Must-See: Top Travel Destinations Around the World in 2012
What are the top travel destinations around the world for 2012?
National Geographic, Lonely Planet, CNNGo ,Travel & Leisure, USA TODAY, Budget Travel, and Frommers all listed their top travel destination picks for this year.
Which destinations did they all recommend? We examined their lists and found the destinations that made more than one of the above top destinations lists - the crème de la crème of 2012 top destinations:
Guimarães Portugal: A northern Portugese city settled in the 9th century, its center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It made the top places to visit list in 2012 for Lonely Planet, Travel & Leisure and USA TODAY.
[caption id="attachment_5202" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Photo by: b00nj"][/caption]
Poland: The quarter-final and semi-final games of the 14th UEFA European Football Championship (Euro 2012 from June 8 - July 1) will be held in Warsaw. Recommended by CNNGo and Budget Travel.
[caption id="attachment_5204" align="aligncenter" width="635" caption="Photo by: Shalom Alechem/Wikimedia Commons"][/caption]
Hawaii: The land of Aloha makes the list of top places to watch in 2012 for USA TODAY. CNNGo also recommends Hawaii, specifically Pearl Harbor, citing the 50th anniversary of the USS Arizona Memorial in May 2012.
[caption id="attachment_5228" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Photo by: photobunny (via Flickr)"][/caption]
Canada: whether it's Calgary, recommended by CNNGo (July is the 100 year anniversary of the Calgary Stampede, the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth") or the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, recommended by Frommers for its incredible tides (the highest in the world) or Toronto recommended by Travel & Leisure ("able to double as New York City on film") or simply Eastern Canada suggested by Budget Travel or Muskoka, Ontario which National Geographic describes as "the heart of Ontario's cottage country...true wilderness," Canada makes everyone's list.
[caption id="attachment_5209" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Photo by: Randy Craig, All Canada Photos/Alamy"][/caption]
London: As the host city of this year's Summer Olympics (July 27 - August 12), London makes the hot destinations to visit list in 2012 for CNNGo, USATODAY, Lonely Planet and National Geographic. Already the city has spent $15 billion to spruce itself up for the upcoming games (source).
[caption id="attachment_5210" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Photo by: Dagmar Schwelle, laif/Redux"][/caption]
Spain: Lonely Planet gives a spot to Cadiz, in Southwestern Spain, on its top 10 cities in 2012 list. National Geographic and Frommers both recommend Girona in Northeastern Spain. National Geographic describes the region as "sunshine laced wilderness."
[caption id="attachment_5211" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Photo by: DMWyllie"][/caption]
Greece - while Budget Travel recommends travel to Athens and Travel & Leisure recommends the region of Messenia, "the westernmost finger of the hand-shaped Peloponnese peninsula, filled with sun-drenched valleys, Byzantine churches, and sandy dunes that border the crystal-blue Ionian Sea," National Geographic includes on its list the mainland of Greece, with its rugged terrain and secluded monasteries.
[caption id="attachment_5214" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Photo by: Reiner Harscher, laif/Redux (Roussanou Monastery)"][/caption]
Panama: National Geographic refers to Panama as an "Eco-Wonderland" with stunning nature and a rich indigenous culture. The country also makes Travel & Leisure's hottest destinations list this year.
[caption id="attachment_5218" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Photo by: Rita Willaert"][/caption]
Land of the Maya: Frommers includes the Yucatán Peninsula on its top destinations list for 2012. Budget Travel recommends visiting Belize for travelers looking to connect with the Maya civilization. USA TODAY takes a broader approach and includes on its list of destinations to watch in 2012 Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. National Geographic suggests travelers looking for a Maya connection visit Guatemala, specifically Chichicastenango - a town where almost the entire population is indigenous and which lies 3 hours from Guatemala City.
[caption id="attachment_5221" align="aligncenter" width="635" caption="Photo by: archer10 (dennis) via Budget Travel"][/caption]
Japan: Frommers added to their list of top 10 destinations the 'model green city' of Fukuoka, Japan, located on the island of Kyushu about 550 miles west of Tokyo. USA TODAY included the entire country of Japan on its list of destinations to watch in the coming year.
[caption id="attachment_5223" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Fukuoka, Japan. Photo by: Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub) via Flickr"][/caption]
Oman: National Geographic and Lonely Planet both include Muscat, Oman in their list of top destinations for travelers to visit in 2012. Lonely Planet describes the city's inhabitants as "still genuinely interested to see visitors, so much so that first-timers might have the odd feeling of returning to the house of an old friend."
[caption id="attachment_5222" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Photo by: erkan.pinar (Flickr)"][/caption]
Voila - the top 11 destinations for 2012 as selected by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Travel & Leisure, USA TODAY, Budget Travel, and Frommers.
Which one's on your list?
Guimarães by b00nj: http://www.flickr.com/photos/b00nj/5310477775/sizes/z/in/photostream/
Warsaw by Shalom Alechem/Wikimedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Warsaw_-_Royal_Castle_Square.jpg
Hawaii by photobunny: http://www.flickr.com/photos/photobunny_earl/176870667/sizes/l/in/photostream/
Muskoka, Ontario by Randy Craig, All Canada Photos/Alamy: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips-2012/#/botw-main-gallery-muskoka_41329_600x450.jpg
London by Dagmar Schwelle, laif/Redux: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips-2012/#/botw-main-gallery-london_41326_600x450.jpg
Spain by DMWyllie: http://www.flickr.com/photos/diegowyllie/1939657702/sizes/l/in/photostream/
Roussanou Monastery, Greece by Reiner Harscher, laif/Redux: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips-2012/#/botw-main-gallery-greece_41324_600x450.jpg
Panama City by Rita Willaert: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rietje/2342855343/
Caracol, Belize by archer10 (dennis): http://www.flickr.com/photos/archer10/2214364048/in/photostream/
Fukuoka, Japan by Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub): http://www.flickr.com/photos/clarkece/4756773968/sizes/l/in/photostream/
Oman by erkan.pinar: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21712342@N07/5259941413/