Everyone loves a list and here are the definitive must-see destinations for 2016 from Abercrombie & Kent, the company that knows the world of travel inside out.
A&K Managing Director Sujata Raman says, “While our horizons expand more and more each year the more we travel, there still remains a multitude of fascinating and inspiring places to discover. Our Hot List identifies destinations which have the A&K stamp of approval for the coming year and we’d like to share them with you”.
At the top of the world, the Arctic region comprises an expanse of ocean bounded by volcanic islands and fjords studded with glaciers. There are Inuit villages, Norse ruins and rare wildlife. The best way to explore is on board the all-suite ‘Le Boreal’ as she charts a course in the wake of the great Vikings. This unique expeditionary cruise explores Southern Iceland and Greenland taking in remote and geologically rich islands, iceberg-laden fjords, ancient archaeological sites, Erik the Red’s homestead and a hike through the Arctic tundra.
Remote, yes. Home to the fictional ‘Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency’, yes. And thanks to a low volume tourism policy Botswana also remains blissfully unspoiled.
It’s best known for its beautiful landscapes and the quality and abundance of its wildlife. A safari in Botswana is an intimate experience where close-up game viewing is the norm and boutique safari camps the ultimate home-away-from-home. There is a multitude of ways to acquaint yourself with the wildlife – on a gently poled mokoro (traditional dug-out canoe) trip through the waterways, by open 4WD vehicle, from the air and on foot. You won’t be disappointed.
Technically comprising five countries – Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan – this region is colloquially known as ‘the Stans’ and should be visited now. Its mountains, deserts and steppe make it dramatically scenic, but it is the cultural relics and architectural heritage which really set it apart. Ancient cities steeped in history reveal the legacy of the warriors and emperors who made their mark there, and exploring some of the oldest cities in the world such as the legendary Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, give a glimpse into the ancient civilisations of the Silk Road.
A newfound economic stability and a wealth of largely undiscovered natural and cultural treasures make Colombia the next place to visit in Latin America. Boutique boltholes are popping up across all the major centres; there’s an exciting emerging food scene; and of course there’s the coffee, reputedly the best in the world. Its landscapes are dramatic and range from high mountains and valleys to desert, jungle, sandy beaches and volcanic coastlines, while its people are warm and welcoming.
Mysterious and incredibly diverse, Ethiopia has a rich history, jaw-dropping landscapes, unique wildlife and an extraordinary tribal heritage. It’s home to such unusual species as the Ethiopian wolf, Gelada baboon and Walia ibex, while its Christian festivals are some of the most colourful on the continent. When you visit there are humbling opportunities to experience village life, learn about local customs and explore bustling markets as well as seeing the source of the Blue Nile, visiting rock-hewn churches and cruising to remote monasteries. Lodgings and food are basic, though improving all the time, but there is much to see that more than compensates.
Full of colour, culture, fascinating sights and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Mexico is simply magical. There are ancient Mayan and Aztec archaeological ruins aplenty, charming colonial architecture in all the colours of the rainbow, dense jungles, beautiful haciendas, richly decorated dancers, colourful markets and vibrant festivals. In the natural world, see whale sharks, sea turtles and butterflies. For a epicurean fix eat your way through the country’s rich culinary heritage and for some retail therapy trawl the markets for colourful handicrafts.
Sitting on the borderline between east and west, Montenegro is at last venturing out of the shadows of its busier neighbour Croatia. Wild, beautiful and unspoiled, the country boasts exquisitely preserved towns, ancient fortified Venetian settlements, dramatic mountains, pristine beaches, simple stone villages and Baroque churches. It has been described as the hidden jewel of the Mediterranean and one of its most charming spots is the beautiful little Adriatic island of Sveti Stefan, first settled by fifteenth century fishermen.
If you haven’t yet you really should. Just a short flight across the Tasman and you’re in the Land of the Long White Cloud where you’ll be dazzled by spectacular landscapes, cosmopolitan cities, quaint hamlets, an exciting culinary scene and internationally acclaimed wines. As an outdoor adventure destination it has activity aplenty from hiking, skiing and off-road driving to bungee jumping, river rafting and more. For the more sedate there are world-class galleries, museums, outstanding shopping and some of the most luxurious lodges on the planet.
Whether it’s a stopover or a stand-alone destination, Oman is the best-kept secret in the Middle East. It is also one of the oldest civilisations in the Arabian Peninsula, and one of the region’s most surprising and unspoiled destinations. There are wild wadis, an untouched coastline, spectacular deserts, sixteenth century forts and dramatic mountain scenery as well as a fascinating ancient heritage, stunning accommodation and year-round sunshine.
Successfully weathering government imposed austerity measures, Portugal has a new and optimistic lease on life so there’s no better time to visit. Its whitewashed villages, mountaintop palaces and Moorish walled towns make it an enchanting destination. It is also blessed with a rich history, magical Mediterranean landscapes, delicious food and earthy wines and it’s far less travelled than its neighbour to the east.