With new flight routes, hotel openings, upcoming anniversaries and landmark events, 2013 is an exciting year for travel.
Here’s a round-up of the top travel destinations for next year and key reasons to visit.
Alaska – a new faster and more convenient way to get there
Flying to Alaska from the UK will be easier next summer with a new route from Icelandair, giving a flying time of less than ten hours. Flights are available twice a week from Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow to Anchorage via Reykjavik from mid May to mid September. Prices for return flights start from £693.
2013 also marks the 100 year anniversary of first ascent on American’s highest mountain, Mount McKinley in Denali National Park. British explorer Hudson Stuck and Americans Harry Karstens, Walter Harper and Robert Tatum became the first people to reach the summit of the 20,320 ft mountain on 7th June 1913, after three months of climbing.
Keen climbers wanting to tread the same route can book a 27 day climb with Adventure Peaks. This includes preparation time and 17 days of climbing following Denali’s West Buttress route, which offers a challenging ascent of 50 degree snow slopes and an ice headwall (climbers should be experienced).
The trip costs from £5,395 per person including Alaskan guides, food, fuel, tents, kit bags and cooking equipment, return flights from the UK, internal flights, transfers in Alaska and medical safety equipment. The trips are available from the end of April through to the end of June.
Ibiz a- for exclusive partying at the new Ushuaïa Tower
In June 2013, Palladium Hotel Group will extend the current Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel with The Ushuaïa Tower; a spectacular eight floor property which will be located alongside its existing sister hotel Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel, to be renamed the Ushuaïa Club. The Tower will suit those looking for an Ibiza club experience but with a little more exclusivity. Guests will have access to the A-list DJ gigs of The Ushuaïa Club whilst enjoying the luxury facilities of the Ushuaïa Tower and intimate private gigs. Its suites will have private terraces with Jacuzzi’s and the hotel will offer an infinity pool looking out to sea, a cocktail bar on the ground floor and a roof terrace bar which is already rumoured to be ‘the place to be’ for summer 2013.
The Far East and India – with 22 new tours from Wendy Wu Tours
Wendy Wu Tours has launched 22 new tours throughout China, Indochina and India for 2013. Top tours include a 22 day ‘Mongolia & the Naadam Festival’ trip which offers the chance to discover the rarely visited land of Genghis Khan, transporting you through the Gobi Desert to Ulaanbaatar to join in with the festivities at the Naadam Festival; Mongolia’s most celebrated festival, dating back to the Genghis Khan period. The first tour departs on 22nd June 2013 and is priced from £4,990 per person.
Panda lovers can join the nine day ‘In Pursuit of Pandas’ tour which offers the chance to discover China’s historical cities and get up close to the magnificent Giant Panda. Taking in the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, Grand Buddha of Leshan and the Giant Panda conservation centre in Chengdu, this is a great introduction to China for those short of time. The first tour departs on 19th January 2013 and is priced from £1,490 per person.
Florida – to experience the cultural side of the state with its 500 year anniversary
With Florida reaching its 500th anniversary next year, The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel in Lee County plan to join the Viva Florida 500 celebrations in full force.
In November 2013, there will be a Coast to Coast Challenge across Florida, commemorating the historic route taken by Juan Ponce de León (first European settler in Florida) and his fleet in 1513. The race from Sanibel Island to Florida Bay is a self sustaining race in non-motorised sailboats and paddlecrafts to mirror the kind of vessels Ponce de León and his men would have been sailing 500 years ago. There are very few rules; participants must try and sail from start to finish within seven days, eating and sleeping when necessary. More details can be seen at www.racesfl.com.
The region will also focus on its culture and heritage. Top places to visit will be the winter estates of two of America’s most famous inventors, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford; The Koreshan State Historic Site which has beautifully preserved rustic homes from when the utopian Christian sect Koreshanity was active and the Mound Key State Park, which is full of mangrove islands, built by the Native Americans with shells, fish bones and pottery.
Finland – for the brightest Northern Lights in 50 years
The winter of 2012/13 will experience the brightest Northern Lights in 50 years due to the rare clashing of the Solar Cycle and the Solar Maximum.
Finnish Lapland is an ideal area for Northern Lights hunting as the region is almost all within the Arctic Circle, a prime latitude for spotting the lights. You can stay in brand new glass igloos at Hotel Kakslauttanen in the stunning Urho Kekkonen National Park, where they will be able to watch the lights display from the comfort of their bed.
Mighty Fine Company is running five night trips to Finnish Lapland staying in the new glass igloos with prices starting at £1,306 per person. The price includes one night in a glass igloo and four nights in a log cabin equipped with a sauna and fireplace on a half board basis, return flights from London Heathrow, airport transfers, a husky sled excursion and a snowmobile excursion.