Thursday, October 29, 2009

Top Places to Visit in 2008

Beijing: The city that is hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics has been recently abuzz with construction, including the "Bird's Nest" stadium seen here. Beijing is putting on its best face for the event, which will see all of China on the world stage.


Quebec City: This Canadian city, celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2008, is one of the world’s most enchanting destinations. Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City on the St. Lawrence River in 1608, establishing the first permanent French settlement in North America.

Liverpool: The European Capital of Culture for 2008 is hosting a variety of arts-related events, including a comprehensive exhibit of Gustav Klimt's work, Theatre in the Park, the start of the Tall Ships Race 2008, and a once-in-a-lifetime concert featuring one of the “lads of Liverpool,” Sir Paul McCartney.

Bhutan: If the lush valleys and snowcapped mountains, ancient temples and monasteries, and expansive markets full of cheerful locals haven’t lured you yet, reconsider: In 2008, the 101st anniversary of the country’s monarchy will be commemorated by a yearlong celebration.

Greenland: The midnight sun practically guarantees encounters with reindeer, seals, and narwhals, but it's the Arctic island's Ilulissat ice fjord, which has retreated six miles in just a few years, and Warming Island, which was thought to have been part of mainland Greenland until the connecting ice thawed, that tend to leave visitors dumbstruck.


Lisbon: The cheapest capital in Western Europe is worth a visit not only for its affordability but for its dramatic hillside villages, fashionable cobblestone enclaves and innovative cuisine.


Mozambique: This country is poised to become Africa’s next big tourist destination. Its recent economic success allows its natural assets—including 1,500 miles of unspoiled tropical shoreline and pristine reef-fringed archipelagos—to shine, and the government is restoring the million-acre Gorongosa National Park.


New Orleans: Combine a rebuilding boom with powerhouse couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie moving to the French Quarter, and a revitalized Canal Street beckoning musicians and ramblers back to its pretty riverside promenade, and you've got the makings of a fully revitalized city.

Okanagan Valley: Its landscapes are dotted with verdant fields, cascading hillsides and ample lakes, leaving no question the area makes for a great wine-country getaway. This area boasts the climate for traditional grape harvesting and the production of Canada's famous ice wine.


Quito: The capital of Ecuador is coming into its own, thanks to a burgeoning culinary and nightlife scene, new attractions ranging from botanical gardens to cultural heritage museums and the opening of several luxury hotels.


Slovenia: Though Slovenia was one of the first Eastern European countries to adopt the euro, the country’s hesitance to adapt to modern times has made its Venetian-era squares and tiny Alpine cities a fantastic bargain for the buck.


Tobago: New flights allow visitors to bypass Trinidad and reach Tobago's secluded and romantic shores, where an unpretentious, slow-paced and eco-friendly atmosphere prevails, relatively free of tourists and overdevelopment.


Tunisia: Visitors can see the ruins of the ancient Phoenician city of Carthage and historic sites like the coliseum at El Jem; relax and rejuvenate at one of several beach resorts; venture through the Sahara on camelback or 4x4; or camp out in the desert in luxurious linen tents.

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