Cuba had its moment as a hot travel destination, but the beauty of travel is that there's always another hotspot emerging. In fact, there are lots of hotspots—from lesser-known European cities like Lisbon and Cardiff to more far-flung spots like South Korea and Australia. Pack your passport and sense of adventure and check out these up-and-coming travel destinations.
Peru gets most of the attention, but Chile is the South American country to keep your eye on. In the capital of Santiago, new boutique hotels like are springing up, the Barrio Italia, with boutiques and design shops, is the hip new neighborhood, and cutting-edge restaurants like have received global accolades. The city is also the launching point for eco-adventure trips to the .
With the recent opening of the , Lake Lucerne in Switzerland is once again on travelers' radars. The complex, once a jet-set resort in the 1950s, has been totally transformed. Set on a bluff, it offers breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains, and it features four hotels, 12 restaurants, a golf course, and a state-of-the-art spa. The jewel in the crown is the recently opened , featuring 102 rooms and the .
There's plenty going on in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. Game of Thrones fans know that the hit HBO show has filmed here—there are numerous themed tours available—and the Titanic Quarter, the former shipyard where the ill-fated liner was built, is now a buzzing area with the museum and the just-opened . You can also take a driving tour along the coast to see the famous rock formation.
Urban renewal projects like Skygarden, a highway transformed into a High Line-like linear park, are adding some much-needed green space in the South Korean capital. There's also the ultra modern mall, as well as the 14th-century . The trendy Insadong area has craft shops, tea houses, and Korean barbecue and kimchi restaurants.
There's a lot happening in Hamburg, Germany's second-largest city. The striking new Herzog and de Meuron-designed concert hall is making waves with its ultra modern design. Museum-wise, you can visit the traditional , or see a contemporary exhibit at the , housed in two restored 19th-century market halls. Plus, set to debut this fall is the five-star Fontenay hotel on Lake Alster.
Motor City is definitely getting its groove back. The new QLine streetcar just started running, the old Detroit Fire Department headquarters has been turned into the trendy (its is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Lents), and in the works is a spanking-new arena for the Red Wings and Pistons. Plus, craft breweries like Urbanrest Brewing Co. are popping up all over town.
If you haven't been to Wales yet, you're definitely missing out. In the capital of Cardiff, two hours by train from London, you can visit Cardiff Castle and the futuristic-looking , an arts complex in the redeveloped Cardiff Bay area. Dine in restaurants like , the , and a soon-to-open steakhouse from top British chef Marco Pierre White in the brand-new Hotel Indigo.
This sultanate on the Arabian peninsula gets overshadowed by Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but look for that to change. In the capital of Muscat, there's the new , as well as the and the (open to non-Muslims). The is still one of the world's most lavish hotels, and a new coastal resort from Kempinski is set to open by year's end.
Though not as known as Sydney and Melbourne, there's much to recommend in the coastal town of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. In terms of hotels, there's the swanky , and there's a Sheraton and a Sofitel in the pipeline. Dining-wise, , from chef-owner Jock Zonfrillo, is garnering top honors across Australia, as are other culinary hotspots like and in nearby Magill.
If you like Mexico's Cabo San Lucas, but want something a little more laid-back, then just might be the place for you. This bohemian beach town (an hour north of Cabo on the Baja California peninsula) has art galleries, craft shops, and great surfing strands. Stay in the just-opened , a 32-room boutique hotel on Punta Lobos beach from hip Austin-based hotelier Liz Lambert.
While often overshadowed by , is poised to attract plenty of global attention when it cuts the ribbon on a new branch of the this November. Designed by noted architect Jean Nouvel, the ultra modern domed building will showcase both ancient and contemporary art. Additionally, a new water taxi service that'll take tourists to the city's top attractions, including the Louvre, is expected to launch soon.
Cape Town, with its mountain and sea panoramas, has always been known as one of Africa's most beautiful cities, and now, as an added incentive to visit, it has just debuted the largest contemporary art museum on the continent. The , housed in a former grain silo, is devoted exclusively to African art and artists. Also within the building is a posh 28-room boutique hotel called .
A brand-new museum has opened in Marrakech. The , housed in a desert-hued contemporary building, is dedicated to the history of the iconic fashion brand, and it honors founders Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Visitors can expect plenty of couture garments and accessories on display. While you're in the Rose City, you can also visit the famous square and shop in the medina.
Nature lovers should put Newfoundland, one of Canada's Atlantic provinces, on their travel radars. March through June, massive ice floes can be seen in "Iceberg Alley" (from Greenland to the North Atlantic), and there's also whale watching, hiking, and bird-watching. The top place to stay is the architecturally stunning , and award-winning is one of Canada's top fine dining restaurants.
Madrid and Barcelona get more attention, but don't overlook Seville. Top attractions include the and , which was recently seen in Game of Thrones. You'll find contemporary works at the Andalusia Contemporary Art Centre, and the recently opened , housed in a former Andalusian palace, is a gorgeous boutique hotel with modern interiors and a rooftop pool and bar.
As the designated , you can expect a lot of buzz to be centered around the capital city of Valletta. There will be festivals and special exhibits throughout the year, as well as the unveiling of MUZA, a new national art gallery and a new public square, Piazza de Valette. You can also check out the city's historic sites, which include the , dating back to the 16th century.