Where to go in 2016: Top 16 up-and-coming destinations
By Anisha Shah, for CNN
11 minute read
10:22 PM EST, Tue December 22, 2015
The Arctic: Iceland, Greenland and Norway —
Forget the beach. Extreme and isolated lands are attracting more adventurers than ever, say travel pros. This pic of Iceland's Godafoss Waterfall makes it easy to see why.
Undeveloped and raw, Madagascar has 8,000 species of animals found nowhere else on the planet. Aside from wildlife, highlights include Avenue of the Baobabs -- home to these stunning 1,000-year-old trees.
North Cascades National Park —
While Yosemite and Yellowstone pull in millions of visitors annually, other U.S. national parks remain largely unexplored. That includes stunning North Cascades National Park in Washington State, which attracted just 24,000 visitors in 2014.
Patagonia Corridor —
About 1.5 times the size of the UK, Patagonia straddles the border of Chile and Argentina. Argentina's dramatic Perito Moreno Glacier, pictured, is its 30-kilometer-long glacial centerpiece.
With medieval architecture, timeless culture and staggering scenery, Georgia is simply stunning. According to the pros, cheap flights, new routes and improved infrastructure and accommodation ensure it will be a hot ticket in 2016.
Though Gabon travel isn't easy, rewards are high. The former French colony, home to the gorgeous mandrill, has escaped the strife afflicting some of West Africa and is betting its future on green travel. In fact, 10 percent of the country's mass is national park land.
Iran's Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Isfahan. The easing of diplomatic relations means added flight routes and easier visa processes for travelers looking to head there in 2016.
Palau's Jellyfish Lake. Not to worry, these cute little dudes can't hurt you. An ecotourism leader, Palau has one of the world's highest marine biodiversity populations.
Sure, there's so much more to Romania than Transylvania. But its vast and varied landscapes, filled with skyline-piercing castles and churches don't disappoint.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
South Georgia —
Located in the south Atlantic, South Georgia Island is a stopover on many Antarctica expeditions. Its tundra is filled with colonies of thousands of noisy king penguins.
Travel pros say Taiwan's soaring green mountains, thriving cities and excellent food will place it on many wish lists in 2016. Among its attractions is Taiwan's 100-acre Fo Guang Shan monastery, which has more than 15,000 Buddhist temples.