With no sign of winter releasing its icy grip on the UK for the foreseeable future, thoughts are turning to planning the summer holidays. But according to Mike Thiel, founder of Hideaways.com, people are becoming evermore adventurous in their choices of where they go. This means that countries previously off the map, in regards to holiday destinations, are now making a bit of a comeback. We’ve consulted the experts and come up with the top ten travel destinations for 2014.
Brazil will be in the limelight this year in the build-up to the World Cup, but if you’re not a football lover, head towards the unexplored areas of Brazil, and take in the stunning beaches and jungles. One particular hotspot is in the northeastern state of Alagoas, where you can find several relaxing beach pousadas complete with great local food. Or why not have an adventure in Brazil’s tropical rainforest? You can stay in the Pousada Uacari which is a floating lodge in the heart of the jungle.
Another destination that will be in the spotlight this year, as Moscow gears up to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. Expect easier passage across the country as Russia welcomes travelers coming to the Games. For anyone who has ever wanted to visit Russia this is the ideal time to finally go. With Sochi being chosen for the Games, plans are already underfoot to transform this city into a tourist hotspot.
South Africa was thrust in to the world’s spotlight after the sad passing of Nelson Mandela, and many of his followers are choosing to visit this country in homage to the great leader. Cape Town has also been elected World Design Capital 2014, where it can showcase around 450 innovation projects. For anyone interested in design you should head towards Woodstock, which was once a run-down suburb now rejuvenated through the Neighbourgoods Market.
Improvements costing more than $11 million have already started on the Caribbean island of Canouan, and it is all based around attracting tourists and making getting around the island much easier. There is going to be a new ring road, commercial jetty, and even a community wharf. All these renovations are designed to attract new tourists and inject some life into the old infrastructure.
Many people are put off visiting South Korea, thanks to their unpredictable neighbour in the North, but this is a very hospitable country with a great eclectic mix of tradition and innovation. And there is always the ‘The Korean Wave’, the increase in popularity of South Korean culture, which includes everything from food, dramas and music.
Thanks to the Northern lights, Lapland and now the Disney animated film Frozen, Norway is seeing a rise in popularity. For anyone interested in Viking history this Scandinavian country has stunning landscapes, cosy wooden lodges, and icy fjords. Take a cruise along the coast to experience this beautiful country in all its glory.
Closer to home now and Scotland is hosting the Year of the Homecoming, the Ryder Cup, and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, all in 2014. The best way to enjoy all that Scotland has to offer is to stay in a country home, a luxury retreat or a self-catering cottage.
This year is the centenary anniversary of the start of World War I, so many people will be looking to Belgium as a destination to honour the fallen. To commemorate these sad times Brussels is holding a major exhibition, 1914-18: It’s our History!, opening on 7 February and located at the Royal Army Museum. Other events will take place in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium.
Iceland has been dubbed the ‘Hollywood of the North’ after several major block-busting films were shot there, including Oblivion, Prometheus and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And this trend seems to show no signs of stopping, as this year, Interstellar, the new sci-fi film from celebrated director Christopher Nolan, and Darren Aronofsky’s Noah were also filmed there. You can follow in your favourite actor’s footsteps as you tour this stunning country.
You wouldn’t expect Iran to be on our top ten travel destination list, but tour operators in the country have been working hard to get this country back on one of the “must-visit” lists for 2014. The war in Iran has damaged the reputation of this country, but it is finally settling back into a more stable place to visit. And what with the election of Hassan Rouhani, it is finally giving would-be tourists the security they need.