WHY YOU SHOULD GO 300 days of sunshine a year, an abundance of beaches and 7000 years of history make the island of Malta one of the Mediterranean's most compelling destinations. With some of the world's oldest stone buildings as well as Roman catacombs, there is plenty to explore. The World Heritage-listed city of Valletta – built by the Knights of St John who ran the island as their private fief – is a must-visit, with the dazzling Co-Cathedral a highlight.
DON'T MISS Getting lost in the labyrinthine streets of the town of Mdina, founded by Arabs more than 1000 years ago, is a wonderful experience.
See also: The Mediterranean's secret hot spot
The coastline of Swakopmund German colonial town, Namibia. Photo: Shutterstock
WHY YOU SHOULD GO No question about it; Namibia has the most spectacular landscapes in Africa. The towering sand dunes at Sossusvlei are world-famous, but the country has plenty of other unforgettable sights, from the harsh beauty of the Skeleton Coast to the plains of the Kalahari and the mighty Fish River Canyon. It is not just the scenery that is fascinating: Namibia is also home to some of the last nomadic tribes in the world, including the Himba and the San.
DON'T MISS All this, and Namibia also offers superb wildlife viewing, too. Etosha National Park is the place to go to see lions, elephants and rhino.
A picturesque mosque stands underneath the volcano Damavand, the highest peak in Iran. Photo: Shutterstock
WHY YOU SHOULD GO Surprise No. 1: Iranians are some of the friendliest people on earth. Wherever you go in this country, you will find a genuinely warm welcome waiting. Surprise No. 2: Iran has an amazing number of attractions. The most popular destinations include the ancient cities of Isfahan, with its beautiful blue-domed mosques, and Shiraz, with its Persian gardens and elegant bridges. One more surprise lies in store: Iran has some truly delicious food, so bring your appetite.
DON'T MISS Done the Colosseum, seen the Pyramids at Giza? Then prepare to be astonished by Persepolis, the 2000-year old capital of the mighty Persian empire.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO When it comes to wildlife experiences, the Galapagos Islands is the destination to beat. It is not just that it is home to so many species found nowhere else, from flightless cormorants to waved albatrosses and giant tortoises but, even better, these animals are so unafraid of people that you can lie down next to them and get fantastic photos.
DON'T MISS The action isn't confined to the land. Snorkelling in the Galapagos can bring some remarkable encounters with turtles, playful sea lions, manta rays and hammerhead sharks.
The Floridita restaurant in Havana, where life is always colourful and vibrant. Photo: Shutterstock
WHY YOU SHOULD GO Cuba may be changing, but the inhabitants of this beautiful island aren't about to allow the things they love most about their home to disappear. Whenever you visit, there will still be salsa beats filling the streets and those amazing vintage cars driving along the streets. Cuba's natural wonders should not be underestimated, so why not add the tropical forests of Soroa or the beaches of Baracoa to your itinerary?
DON'T MISS The prize for the island's prettiest town must go to Trinidad, a colonial charmer where the pastel-painted houses sit between soaring mountains and the crystal-clear Caribbean waters.
BEST CITIES AND REGIONS
WHY YOU SHOULD GO Sometimes it is hard to know where you are in Seville. Walk down the labyrinthine lanes lined with white-washed houses and you might imagine yourself in North Africa; step inside the glorious Gothic cathedral and you are back in the heart of Europe. A seat of power both during the Muslim period and the Spanish empire, Seville's jumble of Moorish, Renaissance and baroque architecture is as seductive as its fiery flamenco and its delicious tapas.
DON'T MISS The fountain-filled courtyards and exquisitely-decorated rooms of the Alcazar palace are an enchanting example of the city's Moorish-Christian fusion.
See also: The sexiest thing you can do in Spain
Souvenirs and street art: George Town, Penang, Malaysia. Photo: Shutterstock
WHY YOU SHOULD GO The capital of the Malaysian island of Penang is one of Asia's most fascinating cities, a blend of Indian, Chinese, British and Malay influences. The city has scored a World Heritage listing for its historic architecture, including its picturesque Chinese shophouses, temples and guildhalls, the colourful streets of Little India, and some ornate British Raj-style architecture including the splendid Eastern & Oriental Hotel, founded by the men behind Singapore's Raffles Hotel.
DON'T MISS Love street food? Then you have come to the right place. Must-try dishes include assam laksa, oh chien oyster omelette and the stir-fried seafood noodle dish called char koay teow.
See also: Twenty reasons to visit Penang
Carrying grapes in the Eden Valley wine region of Barossa. Photo: SATC
WHY YOU SHOULD GO Not content with being one of Australia's most celebrated wine regions, the Barossa has also established itself as a destination for connoisseurs of all kinds, with distilleries, craft breweries, coffee roasters, farmers' markets and cheese makers. There are also some sensational restaurants to try; book in for an award-winning degustation at Hentley Farm, or try the sophisticated Vietnamese cuisine at Fermentasian.
DON'T MISS Seppeltsfield Winery offers more than just wine tasting; it is also home to the Jam Factory, an exhibition and studio space for artists and designers of all types, where visitors can meet makers working in paints, ceramics and glass.
Crowds pass through Kabukicho in the Shinjuku district. Photo: Shutterstock
WHY YOU SHOULD GO Tokyo hits that sweet spot between total culture shock and complete comfort. It is amazing to find yourself in a city where everything feels alien – from the interactive vending machines to those super-charged toilets – yet you never feel unsafe. Best of all is the extraordinary food. Whether you opt for cheap ramen shops or lively izakaya eateries, messy monja omelettes or refined kaiseki degustations, it is hard to find a bad meal in Tokyo.
DON'T MISS Be brave and try a traditional bath house experience; this is a quintessentially Japanese experience.
See also: Tokyo's unmissable quirky attractions
Rome's Colosseum is one of the best known monuments in Italy. Photo: Shutterstock
WHY YOU SHOULD GO Rome is a city where getting lost is a delight. You never know what wonder awaits around the next corner, from ancient Roman ruins to sunny piazzas and baroque fountains. Throw in an uber-impressive collection of museums and galleries – to the Vatican and Capitoline Museums, add the Borghese Gallery and the Doria Pamphilj Gallery – and a dizzying collection of churches, and you have a city that always has something new to offer.
DON'T MISS Rather than running around trying to tick off all the sights, do as the Romans do and enjoy life in the slow lane. Long lunches, pre-dinner aperitivi and after-dinner strolls are all part of the Roman lifestyle.
See also: Twenty reasons to visit Rome