The New York Times has published their list of 52 places to travel in 2014. Here are the top 10:
Table Mountain and Cape Town, Samantha Reinders via The New York Times
1. Cape Town, South Africa
“We often looked across Table Bay at the magnificent silhouette of Table Mountain,” Nelson Mandela once said in a speech. “To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we knew we would one day return.”
Cape Town has changed significantly since Mandela’s incarceration at Robben Island Prison, but the city continues to inspire people as it has become one of the world’s leading hubs for design in all forms––fashion, architecture, visual arts, and community development.
Transitional church by the architect Shigeru Ban, Emma Smales/VIEW via Newscom
2. Christ Church, New Zealand
Three years after two large earthquakes devastated central Christchurch, the city is once again welcoming tourists. Though much of the city still needs to be rebuilt, entrepreneurs and volunteers have found creative ways to bring it back to life. Innovative projects like an open-air performance space on blue pallets, a dance floor with coin-operated music and lights, temporary gardens, and a nine-hole mini-golf course in vacant lots across the city, have shown how good old-fashioned ingenuity can help revive a city in need.
A rocky coastal view from the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands, Jim Wilson via The New York Times
3. North Coast, California
The incorporation of the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands gives the public access to an additional 1,300 acres of Northern California coastline. New Congressional proposals to include this land as part of the California Coastal National Monument means this 12 mile stretch of wildflowers, cypress forests, cliff areas, pinnacles, and sea caves, will be better protected and preserved.
Kayaking near Porto Palermo, Albania, via Mustafah Abdulaziz
4. Albanian Coast
With limestone-ringed beaches, ancient ruins, and waterfront inns, the Albanian coast is one of Europe’s most beautiful sights. Though threatened by post-Communism development, a new government took office in September under the promise of maintaining the coastline’s natural beauty.
Lunchtime diners at the Grand Central Market, Monica Almeida via The New York Times
5. Downtown Los Angeles
The growing food scene has revived the once seemingly lifeless reputation of downtown Los Angeles. From Grand Central Market (an arcade of over 30 of the city’s best food vendors) to Alma (recently named best new restaurant in the country by Bon Appétit magazine), the insurgence of vibrant cuisine has only encouraged an influx of broader culture.
Desert Rhino Camp, run in part by Wilderness Safaris, in 2009; Olwen Evans via Wilderness Safaris
In 2013, Namibia’s 79 conservancies received the World Wildlife Fund’s prestigious Gift to the Earth Award, marking the success of the movement to pair sustainable tourism with rural community outreach. From the Desert Rhino camp to the Hoanib Skeleton Coast camp, there are now more options than ever for preservation-conscious travelers to enjoy Namibia’s culture and wildlife.
Cotopaxi Volcano rises above Cotopaxi National Park, Ivan Kashinsky via The New York Times
Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world with over 1,600 species of birds, 4,000 kinds of orchids, one of the largest condor shelters on the planet, and a huge percentage of protected land. Now, thanks to the refurbished Tren Curcero, travelers can take a train ride through the mountains of the Andes, past volcanoes, into Cotopaxi National Park, through the countryside, and arrive in the city of Guayaquil––all in four days.
Exploring Son Doong Cave, Carsten Peter/National Geographic via Getty Images
8. Quang Binh, Vietnam
Quang Binh is home to Son Doong, one of the world’s largest caves. Only recently open to the public, adventurous travelers can check out the huge shafts of light, forests of 100-foot-tall trees, caverns large enough to hold 40-story skyscrapers, 260-foot stalactites, and wildlife including monkeys, hornbills, and flying foxes.
Playing in the “Water Labyrinth,” created by the artist Jeppe Hein, in Perth; David Dare Parker via The New York Times
9. Perth, Australia
Formerly known as the laid-back capital of western Australia, Perth has more recently become one of the country’s trendiest cities. From regional wine lists and hip restaurants with celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver, to up-and-coming neighborhoods like Mount Lawley and Northbridge, Australia’s fourth-largest city is becoming a cultural destination in its own right.
Looking across at the complex that houses the nhow hotel, Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images
10. Rotterdam, the Netherlands
The cubed architecture of Rotterdam’s post-World War II reconstruction has given this port city one of the most modern looking skylines in Europe. New additions like the redesign of Rotterdam Centraal train station, the renovated Kunsthal museim, a new François Geurds restaurant, the arch of the Markthal (the country’s first indoor food haul), and the latest Rem Koolhaas designed hotel, will only serve to amplify Rotterdam’s architectural reputation in 2014.
To view the complete list, visit the New York Times.