TOP 10 COUNTRIES

1. NEPAL

After a series of devastating earthquakes and aftershocks, Nepal’s tourist industry is on the rise again. Though hundreds of thousands have been left homeless, and daily life is not fully back to normal, the country’s historic landmarks are slowly being restored. Trekking routes are reopening and the resilient Nepali people are finding their feet. Thoughtfully spent tourist dollars will go a long way here; choosing independent homestays and grass roots tour companies ensures money ends up in local pockets. With varied landscapes – from the Himalayas to jungles inhabited by tigers, elephants and rhinos – Nepal should be your first choice for travel in 2016.

The Rough Guide to Nepal
BUY THE GUIDE
Nepal’s cultural landscape is every bit as diverse as its physical one. – Shafik Meghji, co-author of The Rough Guide to Nepal

2. COLOMBIA

The Rough Guide to Colombia
BUY THE GUIDE
It’s ludicrous this place exists and everybody doesn’t want to live here. – Anthony Bourdain, American celebrity chef

3. CUBA

There’s a special blend of Caribbean culture as potent as the rum. – Matt Norman, author of The Rough Guide to Cuba
Travellers have been saying “now is the time to visit” Cuba for years, but with the re-establishment of US–Cuban relations last year, the statement holds more weight than ever today. The resulting increase in tourism, investment and consumer culture is set to cause radical changes on the island. Already, exciting new bars, restaurants and art centres like the Fabrica de Arte Cubano have started springing up in Havana, but old Havana and the rural gems beyond the capital still remain in their former state for the time being. Now really is the time to go.

The Rough Guide to Cuba
BUY THE GUIDE

4. JORDAN

The Rough Guide to Jordan
BUY THE GUIDE
It is huge, majestic, silent, empty, aglow with all the prism colours in the morning sun. And it seems to think. – Talbot Mundy, author of The Lion of Petra

5. ALBANIA

Pay a visit to this beguiling corner of Europe now, before it garners the popularity it deserves. – Martin Zatko, co-author of The Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget
While nearby Greece and Croatia are well established on the tourist trail, Albania remains something of a mystery to most. But those who go will find fascinating UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the ancient Greek city of Butrint, pristine beaches on the Ionian coast, gorgeous mountain lakes, Ottoman architecture, and friendly locals to point you in the right direction for discovery. Make the trip before the rest of the world realises what they’re missing.

6. ROMANIA

The world is waking up to Romania’s wonders. There are multicoloured medieval cities, the forest-clad Carpathian mountains and in Bucharest a brilliant capital city with excellent dining and nightlife. Geographically, the country is perfect road trip material, as winding tracks lead you through beautiful wilderness landscapes, to countless historic towns and into mystical castles. With Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic architecture, fascinating history, and the opportunity to see bears and wolves in the wild, you’re running out of reasons not to visit.

7. EL SALVADOR

As tourist numbers and prices rise in Costa Rica and the Caribbean islands, travellers have sought new destinations for their Central American adventures. El Salvador is their shining star. For starters, secluded beaches with some of the world’s best surf lie less than an hour from the country’s frenetic capital. Venture inland and you’ll find unspoilt colonial towns in the shadows of awe-inspiring volcanoes and a picturesque patchwork of hillside coffee plantations. Prepare for plenty of piping hot pupusas (flat dough fried and stuffed with beans, cheese and pork), ample adventure activities and seriously low costs.

El Salvador’s Maya ruins have their own powerful charm – and on most days you’ll have the sites completely to yourself. – Stephen Keeling, co-author of The Rough Guide to Central America on a Budget

8