News Into the unknown: 10 new exotic destinations for 2011

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Into the unknown: 10 new exotic destinations for 2011

Into the unknown: 10 new exotic destinations for 2011

Think New York is old news? Believe Paris is past it? Want to go beyond the Balearics?

If you’re looking for somewhere fresh, exciting, and a little bit different this year, try one of these more unusual destinations.

Beirut, Lebanon

Party capital of the Middle East, Beirut is a high energy city. Between the occasional bullet-ridden building, steel and glass skyscrapers are growing rapidly. The traffic is mad (ever seen a traffic jam of pure Hummers before?) and the people are party animals. There’s plenty of bling here, and the nightlife is fun, friendly and full on. BMI are set to increase the number of flights from the UK to Beirut this year; get there before the crowds do. Find flights to Beirut

Doha, Qatar

Capital of Qatar, Doha will see a great deal more interest over the coming months and years as it gears up for the World Cup which is its due to host (somewhat controversially) in 2022. What was once a small pearl fishing village on the Arabian Gulf is now rapidly challenging Dubai for the title of ‘capital of the Gulf’ and per capita, it’s the richest country in the world. Doha offers desert safaris, old souks and beaches on Palm Tree Island where you can escape the city’s throngs. Find flights to Doha

Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Once war-torn, still bullet-ridden, Sarajevo is nonetheless one of the most charming cities in Eastern Europe. Surrounded by hills, wander the old town’s narrow cobbled streets and stop for coffee or burek, a favourite street snack of the locals. Sarajevo is good value; eat out at stylish or rustic restaurants and enjoy excellent food and wine for under a tenner. An ideal city for a romantic break, Sarajevo exudes charm and a warm welcome. Find flights to Sarajevo

palace.seoul.south.korea.JPGSeoul, South Korea

The high-tech feel of Tokyo with the edge of Hong Kong, Seoul is an intriguing capital that’s easy to love. Full of outgoing and hospitable people, visitors shouldn’t be surprised if they get adopted for the day by a friendly local. Last year was highly successful for tourism in Korea and this year they expect visitor numbers to be even higher. Find flights to Seoul

Baku, Azerbaijan

Sat on the coast of the Caspian Sea, the capital of Azerbaijan is a surprise party city. With oil money providing plenty of clientele for high class establishments, Baku’s beautiful flock to the various bars and restaurants and clubs, many of which are owned by high profile celebrities. The city’s wide squares, elegant boulevards and galleries ensure there’s plenty to do by day, and at just a five hour flight from London, Baku makes an exotic alternative to better known cities. Find flights to Baku

Kopaonik, Serbia

For good skiing at great prices, Kopaonik is the place to head this winter. Eastern Europe’s most modern ski area, it has 21 lifts – many of which are very new – serving the forest-lined runs. The max vertical drop of 521m may be modest by Alpine standards, but the area does offer some excellent tree runs after heavy snow. Kopaonik retains its traditional charm with thatched slope-side huts serving ‘hot wine’ and meaty snacks in front of roaring fires. After dark, Serbians know how to party, with the bars and clubs jumping until the small hours. Find flights to Belgrade


Still tiny, still beautiful and still very much under the radar of most British tourists, no country offers a more complete spread of flavours in such a small dish. Pristine forest, spiky mountains, clean clear rivers, and the charming, compact capital Ljubljana make Slovenia a favourite with lovers of the great outdoors. Find flights to Ljubljana


Although you might think that Borat’s portrayal of Kazakhstan did it few favours, interest in the country has increased since he brought it to the big screen – after all, according to him “it’s nice!”. Kazakhstan will appeal most to adventurous backpackers and lovers of the great outdoors. With spectacular mountain scenery in the Tien Shan, vast steepes, and many lakes and rivers, this is a paradise for skiers, climbers, hikers, kayakers and bikers. Find flights to Almaty

Quebec City, Canada

Often overshadowed by its sister Montreal, Quebec City is the capital of Quebec province and well worth a visit in its own right. For the active traveller, there is skiing, biking and hiking on offer. Art fans can enjoy the National Museum, and shoppers will love the traditional European feel of ‘Petit-Champlain’ – North America’s oldest shopping district. Find flights to Quebec City

Macau, China SAR

Hong Kong’s lesser known sister, Macau has an enticing mix of Portuguese colonial architecture, skyscraper shopping and the glitzy casinos, earning it the title “Las Vegas of the East”. The fusion of European and Chinese cultures makes Macau a fascinating place, perfectly combining western familiarity with eastern exoticness. Find flights to Macau

Beirut photo ©