My pick for travel in 2016 is Iran

Iran photo by Luis DavillaWhen Travel + Leisure asked me to help put together its list of top travel destinations for 2016 — it was published yesterday so you can see the full slideshow here — my choice was clear: Iran. The nuclear accord may work or it may just delay conflict but there’s no question that for the traveler it makes Iran more accessible than it has been in decades, which may be why Travel + Leisure chose it as the #5 pick for the year ahead.

As I wrote for them:

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…

And that’s just the old stuff: Iran has a vibrant contemporary life too, including a great art scene.  You can read the rest on the Travel + Leisure website but for the full story you’ll just have to go — this is the year.

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