Buzzing metropolitan cities like New York, Paris, Chicago, Sao Paulo, Frankfurt, London and Toronto all get a lot of love from travelers whether they’re there for business, pleasure, or both. For people that want an exotic island experience, Bali and Punta Cana often appear at the top of their bucket lists. With hundreds of flights going in and out of these locations on a daily basis, hot spots like these are popular with business travelers and vacationers alike.
While each of these locations are undeniably beautiful and offer rich experiences, there’s nothing like the thrill of discovering travel destinations that are on the rise. Here are our picks for up-and-coming cities you should add to your travel list this year!
1. San Jose, Costa Rica
Welcome to Costa Rica’s capital and largest city, San Jose. Not surprisingly, this is where most of the country’s political and economic activity takes place. You won’t find towering skyscrapers here, but you can feast your eyes on theaters with European-inspired architecture and beautiful museums. For those who appreciate contrast, San Jose’s skyline consists of large stretches of buildings in the foreground juxtaposed against tall mountains in the background. Furthermore, it’s a major transportation hub in Central America which means you can take trips to other Latin American cities like Panama City and Bogota with ease.
2. Nairobi, Kenya
With a population of over 4 million, Nairobi is home to traffic jams, honking, and hordes of people filling the streets of this concrete jungle. But this bustling energy isn’t all that the Green City of the Sun has to offer travelers. As the capital city of Kenya, it has established itself as the country’s focal point for business and culture. In fact, many international organizations such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) have made a home here.
If you decide to take a break from city life, head over to Nairobi National Park where you can marvel at the endangered black rhinos, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, lions and other flora and fauna.
3. Riga, Latvia
There are so many interesting aspects of Riga we’re surprised more people aren’t traveling here regularly. To start, it lies by the Baltic Sea, so beach lovers will be perfectly happy here. Latvia’s capital city is also home to some awe-inspiring architecture. In fact, it’s the capital city with the highest concentration of Art Nouveau-style architecture in the world. Its historical center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is filled with these kinds of buildings as well as 19th-century wooden architecture.
In terms of business, its reputation as a regional startup hub is growing, which can only be bolstered by the heavy investments in modernizing its infrastructure.
4. Casablanca, Morocco
Marrakech is probably the first city that comes to mind when most people think of a trip to Morocco. While it’s certainly worth a visit, travelers shouldn’t overlook Casablanca. This modern city of more than 3 million people is booming with business and job opportunities. It’s no wonder that many young Moroccans come here to secure their financial futures.
But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Take in the splendid Moorish buildings, a perfect expression of French-colonial design and traditional Moroccan style. The most famous and breathtaking landmark in Casablanca is certainly the Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Africa. Don’t forget to pay a visit to Casablanca Cathedral, the Royal Palace, Mohammed V Square, and the many beaches.
Where will you go next?