Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

My Favorite New Destinations of 2016

50

Kate and Javier Ziplining

Every December, I put together a list of my favorite destinations of the year. I love picking out the places that made my heart beat the fastest!

Last year, the big winner was Nicaragua. In 2014, Finland was a memorable standout. In 2013, Japan hit the hardest. In 2012, I loved the Faroe Islands.

This year was far lighter on travel than the past. I only visited four new countries (Colombia, Slovakia, Poland, and Luxembourg) and much more of my time was spent closer to home — something that I think will continue to be a trend.

Furthermore, I don’t think any one destination stands above the others. As a result, this list is in a completely random, unranked order. It may seem a bit weird to include both giant regions and small towns on the same list, but this feels right to me!

One thing: keep in mind that these are destinations I hadn’t visited prior to 2016. So places like Paris, Savannah, and Cape Town are not eligible.

Here we go!

Krakow

Kraków, Poland

Kraków was one of my biggest travel oversights coming into 2016, and I’m so glad I finally made it happen. It’s no big surprise; it has so many qualities that I love in a destination.

A medium-sized city. Absolutely beautiful architecture. Low prices and very good value for money. Delicious food — both Polish and international (I actually ate at a Corsican restaurant one night!). Out-of-this-world ice cream, served in tiny Kate-sized portions. And a beautiful park that runs in a ring around the town that you can circle for hours and hours if you’d like.

Krakow at NightKrakowKrakow FlowersKrakowKrakow Treats

I did luck out in Kraków. I had perfect early fall weather. I met up with a great local-reader-turned-new-friend, Dominika, who took me out to cool places (including the cafe with the dessert above) and showed me her favorite spots. But what I remember most was the light. Just look at that top photo. It’s barely retouched.

The evening light in Kraków was so beautiful, it nearly brought me to tears.

Read More: AK Monthly Recap: September 2016 (full post coming soon!)

Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Visiting Puerto Rico was one of my goals for 2016 and I was so delighted when an opportunity presented itself — especially since it came during the doldrums of winter!

What struck me the most was how perfect an all-around destination Puerto Rico is for Americans. You don’t need your passport, there are nonstop flights from lots of cities, English is widely spoken in the tourism industry, and your US phone plan will work. You can lie on a beach, zip-line through the mountains, or explore art and history. Puerto Rico has it all.

Orocovis, Puerto RicoSan Juan, Puerto RicoOld San Juan, Puerto RicoKate in San Juan, Puerto RicoHilton Caribe, San Juan, Puerto Rico

My favorite highlight of Puerto Rico: a day trip to Culebra Island. I was initially skeptical, but Flamenco Beach lived up to the hype — it’s one of the most incredible beaches I’ve ever visited. A wide expanse of soft pinky-white sand, neon turquoise water, and even a few tanks for good measure.

I need to go back for more — Vieques is calling my name and I hear the beach on nearby Culebrita is even better!

Read More: Puerto Rico Seriously Has It All

Colmar

Alsace, France

It was actually a struggle for me to choose between Alsace (the region) and Strasbourg (the city) for this round-up. I loved Strasbourg, but did the smaller city of Colmar deserve equal recognition? Or was I being unnecessarily contrarian just again, because SO many bloggers love Colmar and I wanted to be different?

Eventually, Alsace won out. Because the things I loved most were universal to the region. Fresh flowers bursting out of every free inch of pavement. Brightly colored shutters and doors on half-timbered houses. Delicious white wines and fabulous tartes flambées. Decent prices and friendly locals. Obviously French, but also very German, with an interesting history of being volleyed back and forth between the countries.

dscf9862Tarte Flambee in Colmardscf9870dscf9946 Strasbourg Street Sign

As soon as I left Alsace, I knew my time there had been criminally short. Right away, my readers started telling me that I had missed the best place of all — the village of Riquewihr. Apparently lots of people like to go on road trips through Alsace, tasting ciders and wines along the way. You wouldn’t have to twist my arm!

Read More: A Taste of Alsace in Strasbourg and Colmar

Hudson New York

Hudson, New York

“You have to get away from the city at least once a month,” New Yorker after New Yorker told me, and after spending April without leaving the city, I knew I had to be better. I started researching local getaways and the town of Hudson kept appearing.

A small town in the Hudson Valley two hours north of New York on the train. Despite its small size, a town leading a foodie Renaissance in the region, with tons of chefs opening acclaimed restaurants. Filled with boutiques and cozy little shops and cafes. It sounded a lot like Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a town that I love, only with even better restaurants.

My friend Tess had visited recently and echoed all these things. “Plus it’s so cheap!” she exclaimed. Sold.

Hudson New YorkCrimson Sparrow Hudson New YorkCrimson Sparrow Hudson New YorkHudson OctopusMoto Coffee Hudson New York

Even though I thought I had my finger on the pulse of what made Hudson tick, there were surprises. How so many people had given up city life to move there. How massively LGBT-friendly it was.

The only thing is that I feel like I’ve seen all there is to see in Hudson. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing, though. Small can be good.

Read More: Hudson, New York: The Coolest Small Town in America

Salento Colombia

Salento, Colombia

When I planned my trip to Colombia, I assumed that the whole country would end up on this list at the end of the year. Truthfully, while almost everyone I know who has been to Colombia considers it one of their favorite countries, it just didn’t quite gel for me overall.

Timing was one reason — I was exhausted and it wasn’t a good time for any trip, much less a lengthy trip in a developing country. And I was traveling in my old-school backpacker style (albeit with private rooms) that I now think is becoming part of my past.

But while I didn’t fall madly in love with Colombia, I did swoon for the town of Salento. Small, beautiful, and brightly painted. So many delicious places to eat. A plaza that came to life on Sunday nights. A mirador overlooking the town. And so many coffee plantations.

SalentoCoffee Bean SalentoSalentoBeer in SalentoSalento

Salento was so chilled out, which was exactly what I needed after Cartagena and Medellín. And my day trip to the Valle de Cocora was a major highlight as well. If you’re planning a trip to Colombia, I couldn’t recommend Salento more!

Read More: Traveling in Colombia: The Best Moments

Shinn Estate Vineyards Long Island

The North Fork of Long Island

I had an image of Long Island held from my university days: isolated suburbia, rich privileged kids who flunked out of school and got their parents to buy their way back in, and not the prettiest accents of all time. Not a fair assessment, I know. It never was and I never should have let it cloud my judgment. I was an idiot in college. We all were.

That all ended when my friends and I took a day trip to the North Fork to explore the wine scene. I found a beautiful country escape with vineyard after vineyard, some truly outstanding cabernet francs, great restaurants, and the best strawberry rhubarb pie of my life.

Sparkling Pointe Long IslandLieb Cellars Long IslandKate at Sparkling Pointe North Fork Long IslandBriermere Farm Long IslandLieb Cellars Long Island

There was only one place where the Long Island stereotype reared its head — Sparkling Pointe, where the jewelry was large, the crowd was tipsy, the Yankees hats were omnipresent, and the accents were loud. But it wasn’t that bad.

Long Island is a killer destination. I’m blown away that such a good wine region is just a few hours from where I live. And that’s not all — one of my next goals is to make it to the Hamptons in 2017!

Read More: A Day Trip to the North Fork of Long Island

Coral Bay Sunset

Western Australia

How can WA not go on this list? It was the craziest, most exciting destination of the year by far. Not to mention one that I’ve yearned to visit for more or less forever.

What did it for me? It was the sparse, remote landscape, how you would almost never see other people and would then say hi to them out of disbelief that they were there, too. It was the crazy wildlife — the quokkas on Rottnest Island, of course, but also the manta rays and sharks in Ningaloo Reef. And dolphins and kangaroos. The crazy landscapes: bright yellow pinnacles in the desert, pink lakes throughout the region. Perth’s hip factor. The gorges in Karijini. Man. I could go on forever about Western Australia.

Dolphins Monkey MiaKate at Mount NamelessPinnacles DesertKalbarri NP WA Shark Bay Scenic Flight

Part of me feels in disbelief that this trip even happened. But the memories here are ones that I will cherish forever.

If you want to go somewhere not as many tourists visit, or somewhere that feels off the beaten path, WA will be a very satisfying destination for you.

Read More: My Favorite Experiences in Western Australia

Stellenbosch Vineyard

Stellenbosch, South Africa

It took three trips to South Africa to get me to visit Stellenbosch, the lauded wine region just one hour from Cape Town. What took me so long, seriously? Stellenbosch is amazing!

Beth and I decided to come here after a long, busy trip through Johannesburg, Kruger, and Cape Town, and we basically spent four days in a row doing little more than going from winery to winery, tasting wine with chocolate, tasting wine with cheese, tasting wine with meat, tasting wine with salt, buying reserve bottles to take home (none of which cost more than $11!!!!!), and reminiscing about the rest of our trip.

Wine Tasting StellenboschStellenboschKate in StellenboschStellenbosch Flowers in WinterStellenbosch Wine and Chocolate

I thought visiting Stellenbosch in July, their winter, would be hit-or-miss, but turns out it was a fantastic time to visit. The wineries were far less crowded than they would have been in high season. We had a few sunny days that resulted in beautiful photos. And there’s nothing like cozying up next to a fireplace with a glass of red on a cold day!

Read More: AK Monthly Recap: July 2016 (full recap coming soon!)

Haye-on-Wye

Hay-on-Wye, Wales

I had never heard of Hay-on-Wye before it popped up in my South Wales itinerary; uncharacteristically, I hadn’t even Googled it before arriving. But perhaps it was for the best, because I was stunned at how hard and fast I fell for this tiny Welsh town.

In short, Hay-on-Wye is the used bookstore capital of the world. They even have a world-famous literary festival that Bill Clinton called “The Woodstock of the Mind.” Between the bookstores, the cafes, and the many quirky shops (including an antique map shop, where I bought a 150-year-old map of northern Italy!), I could have stayed a week in introverted bliss.

Hay-on-WyeUsed Bookstore Hay-on-WyeHaye-on-WyeChandelier Store, Haye-on-WyeHaye-on-Wye

South Wales was a beautiful place, filled with gorgeous scenery and surprisingly delicious food, but no place stole my heart as quickly or as firmly as Hay-on-Wye.

Read More: A Dreamy Trip to South Wales

Old San Juan Cat, Puerto Rico

And that’s a wrap, folks!

At this point, I have zero trips planned for 2017. Which is fabulous!

I have some vague ideas — I think somewhere in the former Soviet Union could be a possibility for the summer months (Central Asia? Caucasus? Russia and the Baltics?), Putin-Trump situation notwithstanding. My dream destinations of Corsica and Sardinia are very likely for September or so.

I should visit friends in Austin, Las Vegas, and Seattle. There have been a ton of cheap direct flights to Cuba from New York on JetBlue — I’ll be keeping my eye on those. I’m enjoying Christmas markets in Germany so much that I want to come back next year. And of course, there’s this crazy travel blogging business, which could take me to any number of locales.

Anything is possible. This time last year, I had no clue that Western Australia or Colombia were even possibilities!

Now, I want to hear from you!

What was your favorite new destination of 2016? Share away!

My trips to Kraków, Alsace, Hudson, Salento, the North Fork, and Stellenbosch were entirely at my own expense. My trips to Puerto Rico, Western Australia, and Hay-on-Wye were sponsored. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Comments

50 Responses to “My Favorite New Destinations of 2016”
  1. Katie says:

    The only new place I went in 2016 was the Dominican Republic, and it wasn’t my favorite. (Not because of the country itself, but because we were there for a wedding and I really only got to see the “packaged” version. I did get the chance to speak with some locals about the Haitians, and that was… interesting.)

    There are so many new places I’d love to see, but if you ever want to go back to Alsace, let me know. (Because that’s not weird, right?!) After your post I’m dying to see that part of the world again. And eat the food. And drink the beverages. I just love it.

  2. I have to put a word in for my adopted hometown of Carcassonne, France. It has history (Europe’s largest medieval fortified city, with 52 towers). Gorgeous scenery (vineyards, mountains, canals, quaint villages). Outstanding food (home of cassoulet). Great wine. Close to Mediterranean beaches. Plenty of adventure (spelunking, hiking, white-water rafting, climbing). Lovely weather.

  3. Stacy says:

    My favorite new destination was Dresden–I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Berlin, but had never taken the relatively short train ride to Dresden. Such a lovely city, and more low-key than the American tourist hot spots of Munich and Berlin. I’ve looking forward to going back, maybe combined with a trip to Prague? Haven’t made it there yet either!

    I would nominate Grand Marais, MN for America’s coolest small town–beside a gorgeous setting on the shores of Lake Superior, great food, and a local art scene, the temperatures are definitely on cool side! It’s in northern MN, just over an hour’s drive from the Canadian border.

  4. Claire says:

    I rented a car and road tripped around Iceland. Incredible views and amazing hiking! I found the northern part of the country particularly fascinating — loved stomping around lava fields and seeing the insane geothermal activity. Went in the summer, but am hoping to return in the fall or spring and catch the northern lights.

    Runner up would be Guatemala. Headed over there to escape NYC winter and it was wonderful and so cheap. I stayed in an Airbnb with a Mayan family in San Juan on Late Atitlan, which was a great way to brush up on my Spanish.

    Also, I impulse-bought NYC-Cuba round trip airfare a few weeks ago because it was only $205. It should be an exciting but challenging way to kick off my 2017 travel. Can’t wait to see if you make it over there, Kate!

  5. I loved Krakow too! Me and my friend Ashley stumbled upon the most insanely wonderful pierogie hole-in-the-wall cafe. And SO CHEAP!

    BTW, your photography has gotten really fantastic. Wow!

  6. Dominique says:

    I started to feel left out! I haven’t visited any of the places you mentioned in this post – apart from Stellenbosch which actually is fantastic! Ah well, I guess thanks for these tips. More to put on my to-visit list for the future 🙂

  7. Amanda says:

    I’m working on my post of top travel experiences from 2016, and it’s ridiculously difficult because I visited SO many new places this year! If I were writing this same list, I would also include Puerto Rico (what a fun trip!). And I would also have to include New Orleans, Kruger National Park, Little Corn Island, North Wales, Zion National Park, St. Petersburg, the Isle of Lewis and Harris in Scotland, Riga in Latvia, and Tromso in Norway. What a year!

  8. Totally agree with Puerto Rico–I always recommend it for a quick warm weather escape! Alsace and Colmar are both high on my list, hope to make them happen in 2017.

  9. Val says:

    I visited 5 new countries this year, but also explored tons of new towns in places I’ve already been to.

    I made it to Norway, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Switzerland and Portugal. But I also explored new towns and cities in England where I was living (including York, Penzance, Mousehole, and Birmingham as well as getting to explore parts of London I’d never been to).

    The stand out destinations for me were definitely Norway, Prague and York and Mousehole, in England! I fell head over heels for Tromsø up in the Arctic Circle and I could happily live in York.

  10. Melody says:

    I took a two month trip to Europe end of 2015 and visited Belgium, Netherlands, Iceland and UK. I also visited Ireland for the 5th time. I fell in love with Amsterdam. Amsterdam has so much to offer from lovely canals to some of the best museums in Europe. Stolling around medieval Bruges was a real treat. I’ve been to Iceland twice before and going again in February, 2017 in hopes of seeing the Northern Lights.
    So many wonderful journeys yet to come!

  11. Lizzie says:

    Had an amazing 2016 with four fantastic trips all to top of my bucket list destinations. Hard to pick a favourite so will share them all. First to Iceland in March for a cold but wonderful 5 days, highlights were riding an Icelandic horse and seeing the Northern Lights. In May my parents, sister and I had a fantastic cruise to the Norwegian Fjords with stunning scenery, beautiful Bergen and a ride on the Flam Railway. In August I spent two weeks travelling round Sri Lanka with a couple of friends, elephant safari in Mineriya, Kandy for the tooth festival, another gorgeous train ride up to Ella and a day in colonial Galle among the top experiences. To end the fabulous four was a week in Jordan with my daughter and husband. Petra was a true “am I really here” moment and camping overnight in Wadi Rum was awesome.

  12. Laura says:

    LOTS of great inspiration here. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Seems like you had quite a year! Lot of great inspiration here for me as well…

  14. Kate says:

    Amazing photos! I’m really looking forward to visiting Wales and Poland in 2017!

  15. Emily says:

    thanks for sharing! Kraków looks beautiful! I was hoping to go this December but sadly can’t now, hopefully I’ll get to visit next year. I’m also going to keep Salento in mind for my trip to Colombia next summer- it looks lovely and I didn’t even know it existed before now.

  16. Lynn says:

    I have to travel to PR for work this year. I wasn’t honestly that excited about it, but now I think I’ll have to extend the trip (by tacking on vacation days and a weekend) and explore a little!

  17. Mikayla says:

    You should definitely do Israel! There is so much to see, experience, and eat. And if you do Seattle, it would be awesome if you did a meet up!

  18. THL says:

    2016 was a so-so travel year… didn’t get to do nearly as much as I wanted, but still managed to slip in a few gems like trips to Myanmar and Jordan. Myanmar is particular was the highlight of the year, and a destination I would recommend you visit now while it hasn’t succumbed to mass commercialisation.

  19. Anna Belkina says:

    Alsace was a discovery for me too this year! I loved it beyond reason. And yes, Riquewihr is great but just nearby is Ribeauville, which is JUST as whimsical and quaint, has fewer tourists and an AMAAAAAAZING hiking trail up the mountain to 1000-yo castles. UN-BE-LIEVABLE.

    Now, being Russian, let me propagandize for a second: come to Russia this year! I am gonna be completely craven in my argument, instead of trying to seduce you with the awesomeness of the country and particularly Moscow, the most underrated European capital. Here’s the deal: price of oil is on the rise. With Trump in the WH and many political leaders in Italy, France and even Germany calling on the lifting of sanctions against Russia, this may well become a reality in 2017. This spells out one thing: a stronger ruble. It already regained a lot of its value against the Euro and Pound since the 2014 crash – but not against the USD. Do Russia while it’s affordable. I lived in the States for almost 20 years, and I travel internationally quite a bit, so my natural instinct is to convert everything to dollars even though I get paid in rubles. When I moved here 5 years ago (after 7 years in NYC) I couldnt fathom going out and paying $20-25 for a fancy cocktail. Now these drinks are half-off in my mind.. You can stay at a luxury hotel for the price of a budget one. Moscow used to be pricier than London and Paris – now it’s a budget destination for anyone making their living in dollars. DO IT DO IT DO IT!! 😀 PS – also, Moscow is amazing in every way (and I lived in NYC, Paris and Madrid before – and I am in London 3 times a year), I would love to provide recommendations, blah blah come to Russia 🙂

  20. Great collection of very different places! 🙂 For us 2015 was really hard to beat but we can’t complain. 2016 was about travelling inside Europe for us and we visited and revisited several countries. Krakow is one of our biggest new love, too, for this year! The others are Croatia and Slovenia where we did longer road trips and fell in love with each and every town, city or national park we’ve seen. Then there were some random last minute trips that we haven’t planned – like Amsterdam or Switzerland – and they turned out just perfect.

    We missed Slovakia from your summary of favorites. We loved hiking in the High Tatras and other charming national parks of Slovakia in the summer and can’t wait to return!

    Have a happy holiday season!

  21. Zascha Friis says:

    Why have I not been to any of these places yet? I seriously need to hurry up a bit and get moving – currently traveling SE Asia 🙂

  22. Love, love Salento, Colombia! I went two years ago and it remains one of my favorite places in the world. Such a sweet town. I just got back from five weeks in Nicaragua and I’m obsessed with that country. It’s a little rough around the edges but if you give it a chance it has so much to offer. I think you’ve been there, too… Such a cool country. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  23. Jon Espina says:

    Your blog is truly inspiring Kate.

    I am also a travel blogger but I mainly blog about destinations in my country, the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Right now, this region is what my resources can afford an work on.

    But I know there will come a time and I’ll be able to travel to different parts of the world. I know it will come. Thanks for the continuous inspiration for us.

  24. Katie says:

    I love Hay-on-Wye too Kate – I have visited a couple of times and the sheer number of bookstores never gets old. I love Wales in general – Brecon Beacons, Wye Valley, Pembrokeshire Coast – everywhere I have been in Wales just blew me away. My favourite new destinations this year were Sagada and El Nido in the Philippines, Hoi An in Vietnam, Colorado (especially the mountain towns), Santa Fe, and Dominica where I am now.

  25. Frank says:

    We spent 3 months in the Cape region of South Africa and a weekend in Stellenbosch was also a highlight. But driving the Garden Route and Karoo through Oudtshorn and on to Prince Albert through the Swartberg pass was as well…South Africa was for us tops in 2016 (we were also in Japan for 7 weeks but didn’t impact us the way it did you).

    Good to know Krakow was so impressive, we’ll be spending a couple of months in Poland (as well as the Ukraine) in the spring.

    Frank (bbqboy)

  26. Daniela says:

    Hi, I love your blog!

    We finally made it to Japan in 2016, and it truly was a destination that blew us away (as we knew it would). We are very lucky to have good friends there who went out of their way to make sure it would be the most memorable trip ever – the famed Japanese hospitality.

    If you ever find yourself in Kyoto, try to visit Katsura Imperial Palace (the former summer palace of the Japanese Royal Family). As my artist friend said, its gardens and the simple beauty of its various buildings (strewn all over the gardens…teahouses etc) encompass the very essence of Japanese aesthetics. It’s tricky to get tickets, you have to apply a long time in advance, and entry is by guided tour only, but it’s really worth it.

    Very close to the Imperial Palace is an old, traditional and award-winning sweet shop called Nakamuraken, where you can taste the best kakigori (Japanese shaved ice) in the whole of Japan. THE summer treat in Japan. Their secret weapon against the sweltering summer heat. And you can try lots of other Japanese sweets too.

    Happy travelling!
    Dani

  27. Daniela says:

    P.S.
    And this is an amazing restaurant in Kyoto, Michelin-starred Kaiseki cuisine. We were lucky enough to be invited by our friends…but it’s definitely worth splashing out for as a special treat!

  28. Caitlin says:

    Traveled with a friend to Northern California to roadtrip through the redwood coast and wasn’t disappointed in the least. Northern California is so beautiful! Stayed a beautiful but isolated Inn in Shelter Cove. We stayed about 24 hours in San Francisco and wished we had more time. Hoping to get to Boston and Jackson Hole sometime in the next couple of years. Can’t wait to hear about your Christmas Market experience. That’s been on my list for years.

    When friends visit Austin, I love taking people to Trudy’s. My aunt claims that their stuffed avocados are one of the best things she’s ever put in her mouth. Great drinks and they’re famous for their Mexican Martinis. If you’re visiting Austin anytime between June and October check out the bat flight from Congress Bridge.

  29. Laura says:

    I literally just walked in the door from a two week trip to Sri Lanka and India! My mom and I kind of tapped on Sri Lanka as an add-on to our India tour, but we fell head over heels in love with it! We only spent a week and we were bummed that we never made it south to Galle, just to Kandy and Sigirya. I know you’ve been, Kate, but we were just head over heels in love with it and I know I will definitely be back. Take at least 9 days if not 10 for it.
    I also did really love India! We did Dehli, Agra, and Jaipur, but I would’ve loved to have gone to Varanasi, Goa, and Mumbai as well! Definitely prepare yourself mentally, but it’s an amazing experience!

  30. Jen says:

    I love that you found hidden places in otherwise well-known countries, great list! Also Puerto Rico is where I was born, so glad you enjoyed your time there! 🙂

  31. Vanja says:

    This year I visited for the first time Chile, San Marino and Uruguay. And I loved Uruguay, it abosultely surprised me in a good way! In my own country – Slovenia – I visited Bela Krajina region for the first time and I also loved it! 🙂

  32. Logi says:

    Great photos! I want to visit Puerto Rico one day.

  33. Eva says:

    This list has me feeling all the wanderlust feels!!! I visited Kraków for the first time this year as well (actually right before you went #snapchatstalker) and fell in love 😍 But how did you get those pics? I struggled to get non-shadowy photos even at prime photo time! Ah well, an excuse to go back. I completely agree about Puerto Rico! Culebra was a dream! And as for other quick trips from NY – Beacon, Rhinebeck, the Catskills upstate; Montclair, Princeton, and Delaware Water Gap NJ; Lancaster and the Poconos in PA. And I think you would love Montauk and Sag Harbor in the Hamptons! I visited the Baltics for the first time this year and highly recommend them – especially in fall with the changing colors!

  34. Leena Boor says:

    Stellenbosch, South Africa is the perfect place to be on this New Year’s Eve … One of my favorite of these attractions… one of the best places in town for beer and smart food. Stellenbosch of the biggest tourist attractions in the Western Cape…Enjoy this New Year here.

  35. I’m right now in Portugal spending some short holidays in the Algarve until new years eve.
    This has been one of my new travelling dreaming destinations so far. It’s almost surreal, the good weather, shine and sunny almost during all the days. We are on December and here has been around 17º temperature during the day. Looks like summer doesn’t go away. I would seriously advise anyone who likes quiet peaceful and traditional places to take a chance and start at the beautiful and historical city of Faro and then moving around to the East side, exploring mostly of the coast side small villages (nice people, marvellous food).

    Happy New Year

  36. Kayla says:

    Loved reading this! I’m already starting to think about my 2017 travels and this is great inspiration.

    My fav new destination from 2016 was hands down Cuba! I have to go back soon though as I was there when Fidel died and the national mourning was happening so I didn’t get to experience nightlife. You should definitely catch one of the cheap flights there. So worth it!

  37. Dmitriy says:

    Thank you for writing this inspiring post. I truly enjoyed reading it and going over many photos.

    Overall, we have visited 6 new countries in 2016 (5 countries in South America and Bahamas). I would point out two places that we were complitely blown away by: Machu Picchu and Iguazu Falls. No words, photos or videos can express how beautiful and stunning those places are!!!

    Speaking of travel plans for 2017. You have mentioned that you have a wish to visit Central Asia. Any thoughts of visiting Kazakhstan? Please let me know if you are truly planning to visit Kazakhstan. I was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan which is by far the most beautiful and biggest city in the country and it would be absolutely my pleasure to provide you any kind of assistance for your trip to Central Asia.

  38. Nicole says:

    Hi Kate! I’ve been trying to travel more for a few years, and figure out a good way for me to finance world travel. Needless to say, I’ve checked out a lot of blogs for a long time, and your’s is a favorite!

    I went to Puerto Rico in April 2014, and had a blast! Puerto Rico has so much to offer! Culebra was a favorite of mine (despite the hellish ferry ride), and i got to swim with sea turtles while snorkeling! Vieques is a pretty cool island, but nothing really exciting except for the bioluminescent bay! Took a night time kayak tour ($60 or so) and it felt like that gatorade commercial! Definitely something worth seeing!

    I’ve been traveling the US since early September and don’t plan on being home in Western Mass (!!) until late April. Austin is a really cool city with AMAZING food, especially the bbq. Go check out the HOPE outdoor gallery, a big concrete space completely devoted to graffiti! A really cool place to go!

    Hope you have a good 2017, and keep fighting the good fight! I will definitely be participating in protests when i get up that way!

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