Ok, fine Google helps, but hey, a word of advice from a friend is always more personal. I often meet people who ask me ‘we want to travel outside of Europe. But where shall we go? (worldshallwego please). So here is a top ten list of tried and tested cities. And just like X Factor, ‘this list is no particular order’.
10.RIO DE JANEIRO – Whether it is for samba, food, beaches, football, parks, clubbing or eye candy, this city has it all. The energy in the air is a feeling I never felt in any other city. Sunset biking along Ipanema Beach listening to Bossanova is bliss. This city is for many but not for everyone. If you go during Carnival do not spend too much time at the Sambodromo, but let go in the streets and enjoy the crazy Blocos. (street parties). And please do dress up. The locals are fun and helpful. It is dangerous, as once you go, you want to go back and back again.
2.LA PAZ – If adventure is on your agenda this is the city to visit. Arriving via bus will give you a breathtaking overview of the whole city. From the Witches Market to Moon Valley, from a tour to the spectacular Chacaltaya to getting a bus to Rurrenbaque for a trip to the Amazon, this Bolivian city will simply change the way you look at cities. It is 3,500 metres above sea level. Do not let this dishearten you for visiting. La Paz is truly unique and unforgettable.
3.LUANG PRABANG – This still not so touristy town in Laos is really something else. From the very moment you set foot here, you immediately feel it will be difficult to leave. The magnificent Kuang Si Falls are a must visit. You can hire a boat and enjoy the sunset on the Mekong River or for a 360-degree panoramic view of Luang Prabang head to Mount Phousi. Just do yourself a favour, forget Thailand and go to Laos.
4.TEL AVIV – I am not a Diva but I feel like one here. But for the record, (Viva la Diva), Dana International is not the only reason I fell in love with this city. Tel Aviv is in a bubble, so it is Israel but it is not. But from here you can easily travel to the spiritual Jerusalem and Bethlehem. A visit to the Dead Sea is a must and a unique experience. Yes, you really do float. Tel Aviv is a major centre of arts and entertainment with many interesting museums, exhibitions, shows and the nightlife can top that of Ibiza. This city’s culinary experience is simply divine. And if it is beautiful hot sexy people you are after, this is the place to be. I just could not leave Tel Aviv.
5.CUSCO – Do not bother with Lima, Cusco will surprise you in more ways than one. This UNESCO world heritage city is the place to stay when planning to visit Machu Picchu (and please make sure you go). The lovely square surrounded by colonial buildings, shops, bars, cafes, and clubs is the heart of this vibrant city. The Guinea Pig is a delicacy but it is not for the faint-hearted. It tastes very good but…. it does look revolting. I can give you a million reasons to visit Cusco. So just go.
6.UDAIPUR – I have a love/hate relationship with India. This place definitely falls under the love column. From the very second you arrive in Udaipur, you will instantly fall in love. The Lake Palace, the Monsoon Palace, and the Jagdish Temple are just a few places from the many things to cross off from the ‘to do list’. If I ever get married I want to celebrate here.
7.BUENOS AIRES – Ok I have to confess that Evita/Madonna and even Maradona did induce me to buy a ticket to visit this marvelous city. I love everything about Buenos Aires. You can stroll around the colourful La Boca, enjoy superb Tango shows in one of the many milongas, you can admire the spectacular Casa Rosada, and party every night of the week. The Palermo district is hip, trendy and chic. This is South America so football is a big deal. Get a ticket and watch a football game. And if you are a meat lover, book a ticket now. If not they have veggies too.
8.SYDNEY – Maybe I am biased since I lived here for more than a year but this is the whole truth. From the grandeur of Harbour Bridge to the unique Opera House to the many parks, attractions, museums and obviously the beaches. Whether you are in the city for New Year’s Eve celebrations, for Mardi Gras festival or just to enjoy the sun Sydney will not disappoint. Travel between places by boat and mingle with the locals. They are fun, helpful and friendly. Every day is a G’day mate.
9.LOS ANGELES – I never really wanted to visit the city of angels but a ticket to watch the Grammy Awards got me there. Now I want to go back. It is what you expect and what you do not expect. It can be daunting and welcoming. Avoid touristy areas like Hollywood but instead explore the trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica. The list of out of this world museums and parks is endless. Celebrity spotting can be exciting especially if you are eating in one of the many super yummy restaurants scattered in various parts of the city. For a full LA experience, rent a car. San Diego is close and worth the drive. You can never have enough of LA.
10.QUEENSTOWN – Surrounded by stunning mountains and set on the shores of the crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is the perfect destination if you are looking for adrenalin activities, all year round events and beauty all around. It is the land of rejuvenation where all you want to do is to be out doing things. Make sure you book activities ahead and be adventurous. You should always try everything once.