Well, 2013 is almost a wrap. As I head out to Honduras to celebrate the New Year I thought I’d leave you with my top ten destinations to visit in 2014. A mix of sun, skiing, nature and culture I hope the next year turns out to be a fascinating one. If I’m lucky enough to make it to any of the incredible destinations on the list below I’m guaranteed it will be.
1. Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is just one of those city’s everyone should visit at some point in their life. With the World Cup returning the Brazil this year however, the city has been placed even more prominently in the global travel spotlight. Aggressive attempts have been made by officials to clean up the city and make if safe and friendly for locals and tourists alike. With these efforts, incredible Carioca Landscapes, wild nightlife and laid back beach attitude Rio is high on the travel bucket list this year- World Cup or not.
2 & 3. Edinburgh and Glastonbury
There’s something in the air on these Gaelic isles. The English islands have been quickly gaining steam as the go to for revitalized European culture with the cities of Edinburgh and Glastonbury taking the lead. Both play host to a number of renowned cultural events each year and are also home to copious amounts of lavish Victorian and Edwardian architecture. There’s no shortage of sights to see or activities to partake in, but if I had to chose just two it’d be the hard rocking Glastonbury Music Festival and Edinburgh’s raucous Hogmanay New Year.
Give me a beach and I’m happy. Same goes for France. Put the two together and you’ve got my idea of heaven. While most travel to France’s southern coast when in search of sun and sand, the island of Corsica has been hosting those in the know for years. Floating in the sumptuous Mediterranean and cradled between Europe and North Africa, Corsica is also known as the Island of Beauty, and for good reason. Pristine beaches, scuba diving and luxurious sailing are just a few of the day time pursuits the island affords. At night beachside bars and restaurants are filled to the brim with a glamourous crowd. If you head here during the summer, make sure to plan your trip early. Accommodations and transportation on the island often book out.
5 & 6. Rwanda and Uganda
Safari and the Big 5? Check. So what’s next to explore on the African continent you may ask? For me, it’s going on a coveted gorilla safari through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Volcanoes National Park in Uganda and Rwanda. Gorilla treks in both countries aren’t cheap and reservations for the limited number of permits need to be made far in advance. Gorilla sightings aren’t guaranteed though the guides are incredibly talented at spotting the friendly creatures amongst the dense African bush. If you are lucky enough to see a gorilla or two (there are fewer than 800 in the world), visitors are only allowed one hour in their company. However, the chance to see mountain gorillas in the wild is assured to be the adventure of a lifetime.
Food, wine and old world charm are three of my favorite things and all of which can be used to describe the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi. The city is actually the birthplace of wine and is also world renowned for it’s unique regional cuisine. Lying on the banks of the Mtkvari River, Tbilisi is brimming with an ancient meandering allure. For those who like a little action with their travels, it’s easy to get to the Georgian mountains or Caspian sea in just a few hours. Until recently, not too many travelers made their way to the Caucasus region, but with the rise of city’s like Tbilisi things are starting to change.
It’s no surprise that oysters are one of my fav bites, so for me, it’s time to make a pilgrimage to Arcachon, a coastal town in southwestern France that is known around the world for the succulent and briny bivalves. Villas surrounding Arcachon’s tranquil sunny bay make the city the ideal destination when in need of an escape and simple relaxation. Whether you go to Arcachon for the weather, views or food the city is perhaps an even bigger aphrodisiac than its beloved oysters.
9. Park City
Plenty of snowfall, varied terrain, lively nightlife and world class restaurants make Park City, Utah America’s quintessential ski town. The world class mountain resort has long been a favorite for skiers and snowboarders alike who enjoy making use of one of the ski friendly parts of the Rocky Mountain Range. Park City Mountain Resort, The Canyons Resort and Deer Valley Resort all call Park City home and offer innumerable opportunities skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, tubing and beyond.
10. Tel Aviv
I love this metropolitan beach side city so much, it’s on my travel list every year.
Here’s to 2014!