2013 Travel wish list

Inspiring ideas
on your 2013 TRAVEL wish list

– For those who travel with a passion FOR life . . .

How do you fancy tracing Roald Amundsen’s route to the North Pole, or walking in Edmund Hillary’s footsteps on Everest?
Be one of only 250 people to stand at the top of the world in 2013.

You become an explorer, an adventurer. You taste a new sense of wonder and discovery.
You return home: but you may never be the same again …


Seeing the Polar Bear in his natural habitat, the Arctic, is a spiritual moment…

Polar Bear

Your icebreaker ship, 50 Years of Victory, will take you to a part of the world more commonly associated with fairy tales and folklore – the North Pole! Crushing through multi-year pack ice, the journey can take as long as a week, which only helps to heighten the level of excitement. Celebrate with champagne upon your arrival and soar high above the entire Earth on an optional hot air balloon ride.

 A mountainous moment in NEPAL

Mt Everest

Follow in the footsteps of Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on Mountain Kingdoms’ Everest Base Camp 60th Anniversary Trek. Led by three-times Everest summiteer Tashi Tenzing, grandson of Tenzing Norgay, you’re in safe hands. As you hike, Tashi will entertain with tales of the region and its inspirational people.
Reaching Base Camp (5 364m) on 29 May – the date of the first ascent – try ice climbing, chat to those aiming for the summit and join in the celebration.

 If this is a bit too extravagant to your taste,
what about any of the following travel options?

Lunar landscape of fire and ice

Iceland  travel wish listNo one will travel around Iceland without being deeply touched by the sheer beauty of it all; and few will leave this weird country without an urge to return. Perched on the edge of the Arctic, this wonderful little island contains some of the most impressive natural wonders in the northern hemisphere. The continent’s biggest waterfalls thunder down with force; the barren highlands form Europe’s largest, loneliest desert; and the awesome ice cap Vatnajökull remains the biggest outside the poles.

Other spectacular phenomena include whale spotting, smouldering volcanoes, slow-flowing glaciers, extruding lava, gushing geysers, bubbling mud pots, soothing thermal pools and, in the ever darkness of winter, hunt the magical northern lights.

For Fun, Food and Festivals

Istria Croatia Travel wish listBlessed with a year-round mild climate, Istria packs a dazzling diversity of landscapes and experiences into a small triangular shape: art, food, wine and magic

Tone Tuscany down a notch or two – thin the tourist hordes, lower the prices, sprinkle a little mystique – and you get ISTRIA. Shaped like a heart, this Italian-flavoured peninsula is where continental Croatia meets the Adriatic.

Blessed with a year-round mild climate, Istria packs a dazzling diversity of landscapes and experiences into a small triangular shape – from Roman amphitheatres, byzantine basilicas, to deep-green fjords and subterranean chambers.

Up and coming as a veritable foodie haven, Istria is known for its gastronomic tradition that features fresh wild asparagus and white truffles, unique dishes and prime wines.

Every July and August travellers can celebrate interesting food and art festivals in some of the hill towns in Istria’s interior:
• Labin – The Labin Art Republic when more than 30 resident artists open their studios and streets buzz with outdoor theatre, concerts and clown performances.
• Motovun – hip international film buffs descend on this hilltop town every summer for the Film Festival, known for its alfresco and indoor screenings of independent and avant-garde films, concerts and parties, set against the town’s striking medieval backdrop.
• Buzet – celebrate the start of the white truffle season in this sleepy cobblestone town; a giant truffle omelette with 2000 eggs is prepared.

No longer for only the brave traveller

Albania, TiranaThe jig is almost up – it won’t be off the beaten track for much longer

Picture a place where rulers have names like King Zog, Enver Hoxha and Bamir Topi. Set the scene with coastal cliffs, snow-capped mountains and jungle-wrapped ruins. It may seem like you’ve just conjured a medieval fantasy novel rather than an up-and-coming travel destination, but this is Albania in all its epic, eclectic glory.

Not so long ago, when the Balkans were considered an “only for the brave” travel destination, only the bravest of the brave trickled into Albania. Since backpackers started coming to elusive Albania in the 1990’s, tales have been told in “keep it to yourself” whispers of azure beaches, confrontingly good cuisine, heritage sites, nightlife, affordable adventures and possibility of old-style unplanned journeys complete with open-armed locals for whom travellers are still a novelty.

But be warned: acquiring a visa might be challenging for South Africans; it can only be arranged in the UK.

Island adrift the continent of Africa

girl boabab tree madagascar

Political uncertainty has hampered tourism development in Madagascar. But it might finally be at the verge of recovery. For visitors, the time to go is now, before the country reappears in travel agents’ windows.
Be prepared to be overwhelmed: in both fauna and landscapes, the world’s fourth-biggest island with its baobab tree forest creates an almost aerie atmosphere. To those seeking a place out of the ordinary, Madagascar cannot fail to delight.

View the jagged peaks of the tsingy, then hike along the coast to Cap Mine on the Three Bays Walk. After entering bat caves and trekking past crater lakes, plonk down on Nosy Be Island for a well-earned rest.

Emerging star off the beaten track


Imagine a country with a deep sapphire sea and fjord similar to the Geirangerfjorden of Norway, brilliant beaches like Mallorca, rugged peaks as dramatic as the Dolomites of northern Italy, deep meandering canyons like the Gorges of Verdon in Haute Provence, piazza’s almost as elegant as San Marco in Venice, and many an old fortified town as found in Greece and the Amalfi Coast. Squish it into an area the size of Wales, but with a distinct Mediterranean climate and you will understand what to expect when visiting Crna Gora, also known as Montenegro.

A new menu for food lovers

When speaking of Peru, Machu Picchu normally flashes in the brain; obviously it may still be the main reason for visiting Peru. Or even on a boat along rainforest-fringed rivers, Iquitos has become the mighty megalopolis of the Peruvian Amazon. However, the diverse and somewhat unusual traditional foods of Peru has now become sought after by many a food travel connoisseur.

Peru has an amazing cuisine, one that has evolved from both local and immigrant traditions. Foods that were prepared by ancient civilizations are still enjoyed today, while typical Peruvian dishes also benefit from European, African and Asian influences.

In recent years, Peru’s eclectic cuisine has earned acknowledgement as one of the world’s finest. But while quinoa and pisco sour cocktails have migrated to become favorites around the world, the best Peruvian specialties are still found in their home country. Try Anticuchos, Ceviche, Alpaca, Causa and Rocoto Relleno on your route to Machu Picchu.

Peru's geography yields diverse ingredients: abundant seafood from the coast, tropical fruits from the jungle, and unusual varieties of grains and potatoes from the Andes.

If you wanna live like a troglodyte, you should rock’n’roll to Turkey now, before Cappadocia is changed forever…

cappadocia travel wish list 2013With the slow pace of life in its villages, it seems like Cappadocia sees little change other than winds eroding the rock formations into fairy like chimneys. However, as surely as Mt Erclyes towers in the distance, the modern world is encroaching here. Conservation efforts are made, but coach parties keep arriving. More and more hot-air balloons dot the sky on summer mornings. The pigeon houses on the rock faces, traditionally used to collect bird droppings for use as fertiliser, increasingly lie empty.

Cappadocia was once a classic backpacker hangout – a few free spirits have even swapped their rucksack for a fairy chimney home. However, it is becoming more of a midrange and top-end destination, and the accommodation reflects this.

A new star above the European sky

Slovenia travel wish list

In the early morning you can hike and do some fly-fishing in the Julian Alps, lunchtime you enjoy some of the best Polos wines of Eastern Europe in Ptuj and still be in time to experience the last emerald glare of a super sunset over the Adriatic Sea in Piran – all possible in a single day in a very compact country.

Easy accessible, Slovenia can be tailored into any travel itinerary and combined with Austria or Northern Italy. It offers all the beauty of mountains and lakes for the outdoor enthusiast, excellent food and wine for the foody lovers and much to do for the young at heart in its vibrant capital, Ljubljana.

Reborn out of Russian legacies

UkraineThe word “UKRAINE” means Land on the edge, an apt title for this vast slab of Eurasia in more ways than one. Big, diverse and largely undiscovered, Ukraine is one of Europe’s last genuine travel frontiers, a poor nation rich in colour-splashed tradition, warm-hearted people and off-the-map travel experiences.

A trip to what is, for many, an unfamiliar destination can seem slightly daunting, but fear not – Ukraine is currently recovering from a soccer-inspired crash course in how to look after travellers. Long gone are the days when, visa in hand, you were group-herded around approved sights by the state travel agency. Though some Ukrainians, particularly the elderly, are still shocked to learn westerners dare travel independently:
• Today Andriyivsky Uzviz is the haunt of artists, who install their canvases on this cobbled Montmartre-like street of Ukrainian capital, Kiev.
• Wandering through the narrow streets of Kamyanets-Podilsky atop a rock island flanked by a river gorge on all sides
• Lviv is the pulsating heart of Ukraine with its main square Ploshcha Rynok the bustling heart of Lviv.



Ice hotel sweden

Bed down in the newly carved IceHotel
Every winter, art and accommodation combine afresh in the Swedish Arctic. Kiruna’s IceHotel opened for its 2012 – 2013 season on 7 December 2012 with a whole new array of fairytale ice and snow rooms – they are different every year. Visit to sleep on reindeer skins, take sleigh rides, snowshoe and look out for the northern lights.


Italy travel wish list 2013Exploring the seven lakes
The Italian Lakes are a little slice of paradise. The lakes – deep, slender fjords gouged by glaciers – are sublime. All are oriented north-south, ringed by characterful old lakeside village, often wedged onto narrow beaches between rugged cliffs and the water.

Lake Orta, Iseo and Idro are small and radiate a different atmosphere than the larger Maggiore, Lugano and Como. Though, mountains play a prominent role in all their settings. Lake Garda is the largest lake, with the surroundings also less picturesque, except for the beautiful peninsular town Sirmione on the lakeside.

Cute, personalised accommodation can be found in abundance; some even on some of the islands to be found on Maggiore. Lake cruising is a special form of exploring the scenery of this Italian northern region.


Much more than Dali & Paella

Catalunya Spain Travel wish listCatalonia has a free spirit not found elsewhere in Spain. Whether it’s the influence of the Mediterranean or the fact that it has always been very much isolated from the rest of Spain, but the vibe you will experience in Barcelona and the beauty of the northern countryside of Costa Brava will surpass all expectations.

Excellent Rioja wines, weird art and architecture of Dali and Gaudi and traditional Catalonian food will all contribute to a travel experience of note.


Sapporo festival Japan

Snow festival expedition full of winter sparkle
You can marvel at the skills of the Sapporo festival’s ice-artists – over 400 glistening sculptures dot the northern city of Japan. Then for a lower key, but no less magical event, head to nearby Otaru for the Snow Light Path Festival. Add on the frosted sights of Kyoto, the hot spring-loving snow monkeys of Yudanaka and time in buzzing Tokyo and you have one very cool trip!

Their city the Belgiums seems to forget to tell anyone about

Ghent by NightHere’s a secret within a secret: Ghent might just be the best European city you’ve never thought of visiting. Here hides one of Europe’s finest panoramas of water canals, spires and centuries-old grand houses. Roughly a quarter of the city’s population are students, giving the city a young and energetic buzz. Riverbanks, cafes and beer drinking holes are noisily packed and the atmosphere extends rights into the heart of the old city.

But this is no place to simply kick back: here you can sample some 450 different brands of beer in many drinking spots spread all over town. The entire centre has been revamped a short while ago. Get here quick, because it won’t be long before the rest of Europe gets in on the secret.


Or you might also consider:

seatle travelw ish list 2013• SEATTLE on the USA west coast
Gateway to Alaska

Dressed up for design capital of the world

If you act fast, you can still catch the end of the long glorious summer that Cape Town basks in during the dry summer months. Days are long and sun-drenched – perfect for sundowners at the numerous tapas wine bars of Kloofnek. After leisurely days on the beach of Clifton or visiting the many boutique wine farms of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, the Victoria and Albert Waterfront is the right scene for meeting old acquaintances again. Come autumn, the colours of the many vineyards in the Constantia valley and Stellenbosch’s oak-lined streets are a beautiful sight.

Dresden• DRESDEN
Re-awakened German Prince


Postcards Travel wish liste-books, mobile phone apps, tripit, augmented reality – we live and travel in a world of instant information and sore thumbs. This year is a good time to pause and revisit that famous travel jewel: the postcard.
What started a century ago on the Castle Line Cruise ships as a craze of keepsakes has lost out to
wi-fi, text messaging, tripadvisor feedback, pinterest and flickr images.

Sending a postcard leads to all sorts of local life commonly missed – stationary shops, post offices, funny stamps – as well as the art of actually writing with a pen.


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