Hopefully the New Year will endow all of us with endless opportunities to travel. If you don't have your sights set on anything in particular, check out what's going to be on the global tourist radar in 2011. Bon voyage!
Those who keep a watchful eye out for unique travel opportunities have most probably taken notice of Curacao. After all, how often does it happen that the world gets an entirely new country? 2011 will mark the island first full year as an autonomous nation after the Netherlands Antilles were resolved on 10 October 2010. Now independent and responsible for its financial well-being, Curacao will surely bet on its strongest horse – vibrant history, marvelous architecture and irresistible Caribbean charm. You may expect more flights and hotel rooms to cater to all budget ranges, as well as warm hospitality and plenty of tourist attractions.
Willemstad architecture. By TerData
Once financial crisis hit Iceland, everyone readily assumed it is
dirt cheap to travel around. Well, not as much as you’d think,
probably, but if you've always had your mind fixed on visiting the
fabulous country of fire and ice and procrastinated for budgetary
reasons, then it might be the right time to go. The problem with
Iceland is that it has always been more pricey than other
destinations in Europe, but with a substantial decrease in the
exchange rate, you might consider it a bargain even if you get to pay
between $75 and $100 for a hotel in Reykjavik. So, you'd better pack
a pair of good trekking boots and off you go. Once Iceland fully gets
back on its feet, it may never be as “affordable” as it is now.
Góðafoss. Northeast Iceland. By shchukin
Tallinn is shaping up to be one of the premier tourist attractions in the Gulf of Finland. This vibrant city, with the astonishingly well preserved medieval old town, has just been designated as one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2011 and is eager to demonstrate that small as it may be, it is capable of huge cultural accomplishments. Alongside enchanting Estonian spirit, numerous sites to explore, bargain shopping, and bustling nightlife, tourists will be treated to an endless list of events including carnivals, exhibitions, concerts, audio-visual arts and sporting competitions. Every day the capital of Estonia will burst with culture at its best, and you surely don't want to miss it.
St. Olaf Church. By Claudio.Ar ■ I'd been working like a dog
New York City, USA
There's nothing really surprising about New York's presence on all sorts of top 10 lists. It's always a good time and there's always a reason to visit, but NYC is truly a destination to have an eye on in 2011. A bunch of anniversary events are going to take place, including the The Statue of Liberty's 125's birthday, Carnegie Hall turning 120 and the New York Public Library celebrating its centennial. Also, several museums will be reopened and the expansion of hotel base continued so travelers should be able to find a comfy place falling into their budgets. Most importantly, the inauguration of the National September 11 Memorial will commemorate the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan. By .: Philipp Klinger :.
In the 2010 edition of World's Best Awards, the Galapagos were voted the best islands, so it's worth checking out what's behind the honors. After all, it beat Hawaii, Bali and Maldives, and that needs a considerable package of superlatives. Scattered around the equator, some 970 km (525 nmi) west of continental Ecuador, the volcanic archipelago is where the adventurous feel at home. You can come up close and personal with giant tortoises, sea lions, penguins, marine iguanas and various bird species inhabiting the remote, barren land - a unique, wild ecosystem that largely inspired Charles Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. However, a growing number of tourists has been causing such concerns that plans have been brought up to limit tourists to one visit to the islands during a lifetime. If so, why not use your credit next year?
Wildlife Paradise. By mtchm
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Visitors to Rio de Janeiro in 2011 will find the city in the heat of excited development. Not only will they be able to enjoy the sun, sea and samba, but will also welcome a new face of Rio- posh, sophisticated and glamorous. Of course there are still safety issues and poverty pokes in the eye, but millions invested in remodeling before the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics have really made the difference. With such major events in sight, perhaps it's just the right time to go – you can already enjoy Rio's fresh image and still avoid the crowds that with all likelihood will flood Brazil in the coming years.
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. By André Luiz Martins
As the oldest continuously inhabited urban settlement on Earth, Syria has more stunning ancient sites than you'd ever think. Most importantly, while most other countries in the Middle East are becoming less and less affordable, Syria keeps the prices ridiculously low, but who knows how long this bargain treat is going to be served. The Crac des Chevaliers , called the most wholly admirable castle in the world, charges less than US$5 entry, so you get the picture. Bustling souqs, great food, intriguing cultural heritage and endearing hospitality of the people all come at an equally attractive price.
Palmyra. By Roba66
As far as cheap beach vacations are concerned, Thailand has long had the edge over its Southeast Asian neighbors. The added advantage of delicious food and fascinating cultural heritage made it a bull's-eye destination for visitors seeking bargain prices, tropical climate, awe-striking sights and lots of pampering for the senses. But the time has come to give the throne to the Philippines. With more than 7,000 islands, stunning marine life, beaches of all sorts, awesome wreck diving opportunities and exceptionally wallet-friendly prices, the archipelago may for a long while remain the world's premier beach holiday destination. If that's the kind of pleasures you're after, book a spot under a palm tree before others learn about it...
White Island. By paynepat44
Machu Picchu, Peru
The whole Peru is certainly a destination to consider, but Machu Picchu seems to be the hottest spot in the country's calendar for 2011. The year marks the centenary of the first ever foreigner to reach the site and herald its presence to the whole wide world. Steps have been undertaken to make it an even more memorable experience to the visitors, especially that the site has been closed for a while due to heavy flooding and travelers are waiting impatiently to race into the incredible realm of the Incas. The nearest town, Aguas Calientes, is supposedly going to be more eye-pleasing and visitor-friendly, so the overall impression of the trip might even exceed your expectations.
Early morning in wonderful Machu Picchu. By szeke
Doha is just about to put a finishing touch on its four million square meter artificial island called The Pearl, which is enough to throw the capital of Qatar into the limelight. If you're eager to experience the oil-funded splendor of the Gulf but somehow fear the overwhelming glamor and pretentious facade of Dubai, Doha is a slightly milder form of Arabian opulence, plus it has nicer beaches and more gourmet restaurants to choose from. Numerous world-class sporting events taking place in 2011 will delight avid fans while the third edition of Doha-Tribeca Film Festival will draw countless celebrities and reaffirm the Arab presence in the international film industry.
The Pearl Qatar. By esmampusti
Has anything caught your eye? Or is the anticipated popularity good enough a reason to head in the opposite direction?