines in the city’s surrounding vineyards. The coastal cliffs of the Garden Route offer some of the most spectacular views in the country but like most people there is one singular experience that lures me to South Africa.
While I’d be thrilled with any wildlife sighting I’m a big cat girl at heart. Elusive leopards, playful cheetahs and prides of lions (especially the white lions of the Timbavati), elephants and giraffe are my personal Big Five and after a day spent searching for wildlife I’d return to my tented safari camp to dream of the next day’s next adventures.
As the saying by Susan Sontag goes, “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”. Where do you think I should go this year?