x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Brazil and Paris are the top places to visit next year, according to a report by the guidebook publisher Lonely Planet.

Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is a World Cup 2014 host city. Buda Mendes / Getty Images
Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is a World Cup 2014 host city. Buda Mendes / Getty Images

New social networking site for travellers

An Australian web developer has created a new website to help travellers connect with each other. TimeBlend (www.timeblend.com) is intended to help travellers share plans, find inspiration and get the most out of their trips. It can also enable solo travellers to share travel experiences, save money and travel safer.

Users sign up for free and then share their trip plans on timeBlend for others to “join” or “follow”. Those looking to get travel advice can also search a catalogue of “places”.

The site is available in English, French and Spanish, with plans for further international translation. TimeBlend was also recently adapted for mobile browsing, with a smartphone app in development, along with “experiences”, which will be a marketplace for unique travel experiences created by locals.

Lonely Planet’s guide to where to go in 2014

The guidebook publisher Lonely Planet, which produces more than 500 different titles, has brought out its Best in Travel 2014 report on the best places to visit next year.

Top of the list of countries to visit next year is Brazil, a listing which is tied to the country’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup in 12 cities across the nation. The guide notes its beaches, rainforest, mountains and colonial architecture as key attractions beyond the football itself.

Paris is touted as best city to visit next year. The guide argues that the city “is being reborn” following a push to reduce the cars that have been clogging one of Europe’s most congested cities, particularly its Unesco World Heritage-listed riverbanks. One-and-a-half kilometres of former expressway on the Seine’s Right Bank now incorporates walkways and cycleways, and the Left Bank boasts a new 2.5km-long car-free zone between the Pont de l’Alma and the Musée d’Orsay; there are also floating gardens on 1,800 square metres of artificial islands and pedestrian promenades. The Louvre also now has a gold “flying carpet” roof that crowns the interior courtyard of the museum’s new Islamic art galleries. Other top cities to visit next year include Trinidad in Cuba, Cape Town in South Africa and the Latvian capital, Riga.

The top 10 best-value travel destinations for next year are listed as the Greek Islands, southern Italy, Nicaragua, Bulgaria, Portugal, Fiji, Mexico, Karnataka in India, Palawan in the Philippines and Ethiopia, where budget travellers can get by on $30 (D110) a day.

For families, the 10 best places to visit are Denmark, Thailand, Belize, Kerala, New York, Hawaii, Prague, Italy, Iceland and Lapland. All places were deemed to fire the imagination and offer much for all ages.

rbehan@thenational.ae

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