National Geographic Traveller (UK) has put together its 2012 Hot List in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue, featuring a month-by-month guide to next year’s top travel spots, packed with tips and inspiration for even the most jaded globetrotter. Canvassing the opinion of more than 50 experts — from tour operators to travel journalists, tourist boards to guidebook writers — we’ve uncovered the year’s must-see spots and must-do dates. www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/hotlist2012
Pat Riddell, editor of National Geographic Traveller, said: “Instead of listing the top 10 destinations for 2012 we thought we’d try something different and came up with a different idea for each month. From the familiar to the less-discovered, natural phenomenon to special events, it’s the ultimate month-by-month destination planner for 2012.”
The Hot List 2012 >>
February: Northern Lights - NASA is predicting 2012 (and 2013) to feature the biggest natural firework display in half a century with the start of the ‘solar maximum’ — a peak in the sun’s 11-year cycle fuelling spectacular displays from Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights.
March: Indochina - New direct flights to Vietnam began 8 December with Vietnam Airlines, flying from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh to Gatwick, putting the country — and neighbours Cambodia and Laos — within easier reach.
April: Cities - Canada’s Halifax will honour the sinking of the RMS Titanic on 15 April 2012 with an exhibition and events; Vienna marks the 150th anniversary of Klimt’s birth in Vienna; Miami sees the opening of a whole host of new cultural centres such as the new Adrienne Arsht Center for Performing Arts; Stockholm is indulging in the Steig Larsson Millennium-themed spotlight; and Helsinki is Europe’s 2012 Design Capital.
May: Croatia - With the coolest Adriatic country set to join the EU in the summer of 2013, many of our experts flagged it up a as a great value-for-money destination.
June: Bank Holiday Bonanza - The 2012 bank holiday, in honour the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, won’t quite be the bumper break of May 2011 but there’s still time to cram some domestic travel into the four-day weekend (1-4 June).
July: Escape The Olympics - Get back to nature and head to Africa on safari and completely bypass the Olympics. July is the traditional dry season for many of the continent’s big game destinations – and the best time to spot wildlife – lodges across Africa are primed for business…
August: Europe By Rail - We’re championing an InterRail renaissance for summer 2012. A green and serene way to see Europe, the rail pass, which turns 40 this year, launched in 1972 as a Europe-wide train ticket for under-21s, costing £27.50 and covering 21 countries, from Ireland to Italy.
September: Egypt - After the Arab Spring uprisings and protests in Cairo in November, Egypt is gradually picking itself up and tour operators are expecting a revival in early 2012. We’re predicting great deals but as always check FCO advice before you go…
October: China - It’s been upcoming for years, and 2012 will see China further open up to the West as more look to explore its relatively unknown regions, from new cruises to new flights.
November: Solar Eclipse - The 2012 total solar eclipse is set to be more remarkable than usual, with few convenient observation points – if you’re heading Down Under to north-east Australia and out across the South Pacific Ocean towards Chile, you might glimpse a peak.
December: Ecuador - Often seen as a staging post for travel to the archipelago made famous by Darwin, this is the year to go beyond the Galápagos Islands and discover Ecuador’s Mindo cloud forest, and its capital, Quito.