Holiday destinations 2014: Best ideas for blissful escapes

Wondering where the top holiday destinations are for 2014? A whole host of destinations are enticing us to visit next year, with cheap flights, sporting celebrations and new hidden corners to explore.

Football tourism will be huge as the FIFA World Cup takes over Brazil. Whether you want to join the crowds for the event or explore the lesser-known regions, 2014 is the year to see Brazil.

For a cheap city break in Europe, look no further than Lisbon. The Portuguese capital was recently awarded best European city and most affordable destination within the Eurozone.

Next year will see long-haul destinations brought closer to UK travellers. Indonesia is a must after Garuda Indonesia announced its first ever and only non-stop flights from London to Indonesia, and Bali was recently named the best value long-haul holiday destination.

2014 is a good year to finally see South Africa as the exchange rate makes it more favourable to British tourists and the country celebrates 20 years of freedom and democracy.

If you're desperate to visit the States, venture inland and discover the Southern hospitality of Texas. With new British Airways flights to Austin in March, you can enjoy tax-free retail therapy, get active in the Colorado River and sample that famous Tex-Mex cuisine. Dude ranch holidays are also set to be big in 2014 and Texas is ideal for families or adventure travellers to go horseback riding and experience authentic backcountry living.

2014 may be your year to holiday at home and explore Britain - we've got the perfect UK destination for you to enjoy Britain at its best...

See our pick of 2014 holiday hotspots:

2014 holidays: Top destinations to visit
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Holiday destinations 2014: Best ideas for blissful escapes

Want a cheap European city break in 2014? Look no further than Portuguese capital Lisbon, which continues to grow among UK travellers after Post Office Travel Money’s annual City Costs Barometer named it the best place for an affordable city break in the Eurozone. Most recently, Lisbon was voted Europe’s Leading City Break Destination 2013 at the Oscars of tourism, the World Travel Awards. And we can see why. With year-round pleasant climate, rich culture and beaches, plus bargain flights from the UK with easyJet, British Airways, Ryanair and TAP Portugal, Lisbon is ideal for a long weekend away.

We don't need to tell you that the spotlight will be on Brazil next year, making it one of (if not THE) hottest holiday destinations for 2014. Host to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the South American country will be on everyone's travel wish list. From beach city Rio de Janeiro to the spectacular Iguaçu Falls, there's more to explore in Brazil than you can fit in one break. Football travellers will head straight for the 12 host cities, which include Brasilia, Natal, Salvador and Recife. But for a taste of authentic and less-crowded Brazil, take a trip to the Amazon forest and meet the Kaxinawá tribe with Bespoke Brazil. Alternatively, a new 15-day tour from Journey Latin America takes in Salvador da Bahia, Olinda and Pipa in Brazil’s exotic northeast, and if you're looking to do Brazil on a budget Real World Holidays offers an affordable World Cup holiday with camping and a 12-day Samba Special trip allowing you to see the top sights, get a real feel for the country and have plenty of time to relax on the beach.

It may have a few economic problems but demand for Greece is still high and the country is set for a bumper year in 2014. Home to the nation’s must-see sites, such as Olympia and the Epidaurus theatre, and the backdrop for 2013 indie film Before Midnight, the Peloponnese in particular is set to experience a surge in interest. With a new generation of boutique properties, including Kinsterna and Kyrimai, this is the year to discover mainland Greece. Not only this, but rumour has it Sex and the City 3 will be set in the unspoilt Messenia region in the southwest of the Peloponnese, so it could become the next hottest film location. Sunvil Holidays offers escapes to the beautiful Peloponnese, including stays at five-star hotel Kyrimai.

With the exchange rate making South Africa more favourable to British tourists, we think 2014 is the year to visit the enriching country. The minimal jetlag, wine trails and beautiful beaches are just a few of the things that attract travellers. Next year, South Africa celebrates 20 years of freedom and democracy and Cape Town has been awarded World Design Capital 2014. WEXAS Travel's Cape, Wine, Garden Route & Safari trip takes in the buzz of Cape Town, the vineyards of the Winelands and the scenic Eastern Cape. While DialAFlight offers a five-star self-drive trip with a stay in beautiful town Montagu and a drive through stunning vineyard country.

In the UK, everyone's eyes will be on Yorkshire as the world's greatest cycle race, the Tour de France, will start in Yorkshire on 5 and 6 July for The Grand Départ 2014 bringing millions of fans to the Yorkshire roadside to cheer on the champions of the sport. The route will take cyclists through some of the county’s historic cities, including the Roman walled city of York, as well as the breathtakingly peaceful atmosphere of the Yorkshire Dales. Pride of Britain Hotels has two properties close to the action - Middlethorpe Hall and Spa in York and The Devonshire Arms in Skipton.

There's a new corner of Sicily to explore thanks to Ryanair launching flights to Comiso in the south east of the island. The new route has opened up what many believe is the most appealing part of the island, with extraordinary baroque art treasures, glorious white sandy beaches and magnificent natural landscapes. 2014 is the year to grab a cheap flight and visit the towns of Noto, Ragusa, Scicli and Modica, swim in the crystal clear water of the Vendicari Nature Reserve and sample the highly-acclaimed local Nero d'Avola red wine. soloSicily has a collection of villas in Sicily in sought-after locations. Real Holidays offers a variety of accommodation options and tailor-made trips. For villas within easy reach of Comiso, The Sicilian Villa Company has a selection with gorgeous views and pools. 

It's a rising star for 2014 and tourism in Zimbabwe is set to truly take off next year. The African country is not yet a mainstream safari destination so now is the perfect time to experience it without the crowds. Guiding is phenomenal (certification is a tough four-year process which is the envy of the rest of Africa), enabling visitors to get much closer to game. Expert Africa offers authentic bushcamp safari holidays in Zimbabwe. For all-inclusive luxury safari holidays, Bailey Robinson has trips combining Victoria Falls with private transfers. While Acacia Africa specialises in overland expeditions for families, older travellers or those aged 18-13 with various itineraries.

Garuda Indonesia launches the first ever and only non-stop flights from London to Jakarta in May 2014, bringing beautiful Indonesia closer to UK travellers. And that's not the only reason to visit the Asian country next year as top tourist spot Bali was recently named best value long-haul holiday destination, so if you're looking for an affordable destination outside Europe you won't find better than Bali. With Bali being popular with couples and backpackers, you  may want to go beyond the island and discover more of Indonesia. G Adventures offers tours of Java and Sumatra, taking in local culture, terraced rice fields, Buddhist sanctuaries and natural hot springs.

Weird natural phenomena have always proved a huge draw for tourists and next year it's all about experiencing the midnight sun in Norway. Travel companies say they've already seen a surge in bookings for holidays within the Arctic Circle for next summer, with more people looking to see the midnight sun than ever before. If you saw the Northern Lights last year and fancy witnessing another amazing spectacle, head for Norway to see the sun shine at night (just don't forget your sunglasses!). Simply Sweden offers midnight sun holidays in Norway, including stays in traditional fishermen cabins on the Lofoten Islands.

With British Airways launching a new direct route from London to Austin in March 2014, Texas is set to become America's next holiday hotspot. With great all-year weather, tax-free shopping and warm Southern hospitality, 2014 is a brilliant year to venture further than New York on your US getaway. The capital Austin is where locals live and breathe music so you'll want to spend your nights exploring the indie rock, jazz and alt-country scene. During the day, the Colorado River will keep you active with kayaking and swimming, and don't miss sampling the delicious Tex-Mex cuisine. For authentic backcountry living, head for a dude ranch, ideal for families or adventure travellers, where you can enjoy horseback riding, hiking and western entertainment in Texas.


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