Top 10 Destinations for 2011

With our 2010 holidays behind us, it’s on to the hotly-tipped travel trends for 2011! If you are looking for inspiration about where to travel in 2011, take a look at our top ten destinations.

The two winning Capital of Culture 2011 cities have been announced, so expect an exciting programme of art, music and dance during your trip. The United Nations have named 2011 as the International Year of Forests so we take a look at places at the fore of sustainable development. There’s plenty of World Cup and Olympic Games preparation underway around the world and many cities have some exciting regeneration projects on the go too. Happy travels!

Tallinn

Estonia
Named Capital of Culture 2011 Tallinn will be a hub of exciting goings-on this year. It has aroused plenty of interest over the past few year as good value destination serviced by budget airlines. But its shiny new title as Capital of Culture should really be the deal-clincher for booking your trip to Tallinn. The Estonian capital is a picturesque red-roofed, coastal city and Tallinn old town makes for lovely idle wandering. Watch out for upcoming Capital of Culture events including a rooftop cinema, Kumu Museum exhibitions, the Song Festival Grounds and (drum roll please) the Fire Sculpture World Championships. Book a Tallinn hostel.

Check out our Tallin Estonia: Capital of Culture 2011 special!

New York City

USA
Officials have announced that the memorial ground at ground zero will be open in time for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist bombings. The eight-acre site where the twin towers once stood has been developed into a landscaped plaza complete with waterfalls, over 400 trees and a parapet wall inscribed with the names of those killed in both the 2001 and 1993 attacks. The $610 million memorial plaza will open to the public in September 2011 and for those planning to visit New York City in 2011, the plaza and green space will be a touching and sobering experience. Book New York City hostels for your trip.

London

UK
The love-birds are tying the knot in 2011. And not just any old love-birds, they’re bloomin’ British royalty! Dashing Prince William and Kate Middleton are to be wed at Westminster Abbey in London on Friday 29th April 2011 which coincides with the feast of St Catherine of Siena. With the happy couple’s promise of “a classic British occasion”, already the number of booked flights to the UK have rocketed. People all over the world are keen to join in the ceremonious fanfare of waving union jacks and watching the procession and the British royal wedding will be a public holiday. London will also be scrubbing up for the 2012 Olympic Games. If you need a cheap London hotel or hostel, there are plenty available in the city centre. Check out our snazzy new video guide to London and discover some hidden gems. Alternatively, for the best afternoon tea and traditional English pubs, why not read London: How to be English.

Turku

Finland
Once the capital of Finland Turku is in the limelight once more as the European Capital of Culture 2011. The city lies at the mouth of the Aura river and although Turku airport is a few miles from the centre, the Stockholm to Turku ferry is a picturesque journey through the Archipelago. Floating bars and restaurants are bustling in summer and Turku University is the oldest in Finland. It is home to a number of music festivals including the Turku Music Festival, Ruisrock and Down by the Laituri, Northern Europe’s largest electronic festival. Head to Logomo, a former engineering workshop in the heart of the old industrial shipbuilding area for major concerts and exhibitions as part of the European Capital of Culture events programme.
Book a Turku hostel. Read our Turku Finland: Capital of Culture 2011 special!

Monteverde

Costa Rica
The United Nations has declared 2011 the International Year of Forests. The aim is to help raise awareness and strengthen sustainable forest management as well as conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. Monteverde is pitched as something of a model for ecotourism with large parts of the rainforest saved from cattle and coffee farm developers. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve is a vivid example of the biological diversity that forests can sustain. Over 369 different bird species were recorded here within a 24-hour period by the Audubon Society. Find Monteverde hostels close to the Cloud Forest Preserve. For more information, check out our Eco Travel Guide.

Rio de Janeiro

Brazil
The city is undergoing some serious development for both the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Plus it is holding the magnificent Rock in Rio Concert in September. In Rio, rich and poor live side by side and the crime-ridden slums are notorious around the world. But with major events on the horizon, billions are being invested into the remodelling of the favelas, a project called Morar Carioca, “Rio Living”. Visitors to Rio de Janeiro in 2011 will not only be able to enjoy the famous beaches, the seductive Rio nightlife and the glorious views, they will be visiting during a period of exciting regeneration. We have a great guide to help you find budget Accommodation in Rio de Janeiro with Rio hostels near the beach or in the exciting Lapa neighbourhood.

Mauritius

A popular choice for swooning honeymooners willing to splash the cash, according to Fast Track, travellers have been rating Mauritius as a good value destination. Yes, the flights are pricey, but your day-to-day allowance is minimal. There is an increasing amount of cheap accommodation in Mauritius. Travellers can book private rooms from as little as €8 per night. Many people who visit Mauritius are looking for a little slice of Paradise, but with delicious Chinese, Indian and French cuisine, welcoming and friendly locals and stunning virgin rainforests, Mauritius has so much more than white sandy beaches. An added bonus, if you’re looking for front row seats to the total eclipse due on 15th June 2011, Mauritius promises a prime view of the entire event due to its location almost directly beneath the moon around that time of year. Believe it or not you can find cheap accommodation in Mauritius.

Wellington

New Zealand
Hosting the Rugby World Cup 2011 New Zealand will be top of the list for rugby fans. Cities hosting matches include Auckland and Christchurch but Wellington boasts a waterside stadium! It’s also the culinary capital, close to Wairarapa’s gourmet wine region and the gateway to the South Island should you wish to venture further afield. Learn about Maori culture at the Te Papa Museum and take the cable car up to the Botanic Gardens. With Peter Jackson’s new two-part Hobbit film due for release in 2011 and 2012, New Zealand gets ready for another round of tourists flocking to glimpse the awe-inspiring landscape that appears in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. If you need hostels Wellington offers cheap accommodation and if you need help planning your trip, be sure to read New Zealand: North v South Island.

Machu Picchu

Peru
2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the first ever foreigner to reach Machu Picchu. Hiram Bingham travelled to the site in 1911 where he made public the forgotten citadel. Recently the area has suffered from heavy flooding and the ancient site was closed for two months. Now, ambitious redevelopment projects have been implemented to enhance the visitor experience. Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, is the nearest town and as an important setting-off point, public spaces and facades are due to be given a facelift. Other upcoming events near Machu Picchu 2011 include an International Seminary on orchids – there are over 200 varieties of the flower in the region – a five-day celebration in July with a flight of the condor, festive lights and much more. To put together your own Peru itinerary, check out How to Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and stay at Cusco hostels, a great base for exploring the Inca sites.

Chernobyl

Ukraine
New for 2011, the Ukraine has recently announced that it intends to offer official tours of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident site. Costing between €150 and €300 the Chernobylinterinform Agency, an authorised state enterprise, will host chaperoned tours of the area which has been largely closed to the world since 1986 when Chernobyl’s Reactor No. 4 exploded. It is still very much a ghost town with the famous Pripyat Fairground and the large Ferris wheel out of action. Nature has very much taken hold of the Exclusion Zone, now a designated lush and verdant wildlife sanctuary, one of the largest in Europe. Tours of Chernobyl town will run from Kiev but officials say that travellers should be aware that illegal tours are also in operation. It is important for anyone with an interest in the tour should make arrangements through the Chernobylinterinform Agency. Book our top-rated Kiev hostels.

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Thanks to Hansueli KrapfAlain76, maveric2003 and audrey_sel for the images off Flickr!

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