Destinations on the rise for 2016: Tulum, Porto, Cartagena and... Brighton

Tulum Mayan Ruins
Tulum Mayan Ruins

It's cold, dark and wet – winter is definitely here. Once the joy of Christmas is over and the January blues have set in, the scramble to book that much needed holiday in the sun begins, but where to go?

Our friends at TripAdvisor have filled us in on what destinations are looking hot for 2016 - and not only have we got the lowdown on where to head, we can also reveal the top things to do and see, where to grab a bite to eat and some great value hotels to rest your head.

According to the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards for Destinations on the Rise - awards that identify top spots growing in popularity according to feedback from millions of TripAdvisor travellers - the number one place in the world for 2016 is Tulum in Mexico. Second is Columbia's Cartagena and in third place is Porto in Portugal. We're also very proud to say that one of Blighty's classics has made it on to the list this year – the Sussex seaside town of Brighton comes in sixth place.

Tulum, Mexico (pictured, top)

Interest in holidays Mexico increased more than 70 per cent in the past year, according to TripAdvisor, which says Tulum is the destination of choice. " With rare mix of beach, archaeology and village, Tulum is a relaxation and romance destination with an ancient angle. Travellers can sunbathe on Yucatan beaches within sight of the well-preserved Mayan Ruins of Tulum. After a day of sunshine and sights, travellers can grab a bite to eat at Kitchen Table where local fresh produce is served in a Caribbean jungle atmosphere.

Best-rated hotel in Tulum: Encantada Beachfront Boutique Hotel, bookable on TripAdvisor for £355 per night.

Great value hotel options in Tulum:

Las Palmas Maya (average £92 per night)

Posada Yum Kin(average £89 per night)

Posada Luna del Sur(average of £74 per night)

Beach in Cartagena
Beach in Cartagena

Cartagena, Colombia(+49 per cent booking interest year-on-year). This quaint fishing village on Colombia's Caribbean coast, has excellent beaches, a historic old town (that's entirely walkable) and beautiful colonial architecture. Top attractions include the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Walled City of Cartagena. "Beautiful", "fascinating" and "dreamy" are just some of the words used by TripAdvisor travellers to describe this place. For a spot of sustenance, visit Carmen Restaurant Cartagena, offering contemporary cuisine with international influences and fresh, Colombian ingredients.

Best rated hotel in Cartagena: San Pedro Hotel Spa, bookable on TripAdvisor for £162 per night

Great value hotel options in Cartagena:

San Lazaro Art Lifestyle Hotel, (average £87 per night)

Casa Bustamante Hotel Boutique, (average £72 per night)

Hampton by Hilton Cartagena, (average £77 per night)

hill with old town of  Porto and river Douro at sunset, Portugal
hill with old town of Porto and river Douro at sunset, Portugal

Porto, Portugal(+39 per cent booking interest year-on-year) Porto is Portugal's second-largest city after Lisbon. The old town, centred at Ribeira, was built on the hills overlooking the Douro River, and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Main attractions include the quayside area Zona Ribeirinha and the Ponte de D. Luis. "Make sure you walk across this bridge and get a great view of Porto!" commented one TripAdvisor traveller. Essencia Restaurante Vegetariano is a must visit for a taste of sophisticated vegetarian cuisine.

Best rated hotel in Porto: InterContinental Porto Palacio das Cardosas, bookable on TripAdvisor for £155 per night

Great value hotel options in Porto:

Moov Hotel Porto Centro, (average £36 per night)

Residencia LIS B&B and Parking, (average £31 per night)

BessaHotel Boavista, (average of £60 per night)

royal pavillion reflection panorama brighton uk
royal pavillion reflection panorama brighton uk

Brighton, United Kingdom(+60 per cent booking interest year-on-year) This English seaside resort, about an hour south of London by train, has been a popular getaway destination for Brits since the Victorian era. The city boasts a long shingle beach, traditional seaside pier packed with rides and amusement arcades, quirky shopping lanes and is also renowned for its diverse communities and large LGBT population.Get creative with your lunch at Thewitchez Photo Design Café Bar, where you can enjoy coffee and cakes while creating personalised photographic goodies.

Best-rated hotel in Brighton: Blanch House, bookable on TripAdvisor for £126 per night

Great value hotel options in Brighton:

Premier Inn Brighton City Centre, (average £96 per night)

Artist Residence Brighton, (average £123 per night).

36 Hours in Tulum, Mexico
36 Hours in Tulum, Mexico