San Francisco, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2013)—With the entire world to explore, trying to narrow down a list of possible destinations to visit in 2013 is tough. Fortunately, the team at Viator.com—the leading resource for researching and booking tours and activities worldwide—has taken the guesswork out of deciding where to go with the “World’s Top 50 Travel Destinations in 2013.” As part of the Viator Travel Awards, the list spans popular destinations and includes compelling reasons to visit this year in particular, from reflecting on big moments in history to revisiting areas hit hard by natural disasters, to seeing popular attractions reopen after renovations.
To help inspire travelers taking to the skies, rails and seas in 2013, here is a varied selection of 10 of the top destinations along with suggestions on how to experience them like an insider:
- Beijing —The new Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed train is just one reason to visit China in 2013. Zipping through China’s countryside at nearly 190 miles per hour? Pretty cool. Visitors to Beijing can now easily add a side-trip to Guangzhou to their itinerary. Things to do: Great Wall of China at Badaling and Ming Tombs Day Tour from Beijing and the 4-Day Private Tour of Hong Kong and Guangzhou.
- Christchurch, New Zealand—Travelers will have the opportunity to see—and help—Christchurch rebuild following the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, with new buildings and cultural attractions. New Zealand is also a prime destination for fans of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Things to do: Lord of the Rings—Journey to Edoras from Christchurch and the Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and the International Antarctic Centre.
- Durban, South Africa—Savvy travelers visiting South Africa will add a visit to Durban to their itinerary, the country’s third-largest city and home to diverse cultural groups including Indians, Malaysians and Zulus. It’s a convenient starting point for visits to the Hluhluwe and iSimangaliso game reserves. Things to do: Durban City Sightseeing Tour and the Hluhluwe Game Reserve Safari.
- India—From the beaches of Goa to the bright lights of Bollywood, India offers visitors an enormous variety of experiences. Prices are low enough to let travelers stretch their vacation budget tremendously and experience the country’s many unique facets. Things to do: Private Tour: Day Trip to Agra from Delhi including Taj Mahal and Agra Fort and a Private Tour: Jungle Adventure from Goa Including Elephant Ride, Lunch and Dinner.
- Ireland—With a year devoted to the ultimate family reunion—The Gathering Ireland 2013— there’s no better time visit the Emerald Isle. The special celebration of the country and its people includes festivals, concerts, clan gatherings, and sporting events. Things to do: 3-Day Cork, Blarney Castle, Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher Rail Trip and the Dublin City Hop-on Hop-off Tour.
- New York City and Jersey Shore—Having faced Hurricane Sandy, New York City, the Jersey Shore and much of the surrounding area is coming back to life—and travelers can help by simply visiting the affected areas and patronizing local hotels, restaurant, tour operators and shops. Things to do: New York in One Day Sightseeing Tour and the Big Apple Helicopter Tour of New York.
- Rio de Janeiro—All eyes will be on Rio de Janeiro in 2014 for the World Cup and 2016 for the Summer Olympics—but travelers looking to get a jump on the crowds will visit in 2013. Not to be missed; a visit to Rio’s newest UNESCO World Heritage site, the Corcovado Mountain. Things to do: Corcovado Mountain, Christ Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain Day Tour and the Tijuca Rain Forest Jeep Tour from Rio de Janeiro.
- San Francisco—2013 is becoming the year of the waterfront in San Francisco, with America’s Cup at Pier 27 from July through September. Spring at Pier 15 brings the opening of the Exploratorium science museum and 2013 also marks the 50th anniversary of the closing of Alcatraz. Things to do: Alcatraz and San Francisco City Tour and the San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise.
- Toronto—Food lovers will enjoy Toronto’s dining scene—and Viator’s food tours—with innovative young chefs expertly exploiting local ingredients. Those looking for a good adrenaline rush won’t want to miss the CN Tower’s “Edge Walk.” Things to do: Small-Group Downtown Toronto Walking Tour and the Small-Group Gourmet Dinner Tour of Toronto’s Little Italy.
- U.S. Civil Rights Landmarks—A major anniversary year for several Civil Rights milestones including the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the battle of Gettysburg, and the Gettysburg Address, 2013 is great for visiting the United States. It’s also 100 years since Rosa Parks was born, and 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech. Things to do: Gettysburg Day Trip from Washington DC and the Washington DC Guided Day Tour.
Travelers can take inspiration from the full list of Top 50 Travel Destinations for 2013 on the Viator Travel Blog. For more travel ideas as well as the latest deals, promotions, contests and Viator news, follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.
Viator® is the world’s leading resource to discover and book travel activities, providing online and mobile access to more than 15,000 curated trip activities including tours, attractions, shore excursions and private guides, in more than 1,000 destinations worldwide. In-house travel experts work with trusted local operators to ensure the quality and value of every experience, all backed by Viator’s 24/7 customer service and global low-price guarantee. With more than 350,000 verified reviews plus exclusive videos and insider travel tips, Viator has everything a traveler needs to find and book the best things to do worldwide. In addition to the flagship site—Viator.com—travelers can book in advance or in-destination via the Viator Tours and Activities App for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android, the Viator Shore Excursions website as well as local-language sites for European, Latin American and Asian travelers. Viator also provides tours and activities to more than 2,500 affiliate partners including some of the world’s top airlines, hotels and online travel agencies. Founded in 1995, Viator is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco with regional offices in Sydney, London and Las Vegas. Viator—travel with an insider.