The excitement and promise of a New Year also brings forth a new array of travel opportunities for individuals seeking culture and adventure. It seems like everyone has their own opinions about the best travel destinations for 2014, and what kind of self-respecting travel blog would we be if we didn't weigh in on the discussion! While creating our list of the most promising destinations for 2014, we considered accessibility, popularity, emerging food scenes and major events of significance.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Brazil is feeling the warmth of the global spotlight as it prepares to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics. In preparation for the influx of tourists, the entire country's infrastructure is being upgraded, and everything from airports to hotels are getting a face-lift. Nestled along the southern shore of Guanabara Bay, you'll be hard pressed to find a city with a setting as stunning as Rio de Janeiro's. Extending between the turquoise sea and forest-clad mountains, the possibilities in Rio are virtually endless. From its legendary beaches and noteworthy architectural heritage to high street shops and trendy clubs, you may never want to leave.
Cape Town, South Africa Culture vultures will inevitably be drawn to Cape Town, which will host more than 450 events in the coming year as 2014's World Design Capital. The city's trendy boutiques and cutting-edge restaurants are only a fraction of the reason Cape Town has received this global designation. A self-proclaimed 'tale of two cities', Cape Town has two very distinct personalities, one being a postcard narrative of wild beauty and sophisticated cosmopolitanism, and the other, a story of poverty and urban degradation. As a World Design Capital, the city will not only host a plethora of exciting events, the title also represents a bold step in the process of changing how the city and its people approach development, combining innovative thinking and design in order to transform the city as a whole.
Riga, Latvia 2014 is going to bring forth a jam-packed calendar of events for Latvia's capital city. Riga has been named 2014's European Capital of Culture, and has always been located at a crossroads of major trading routes and business ventures between East and West. This juncture has made it an intriguing multicultural city with a lengthy history and rich cultural heritage. During Riga's year as European Capital of Culture, specially developed exhibitions, unique activities and events will be held in different venues throughout the city.
Copenhagen, Denmark Riga and Cape Town aren't the only cities boasting impressive world titles this year; Copenhagen has received the honor of being named the European Green Capital for 2014. Selected for its forward-thinking approach to urban planning and design, Copenhagen is a highly successful role model for the green tourism movement, making it the perfect addition to our list. Travelers will witness firsthand how Copenhagen sets the stage, inviting locals and visitors alike to share solutions and experiences involving the environment, paving the way for a greener Europe, all while enjoying the city's world-class amenities.
Palermo, Italy A sophisticated wine scene, affordable accommodations, and charming piazza culture are several of the reasons travelers have started to gravitate towards this Sicilian city. Seemingly frozen in time, Palermo functions as both a living museum and a starting point for exploring modern Italy. For individuals who are more historically minded, attractions throughout Palermo cover the Pre-Historic Era all the way to present day. Visit the Regional Archaeological Museum to see a complete survey of the island's history, and then check out any of the events happening throughout the year, embodying the ways in which that vibrant history is still very much alive. If you want to see even more of the magical island of Sicily, check out this comprehensive Sicily road trip planner.
Glasgow: Gleneagles, Scotland The summer of 2014 has already been deemed by some travel experts as being the 'Summer of Scotland'. The Commonwealth Games take over Glasgow, providing travelers with the opportunity to see some of the world's top athletes compete in 261 medal events, with a total of 17 sports represented. Competition aside, Glasgow is also a city of sophistication, offering internationally celebrated art galleries, museums, and is also home to unique design and style. Next September, the historic city of Gleneagles will host the Ryder Cup, a tournament that is considered to be the most important match in the sport of golf.
Sochi, Russia With its subtropical climate and lush greenery, Sochi, Russia might not be the first backdrop that comes to mind when thinking about winter sports. But despite its topographical makeup and brash political views (the country's new anti-gay law has stirred up anger in people around the world), Sochi will be the host for the 2014 Winter Olympics, held next month. Developers are working hard to increase the city's capacity for tourism, building new athletic venues, as well as making the city more attractive for both visitors and television viewers. For travelers visiting during the summer months, they will be able to see just how many nature-focused and family-friendly activities Sochi has to offer.
Normandy, France June 6th will be the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, marking a turning point in defeating Hitler in World War II. It is expected that this milestone will draw history buffs, relatives of veterans of the invasion, and countless other tourists to the city's coast in order to pay their respects and remember this solemn day. From March until August, fireworks displays, street dances, parades and reenactments will happen regularly, and horse lovers will be happy to know that this city will host the prestigious World Equestrian Games from August 23rd to September 7th.
Berlin, Germany On November 9, 2014, it will have been 25 years since the Berlin Wall was breached; signifying a powerful moment in history, ending both communism in Europe and the Cold War. Constructed in 1961 and completely demolished in 1990, the Berlin Wall not only physically sectioned off East Berlin from the West, but it was also a powerful symbol of the division between Western Europe and communist-controlled Eastern bloc countries. In the years since, Berlin has blossomed into a trendy tourism capital, and exciting events and exhibits are scheduled to run throughout 2014.
The options on offer for travelers in 2014 far exceed the number of months in the year, and no matter when you choose to travel, you will find impressive destinations that are always on the move. Innovating, developing, and growing, these cities pay homage to their past while creating promise and purpose for the future. A car rental is one of the best ways to explore any city at your own pace, and Auto Europe is able to help you arrange reliable transportation in over 130 destinations around the world. Contact us today at 1-888-223-5555 to start planning your next trip!