Sarah Marshall looks at four fantastic locations to visit this year

BEST FOR BEACH: Sri Lanka

A decade since this Indian Ocean island was hit by a tsunami, its fortunes are on the up.

The reopening of The Queen of Jaffna rail service, running from capital city Colombo to northern province Jaffna, will provide access to an area once troubled by unrest during the country's civil war. Now the peaceful region offers idyllic beaches and a colourful insight into Tamil life.

  • Experience Travel Group offers one-week tailor-made holidays in the north and east regions of Sri Lanka from £1,299 per person, including flights, B&B accommodation and guides. Visit www.experiencetravelgroup.com or call 02034-686268.

GO NOW: Cuba

It’s one of the last few countries in the world where you won’t find a McDonald’s or a Starbucks, but all that could change now diplomatic relations between America and Cuba have thawed, with Barack Obama promising relaxed travel regulations to the Caribbean island.

If you want to savour Cuba’s time warp appeal, with classic 50s cars zipping through billboard-free colonial streets, travel now before it changes.

  • Try Explore’s eight-day Backroads and Beaches of Cuba tour, visiting Havana, Trinidad, Vinales, Santa Clara and the Bay of Pigs for £1,299 per person, including flights, B&B accommodation, transport and guides. Visit www.explore.co.uk or call 08448-751895.

HOT FOR HISTORYBUFFS: Turkey

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the April 25 Gallipoli landings, when British, French and ANZAC troops made an unsuccessful attempt to gain a sea route from Europe to Russia during the Second World War.

Visit memorials and graves in Turkey's Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park, and learn about the tragic events.

  • WEXAS Travel offer a seven-day Marvels of Turkey tour, which also includes visits to Istanbul, Mount Ida and Sirince. Prices start from £1,995 per person, including flights, accommodation, transport and guide, with departures from April 1 to October 31.

Visit www.wexas.com or call 02078-385892.

GO NOW: Cuba

It’s one of the last few countries in the world where you won’t find a McDonald’s or a Starbucks, but all that could change now diplomatic relations between America and Cuba have thawed, with Barack Obama promising relaxed travel regulations to the Caribbean island.

If you want to savour Cuba’s time warp appeal, with classic 50s cars zipping through billboard-free colonial streets, travel now before it changes.

Try Explore’s eight-day Backroads and Beaches of Cuba tour, visiting Havana, Trinidad, Vinales, Santa Clara and the Bay of Pigs for £1,299 per person, including flights, B&B accommodation, transport and guides. Visit www.explore.co.uk or call 08448-751895.

MAD FOR MUSIC: Memphis

Still regarded as the king of rock n’ roll, Elvis would have celebrated his 80th birthday in January. The largest exhibition of Elvis artefacts in Europe is now open at London’s The O2, but fans are expected to descend on Graceland throughout the year to mark the occasion.

  • Western & Oriental offers a special ten-day Totally Tennessee fly-drive holiday, including visits to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Nashville, Memphis, Graceland and Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park.

Prices start from £1,369 per person, including return flights and car hire. Visit www.westernoriental.com or call 02035-886035.