The arrival of the New Year doesn’t have to mean rules and resolutions. For us, January marks the moment when we start to contemplate all of the travels we’re keen to embark on during the next 365 days. For 2014, there are a number of exciting destinations that are gaining new levels of international attention. From the cities of the Lone Star State, which are drawing in visitors with their rich cultural offerings and cutting-edge culinary scenes, to beautiful, beachside cities like Cape Town and Cancun, we’ve selected our top 10 destinations for 2014. Which will you explore?
Scotland has been broadly forecasted as one of the trendier new destinations to emerge this year, with Glasgow standing out as its most beguiling city. Once a somewhat bleak post-industrial place that was avoided by most travellers in favour of the prettier and more accessible Edinburgh, Glasgow has risen from the ashes to become a top European cultural destination. The city’s Riverside Museum won the title of European Museum of the Year last year, and Glasgow will also be attracting flocks of visitors with the Commonwealth Games starting in July and the MTV Music Awards in August.
2) Cape Town
The passing of Nelson Mandela has prompted a wave of remembrances and reflections on how life in South Africa changed for the better under his influence. This year, South Africa will be entering a new era – particularly as Cape Town has been selected as the World Design Capital for 2014. Visitors flocking to the southern city will be pleased to find some wonderful offerings, from trendy cafes and top-notch boutiques to experimental galleries and weekend markets.
After years of isolation, the increasingly accessible Cuba has been welcoming rising numbers of visitors over the course of the past few years. At once a well-priced Caribbean retreat for those seeking crystalline waters and sandy shores, the island nation also offers incredibly well preserved history, plus friendly residents who are eager to share their rich culture with visitors. Havana, pretty as a film set, is at the heart of this newfound international interest.
From Zimbabwe to Rwanda, a number of African countries are among the predicted travel favourites for 2014. One of our top selections, though, is Nigeria, and its dynamic city of Lagos. Ranking amongst the fastest growing cities in Africa, Lagos has gained notoriety as a new creative hub, with a thriving contemporary arts scene. It also doesn’t hurt that Lagos is home to Nigeria’s popular film industry (known ’round these parts as Nollywood).
While Texas has not always been revered around the world, in recent years the southern state’s reputation has risen dramatically in international eyes. Austin, known as Texas’ “˜cool city’, has long attracted visitors with its chilled-out populace, edgy street food, and the heavily hyped SXSW festival. But now Dallas, San Antonio, and other cities across the huge state are starting to share that renown. Texas is expansive enough for a long-haul road trip, so be sure to set aside some time and visit all three.
For those in the West, it’s the perfect time to schedule a holiday to Japan. Historically regarded as a prohibitively expensive country, of late it’s become much more affordable thanks to the weakening Yen. Suddenly, the Kingdom of the Rising Sun is a new possibility for travellers, and it’s likely that Japan will see increased numbers of visitors this year. Tokyo is still one of the best places to fully experience the country’s cultural vibrancy – from frenetic Shinjuku to quirky Harajuku and beyond.
Hawaii’s paradisiacal reputation has never really dimmed, but this year the oceanic state is at the top of many travellers’ lists. Instead of staying within the confines of all-inclusive resorts, though, visitors in 2014 are predicted to explore more of the state’s incredible natural offerings. From the less urbanised island of Kauai to the coffee farms of Kona, keep an eye on destinations that take advantage of the island chain’s incredible biodiversity.
8) The Pacific Northwest
Trend-conscious holidaymakers have more reasons than ever to visit the Pacific Northwest. Regarded as a haven for liberal-thinking, environmentally conscious artistic types, Seattle and Portland are ideal cities for the culturally plugged-in. From craft coffee to craft beer, food trucks to farm-to-table, independent bookstores to technological sophistication, the two cities are at the nexus of what’s cool in the US right now.
Mexico knows what travellers want. From the lush beaches and unstoppable nightlife of Cancun to the culinary riches of Oaxaca, the country offers visitors an experience that’s vibrant, colourful, and unforgettable. Those eager to explore inland Mexico will also be rewarded by its many jaw-dropping Mayan ruins.
Accessible to budget travellers while also offering hard-to-beat luxuries for those seeking a more indulgent getaway, India is one of our favourite travel picks for 2014. We predict visitors will flock to Delhi and its many landmarks, while culture-rich Mumbai will remain popular; trips to the more remote regions, like the Himalayan states and the jungles of Kerala, are also likely to increase, as a number of retreat hotels are set to open this year.
Where are you planning to go in 2014? Let us know in the comments below.
Written by Claire Bullen