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Exciting new travel experiences in 2016


Zip-lining in Cuba, volcano climbing in Nicaragua and a Mamma-Mia-themed disco-dining venue in Stockholm are just some of the new travel experiences on offer around the world this year.

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Travel guide company Lonely Planet has published a free ebook, New in Travel, in which its experts list 31 of what they rate as the best new openings, activities and attractions.

One of the unique inclusions that caught our eye is a new ecotourism facility – the aptly named Center for Extreme Tourism – which opened towards the end of last year in at the San Cristobel Volcano Nature Reserve in Nicaragua. Incorporating a hotel and visitors’ centre, it features trails leading right up to the rim of the 1745m active San Cristobel Volcano, as well as promoting the Route of the Colonial Cities and the Volcanoes, which runs through Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast and takes in some of Central America’s oldest cities.

Also likely to appeal to adventure lovers is a new Canopy Tour zip-lining experience traversing 1100m of tobacco plantations and limestone cliffs in the Valles de Viñales national park in Cuba; Singapore’s first underwater dive trail at the Sisters’ Island Marine Park, and “Fatbike” tours across the soft sands around Gansbaai on the Western Cape of South Africa.

Lake Iseo in Italy. Photo: Roberto Binetti / Shutterstock

Lake Iseo in Italy. Photo: Roberto Binetti / Shutterstock

For a more relaxed outdoor experience, you can walk on water at Lake Iseo in Italy thanks to an artwork named The Floating Piers being created by “landscape-altering artist” Christo. The 3km-long yellow floating walkway will link the islands of Monte Isola and San Paolo, but will be open for only 16 days from June 18 this year.

The one Australian experience to make the Lonely Planet list is also an artwork. Field of Light, an installation by British artist Bruce Munro, will open in the desert near Uluru in April and will feature more than 50,000 frosted-glass spheres on thin stems which will bloom like glowing flowers after dark.

Also relatively close to home is Te Ara Hura (Path of Discovery), a new 100km walking track around New Zealand’s Waiheke Island, which takes in “sweeping beaches, compact coves and rocky headlands” and is suitable for either shorter walks or longer, multi-day treks.

New Zealand's Waiheke Island. Photo: Troy Wegman / Shutterstock

New Zealand’s Waiheke Island. Photo: Troy Wegman / Shutterstock

Another island recommended by Lonely Planet is St Helena, where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled. Home to hundreds of unique native species – and a 500-year-old turtle called Jonathan – it will become more accessible later this year with the opening of a new airport and direct flights from Johannesburg.

One of the quirkier new experiences to make the cut is Mamma Mia! The Party, an “interactive disco-dining experience set within a Greek-style tavern”, which will surely prove irresistible to fans of ABBA visiting Stockholm in Sweden.

Stockholm has a new attraction. Photo: Westend61 Premium / Shutterstock

Stockholm has a new attraction. Photo: Westend61 Premium / Shutterstock

Lonely Planet’s full list of 31 recommended New in Travel destinations is below (along with the date they opened or are due to open), with more information in the free ebook available for download here.

  1. Centre for Extreme Tourism near Nicaragua’s tallest active volcano (October 2015)
  2. Hokkaidō Shinkansen, Japan’s new bullet train route (spring 2016)
  3. New lions in Akagera National Park, Rwanda (early 2016)
  4. First-ever airport on Napoleon island, St Helena, British Territories (mid-2016)
  5. Louvre Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates (2016)
  6. The Floating Piers art installation on Lake Iseo, Italy (June 2016)
  7. Panama Canal’s $5 billion expansion (April 2016)
  8. Field of Light installation in Uluru, Australia (April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017)
  9. Amazing World of Dr Seuss Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts (June 2016)
  10. David Hasselhoff’s BASK island resort in Gili Meno, Indonesia (2016)
  11. World’s first inland surf lagoon, Surf Snowdonia, Wales (2016)
  12. Fortin Canopy Tours ziplining in Viñales, Cuba (Autumn 2015)
  13. Mémorial ACTe, largest museum on slavery, in Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe (July 2015)
  14. Fatbike bicycle tours in Gansbaai, Western Cape, South Africa (Mid-2015)
  15. Sisters’ Islands Marine Park Dive Trail in Singapore (November 2015)
  16. Southern Albania’s Cold War ghost island, Sazan (July 2015)
  17. China’s latest Magic Kingdom, Shanghai Disney Resort (spring 2016)
  18. Stratford-upon-Avon 400th anniversary Shakespeare celebrations (April 2016)
  19. National Blues Museum in St Louis, Missouri (April 2016)
  20. Mamma Mia!-themed restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden (January 2016)
  21. Rio’s water park, Praia de Rocha Miranda in Parque Madureira (October 2015)
  22. Te Ara Hura walking tours on Waiheke Island in New Zealand (November 2015)
  23. National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC (US autumn 2016)
  24. Tate Modern extension in London, England (June 2016)
  25. FIFA World Football Museum in Zürich, Switzerland (European spring 2016)
  26. Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York (September 2015)
  27. Renovated Klauzál Square Market in Budapest, Hungary (October 2015)
  28. Transformation of Monnaie de Paris, the oldest French institution (mid-2016)
  29. Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago, Illinois (October 2015)
  30. Macau’s Hollywood-themed casino resort, Studio City (October 2015)
  31. Musée Rodin reopening in Paris, France (November 2015)
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