Every year, TripAdvisor releases a list of predictions for the most popular travel destinations. The trends vary each year, depending on several factors. Sometimes the predictions favor places with sunny beaches, particularly if the winter has been harsh and the economy has been good. Other times, travel destinations will revolve around business locations where large groups can travel effectively for their meetings.
This year, the trends seem to encompass a little of both, with a touch of historical appeal thrown in. Without further ado, here are TripAdvisor’s predictions for most popular destinations in 2016, in no particular order, with my comments on each.
1. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
This city takes the top spot in the United States, thanks to its mountains, fine dining and entertainment, and great weather. It’s the home of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and it’s an ideal family and group travel destination, with opportunities for outdoor recreation, a 342-foot elevator ride, and an amusement center for kids.
2. Tulum, Mexico
This was one of the last cities to be built by the Mayan community. The formerly walled city is now all about ruins, white sandy beaches, and plenty of history. There are opportunities to explore caves, underground rivers, miles of beaches, and expansive forests.
3. Cartegena, Colombia
As one of the safest and most culturally diverse cities in the country, Cartegena a great port of call for cruise ships. It has expansive white beaches and plenty of history in the old town sector.
4. Porto, Portugal
This is the town after which Portugal is named. The second-largest metropolitan area in the country, it’s full of old-town charm, but still houses modern attractions. You’ll be in good company among historic churches, scenic ocean views, and local wineries.
5. Moscow, Russia
Russia doesn’t often make the list of most traveled destinations because of political tension around the world. This year, however, travelers don’t seem to want to stay away from the incredible architecture of the Kremlin, Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, and the KGB Museum.
6. Brighton, United Kingdom
Brighton has always been a hot spot for London natives, but now the rest of the world is catching on to its charms. The beautiful beaches, clubs, and history make it an exciting destination for everyone.
7. New Delhi, India
India’s economy is flourishing, which makes it a prime destination for both tourists and businesses. Its incredible views and architecture are surrounded by both quiet and activity, providing something for everyone to enjoy.
8. Banff, Canada
No matter the time of year, Banff will always be a popular destination. During the winter, the Rocky Mountains provide excellent powder for skiing and snowboarding, and the lodges are warm and inviting. During the summer, there’s hiking, boating, and other recreational activities to enjoy in the expansive outdoors.
9. Lima, Peru
This 500-year-old city is both a treasure trove of history and modern recreation. Whether you enjoy strolling along serene beachfronts or bartering with vendors along the historic cobblestone streets, there’s no shortage of entertainment here. Be sure to make time to explore ancient Incan archeological sites and breathe in some of the history.
10. Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
Last, but certainly not least, the incredible rainforests of Brazil made it onto the list this year. Scenic waterfalls, clouds of butterflies, native wildlife, and plenty of outdoor recreation are some of the major appeals in this area. There’s also a perpetual rainbow over the city thanks to all the water, which makes it feel like nothing short of paradise.