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Dec112013

Top 10 city destinations for 2014 

City breaks. What are the best cities to travel to for an extended weekend away? Whether you agree that Margate should have made it on to one of the top places to visit in 2013 lists, or whether you actually made it there, we take a look at some of the upcoming and already certified cities to travel to in 2014.

London's skyline. Image courtesy of Raphael Faeh

Krakow

The second largest and one of the oldest in Poland, the city of Krakow has so much to offer: weekend markets in the centre of the Jewish district, Kazimierz AT Plac Nowy, or cycling through the winding streets on a 4 hour bike tour to get a real feel for Polish culture. If you’re looking for an incredibly moving and sobering experience then Krakow is in driving distance of theWW2 concentration camp Auschwitz –truly eye opening.

Poland’s profile as a great destination has been on the rise for years, and Krakow is Polands number one spot for perfect for a nice little getaway.

Prague

Due to cheap airlines connecting the UK with Eastern Europe, Prague is now known for UK stag and hen dos. However, Prague has so much more to offer than just cheap alcohol; firstly it’s the capital of the Czech Republic. It’s rich in history; Prague castle is a national cultural monument a symbol of the changing times of the city. The oldest bridge in the city, Charles Bridge, is one of the most iconic structures in Prague and was built in 1347. It’s a city of traditions, great classical music, and historical gothic buildings –what is there not to like?

Riga

The capital and largest city in Latvia, Riga is the European capital of culture in 2014; therefore it’s worth a visit. Located along the Baltic Sea and founded in 1201 you can understand why this fascinating city is being swung onto an international stage. Travel to Latvia for 2 days on the 17th -19th January for capital of culture celebrations where a human chain will be formed in order to carry books by hand from the old National library to the new ‘Gaismas Pils" (Palace of light). As a third of Latvians live in Riga it’s not surprising then that the city is full of life; trendy bars, great shopping and beautiful sights. Bear in mind to wrap up, in summer Riga reaches highs of 16.5C and in winter highs of -4C. Chilly.

Zagreb

Croatia is an incredibly unique country, nestled between Eastern and Western Europe it’s a nation which has been faced, in recent years, by an influx of tourism. Zagreb, the capital, is a city reflecting its countries settling – rubbing shoulders with the new and the old. It’s a city that wants to grow yet keep its heritage. It offers many quirky, unique museums and traditions alongside with modern living. A great way to see the city is to take the funicular railway, you will climb through history and see some of the best views Zagreb has to offer.

Istanbul

The city which crosses boarders – east meets west, Asia meets Europe. The blue mosque is one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks, reminding us that Istanbul is an Islamic and Christian state working together. It is unlike any other city in the world, split in two it has to be up there with one of the world’s greatest cities. Istanbul is an incredible place, with a beautiful skyline of domes and cobbled streets, with the sea, Asia and the curve of the Golden Horn in the horizon, what more could you ask for from a city break.

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul. Image courtesy of Tim O'Brien. 

New York

New York, New York. There is no other place in the world like it. The big apple is the United States’ greatest and biggest city; situated on the east coast, the Atlantic Ocean bows in the shadow of the towering skyscrapers, marking the cities landscape. High rise apartment blocks look over the incredible Central Park, with 42nd street illuminating the busy sleepless Manhattan streets– acting as the world’s most expensive billboard space. New York is like a granny apple, sour when you first take a chuck but once you get used to it you go for the second and the third.

London

Also known as the capital of the world, London, is rich in culture and diversity with over 300 languages spoken, it does not cease to offer a huge variety of activities and delicacies. Every street is completely different; there is a place for everyone.  West London’s upmarket areas of Notting Hill, Primrose Hill and Kensington are completely opposing to East London’s hip Shoreditch, city within a city – the square mile and the ever so trendy Camden town. The size of London is over whelming, on the tube a journey can take over 90 minutes and when you come out on top you’d still be in the city. London also holds the biggest and oldest underground railways system in the world, it’s incredibly easy to navigate around; who needs a car when you’ve got the tube.  And as Erol Ozan said: “You can't understand a city without using its public transportation system.” London is the Mecca of Europe with so much to do and see, you’ll leave wanting more.

Melbourne

Melbourne is the most cosmopolitan city Down Under; it radiates diverse culture, beautiful green pastures and 4 seasons in one day. Surprisingly the most popular city in Australia with UK migrants even though, weather-wise, it’s suppose to be the city that most resembles the UK. Melbourne has situated itself as the best city in Australia, by doing so it’s host to the tallest building in the southern hemisphere, the Eureka tower.  The city is a small drive from the beach and the infamous Great Ocean Road; it’s full of trendy bars, clubs, and home to Karl Kennedy and the Neighbours gang. Don’t worry about cork hats and beer coolers, Melbourne is truly an international oasis in one of the driest of continents.

Melbournes skyline. Image courtesy of Carey Ciuro 

Paris

No wonder the City of Light is one of the world leading tourist destinations: with its famous boulevards (the Champ Elysée), its charming little streets, its delightful restaurants and romantic quais de Seine, Paris has a unique atmosphere you might never forget. The City hosts plenty of attractions: The Eiffel Tower (most visited paid monument in the world), the Arc de Triomphe, Disneyland… This is also a good place to impregnate of culture with a variety of museums: admire Leonardo Da Vinci’s Joconde or Winged Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre, discover an impressive collection of impressionists’ paintings in the Musée d’Orsay or modern art in Centre George Pompidou. For those who have no money to spend in attractions or shopping, you could still lose yourself in the Quartier Latin, the student’s neighbourhood, walk to Notre Dame de Paris, the world’s most famous cathedral and end up having drinks Rue de la Huchette before going back home with the very efficient and cheap French tube.

Rome

Rome was not built in a day, and that is apparent wherever you look. Round every single corner there is an incredible piece of architecture: from the Colluseum to the Spanish Steps, St Peters Square to the Trevi Fountain. Rome is flooded in ancient history and rich in culture; it’s amazing how many treasures one city can hold. It also boasts an impressive nightlife, particularly the Trastevere area and Campo De Fiori where the streets are lined with cobble stones.

Rome is a cosmopolitan city, but it’s not an international one. It’s small but beautiful and should be kept that way. 

By Ed Hawes 

If you would like a city break then why not try Frontier's London to Paris Climbing Adventure project or if you fancy something a little more adventurous then have a look at our volunteering projects. 

Get more from us on social media with FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. 

See more from volunteers on YouTubeFlickr and Instagram #FrontierVolunteer.


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