With only a few hours left in 2010, we here at CheapOair are already thinking about where to go in the new year. The travel addicted writers that make up the CheapOair travel blog got together and compiled a list of the top 11 destinations to check out in 2011. From well known cities to lesser known locales, we got you covered. Check out our picks and tell us where you plan to visit in 2011.
Lima, Peru: Emerging as the culinary capital of South America, the overlooked city of Lima, Peru is an up and coming city for 2011. Let your nose lead the way and indulge yourself with fresh and unique dishes. (And don’t forget to try Inca Kola; their strange version of Coca Cola!) You can’t leave Lima without trying the traditional Ceviche, a raw seafood dish marinated in citrus juices and chili peppers. This multifaceted city offers distinct culture, exciting nightlife and even great surfing only a few miles away. If you’re looking for your introduction to South America, this is the city to begin with the USD (1USD=2.81 nuevo soles) giving you a good bang for your buck.
Leiden, The Netherlands: Often visitors to Holland go right to Amsterdam; the sin city capital of Europe. Take a 20 minute train ride south and explore the sweet college town of Leiden. Its home to the oldest University in The Netherlands; Leiden University. Those nostalgic to cities with a robust history and cobblestone streets will instantly fall in love with the simple vibe of the city. Hang out with local college students that will help you paint the town red and will know the best local bars to throw back a few drinks. It’s also the closest city to the infamous Keukenhof tulip gardens that bloom in the spring. You’ll be surprised at what a small city has to offer.
New Orleans, Louisiana: Always worth a visit, but not necessarily if you are looking to catch up on your sleep. Cajun restaurants and the French Quarter’s nightlife will keep you going and are worth the visit and you can worry about rest and relaxation when you get home.
Bologna, Italy: There’s no place on earth like Italy, but the one off-putting thing about the main towns is the relentless crowds. And this is where Bologna comes in. It’s exquisitely beautiful (a medieval town filled with terracotta roofs and cloistered streets), has fantastic food (it’s known as some of the best in Italy), friendly locals and, best of all, a fraction of the tourists of, say Florence. Better still, it’s one of the hub stations of Italy’s lightning fast Eurostar train service, so you can get to Florence in an hour or Milan in two.
Manchester, England: Manchester’s fortunes have gone up and down, but recently England’s second city has been enjoying a full resurgence. Not only is it one of the most gay-friendly cities in the United Kingdom, but it’s also a fantastic place for hipsters, enjoys grand old architecture and still has relics of the 1980s and 1990s music scene that really put the city on the map.
Gulf Shores, Alabama: The Gulf Coast had a rough 2010 with the oil spill that landed on its shores. But, now that the coast is clear, there are incentives to visiting the area known for its white sand beaches, seafood and southern hospitality. Expect to see great deals in 2011; local businesses are eager to please visitors making this a great year to plan a romantic or family beach getaway.
Quebec City, Canada: For a taste of Europe on a budget, Quebec City, Canada offers history and charm with the added benefit of the Canadian dollar. Nature enthusiasts will admire its pristine parks, gardens and wildlife areas, while those looking for a cultured getaway will enjoy the city’s fine French cuisine, museums and festivals.
Ambergris Caye, Belize: With its location on the Caribbean Sea, there are a lot of reasons to love Belize, and specifically, Ambergris Caye. Travelers can’t use their lack of knowledge of the Spanish language as an excuse, since English is the primary language. Crystal clear blue waters surround the island of Ambergris Caye, making it a great spot for diving and snorkeling.
Cape Town, South Africa: Last year’s World Cup put Cape Town, South Africa on the map (we even sent someone there). While you typically think of small rolling hills and vast plains in South Africa, this South African city offers the best of both worlds with rocky cliffs for exploring and white sandy beaches for fun in the sun. You’ll find a great cosmopolitan ambiance as well in Cape Town, highlighted by its great cuisine.
Portland, Oregon: This Northwestern United States city is often times overshadowed by the more popular destination of Seattle. But where Portland, Oregon lacks in size, it makes up with an abundance of culture – including art galleries, wine bars and historic architecture. The laid-back locale provides easy day trips to Pacific Ocean beaches and quality vineyards. Plus no trip to Portland is complete without stopping for some fried goodies at Voodoo Doughnuts.
Brooklyn, New York: The next time you make plans to visit the Big Apple, be sure to leave a day or two to explore the popular neighboring borough of Brooklyn. Make your way to the newly revamped and historic Coney Island where you can
nosh on a hot dog at Nathan’s Famous, spend a care free day with a cup of Cafe Grumpy coffee in Prospect Park, enjoy a pie at DiFara’s or simply walk across the world famous Brooklyn Bridge. A visit to New York City without checking out Brooklyn? Fugetaboutit!
Happy New Year and may 2011 bring you lots of opportunity to travel!
Photo: Simone Roda