Hottest destinations: Places to visit in 2016

With the new year, travel magazines and industry experts have been busy predicting the buzziest destinations of 2016. Here are the most compelling ones.

1 Botswana

Editors at Lonely Planet have heaped praise on the country for its unusual combination of dessert and delta, and wildlife. In 2014, Botswana’s Okavango Delta became UNESCO’s 1000th World Heritage Site. Go for the elephants, meerkats, horseback riding, the ancient baobab trees and sunbathing hippos, say editors.

2 Iran

Identified as a destination to watch by the World Travel Market Global Trends Report, and National Geographic Traveller UK. Iran’s main draw? Its 19 World Heritage Sites — the most of any Middle Eastern country — and a rich repository of ancient Persian history.

3 Stratford-Upon-Avon

Shakespeare fans will want to bookmark April 23, 2016 on their calendar, a day when the world marks the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. The town will be throwing a party — parade, acrobatic shows, fireworks, and Shakespearean actors rhyming off soliloquies and monologues — the works. Can’t make it in April? The Royal Shakespeare Company theatre’s schedule for summer and winter program has performances that will include Othello, Henry V, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

4 Hokkaido, Japan

Editors at Frommer’s and National Geographic had Hokkaido on their list of top destinations of 2016. With the debut of a high-speed rail line set to launch in March, Frommer’s says Hokkaido will be more accessible than ever. The area is popular for volcanoes, natural hot springs, snow festival, and ski resorts. NatGeo recommends Kiroro, a two-hour drive from the Sapporo airport for adventurous free-riding skiers for the mystical views.

5 US National Parks

Editors at travel magazine Afar named the American southwest — home to Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks — the top destination of 2016. Many of the parks will host special events to fete their milestone centennial on August 25.

6 Cote d’Or, Burgundy, France

In July, the Burgundy region made it to UNESCO’s World Heritage List for its long, rich wine history, reason enough for NatGeo to include it in their Best Trips 2016 list. Editors recommend renting a bike and touring the Route des Grands Crus, stopping in the medieval town of Beaune and tucking into a beef bourguignon with a glass of, what else, Burgundy wine.