SYDNEY, Nov 18 — Lonely Planet recently unveiled its handpicked selection of trending regions to discover next year, from Corsica to the Yukon.
The French Mediterranean island will host the first stage of the 100th edition of the Tour de France on June 29, 2013, unveiling its stunning landscapes to cycling fans across the world. Points of interest include the natural reserve of Scandola, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the GR 20, a 180km trekking path that crosses the island from North-West to South-East.
The Negev (Israel)
“For decades the Negev was regarded as nothing but a desolate desert. But today, this region is a giant greenhouse of development. Think eco-villages, spa resorts and even wineries,” comments the Lonely Planet. Points of interest include the world’s largest box canyon, Makhtesh Ramon, and the ruins of the Nabatean towns of Avdat, Shivta and Mamshit.
This “Forbidden Kingdom” was closed to tourists until 1992, and its upcoming road connection to the rest of Nepal and China is bound to bring in visitors. Points of interest include numerous caves that serve as quiet locations for spiritual retreats.
The Great Canadian North is a haven of peace, with nary a human in sight (“there’s almost 14.2 sq km for each hardy local,” according to the Lonely Planet). Hurry up and book your trip before global warming alters the region’s wild landscapes. Points of interest include Kluane national park, where you’ll find five of the highest mountains in the country.
This remote town in the Andes and its surroundings hide plenty of cultural and natural treasures for those adventurous enough to hike up the trail that leads to it. Points of interest include the funerary site of Karajia and its anthropomorphic sarcophagi, and Gocta Cataracts (Catarata de Gocta), the third tallest free-leaping waterfall in the world (771m).
The Gulf Coast (United States)
The region is rebounding after being hit by Katrina and the oil spill. The beaches are clean again, and tourists are coming back to the “Redneck Riviera.” Head to New Orleans for Mardi Gras revelry, and nurse your subsequent hangover by visiting the Frank Gehry museum and Biloxi’s (Mississippi) Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art.
This mountainous region of Austria that borders Italy and Slovenia is a great destination for tourists who find the Alps too expensive and crowded. Cheap ski resorts and beer are some of its greatest assets aside from its thousand lakes (1,270). Points of interest include Wöthersee, Faakersee, Ossiachersee and Millstättersee lakes, the Austrian Riviera, and hot water (26° C) springs.
Offering a decidedly more authentic experience than the posh resorts of neighbouring Boracay, the sprawling island of Palawan wild beaches and diving spots are a hit with tourists. Points of interest include the underground river of Saint Paul and 34 Japanese ships that have sunk in the sea.
Seto Inland Sea (Japan)
The little-known sea is a great location for tourists fleeing the hustle and bustle of modern Tokyo. The sea is dotted with several small islands and the whole region offers plenty of opportunities to discover traditional Japan through its village and temples. In 2013, 11 islands of the Seto Sea will host an arts, music and theater festival. Points of interest include Mount Misen in Miyajima, a sacred place in Shintoist faith, the oldest religion in Japan.
From April to July 2013, the southern Italian region will host a cultural festival with all kinds of events in store, such as exhibits, concerts, film screenings, ballets and street performances. Points of interest include Naples’ bassi, Mount Vesuvio and the ruins of Pompei and Herculaneum. — AFP/Relaxnews