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PHOTOS: World's best travel destinations for 2014

Last updated on: November 13, 2013 13:27 IST

PHOTOS: World's best travel destinations for 2014

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The last word in travel guides, Lonely Planet has released its list of the best in travel places from around the world. Where are you going in 2014?

Towards the end of each year, Lonely Planet releases its list of go-to-destinations for the New Year.

Paris topped the list of the best cities in the world. (More on that here!)

Our very own Sikkim also topped another Lonely Planet list -- that of the best regions in the world. (More here)

In the pages to follow, we bring you the best travel destinations to visit across categories.

We start out with Brazil which has earned the top spot in the list of best countries to visit in 2014. That shouldn’t have come as a surprise though. With its sun-soaked beaches, lush green rainforests and some breathtakingly beautiful colonial villages, you really have to hunt for reasons to not visit Brazil.

The fact that it will host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics two years later, only adds to the list of why you should be visiting this wonderful nation.

Here are the other nine countries in the list:

  • Antarctica
  • Scotland
  • Sweden
  • Malawi
  • Mexico
  • Seychelles
  • Belgium
  • Macedonia
  • Malaysia

Image: A surfer waits for waves in the sea near Arpoador beach in Rio de Janeiro
Photographs: Sergio Moraes/Reuters

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Kerala

Featuring among the best places to visit with your family is our very own Kerala.

“Elephants, palaces, castles, trains, beaches, jungles and wildlife parks are all ingredients to help keep everyone in the family happy,” the travel guide writes of God’s Own Country encouraging travellers from around the world to visit Kerala.

Also among the top ten best places to visit with your family were:

  • Denmark
  • Thailand
  • Belize
  • New York City, USA
  • Hawaii
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Italy
  • Iceland
  • Lapland

Image: Decorated elephants take part in the Trichur Pooram festival in Trichoor, in the southern Indian state of Kerala
Photographs: Dipak/Reuters

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Where to feel like one of the family: Coconut Plantation, Kerala

Kerala featured in yet another list -- of destinations where you can ‘feel like one of the family’. The travel guide recommends homestays tucked away amidst coconut plantations in the state.

Also featuring in this list are:

  • Casas Particulares, Cuba
  • Ger, Mongolia
  • Township House, Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Sobe, Croatia
  • Iban Longhouse, Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Village Home, Otavalo, Ecuador
  • Bedouin Tent, Wadi Rum, Jordan
  • Bure, Fiji

The list also has an unusual name ‘Couch’ which refers to couch surfing, a common practice amongst backpackers around the world.


Image: Indian oarsmen row their boat during a practice session for upcoming Nehru boat race in Alleppy district in Kerala
Photographs: Ev Deepak/Reuters

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Best value for money: Karnataka

Also featuring in Lonely Planet’s recommendation is Karnataka. Featuring in the list of places that offer best value for money, the South Indian state beats Goa for its ‘serene beaches, fishing harbours and peaceful resorts, plus inland temple towns such as Hampi’.

Also featuring in the list were:

  • Greek Islands
  • Italy’s Heel
  • Nicaragua
  • Bulgaria
  • Portugal
  • Fiji
  • Mexico
  • Palawan, the Philippines
  • Ethiopia

Image: Hampi in Karnataka
Photographs: Darshan Yeram

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Sites to make you feel small: Mass Games, North Korea

It may seem tad humiliating to include a drill practice in the land of the despotic Kim Jong-un but the folks at Lonely Planet seem to be impressed by North Korea’s Mass Games to include them in the list of ‘sites to make you feel small’.

By all estimates, it is no doubt a spectacular sight but the fact that it also in so many ways represents the nation’s totalitarian politics, is somewhat disturbing.

Other countries in this list are:

  • Rub' al-Khali (Empty Quarter), Oman
  • Maldives
  • Atacama Desert, Chile
  • York Minster, England
  • Cave of Swallows, Mexico
  • Great Australian Bight, Australia
  • Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest), Waipoua Forest, New Zealand
  • Stromboli, Italy
  • Concordia, Pakistan

Image: A mass games performance in Pyongyang, North Korea
Photographs: ProhibitOnions/Creative Commons

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Best in adventure travel: Avoriaz

One of the 12 interconnected mountain resorts located in the heart of the Portes du Soleil is the place to head to if you’re an avid biker. The area that opens its doors to bikers in the summer and skiers in winter has some 650km of trails that are mostly downhill and offer some real breathtaking views.

The Pass’Portes du Soleil mountain bike festival that takes place every June witnesses over 4,000 bikers for a 75km race.

Others on the list include:

  • Sailing, Cape Horn, Chile
  • Ice Marathon, Antarctica
  • Swimming, Sporades Isles, Greece
  • Climbing Mount Baker on snowboard or skis, Washington, USA
  • Rock climbing, Yangshuo, China
  • Stand-up paddleboarding, Dominican Republic
  • Whitewater rafting, Mosquito Coast, Honduras
  • Travel by horse and cart, Myanmar/Burma

Image: Avoriaz, France
Photographs: Look Sharp/Creative Commons

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Best beaches and small islands: Palau

Since 2014 is the International Year of Small Island Developing States, the travel guide recommends ten places to visit.

In the list is the archipelago nation of Palau, which Lonely Planet describes as ‘(not) so much of islands as giant green mushrooms.

The sparsely populated country, surrounded by turquoise waters that are teeming with fish and giant clams, is so obscure most people must scour a map to find it.

Kayak, scuba dive or just laze around on the beaches, Palau seems like a promising place to head to.


Image: Rock-Islands, Palau
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons/Peter Binter

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Pure Kauai, Hawaii, USA: The world's best luxury boot camp

The luxury spa of Pure Kauai in Hawaii, USA has been ranked among the best luxury boot camps. Located on the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands of Kauai, the bespoke fitness resort that offers you everything from personal trainers to masseurs who can tailor to your fitness needs.


Image: Island Kauai, Na Pali Coast
Photographs: Creative Commons/Julius Silver

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Stratford-upon-Avon, England: Best Shakespearean sites for travellers

Birthplace of the greatest literary figure, William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon receives about five million visitors each year and is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Visit what is believed to be Shakespeare’s home or Anne Hathaway's Cottage (not the actress, Shakespeare’s wife) and wander around the lanes where the Bard may have walked or simply watch a play and return home with memories to last a lifetime.

Sounds about right in the year of Shakespeare’s 450th birth anniversary, doesn’t it?

The other places on the list include:

  • Verona, Italy
  • Helsingor, Denmark
  • Scotland
  • Maruyama, Japan
  • Alexandria, Egypt
  • Mount Parnitha, Greece
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Messina, Sicily, Italy
  • Shakespeare’s Globe, London, England

Image: Anne Hathaway's Cottage
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons/Tony Hisgett

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