Wanderlust

PHOTOS: Fifteen Trending Places To Visit 2015

 

Globetrotting Image by Éole Wind

Contemplating over how to use those frequent flyer miles this year? After compiling our popular list of incredible Out Adventures to experience before you die, we thought we’d come up some ideas of where to get started on that goal, this year. It’s a great time to strategize on where to go next and what’s trending in 2015.

What’s on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments section and we’ll put together a list of the top destinations all of you hope to check out this year.

 

Phuket, Thailand

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Phuket was founded in the 1st century, B.C. by Indian colonists. Little did they know (or maybe they did?) it would become a lush gay haven. Visitors catch sweeping oceanic views from Three Beaches hilltop and Promthep and take in the breathtaking Phang Nga Bay, made famous for it’s part in the James Bond hit The Man With the Golden Gun.

Cinephile visitors can also get their fix at Maya Bay on the western side of Koh Phi Phi Leh: the stunning backdrop for Danny Boyle’s popular film The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Repeat visitors basque in the glory of the magnificent Wat Chalong and Phuket Temples while newbies will stop in their tracks at the Giant Buddha visible from anywhere in the south. Did we mention how inexpensive the place is and the wonderful Thai cuisine?

 

Curacao

Curacao Credit Jeffrey James Keyes

“Live and Let Live” is one of the most common expressions in Willemstad, the bustling capital of alluring Curacao. This commonwealth of the Netherlands Antilles has opened its doors with fun in the sun party weekends like Curacao Pride, the infamous Get Wet Weekend, and Exotica Festival. Diving and water adventures are a huge draw for tourists, with over 65 diving sites including an airplane wreck, the Sponge Forest, and an adorable sunken tugboat. Seeking a little help with exploring the blue island? Eric’s ATA Adventures have been bringing the boys all over the island for years, with stops at the Aloe Vera Plantation, ostrich farm, and the impressive Hato Caves. The Sonesta Kura Hulanda Village & Spa and paradise-found Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club remain the top accommodations to book while exploring the island.

Faroe Islands

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The Faroe Islands, situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, will draw visitors for the rare eclipse on March 20th of this year. The18-island archipelago is preparing for elaborate parties across the islands. The Faronese Symphony Orchestra will give a special concert at the Nordic House, Hotel Føroyar will lay out the red carpet for an eclipse evening, and electro pop  group Byrta will perform a special solar eclipse concert that evening.

Visitors to Tórshavn must stop at Sirkus Føroyar, the first official LGBT friendly spot in the islands.

Vienna

Vienna WienTourismus:Christian Stemper

Ball season is already in full swing and everyone’s hoping to catch a glimpse of Conchita Wurst, Austria’s famous bearded drag queen.  Vienna, the quintessential European capital, has never shined this bright. Not only is the capital of Austria hosting the 60th Eurovision Song Contest this May but there’s also a monumental anniversary on around the corner. Emperor Franz Joseph officially opened the city’s Ringstrasse on May 1, 1865, and this year marks the 150th birthday of one of the most magnificent boulevards in the world. The Ringstrasse is an elegant 5.4 kilometer stretch that hosts Vienna’s Rainbow Parade, the City Marathon and remains home to the Vienna State Opera, Imperial Palace/Neue Burg, the Kunsthistoriches Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and Parliament. 

Cape Town

Cape Town Image by Dallas75

Cape Town, one of the most gorgeous cities in Africa, rests in the “City Bowl” valley between Devil’s Peek and Lion’s Head with an impressive stretch of Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles rising in the distance. The South African “Mother City” is known its booming queer culture, and outrageous events like the Mother City Queer Project. If nightlife isn’t your thing, the Cape vineyards of nearby Franschhoek and Stellenbosch might strike your fancy. A day trip to the Cape of Good Hope, the southeastern most tip of Africa is an essential component to every trip to Cape Town. Make a quick stop at Boulder’s Beach and you’ll stumble on an extraordinary colony of over 2,000 endangered African penguins resting and relaxing on the beach and frolicking in the surf.

 

Milan

Milan Credit Pablo Fernández

Expo Milano 2015 is a 184 day event projected to draw over 20 million visitors to the great fashion capital. The theme of the expo is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” and from May 1 to October 31st, visitors will wet their lips with a journey of tastes at the enormous exhibition site. Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper is bound to be sold out. If you don’t get to see the local masterpiece, take in other work by the da Vinci and the masters at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana and the Pinacoteca di Brera as well as some contemporary artwork at Museo del Novecento or Gallerie d’Italia.

Croatia

Croatia Credit Jeffrey James Keyes1

Croatia might have seemed like an unlikely hotspot for long stretches of the last century, but since the country has joined the EU it’s rapidly become a haven for savvy international travelers seeking vacations without long lines, boisterous, screaming families, and American chain restaurants on every corner. Nicknamed the Mediterranean as it once was this coastal goldmine is the perfect spot for those looking to step back in time with all the modern amenities. Game of Thrones fans flock to Dubrovnik’s baroque landmarks and nature seekers make their pilgrimage to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The charming Istria and stunning Kvarner regions are some of the most breathtaking places on the Adriatic Sea. 

Scottsdale

Scottsdale Credit Jeffrey James Keyes1

Frank Lloyd Wright began building his masterpiece and desert home, Taliesin West in 1937. The Sonoran Desert quickly became a luxurious draw for artists, writers, and some of the most accomplished and wealthy individuals from all over the world. Marilyn Monroe was often seen catching some rays beside the Catalina Pool at the Arizona Biltmore. Composer Irving Berlin penned “White Christmas” among many other hits at the very same pool. The resorts in and surrounding Scottsdale offer escape from an otherwise hectic schedule.

Nestled into the foothills of Pinnacle Peak, Four Seasons at Troon North is a launching pad for desert adventure seekers. Arizona Outback Adventures can take you on any number of expeditions through the McDowell and Superstition Mountains; book a mountain bike tour and take a half-day kayaking down the Lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest. After a long day of hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and possibly even hot air balloon soaring, there’s nothing like a hearty meal at Talavera followed by a night cap in the jacuzzi with Pinnacle Peak in the view.

 

Bhutan

Bhutan trip June 2011, Tiger's Nest Monastery Michael Foley

Why is Bhutan, the “Land of the Thunder Dragon,” considered the happiest country in the world? The core of Bhutan’s development can be attributed to the country’s emphasis on Gross National Happiness. Three quarters of the country is covered in forest, much of which is protected by governmental jurisdiction. Be the first of your friends to visit this lightly treaded destination. Flock to Thimphu for the decadent Tshechu Festival in the spring and fall. The Bhutanese dress in their finest clothes and dance to exorcise evil spirits and celebrate life. Nearby, in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, rests The Buddha Dordenma Statue. The Buddha sits on a long meditation hall with over 125,000 smaller statues that fulfill ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century, A.D. Rumor has it visitors to the Buddha are filled with happiness and able to carry this joy in their aura for months (maybe even years) down the line. Who doesn’t need a little extra joy?

New Zealand

 

Queenstown by Jeffrey James Keyes

New Zealand‘s most beautiful landscapes were featured in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The heart of kiwi filmmaking, Wellington (nicknamed “Wellywood”), is celebrating its sesquicentennial of the capital of New Zealand this year. Hobbit enthusiasts can take a unique tour through Flat Earth New Zealand Experiences or purchase their own ring crafted by Jens Hansen himself. Snow bunnies should plan on taking a few days to explore the resorts and mountains of Queenstown, the crown jewel of the southern island. Pack a camera and prepare for your jaw to hit your knees when you ride the ski lift to the top of Coronet Peak and take in the uninterrupted view of the Remarkables surrounding you.

Take those alpine roads through Canterbury and wander to peaks and descend to valleys that somehow make you feel like you’re discovering them for the first time in human history. After a long day of adventure and exploration be sure to raise a glass of local wine. Whether it’s a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or a Wanaka glass of pinot noir you’ve chosen it’s bound to be delicious. 

Stockholm

Stockholm by Adventure Priority

There’s nothing like Stockholm, the capital of not only Sweden but the entire Scandinavian region. The LGBT community flocked to the pristine European capital before the world caught on with Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and NBC’s “Welcome to Sweden.” The city sprawls fourteen islands interconnected by fifty-seven bridges and boasts a 750-year history bursting with cultural effervescence. The Grand Hotel in Stockholm, ranking among the leading hotels of the world, offers exquisite views of the Royal Palace and scenic harbor.

Drottningholm Palace, just a short boat ride away, is the permanent residence of the Swedish royal family and offers visitors a glimpse of Stockholm’s thee World Heritage Sites. Everywhere you turn there’s a trace of some of the most famous Swedes: Greta Garbo, Ingmar Bergman, August Strindberg, ABBA, and Alfred Nobel. Stockholm Pride festival draws stars like Robyn, Margaret Cho, and Röyksopp to the main stage while the Stockholm Fringe Festival brings artists to Strindberg’s hometown.

Buenos Aires

Casa Rosada Credit WalshTD

There’s no shame in standing out on the balcony of the Casa Rosada and gesticulating like Eva Peron. The guards might give you the side eye as you snap your picture, but they’ve grown accustomed to grown men channeling their inner diva throughout the pink palace. Balcony and opulent Argentine grandeur aside, there’s little visual trace of Evita inside the palace.

Venture to Palermo to indulge in the fashion and style of Peron at the Museo Evita and then hunt for your own trinket and extravagant gift to bring home in San Telmo. For a glimpse into the true history and mythology of Buenos Aires, slide into El Zanjon de Granados, a 200-year-old mansion that takes visitors underground to the earliest settlements of Argentina. A trip to the exotic and indulgent city isn’t complete without a tango performance. Tango Porteno is one of the classiest shows in town, with regular tango lessons for newbies and intermediate dancers alike. Be sure to bring your camera and get ready for the performance of a lifetime.

Montreal

Divers Cite - Montreal by Jeffrey James Keyes

You might have caught us in the crowd at this past summer’s Divers/Cité festival in Montreal and we’ll definitely be back. Divers/Cité is a multidisciplinary arts and musical festival that has taken Montreal by storm since 1993. The festival festival draws world-renown DJs, singers, and drag queens for a jam-packed party weekend that concludes with La Grande Danse, an open-air eleven hour dance party. The party spills out to Saint-Catherine Street which cuts through Montreal’s wild and crazy Gay Village. Divers/Cité aside, the bars, restaurants, and cafes of Saint-Catherine Street are jam-packed from June to October with eccentric and outlandish visitors from all over the world.

 

Singapore

Golden Buddha SIngapore Credit epSos .de

This is a big year for Singapore, with year-long celebrations in every corner of the country celebrating the 50th anniversary of independence from Malaysian. Singapore still has ways to go toward equality, to be sure, but as the world keeps spinning the the reigns keep loosening. A great way to get perspective is boarding a Singapore River Cruise, where guests take a bumboat tour from the Merlion to Robertson Quay. When the sun sets the gay community of Singapore puts on their finery and stay out late, especially in Chinatown’s Neil Road. Tantric and Taboo are usually packed on the weekends, but Trengganu Street is definitely worth a visit. Culture hounds must stop at Sri Mariamman, Sree Maha Mariamman, and the Sri Shivan Temples, known for their architecture, people watching, and serenity.

Los Angeles

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If you haven’t spent time in Los Angeles there’s never been a better time to go. Whether it’s the ritz and glam of Rodeo Drive, the roaring surf of Malibu, flashbulbs of Hollywood, or bar hopping on Santa Monica Boulevard there’s something for everyone in the City of Angels. The boys and gurls of West Hollywood bounce from the Abbey, Revolver, Fubar, and everywhere between. Scruffy cubs and ursine seekers make a B-Line to Silver Lake’s watering holes for happy hour and late night adventure with like minded locals. OutFest offers the ultimate opportunity to see and be seen while taking in cutting edge films while DineLA Restaurant Week is a great way to sample new cuisine from Pasadena to Marina Del Rey.