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.

 

8 destinations on my radar for 2015 www.casualtravelist.com

 

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.

8 destinations on my radar for 2015-Morocco  www.casualtravelist.com

Morocco

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.

 

8 destinations on my radar for 2015- Iceland  www.casualtravelist.com

Iceland

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.

 

8 destinations on my radar for 2015- Portugal www.casualtravelist.com

Portugal

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.

 

8 destinations on my radar for 2015- Brazil www.casualtravelist.com

Pantanal, Brazil

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.

 

8 destinations on my radar for 2015-Denmark www.casualtravelist.com

Denmark

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”.

 

8 destinations on my radar for 2015- Fiji www.casualtravelist.com

 

Fiji

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.

 8 destinations on my radar for 2015- South Africa www.casualtravelist.com

South Africa

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.

Safari.

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?

98 Comments on “8 destinations on my radar for 2015

  1. Oh my god! It’s incredible how alike we are! Just last night Charles and I were discussing our priority destinations for the next couple of years and these were pretty much the names being thrown around! Of course, Charles has this romantic notion of buying a one way ticket to Africa, so that may well be reserved for much later!
    Revati Victor recently posted…Comment on Big Bus Dubai – Our ticket to seeing it all by Valeria @ Rome, New York, London, WorldMy Profile

    • I would totally love to travel with you guys, maybe I’ll meet you in SA 🙂

  2. You hit two of my top 5 with this list — Portugal and South Africa. I didn’t think I’d be headed out of the country this year, but after winning a trip to Sweden, I find myself looking at maps and saying, “Well Denmark is like RIGHT there. Maybe I should just push my return flight out and take a look?” It’s never enough! 🙂
    Katie @ Domestiphobia recently posted…Agriturismo: Wining & Dining In The Tuscan Countryside.My Profile

    • It’s an addiction for which there is no cure. I can’t wait to hear about your Swedish adventures!

  3. I vote Iceland. Mostly because I’ve lived there, I am 100% positive that you’d never regret it, and I’d be absolutely thrilled and excited to see Iceland again, through *your* eyes!

    • Excited to read about your adventure in SA, I’m sure it will inspire me to go sooner rather than later!

  4. Your plans are fantastic! Fiji and Brazil – absolutely on my mind too! Sadly, not this year. I have been to Denmark and Portugal, going to Marocco this year, when doing our traveling through Spain from Alicante to Gibraltar and then crossing for few days to Marocoo. Portugal has the most incredible beaches ever! We spent two weeks in Portugal, going from Faro to Fatima and back – the best trip ever! Iceland is still on our minds, and we hoping to do it when going to Mexico next year – just need to find a flight with stopover in Iceland.
    Monika recently posted…Vatican Museum – the riches of the world in the smallest country in Europe.My Profile

    • I too have heard amazing things about the beaches in Portugal, it will be hard to decide!

  5. I took a look at the Roy Toft site and he certainly has some amazing photos and trips, most I noticed were sold out so am guessing he’s good. As for your destination of the Pantanal it is one of my favorite places. So primal and alive. You will love it I have little doubt. Iceland is also on my list but that may have to wait till next year. This year is filling up with road trips, deep south, Cuba, and possibly a return to my favorite country of Indonesia.
    Tim recently posted…A Double Decker LifeMy Profile

    • Cuba would be great, I can’t wait to see it through your eyes Tim.

    • Perhaps we should go to Portugal together, it would be great to have someone who knows the language.

  6. Iceland and South Africa are two of my favorite places in the world! There is nothing that compares to going on safari and seeing those amazing animals in their natural habitat. And honestly, and shockingly, I think I could happily live in Iceland.
    Lois Alter Mark recently posted…care knows how, dollars to doughnutsMy Profile

  7. I’m for Iceland too. It just sounds like it has so much to offer. My daughter is desperate to go, but I don’t think we’ll manage it this year. Maybe next! Good luck with all yours.

    • Andi, it’s always hard to decide when to go someplace new or return to an old favorite.

  8. I’ve never been to Fiji and Brazil on that list. I will definitely go to Brazil! 😛 Thanks for the tip about Pantana.

    • Probably won’t make it to all(or most) but I’m sure I’ll have a great time wherever I end up.

  9. A great list – I’ve got some of those on mine too. Portugal is great, we’ve spent some time in the Alentejo region and it’s just so unspoilt. Copenhagen is a must for me too but I’ve also got Bavaria on my list for this year and at some point I *will* get back to South Africa… so many places to visit (and re-visit!) Good luck! #weekendwanderlust
    Stephanie recently posted…Sun on Saturday: Pretty St MawesMy Profile

  10. Ambitious list! Hope you do get to see everything on the docket for 2015. Many of these places are on our bucket list to do in the next few years, never mind in one year! Can’t wait to hear all about your travels to these amazing places. We have friends who are on their way to Iceland soon, and we were so jealous of them! Imagine how jealous we are of you! LOL! Safe travels.
    Don recently posted…Five Best Cruise Ship Bars for Beer LoversMy Profile

    • Not looking to hit all of these in a year, just possibilities for my next big trip.

  11. Can’t argue with any of your choices! And would love to follow along as you make them come true. I can tell you that Fiji is the most remarkable place we’ve visited in the 14 countries we set foot in last year. The people are simply amazing. Do try to experience not only the adventure and sport activities, but spend time in the smaller communities away from Nadi, Suva or Labasa. You will have a life-changing experience in the happiest place on earth.
    Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru recently posted…Schwabing: Where the 20th Century Took Hold in EuropeMy Profile

    • The people are a big part of why I’d like to visit Fiji, they seem so warm and welcoming.

  12. Like on your list, I definitely want to try them all! I’ve never heard of Pantanal in Brazil, so I’ll look that up. I won’t to do your list this year, but it will be next time (: I was just in pre-planning stage as well and now know where I want to go!

    • There’s something great about each destination, it’s so hard to narrow it down!

  13. You’re so right – it’s like a having a freshly bought notebook or journal, just waiting for your pen and ideas to create something on its pages. These all would be great picks (some definitely more expensive to travel in than others) – look forward to seeing where you decide on!

    • While some destinations will always be more expensive the experiences had there are certainly worth it.

  14. Nice list-you better get busy! I’d like to tie Copenhagen in with a summer visit to Sweden. They all are places i’d be happy to travel. to. Isn’t it funny that the first question someone asks me is “where are you going next.” Sometimes i’ve barely gotten off the plane. Do you find the same thing?
    alison abbott recently posted…Meatless Monday and the Candy Stripe BeetMy Profile

    • All the time Alison, sometimes it even comes before “how are you?” lol

  15. I loved Morocco. I’ve been twice now and had an amazing time. The food is just amazing, I love tagine, and it’s just such a unique and fascinating place! The Atlas Mountains are definitely worth a visit if you can, and if you cross them you’ll reach the Sahara which is another amazing experience!!

    Iceland is on my radar for this year, too – it looks so beautiful it’s hard to believe it’s real! Need to go and see for myself!
    Emily recently posted…Deal of the Week: Vietnam Round TripMy Profile

    • Morocco just seems so exotic and otherworldly to me, I’ve been wanting to go for ages!

  16. My hubby and I went to Bora Bora and Moorea a few years ago in the South Pacific. It was really beautiful, but I’d still like to see Fiji too. Hubby wants to take me to Cape Town this year, but I’m pushing for Italy 🙂

    • You’ll have a fantastic time no matter which place you end up going!

  17. Very happy to see Morocco on your list – you won’t regret it. Make sure to follow: Bewildered in Morocco, it’s run by a Polish girl, and her updates are simply stunning.

  18. Great post! Morocco and Portugal are high on my list too! I have friends who visited Iceland last year and absolutely loved it.

    • That’s the problem with travel, my bucket list just keeps getting bigger and bigger!

  19. I totally think you must come to Brittany in 2016 if not before. In June, 2016, We will have two culinary stays for five days each with a noted American Chef coming to teach in beautiful coastal Brittany. Trips to farms, markets, creperies, and meeting locals in culinary expertise will be included.
    Dates to be set in the next couple weeks! Hope to see you and your partner in travel!

    • The thing about traveling is once you’ve crossed one place of your list at least 5 more take its place!

  20. Pingback: A Birthday Trip for Me and a Giveaway for You! - Casual Travelist

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