IN PICS: 15 HOTTEST holiday destinations for 2012
TripAdvisor reveals the destinations travellers are increasingly talking about
TripAdvisor travellers and editors have identified the top places to go in 2012. The list -- diverse in geography, culture and traveller experience -- is comprised of destinations which have seen remarkable increase in traveller reviews over the last year. Between Riga's architecture, Moscow's history and Seminyak's beaches, TripAdvisor has uncovered a top destination to suit every traveller's preference.
15. Mendoza, Argentina
Mendoza enjoys a picturesque location on the eastern side of the Andes and holds the majority of Argentina's vineyards. With an abundance of parks, lakes and rivers, as well as its great skiing, Mendoza is an ideal destination in which to enjoy the outdoors.
Cody Badger/Creative Commons
14. Essaouira, Morocco
Essaouira provides a relaxed alternative to the high energy of Marrakech. Visitors to this lovely coastal destination are attracted to its beaches, fresh seafood and medina.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
13. Lyon, France
Located in the Rhone-Alpes region, Lyon is France's third-largest city. Like many of its neighbours, Lyon is well-known for its gastronomy and impressive selection of Michelin-starred restaurants, while the Saint-Jean and the Croix-Rousse areas -- UNESCO World Heritage sites -- are well worth visiting.
12. San Sebastian, Spain
The ways to keep entertained in San Sebastian are seemingly endless, with its stunning scenery, great restaurants, beautiful beaches, lively nightlife and major film and music festivals, as well as ski resorts within driving distance.
San Sebastian, SpainPhotographs:
11. Bordeaux, France
Bordeaux is renowned not only for producing some of the best wines in the world, but also for its unique architecture which has earned a UNESCO World Heritage site listing. When not visiting vineyards, be sure to check out the area's picturesque beaches.
Regis Duvignau / Reuters
10. Chaweng, Koh Samui (Thailand)
Chaweng is the beach on the east coast of Koh Samui. The pristine white-sand and turquoise water beach is several kilometres long, with accommodations, restaurants and attractions to appeal to travellers of all budgets and interest.
Chaweng, Koh Samui (Thailand)Photographs:
Erik Jaeger/Creative Commons
9. Chania Town, Crete (Greece)
Located on the western side of Crete, the highlight of Chania Town is the Old Town which features centuries-old Venetian architecture. The sandy, turquoise-water beaches are beautiful, while the beachside bars and restaurants won't fail to impress.
Chania Town, Crete (Greece)Photographs:
Fiona Bradley/Creative Commons
8. Austin, Texas (USA)
The capital of America's second-largest state, Austin is well-known for its music scene, as well as its great restaurants. With its rolling hills, clear lakes and granite ravines, it also offers a variety of adventure and outdoor activities.
Austin, Texas (USA)Photographs:
Joshua Lott / Reuters
7. Vilnius, Lithuania
Vilnius, a European Capital of Culture in 2009, is the Lithuania's largest city. It boasts an impressive array of Baroque and Gothic architecture, while the large Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
6. Seminyak, Bali (Indonesia)
Away from the hustle and bustle of Bali's main drag, Kuta beach, this picturesque town is one of the island's more upscale areas. Enjoy fresh seafood while watching gorgeous sunsets and be sure indulge in the famous Balinese spa treatments.
Seminyak, Bali (Indonesia)Photographs:
Paolo Vasta/Creative Commons
5. Fethiye, Turkey (Aegean Coast)
Fethiye offers history alongside natural beauty. This as an ideal choice for a holiday that combines beach and culture – travellers can visit the ruins of the ancient city of Telmessos, while also enjoying the beautiful sandy coastline.
Fethiye, Turkey (Aegean Coast)Photographs:
Gareth Morgan/Creative Commons
4. Zurich, Switzerland
Located in north Switzerland on Lake Zurich and against a mountainous backdrop, Zurich is arguably one of Europe's most enviably located cities. It is known for its excellent restaurants and for a truly local experience, try the city's quintessential dish, Z rigschnatzlets - veal in a cream and wine sauce.
Christian Hartmann / Reuters
3. Moscow, Russia
Russia's capital will not fail to impress. It boasts beautiful architecture, world-famous theatre and an endless supply of must-visit museums and historical sites, including the Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, the Kremlin and more.
Denis Sinyakov / Reuters
2. Riga, Latvia
Riga is Latvia's largest and capital city and is home to an extensive collection of Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) architecture. The Old Town is particularly lovely with its cobbled streets and the city is well-known for its lively nightlife scene.
House of Blackheads by nightPhotographs:
1. Tallin, Estonia
A 2011 European Capital of Culture, Tallinn has recently come into its own. It's scenically located on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, while Tallinn Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city's beautiful architecture makes it a great place to explore on foot.
Vaihaysi Pande Daniel/Rediff.com