Travel Blogger’s Top Travel Destinations of 2013

Travel bloggers get around more than most folks. Not surprisingly they know all the good spots to go.

That’s why in trying to plan my travels for the upcoming year, I asked some of my favorite travel bloggers (and the industry’s finest) for their Top Travel Destinations for 2013:

Eduardo’s Top Travel Destination for 2013:  Canada @hombrelobo

Vancouver, Canada:  a top travel destination for 2013

Vancouver, Canada

Why ? Well, I’ve never been to Canada, and it is an intriguing country that really attracts me. In all the (American) TV shows they portrait Canada as this dull country where nobody shoots at each other and where people walk in the street, which makes it even more attractive.  But seriously, Canada is a country with a great mixture of East and West, friendly people and a passion for nature and the wilderness that really should be an example to other countries. Vancouver and Toronto are top of my list. Fingers crossed …

(My note:  As a Canadian I assure you that Canada is NOT a dull country and definitely worth of being on a “top” anything list).

Leigh’s Top Travel Destination for 2013:  Sierra Nevada del Cocuy – a mountain range in Colombia

Hike Bike Travel @HikeBikeTravel

Sierra Nevada del Cocuy, Columbia:   a relatively unknown top travel destination for 2013

Lagoon, glacier & devil’s pulpit in the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy. Photo courtesy of aandres on Flickr.

One of my biggest adventures planned for 2013 includes a six day trek through the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy – a range of mountains in Colombia close to the Venezuela border. They have been called the most beautiful mountains in all of South America that no one has ever heard about. I don’t quite know what I’ve got myself into as it will just be my husband and I plus our guide.

(My note:  Can I come with you?  This is my idea of a dream trip!)

Andrea’s Top Travel Destination for 2013:  Marseille, France

Rear View Mirror @destinationeu

Marseille, France, a top travel destination and a European Capital of Culture for 2013.

Photo courtesy of Andrea – Rearview Mirror

Marseille is often an overlooked destination in France but the Mediterranean city has great weather, beautiful beaches and the historic Vieux Port. Marseille’s diverse culture influences the local food which is a mix of traditional French, North African and Mediterranean cuisines. In 2013, Marseille is the European Capital of Culture so you can expect to see many great events held throughout the year making it a great time to visit.

(My note:  I love France, but haven’t been to Marseille yet, and with it being the European Capital of Culture this year, it’s a great time to visit).

Mariana’s Top Travel Destination for 2013:  Denmark

TravelThirst @TravelThirst


Denmark photo courtesy of Mariana from TravelThirst

A country with a quite perfect scenario. As I road tripped Denmark this year, I only found good qualities all over the place. Culture, nature, landscapes (one of the most unusual and outstanding ones I have ever enjoyed). Not to mention every single taste from a simple yet rich diet of theirs; or its kind and educate people. Even sounds: from authentic local music up to the sound of silence, of wind, of a fresh sigh anywhere. Denmark really marked me within all 5 senses. Which to me is the clue to a top travel destination spot.

(My note:  I’ve been there and would have to agree!)

Isabel’s Top Travel Destination for 2013:  Uganda

Diaro de a bordo @Diarodeabordo

Observing endangered gorillas in the wild make Uganda a top travel destination for 2013

Gorilla photo taken in Uganda by Isabel from Diaro de a bordo

Forgotten by travelers by its political conflicts in the past decades, Uganda is rising as a brand new destination to visit in Africa. Although its National Parks can not offer the same amount of feline species as the ones in  neighboring countries, Uganda can offer you a one in a lifetime experience: tracking the few mountain gorillas that remain in the planet.  However, Uganda has much more to offer: the source of the river Nile, outstanding landscapes and charming people unspoiled by tourism.

(My note:  If I had to choose just one trip, this would be it, hands down!  I would chew off my right arm to see gorillas in the wild).

Marlys and Michael’s Top Travel Destination of 2013:  Seville, Andlucia, Spain

easyhiker @easyhiker101

In the gardens of Alcazar in Sevilla, a top travel destination for 2013

In the gardens of Alcazar in Sevilla, photo courtesy of Marlys and Michael from easy hiker.

Seville, the capital city of Andalucia, may be a “second division” city  compared to top drawers like Paris, London and Barcelona, but is definitely a must-visit destination for 2013. They say this is where tapas were first served. The influence of the Moors in the city’s architecture, as evidenced by the tile works everywhere, constantly provides visitors with delightful surprises – on the pavements, the walls and even on balconies.

(My note:  After being to Catalonia four times in 2011, which I love, it’s time to check out a different part of Spain and Seville would be perfect!)

Sophie’s Top Travel Destination for 2013:  Oslo, Norway

Sophie’s World  @SophieR

Frogner Park, Oslo, Norway.

Frogner Park, Oslo, Norway. Photo by Sophie from Sophie’s World

I especially recommend the long, white nights of summer, when the sun is up until 11 pm and the temperature hovers around 20 – 25 °C – perfect! It’s reflected in people’s temperament as well: come May, locals throw away most of their inhibitions (and their clothes). Nature is Oslo’s main asset – and it’s almost free! 15 minutes by public transport takes you to the hills and forest surrounding town or to the many islands in the Oslofjord.

(My note:  I know very little about Norway, but the islands sound especially intriguing and I’m used to the nakedness after living in Germany).

Mary’s Top Travel Destination for 2013:  Southern California

The World is a Book @WorldBookTravel

Laguna Beach, California

Laguna Beach, California. Photo courtesy of Mary from The World is a Book

Southern California is large region that includes the popular cities of Los Angeles and San Diego and offers something for everyone of all ages satisfying varying interests.  This top destination has beautiful scenery and blessed with mild, pleasant weather, miles of beaches and plenty of sunshine for year-round outdoor activities. The ethnically diverse area also features many cultural museums, neighborhoods, national parks and historical attractions. Known as the entertainment capital of the world and home to Hollywood and many theme parks including enchanting Disneyland also makes this a top destination whether traveling solo or with a family.

(My note:  I haven’t spent nearly enough time in Southern California, but what’s not to love.)

Cathy’s Top Travel Destination of 2013:  Hawaii

Traveling with Sweeney @TravelingwithS

sunset in Hawaii

Sunset in Hawaii photo courtesy of Cathy from Traveling with Sweeney

Visiting a tropical paradise is enticing to almost everyone and Hawaii certainly fits that description. The Hawaiian Islands also have sentimental value for us because we spent our honeymoon and 10th anniversary on Kauai and have enjoyed Maui and the Big Island on other trips. I love the first sensation of the balmy breezes and fragrant exotic flowers. It’s been several years since we’ve had a chance to go back, so we’re really looking forward to our 2013 trip to Maui and Molokai. Although we are planning on active outdoor activities, scenic drives, exploring sites and cultural experiences, Hawaii is also a perfect destination for getting away from computers and smartphones to “hang loose” for a while. Aloha!

(My note:  I haven’t been to Hawaii since I was a kid, and that was only to Oahu. I would love to check out some of the other islands as Cathy did.)

A very special thank you to all of the above travel bloggers for taking time from your busy travel schedules to share your top travel picks for 2013 with us.

So there you have it, now you know where to go in 2013.  The hard part is now deciding on which travel destination!  I’m admittedly biased, but I’m leaning towards the two that have monkeys and mountains!  Where do you plan to go?

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their active holidays in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.


  1. John January 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    This is a great list. Having lived in Toronto for the last 2 years I definitely agree its a great city worth visiting.

    • Laurel January 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      @John – I’m Canadian, and am embarrassed to admit that I’ve only been to the airport in Toronto. Now I’m really feeling like I should go.

  2. Monique January 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    Good list, I’m still planning my travel year so it’s nice to hear the experts weigh in.

    • Laurel January 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm - Reply

      @Monique – I’m still planning my list as well, but I want to go to so many of these destinations, that it almost makes it even harder to plan 🙂

  3. Sonja @ The {Happy} Travel Bug January 20, 2013 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    I’m planning a trip to Spain, France and Italy, but first I have to buy a new camera! Enjoyed reading everyone else’s top travel destinations.

    • Laurel January 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      @Sonja – Sounds like a great year! I’m having a camera give-away later this week, as luck would have it!

  4. Leigh January 20, 2013 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    Thanks for adding my contribution. I would love to hit up Oslo and though I haven’t seen the gorillas in Uganda I have spent a few weeks in the country and found it to be incredibly friendly. Seeing gorillas would be pretty darned awesome.
    And Marseille has always sounded like an interesting city to visit.

    • Laurel January 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      @Leigh – Thanks for participating. So many amazing places to visit.

  5. Cathy Sweeney January 21, 2013 at 12:04 am - Reply

    There are so many places I haven’t been yet and there are 6 of them in this post! Loved getting some travel inspiration from my fellow travel bloggers and sharing here, too. Thanks for including me in your post.

    • Laurel January 21, 2013 at 2:46 pm - Reply

      @ Cathy – Thanks for participating. I felt very inspired, but confused after reading it. Now where do I go? There were some suggestions that I hadn’t thought of before, but sound amazing.

  6. InsideJourneys January 21, 2013 at 12:37 am - Reply

    Great to see Toronto here. It’s one of my favorite cities and I’m planning to spend some time there (as well as Ottawa and Montreal) in 2013.

  7. Laurel January 21, 2013 at 12:39 am - Reply

    @InsideJourneys – Now I’m getting really curious about Toronto. I would love to visit Montreal as well.

    • InsideJourneys January 22, 2013 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      I’ve always thought of Toronto as a cleaner, less frenetic version of NYC. You should definitely visit, Laurel!

      • Laurel January 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm - Reply

        @Inside Journeys – Toronto might even be on my list this year, lets see :). Would love to visit Montreal, I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. I have been to Quebec City and really enjoyed that.

    • InsideJourneys January 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      Oh, and Montreal? Cosmopolitan and definitely French, though not as French as Quebec City.

  8. Mary {The World Is A Book} January 21, 2013 at 7:09 am - Reply

    What a great and diverse list for travel inspiration and ideas! Thanks for including me on this list. There are many places I have yet to visit here and Uganda sounds intriguing. We loved Denmark during our visit last summer and glad to say I’ll be visiting Toronto for the first time for TBEX. We’re so excited to visit Germany and hopefully meeting up with you in 2013 🙂

    • Laurel January 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      @Mary, Thanks for participating. I always love hearing recommendations from other experience travellers, even if it means that my list gets longer and longer:) Would love to meet up with you when you’re in Germany.

  9. George January 21, 2013 at 7:24 am - Reply

    I think Asia definitely needs more of a mention. No plans set in stone yet but possibly Korea, China and Vietnam on my agenda!

    • Laurel January 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      @George – Good point, Asia wasn’t on anyone’s list. Having lived in S. Korea and Thailand for 2 1/2 years, I would agree with you!

  10. Craig- flashpacking January 21, 2013 at 7:40 am - Reply

    An interesting list, but not a budget one for most of those destinations. Better get saving if I want to tick these off

    • Laurel January 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      @Craig – Good point, that could be a whole new list! Thailand and Guatemala would both be on that list for my recommendations.

  11. Nomads Travel Club January 21, 2013 at 7:46 am - Reply

    […] Travel Blogger’s Top Travel Destinations of 2013 – Monkeys and … […]

  12. Isabel January 21, 2013 at 8:35 am - Reply

    I studied English three weeks in Toronto and it is an interesting city for living. I also had the chance of visiting Quebec City and Montreal and both are pretty amazing. By the way, my parents have a house in Extremadura (South Spain) and Sevilla is only one hour and a half driving. You are invited whenever you like! 😀

    Thank you for including my recommendation!

    • Laurel January 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm - Reply

      @Isabel – You’ve been everywhere! And more places in Canada than I have been and I’m Canadian :). Thanks for the invite, that would be so much fun!

  13. Turkey's For Life January 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Love to look at lists like this. You’ve got a great random selection there. Of course, there is glaring omission in that Turkey isn’t in there. 😉 We’ve got the mountains but no monkeys.

    • Laurel January 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      @Julia – Me too. For what it’s worth, Turkey is on my list of places to go this year 🙂

  14. Eric Szvoboda January 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    I love the windmills in the photo from Denmark. They remind me of Spain and the famous knight Don Quijote de La Mancha. Haha, I really want to go see them now!

    • Laurel January 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      @Eric – I love Mariana’s photo too, and I didn’t see any windmills when I was there, so want to go back now 🙂

      • Eric Szvoboda February 14, 2013 at 11:34 pm - Reply

        @Laurel – Make sure to read the book before going back… it is hilarious!

  15. Pointsandtravel January 22, 2013 at 7:42 am - Reply

    I’m with Marly and Michael: I love Seville!

    • Laurel January 25, 2013 at 5:20 pm - Reply

      @Pointsandtravel – Now I REALLY want to go to Seville!

  16. Choices choices! This is a great list of options. I still haven’t made any plans yet but enjoyed reading others suggestions.

    • Laurel January 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      @Debbie – It makes you realize what a big place our world is. My list keeps getting longer and longer instead of shorter.

  17. Jennifer January 22, 2013 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    What a great list! I’d love to see the gorillas in Uganda and Denmark has long been on our list of countries to visit.

    • Laurel January 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      @Jennifer – The gorillas are at the top of my list as well. I would also highly recommend Denmark, although it is expensive.

  18. D.J. - The World of Deej January 22, 2013 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    Great destinations…I’m hoping to make it to Scotland in 2013. Fingers crossed…

    • Laurel January 25, 2013 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      @D.J. – I loved Scotland when I was there a few years ago and would love to go back, so much to see!

  19. Camels & Chocolate January 23, 2013 at 12:45 am - Reply

    Many of the places they mentioned! From now through June, I’ll be in NYC (twice), Chicago, Tanzania, Atlanta, Florida, Spain, Monaco, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England (twice), Norway, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, Latvia, Germany, Atlanta and maybe Charlotte.

    • Laurel January 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      @Camels & Chocolate – Wow, you’re going to be busy! Let me know if you make it to Munich, when you’re in Germany, it would be great to meet up. In the meantime, I look forward to reading about all of your adventures!

  20. Jonny Blair January 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    Nice post and great site – some unusual destinations this year. I’m heading to Sri Lanka and North Korea this year and seriously hoping to do Azerbaijan too. A friend of mine said Uganda for gorillas was awesome!!

    • Laurel January 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm - Reply

      @Johnny – Thank you and look forward to reading about your destinations, especially North Korea since I lived in South Korea. Thanks for stopping by.

  21. Wil January 24, 2013 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    Uganda would be am awesome place to visit. I’ll have to make it out there sometime soon.

    • Laurel January 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm - Reply

      @Wil – Agreed, Uganda is very high on my list as well.

  22. Sophie January 29, 2013 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Great compilation, Laurel. Uganda (and/or Rwanda) to see the gorillas is super-high on my list 🙂

  23. Alid Abdul January 31, 2013 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    Nice list, I’m planning to India this year 🙂

    • Laurel January 31, 2013 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      @Alid – I haven’t been to India yet, but would love to go! Let me know how you like it.

  24. Christina February 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    Hmmm, southern California looks very appealing indeed. I might do a road trip on the west coast this year, not sure whether to go north from Seattle into BC and AB, or south to Oregon and California.

    • Laurel February 6, 2013 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      @Christina – Sounds like fun. Can I come? I would like to explore more of the west coast as well.

  25. CJ Thapa February 21, 2013 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Well, great list for 2013.
    But Nepal also can be on your list for 2014 if love mountains and very natural scenery though it is small.

    • Laurel February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am - Reply

      @CJ – Absolutely, I would love to go to go trekking in Nepal. It’s at the top of my list.

      • CJ Thapa February 22, 2013 at 7:10 am - Reply

        Then what are you waiting for?? You are welcome anytime.

  26. Simon March 14, 2013 at 12:02 am - Reply

    Great list, looks really interesting!
    I would also add to the list some eastern european countries li Czech Republic, Hungary or Poland. The are playing in a 2nd division league against western european metropolis such as Paris, Barcelona or London, but have really amazing and hidden spots and are full of beauty.

    • Laurel March 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm - Reply

      @Simon – Agreed, and I hope to explore more of eastern Europe this year.

  27. Simon March 14, 2013 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Great list! But what about eastern european countries such as Czech Republic, Hungary or Poland. I believe they are playing in a 2nd divison league (sort of) against metropolis such as Paris, Barcelona or London, but they are too full of beauty and amazing sights.

    • Laurel August 19, 2013 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      @Simon – Good point. I definitely need to visit more of Eastern Europe and am hoping to do so this year.

  28. pradeep April 17, 2013 at 8:19 am - Reply

    Thanks for your efforts to create a very good post. I would like to recommend you one more cheapest travel destination that is canada

    • Laurel June 21, 2013 at 4:16 pm - Reply

      @Pradeep – Being Canadian, I love Canada, but it’s definitely not a cheap destination.

  29. AATravel January 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    Yes, you should definitely visit some eastern european countries…Romania is one of the best choices, great food, wonderful views and friendly people

    • Laurel February 21, 2014 at 11:54 pm - Reply

      @AATravel – I’ve visited the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia and Hungary but would love to visit Romania. Thanks for the recommendation.

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