Top 10 destinations for 2010

For the second year, we have tried to catch what's hot on the travel scene. Again, we have focused on the less mainstream destinations and have been influenced by doubtful rumours, random speculations and a bit of travel experiences.

This is the Globe Spots' Top 10 for 2010, like it or not.
Classic travel for great sights and convenient travel.
Adventurous places for those who are going above and beyond, seeking out the best travel.
Hardcore places for those who are willing to travel anywhere just for the buzz.


Colombia's new tourist slogan: "The only risk is wanting to stay" is actually spot on. Before, the country was the black sheep of South America, but now that the rebels have been pushed far into the jungle, the place is safe (as safe as it gets in South America) and is on the lips of every South American bound traveller. For decades, it has not seen many visitors, so beaches, volcanoes, colonial towns and colourful markets lie unspoiled and ready to be explored. Some travellers have even called it the most beautiful country on the planet (well, Colombian women are definitely among the most beautiful ones). Come and judge for yourself.


You have to look very hard to find more friendly and welcoming people than the Syrians. They will help when you are lost, when you need to find the right bus, yes even when you don't need it. Expect to be shown around bazaars, invited home for tea or simply just have your bus ticket paid for. If you do manage to squeeze in some sightseeing time between all the chatting, you will be up for prime historical sights, like ancient desert cities and crusader castles. Syria might not be as well-known as neighbouring Jordan, but if you are looking for culture and the real Middle Eastern experience, Syria is where you want to go.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Being an ethnically diverse place, Bosnia & Hercegovina has attracted a lot trouble throughout history, but it is also what makes the country so captivating. A visit today can feel a bit like post-war tourism. Houses are riddled with bullet holes and chances are that the potholes you see in the streets are so-called Sarajevo roses, flower-shaped impressions from grenade explosions. But the people are looking optimistically to their future and are warmly welcoming travellers. As before the war, Bosnia & Hercegovina are soaked in historical places, tranquil towns and amazing mountain sceneries that are begging to be explored. Come before the tourist flow from Croatia pours in.


Ever since Obama entered the White House and gave the world some hope, which landed him the Nobel Peace prize, USA has become a cool place again. Add to that the fucked up economy, rendering most things a lot cheaper than before. This makes USA a top destination for 2010. Now we can only hope that the border officials at the airports catch up on the happy vibe and actually become friendly and welcoming, instead of the harsh "war on terror" treatment they usually give innocent travellers.

El Salvador

You feel it already after crossing the border into El Salvador. The people are more open and welcoming than in the rest of Central America. Yes, they will even come up to you for a chat. But it is not just the amazing people that will surprise you, the country's landscape is strikingly diverse. You can take a morning stroll on a Pacific beach, drink the afternoon coffee in the highlands and go to bed next to a smoking volcano. And the best part is you will pretty much get the whole place to yourself. So please do yourself a favor and swing by El Salvador next time in Central America.


As with Japan and Korea, Taiwan is wonderfully weird and foreign (if you are non-Taiwanese). It's not even clear whether it is a nation or not (come on, of course it is). Taiwan is incredibly diverse: it’s super modern in neon-flashy Taipei and surprisingly traditional and old fashioned in the countryside. You can circumnavigate the whole island on a rented scooter or car. Not only is it a great way to see places outside of towns, but it pretty much is the only way to get to all the cool sights. Expect captivating mountain sceneries, natural hot springs en masse, traditional Buddhist temples and crazy stuff only Taiwaneses can make sense of.


Another country on the Balkans that made it to the top list. Though it is a beautiful country with a countryside that feels like time travel, Albania is certainly not a popular destination... and hurray for that. The roadsides are still littered with bunkers from the communist era of dictator Hoxha, a strong contrast to the otherwise untouched nature. Though Albania is mostly famous for one of the most brutal mafias in the world, the traveller has nothing to fear while in the country itself. Come here for the edge and an eyeopener that Europe is more than the tame European Union.

Sri Lanka

It seems that by the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, peace is close to arrive to this troubled island. And thank you very much for that - for Sri Lanka has pretty much all there is on a traveller's wish list. Postcard-quality beaches, Buddhist temples, wildlife spotting where you actually see something, wicked religious festivals... and some seriously spicy food. And it is tiny, so everything is within a day's travel. So fingers crossed for a more stable situation in 2010, besides it being nice for us travellers, the Sri Lankan people really need it.


For the second year in a row, Iceland swings itself into the top destinations. Besides the amazing raw nature, the bad economy is still the one to thank for making this a hot spot for travellers. Iceland has even managed to join the exclusive club of McDonald's-free countries (among fellow members are Albania, Syria and Laos). Yes, after years in pole position on the Big Mac index, the Golden Arches have now pulled the plug and withdrawn from the country due to bad business. Just another, though obscure, reason to visit the country of the Vikings (and the blondes).


Normally, Venezuela wouldn't have qualified as a hardcore destination, but since Chavez gained power, the place has turned into a madhouse for travellers. The local currency is artificially fixed to the USD, making everything madly expensive - unless you change money on the black market. Since ATMs cannot be used, every traveller has to carry loads of cash. This inconvenience has been figured out by the thieves and corrupt officials, so any traveller is a walking please-rob-me target. So the official attitude towards Venezuela is "stay away", meaning you pretty much get the country to yourself if you are brave enough to go... and Angel Falls and Mt. Roraima are best done without the crowds.
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