It’s cold, the nights are long and the summer has never seemed so far away. You might not need those sunglasses just yet but at least booking a holiday can put a spring in your step.

The only question – where to go? Here are five very different destinations that we think will be the places to this year.


Connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Panama Canal was an epic feat of engineering which dramatically changed maritime trade when it opened on August 15, 1914.

This year's centenary is a good excuse to visit the Central American country, which is now serviced by Air France flights via Paris.

With fewer tourist resorts than neighbouring Costa Rica but sharing a similar biodiversity, the country is begging to be explored now rather than later.


Toledo, Spain

Nicknamed "the Greek" after his Cretian origins, 17th century artist El Greco spent most of his life working in the Spanish city of Toledo. Hailed as paving the way for the Expressionism and Cubism movements, he is best known for his tortured, elongated figures.


Eastern Sicily, Italy

Tourism has been bubbling away in eastern Sicily for some years, but its popularity is set to explode - especially since Mount Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, was added to Unesco's World Heritage List last year.

New twice-weekly Ryanair flights from London Stansted to Comiso airport and additional Alitalia services from London airports to Catania are opening up the eastern part of the Italian island.

Meanwhile TV's Inspector Montalbano is bringing the wild landscapes and ebullient local life on the island to a wider audience.


With the Tour de France 2014 starting in Yorkshire on July 5 this year, thousands of visitors are set to descend on the county’s rolling dales and historic market towns.

So it's no wonder Lonely Planet has named David Hockney's favourite stomping ground as a place to visit in 2014.

The first stage of this year's race will pass through the Swinton Estate, which is also home to a luxury castle hotel. The hotel can arrange a private roadside area for anyone wanting to watch the race, or can loan bikes to those who want to have a spin along the winding roads for themselves.

Their Tour de Yorkshire package costs from £190 per person, per night, full board and includes free use of bikes and a cyclist's massage.

When the weather is good, driving around Iceland is simple - one 832-mile ring road loops around the volcanic island. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the completion of Route One, making a self-drive trip this summer particularly timely.

Fly into the capital Reykjavik, where highlights include the Blue Lagoon thermal baths, then head north to the stunning Westfjords and second city Akureyri.

Stopping off at fishing villages along the way, the trip should take a week. As you pass along the southern coast, make a detour to new visitor attraction Pompeii of the North, where houses destroyed by a 1973 volcanic eruption on the southern Vestmannaeyjar islands have been reconstructed.

Go to Visit Iceland for more information. Wow Air flies from London Gatwick to Reykjavik from £74 one way.