More than the renowned fireworks display above Edinburgh Castle, the
four-day Hogmanay celebration includes to-dos for a New Year's agenda
that covers every age. The Scottish Sled Dog Society produces the
Dogmanay, racing teams of huskies with petting time for wee spectators.
Learn traditional Scottish dancing at The Keilidh (street party).
Elsewhere, greet giant pandas at the Edinburgh Zoo. The royal family
traveled on the Royal Yacht Britannia on state visits, and the yacht now
calls Edinburgh's port home. Tour the Queen's posh setup where Princess
Di and Prince Charles spent their honeymoon.
Medellin, Colombia, the lush, green City of Everlasting Spring thumbs
its nose at the idea of a drug-kingpin past and now goes by "Innovative
City of the Year." See why at the world-class España Library with the
Metrocable, a gondola lift system that's improved the two-hour commute
for about 30,000 people. Tour a coffee plantation by bike or zip line.
Take a sailing tour to Tayrona National Park or a hot air balloon ride
in the Coffee Triangle.
Panama City is a fantastic New Year's bargain: it's the world's
third-cheapest major city and home to one of the most-lauded engineering
marvels in the world. Ogle the Panama Canal's action from the viewing
area at the Miraflores Locks. Boat tours make trips through the Canal
alongside massive container ships. Punta Culebra Nature Center caters to
kids and is run by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. During
North America's winter, thousands of species of migrating birds
congregate in the jungle bordering the city.
The Azores, the Portuguese archipelago's nine islands, boast whales and
volcanoes with rock pools. It's safe to climb the Pico volcano to the
highest point in Portugal. Stonewalls peppering Pico Island mark
vineyards and wineries where you can recover after the five hour round
trip climb. Horta is the nautical heart, a stopping point for
transatlantic voyages with the fourth most visited marina in the world.
Its sidewalks are one big mural––it's a tradition for sailors passing
through to paint something on them for luck.
Sedona has been affectionately called "the woo-woo capital of the
world," renowned for its red rock monoliths and Native American
heritage. Think burning candles and the chanting of Om. The focus on
mindful living here makes it the antithesis to a typical crowded, noisy
New Year's. Set your intention for 2014 with a retreat: yoga, fire, and
meditation are just some of the offerings. Drum healing ceremonies aim
to tap into cosmic energy; shamans lead events.
The Isles of Scilly, a smattering of islands that are part of Prince
Charles' Cornwall land trust, can be disorienting. Palm trees, warmth
and Caribbean-like water in England? A quiet throwback to England in the
50's, the islands showcase gardens and cream tea. The best way to
explore is by foot along the coast. Archeologists can guide you through
the unspoiled beauty to Bronze Age and Roman relics. With 2,000
residents and little light pollution, grab a telescope for unfettered
If gaining perspective is your goal for the holiday, spend the night in
Morocco's Sahara. Mimic a nomad as Berbers guide you on camel rides in
the silence of the world's largest desert. Camp under the starlit sky
there or try a riad, a palace with an interior courtyard, in Marrakesh.
Cleanse at a traditional Hammam—a bathhouse where you're scrubbed clean
with rhassoul, black mineral clay from the Atlas. Bare all in a steam
room, be gently doused with warm water and exfoliated, then massaged and
washed once again. The result feels like rebirth—a worthy start to a