Top 5 Vacations for 2013

Generally speaking, January sucks. Alas, The Manual suggests you kick those broke, beginning of the year blues with some serious trip planning. With our top five international destinations for 2013, you’ll be punching the air and setting off on new adventures in no time.

Istanbul

Sprawled across two continents, this vibrant city offers a diverse experience depending on where you stay. The thriving creative scene comprises tons of awesome independent galleries, including Dirimart and Galeri X-Ist, and a handful of progressive concept stores, such as Atelier 55, and interior design studios including Autoban. By night, explore the winding streets to find intimate eateries serving delicious local fare. The Manual recommends Changa for a modern interpretation of traditional Turkish food within stunning Art Nouveau surroundings.

Goa

Paradisiacal yet still capable of a culture shock, Goa is becoming one of the most popular holiday destinations in India. Located on the country’s western coastline, you can expect dreamy white sand and palm tree beaches- try Ashwem for an off the beaten track experience- while the crumbling architecture in old Goa provides evidence of the Portuguese colonial rule. The best way to get around is by moped, which you can rent out by the day. Once you’ve secured your ride, The Manual recommends a sensory trip to one of the many spice plantations. For a leisurely Goan lunch, try Tato in buzzing Margao area for exquisite thali and a fun atmosphere.

Croatia

Hiking, wandering winding pebble streets and eating a lot of truffle-based dishes are just some of the highlights of holidaying in this country in southeastern Europe. An ideal option for some quality R&R, visitors often opt to stay in one of the many family-owned farm houses situated in the rolling valleys of Istria. The Manual recommends Agroturizam San Mauro for a super friendly memorable experience where the homemade wine will flow and flow. If exploration is your thing, head to Split. Previously a Roman city, the center of the city is rich in breathtaking Roman ruins and boasts a long, fascinating history.

Warsaw

The cultural capital of Poland boasts a thriving club and music scene, as well as a growing reputation for an edgy, independent art community which is being cultivated in the post-industrial Soho Factory zone. Shaping up to be the next Berlin, this buzzing city invites tourists to eat, drink and get seriously merry for a pittance. The Manual recommends heading to the Pawilony district for an array of trendy pubs and bars, including Wynalazek and Lenistwo, and the recently opened Neon Museum for an unexpected dose of Cold War history in the form of communist neon signs.

Bali

If you’re looking to cram in as many activities as possible into your trip, Bali is an awesome choice. An extreme sportsman’s paradise, this compact but scenic island offers snorkelling in the coral reef, white water rafting along the breathtaking Ayung River, moutain cycling and quad biking through the island’s rugged back roads. When you’re all actioned out, The Manual recommends heading to Denpasar for a wander through Pasar Badung, the local 24 hour artisan market- arrive early for bargains- and stopping by Ubud for a spot of traditional Balinese cuisine at the beautiful Bumbu Bali resturant.

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