Frommer's' Top Destinations for 2014

Bright green hills surrounding a navy blue lake in Scotland. Flickr/ Moyan_Brenn
The ever-shifting landscape of travel opportunities opens the gates to some destinations even as it closes the door, sometimes temporarily, on others. In devising our list of the most promising destinations for the coming months, Frommer's editors looked at politics, accessibility, popularity, major events—and most importantly, whether a destination is potentially affordable for the average traveler.

What made our list of the hottest destinations for travel in 2014? Click through and discover your ever-changing world:

Note: To view our 2016 List of the Best Places to Go, Please Click Here.


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Lava melting down the side of a smoking volcano. Flickr/ Alaskan Dude
Thanks to ongoing volcanic eruptions, nearly 500 acres have been added to the Big Island's bulk since 1994. 2013 was a particularly active year, and though there's no way of knowing when Pele will end her smoke-and-lava show, those who visited this year were treated to the sight of rivers of lava entering the sea and shooting up huge plumes of steam. We think just the chance of seeing Mother Nature at her most aggressive is worth a visit, which is why the Big Island is on our list for 2014. But even if you don't get to see an eruption (from a safe distance, of course) you won't regret visiting Hawaii's largest isle, a wonderfully varied place of ranches, sleepy cities, coffee plantations, petroglyph-laden landscapes, lava tubes and much, much more.
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Three tiki huts on a white sandy beach in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico. Flickr/ Footlooseiety
Move over, Mayan Riviera! The so-called Riviera Nayarit, a blessedly undiscovered (for now) 192-mile stretch of Mexico's mid-Pacific coast from San Blas to Sayulita, is positioning itself to become Mexico's next big (tourist) thing. With its perfectly preserved colonial towns, exquisite white sand beaches, hipster surfing enclaves, and raft of nature experiences (bird and whale watching, turtle nesting communities, and more) it has the raw materials to become a major fun-in-the-sun draw. In just the last five years, a slew of high-end, all-inclusive resorts have opened. So go now, before the crowds descend—and they may do so sooner than later, as there's soon to be more airlift from the U.S. to Puerto Vallarta, the gateway to the Riviera Nayarit.
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The sun setting over the ocean with a silhouette of boats and fishermen, Bali, Indonesia Flickr/ Frontierofficial
Though the Hindu island of Bali is often at odds with its government in Djakarta, the Indonesian Rupiah—the currency of Bali—is selling at 11,000 Rupiah to the U.S. dollar, an improvement in recent years of nearly 30% from the standpoint of a U.S. visitor. The warmhearted, gracious island of Bali was always one of the cheapest of the world's key destinations, and it is now more affordable still.
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The Taj Mahal reflecting in a long pool, Agra, India Flickr/ Asebest
The rupee has plunged to a level of 62 to the U.S. dollar, making India is more affordable to the U.S. tourist than ever before. A single concern, which the Indian government is striving mightily to overcome, has to do with attacks on women, who must exercise extreme caution when traveling away from traditional touristic locales.
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A view of the Berlin wall through a fence. Flickr/ Philippe AMIOT
It was the evening of November 9, 1989. With no advance notice, an announcement was made by the East German government that GDR citizens were now free to visit West Germany for the first time since 1961. Those who made their way to the Berlin Wall found that, to their amazement, the gates were open and the guard towers unmanned. Streams of Germans from both sides of the Wall poured through the gates; in the weeks that followed, ebullient crowds chipped away at the hated Wall until almost all of it was gone. 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall, and the celebrations and events promise to be both moving and raucous. Be there to commemorate this historic event, when nearly 8 miles of the Wall's original course will be recreated with thousands of helium balloons that, at a climactic moment, will be released by 10,000 volunteers as a symbol of unity. Also tour revitalized East Berlin, or just party—Wall or none, Berlin has always known how to do that. There are few cities in the world as hip, as fun, and as welcoming as Berlin. It's also surprisingly affordable; while the average hotel room rate is €127 in Paris and €139 in London, Berlin's average room rate is only €82.
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City skyline in Taiwan. Flickr/ Francisco Diez
We'll call Taiwan the "gentler, kinder" China. Instead of battling crowds, fending off panhandlers, and breathing in air that's thick with pollution, visitors to Taiwan find that this Chinese island is relaxing to tour and warmly welcoming of visitors. And what wonders there are to see! The extraordinary Palace Museum in Taipei holds the finest treasures of the Forbidden City, collected by Emperors for thousands of years (Chiang Kai-Shek brought them with him to Taiwan when he was defeated by the Communists on mainland China). Not far from it is the second-tallest building in the world, a marvel of engineering featuring a massive ball on a chain at its core--it's meant to stabilize the building in the event of earthquakes.

Walking the streets of any Taiwanese city, one comes upon temple after temple, each more elaborate than the last and each jammed with worshipers. Because Taiwan had no Cultural Revolution, traditional Chinese culture and religious were practiced uninterrupted here when all was chaos on mainland China. Taiwan is also a place of great natural beauty with exquisite beaches, soaring gorges, and hot springs to explore. There's a reason Portuguese sailors called the place "Ilha Formosa" (beautiful island). Taiwan's current tourism campaign is "The Time for Taiwan is Now"—we'd say that's about right.
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A view of the valley, Rio de Janeiro. Flickr/ jkjwak
It's Rio's time to shine. In the summer of 2014, the soccer World Cup will happen at venues all around Brazil, but all eyes will rest on Rio de Janeiro as the location of the hotly anticipated final match. In preparation for the global scrutiny, the entire country's infrastructure is being upgraded, from airports to hotels to tourist services, which means that from late summer of 2014 until the Summer Olympic Games in 2016, Rio will be flush with brand new amenities and hungry for an influx of world travelers to enjoy them. A partial stadium collapse in November 2013 in Sao Paolo put the heat on authorities to make sure all the additions are done well.
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A view from above of the city's valley, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovnia Flickr/ zlakfoto
June 28, 2014 will mark a century since the fateful assassination that swept away the old order of Europe with the calamitous Great War, now known as World War I. Sarajevo lived much of the 20th century in the shadows, but now the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a transfixing collision of Eastern and Western Europe, is learning to catch up with world tourism just like its neighbor, Croatia. Museums and attractions are gradually rising to meet modern standards, and as world attention focuses on the city for this summer's commemorations, a new era could be kindled. If it plays its cards right, Sarajevo could translate the spotlight into mass rediscovery.
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Umea School of Architecture, Sweden Umea School of Architecture Forgemind ArchiMedia
Europe's Capital of Culture for 2014 is the largest city in northern Sweden, an eclectic, vibrant place where more than 50 languages are spoken and half the population comes from outside the country. No matter what their background is, the citizens of Umea are preparing to welcome Europe's finest artists in a celebration that will range from works made from fire and ice (The City of Winter), to theater and music festivals to high tech installations that will marry the worlds of fine art and bird watching. No joke—Sweden takes its self-expression seriously.
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A building in Liverpool, England. Flickr/ Miguel Mendez
February, 2014, will mark 50 years since the Beatles arrived in the United States, transforming Yank culture with the British Invasion. You'd never know a half-century has passed since the Beatles' heyday when you're in Liverpool, though, where museums, historic sites, and even a luxury hotel are all themed to the Fab Four. Yet the post-industrial gloom that once blighted the city is all but washed away, and like Glasgow and Manchester before it, Liverpool has come into its own with some vivacious new attractions, including an outpost of the Tate; a state-of-the-art, £72 million Museum of Liverpool that retells the stories of the city; and the International Slave Museum, which testifies to the city's central role in American slavery.

Liverpool is also poised to make a major comeback as a cruise port. In late 2013, plans were announced to transform the landmark 1917 Cunard Building (background, above), an icon of the city skyline and once the headquarters for the esteemed liner company, back into a cruise port, nearly 50 years after the company left for Southampton. In 2015, Cunard itself will return to Liverpool when it sails all three of its ships to rendezvous in the Mersey, and now that there's a passenger port facility back on its banks, an increasing number of cruise passengers may soon find themselves within an easy two-hour train ride to the center of London.
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A white colonial style building, Richmond Dougtone/Flickr
Once the South was repelled from Gettysburg by the Union, the third year of the Civil War became all about Virginia—in fact, more major fights happened in that state than any other. The year 2014 is the 150th anniversary of many of its biggest battles. In May, the Battle of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania are observed, and in June, the commemoration of the terrible and interminable Siege of Petersburg begins. All of them, plus the sites of Williamsburg, are within striking distance of Richmond, which was the capital of the Confederacy and is still flush with historic sites and museums devoted to that destructive chapter. But even if you don't care a whit about the war, there's still the gorgeous Beaux Arts Jefferson Hotel, and Richmond is coming into its own as a choice regional destination with a growing slate of breweries, farm-to-table restaurants, and even white-water river rapid activities cutting right through downtown. While you weren't looking, Richmond got cool.
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Gourock and Helensburgh, Scotland, near Glasgow, on John Muir Way easylocum/Flickr
Summer 2014 will be remembered as the Summer of Scotland. On top of the myriad festivals that throng Edinburgh annually, two more events that receive enormous world attention are joining. The Commonwealth Games take over Glasgow, and in September, the world-famous Ryder Cup returns to Scotland (to Gleneagles, north of Edinburgh) for only the second time in its history. Add to that the influx of new hotel rooms that should help reduce the price of a Scottish vacation after the events are finished. In the spring, the country officially opens the John Muir Way, a coast-to-coast trail that cuts across the country near both Edinburgh and Glasgow (from Dunbar to Helensburgh, pictured)—it's named for the Scottish-born man whose efforts inspired the United States' national parks system.
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A boat silhouette at sunset on the ocean. Tatiana Antonova/Flickr
This UNESCO World Heritage Site packs in cathedral, fort, and other ancient buildings to create one of the Caribbean's richest historic areas. Now, with the 2013 completion of the new, four-lane Coral highway, it takes half the time to reach the ancient sights from the resorts of Punta Cana—you can get there in two hours, not four, making day-trips possible. The Dominican government is also pedestrianizing the old city, bringing in more cafés and shops, and keeping an eye on the quality of its tourist amenities. A new luxe hotel, Las Casas del XVI, opens in 2014 in a collection of old buildings from the 1500s. Santo Domingo is coming of age for tourists—even JetBlue flies there now—and because of the highway, you no longer have to choose between all-inclusive beach vacation or a city-oriented DR vacation. You can now experience both sides of the country.
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A wind farm in front of hills in Palm Springs, California. mbtrama/Flickr
As slew of trendy hotels (like the Ace, the Hard Rock) have opened in the past few years, with more to come (Mondrian, a new Kimpton), Palm Springs is quickly exchanging its dowdy golf-and-a-nap reputation for a hip new image. Its midcentury shapes, once met with eye rolls, are now cherished by fans of retro design. Yet for all that coolness, there's still an affordability—the newly arriving admirers haven't yet priced out the city's private motel resorts, and some cheap motels have gone semi-hip (like the Monroe, as low as $119) without getting too expensive. Where the city was once the playground mostly of weekending Southern Californians, an increasing number of airlines, including Virgin America, fly there from the East Coast, so you no longer have to drive out from L.A. to live like Bob Hope. (Or even know who Bob Hope was.) And then there is the peace of the desert right outside the city limits...
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