Top 10 Destinations of 2012

Summer is approaching and so that means vacation time for most people. With vacation time sometimes comes the time that people take trips. Do you want some ideas of where to go?  During this economy dollars are tight and you don’t want to waste your precious travel dollars. Some places on the list are no brainers while others are places you might not have thought of.  While I love traveling anywhere there are places that stand out amongst the crowd of travel destinations.  Each of the places on this list has unforgettable things to do and see.

1) London, England: It is a busy year for the capital of England. Not only is it the Diamond Jubilee (60) anniversary for Queen Elizabeth II but London will also be hosting the Olympics this summer. The metropolis which always has plenty to do and see will really be hopping. There will be plenty events like concerts and pageants associated with Queen Elizabeth’s anniversary happening at the beginning of June. Then in July and August the city will be packed with tourists and athletes taking in or participating in the Olympics. Around $15 billion has been spent on sprucing up the city for the Olympics. That means money has been spent on improving the transit system and accommodations. It is also the 200th birthday of noted author and famous Londoner Charles Dickens. The city is a nice mix of old (ex: Tower Bridge) and new (ex: City Hall) right along the river Thames. Many feel that London is an expensive city and that can be true, but what is also true is that it offers plenty of free activities for tourists.

istanbul2) Istanbul, Turkey:  Last year Turkey saw an over 5% increase in tourism and in large part it was due to this beautiful city. It is a combination of great climate, lots of history to absorb, a lively culture, and (oddly enough) it not being seen as European. As far as this part of the world goes it is a top choice for a fairly inexpensive trip.

3) San Francisco, California: There is plenty to do in this West Coast city. Amongst them are seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting the infamous jail Alcatraz (even if you are not interested in the The Rock the ferry ride itself is worth taking), taking a ride on the cable cars, taking in Fisherman’s Wharf, eating in the large Chinatown, and taking a drive out to the wonderful wine country. Has some architecture from the late 18th century to visit. Plenty of museums and cathedrals to see. One of the largest public parks in the world, Golden Gate Park, is in San Francisco. I have not even mentioned yet the wonderful geographical setting of the city which is worth a trip all by itself. Plenty of cultural diversity make it a city that people fall in love with at first sight.

4) Rome, Italy: Located in the central west part of Italy, Rome is a scenic city surrounded by seven hills. It is the cultural, religious and economic centre of the country. The modern part of the city is made up of shopping centres and hotels whereas the historic section connects you to the past. There are plenty of must see sites like the Colosseum, the Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Aurelian Walls, Barberini Palace, and the Panthenon.  Much of the architecture is breathtaking with the fountains, cathedrals and palaces. Then there are the beautiful squares where you can absorb the energy of the city. Sexy and dramatic at the same time.

5) New York City, New York: You don’t have to start spreading the news about his famous city, as it gets enough headlines on its own. It’s hard to say what you will love most about New York City. As it is one of the most exciting places in the world to visit and offers you something for everyone. From the Empire State Building to Central Park to Broadway there is so much to see and do. A city that warrants repeated visits.

6) Barcelona, Spain: Filled with excellent examples of Gothic architecture yet it still has a youthful feeling to it. The restaurants, clubs and bars are usually packed all summer. The chefs in the restaurants will astound you with the high class food they make. Generally regarded as Spain’s most cosmopolitan city. The second largest city in Spain is really a collection of smaller cities. It is a region that has its own language, character and history. Just outside the city are some wonderful sandy beaches and the Montserrat mountain ranges. Make sure you leave time for some day trips.

7) Paris, France: One of the most stylish and romantic places in the world. It is always a popular choice. It will seduce you with its excellent (and cheap) wine and delicious food. For lovers of fashion, food and architecture. The capital city of France just offers the visitors plenty of opportunity to soak up the culture of the City of Love. When there make sure you don’t miss visiting the Eiffel Tower, L’Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, and the Louvre. It is a city that will tempt all your senses.

8) Marrakech, Morocco: It is the most important of the former colonial cities in Morocco. Located at the bottom of the Atlas Mountains. Made up of an old fortified city and a more modern area. Palaces, bustling marketplaces, the mystery of Medina, mopeds, mules, Mercedes, secret passages, and tombs are just some of the things that make up this city. With its sunny Mediterranean climate it is a popular vacation spot for Europeans and where a large number of them retire to.

9) Siem Reap, Cambodia: The city has become the largest boomtown in Cambodia over the past couple of years. It is still quite a quaint city and an excellent place to stay while touring the temples located nearby. The Angkor Archaeological Park is right nearby. Besides the temples once you are there you can indulge in cooking courses, massages, cultural performances, and orphanage visits. The Old French Quarter of the city features beautiful examples of Chinese architecture. A bonus is that many of the sites can be accessed by foot or by renting a motorbike.

10) Berlin, Germany: It is a perfect place to visit if you like culture, nightlife or history. Or all of them. It is easy to get around this large city due to the great public transportation system. While there make sure you see the Berlin Wall, Wall Victims Memorial, Brandenburg Gate, and the Reichstag. History is all around you.  It was the centre of Hitler’s Third Reich and was devastated during World War II. The 16th century part of the city has been largely rebuilt. Lots of contemporary architecture, a large zoo, tons of museums, and a nightclub on ever block. Or so it seems. An exciting city that is continuously evolving.

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