If you're the kind of traveller who likes to go back to the same place every year because you know what you're going to get, then look away now. It's time to look at the in-demand places for 2013, from the Spanish district that's had a serious re-brand to the city that travel bloggers across the world will be raving about. Warning: may induce wanderlust.
Rome: For Film Buffs and Incurable Romantics
2013 marks 60 years since the release of the timeless romantic film Roman Holiday, where our hearts broke at the sight of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck scooting around the city on a Vespa and looking achingly cool. Nowadays we're accustomed to the idea of royals marrying one of us thanks to Kate and Wills, but back then it was unthinkable for a journalist (played by Peck) and a princess (Hepburn) to get together, so they had to make do with enjoying a brief romance in one of the most loved-up cities in the world. You can follow in their footsteps with a themed Vespa trip in Rome or a walking tour that takes you to all of the key locations used in the film, including the Mouth of Truth, which is a stone mask with a gaping mouth where you must place your hand, as Peck's character, Joe Bradley, did. If you're a liar then it's said you will lose the hand, but of course that didn't happen in Roman Holiday.
Dublin: For Travel Blog Addicts
The European venue for travel blogging conference TBEX in October 2013, this is one place you will be reading a lot about on the top blogs in the coming months, so why not beat the trend-setters to it with a short break to the Emerald Isle? We often overlook the cities on our doorstep in favour of far-flung places, but Dublin should definitely be on your list and it's easy to head there for a weekend. If you're craving culture, then prepare to be spoilt for choice with a trip to the Irish Film Institute, wander round the Irish Writers Centre or, if you time it just right, a visit to the Writers Festival (May 20th-26) or the Fringe Festival (7-22 September). To avoid ruining the cultural experience, you might want to skip Dublin from 17-18 February, when Justin Bieber hits town.
New Zealand and Switzerland: For Hobbit Enthusiasts
Remember when Lord of the Rings was released and everyone went crazy for New Zealand? Prepare for Middle Earth madness to return again, thanks to the release of The Hobbit. If your budget doesn't stretch to the other side of the world, then you should seek out the similarly breath-taking mountain landscape of Switzerland. 2013 sees the opening of the JRR Tolkien Museum in Jenins, near Liechtenstein, paying tribute to the Swiss holiday taken by Tolkien, aged 19, which sparked his imagination. You'll be able to browse first edition books by the author and learn more about his legacy.
Calvia: For Luxury Lovers
You might not have heard of Calvia, as it's one of the latest European destinations to undergo re-branding in recent years. If you're a travel snob, it might seem like a damp squib when you realise that this is the area of Majorca that includes legendary lads' holiday destination Magaluf, but don't be discouraged until you get the full picture. 2012 saw a branch of Nikki Beach hit Calvia, bringing with it a decidedly sophisticated crowd, with resorts such as Paguera, Illetas and Puerto Portals welcoming discerning tourists in search of gourmet food and somewhere to park their yachts. For those of you who forgot to bring your yacht (yep, it happens to us all), there are well-marked bike trails and hiking routes backed by scenic mountain views just waiting to be discovered.
Brazil: For Pre-Olympic Adventurers
It's a given that Brazil is going to be popular during 2014 (when it hosts the World Cup) and 2016 (just the small matter of hosting the Olympics), but it's already high on the travel agenda for many of us in the months ahead, thanks in part to Michael Palin's recent BBC1 series which put it firmly in the spotlight. As well as its media coverage, Brazil is part of the emerging BRICS nations, alongside Russia, India, China and South Africa, which are becoming increasingly important in terms of their economic power and tourism clout, making them more accessible and tempting for holidaymakers. Additionally, Brazil is also making its presence felt on the fashion circuit, with home-grown designers such as Osklen becoming more prominent internationally, not just on the catwalks of São Paolo Fashion Week. The range of shops in major cities such as Rio and São Paolo will certainly attract fashionistas as Brazilian ladies really know their luxury brands.
For those of you hoping to head somewhere new or experience a different side of a well-known destination, 2013 is the perfect time to get exploring on holiday, whether you follow the trends of Middle Earth or Michael Palin.
To get even more travel inspiration, visit lowcostholidays.com.
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