It’s part 2 of our series on the best places to see in 2013. What’s top of your travel list for 2013? Check out Part 1 in the series for more inspiration.
With a rich history stretching back centuries, the land of the tsars is a truly rewarding place to visit. Showcasing pre-revolution history as well as fascinating remnants of the Cold War, this is definitely a place for the history buffs to call in. From the immense art collection of the Hermitage, the splendour of St Catherine’s Palace and the Church on Spilled Blood to Moscow’s unforgettable Red Square and the rural charm of Novgorod, Pechory and Pskov, Russia has a lot to offer. It’s a country blessed with cultural and natural treasures, and just waiting for you to explore it!
Top tip: Catch a range of festivals in Russia, from the splendour of New Year in Red Square to ballet. Find more here.
Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma and Laos – four beautiful Southeast Asian countries, each with their own unique appeal. But incredibly diverse landscapes, stunning scenery, laid-back locals and delicious cuisine are common threads throughout. From the lofty limestone cliffs of Vietnam’s Halong Bay and the markets of the Mekong to Cambodia’s spectacular beauty and ancient archaeology, on to Burma’s peaceful temples and ornate pagodas, Laos’ unspoiled culture and friendly locals, this is one region that warrants repeat visits. If you haven’t experienced Southeast Asia, 2013 could well be your year!
For travellers, the scope of Egypt is what makes it such a remarkable place to visit. Though somewhat troubled in recent times, there has actually never been a better time to visit Egypt – largely because the iconic temples and monuments that traditionally draw the crowds are far, far quieter than usual. You’ll be surprised to discover that those famous pyramids are really only the beginning of Egypt’s archaeological story. The wonder of places like the Temple of Karnak, Luxor Temple and Abu Simbel are just as fascinating. The archaeological wealth of Egypt is extraordinary, with marks left by pharaohs, ancient Greeks, Romans, Christians and Arabs.
Top tip: Finish your tour of Egypt with a stay in the Red Sea resort of Dahab. Soak up the sun, do some diving and reflect on the historical marvels you’ve just seen. Read more here.
Although Petra is without doubt one of the world’s most dramatic lost cities, there is so much more to see in Jordan. You can’t help but be entranced by the place, from the wide open spaces of Wadi Rum to Crusader castles, Roman ruins, desert citadels, nature reserves and biblical sites too. And of course there’s the Dead Sea – bob around like a cork in this natural wonder and treat yourself to some time at one of the surrounding spas. And although surrounded by countries that usually make the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Jordan is probably the most stable country in the region. Enjoy the hospitality of the locals the discover one of the Middle East’s most underrated destinations.
Top tip: Get the ultimate archaeological fix and combine your tour of Jordan with a tour of Egypt.
11. East Africa
With some of the most famous game parks in the world, East Africa is the ultimate safari destination. The Great Migration, an age-old migration of millions of animals as they follow the rains in the Masai Mara and Serengeti, is simply not to be missed. But the experience doesn’t end there – track gorillas in the Ugandan highlands, relax on the soft white sands of Zanzibar, or conquer the world’s highest free-standing mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro. Take a walk on the wild side and experience the true pulse of Africa.
12. Central America
Although comparatively small as a region, Central America really does punch above its weight when it comes to diversity. From the truly stunning beaches and charming little towns, to the coffee plantations in the highlands, the rumbling volcanoes, the cobblestoned streets of colonial towns, Mayan ruins and of course the dense jungle of the Amazon, Central America really does have a lot to offer travellers.
Got any top tips for us? Leave them in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!