Hot holiday destinations for 2016

Richard Mellor 

Where should you be travelling next year? Here are the countries, cities, islands, and incredible wonders due to be making waves in 2016


Taj Mahal India
Taj Mahal, Agra

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s state visit to India in spring 2016 will pack more of a tourism punch than any PR campaign ever could. Details of their itinerary are understandably scant, but expect classic sights like the Taj Mahal to feature.

So too may Mumbai, now established as one of the world’s fashion capitals. Kerala’s beguiling capital Kochi, where a £515m metro is due to open in June, is also ripe for a visit.

Wherever they go, mimicking Kate and Wills' visit is now far simpler, with India’s e-visa system having been extended to British passport holders, and the costs reduced too.


Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

Due out November 2016, The Great Wall is an all-action blockbuster starring Matt Damon (complete with a dubious ponytail). Revolving around the fortification’s early history, it is, at £87m, the most expensive movie ever to be wholly shot on Chinese soil

Expect a rush of interest in everything Great Wall in 2016: how to avoid the crowds, whether to go guided or not, which season to pick—and is it really visible from space?



Safari in Botswana

An anniversary always rouses interest from the media, and Botswana has a mighty significant one coming up: 30 September 2016 marks 50 years of independence for the South African country.

Journeying to its safari treasures—headlined by the incredible Okavango Delta—will get much more tempting for Britons too from March onwards, as Airlink’s new flight to Maun enables travel via lovely Cape Town.


The Azores

The Azores

More airlines are now flying to these volcanic, Portuguese-owned specks in the Atlantic Ocean. Lured by excellent whale-watching, lush hiking and geysers. Among them is Ryanair, with a new weekly flight from Stansted to Ponta Delgada.

Winter sun is also a factor: as our own summers continually disappoint, southerly destinations like the Azores are increasingly being relied upon for a burst of consolatory vitamin D.


Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Ahead of next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, Brazil’s liveliest city has embarked on a building spree.

A $2.5 billion development has revitalised Rio’ port area, including a school for contemporary art, a new cable car to the historic favela of Providência, and the jaw-dropping, just-opened Museum of Tomorrow, which examines the future of life on Earth.

All this and Brazil’s currency, the 'real', is at its lowest rate versus the pound for a decade, meaning Rio has never been cheaper to visit.


St Helena

St Helena, South Atlantic

Getting to the South Atlantic island of St Helena, a British territory best known as the place where a banished Napoleon died, currently involves an arduous 2,000-mile sail aboard the last working Royal Mail ship from Cape Town.

But imposing one’s own exile becomes much more possible for hikers, historians, snorkellers and sea-turtle fans in February with the opening of St. Helena Airport—trimming the journey time to a manageable five hours from Johannesburg.


Peru and Costa Rica

Machu Picchu, Peru
Two llamas enjoying Machu Picchu

Both of these Latin American countries will benefit from a first direct British Airways flights in 2016. For Peru, that makes accessing Machu Picchu, capital Lima’s culinary scene and the Sacred Valley of the Incas’ emerging eco-tourism scene lots easier.

Costa Rica is also ripe for exploration. Its Pacific and the Caribbean coasts, beloved by surfers and sand-combers alike, combine wonderfully with pre-Columbian ruins, volcano climbs, zip-lines and cloudforest canopy walkways.