Come New Year, we all begin to feel an itch to plan for a new vacation, to take the route where the path’s less travelled and find ourselves in a whole new adventure. Whether we are drawn to the hustle and bustle of city life, or to the magnificence of nature, Lonely Planet has compiled a list of the 10 best cities we should visit before the following winter.
1. Washington, DC, USA
You can find some of the world’s best museums and monuments in Washington, DC, the beating heart of America with its fabulous night-life, architectural design and vibrant gay scene, catering to the needs of all travellers. With 19 museums, a zoo and countless attractions, we can add the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination to a list of events you won’t want to miss!
2. El Chaltén, Argentina
Image by McKay Savage/Flickr
Trekking into the stunning wilderness from the town of El Chalten, you come face to face with majestic Monte Fitz Roy (3405m) and ice-rimed Cerro Torre (3102m), surrounded by 726,927 hectares of pristine World Heritage glaciers, peaks, lakes, forests and waterfalls, also known as the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.
3. Milan, Italy
While normally walking down an Italian street might make the average visitor feel rather out of place, particularly when considering the locals sport the latest fashions while carrying toy poodles about, 2015 will be a special year wherein Expo 2015 in Milan will allow travellers to truly taste the intricacies of the Italian lifestyle. With a major focus on food, 1.1 million square meters will be utilized in creating the perfect expo fairgrounds, wherein one can find past traditional food choices coupled with future plans for expansion, including the “future food district” and the indulgence of night-time wine tasting. It will most definitely be the “go-to” spot for foodies and Italian culture lovers.
4. Zermatt, Switzerland
For a place with lots of attitude at a rather impressive altitude, Zermatt takes the cake. A pyramidal perfection of a mountain, Matterhorn has been an attraction that leaves those climbing its snow-covered slopes alight with excitement. The year 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the first trek up the mountain, a magical event that shall not be passed unnoticed, instead being celebrated with a legendary party spirit within its many resorts. On July 14, 1865, a party of seven reached the peak of the incredible natural masterpiece, though four were lost to the harshness of the grand creation when their rope broke and they fell to their deaths. It may have taken lies, but that in itself spurred the mountain’s image as one of the hottest high-altitude spots on earth.
5. Valletta, Malta
Marking 450 years since the Great Siege, Valletta will be ablaze with festivities, particularly come September 8, on Victory Day. The 17th century buildings are accented with new additions, not always to the local tastes, but startlingly captivating nonetheless. If you have never been to Malta, you can rectify that mishap by visiting on this grandest of anniversaries.
6. Plodviv, Bulgaria
A breathtaking picturesque old town with a backdrop of the Rhodope Mountains, Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second city, is now lovingly restored after years of neglect. A quaint city with cobblestone streets, craft markets, quirky attractions and affordable shopping experiences, this little city is the perfect getaway, no matter what the season.
7. Salisbury, UK
The law must be upheld and the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta duly celebrated in this quintessential English city, wherein the year will be full of folk opera, calypso tributes and ale-brewing reminiscent of the 13th century. Don’t forget to visit Stonehenge as well as you manage to squeeze in a trip to Salisbury Cathedral where the original Magna Carta is housed.
8. Vienna, Austria
A ring was made in 1865 to envelop the magnificent architecture of Vienna, stitching together trophy sights from Rathaus to the Sttatsoper. 150 years down the line and we have an impeccable lineup of special events that will leave visitors enthralled, including hosting the popular Eurovision Song Contest. Culture can be found in every step you take, from the food stalls to the operas and nightclubs. Definitely the place to be this year!
9. Chennai, India
Bringing to mind a famous Bollywood romantic comedy called “Chennai Express,” this lovely city is nothing if not an outdoor museum of grand attractions. The train you take from this location will take you through picturesque scenes, from temples to colonial architecture, beaches to the second-largest movie industry known simply as Kollywood.
10. Toronto, Canada
Last but not least, Toronto makes the top 10 charts of must-see cities in 2015, where the busy multicultural metropolis will be hosting the year’s Pan American Games. Furthermore, it’s sleek new express train will have one downtown near the harbour in less than 30 minutes, cutting through the traditional Toronto traffic and having you down where live music, delicious cuisine, and never-ending entertainment greet each visitor. You are bound to be back after this particular trip!