Travel | Top countries to visit in 2016

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As the wind and rain sweeps the country, now is the time to start thinking of holiday plans for 2016. Lonely Planet has launched its top countries to visit next year.

Looking for something more than two weeks in Spain next year or short city breaks? Travel trends of late has been focused on that ‘something different’ that offers everything from stunning landscapes, adventure, education and fun.

Botswana has claimed the top spot in Lonely Planet’s guide for many reason. The country celebrates 50 years of independence in 2016 with much to celebrate after enjoying a real rags to riches journey. “Democratic, progressive, enlightened – but above all, invigoratingly wild,” is how the Lonely Planet describes Botswana. “Prepare for a severe case of slack-jawed-with-awe syndrome when you visit.”

Japan has become a top choice in recent years amongst Irish travellers thanks to its modern yet ancient offering. Its elegant and enticing temples are a must-see for everyone.

While the dollar may not be as good value for us, a trip to the U.S. is still worth the cash. And 2016 is a great year to visit the country as the National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday. This is a great opportunity to visit and hike around the 59 parks under the organisation’s portfolio such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion and Badlands.

For those that love snorkelling or diving, Palau is a heaven thanks to its striking fish and coral population. “The pacific archipelago has turned 100% of its marine territory into a sanctuary in a bid to protect what has been dubbed a ‘Serengeti’ of the sea,” says the guide. 

Latvia is a little closer to home for travellers. The baltic treasure is “resuscitating ancient traditions, restoring crumbling castles and manor houses hidden in its pine forests, and transforming its once stodgy cuisine into cutting-edge New Nordic fare.”