Top Destinations for 2012
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in the Gemmayze neighborhood in
This time every year, Frommer's editors, authors, and experts from around the world finally settle on a list of our top destinations after months of bickering among ourselves. Choosing was harder than ever this year, so we ended up expanding our picks to include selections that offered something special for particular types of travelers.
For the third year in a row, we reached out to readers to find out where they wanted to be in the coming year. After thousands of nominations and thousands of votes, you made your choice known.
To explain to you why we chose what, we went to our experts in the field: authors and editors who live in the destinations or who travel there on the regular. We think the best people to share about a city or a region are those who can't stay away from them for too long.
You just can't keep a good city down. Or, in Beirut's case, a turbulent past of decades of civil war hasn't taken the sheen off its glossy, cosmopolitan swagger. Lebanon's capital is far from your "regular" Middle Eastern city: Nestled on the Mediterranean coast, Beirut is an enticing combination of French designer boutiques in rebuilt Downtown, chi-chi private beach clubs where bling is king, cutting-edge galleries in converted warehouses and magnificent third-century mosaics in the National Museum.
In Beirut, you're never far away from a ski slope (Faraya, 45 minutes away), cedar plantation (an hour) and ancient Roman Temple (Byblos is an hour by bus).
Curacao is not your quintessential Caribbean island. Sure, it has curvaceous white beaches, cerulean seas, and a coral reef brimming with exotically hued marine life. But Curacao offers even more, with one of the region's most cosmopolitan cultures and a standout capital in Willemstad, a child's paintbox of giddy Caribbean colors and gabled colonial architecture.
Celebrating its first year of independence after the dismantling of the Netherland Antilles in 2010, Curacao still has the feel of "Holland in the Tropics," with the flavors of both Europe and the West Indies on bold display. Take a trolley train tour along the pastel-hued streets of Willemstad. The city's restored historic center reflects the island's past as a global trading powerhouse, and its World Heritage Site architecture is a melting pot of European colonial styles.