Top 10 European travel destinations for 2013
Size isn?t everything:?Europe?is just one quarter the size of Asia, one third the size of Africa, but its pull for travellers is unmatched around the world. If you?re exploring Europe this year ? or just dreaming about it ? some destinations are bound to come to mind: East London with its shiny post-Olympics makeover, or Amsterdam with its newly reopened Rijksmuseum (not to mention a freshly crowned King). But if you?re the type of traveller that looks for the next step ? the destinations that are just starting to get the buzz right now, the overlooked places that are poised to be the next traveller find, and the old favorites that have timely and fresh reasons to visit this year ? we?re here to help. Our editors, wide-roaming authors and local experts pitched in and crafted this list: Lonely Planet?s Top 10 European Destinations for 2013, the ten places we think travellers should be heading in Europe right now.
Porto & Douro Valley
Once a sleepy riverside city best known for its fortified wines,?Porto?has emerged as a vibrant arts capital that?s rightfully getting a lot of buzz as a great value destination. At the vanguard of the city?s bohemian art scene is the gallery-lined Rua Miguel Bombarda ? liveliest during?Simultaneous Openings?when new exhibitions and streetside concerts create a festive ambiance. Big museums such as the?Museu de Arte Contempor?nea?in Parque de Serralves host cutting-edge exhibitions. Meanwhile, Rem Koolhaas? wildly designed and hugely popular?Casa da M?sica?keeps the music going at year-round performances, including free outdoor concerts in the summer. Celebrated new restaurants have also tapped into the city?s creative new outlook. Rui Paula?s?DOP?showcases Portuguese ingredients with a contemporary twist. Historic port wine lodges provide tours and tastings for free or a nominal fee. Beyond Porto lies the?Douro Valley, a picturesque region of steep terraced hillsides covered in some of Portugal?s most celebrated vineyards, with river cruises and scenic train rides for day-trippers.
What?s old is new again in the buzzy Danube-straddling?Budapest. Want to try a new type of bar? Head to the?ruin pubs (romkocsma) and garden bars (kertek), trendy watering holes in old, atmospheric unrenovated buildings and wild plant-scapes. For novel digs from previous eras, stay in retro chic historic hotels like the former prime minister?s residence,?Br?dy House, or the one-time artistocrat?s palaceHotel Palazzo Zichy. Budapest has long been famed for its many thermal baths, and the 16th?century Turkish-era?R?cz Baths?are set reopen this year after a long period of closure as part of the luxurious R?cz Hotel?(www.raczhotel.com). The retro-hip trend continues in the food, with old-fashioned coffee shops and rustic?etkezdek?(mom-and-pop canteens serving simple Hungarian fare).
Cinque Terre, Italy
The?Cinque Terre, the string of five towns clinging precariously to the most rugged portion of Liguria?s coastline, is back. Ligurian farmers have been reclaiming the wild slopes with neat stone terraces for over 2000 years but catastrophic flooding in late 2011 wiped out the centuries of work put into the terraced vineyards and parts of the famed paths connecting the towns. In the intervening year and a half, the locals have gone to heroic lengths to rebuild the terraces, dig out the paths, and repair the damaged buildings. Steep cliffs and car-free towns made construction and debris removal highly challenging, but it?s looking better than ever today. Walking is the essential way to experience Cinque Terre, but don?t race:?Monterosso,?Vernazza,?Corniglia,?Manarola?and?Riomaggiore?– each village has its own personality. Along the way, be sure to explore the small hidden beaches below and climb to the heights at the five scenic sanctuaries perched above the towns.
Moravia, Czech Republic
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