Ready to kick-start your travels for the New Year? If you’ve come down with the travel bug but are undecided about where to go, here are the hottest destinations to visit in 2014 as recommended by Lonely Planet, National Geographic and more!
Brazil is about to become a travelling hotspot thanks to both the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and Lonely Planet, who listed it as the best country to visit in the coming year. Adventurous travellers will adore Brazil, with highlights like the Amazon Jungle, Iguazu Falls and the beautiful Fernando de Noronha archipelago, not to mention cities like Rio de Janeiro and San Paulo to explore.
Paris is Lonely Planet’s top city to visit in 2014 and it was also voted the best place to be in the Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice Awards 2013. Paris is a cultural gem boasting some of the world’s hottest attractions, like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Sacre-Coeur and the Arc de Triomphe.
Our very own Northern Territory is a prominent feature on many must-visit lists for the New Year. The National Geographic Traveler Magazine claims it is one of the best spots in the world to visit in 2014 and Lonely Planet chose the NT’s beautiful Kimberley as their No. 2 region to explore (Sikkim, in India, was their top choice). Red plains, beautiful coastlines and a unique Indigenous culture make this top end destination highly worthwhile. If you’re a local Aussie who has never ventured to the NT, now’s the time!
If you really want to do something amazing in 2014, heading to Antarctica is hard to beat. This icy final frontier is popping up everywhere as a top travel destination: it’s Lonely Planet’s second best country to visit (after Brazil) and also features on their ‘Best Adventure Travel’ list (thanks to its yearly Ice Marathon). Cruises and tours are the best and safest way to discover Antarctica and you can do everything here, from spotting penguins, seals and whales to mountaineering up huge glacial slopes and camping out in the snow.
Both Travelzoo and SmarterTravel.com, via the Huffington Post, recently announced Ecuador as their travelling favourite in 2013-14. According to Travelzoo, Ecuador is set to drive their tourism budget up by 73% in 2014*, as well reap the overflow of tourists heading to the World Cup in Brazil. Diversity is key in Ecuador, with island waters populated with sea lions and turtles, adventures to be had in the Amazon, cities like Quito and Cuenca to be discovered and volcanoes, like the one at Cotopaxi, to be conquered. National Geographic also lists the Ecuador Cacao Trail as a must-see/do for 2014.
Also topping the National Geographic 2014 recommended journeys list is the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, USA. With no less than 77 mountains surrounding you, it’s easy to spend a few days or even a few weeks exploring this remarkable, high elevation territory. Mountain hiking, horseriding, fishing, four-wheel driving, river rafting, kayaking, boating, swimming, skiing and sledding are all entirely possible here (depending on the weather, of course) – you can even partake in a nighttime trekking tour under the light of the full moon or spend your days spotting moose, mountain lions, coyotes and deer!
If it’s holiday value you’re after, the Greek Islands take the cake. According to Lonely Planet, the recent financial crises in Greece have forced the tourism industry to lower their prices in attempt to entice travellers back to their shores. Coupled with a lack of tourist masses and breathtaking island sights, Greece is the place to be if you want the experience of a life-changing holiday for less! Other top value destinations include southern Italy, Nicaragua, Bulgaria and Portugal.
If you love African culture or simply want the chance to get close to Africa’s wilderness, the Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda is one of National Geographic’s best destinations for 2014. Set in the southwest area of the country, the National Park is a glorious rainforest that is home to the amazing and highly sought-after mountain gorillas (amongst other monkey species) and gorilla safaris are one of the best things to when you visit this unique landscape.
Photo credits: Jemasmith, horacio , fveronesi1, trodel , dkeats.