After unveiling its top 10 countries to visit this 2013, Popular travel guide Lonely Planet has posted its list of cities they recommend travelers to visit this year. The list is very diverse, covering all continents except Antarctica, with each city providing a unique experience to tourists of all ages and preferences.
San Francisco, California – This darling of America’s western coast has been a hotbed for kindred spirits, attracting people of different cultures, beliefs, and orientations. The city has something more to give this 2013 than the Golden Gate Bridge and Haight Street: San Francisco will host the 34th America’s Cup, and big changes have been happening along the city’s busy waterfront.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands – The cultural capital of Holland has been a favorite among travelers, but this year is special. The city’s famous canal ring turns 400 years old. It is Vincent van Gogh’s 160th birth anniversary, while his color-swirled museum is 40 years old. The Rijksmuseum, which houses a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, is set to reopen after a 10-year restoration. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, often considered among the world’s best, is celebrating its 125th anniversary. The Artis Royal Zoo and Felix Meritis Cultural Center mark 175 years and 225 years respectively. With all these celebrations, expect a slew of celebratory concerts, exhibits, and street festivals throughout the year.
Hyderabad, India (pictured) – Hyderabad’s recent history is nothing to celebrate about. After India’s independence from Great Britain, the palaces and pleasure gardens of this once princely state capital were sold off and looted. You need trained eyes to be able to see this city’s unique beauty, but things are about to change. Several palaces in the Old City have been refurbished, such as the Falaknuma Palace, a seven-star hotel beautifully restored by the Taj Group. Other monuments and buildings are also being repaired.
Derry, United Kingdom – Also known as Londonderry, this Maiden City in Northern Ireland has been declared the UK City of Culture for 2013, which is why this historic walled city is undergoing a renaissance. Its calendar is packed with cultural events, such as the 10-day All Ireland Fleadh, the biggest Irish festival in the world. There are also pageants, dance, and music festivals to be held throughout the year.
Beijing, China – The 2008 Summer Olympics may be long gone, but its effects can be seen throughout China’s capital city such as the presence of English street signs and plenty of architectural gems like the Bird’s Nest. The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway has recently been opened, connecting the two cities in just under five hours. The city is also bearing witness to the rise of new subcultures.
Christchurch, New Zealand – The Garden City is rising from the rubble that shook this beautiful city in 2010 and 2011, as it is being rehabilitated with new energy and inventiveness. The local cuisine has surprising offers; have lunch in a Burmese restaurant and dinner in a Turkish kitchenette. Live music venues dotted the city, while innovative artworks rise from empty demolition sites.
Hobart, Australia – Located in the island of Tasmania, this sleepy harbor town has attracting the outdoorsy kind of tourists. But with the opening of the Museum of Old and New Art, scores of culture geeks have been arriving on the city’s shores. This year is also the unveiling of the Theatre of the World exhibition in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, curated by the former director of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The city’s growing culinary credentials are also worth noting and tasting.
Montréal, Canada – The country’s Francophone center has been cited by respectable publishers as among the world’s happiest (Lonely Planet, 2010) and hippest (New York Times, 2011). Quebec is the location of Stephen Spielberg’s upcoming summer release “Robocalypse” and the city has been inviting everyone to its new urban beach. This year is also the launch of the new Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, culminating its ambitious “Space for Life” project. Meanwhile, Montréal’s social calendar is highlighted by the unveiling of the Grévin wax museum, the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the Place des Arts, and the opening of Point Zero Hotel, which is owned by the popular Canadian fashion label.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Ethiopia’s impressive economic growth is reflected in the fast-paced changes happening in its capital city. Addis Ababa is not only the diplomatic capital of Africa, it is also a thriving metropolis and a city possessed with its multifaceted assets.
Puerto Iguazú, Argentina – Its main natural gem, the Foz de Iguazú, has won its slot among the world’s new seven wonders of nature following a worldwide poll. This vast waterfall, spreading along the Argentine-Brazil border, welcomes a spike of travelers arriving in Puerto Iguazú, the main tourist base. The city offers some of the best hostels, luxury hotels, and spas on this side of South America.
Source: Lonely Planet
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