52 places to go in 2014

Written by New York Times | Updated: Jan 26 2014, 13:34pm hrs
Cape TownCape Town, South Africa
1. Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Towns importance to Nelson Mandela, who made his first address there as a free man, will doubtless draw many visitors in the wake of his death. The country has transformed itself since Mandelas imprisonment and the world is invited to its renaissance.

2. Christchurch, New Zealand

Three years after two large earthquakes devastated central Christchurch, the city is experiencing a rebirth with creativity and wit, and is welcoming tourists back again.

3. North Coast, California

The moody bluffs of the Mendocino Coast have long been a spectacular place from which to observe marine life. The incorporation of the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands gives hikers new access to a contiguous stretch of coastline, much of it previously off-limits to the public.

4. Albanian Coast

What if you could combine the rugged beauty of Croatias Dalmatian Coast with the ruins of an undiscovered Turkey, all wrapped in the easygoing nature characteristic of rural Italyat a fraction of the cost Turns out you can, on the coast of Albania.

5. Downtown Los Angeles

Gone is the musty, lifeless, only-open-for-Kings-hockey-games reputation of downtown Los Angeles. While the museums of the city are thriving, the growing dynamism of downtown is the food scene.

6. Namibia

Namibias communal conservancy movement has been a much-heralded success: in 2013, the countrys 79 conservancies received the prestigious Gift to the Earth Award from the World Wildlife Fund.

7. Ecuador

Ecuador has over 1,600 species of birds, 4,000 kinds of orchids and one of the largest condor shelters on the planet. And there is a new way to see a good chunk of it: the recently refurbished luxury vintage train Tren Crucero.

8. Quang Binh, Vietnam

Son Doong Cave in the Quang Binh province of central Vietnam is now, for the first time, accessible to tourists. There

is also the nearby and more affordable Tu Lan Cave to explore.

9. Perth, Australia

Regional wine lists Check. Modish new restaurants Check. Transformation in Perth is evident on a large scale: the Riverside project is infusing the city with parks, shops and housing plazas.

10. Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Post-World-War-II reconstruction has changed the face of one of Europes largest ports, where striking, cubed architecture gives shape to the most modern skyline in the country.

11. Taiwan

This island has an easy-to-navigate public transport network that links a cosmopolitan capital with a bounty of natural and manmade wonders.

12. Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt used to land on the culturati map once a year during its annual book fair. A recent boom of restaurants and clubs makes the case for permanent placement.

13. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Building on a strong historical legacy are a host of events scheduled for 2014: a photography festival, two film festivals and a jazz and world music festival.

14. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

The festive chaos surrounding the World Cup soccer tournament this summer is bound to be exhausting. When the actions over, escape to Fernando de Noronha, a 21-island archipelago, off the coast of Recife.

15. Nashville, Tennessee

Country music lovers have long made the pilgrimage to Nashville, but now the city has fast gained cachet among rock fans and foodies. The citys vibrant scene is home to the Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Jeff the Brotherhood and Diarrhea Planet.

16. Scotland

This summer, Glasgow will stage the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Olympic-style competitions for Britain and the former British colonies, and in September, Gleneagles resort in the Highlands will host the Ryder Cup golf competition.

17. Calgary, Alberta

Calgary has morphed from ho-hum city into a cultural hub. Public art is part of life; in 2013, Jaume Plensa completed Wonderland, a 39-ft-tall steel mesh head installed in front of the new Norman Foster-designed Bow Tower.

18. Ishigaki, Japan

For low prices coupled with laidback attitudes, look to the island of Ishigaki. Its never been easier to reach: a new airport opened in March 2013 and Japans new low-cost carrier, Peach, just began service from Osaka.

19. Laikipia Plateau, Kenya

Set between Mount Kenya and the Great Rift Valley, the Laikipia Plateau teems with wildlife. Now, the area has also become a conservation success story, sustained and protected through an unusual mix of public and private partnerships.

20. Yogyakarta, Indonesia

This central Javan sultanate draws crowds for its proximity to bewitching attractions. But finding a decent room has never been easy, until now. Thanks to tax breaks for hotel development, 20 new starred hotels will open through 2015.

21. Tahoe, California

For decades, Northstar-at-Tahoe, on the north end of Lake Tahoe, was a mostly overlooked ski hill. Since 2004, however, more than $1 billion has poured into the resort. In the next few years, expect to see everything from the Cal Neva Resort open after a big renovation to a South Lake Tahoe with new waterfront hotels.

22. Yorkshire, England

Yorkshire is becoming a big destination for beer lovers. A stay in the photogenic city of York offers a Tudor-style pub at the end of every cobbled lane, as well as modern beer temples like York Tap.

23. Dubai

Dubai has won its bid to host World Expo 2020 and has unveiled its Tourism Vision, also for 2020, a plan to attract 20 million tourists. This year, a new tram system and theme parks will be inaugurated.

24. The Vatican

Well over a million visitors are expected in April when Holy Week will be followed by the canonisation of John XXIII and John Paul II. Services commemorating the new saints will continue throughout the year.

25. Uruguayan Riviera

Farther east along the Uruguayan Riviera, sun,

sand and simplicity remain the drawfor now. In

the Rocha region, villages like Cabo Polonio, La Pedrera,

San Antonio and Punta del Diablo are starting to attract serious international attention.

26. Chennai, India

Chennai is home to several dance and music schools like Kalakshetra for dance and the Music Academy for Carnatic south Indian music, which both regularly hold performances around town.

27. Seychelles

Seychelles has one of the worlds most expensive hotels. The listed price for a villa at the North Island resort ranges from 2,582 to 4,079 euros per night; the Doubletree by Hilton Seychelles, which opened last year is, thankfully, more affordable.

28. Krabi, Thailand

Krabi is a 45-minute boat ride from Phuket. Also, Krabi, which used to have few options for accommodations and was hard to get to, is now more tourist-friendly.

29. Aspen, Colorado

The long-awaited reinvented Aspen Art Museum will open its doors this summer. There is also plenty of news for outdoor types this year with new mountain biking trails planned throughout Aspen.

30. Highlands, Iceland

Last year, the Icelandic government announced plans to allow for the construction of hydropower plants. So if you ever want to see Iceland in all of its raw natural beauty, go now.

31. Umea, Sweden

This northern city will welcome all musical genres during its tenure as a European Capital of Culture this year. And its easier to reach thanks to a new higher-speed rail connection from Stockholm.

32. Xishuangbanna, China

Xishuangbanna is about as lush as you can getthe region boasts the richest biodiversity in China.

33. Andermatt, Switzerland

Andermatt has long been a quiet town of Alpine farmers and bargain-seeking skiers. But this winter, the former Swiss army outpost began its transformation into a bona fide ski destination with the opening last month of the 104-room resort Chedi Andermatt.

34. Indianapolis

An urban cycling model has arrived in Indianapolis: the new $63-million, eight-mile bike-friendly Indy Cultural Trail. The path connects five downtown neighbourhoods to top downtown sites.

35. Mekong River

The Mekong River in south-east Asia has become a vital river cruising course, with a variety of small-ship itineraries linking Vietnam and Cambodia.

36. Athens

Athens is seeing change at sites old and new. Travellers will have a new lodging option by summer when a revived Emporikon Hotel opens on Aiolou, a street that is also home to a host of new dining spots.

37. Barahona, Dominican Republic

The port town of Barahona is the gateway to the cactus-strewn regions riches and the eight climate zones at the geological depression, Hoyo de Pelempito, both blissfully devoid of people.

38. Arctic Circle

There arent many reasons to visit the frigid region, but the coming months offer the most stunning of them: some are predicting a double peaking of maximum solar activity, which usually means especially dramatic northern lights, that colourful spectacle of solar particles entering our atmosphere.

39. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The real pulse of Tanzania is found in its largest city, Dar es Salaam. An eclectic mix of music echoes through the beach clubs, open-air bars and nightclubs of this coastal city.

40. Downtown Atlanta

Atlanta plans several ribbon-cuttings in 2014, but the main event is the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, scheduled to open in May.

41. Nozawa Onsen, Japan

For nearly a century, visitors have been lured to this ski destination by affordability and a host of charms. But the recent arrival of stylish restaurants, cafes and bars have infused the area with new energy.

42. Subotica, Serbia

Recently, small producers have revived the Subotica-Horgos wine region. Here, the Palic Wine Route has been attracting domestic wine tourists who spend days sampling local cabernet sauvignon in wine cellars.

43. Elsinore, Denmark

The new Maritime Museum of Denmark opened recently in Elsinore. Maritime relics mix with electronic maps and films that explore the romance of the sea, shipboard existence

and trade.

44. Cartmel, England

The British dining scene is expanding beyond London and chef Simon Rogan deserves much of the credit, having helped elevate Cartmel into one of Englands most unlikely culinary destinations.

45. Nepal

This Himalayan republic is the mother lode of alpinism, home to eight of the worlds 10 highest summits.

46. Vienna

Vienna is home to some 450 balls each year and this year is the 200th anniversary since the citys ball culture took root.

47. Siem Reap, Cambodia

If youve seen the temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, then the countrys lost city of Mahendraparvata, its majestic temples on Phnom Kulen and the stone animal carvings at Srah Damrei should be next on your list.

48. Varazdin, Croatia

Varazdin is one of the countrys most picturesque and well-preserved areas. This small metropolis has an immaculate cobblestoned town centre and is stocked with Baroque churches and palaces.

49. St Petersburg, Florida

With a redeveloped waterfront, a stunning Dali Museum and sophisticated restaurants, the downtown energy is now

heading up historic Central Avenue, thanks in part to the craft beer scene.

50. Belize

Upscale rustic hotels have cropped up all over Belize adding to the lure of rainforests, Mayan ruins and coral reefs. It helps that Belize is easier to reach: Delta recently announced non-stop flights from Los Angeles.

51. New Caledonia

New Caledonia is attracting visitors like never before. An island itinerary reads like a fantasy novel: snorkelling and diving in one of the worlds largest lagoons and horseback riding through verdant mountains.

52. Niagara Falls, NY

Niagara Falls is evolving into a draw for those who love food. A year ago, the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute opened a high-end restaurant, deli, patisserie and gelateria, transforming the areas dining scene overnight.