Top 10 Countries For 2011
Lonely Planet has released their list of top 10 countries to visit in 2011 and it’s definitely got our wanderlust going! Which places have you visited and which countries would you dream of visiting?
We’re not sure we could even place Albania on the map, but reading into it, turns out this small Balkans nation is not all disgruntled grandmothers and potato casseroles. Albania could just be the destination for those who prefer off-the-beaten track travel: a gorgeous Mediterranean coastline, pretty heritage buildings and friendly locals keen to show their country off. Sounds good to us!
Who doesn’t dream of samba and caiprioskas down at Copacabana Beach, before taking in the magnificent Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio? Whether you can make Carnivale or not, this is one country where your five senses will be turned on day and night.
It’s a sprinkling of sand off the coast of Senegal, and if you’re looking for a honeymoon destination with a difference this could be it. Imagine being surrounded by nothing but mountains and ocean, while tucking into fresh seafood to the sounds of Cape Verde’s most famous export, Cesaria Evora. Yes please…
Plenty of Aussies will be heading to the States to cash in on the brilliant exchange rate, so why not consider a side trip to this tiny nation of a thousand islands? We hear the water is pristine so it’s perfect if you love snorkelling or scuba, and if you want to keep the adventure going pack your hiking boots and head into the rainforests.
A good friend who hails from Bulgaria recently took her boyfriend for a visit and both were blown away. As was I when I poured over their photos! They spent two weeks enjoying romantic forests, quaint cobblestone towns and platters of pork wherever they went. It wasn’t great for the waistline but they still rave about it months later.
Vanuatu is Fiji’s sleepy cousin, so if you want something a little more remote consider Vila and the surrounding islands. The people are shy but friendly, and love children, so it makes a great destination for families. There are a few resorts in one-horse-town Vila (pick up drinking coconuts at the markets, kids will love it!) but make sure you head out to the islands to see the real beauty that’s typical of the South Pacific.
Italy never gets old, so we’re thrilled to see it on the list for 2011. It’s almost a dozen countries within one country, as each region has its own geography, cuisine and people. Try the lesser-visited regions like Puglia or Trieste, or if you can’t resist Tuscany consider visiting in autumn or winter, when the markets are filled with luscious produce and you can warm up with roasted chestnuts on the street.
Newlyweds have turned Tanzania into one of the most popular honeymoon destinations, as you really do need a few weeks to take in the African splendour and safari. You’ve got the Serengeti, Kilimanjaro and the azure coast of Zanzibar (a friend who goes every year brings back the most amazing semi-precious jewellery). I’d say don’t wait to get married, go now!
This depends on how you feel about international relations and foreign policy – while there’s probably a few places we’d prefer to visit first, Syria does look fascinating. We can imagine the food would be incredible, and with much of the country untouched by tourism hospitality would be at its best.
I’ve dreamt of going back to Japan after a mad day in Tokyo which ended in the world’s most expensive taxi ride (just make sure you leave plenty of time to make your flight, or goodbye $350!). Tokyo is hugely fun but then there’s the cherry blossom festival in April which is almost too pretty, and all those other cities to explore like Osaka (a winter destination more and more popular with Aussies), Hiroshima and Kyoto.
Have you been to any of these countries? Where are you planning to visit in 2011?