Top places to visit in 2015

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Travel is all about adventure and discovery, and the world is brimming with worthy contenders. Our staff are invested, so meetings were passionate. Ultimately, after much lobbying, discussion, and deliberation, we had to draw the line at 15 destinations.

With great reluctance on our part, as that number left plenty of esteemed honorable mentions off our final list. We love Arles, France, hometown of artist Vincent Van Gogh, which will mark the 125th anniversary of his death with a brand new museum devoted to him. There’s Shanghai, where both a new Disneyland park and Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas will being drawing mass tourism 2015. And we’re bullish onDenver, that booming Rocky Mountain town, where light rail is expanding, old buildings being revitalized, and a budding breed of cannabis tourists are causing some old-timers to scratch their heads under their cowboy hats.
We love travel, so there will always be countless places that we think you should go and where your own discoveries lie. But we think that 2015 in particular is the best time to discover—or rediscover—these 15 sensational places.

The Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark, Vietnam

Occupying more than 965 square miles of Ha Giang Province in Vietnam on the northern border with China, this is the country’s first geopark. The karst landscape upcroppings are simply stunning—much more dramatic than the vaunted area around Sa Pa. Since its designation in 2010, the region has come into its own and it’s ready for regular tourism. Access roads have been upgraded and word of its spectacular scenery is getting round fast. The first high-rise hotel is  under construction, but visitors should get here in 2015 to admire the region while it still remains relatively pristine.

Gallipoli, Turkey

It was one of the most notorious and ill-fated campaigns in history: The British, eager to occupy Constantinople (Istanbul) during World War I, sent boys who came from its far-reaching empire to fight for the Crown. Gallipoli was an eight-month deathtrap. A quarter million Allied soldiers were lost, and the numbers on the Turkish side were just as awful.
The campaign marked the first major military action for both Australia and New Zealand as independent nations, and the fact their boys were essentially sent as cannon fodder and achieved no significant gains has always been powerfully symbolic for those countries: They stood on their own, died, and found no shame in failure. The battle shaped not only a generation but also a national identity.
The date of the landing, April 25, is so important Down Under that it’s honored as a  memorial day, Anzac Day, so it stands to reason that the site has long been a major draw for Australians and New Zealander. Few of them visit that region of the world—within reach of Greece, modern-day Istanbul, and the coastal towns where Paul wrote his books of the Bible—without paying tribute to such sacrifice.
Forget about being there to commemorate the actual day; the Australian government, in cooperation with New Zealand and Turkey, held a lottery for tickets. But the other 364 days of 2015 will host thousands of pilgrims from the other side of the world as they visit the blood-soaked crucible in which the modern identities of their nations were forged. There’s no better time to learn about that heritage.


Málaga, Spain

With miles of shoreline, a rich culture, and an average January temperature of 63 degrees, Málaga, on Spain’s southern coast, has a lot going for it—except relatively few tourists are, which qualifies it as a find. Paris’ Centre Pompidou selected Malaga as the site of the first “Pop-Up Pompidou.” The art museum open in the spring and will be the capstone of the resurgence of Andalucia’s second-largest city. The transformation began in 2011 with the opening of both the Palmeral de Las Sorpresas, an elegant seaside promenade that replaced the gritty working waterfront, and the Museo Carmen Thyssen, a showcase of 19th- and early 20th-century Spanish paintings. The city has become a great option for travelers who want to enjoy the cultural offerings of a vibrant city, but still be close to the Costa del Sol beaches. Malaga is also increasingly a popular site for longer stays. According to, a publication dedicated to international retirement, properties rent for as little as $650 a month, a meal of tapas goes for about $4. Sun, culture, beaches, and affordable prices earn Málaga a spot on our 2015 list.

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