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The 10 incredible cities you should visit this year according to Lonely Planet

For many people, travelling abroad has been put on hold for the last two years. As pandemic restrictions continue to lift around the world, you may be planning a city break to explore a new culture and escape.

Keep in mind that Covid-19 rules vary around the world. You should check what restrictions are in place before you book a holiday and keep in mind that these could change. You should also check what your travel insurance would cover if Covid-19 affected your travel plans.

From Dublin, Ireland, to Merida, Mexico, these are the 10 cities you should consider a trip to this year according to Lonely Planet.

1. Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is surrounded by natural, rugged beauty, including more than 50 volcanos and several beaches. The diversity of the culture and creativity on show throughout the city led to it taking the top spot in this year’s list of incredible urban areas to visit.

A trip to New Zealand presents the perfect opportunity to learn more about Maori culture, explore vibrant night markets, and hike through lush forests. As the water is never far away, you can take a ferry to the nearby islands and thrill-seekers can try their hand at the likes of rafting, paddle boarding, and surfing.

2. Taipei, Taiwan

One of the reasons Taipei was ranked number two by Lonely Planet was the amazing culinary scene the city offers. If you’re a foodie and want to indulge your tastebuds while on holiday, this could be the destination for you. Local dishes including niu rou mian (beef noodle soup) and hujiao bing (pepper buns) are must-tries.

When you’re not sampling street food, this 300-year-old city has a lot to offer. Old buildings, from barracks to villas, have been carefully restored so you feel like you’ve stepped back in time in parts of the city.

3. Freiburg, Germany

Freiburg is an ancient university town with winding cobbled lanes, gabled townhouses, and a stunning cathedral. It’s a delightful mix of traditional quaintness and modern vibrancy thanks to the combination of history and a thriving student population.

Located at the foot of the Black Forest, there are plenty of opportunities to explore nature and the setting that inspired some of the Brothers Grimm’s best-known fairy tales.

4. Atlanta, USA

If you think of places you want to visit in the US, a few cities could spring to mind. If Atlanta isn’t one of them, you could be missing out.

The fast-growing city is a chance to experience the renowned culture, food and hospitality of the south. The city played an important role in African American history and culture, including being the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. While Atlanta is a thriving urban centre, it’s got plenty of green spaces too. In fact, more than a third of the city is covered in trees.

5. Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos is a great destination if you want to explore music and art. Known for being lively, the city is bustling with creative people and promises to deliver a unique city trip. If you’re an art fan, the Nike Centre for Art and Culture is a must-visit – you’ll not only find a large collection to admire but can watch artists honing their skills too.

It’s not all about a busy city centre though. The Lekki Conservation Centre will take you back to nature and boasts the longest canopy walkway in Africa, so you have a great opportunity to spot local wildlife.

6. Nicosia/Lefkosia, Cyprus

The city of Nicosia, or “Lefkosia” in Greek, has been split since 1974. It’s one of the world’s only remaining divided capital cities, with its Greek and Turkish halves largely separate. There’s still a wall splitting the city but there are an increasing number of cross-culture projects.

The old walled city is lively and packed with bars, restaurants, and craftspeople. Be sure to take part in the café culture and try a traditional cake.

7. Dublin, Ireland

A little closer to home, Dublin is a great destination for a long weekend city break. Of course, there are plenty of traditional Irish pubs to explore, but the city has a lot more to offer too.

Dublin has a wealth of medieval castles, cathedrals, and other historical relics to visit. Well worth a visit are Dublin Castle, Trinity College Library, and Kilmainham Gaol. Booking a tour around the Guinness factory is popular – it ends at the Gravity bar, which boasts incredible views across Dublin’s skyline.

8. Merida, Mexico

Merida is steeped in colonial history and its narrow streets hold many hidden gems. From cultural museums to thriving markets, there’s something for everyone in Merida. The evenings are lively too, with a huge selection of performances, festivals, and entertainment often available to choose from.

As well as tucking into incredible Mexican dishes, you have a wealth of nature and ancient Mayan ruins close by to explore. This city is the perfect place to start exploring the stunning Yucatan region.

9. Florence, Italy

Italy is known for beautiful architecture, an interesting history, and delicious food. This year, if you want to head to the country, why not try Florence?

Situated in the region of Tuscany, its compact size means it’s perfect for a short break. But that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty to do. There are masterpieces at every turn, from churches decorated with frescos to Michelangelo’s David housed in the Accademia Gallery of Florence. It’s also a great base for exploring more of the region, with day-trip options including San Gimignano, Pisa, and Bologna.

10. Gyeongju, South Korea

South Korea has become a tourist hot-spot in recent years. While Seoul is on many bucket lists, Gyeongju may have fallen off your radar.

Known as a “museum without walls”, you can expect to find temples, pagodas, tombs, rock carvings, and much more. It’s the perfect destination for history buffs, and the 1,000-year-old Bulguksa Temple is a must-visit. It’s a great location to get outdoors too, with the chance to hike around Gyeongju National Park.

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