At the start of the year after all the resolutions are made, and the bucket lists are written, its a good time to look for some inspiration for your new travel goals. Perhaps you want to travel more this year but you are unsure where you should go? Or how you should do it? With so many travel options out there, its hard to know the best way for you and your family to get the most out of your vacation experience. In this post, we present you with our favorite travel option: home exchange and the up-and-coming destinations in Europe you should swap to in 2014 according to Lonely Planet, Fodor, National Geographic, and our very own travel trend-spotters at Knok.
Europes Up-And-Coming Travel Destinations in 2014:
1. PUGLIA, ITALY
This unexpected destination, also known as the heel of the boot, offers a plethora of visual and sensual rewards. If mid-14th century ruins that look like they were built for midgets, fresh smelling forests, cycling paths, ancient museums, and lots of sun sound like an ideal vacation, then look no further. This nearly tourist-free zone is an unbelievable place to spend a long weekend, a honeymoon, or even a relaxing getaway with the whole family! Swap to any one of the small cities in this region , rent or exchange cars, and drive right into your very own fairytale.
2. MIDI-PYRÉNÉES, FRANCE
This region is rich in history, culinary mastery, and tranquility. First on the list of cities to explore here is Toulouse. Often called "the pink city" for the signature rosy hue that makes every photo taken here a masterpiece. This small city has an international mix of visitors due to its Universities, Airbus headquarters, and huge rugby following. Its charming cafés and plazas, huge park and garden area, as well as the green space along the banks of the Garonne River, make Toulouse the perfect place to have a picnic. A short trip from Toulouse youll find Albi, home to the Albi Cathedral, a wonderful example of French Gothic architecture. Another short trip from Toulouse is the fortified city of Carcassonne, an established UNESCO heritage site and a world renowned place to watch fireworks on the 14th of July.
3. LOTHIAN, SCOTLAND
The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is located within this traditional lowland region called Lothian. Its a very special time for the region because in 2014, the John Muir Way will open, on the hundredth anniversary of the famous conservationists death. The path runs from Edinburgh City, along the coast through East Lothian to the Scottish Borders. Along this route you will be able to discover the true natural beauty of the country. A swap to Edinburgh would be an ideal jumping off point for this made-for-the-big-screen adventure.
4. DOURO VALLEY, PORTUGAL
The region is located in the North of Portugal, extending from the city of Porto to the eastern border, where the Port wine production activities and amazing scenery along the Douro river are not to be missed! Start your trip by swapping to Porto and taking in the sites of this unbelievably charming city. After a few days in the city, venture down to the valley where youll find a wide range of tour options geared towards an enriching ecotourism experience for the whole family. Natural parks, river rafting, wine tours, or nature hikes, are just a few ideas.
2014 is a special time for this European country because it marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I and Belgium is hosting a four-year-long festival of remembrance. A truly interesting city worth swapping to ( just