Best Places to Travel in 2016

iman square. isfahan
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Luis Davilla

The 50 biggest, buzziest destinations to visit this year include France’s new culture hub, a revived Hawaiian hideaway, and Mexico’s next great arts city.

5. Iran

57 of 51

Rarely does a single accord return one of the world’s great civilizations to center stage, but the recent nuclear agreement with the UN Security Council may well accomplish that for Iran. With 19 ᴜɴᴇsᴄᴏ World Heritage sites and a history of empire going back to 1000 B.C., Iran was a major destination before the revolution of 1979. Now intrepid travelers are rediscovering the vibrant, surprisingly cosmopolitan capital of Tehran; the gorgeous architecture and Great Bazaar of Esfahan; the mosques of Kashan, the retreat of Safavid kings; and the extraordinary gardens of Shiraz. There’s plenty to celebrate about modern Iranian culture, too: the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, founded by the shah in 1977, holds an impressive collection of Western art. Also in Tehran, the nonprofit art center Sazmanab is a showcase for emerging talent. Since the tourist visa availability is in flux, the best way to visit is with an operator—U.K.-based Exodus and Canada-based G Adventures offer comprehensive trips. —Sean Rocha

iman square. isfahan

Best Places to Travel in 2016

5. Iran

Rarely does a single accord return one of the world’s great civilizations to center stage, but the recent nuclear agreement with the UN Security Council may well accomplish that for Iran. With 19 ᴜɴᴇsᴄᴏ World Heritage sites and a history of empire going back to 1000 B.C., Iran was a major destination before the revolution of 1979. Now intrepid travelers are rediscovering the vibrant, surprisingly cosmopolitan capital of Tehran; the gorgeous architecture and Great Bazaar of Esfahan; the mosques of Kashan, the retreat of Safavid kings; and the extraordinary gardens of Shiraz. There’s plenty to celebrate about modern Iranian culture, too: the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, founded by the shah in 1977, holds an impressive collection of Western art. Also in Tehran, the nonprofit art center Sazmanab is a showcase for emerging talent. Since the tourist visa availability is in flux, the best way to visit is with an operator—U.K.-based Exodus and Canada-based G Adventures offer comprehensive trips. —Sean Rocha

Luis Davilla
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