Here are our top 10 destinations in 2013. We selected places that have a lot of history and culture, or natural beauty. Plan early because some destinations, such as Burma, have limited hotel availability.
The country is opening up to the outside world and sanctions against it are being dropped. It is much easier now to get a visa and arrange a trip. The country is filled with Buddhist temples and is largely untouched by mass tourism. The food is marvelous and the people are friendly and hospitable. There are many high-end hotels and resorts but not enough to meet the demand. Visit it now before it gets ruined. Where to find travel information: Mapplr articles about Burma
(2) Marseille and Provence
They share the honour of having been selected the European Capital of Culture for 2013. The Provence is a truly marvelous place to spend spring, summer or fall. There’s so much to see and to do, plus you’ll be treated to some of the best restaurants in France. Where to find travel information: Mapplr has posted many articles about hotels and restaurants in Provence.
A Himalayan kingdom surrounded by high mountains and filled with ancient fortresses and Buddhist monasteries, Bhutan is one of the last places on earth that is untouched by the horrors of mass tourism. It does feel very spiritual there, not only because of so many Buddhist shrines but because of the pristine nature. Where to find travel information: Mapplr’s travel guide to Bhutan
(4) South Island of New Zealand
As the world becomes more and more polluted, there are few places where you can breathe clean air and enjoy nature that is unsullied and untrammeled by giant tour groups. The south island of New Zealand is one of those places. Where to find travel information: Hiking the Routeburn Track in New Zealand Travel guide to Queenstown, New Zealand: hotels, restaurants, shopping, activities
The Rijksmuseum (which houses Rembrandt’s Night Watch) and the Stedelijk Museum are both reopening this year after a lengthly renovation. The city has so much to offer those who love art and music. For classical music, go to the Concertgebouw, which is famous for the Concertgebouw Orchestra. There are many Baroque concerts given by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and the Netherlands Bach Society. For modern music, check out the Paradiso, a former church turned into a concert venue for up and coming bands. Where to find travel information: So many new luxurious hotels have opened in the city. You can find our recommendations for hotels and restaurants on our Amsterdam page.
(6) Salar de Uyuni and southern Bolivia
If you have always dreamed of going to another planet, head to southern Bolivia, in particular the salt flats of the Salar de Uyuni. Memorable, breathtaking and otherworldly. Where to find travel information: Mapplr’s guide to the Salar de Uyuni and southern Bolivia
(7) Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
Want to feel like you’ve truly gotten away from it all? There’s no better place than Easter Island, which is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The closest points are Chile (5.5 hours away) and Tahiti (6 hours away). The island is quiet and mysterious with all those strange moais staring into the distance. Anyone who remembers “Chariots of the Gods” will find Easter Island to be an eerie place. Where to find information: Mapplr’s guide to visiting Easter Island
Sun, sea, beach, hiking, sailing, great Mediterranean food, history, antiquities – Israel has it all, in addition to being the birthplace of three great religions. You’ve got the beaches, restaurants and night clubs of Tel Aviv; the mosques, churches and synagogues of Jerusalem (not to mention the Western Wall); the sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, Masada and the desert. It’s a tiny country that packs it all in. Where to find information: Check out our articles on the best hotels, restaurants and things to do in Israel.
Most beach holidays take place in locations where there’s nothing else but the beach. Bali is special because there are volcanoes, mountains, Hindu temples, and hidden villages. If you are looking for something a bit more spiritual and mysterious, the island is for you. Stay in Ubud at the Bambu Indah Villas, do yoga, hike up Mt. Agung or snorkel in the northeastern part of the island.
Where to find information: Eat Pray Love Bali travel guide
It amazes me how many people still have not visited Istanbul. Come on, Turkish Air now flies to most destinations! It’s a good airline with excellent connections. There’s no more excuse not to visit one of the most beautiful, atmospheric cities in the world, half in Asia, the other half in Europe, with the Bosphorus in between. In addition to having great monuments to visit, you’ll find some of the best food on the planet and very friendly people. Where to find information: Mapplr’s articles on Istanbul