Pier 39 - San Francisco
Pier 39 – San Francisco

Travel Passionistas (those with a passion for travel) barely let the airplane wheels touch the ground before they are planning their next destination. If this is you, then you will want to take notice of the 8 must-visit destinations for 2013.

1.San Francisco, California – It is hard to resist this waterfront city no matter how many times you visit. The fresh seafood and cultural menagerie that makes San Francisco such a gem makes it one of the top picks in the coming year. There are lots of new upgrades to the waterfront and the city plays host to the 34th America’s Cup in 2013. Be sure to relax and watch the sea lions and seagulls or take in the sight of Alcatraz across the bay from my favorite resting stop at the famous Pier 39.

2. Christchurch, New Zealand – The Garden City reemerges strong after back to back earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The city is bouncing back with new energy. From Burmese and Turkish inspired food to live music venues and strong visual art galleries that now fill former demolition sites. If you make the journey, be sure to visit other New Zealand destinations made popular this year thanks to the stunning scenery in the movie The Hobbit.

3. Amsterdam – This charmed city has lots to celebrate this year giving travelers lots of reasons to visit. Vincent van Gogh’s museum attracts art enthusiasts as it honors the famed painter’s 160th birthday. One of the most world renowned orchestras, The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, blows out 125 candles this year and the Artis Royal Zoo celebrates 175 years of crowd-pleasing performances. The many milestones celebrated this year in Amsterdam mean lots of festivals, concerts and special events throughout the year.


4. Montenegro – It just sounds exotic doesn’t it? This jaw-dropping destination continues to draw crowds for its famous beaches, but now Montenegro boasts a large network of hiking and biking trails attracting a whole new kind of traveler. This is a perfect way for nature lovers to immerse themselves in the incredible beauty that used to only be a backdrop for the city.

5. Hyderabad, India – For an extreme blend of modern and ancient fusion, check out the Old City in Hyderabad. Not only is it a good value for the dollar here, but you get the best of both worlds when it comes to architecture and amenities. If you prefer creature comforts, check out the seven-star Falaknuma Palace. If you prefer a more primitive adventure, no problem. There are many undiscovered and little known architectural gems throughout the ancient city.

6. Montreal, Canada – Montreal is getting its social groove on by spicing things up for visitors to this quaint French-inspired city. The new urban beach is sure to liven up the party and new venues like the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium and Grevin wax museum open their doors. Montreal’s popularity this year is also attributed to its appearance in Stephen Spielberg’s summer release Robopocalypse.

7. Dominican Republic – With more airlines now offering stops to the Dominican Republic, this Caribbean destination is more accessible to even more travelers. Several cruise lines have added the Dominican Republic as a port of call. Accessibility and price are two reasons the Dominican Republic tops the destination list of 2013.

8. Iceland – The currency crash that devalued the Iceland krona by 75% was bad news for the country, but good news for travelers. As the global economy recovers, prices will climb. In the meantime, there are some great deals to this destination. The small island nation is famous for mind-altering scenery and local hospitality. Certainly a photographer’s destination and a great time to take advantage of prices that remain low.