Expedia’s Modern Explorer Campaign highlights how modern technology has helped make travel easier and more accessible, enabling people to find and book the travel they want, as well as explore more remote and unusual destinations. For those who want to get off the beaten track, Expedia.co.uk has put together its guide to the top emerging destinations of 2014 and what to do whilst you’re there.
Rotterdam is a place that is constantly changing and there’s something for everyone in this city destination. Internationally known for its architecture and design, Rotterdam also has a growing festival and gastro scene with the arrival of the first World Food Festival last year. Stroom, a trendy restaurant and hotel housed in a former power station is a must visit with a roof terrace for summer drinks. Chosen as ‘The best bar in the world’ by Lonely Planet, Cafe De Witte Aap is the bar of choice for everyone from locals to hipsters and the art crowd. The Rotterdam Zoo, Blijdorp, has become one of Europe’s most beautiful zoos, featuring a fully covered Oceanium; the domain of sharks, king penguins, sea otters and jelly-fish. For culture lovers, the best-known museums in town and two of Holland’s most sophisticated museums are Bojimans Van Beuningen and Kunsthal.
Ecuador is only slightly larger than the UK, yet offers a huge variety of activities for the adventurous traveller such as hiking, white water rafting and trekking through the rainforest. Visit the remote Galapagos Islands for a once in a lifetime experience and tour their outstanding beauty and history on foot, or by boat or bike. Already been to Machu Picchu? Visit the largest Inca ruins in Ecuador, Ingapirca for a fascinating day trip your friends won’t have already done.
Finding its way into the city break league, Bucharest is bursting with cultural attractions. Check out the treasures in the National Museum Of Art, view the monolithic constructions of the Ceausescu era and enjoy a night out at the National Theater. To get acquainted with the city over a weekend break, enjoy a scenic panoramic driving tour
Surrounded by mountains, Armenia’s streets are full of Columbian art, strong fresh coffee and Soviet-style cars. A must for culture lovers, Armenia is brimming with discoveries. With its own version of Stonehenge, Carahunge is an ancient archaeological place near the city of Sisian with a huge collection of Bronze Age tombs. Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, is an outdoor museum with statues from the most popular worldwide artists such as Fernando Botero or Jaume Plensa. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Cafesjian Centre for the Arts, in the area around the Cascade, which hosts an important collection of art pieces from our century. Last but not least, the magnificent Lake Sevan is one of the largest fresh water high-altitude lakes in the world.
The largest country in Central America is fast becoming the hottest name on the block for 2014. One of the oldest colonial cities in all of the Americas, Granada boasts heaps of charm alongside its well-preserved architecture. A historical excursion tour will take you to visit the gothic-style churches, centuries-old Baroque Carthusian monastery and the lively cave district of Sacromonte. Skateboarding fan? How about Volcano boarding? The youngest volcano in Central America, Cerro Negro appeared from the ground in 1850 and is popular with thrill seekers looking to try out this unique sport. If you’re a fan of dusty, laidback surf towns then San Juan del Sur is just the place. Still definitively off the beaten track, yet rated one of the top five surf spots in the world, San Juan del Sur is home to beachside bars and a super relaxed atmosphere.
Seoul, South Korea
One of the top 10 most booked destinations on Expedia.co.uk this year, Seoul is growing in popularity with travellers. One of the few capitals to match the dynamic blend of ancient and modern, visitors can experience culture, shopping and cuisine here. Start by visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace, the official Royal Palace built in 1395 for the founder of the Joseon dynast. Dive further into history with a memorable stay in a traditional ‘Hanok’ house at Bukchon Village, the eco-friendly structures are made from rocks, soil and wood. In the evening, dine and be entertained in traditional Korean style by booking a Korea House Dinner and Show
Thanks to a range of great value luxury resorts, Cambodia now appeals to a range of audiences looking to explore the country’s long list of wonders. In Siem Reap, book a small group tour to explore the temples of Angkor including Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm, the jungle temple. After sightseeing, enjoy a sumptuous Khmer feast. Discover the city of Phnom Penh by cyclo on tour. This impressive guided tour travels explores the chaotic and fascinating city of Phnom Penh in depth, travelling past the impressive French Khmer colonial buildings and stopping at the filming site of City of Ghosts. At Wat Phnom, keep your eyes peeled for monkeys, feed Sambo the elephant, and have your fortune told. Explore the Central Market housed in a distinctive and domed Art Deco building. Learn about Cambodia's connection with France and Vietnam at the Independence Monument and the Cambodia/Vietnam Friendship Monument. On the way home, there’s the chance to try a local delicacy from one of the evening market stalls. Try fried cockroaches, spiders, crickets, or grasshoppers if you dare.
If you’re looking for laidback vibes, blissful paradise and world class surf, add Taghazout to your list. Once a simple fishing village, this little gem on Morocco’s Atlantic coast is sure to be one of the hottest emerging destinations. Life here is all about relaxation, from yoga on the beach to famous Moroccan cuisine. What the area is really renowned for is surfing and Anchor Point is the place to head to satisfy your surf desires – along with both Killer and Boiler Point.
South America’s best-kept secret, Uruguay boasts a huge selection of pristine beaches, atmospheric cities and exciting nightlife. Glamorous resorts such as Punta del Este provide an idyllic coast setting, whilst visitors to the historic capital city Montevideo can enjoy top-quality steak, wine and a tango show. For wine lovers, a wine tasting tour is a must as Uruguay is one of the largest producers of wine in South America. Punta del Diablo has transformed from a sleepy fishing village into the centre of Uruguay’s backpacking beach scene, for those who want to relax and mingle with other travelers. For culture lovers, the town of Colonia del Sacramento is irresistibly picturesque and a Unesco World Heritage Site, take a day trip here to soak in the colonial charm and history of this coastal city before visiting the downtea area which is filled with modern shops and restaurants.
Another top 10 destination on Expedia.co.uk in 2014, Oslo offers world-class museums, a lively nightlife and plenty of outdoor activities for the active traveller. With a rapidly growing café and bar culture, top-notch restaurants, and nightlife options ranging from world-class opera and jazz to indie rock; there’s something to suit all tastes here. Make the most of a long Norwegian evening with a dinner cruise on the Oslo fjord. For opera fans, the magnificent new Oslo Opera House is a must visit. Museum fans will be spoilt for choice, with the National Gallery and National Museum of Contemporary Art as highlights. Jazz fans are drawn to jazz club Bla, which features on a global list of 100 great jazz clubs compiled by US Jazz magazine Down Beat.
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