Top ten travel destinations and the best cities to visit in 2015.
As the end of the year slowly draws near, many of us are planning vacation destinations for next year. Our own travel destinations are going to be a bit restricted for the next couple of years, that doesn’t mean we can’t dream about places we have been to and cities we still want to visit one day.
Lonely Planet, the travel company that provides guide books, travel tips, destination information and inspirations, just released their Best in Travel lists this week. The lists include the best countries you need to be visiting (hint: Singapore), Top 10 unforgettable family travel experiences for 2015 and the budget destinations to hit up next year, to name just a few.
Here are Lonely Planet’s best cities to visit in 2015, and why:
Nick and Silke in Washington, DC
#1 Washington, DC
Washington is one of the world’s best museum and monument cities, with the Smithsonian as a top draw. And since 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, many artifacts including the famous top hat of America’s 16th president and the pistol that fired the deadly shot will be on display. That’s not all: mixed-use development projects are in the works, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial has opened, there’s a vibrant gay scene and incredible ethnic eats.
#2 EL CHALTÉN, Argentina
While this town is towered over by the jagged 3405m Monte Fitz Roy and ice-rimmed Cerro Torre (3102m), its barrios include the 726,927 hectares of pristine World Heritage glaciers, peaks, lakes, forests and waterfalls of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Throw in the second-largest chunk of ice outside polar regions, the wild and mysterious Hielos Sur (Southern Patagonian Ice Field), and it’s no wonder Chaltén has quickly become Argentina’s trekking capital. And 2015 is its 30th birthday.
Beautiful city of Milan in Italy
#3 Milan, Italy
Milan is a city of lavish wealth and almost frightening elegance. But in 2015, Italy’s second-largest city will welcome all kinds of travelers. Expo 2015 – the latest of the world fairs held since the mid 1800s – will take place between May and October with a focus on food. The 1.1 million sq metre fairgrounds will be laid out like a classical Roman city. Explore the ‘future food district’, watch cooking demos, wander a plaza full of street musicians, or indulge in nighttime wine-tastings.
#4 Zermatt, Switzerland
Intrepid hikers, mountaineers and ski fiends drool over the Matterhorn that rises above Zermatt. In 2015 this diva of resorts celebrates the 150th anniversary of the first ascent. Edward Whymper led his party of seven to the summit of the 4478m-high Matterhorn on 14 July 1865 – only for four to crash to their deaths on descent. Anniversary action includes the opening of Hörnli Hut at the base of the Matterhorn and nail-biting theatre recreating Whymper’s journey on Zermatt’s open-air stage.
#5 Valetta, Malta
Valletta has had an architectural overhaul, introducing Renzo Piano’s new gateway to the city, his parliament building faced with laser-cut stonework and an open-air auditorium. Valletta’s unspoilt 17th-century buildings line a beautifully laid-out grid of streets. The contrast between old and new is what makes the new additions all the more startling. This year the city will also commemorate 450 years since the Great Siege, with remembrance particularly strong on 8 September, Victory Day.
#6 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
One of Europe’s most beautiful Old Towns, a backdrop of the Rhodope Mountains, historical treasures, smouldering nightlife. There’s a wealth of reasons to explore Plovdiv, but recent decades have polished Bulgaria’s second city. Its remarkable ruins (including a Roman theatre in the centre of the shopping precinct) were slowly excavated throughout the 1970s and ’80s. And throughout the 2000s, heritage buildings left to gather dust have been lovingly restored into museums, restaurants and hotels.
#7 Salisbury, England
For too long travellers have considered Salisbury a short stop on the way to Stonehenge. But 2015 is set to be the year visitors linger in this quintessentially English city, as Salisbury uncorks the champagne for the 800th anniversary of its greatest treasure, the Magna Carta. As home to the best-preserved original copy, Salisbury Cathedral is the lightning rod for the celebrations. Expect a brand new exhibition alongside an array of talks, evensongs, a flower festival and plenty more.
#8 Vienna, Austria
In 1865 Emperor Franz Josef got cracking on his architectural tour de force: the Ringstrasse. The ‘Ring’ stitched together trophy sights from the Rathaus to the Staatsoper. 150 years later, a line-up of special events and exhibitions is cranking up the celebratory feel – not to mention this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Forget compromises – this is a city where you can go clubbing in your dirndl, talk opera at the sausage stand and live out your very own 21st-century fairy tale.
#9 Chennai, India
Chennai has long been seen as a stepping-stone to other parts of India. But with the opening of the Chennai Metro Rail, the capital of India’s south plans to raise its profile. If nothing else, fast and frequent air-conditioned trains will transform the experience of exploring this humid metropolis. And there’s plenty to see: statue-covered Dravidian temples, fascinating museums, British-era fortifications and churches, a 3km-long beach, and India’s second-largest movie industry, ‘Kollywood’.
#10 Toronta, Canada
This multicultural megalopolis promises to be extra vibrant in 2015. An estimated 250,000 visitors will arrive for the Pan American Games. Public works projects have advanced, including the Union Pearson Express train, which will whizz passengers from Toronto’s airport to downtown in 25 minutes. 2015 will be another massive year for Toronto’s drool-worthy restaurant scene. And the influences of nearby New York and Montreal keep things cutting-edge, with live music thriving in grassroots bars.
Personally I have been to only 3 of the 10 must visit travel destinations on this top ten list.
Nick and I visited Washington, DC back in 2009 while we were still trying to sell our Jager Foods Shiitake mushroom soup mixes. We had a wonderful time sight-seeing in downtown Washington and were able to visit several area vineyards. I visited Milan and several other beautiful Italian cities during a two week study trip when I was fifteen years old (I’m not going to tell you the year) and of course, I have been to the glorious city of Vienna, Austria several time while growing up in Germany.
Thank you Lonely Planet for compiling this and many other fun and useful travel lists. What’s your next travel destination?
Have you been to any of the 2015 Top Ten Travel Destinations? Leave us a comment below.