With the new year comes plenty of fresh opportunities to travel the world. Whether it’s economic changes, a thriving tourism industry, popular natural attractions, or great places to stay, this top-10 list is sure to bring you the the best spots to see in 2014.
1. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa, brings vacationers trendy boutiques, numerous galleries, and innovative restaurants, according to Travel + Leisure. “The city has been designed [sic] the World Design Capital for 2014, with more than 450 events in the works,” Travel + Leisure says. And a visit is also a chance for you to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela by taking a trip to Robben Island, where he spent 18 years in prison.
2. Lake Myvatn, Iceland
Lake Myvatn, Iceland, should be on your list of top destinations due to the Northern Lights, which are predicted to be the best in years. “With NASA scientists predicting that an 11-year cycle of solar activity will peak this winter, for the first few months of 2014 the Northern Lights are expected to put on their most spectacular display for the next decade,” David Phillips, operations manager for Explorers Astronomy Tours, said to CNN. Discover the World offers different Iceland tours to help you get the most out of seeing the Northern Lights.
3. Cumberland Island, Georgia
According to CNN, Cumberland Island, Georgia, in the United States is the perfect place to vacation in 2014. The seashore is a collection of islands on the Southeast’s Atlantic coast. There’s beautiful scenery, making it the perfect place for camping. There are also several old inns you can find along the shore, which offer uniqueness and comfort. Looking for something to do? Visit the ruins of a Carnegie mansion or the First African Baptist Church, dating back to 1893.
Greece is expected to make a comeback as a top tourist destination in 2014. It provides beautiful landscapes and seascapes and is expected to take in 18 million tourists in 2014, according to the Huffington Post. Athens provides history and culture, and prices to travel there are quite low as the country attempts to lure in more visitors.
5. Pangulasian Island, Philippines
Be sure to take time to visit Pangulasian Island in the Philippines. “In the Palawan archipelago, an hour’s flight from Manila, the tiny private island of Pangulasian is home to the newest and most luxurious entry in the respected El Nido Resorts collection,” writes Travel + Leisure. “Forty-two airy, thatched-roof villas are just steps from a ribbon of soft white sand. Behind you lies a thrumming canopy of green. And before you is limpid blue Bacuit Bay, where outriggers ply the glasslike waters.” Enjoy kayaking and other water activities, beautiful scenery, and uninterrupted relaxation.
6. San Sebastián, Spain
San Sebastián, Spain, is already tied for fifth place on a world’s best cities list – and its popularity is only expected to increase in the coming year. It’s next to France and some of the best wine regions, CNN reports. In fact, it is even predicted that San Sebastian will be the European capital of culture in 2016, so be sure to get there before you’re fighting the masses.
7. Azores, Portugal
Azores is a beautiful region of Portugal and is home to a string of nine volcanic islands sitting in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The area is perfect for whale watching, hot mineral springs, seaside towns, and delicious cuisine, according to Yahoo Travel. One of the best times to go is in the spring, when flowers are booming everywhere.
8. Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
Located 56 miles off Nicaragua’s coast, Little Corn Island is a must-see destination this year. “The new Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa offers 16 ocean-facing cabanas sandwiched between two stretches of sand, and a.m. yoga sessions … if you’re up,” writes Travel + Leisure. The area is walkable, bikeable, and snorkeling is a must-do.
According to the Huffington Post, Peru is a great vacation spot for foodies. In fact, the World Travel Awards recognized Peru for culinary tourism in 2012 and 2013. Restaurants in Peru are winning accolades for their “innovative culinary creations, using locally grown ingredients unique to South America.” The people are friendly and the accommodations are great, making this a can’t-miss.
10. French Polynesia
“Like many other South Pacific islands, Moorea, just off the coast of Tahiti, offers turquoise lagoons, soaring volcanic peaks and luxuriant green valleys,” Yahoo Travel writes. It offers multiple low-price travel packages and friendly islanders, great snorkeling, and amazing scenery. Looking for the perfect time to visit? Crowds in French Polynesia are generally lighter in May, June, September and October.