Thursday, January 2, 2014

Five Places to Visit in 2014

Every year various lists of ‘places to see’ are released, intended to inspire travelers and shape holiday plans. Lonely Planet publish the most well-read of these lists and 2014 is no different; as ever there are plenty of countries and cities to get the travel juices flowing, many of which are chosen in accordance with big, international events and some of which are chosen because they’ve just begun to emerge as new, exciting tourist destinations.

For those of you who haven’t yet decided on your travel plansfor 2014, here’s five of the countries being cited by Lonely Planet as the places to be over the next 12 months:

On the back of the 2014 Commonwealth Games being held in Scotland’s Glasgow and the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, the country has been chosen by Lonely Planet as one of their top countries of the next year. There’s so much to see here, from ancient castles in the Highlands to stylish cities like pretty Edinburgh. To see the best of Scotland, aim to travel in summer, as the winters tend to bring lots of wind and icy rain – and as so much of Scotland’s finery is outdoors, it would be a shame to miss out. Visit lochs, sip whisky, try haggis, and hike snow-peaked mountains.

Brazil has been chosen due to its hosting of the soccer World Cup, but unless you’re a huge soccer fan, the summer (the northern hemisphere’s winter) is the best time to see cities like Rio de Janeiro at their best – although it’s never freezing during the winter, it would be a shame to visit Copacabana Beach and not be able to sunbathe! And what better place is there from which to call home and make everyone a little bit jealous? Lebara makes those international calls easy and inexpensive. 

 9–10-year-old boys of the Yao tribe in Malawi
participating in circumcision and initiation rites.
One of the up-and-coming countries of Eastern Europe, Macedonia is getting a facelift and has a burgeoning party scene, as well as countless new bars and restaurants popping up all over the capital Skopje, and spa, wine, and skiing holidays to be had. This is definitely one of those countries to visit now, before the rest do! Let everyone else know what they’re missing with a pay as you go SIM with keeping in touch with people back at home.

Thinking of a safari holiday, but not sure where to go? Well, if solitude and off-the-beaten-track adventure appeal, Malawi is being pegged as an excellent new safari destination, after an intensive wildlife relocation effort and national park restoration following years of poaching. Now you can spot the Big Five without the crowds that more well-known regions attract.

If you’re after a beach holiday (and the winter does tend to have that effect!), the Seychelles might be exactly what the doctor ordered. These Indian Ocean islands don’t just have sun, sea and sand to offer (although those things are certainly highlights!), but they also afford gorgeous rainforest and mountains in which to hike, alongside a plethora of wildlife.

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