2013 promises to be a massive year in terms of exciting travel events, festivals and anniversaries. There are many cultural, historical and heritage events taking places across the world throughout the year and these are just a few;
9 January 2013 – London, UK – 150th Anniversary of the London Underground
Special events and exhibitions are being held throughout this year to recognise the 150th anniversary of London’s underground rail network. Events include the Poster Art 150 exhibition, Family Workshops and Cab It, where you can get into the driver’s seat.
12 January 2013 – Marseille, France – European Capital of Culture for 2013
The opening celebrations for the European Capital of Culture for 2013 kicks off with joint hosts Marseille in the south of France. The city, which boasts 2,600 years of history, will showcase its rich culture within the beautiful architecture, stunning cathedrals and masses of history.
14 to 27 January 2013 - Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia
The first of the big four tennis grand slam tournaments gets underway on 14 January with the Australian Tennis Open. Last year’s singles winners Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka will be hoping for a repeat performance.
19 January 2013 – Kosice, Slovakia – European Capital of Culture for 2013
Slovakia’s second city Kosice, along with Marseille in France are joint hosts of the European Capital of Culture for 2013. Kosice’s rich Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture, historic palaces museums and theatres meets lively modern culture at the official opening ceremony.
January 2013 – Barranquilla, Colombia – South American City of Culture 2013
In addition to the well-known European Capital of Culture, South America has also hosted its own version since 2000 and in 2013 Barranquilla in Colombia will host. Barranquilla is an industrial port city in northern Columbia and is on the Caribbean Sea coast. The city is best known for its annual Carnaval de Barranquilla which has been added to the UNESCO list. This year the Barranquilla Carnival will run from 9-12 February 2013. The cosmopolitan city has lively nightlife, historical buildings and a fine dining scene.
27 January 2013 – Vietnam – 40 Years of Peace
At midnight on 27 January 1973, a ceasefire was declared in the Vietnam War. The peace treaty was signed and in 2013, 40 years of peace will be celebrated throughout Vietnam.
January 2013 – Baghdad, Iraq – Arab Capital of Culture 2013
Held since 1996, the Arab Capital of Culture aims to promote Arab culture and heritage both locally and internationally. Baghdad is the second largest Arab city in the world (after Cairo, Egypt) and will host for 2013. Founded in the 8th century, Baghdad was an important cultural and commercial center. Today the city is working towards rebuilding itself.
28 January 2013 – Scotland, UK – Burns Night
In Scotland and across Scottish expat communities, Burns night is celebrated in honour of the famous Scots poet Robert Burns. The traditional Burns Night dish of haggis, neeps and tatties will be consumed (that’s meat, parsnips and potatoes by the way). And yes haggis is made up of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs!
29 January 2013 – South Korea – Special Olympics Winter Games
South Korea is fast emerging a world leader of sporting facilities and events. And running until 5 February are the Special Olympics Winter Games in PyeongChang, which will feature wintersports such as figure skating, speed skating and snowboarding.
January 2013 – Antwerp, Belgium – European Capital of Sport 2013
The Belgian city of Antwerp hosts the European Capital of Sport during 2013 and aims to showcase its offering to the world. The award has been running since 2001 and in Antwerp there are plenty of sporting-themed events and festivals going on throughout the year.
January 2013 – Maribor, Slovenia – European Youth Capital 2013
The Slovenian city of Maribor hosted the European Capital of Culture last year, and in 2013 will also play host to the European Youth Capital. The award has been running since 2009 and aims to showcase youth-focussed issues.
January 2013 – Derry-Londonderry – UK City of Culture 2013
This year the UK City of Culture is Derry-Londonderry which will host a year of lively music festivals, art and drama with home-grown shows and events. The city will also host the annual Turner Prize which is the first time a location outside England has hosted the prestigious art prize.
January 2013 – 125 Years of Jack The Ripper
This year see the gruesome anniversary of Jack the Ripper, who terrorised London some 125 years ago. The unidentified serial killer has been the subject of much speculation as his identity was never discovered. The Museum of London will host special themed events this year.
31 January to 17 February 2013 – Women’s Cricket ICC World Cup Final, India
India hosts the female Crocket World Cup from 31 January to 17 February at the Mumbai Stadium the Wankhede. The best 8 women’s teams in the world compete this year including England, New Zealand, Australia, India, West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
1 February 2013 – The View from The Shard opens
For spectacular views over London, head to the newly opened viewing platforms at The Shard. On a clear day you’ll be able to see for up to 40 miles over this great city.
2 February 2013 – Major Rugby Tournaments Get Underway
2013 promises to be a lively year for rugby fans, starting on 2 February with the first major event; the RBS 6 Nations which is to be held at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium in Wales. Following that is the Heineken Cup Final 2013, the British and Irish Lions Tour of Australia 2013 (which is expected to attract some 30,000 fans for the tour) and the Sevens World Series 2012/13.
2 February 2013 – Grand Central Terminal, New York – 100th Anniversary
The magnificent Beaux-Arts style Grand Central Terminal celebrates its 100 year anniversary on 2 January, which is just one of the many fabulous things to do in New York.
3 February 2013 – The Superbowl, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
The Super Bowl XLVII, aka the 47th edition takes place on 3February at the Superdome in New Orleans. The National Football League championship game is watched by billions across the work. Last year the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-17.
6 February 2013 – Norwich, UK – UNESCO City of Literature
As hosts of the UNESCO City of Literature, Norwich in the east of England, prepare to stage their annual Spring Literary Festival at the city’s university, the UEA. Thriller writer Lee Childs, poet Kathleen Jamie and fiction writer James Meek, along with many other authors, will be appearing.
9 February 2013 – Rio de Janeiro – Rio Carnival
The annual carnival season gets underway with the biggest and boldest of them all; the mighty Rio Carnival! Expect lively dancing, outrageous costumes and hot music.
10 February 2013 – Vietnam – Tet Festival
Vietnam celebrates Tet Nguyen Dan, aka Vietnamese New Year, today which is based on the lunar calendar. Based on the Vietnamese Zodiac this is the Year of the Snake.
10 February 2013 – Worldwide – Chinese New Year
One of the biggest worldwide holidays is Chinese New Year, aka The Spring Festival, which is celebrated throughout Chinese communities across the world today. 2013 sees the start of the Year of the Snake.
10 February 2013 – Africa Cup of Nations Football Final, South Africa
South Africa hosts the 29th annual Africa Cup of Nations from 19 January to 10 February, where 16 nations compete against each other. Last year’s final was gripping with Zambia eventually beating the Ivory Coast after a penalty shoot-out. The final will be held on Sunday 10 February at Soccer City.
14 February 2013 – Nantes, France – European Green Capital 2013
Each year a European city of selected to host the Green Capital award, in recognition of outstanding environmental efforts. Areas such as transport, green space and biodiversity are all taken into consideration. And with over one billion international travellers last year, there is no better time for us all to consider our own green travel credentials.
February 2013 – 90 Years of the Hollywood Sign
Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains is the most recognisable sign in the world. Yes the mighty Hollywood sign celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. Originally built to promote a local housing development in 1923, the 45 feet tall (14m) sign soon became a local landmark and has remained in the Hollywood Hills ever since.
2013 – 850th Anniversary of the Notre Dame de Paris, France
This year marks the 850th anniversary of the Notre Dame Cathedral, aka Our Lady of Paris. Construction started in 1163 in the reign of Louis VII although the impressive Gothic structure was not completed until 1345. The fictional character Quasimodo from the 1931 novel by Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, is the most famous resident in one Paris’ most popular tourist attractions.
14 February 2013 – Valentine’s Day
Just a quick reminder that today is once again Valentine’s Day – don’t forget!
16 February 2013 – Egypt – 90 Years of Tutankhamun’s Tomb
The unsealing of King Tut’s Tomb 90 years ago delighted historians across the world and lead to an insurgence of interest of travel to Egypt. Travellers are awed by the 7,000 years of history and the historical sights including the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Alabaster Mosque and the Valley Of Kings.
20 to 24 February 2013 – 120th World Track Cycling Championships, Belarus
Belarus in Eastern Europe will host this year’s World Track Cycling Championships over 5 days. The event has been running since 1893 and amateur and professional cyclists can compete. Events include time trial, team sprint, keirin and many other events.
21 February 2013 – International Tourist Guide Day, World
Nobody knows a region better than a local tour guide and on 21 February, guides across the world will promote special events to highlight their particular areas. Each country and city will be running their own promotions so check the official website for what’s on in your chosen destination.
24 February 2013 – Los Angeles, USA – 85th Academy Awards
The glitzy Oscars, aka Academy Awards will beam across the world to an audience of millions. Mega-movies Lincoln, Life of Pi and Django Unchained will battle it out for the coveted Best Picture award.
24 February 2013 – Capital One Cup Final, London, UK
Wembley Stadium will host the League Cup Final this month and last year’s winners, Liverpool, were knocked out in an early upset. The 2013 final is between Bradford City and Swansea City (who beat Chelsea to get here!). Bradford are the underdogs representing league 2 and Swansea currently play in the premier league.
24 February 2013 – Major Football Tournaments Get Underway
There’s plenty going on in the world of football in 2013 and the first major tournament is the Capital One Cup Final which is held at Wembley Stadium in London on 24 February. And after that, there’s the FA Cup Final, UEFA Champions League Final and Europa League Final to look forward to.
March 2013 – Changsha, China – World’s Tallest Building
In March, the world’s tallest tower is due to open in Changsha in China. Measuring a mighty 838 meters tall, this will eclipse the current holder, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, by 10 meters. And in another amazing feat, Sky City will be constructed in just 90 days! Watch this space…
12 to 15 March 2013 – Cheltenham Festival National Hunt, Gloucestershire, UK
This great horse racing festival is second only to the mighty Grand National and features the very top jump jockeys and horses. The 4 day event includes Champion Day, Ladies Day, St Patrick’s Thursday and culminates with the Gold Cup Day .
16 March 2013 – Rugby Union Six Nations Final, Cardiff, UK
The seven week annual Six Nations tournament runs from 2 February. The 6 competing teams are England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. Wales are the defending champions and the Welsh city of Cardiff hosts the final on 16 March at the Millennium Stadium.
17 March 2013 – F1 Season gets underway – Melbourne, Australia
The 64th annual Formula One Championship kicks off with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Prepare yourself for 20 high-octane races!
19 March 2013 – 200th Birthday of Explorer David Livingstone
The legendary Scottish explorer David Livingstone will be remembered this year as the man that led expeditions through southern and central Africa, the Zambezi River and The River Nile.
31 March 2013 – Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race, UK
This year’s contest between Oxford and Cambridge Universities will be the 159th meeting of the two teams and Oxford will be gunning for revenge after Cambridge’s win last year.
2 April 2013 – 500th Anniversary of Florida
Florida, aka the Sunshine State in the USA, was discovered by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León 500 years ago. Florida State is celebrating with a year-long programme of events and festivals.
7 April 2013 – Marathon Season Gets Underway
The annual marathon season gets underway this month, with the first major test of endurance kicking off with the Paris Marathon on the 7th of April. The Boston Marathon (15 April), London (21 April) and Stockholm (1 June) Marathons all follow.
13 April 2013 – 60 Years of James Bond
Last year the UK came alive with the Queen’s Jubilee and 2012 Olympics. This year celebrates another great British institution – James Bond. The first book, Casino Royale was published on 13 April 1953 and continues to wow crowds today. The latest film, Skyfall, was recently declared the most popular Bond film ever. Great excuse for a trip to Jamaica, where author Ian Fleming spent two months writing Casino Royale.
13 to 15 April 2013 – Thailand – Songkran Festival
Expect to get squirted with water and pelted with chalk during the annual New Year celebrations, aka Songkran, throughout Thailand. Expect 3 days of a carnival-like atmosphere and be prepared to join in!
26 April 2013 – New Orleans, USA – Jazz and Heritage Festival 2013
New Orleans hosts 10 days of music, food and culture. Hundreds of singers and bands will perform blues, jazz and gospel music across the city including Billy Joel, Maroon 5 and Fleetwood Mac. Food favourites such as Cajun jambalaya, alligator pie, Louisiana crawfish and boudin will be on offer.
3 May 2013 – Chicago, USA – 40th Anniversary of the Willis Tower
Chicago’s Willis Tower is the tallest skyscraper in the US and celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Standing at 1,451 feet tall and rising to 108 storeys, it held the tallest building in the world honour for 25 years until surpassed by the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia. Up until three years ago the structure was better known as Sears Tower and travellers can take in the awesome views over Chicago from the Skydeck.
10 May 2013 – Tallest Building in the Western Hemisphere Unveiled
The One World Trade Center building has officially become the tallest building within the western hemisphere. Standing at 1776 feet (to mark the year the US signed the Declaration of Independence) the tower opens in 2014. The One World Trade Center surpasses the Willis Tower in Chicago (see above) to become the tallest building in the USA.
17 May 2013 – World – Buddha’s Birthday
The Mahayana branch of Buddhism celebrates Buddha’s Birthday today. Buddha, aka Prince Siddhartha Gautama, will be honoured with special festivals and prayers in Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, India, Korea and Sri Lanka and beyond.
18 May 2013 – Malmö, Sweden – Eurovision Song Contest
The 58th annual Eurovision Song Contest final will be beamed across the world on 18 May from Malmö in Sweden. Many hold their own themed Eurovision parties and pray their country isn’t shamed with nil points!
20 May 2013 – Canada – Victoria Day
Today marks a national holiday across Canada (except QC) in honour of both Queen Victoria and the current monarch of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II. Biggest celebrations include lavish fireworks in Victoria, which was named after the Queen. The day also marks the start of summer and is a great excuse to enjoy a picnic in the outdoors.
21-25 May 2013 – London SW3, UK – 100th Chelsea Flower Show
The British are keen gardeners and the highlight of the growing season are the numerous garden shows. The cream of the crop (no pun intended) is the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show which runs for 5 days and hosts 160,000 gardening enthusiasts. Exciting new plants are unveiled and top designers wow the crowds with exquisite outdoor designs. During the course of the event it’s said that more than 2,000 bottles of champagne are consumed!
22 May 2013 – Germany – 200th Anniversary of Wagner
This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner, the famous composer who was born in Leipzig on 22 May 1813. Wagner created masterpieces such as Tannhäuser, Lohengrin (which gives us the famous ‘Here Comes the Bride’ piece of music) and Tristan und Isolde. Special events will be held in Leipzig throughout the year.
25 May 2013 – World – Towel Day
The British author, Douglas Adams, wrote in The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy that a towel was “the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”. Adams died in 2001 and 25th May is celebrated as Towel Day by his fans in commemoration of both the author and his works.
29 May 2013 – 60 Years Since the First Everest Ascent
This year sees the 60th anniversary of the very first climb to the peak of Everest. On 29 May 1953, Tenzing Norgay from Nepal and Edmund Hillary from New Zealand tackled the highest mountain on earth, standing at a mighty 8,848 m (29,029 ft). Today many adventurers still aspire to reach the ‘top of the world’ with trips running from Nepal and China.
June 2013 – Sweden – 130th Anniversary of Gröna Lund
Sweden’s oldest themepark celebrates its 130th birthday this year and to mark the occasion has just unveiled the tallest chair carousel ride in the world. Standing at a mighty 400 feet tall, Eclipse spins at a heady 40mph. Gröna Lund is in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. Try it if you dare!
7 June 2013 – Alaska, USA – 100 Year Anniversary of the Ascent of Mount McKinley
The highest peak in North America was first conquered 100 years ago this year. Mount McKinley was tackled by Brit-turned-cowboy Hudson Stuck and guide Harry Karstens in 2013. McKinley is also known as Denali and rises to 20,320 ft (6,194 m) and is located in the modern day Denali National Park in Alaska, USA.
26 to 30 June 2013 – Glastonbury Festival 2013, UK
Running for over 40 years is one of the biggest festivals in the world – Glastonbury! It’s time to pack your wellies and with a stellar lineup including The Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys and Mumford & Sons – it’s going to be huge!
29 June 2013 – Dublin, Ireland – 30th Anniversary of Dublin LGBTQ Pride Festival
Dublin hosts 10 days of pride events to celebrate LGBT culture. The Dublin festival started as a one day event in 1983 and this year runs from 21-30 June with the main attraction being the Pride Parade on the Saturday. The event welcomes around 30,000 people – expect a riot of colourful costumes and a carnival atmosphere.
29 June 2013 – Corsica – Tour de France
The 100th Tour de France runs this year until 21st July and starts for the very first time in Corsica. The 3,360km route will be staged exclusively in France this year to celebrate the centenary, although 2014 includes a leg in Yorkshire in the UK! The ultimate race culminates with a spectacular night-time finish along the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Last year’s legendary winner, Bradley Wiggins, will have his work cut out though this year as the course is far steeper and more challenging.
1 July 2013 – Canada – Canada Day
The National Day of Canada is held annually on 1st July. Canadians enjoy a day off work and will meet up with friends and family. Expect lavish parades, fireworks, lively fairs and special concerts.
1 July 2013 – Pennsylvania, USA – 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg
This summer marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg which was fought from 1-3 July 1863. There were 50,000 casualties during the 3 days, which also saw President Lincoln deliver his now iconic Gettysburg address. Battle re-enactments will be held from 28 June 28 to 7 July and events will culminate on Independence Day on 4th July. More than 4 million visitors are expected to tour the town, museum and park.
4 July 2013 – USA – 237th US Independence Day
The Fourth of July, aka American Independence Day, will be celebrated with aplomb this year. Families and friends meet up, share picnics, watch fireworks displays and attend parades. Catch the famous Macy’s fireworks extravaganza which is televised and place your bets on who will win the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, which has been held annually since 1916 on Coney Island in New York City.
25-26 August 2013 – London – Notting Hill Carnival
If you’re in the UK over the August bank holiday weekend, the Notting Hill Carnival is absolutely unmissable! The outfits are colourful, the atmosphere is lively and the spirit is electrifying. Who says the British don’t know how to party?!
28 August 2013 – 50th Anniversary of ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech
2013 sees the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech which he delivered to 200,000 supporters of civil rights on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Events start in March and continue throughout the year.
31 August 2013 – Singapore – 50 Years of Independence from Britain
This year Singapore celebrates 50 years of independence from Britain on 31 August 1963. The modern city state then joined with Malaysia for 2 years, before gaining independence again on 9 August 1953. National Day is also celebrated throughout Singapore in August with the cityscape decked out in patriotic red and white.
24 September 2013 – 75 Years since Grand Slam Record
In 1938 the American tennis player, Donald Budge became the first person to win all 4 of the tennis Grand Slam events including Wimbledon, Australian, French and US opens. To date, four other tennis players have also completed the Grand Slam including Australian Rod Laver who did it twice in 1962 and 1969.
October 2013 – 125th Anniversary of National Geographic Magazine
The very first Nat Geo magazine was launched in October 1888, just a few months after the society was founded. Based in Washington DC, today the magazine is ready by 8.3 million people around the world each month – me included! National Geographic is published in 36 different languages.
1 October 2013 – 100 Year Anniversary of the first Baseball World Series
At the Huntingdon Avenue Baseball ground in Boston, USA the very first baseball World Series was played on 1 October 1903 and this year marks the 100th anniversary. 16,242 fans packed the Massachusetts stadium to watch the Red Sox (then called Boston Americans) beat the Pittsburg Pirates.
10 October 2013 – Italy – 200th Anniversary of Verdi
This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi – Italy’s greatest opera composer. Verdi was born on 10 October 1813 and during his lifetime created 28 operas including Rigoletto, La Traviata and Aida. Look out for special events all year to celebrate the life of Verdi, who died on 27 January 1901.
19 October 2013 – Leipzig, Germany – 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig
The Battle of the Nations, aka Battle of Leipzig was fought from 16-19 October 1813 and involved more than 600,000 troops. It was on the site of the monument Volkerschlachtdenkmal that Napoleon was defeated and retreated. The site of the monument will celebrate with special events and also hosts an annual beer festival here.
22 November 2013 – 50 Year Anniversary of JFK Assassination
The USA’s most notorious assassination will be remembered on 22 November, as this is the 50th anniversary of the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The 35th President of the United States was gunned down in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas whilst on a meet and greet trip.
5 December 2013 – 80 Years since the end of Prohibition, USA
The Prohibition of alcohol was enforced in the USA from 1920 to 1933 and 5th December marks the Repeal Day. The prohibition era introduced us to notorious characters such as Al Capone, terms such as ‘Speakeasy’ and ‘The Real McCoy’. Across the US, Repeal Day parties are popular complete with period dress such as flapper dresses and ‘mobster’ wear.
10 December 2013 – Zanzibar – 50 Years of Independence from Britain
Fifty years ago this year, Zanzibar gained independence from Great Britain on 10 December 1964. In April 1964, following a bloody revolution, Zanzibar and Tanzania merged to form the United Republic of Tanzania where Zanzibar is a recognised semi-autonomous area.
12 December 2013 – Kenya – 50 Years of Independence
Kenya celebrates 50 years of independence from the British in 2013. Expect events and celebrations across the country. Kenya is the classic safari destination with traditional tribal culture, an abundance of mesmerising wildlife and stunning scenery.
13 December 2013 – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Released
The first movie in the Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, wowed audiences the world over and travellers are now clamouring to experience the real life locations for themselves, prepare for Hobbit fever all over again at the end of 2013.
By Julie Bowman