Top 10 Cities To Visit In 2012

November 30, 2011

Have you got a serious case of the travel bug? The cure might be Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities to travel to in 2012. Which have you been to, and which are on your must-visit list?

1. London

Can everybody say, Olympics! 2012 is all about London, especially for sports-loving Australians. Even if you didn’t manage to score tickets, the city will be basking in all that host nation glory, with outdoor screenings, free all-day events and a general party atmosphere.

2. Muscat

The capital of Oman is Lonely Planet’s top pick for Middle Eastern city of the year. This is the place to go for over-the-top luxury resorts, dramatic coastlines and getting lost in souks

3. Bengaluru (Bangalore)

This South Indian city has a young population (it is after all the hub of India’s IT industry) so amongst the temples and palaces are a hive of pubs, live music bars and fantastic street food. Avoid the city between the monsoonal months of June and August.

4. Cadiz

Andalucia almost feels separate to Spain, with its Morish colours and spirit, and nothing personifies this more than the capital of the region, Cadiz. Said to be Western Europe’s oldest city, the old town and forts are worth a leisurely amble, before hitting the cathedrals, markets and tapas bars. Try and make Carnival, in the last week of February, when the city really lets its hair down.

5. Stockholm

One of my favourite cities, Stockholm is cool without being cold; romantic without being overly sentimental (here’s looking at you, Paris). A quick boat trip over to the picturesque island park Djurgarden is a must. The old town, Gamla Stan, might be a little touristy in parts, but the back streets are all quirky shops and bakeries wafting cardamom-scented pastries down the cobbled lanes.

6. Guimarães

Admittedly, I had to look this one up, but picture Northern Portugal and you’ve located the 2012 European Capital of Culture. What this means is not just a beautiful, UNESCO World Heritage-listed medieval city, but the host to a year-long cultural party, with an abundance of concerts, exhibitions and performances to fill up your itinerary.

7. Santiago

One of the most popular stops for Australians in South America,
Santiago offers the perfect sampler to Chile. Stunning parks, old palaces, hip restaurants, and if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s always hiking and skiing.

8. Hong Kong

Hong Kong should always be on the list of must-visit cities, with its show-stopping views from the Star Ferry, vibrant day-to-night buzz, dizzying variety of dim sum and temple-hopping. Plus it makes a great stop-over to Europe.

9. Orlando

If the kids have been pestering you to take them to Disneyworld(or if you’ve secretly wanted to visit Harry Potter World) then 2012 could be the year you hit up the theme parks. Luckily there are plenty of adult-friendly restaurants and shopping to satisfy the whole family.

10. Darwin

Having visited Darwin last year I can vouch for this being Lonely Planet’s pick of Australian cities. As soon as you arrive, head to Mindil Beach Sunset Markets for delicious food stalls and yes, one of the most incredible sunsets you’ll ever experience. Spend a day slowing down to Darwin time before visiting the Kimberleys and the jaw-dropping beauty of the Katharine Gorge.

Which cities have you visited, and which cities are on your must-visit list?

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