Here are a dozen of the world’s most breathtaking destinations that, according to travel guides, will see the most action in the upcoming year.
This list will hopefully inspire you to plan your dream holiday in 2013.
1. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park contains a series of beautiful lakes, caves and waterfalls. These have been formed by processes typical of karst landscapes such as the deposition of travertine barriers, creating natural dams. These geological processes continue today.
The area lies in the Lika region of Croatia. The park is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps. The 16 blue-green Plitvice Lakes are separated by natural dams of travertine and connected by waterfalls all around.
2. The Gardens at Marqueyssac, France
Like something out of a story book, the Gardens of Marqueyssac is quite possibly one of the most beautifully manicured landscapes ever created.
Marqueyssac is a 17th century chateau and gardens located in the heart of the Perigord Noir in the Dordogne département in southwest France. The charm of the Gardens of Marqueyssac has delighted its visitors for the last three centuries.
The gardens consist of over six kilometres of shaded alleys, edged by 150,000 hand-pruned, one hundred year-old box-trees, and adorned with belvederes, rockeries, waterways, grassy clearings, dry-stone huts, rotunda, a Gothic chapel, and playgrounds for the children.
There is no doubt that Marqueyssac has become one of France’s most beautiful and beloved Italian-style gardens.
3. Groningen, Netherlands
Every winter, a special feature of nature appears on the Paterswoldse Meer, a lake just South of the city of Groninge in the northern Netherlands. The surface of the lake attracts hundreds of skaters, but underneath the lake lies a magical world of emerald blue frozen overhead which is the real unique occurrence of this locale.
4. Yunnan Province, China
Since 1998, the Luoping Rapessed Flower Festival has drawn a collective figure of nearly 12 million tourists to the small county. The 14th annual Luoping Rapeseed Flower Festival will commence in mid-January 2013 and will last for two and a half months. The most traveled path to arrive here is to fly into the capital of the province, Kunming, where during season, tourist buses depart every few hours to Luoping.
5. La Tomatina Festival – Bunol, Spain
On Wednesday, August, 28th 2013, a once-a-year tomato war will erupt in Buñol. Your mission is to pelt tomatoes at everyone in site with your weapons of 150,000 ripened tomatoes – and not to get too bruised yourself in the process.
Prepare to party at the wildest festival in Spain, where you and thousands of locals and tourists alike will paint the walls red – literally. It’s a massive food fight unlike any other and it kicks off every year in Buñol, a tiny, typical Spanish town 40km from Valencia. Here, you and 40,000 others will take part with the 9,000 local Spanish inhabitants, in tomato warfare known as the la tomatina festival.
6. Bryce Canyon National Park, USA
Bryce Canyon is a national park located in the southwestern state of Utah in the US. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called “hoodoos”, formed by wind, water and ice erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors.
7. Marble Caves, Lake Carrera, Chile
Welcome to the Marble Cathedral – a natural wonder that could be the world’s most beautiful cave network. An azure temple created by nature, the walls of this network of water-filled marble caverns show just how magnificent the precious geography of our planet can be.
These wondrous marble caves – also known as the “Las Cavernas de Marmol” or “Marble Caverns” – are the main attraction of South America’s second largest freshwater lake, General Carrera.
To reach this remote place located in the far southern tip of Chile visitors must fly from the capital, Santiago, 800 miles to the next nearest large city, in the Coyhaique province near the border with Argentina and then drive on challenging dirt roads 200 miles south to the lake.
8.Baia dos Porcos, Brazil
Beautiful Baía dos Porcos is nestled on the north coast of the famed Fernando de Noronha archipelago in Brazil. It is famed for its stunning views over to “Dos Hermanos‘” (“Two brothers”) which are the two craggy rocks that rise from the clear blue.
9.Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
Each year in the Land of the Rising Sun thousands come to Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture to view the magical spectacle of the flowering red and blue petals. The park is particularly famous for blue nemophilas, annual flowers with transparent blue petals.
The blooming period is called “Nemophilia Harmony” and attracts many visitors. Aside from nemophilas, the park has about a million daffodils blooming amidst the pine trees.
10. Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada
Moraine Lake is magnificent glacially-fed lake that is considered one of the most stunning lakes in the Canadian Rockies due to its distinct shade of blue. It is located within Banff National Park outside the village of Lake Louise in the province of Alberta, Canada.
Imagine yourself in this classic mountain scene where you can enjoy a hearty breakfast, then head out to the shore of the lake where adventures large and small await. Hike up the popular Rockpile interpretive trail, where from the peak, you can see the surrounding Valley of the Ten Peaks, where you’ll be rewarded with one of the most stunning vistas you’re likely to see in this lifetime.
11. Lost Gardens of Heligan, UK
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey in Cornwall, are one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK.
The gardens were created by members of the Cornish Tremayne family, over a period from the mid-18th century up to the beginning of the 20th century. The gardens were neglected after the First World War, and only restored in the 1990’s.
12. Zion National Park, Utah, USA
Zion National Park, situated in the southwestern part of the US in the state of Utah, is a virtual wonderland of visual imagery where the vibrant mélange of lush forests, sandy monolithic stone sculptures and the azure of the sky blend into an impressive landscape. Its unique array of plants and animals will enchant you as you absorb the rich history and enjoy the excitement of present day adventures.
13. North Male Atoll, Maldives
Ah, the Maldives… Surrounded by endless white sand coves and turquoise bays, the resorts at the North Mall Atoll offer plush luxurious surroundings where all 130 private villas enjoy beautiful ocean views and direct access to the lagoon. Immerse yourself in the seclusion where you can unwind and relax, surrounded by lush tropical greenery and complete beauty.
14. Huangshan Mountain Range, China
For anyone who likes adventure, explore Huangshan Mountain Range is a must when you visit to China. The name of Huangshan is probably not familiar to you because it is also known as the Yellow Mountain.
The Mountain is located in Anhui province in eastern China, approximately 500 kilometers southwest of Shanghai.During the past 15 years it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entire country.
These giant Mesozoic rock formations that spring from the ground and leap up vertically towards the sky form a magnificent amphitheater which plays host to nature’s most dazzling display.
15. Hong Kong
Invigorating Hong Kong, with its majestic skyscrapers, abundant nightlife, and its hustle and bustle, is the perfect getaway for those seeking to inject some excitement into their life and experience the sensation of a fast-paced 24 hour lifestyle.
This city has been attributed as having multiple personalities, as a result of being both Cantonese Chinese and under a more recent contemporary ex-British influence. Today, the former British colony is a major tourism destination for China’s increasingly affluent mainland population.