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PIX: Top 10 cities to visit in 2011

Last updated on: November 1, 2010 19:04 IST

PIX: Top 10 cities to visit in 2011

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With the many, many cities around the world that deserve at least one visit, picking out the best can be hard for those of us who live to travel.

Every continent, heck, every country has at least two cities that offer a unique travel experience.

So to help all the globetrotters out there, Lonely Planet has listed 10 of the must-visit cities across the globe in 2011.

Click through the following slides to check out who made the list!


Image: Top 10 cities to visit in 2011

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Chiang Mai, Thailand

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First up is the Thai city of Chiang Mai, that comes in at Number 10 on the list. 

Not as popular as the capital of Bangkok or Pattaya, Chiang Mai is a modern city (the largest in North Thailand) and attracts a huge number of tourists each year. A blend of old and new, much like many cities in Asia, Chiang Mai has over 300 Buddhist temples, hosts a number of traditional festivals and offers a vibrant nightlife and shopping experience as well.

For the history buffs, the 700-year-old city has a long list of places to visit that include the ruins of Chedi Luang and the Doi Suithep mountain temple. For the nature-lovers there is the Doi Suithep national park, the Mae Sa Valley with its elephant camp among other attractions. 

One of the most popular tourist draws is the night bazaar that has a wide variety of arts, handicrafts and imported products on sale.


Image: A visitor clasps offerings at the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple.
Photographs: Reuters
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Newcastle, Australia

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At Number 9 is Newcastle, Australia's second oldest and sixth largest city.

One of the lesser known destinations Down Under, Newcastle offers most of the Aussie crowd-pleasers without the crowds of the more popular Syndey.

Just a 30-minute plane ride from Sydney, Newcastle boasts sun-drenched beaches, cultural attractions, adventure sports and a great nightlife.

And if you get tired of lounging by the beautiful Pacific, you could visit the Blackbutt Reserve to see some of Australia's weird and wonderful wildlife and Lake Macquarie, the largest coastal salt water lake in Australia.


Image: Burwood Beach
Photographs: Creative Commons
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Delhi, India

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Fresh off the stunning success of the Commonwealth Games, Delhi comes in at Number 8.

There could be no better time to visit India's capital -- spruced up for the Games, the city is looking better than it has in years, with all the old attractions shinier than ever.

High on historical and cultural tourist destinations, Delhi (the old city and the new) offer a wonderful slice of Indian culture with something for everyone.


Image: A view of the historic Qutub Minar.
Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/ Reuters
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Ghent, Belgium

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At Number 7 is Ghent, described as possibly 'the best European city you've never thought of visiting'.

The city has a rich history, with stunning medieval architecture that is still very well preserved. Some of the must-see destinations are the Saint Bavo Cathedral, Gravensteen castle, old Graslei harbour apart from the many beautiful churches.

Apart from the historic attractions, Ghent offers a number of eateries offering up local and international cuisine and many popular cultural and music events.


Image: Ghent, Belgium
Photographs: Creative Commons
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Iquitos, Peru

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In at Number 6 is the South American city of Iquitos.

The largest city in the Peruvian rainforest and sitting along the Amazon, Iquitos is perfect for nature enthusiasts. With its culturally diverse population, Iquitos offers some interesting cuisine that reflects a number of diverse cultures.

And if the rich biodiversity, cultural attractions and food aren't enough, the nightlife is sure to get you, with clubs rocking into the wee hours.


Image: Iquitos, Peru
Photographs: Creative Commons
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Valencia, Spain

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The 5th spot goes to Valencia, Spain's third largest city.

Best known for the beauty of its architecture and the vibrance of its history, the city does offer up a lot more. The famous festivals of Las Fallas and La Tomatina in March and August are worth experiencing.

The city is a foodie's delight and the nightlife is as exciting.


Image: Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences is seen at sunset in Spain.
Photographs: Heino Kalis/ Reuters
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Wellington, New Zealand

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At Number 4 is the New Zealand capital Wellington.

With the 2011 Rugby World Cup heading to the island nation, it is possibly the best time to visit. If you don't make it for the event, don't fret. The city has plenty of other attractions to keep you happy.

The city is a gastronome's delight with a huge selection of gourmet eateries, cafes, bars and the like. Then there's Wellywood, where the Lord of the Rings movies and Avatar were shot. Apart from these there are a number of very popular cultural and music events organised every year that are huge tourist draws.


Image: The 'Beehive' Parliament Buildings
Photographs: Creative Commons
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Tel Aviv, Israel

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Breaking in to the top three is Israel's Tel Aviv.

Described as 'the most international city in Israel', Tel Aviv boasts more bars than synagogues and has a truly diverse culture.

The second largest city in Israel, Tel Aviv has it all -- beaches, bars, shopping, cafes -- and then some. Thanks to its energy, it has over the last few years gained huge tourist popularity.

It is also a hub for the performing arts with over 35 major centres and some of the country's largest theatres.


Image: Israelis walk on a bridge outside the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv.
Photographs: Reuters
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Tangier, Morrocco

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The Morroccon city of Tangier comes in at Number 2.

The city has a rich multicultural heritage with souks and a number of historical and cultural attractions. Beautiful beaches, plenty of eateries and a variety of other activities keeps this city pulsing with energy.


Image: Tangier, Morrocco
Photographs: Creative Commons
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New York, USA

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And in at Number 1 is not surprisingly, the Big Apple.

New York would figure on most must-visit lists and for good reason. The city's legendary energy is something that must be experienced to be understood. And then of course there are the many, many sights and sounds that simpy must be seen to be believed -- Times Square, Rockerfeller Centre and the famous New York skyline -- to name just a few.

2011 will be a special year with the unveiling of the National September 11 Memorial, at the site of the Twin Towers.

And that rounds up the list. So if you've begun on your travel plans for the coming year, be sure to have a few of these top travel destinations on your itinerary!


Image: The Empire State Building is pictured at sunset in New York
Photographs: Gary Hershorn/ Reuters
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