One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

As you make your travel plans for the new year, consider the following list of top travel spots for 2015.  Some are new and notable while others are tried and true with a twist.  Since timing is everything – in life and in travel – several of these destinations are particularly worth visiting this year because of special events or historical commemorations that will be featured in 2015.

Read on for our round up of ten destinations to put on your travel wish list for 2015!

Milan, Italy

Why Visit:
It’s always fashionable to visit Milan – but style-savvy travelers and foodies alike will have an extra reason to visit in 2015. Milan will be hosting the Milano Expo 2015 from May 1st through October 31st, featuring 60-plus custom-built pavilions by the likes of Norman Foster and Daniel Libeskind.  The theme of this year’s expo is Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. Visitors to the Expo will experience a unique journey that looks at the complex theme of nutrition as they sample food and traditions of people from all over the globe. Planners for the Expo Milano 2015 hope that it will be “the first Exposition in history to be remembered not only for its products but also for its contribution towards education on food and the planet’s precious resources.”

Don’t Miss:
In addition to the activities of the Expo, no trip to Milan is complete without a visit to its famous Duomo, which tends to be the center of tourist activity in the city.  What you may not know about this cathedral is that you can head up (by elevator) to the Duomo’s roof to get a close-up view of its beautiful spires and take in an amazing view of the city of Milan.

Learn More:
Start planning your trip to Milan at www.turismo.milano.it/wps/portal/tur/en.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Why Visit:
If it is not already on your travel bucket list, then sending up one of thousands of paper lanterns as part of the breathtaking Yi Peng Festival should definitely be added. Taking place on November 15th of 2015, this event is part street party, part spiritual reflection, and completely unlike anything you can experience anywhere else in the world.

Don’t Miss:
Aside from the paper lantern festivities, Chiang Mai is an incredible mash up of the ancient and the urban. Make time to visit the Wat Phra Singh temple to marvel at the Lanna art and intricately carved gables, or perhaps take part in a meditation workshop offered by one of the resident monks.

Learn More:
To plan your trip, check out Thailand’s official travel site at www.tourismthailand.org/About-Thailand/Destination/Chiang-Mai.

Louisville, Kentucky

Why Visit:
Bourbon lovers have long flocked to Louisville to visit its nearly two-dozen distilleries, which are happy to offer tastings to thirsty visitors.  Most of these are located in the countryside – but thanks to the opening of Louisville’s first urban distillery since Prohibition, Evan Williams, you no longer need to rent a car to sample this spirit.  Seven other bourbon distillers will soon open their doors on what has been coined the Urban Bourbon Trail of Louisville.

Don’t Miss:
Louisville’s most happening and up-and-coming neighborhood, NuLu, is located about a mile from downtown.  NuLu is home to critically acclaimed restaurants, popular concept shops, and a funky, treasure-filled flea market.

Learn More:
Visit www.gotolouisville.com to learn more about this eclectic and energetic city.

Cunard TransAtlantic Cruise

Why Visit:
In 2015, Cunard Cruise lines will celebrate the 175th
Anniversary of the fleet’s first Trans-Atlantic voyage, which revolutionized not only transportation, but TransAtlantic communications, as well. A host of exciting cruise itineraries and experiences, like gala dinners and special speakers, have been planned to commemorate the occasion. If you have ever considered experiencing the luxury and elegance of a Cunard Cruise, this is definitely the year to do it.

Don’t Miss:
If you hurry, you can still get a room aboard the Queen Mary 2 for the official re-creation of Cunard’s maiden voyage across the Atlantic. Starting in Liverpool on July 4, 2015, the itinerary faithfully follows the track of the historic ocean liner on a 12-day sojourn, with stops in Southampton, Halifax and Boston before docking in New York.

Learn More:
For more information on the itineraries or special events planned, visit www.cunard.com/en-us/cruise-destinations/transatlantic.

Yachats, Oregon

Why Visit:
Yachats (pronounced Ya-hots) is a quaint seaside escape that beckons travelers to unwind at one of its unpretentious cafes after exploring some of the most remarkable natural features that can be seen along the Pacific Coast.  This town is home to beautiful hotels, artist galleries, unique boutiques, and hiking trails galore at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.

Don’t Miss:
Bring your camera and your hiking boots as you make your way over to Cape Perpetua at low tide to witness Thor’s Well and Devil’s Churn, two truly breathtaking expressions of the Pacific’s majestic power.

Learn More:
Find more information about this gem of the Pacific Coast at traveloregon.com/places-to-go/cities/yachats/.

Runnymede, England

Why Visit:
On June 15, 2015, the world will celebrate the 800th birthday of the Magna Carta.  Why not celebrate one of democracy’s defining documents in the place of its birth, just a stone’s throw from the Thames?

Don’t Miss:
The Great Charter Festival, to be held at the Royal Holloway Campus, which will offer a number of workshops and events designed to explore the influence of the charter’s principles, and how they are relevant in our current political systems.

Learn More:
To learn more or plan your trip, visit www.MagnaCarta800th.com

Cuba

Why Visit:
While unrestricted travel is still not an option for American tourists, the recent moves to normalize relations with Cuba have made it significantly easier to get a “license” to visit this remarkable country. Many changes are bound to be coming to this island nation in the coming years, so this is the time to visit if you want to experience the unspoiled character of a culture, free of McDonald’s, Starbucks and smartphones.

Don’t Miss:
Restrictions on travel can make planning a Cuban vacation a bigger headache than most travelers are prepared to handle. So it is still a good idea to go as part of a chartered tour, where you will have the opportunity to sip rum or practice your salsa moves with locals as you take in this charismatic and welcoming culture.

Learn More:
To book your tour, visit www.intrepidtravel.com/cuba.

Barichara, Columbia

Why Visit:
Some travelers still believe that Columbia is an unsafe destination, but recent years have seen the interests of tourism shoulder out the once powerful influences of cartels. So much so that starting in late 2014, JetBlue announced a direct route from Ft Lauderdale to Bogota. And nowhere offers travelers a more luxurious and authentic escape than Barichara, whose name is literally derived from a Guane word that means “place of relaxation.” You will marvel at the masterfully restored Spanish colonial architecture as you meander through boutique hotels, bohemian shops, and gourmet restaurants.

Don’t Miss:
While blissfully wandering the quaint cobblestone streets of Barichara, you would be hard pressed to miss the Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion, with its elaborate golden stonework and 18th century artwork.

Learn More:
Find out more about this unique respite at www.colombia.travel/en/international-tourist/where-to-go/recommended-weekend-destinations/barichara.

Washington DC

Why Visit:
Besides the usual draw of incredibly maintained monuments and museums, 2015 brings the 150th anniversary of the death of one of our country’s most influential leaders. Ford’s Theater will be putting together an exhibition of artifacts from Lincoln’s assassination that will offer an unparalleled understanding of the events that unfolded on that history-changing April evening.

Don’t Miss:
Our nation’s capital is absolutely awe-inspiring during the spring, and, in addition to the commemorative Lincoln Funerary events, April 2015 will play host to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, a yearly celebration of Japanese culture and springtime spirit that is not to be missed.

Learn More:
For more comprehensive information about travel to the Washington DC area, check out washington.org.

Montreal, Quebec

Why Visit:
If you are looking for an ultra-modern city full of exciting activities, a cutting edge art scene, and a gastronomic paradise, visit Montreal. If you are looking for a place to unwind as you amble among magnificently manicured gardens, considering the turns of picturesque, 18th century European architecture, visit Montreal. With a delightful mix of old and new, Montreal has something for everyone.

Don’t Miss:
The Montreal Botanical Garden, with thirty themed gardens and ten spacious greenhouses, is one of the most unique and fantastical gardens in the world. Right in the mix of the exciting sights and sounds of Montreal, the gardens offer a peaceful escape and a visual feast for locals and tourists, alike.

Learn More:
With such a broad array of local attractions and yearly events, you may want to plan ahead. To find out what is happening and when, visit www.tourisme-montreal.org.

If you have a “must visit” spot to recommend for 2015, feel free to spread the word about it by adding a comment below.  Bon voyage!

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