A short but sweet list of cities Lonely Planet recommends for 2011. Nothing better than a fresh set of ideas for a new year!
Who doesn’t love a city? Lonely Planet has scoured the globe for next year’s hottest cities. Our top picks show that a city doesn’t need to be a heaving metropolis to get on the list. Then again, sometimes it helps. One of our favourites is the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road. And there are even a couple of European cities that remain criminally underrated. Here they are, Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities for next year, ranked in order:
1. New York
Since 9/11, the site of the World Trade Center’s twin towers has stood out as a closed-off, out-of-view, painful gaping void. This year that changes, as the former WTC site finally reopens to the public with the National September 11 Memorial, a 6-acre, tree-filled plaza with 30ft-deep waterfalls at the footprint of the former towers, rimmed by the name of each victim and illuminated at night (its museum will follow in 2012). For the city, this will be more momentous than if the Yankees, Knicks, Rangers and Giants won simultaneous championships while the ball dropped in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. For all of New York, 11 September 2011 will be a defining moment.
From its extraordinary position perched on the northwestern-most tip of Africa, Tangier looks in two directions: one face towards Spain and Europe, and the other into Africa. The ‘white city’ announces a culture excitingly different from that of its close cousins across the water. With the recent arrival of a new city governor, the town beach now sparkles, the hustlers are off the streets and even the taxi drivers are polite. A stylish new Tangier is being created with a dynamic arts community, renovated buildings, great shopping and chic new restaurants.
3. Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is the total flipside of Jerusalem, a modern Sin City on the sea rather than an ancient Holy City on a hill. Hedonism is the one religion that unites its inhabitants. There are more bars than synagogues, God is a DJ and everyone’s body is a temple. Yet, scratch underneath the surface and Tel Aviv, or TLV, reveals itself as a truly diverse 21st-century Mediterranean hub. By far the most international city in Israel, Tel Aviv is also home to a large gay community, a kind of San Francisco in the Middle East. Thanks to its university and museums, it is also the greenhouse for Israel’s growing art, film and music scenes.