British Airways has compiled its top 14 destinations for 2014. From Britney in Vegas to football in Brazil, and the hidden ski slopes of Moscow to the bliss of the Greek islands – there’s something for everyone.
Claire Bentley, British Airways Holidays managing director, said: “… All eyes will be on Brazil with the World Cup taking place; we’re even planning extra capacity to fly out supporters. There’s also eagerly anticipated new flights to Texas, and top European destinations just in time for summer. For the adventurous traveller there’s still plenty to discover in destinations such as Johannesburg and Chengdu. We’re also upping services to popular destinations including Orlando, Ibiza and Marrakech.”
The top destinations for 2014 are:
· Austin, USA
The self-proclaimed ‘live music capital of the world’ is booming right now. From hundreds of live music venues to barbeque pits and gleaming shopping centres, as well a growing technology industry in the ‘Silicone Hills’. The Texan capital has drawn a young hip crowd thanks to the popularity of its South by Southwest festival. From March, British Airways will operate its new 787 Dreamliner on the route, with flights from £537 return.
· Johannesburg, South Africa
The imminent film release of ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ is a timely reminder of the social regeneration the country has undergone. There’s so much to discover in this vibrant country, from the Apartheid Museum to the world heritage site of the Cradle of Humankind, as well as game reserves and safaris. From February, British Airways’ A380 will operate the route, with flights from £637 return.
· Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Caiprinhas at the ready – revellers from around the world will descend on Brazil, for the ‘Copa do Mundo’, which comes to a climax in Rio on July 13. Despite its many cultural attractions, the reason to come in 2014 is to enjoy the party atmosphere and camaraderie among 25,000 British fans, cheering on Roy Hodgon’s men. British Airways flights to Rio de Janeiro start from £927 return in June.
· Albuquerque, USA
Thanks to its cult following, ‘Breaking Bad’ has put Albuquerque on the map and boosted local tourism. But there’s more to New Mexico than chicken shops and car washes – it boasts spas, golf courses, dormant volcanoes, hot air ballooning, ghost tours, sunshine 310 days a year, and of course tours from the programme! British Airways operates services to Dallas and Chicago, with connecting flights to Albuquerque with American Airlines, from £574.
· Leeds, UK
Just an hour’s flight away and you could be digging for Roman coins, visiting unique breweries and enjoying countryside walks – all in Britain. Boosted by popular TV including ‘Educating Yorkshire’ and ‘Downtown Abbey’, it’s no surprise that Yorkshire came third in Lonely Planet’s top destinations for 2014. British Airways flights to Leeds start from £94 return.
· Chengdu, China
In the next seven years, China will become the most popular tourist destination, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. With high end hotels such as the Ritz Carlton and Six Senses popping up in Chengdu – now’s the time for intrepid travellers to discover this Eastern mystery. While many come for the giant panda sanctuary, British Airways flights have also opened up the possibility of onward travel to Tibet and the rest of China too. Flights start from £591 return.
· Las Vegas, USA
When you thought it couldn’t get any better, Britney Spears comes along and announces a two-year residency in Las Vegas. This isn’t the only new attraction – there’s the Aria Hotel and soon-to-open Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Plane Food’ at McCarran international airport. Three nights stay at the luxury Aria Hotel, including British Airways flights, from £967 per person, for travel 3-6 January.
· Santorini, Greek Islands
The romantic and magical island of Santorini is expected to be one of the airline’s most popular honeymoon destinations when it launches in May. The warm reception and great value for money still make Greece one of top holiday spots for Britons. British Airways offers seven nights at the four star Scorpios Beach Apartments & Studios with breakfast, from £399 per person in June, including flights from Heathrow.
· Glasgow, Scotland
Get among the Scottish spirit when the Commonwealth Games come to town on July 23. One of Europe’s most vibrant cities, enjoy a warm friendly welcome and good times. British Airways operates flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City, from £77 return.
· Oporto, Portugal
The historic town of Oporto is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. Wine lovers have long enjoyed its charms and from March British Airways customers will be able to as well. A three-night break in Oporto, staying at the four star Mercure Porto Centro, including flights, start from £299 per person in June.
· Hong Kong, China
There’s still so much to discover in Hong Kong. From the rawness of Kowloon market, to the luxury of the Four Seasons Hotel, there’s something for everyone. Big in 2014 is the merging of venues, such as Duddel’s art-gallery-cum-restaurant, one of many collaborations to seek out. British Airways’ A380 superjumbo serves the route, with flights from £563 return.
· Moscow, Russia
Russia may not instantly come to mind when you think of ski and snowboarding breaks, but the Sochi Winter Olympics has raised its profile as a serious contender for thrill seekers. Moscow is home to the centrally located ‘Three Hills’ resort, or take a quick connecting flight to Sochi with its ‘Rosa Khutor’ resort. British Airways flights to Moscow start from £229 return in February – connecting flights to Sochi are available using the airline’s codeshare partner S7 Airlines.
· Mykonos, Greek Islands
Launching in May, British Airways will start flights to the cosmopolitan island of Mykonos. A great party destination for those that like their cocktails strong and evenings long. Enjoy seven nights at the four star Pelican Bay Art including breakfast, from £539 per person in June, with flights from Heathrow.
Glorious weather, picture perfect beaches and the bustling nightlife of St Julian’s make Malta a firm favourite for the year ahead. Often used as a setting for Hollywood films, names such as Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Rachel Weisz have been spotted here. From March, British Airways operates a new service from Gatwick. Five nights at the five star Le Meriden St Julians, including flight start from £489 per person.