IN PICS: The 10 travel destinations to visit in 2012
Lonely Planet has drawn up its list of cities to visit next year. Here are the top ten cities you should be seen at according to the most bankable travel book in the world.
The good folks at Lonely Planet -- that definitive travel book and magazine -- have drawn up a list of cities to go to in 2012. While some cities are in the news for sporting events, others have made it to the list for a variety of other reasons.
Bengaluru also makes its way into the top five of the list as tourists and locals rejoice the arrival of the Metro railway. Check out which is that one city you should be seen in next year.
Image: The cities to visit in 2012
Locating along the northern coast of Australia, Darwin is a charming town with a population of around 110,000 people from across 50 nations who have made the city their home.
Multi-cultural influences are reflected in the day-to-day life of the people here and the Asian influence is seen not just in the food but also the local music.
Australian National Trust has named Darwin the 'multicultural icon of national significance'.
If it's relaxed lifestyle and great tropical weather you're looking for, Darwin is the place to go to.
Image: A tourist dives in a cage partially immersed in a crocodile pen in Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin
This one's for the Americophile!
Everyone who's anyone in the sporting world -- at least the one in the US -- will be heading to Orlando, which is all set to host the 61st NBA All-Star Weekend on February 25 and 26, 2012.
Visit the Walt Disney World at Lake Buena Vista or the other theme parks and museums including Universal Orlando Resort, Sea World Adventure Park or the International Trolley and Train Museum among others.
Image: Orlando, Lake Eola
Photographs: Hao$/Wikimedia Commons
Hong Kong isn't called Asia's World City for no reason. The Special Administrative Region (or SAR) of the People's Republic of China has a lot to offer beyond its tall concrete buildings and traffic-clogged streets.
Hong Kong has a lot of breathtaking trekking trails, a climate that is just right and country and marine parks that will simply blow your mind.
Hike, camp, fish or bike or go shopping or restaurant and art gallery hopping and soak in the multi-cultural melting pot called Hong Kong as it takes cautious steps towards full democracy this year.
Image: Bobby Yip/Reuters
Santiago de Chile offers you a wide, range of restaurants and bars as well as a lively nightlife.
With the opening of the Gran Torre Santiago or the Great Santiago Tower -- the tallest building in South America, Santiago has made its presence felt in the continent.
Apart from being a base for to visit surrounding areas, entertainment options in and around Santiago include trekking to the nearby Andes in summer or skiing down its slopes in the winters.
Image: Susana Vera/Reuters
Said to be the city where 'Portugal was born', Guimaraes was named by the New York Times as one of the places to visit in 2011.
The next year though is special for this historical city as it has been named as the European Capital of Culture 2012.
Guimaraes is also said to be the first city of Portugal and boasts og a lovely castle and a place that date back to the birth of the country itself.
Understandably Guimaraes has a great cultural life with numerous museums, monuments and art galleries to visit. Visit Guimaraes -- sounds like great fun!
Image: Outside view of the Guiamares castle in Northern Portugal
Photographs: Reuters Photographer / Reuters
Thank the late Stieg Larsson for popularising the capital of Sweden like no other author did.
Made up of 14 islands connected by over 50 bridges, Stockholm has been called the city with 'the freshest air and widest lungs of any European capital'.
With its cosmopolitan crowd and a great blend of modern Scandinavian architecture as well as classic fairytale towers, Stockholm is one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
According to Wiki Travel, 'over 30 per cent of the city area is made up of waterways and another 30% is made up of parks and green spaces', which is quite enduring for city-bred folks looking for some peace and quiet.
What's more Swedes don't just speak good English (which you can trust us can be a huge plus point) but are also very helpful in general.
And though it isn't the most inexpensive places in the continent, Stockholm can affect you in ways you've never expected.
Image: Vistors walk through the Christmas market in Stockholm's Gamla Stan district
Photographs: Bob Strong / Reuters
Said to be the oldest city in western Europe, Cadiz can boast of the quite a few places of historical interest.
In the month of February, however it's most popular two weeks-long carnival transforms the city from a quiet haven to a boisterous place celebrating by seemingly never-ending drinking binges and lots of singing and dancing.
The satirical groups or chirigotas are the highlights of the carnival as they perform comical musical pieces that are often political in nature.
Plan your visit around this time of the year.
Image: The group performing this chirigot is named in English 'It's Called A Mop'
Photographs: Christer Hansen Eriksen/Creative Commons
With the city finally getting its metro rail line, Bengaluru has become an even more interesting place than it ever was.
Referred to as the capital of cool by Lonely Planet -- yes it does beat Mumbai hands down in some respects -- Bengaluru probably has the most happening events and an amazingly large number of watering holes where you can get so inordinately drunk it won't be funny.
Sure the city offers quite a few tourist attractions but hey, if you're in Bengaluru you really don't want to be visiting temples and churches, do you?
Image: Bengaluru Metro
The capital of Oman, Muscat is in fact a city that is an amalgamation of three smaller towns -- Matrah, Ruwi and the walled city of Muscat itself.
From shopping, night safaris and scuba diving to rock climbing, fine dining and camel racing Muscat has something for everyone.
Image: Muscat harbour at Muttrah corniche
Photographs: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
With the Olympics coming to town, London is clearly the city to go to in 2012.
Home to people from hundreds of cultures, London is perhaps the one city where will probably never find yourself alone.
One of the greatest megalopolises in the world London really does have everything you can ask for -- a superb nightlife, pristine surroundings, rich culture and history and stately elegance about it.
As Samuel Johnson once said, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
We couldn't agree more.
Image: Paul Hackett / Reuters