posted by Colm Hanratty | 12 Comments
Every year I take a look at what cities are going to be the ones to watch for that year. This is based on different things – events taking place, personal experiences, where our customers are booking and more. Here’s where I think will be hot in 2013…
1. Taipei, Taiwan
Ask somebody to think of an Asian city popular with travellers and most will mention places like Bangkok, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. The Taiwanese capital isn’t one that would traditionally spring to too many people’s minds...but that’s changing. We saw a huge increase in the number of people deciding to go to Taipei in 2012 and this will continue in 2013. Those who make the trip will enjoy a view from one of the world’s tallest buildings, gloriously tasty and extremely affordable food and more.
2. Porto, Portugal
Anybody who follows @hostelworld on Twitter, likes us on Facebook or is a regular visitor to our blog will know one thing – many of the world’s top hostels are in Lisbon, and as a result more and more people are flocking to Portugal ever year. Thankfully, Porto is piggy-backing on all of this newfound popularity. I was lucky enough to have visited Porto last September and can clarify that it’s got a lot going for it. This city of bridges is visually stunning, it knows how to party, and it’s great value.
3. Christchurch, New Zealand
Earthquakes rocked the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island not only in 2010, but again in 2011. But Christchurch is a city rising heroically from these disasters. More and more of the city is being deemed safe for visitors again meaning you can sample more and more of its restaurants and bars – something this city has lots of. Plus, as anybody who’s visited Christchurch before knows, it is the gateway to some of the most beautiful parts of the world. Just go to the cinema to see a movie about hobbits and wizards for a sneak preview...
4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Every year is a big year for Amsterdam for the simple fact that is just that – Amsterdam. This is easily one of my favourite cities in the world and I’ve been there around eight times. But 2013 is a particularly special year for the Dutch capital – the long-awaited re-opening of the Rijksmuseum is taking place, it’s the 400th Anniversary of the city’s celebrated canals and the Van Gogh Museum will celebrate being open 40 years also. I also recently learned from a post by Keith of travel blog Velvet Escape that the city’s Artis Zoo turns 175 this year while it’s the 125th anniversary of the city’s concert hall the Concertgebouw. 2013 is going to be a big and busy year for Amsterdam.
5. San Diego, USA
San Diego is a city that has a lot going for it. If you want to spend your time doing nothing else only take it easy by the sea, this is the city for you. If you like a city break to be full of exploration, you’ll enjoy strolling the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter, soaking up the atmosphere in the city’s Downtown or hopping between the boutiques, restaurants and cafés of Hillcrest. This year will be the year that visitors to the States will look past New York, San Francisco, Chicago and other parts of this vast country and explore cities like this one.
6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sure, the public eye will be on Brazil in 2014 due to the World Cup, and in particular on Rio in 2016 when the Olympics are held there, but Brazil’s best-known city doesn’t have to wait until then to bask in the limelight. Rejuvenation of some of the city’s areas that need it most has begun, making the city a far more accessible place than it was in the past. Of course it’s Rio’s beaches where most people spend their time – Ipanema and Copacabana are two parts of the world that unquestionably have the ‘wow’ factor. As does the Sugar Loaf, Christ the Redeemer and more.
7. Budapest, Hungary
While travellers go to Budapest in droves every year, last year we saw a huge increase in the number of people visiting the Hungarian capital. I can see why. For a start, it is stunning. Take a stoll down the Danube and you’ll soon realise this is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Secondly, it boasts something that no other European capital does…ruin bars. These are bars set up in, well, ruins. Thirdly, thermal baths – this is what I love Budapest for the most. The last time I was there I visited all five in the city centre. I advise you to visit all the above and more if you visit in 2013.
8. Tokyo, Japan
On March 11th, 2011 the world was in shock as we saw events unfold in Japan from the earthquake that took place. As a result, people stopped travelling to Japan. Thankfully in 2012 things began to pick up and this will continue over the next twelve months. It’s a bit of a cliché, but there really is nowhere else on earth like Tokyo. It’s one of those cities where you don’t know where to look, where you’re constantly in a haze from all that is going on around you. I love this city. If you haven’t visited yet, now is the time to plan your trip.
9. Girona, Spain
Barcelona; Madrid; Seville; Valencia – these are all cities that travellers going to Spain have read about in the past and, subsequently, have pencilled in to their itineraries. But this is all set to change thanks to an army of bloggers who are constantly visiting Girona and the Costa Brava region, sharing tips, posts, images and more on Twitter using the #incostabrava hashtag. What they are sharing is simply stunning, because that’s what Girona is. The architecture, the lifestyle, the river – this city has so much going for it. If you’re going to Barcelona this year, jump on a bus or train to Girona for a day or two. You won’t regret it.
10. Cape Town, South Africa
If you’re looking for a city to really blow you away in 2013 (and subsequently a country), start thinking of visiting Cape Town. Fewer cities have made me say ‘wow’ in all my years of travelling like Cape Town has. From Table Mountain, which was confirmed as one of the New Wonders of the World in March 2012, to Chapman’s Peak Drive, to the copious amounts of breathtaking beaches, Cape Town will knock your socks off.
Where do you think will be a destination to watch out for in 2013?Photos courtesy of ryklin and rubyshoes. All images used under the Creative Commons license.