10 Vacation Spots That Are About To Get Huge

Whoever said that patience is a virtue had no comprehension of just how badly you needed a vacation. And one of the biggest things to look forward to in the New Year is making swift use of your refilled days off. That may sound a little crazy — after all, the holidays have yet to come and go — but you know well enough that the craziness of December will likely leave you in need of some real R & R, not to mention an adventure or two. There is the burning question, however, of where exactly you and your passport will land.

You already have your Cancún selfies, mini Leaning Tower of Pisa souvenir statuettes, and Great Britain passport stamps. So isn't it time to start checking off the extraordinary destinations that are about to rise to the top of everyone's must-see list? We think so, which is why we've teamed up with Perrier© Sparkling Natural Mineral Water to celebrate the places that have a life all their own. Start requesting that week off and booking flights now — you'll want to get there before the tourists swarm in. We're expecting a postcard.
1 of 10
Photo: Getty Images
Oslo, Norway

Perfect for those who love cool shelter magazines, minimalist street style, and stylish quaintness, Oslo is a fashion girl's dream. Get lost in Oslo's Viking culture at the Viking Ship Museum, where three preserved ships are on display. For further art-buff fodder, admire the sculptures at the famed Vigeland Park, and see Edvard Munch's famous The Scream in person at the National Gallery. Fuel up on moules-frites in the trendy Grünerløkka area. Then, visit the shopping paradise of Egertorget Square, cruise around the fjords, or simply grab a cozy cocktail and gaze lovingly upon the Scandinavian stunners surrounding you.
Advertisement
2 of 10
Photo: Getty Images
Havana, Cuba

Thanks to reduced travel restrictions, traveling to Cuba is suddenly, for Americans, a much more viable option. Once there, expect to spend a lot of time simply people-watching and soaking up the beauty of the buildings around you. Calle 70 is a popular spot for surfing if that's your thing. Later on, hit the dance floor at the sprawling mansion of Club Jardines de 1830, where live music and salsa under the stars await. Get a taste of Havana's energetic art scene via theater, music, and dance performances at Fábrica de Arte Cubano, and don't forget to sample local delights like mojitos, ropa vieja, and yes, even sushi.
3 of 10
Photo: Getty Images
Zanzibar, Tanzania

For the true adventure travel enthusiast, Tanzania's the spot. In the past few years, a number of interesting tours and ethical safari experiences have opened, making the experience much more accommodating for travelers.

Located a boat ride away from hectic Dar es Salaam — bring your passport to avoid a fine, even though you haven't left the country — Zanzibar is an inviting hodgepodge of African and Arab cultures. The island of Pemba is a popular destination for divers, while the bustling Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is marked by bazaars, gorgeous coral stone buildings, and narrow streets best navigated via a rented motorbike or scooter. Zanzibar is of course famed for its spices, so it's worth heading away from the port and booking a spice tour, which will let you pick fruits and herbs yourself.
4 of 10
Photo: Getty Images
Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

This might just be the most beautiful, untouched island on the planet, so unplug, shack up in the super-affordable beach bungalows, and unwind. Little Corn Island is particularly fitting for active types, since you can spend your days snorkeling, diving, kite-surfing, and, of course, doing stand-up paddle board yoga. At the end of the day, treat yourself to a bowl of rundown, a traditional coconut and seafood stew.
5 of 10
Photo: Getty Images
Pai, Thailand

Overall, Thailand is beautiful, but — thanks to hoards of backpackers — not exactly "undiscovered." This groovy, expat-filled hill town is an off-the-beaten-path treasure. It’s frequently whispered about as travelers increasingly seek out alternatives to Bangkok.

If there are just three words you need to know, they are "Pai Treehouse Resort." Stay perched high off the ground there, or go luxe when you check into the nearby Pai Hotsprings Spa Resort, where massages and guided bamboo raft tours await. Also, explore temples, go hiking, or make new friends at one Pai's many cafe-galleries, like Inspire.
6 of 10
Photo: Getty Images
Johannesburg, South Africa

Jo'burg is developing into an extremely trendy luxury-travel spot, yet somehow it’s still quite affordable — a win-win. Food markets are the new big thing in this South African destination, with the diverse dishes and produce at The Sheds @1Fox, Neighbourgoods, and Market on Main luring in foodie travelers. But it isn't all fun and eats — while there, head to the Apartheid Museum for a look at South Africa's history. Museum Africa is another must-see, while hiking in Gauteng and hot-air ballooning may appeal to your more adventurous side.
Advertisement
7 of 10
Photo: Getty Images
Santiago, Chile

With its cool music scene, amazing food, and heavy focus on youth culture, there's no denying that Santiago is making travelers reconsider this it as just a fly-over city. Get an evening underway at performing arts and music center GAM. And while the ultimate Santiago trip would include a visit to the nearby Casablanca Valley wineries, a crawl of local wine bars like BocaNariz will reduce any FOMO. Besides wine, pisco is the local drink, and we find it's best enjoyed while taking in live music at the lively Opera-Catedral.
8 of 10
Photo: Getty Images
Pokhara, Nepal

Once known only as a starting point for Everest trekkers, Pokhara has just as much to offer those who aren't embarking on (or recovering from) their climb. It's extraordinarily easy to navigate, but still feels like a completely different world. And while tourism to Nepal has cooled a bit since April's earthquake, the draws of Pokhara continue to tempt. Nepal's second-largest city is especially ideal for outdoorsy types who are keen to experience sunrise paragliding, white-water rafting and kayaking, or sunrise hikes to the famed Sarangkot for breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
9 of 10
Photo: Getty Images
Fez, Morocco

With its markets and cool vegetarian cuisine, Fez has been a treasure forever. However, it is just starting to attract the fashion crowd fresh from pilgrimages to Yves Saint Laurent's Majorelle Garden in Marrakesh.

Yes, this city lacks the mad crush of Marrakesh — and that's a good thing. One of the best ways to experience it is through your taste buds. Both the Souk Tasting Trail and a cooking class offer excellent insight into local street food, wine, and sweets. Also keep an eye out for ceramics and Instagram-worthy street art as you make your way through the medina. Culture vultures should make exploring the local mosques and Roman ruins a priority, while anyone will enjoy the Moroccan version of a spa day with a trip to the hammams.
10 of 10
Photo: Getty Images
Lyon, France

The stylish, cultural Lyon is like Paris' cool southern sister — and you'll find far less tourists and zero Eiffel Tower traffic there. Plus, recent developments have made Lyon more accessible for pedestrians and a hub for underground music. You'll find evidence of both at La Confluence, an "urban project" housing a museum, the Le Sucre arts center, and cool bars like DIY Live Station. Spend your days exploring galleries, feasting on Lyonnaise cuisine, and biking along the Quai Saint-Vincent, but save some energy for a big night out. Marché Gare and Grrrnd Zero are just two of the city's hugely popular live music spaces.
Advertisement