New Year’s Travel Plan: Top Travel Destinations and Best Travel Season 2010

With the New Year just a couple of weeks away, get your trip on next year’s travel following our top destinations 2010. From lush Colombian greenery to the gleaming streets of Stockholm, here’s a heads up on the places offering travellers the most over the next 12 months.


Green mountains, vibrant culture and sun-soaked beaches: Colombia’s delights are varied and plentiful. Once plagued by violence and avoided by all but the most hardy of travellers, this South American beauty is now as desirable a destination as its flamboyant Brazilian neighbour. In particular, capital city Bogotá is reaping the rewards of widespread rejuvenation, with visitors enjoying a wealth of intriguing museums, great shopping and a thriving night scene. Outside the capital, hedonists rejoice in the dusk-til-dawn party hotspot Cali, while relaxing days tick slowly by amid the balmy temperatures of Medellín and the laid-back pleasures of coastal Cartagena.

Best time to go: Enjoy dry sunny days in December-March, and July-August.


The lively and colourful city of Delhi comes even more alive in 2010 when the Commonwealth Games come to town. India’s frantic urban heart is hosting the sporting event from 3-14 October. Delhi is undergoing a series of improvements to prepare for the influx of visitors, including expansions to the metro system and airport, and a hearty push to teach basic English to as many in the hospitality and transport industries as possible. Away from the urban sprawl, this is a vast and diverse land, with tranquil beaches, parched deserts and fresh mountain retreats; for a contrast to Delhi’s wonderful chaos, vanish for a spell of rejuvenation in Kerala or embark on one of the country’s breathtaking train journeys.

Best time to go: Soak up the buzz of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in October.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s crashing waves and emerald mountains are hardly newcomers to the world’s travel scene, but with eco and adventure tourism set to continue rocketing in 2010, these windswept isles have taken on an even more prominent position among the world’s most relevant outdoorsy destinations; for active holidays that take your breath away, New Zealand remains leader of the pack, boasting winter sports, glacier hiking, trekking, caving, bungee jumping and watersports. As well as catering for no-frills backpacking holidays, New Zealand has fully grasped that eco and adventure have penetrated the luxury market, and offers a range of luxurious green and adventure opportunities, from deluxe wilderness lodges to exclusive natural remedy spas.

Best time to go: For outdoor pursuits, November-April offers the best conditions, while June-August is high season for skiing.


From the icy peaks of the Himalayas to the humid plains of Chitwan National Park, Nepal is well and truly open for business. Following an unsettled political period, this mountainous slice of Asia is ready to fully show off its numerous assets. Trekkers are flocking back to the Annapurna region and Everest Base Camp, paragliders can be seen sailing the skies over lakeside Pokara, and the country’s national parks are filling with people eager to glimpse impressive wildlife such as the endangered one-horned Indian rhino and the Bengal tiger. Capital city Kathmandu vibrates with swarms of rickshaws, mopeds and wide-eyed travellers; head to frantic Thamel for rooftop bars, lively backpacker hostels, and endless streams of shops stuffed with colourful souvenirs.

Best time to go: See the striking Himalayas at their most welcoming during October-November and March-April.

South Africa

When the sporting world’s spotlight hits South Africa next summer, it will not only be shining on football’s most famous tournament, but also on one of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth. Africa’s southernmost tip is a powerful collage of vast savannas, thundering wildlife and tropical pockets. Cities pack an equally big punch, with cosmopolitan Cape Town promising to be electric during the build up to the 2010 World Cup. Also hosting games, Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elisabeth, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Rustenburg and Pretoria will be buzzing with holidaymakers, so join in the urban festivities before escaping the crowds and heading off for adventures in the wildernesses.

Best time to go: Catch World Cup fever in June and July.


As exotic as its name suggests, Mozambique is fast becoming one of Africa’s prime destinations. This tropical strip is lapped by a gleaming stretch of Indian Ocean peppered with archipelagos, offering world class diving, snorkelling and fishing. A civil war lasting nearly 20 years once made Mozambique entirely inaccessible, but over the last decade it has steadily emerged onto the travelling map: for golden sands and turquoise waters, this is an idyllic destination. Mozambique has great transport links with neighbouring South Africa, so World Cup travellers can easily pop over the boarder; Mozambique’s capital Maputo is only 171km (106 miles), and four hours by bus, from South African city Nelspruit.

Best time to go: Have a dose of golden beach-life from May-November.


Sweden’s stylish capital is leading the eco way over the next 12 months as the European Green Capital. Gleaming Stockholm is a mesh of 14 islands, slick architecture and fresh green spaces; the city’s public transport system largely runs on renewable fuels and Stockholm releases a whacking 50% less green house gases than the national average. A network of pretty cycling routes provides visitors with plenty of eco-friendly sightseeing opportunities, and the addition of clean streets and polite (and extortionately good-looking) people make Stockholm a thoroughly pleasant stay. Once an appetite has been worked up by wandering the city’s many art galleries, a platter of fresh seafood is never very far away.

Best time to go: Enjoy balmy temperatures and predominantly clear days from May-October.


Following the mass hype a few years ago that touted Croatia as one of Europe’s rising stars, the Balkan country is now well and truly established as a holiday destination for all ages. Beachside areas see continual waves of new restaurants and hotels, and increasing crowds of glitterati enjoy the crystal waters and remote beaches via their shiny yachts. For a cultural break, the walled city of Dubrovnik is found in Croatia’s southernmost point and features stunning baroque architecture and cosy cafés. Dubrovnik Carnival in February is a great way to get a taster of traditional Croatian life, which includes an eclectic mix of musicians and even jousting. Croatia has also emerged as one of Europe’s leading wine producers, with both coastal and inland wine regions to explore.

Best time to go: See Croatia’s popular beaches at their best from May-September.


2010 is Istanbul’s year to shine. As one of the year’s European Capitals of Culture (along with Pécs in Hungary and Essen in Germany), the Turkish city is gearing up for a flourish of exciting new cultural events, and mass promotion of the city’s numerous established galleries, historic buildings and festivals. From the 1st Istanbul Literature Festival to Turkey’s largest ever stadium concert by Irish rockers U2, the next 12 months will see Istanbul bursting with activity. Escape the bustle with a daytrip to nearby Princes’ Islands: this is a car-free zone, so hop in a caleche (horse-drawn carriage) to enjoy the views. Outside the capital, Turkey has an abundance of attractive coastline – slip away to its Mediterranean shores for clean beaches and inviting seas.

Best time to go: Avoid the intense summer heat by visiting in April-May and September-October.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the glamorous United Arab Emirates’ largest and richest component, and it is shimmying its way to the top of the luxury tourism ladder, eclipsing neighbouring Dubai. While Dubai’s “biggest is best” mantra has become a bit passé, Abu Dhabi is established as the UAE’s cultural, financial and political hub; the capital city is now in the midst of creating an impressive high-end cultural district on Saadiyat Island, whose rainbow of glossy attractions will include a vast Guggenheim Museum. A prominent expat community means English is widely Spoken across Abu Dhabi, and, for those with a large enough wallet, a decadent lifestyle of golden champagne in glittering cocktail bar Cristal and no-expense-spared nights at the Emirates Palace awaits with open, well-dressed arms.

Best time to go: Visit in October-November and February-March to avoid the most stifling summer heat and the possibility of chilly December and January days.

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