Each new year brings a new discussion of what hot spots travelers should pay attention to. There are lists floating around the Internet of what cities to visit, what beaches to frequent, and so forth.
I often find myself feeling like the lists miss out on some great destinations, which is no surprise given how subjective travel lists are. After reading Frommer’s list for 2012, I liked several of their suggestions (Beirut, Ghana, the Yucatan Peninsula), but wanted to add some of my own “hot spots” for 2012.
Below are my travel picks for this new year, a year hopefully filled with travel adventures (international or domestic)…
1) Dublin. I spent a few days in Dublin several years ago and fell in love with the easygoing, friendly locals (most likely laid back on account of how many Guinnesses they can put away before 10 a.m., but no matter). After feasting on some incredible Irish stew with soda bread, it’s easy to arrange a tour to take you out to the emerald hills and waterfalls that make Ireland so breathtaking.
2) Dubrovnik. In recent days, Croatia has been touted as an “up and coming” tourist destination, on account of its great location on the Mediterranean but cheaper prices than other European countries. Some friends of mine visited recently and reported back that Dubrovnik is a great combination of quaint history and emerging modernness.
3) Tahiti. Leon and I are spending our honeymoon in French Polynesia, and I am counting the days–I developed a fascination with the islands back in college after seeing pictures of the bungalows suspended over turquoise water. The area is also famous for its vanilla and black pearls, not to mention that Tahiti hosts a Paul Gauguin museum chronicling the intriguing life of the artist who left his family in Paris to morph himself into an islander.
4) Tel Aviv. It has always been a dream of mine to make it out to Israel at some point to visit the Holy Land, and to experience Tel Aviv. Known as the cultural capital of Israel, the city has everything from beaches to the famous Old Jaffa neighborhood to incredible museums.
5) Auckland. New Zealand has the whole Lord of the Rings-esque scenic beauty, to be sure, but I mainly want to visit because all of the New Zealanders I’ve met are just so cool. When I lived in Korea, I worked with several New Zealand natives and loved them to death. They love their homeland, and after seeing one picture of Auckland, my attention was captured.
6) Seoul. It seems like yesterday that I left Seoul to return to the States, and I cannot believe that it was actually three years ago. The city is a mix of vibrant intensity, chic cosmopolitanism, and traditional heritage. In one neighborhood of Seoul, you can find the newest gadgets that aren’t even available in the U.S. yet, while in another you can observe Koreans participating in a cultural festival wearing their native hanbok (traditional dress). And don’t get me started on how incredible the food is…
7) Colorado Springs. Obviously, the U.S. has incredible travel destinations that bring in tourists from all over, so I had to include a great American city in my list. Leon and I have spent time in Colorado recently, since he hails from Pueblo, and we took time over the holidays to meet up with some of my college friends in Colorado Springs. The snow-capped mountains were breathtaking, and the view of Pike’s Peak does not disappoint. There is a cute downtown area where we grabbed some fondue one evening, and I remember being impressed with the city’s laid back, fun vibe.
These are just a few suggestions for 2012–I’ll of course be interested to see what locations emerge as promising destinations as the year goes on. In the meantime, happy travels!