Every year, we publish our annual list of up-and-coming destinations that should be right at the top of everyone’s to-visit list. Perfect for a short break or a weekend getaway, these cities are the ones to watch in 2016! Where will we take you in the New Year?
No surprises here – Reykjavik is top of our to-do list in 2016. With fantastic activities like seeing the Northern Lights, whale-watching, hiking in the geyser district in south-west Iceland and taking a dip in the thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon, there’s so much to see and do. On our ‘Destinations on the Rise’ radar for the past three years, our short breaks in Reykjavik are as popular as ever!
Iceland’s capital used to only be the domain of bohemian travellers and die-hard nature lovers, and the city itself remains an impossibly cool place to be. Now though, with an increase in the number of flights and routes from UK airports, Reykjavik is much more accessible. Best in the colder months of the year (when the Northern Lights are clearer, of course), make this the year you treat yourself with a short break in Reykjavik!
This medieval Polish city has rebuilt and rejuvenated since World War Two, preserving as much of its fascinating history as possible and evolving into a beguiling weekend break destination. Fairy tale-like buildings including Wawel Cathedral and the Krakow Cloth Hall are must-visits. Walking tours of Kazimierz – the Jewish Quarter – are also well worth doing. No break in Krakow is complete without a visit to Auschwitz – an emotional tour of the World War Two camp is essential when in this part of the world.
It’s the contemporary bars and restaurants that make Krakow an up-and-coming city break however. From nightclubs to Jazz bars, Krakow comes alive at night, and is a fun place to be with friends, family or as a couple. As Eastern Europe’s new must-visit destination, Krakow is not to be missed!
One of the oldest cities in the world, it seems a bit silly to be heralding Lisbon as ‘up-and-coming’! Somehow though the Portuguese capital has been rather overlooked until relatively recently. With culture by the truck-load and almost guaranteed sunshine throughout most of the year, more and more people are cottoning on to the fact that Lisbon is a fantastic short break getaway!
Relax and soak up the rays at one of the luxurious resorts in Estoril, the coastal region to the west of the city, or stay in the centre and see the sights. Head to the historic Belem district for the city’s most iconic landmarks – the Jeronimos Monastery and the Belem Tower are both exquisitely designed and are musts on your short break in Lisbon. Visiting as a couple? Go shopping in the Baixa district before dining out in Bairro Alto. With the family? Don’t miss Lisbon’s Aquarium – frequently voted the world’s best.
Set on the Costa Brava, our short breaks in Barcelona have always been among our most popular. Madrid – the Spanish capital – is an altogether different proposition, one that’s well worth a try in 2016. With elegant Boulevards, distinctive Baroque architecture and a number of city parks offering breathing space, Madrid is closer in atmosphere to Rome or Paris.
Yet a rich cultural heritage makes Madrid totally unique. Catholicism, football and Castilian cuisine are the things the locals get passionate about and, if you can, be sure to visit the Almudena Cathedral, see footballing giants Real Madrid play and chow down on some Cocido Madrileño to see why! For an authentic Spanish experience, a weekend in Madrid simply can’t be beaten.
We’d be remiss without a top up-and-coming destination that’s a little closer to home! As Northern Ireland’s most cultural and cosmopolitan city, Derry has benefited from a regeneration in recent years. With a terrific mix of trendy bars & restaurants and iconic, highly photogenic sights to see, Derry is a grown-up city break destination. Old and new sit side-by-side and you can enjoy the best of both worlds – you won’t want to miss the Gothic Guildhall building, or the swanky new Peace Bridge either.
And, while you’re over in Northern Ireland, why not take the time to explore the country’s stunning rural areas and dramatic coastline? You could even spot a Game of Thrones filming location or two. Not to be overlooked, check out our fab short breaks in Derry in 2016!
Where are you heading off to in 2016? Let us know in the comments section below!