The Travel Facter: Top Travel Destinations for 2012

The Travel Facter: Top Travel Destinations for 2012

Don’t cry for me, Argentina. Andrew Lloyd Webber captured the energy of the area in Evita. Here are the top 2012 travel destinations in part one of this series.

BUENOS AIRES: Known as the Paris of South America, the city is rich in cultural identity — Italian and German names outnumber Spanish, and the lifestyle is strongly influenced by European culture. Called the “City of Books,” Buenos Aires is home to hundreds of bookstores, libraries, and cultural associations, as well as the most active theatres in South America. Every April, the Buenos Aires International Book Fair is one of the top five in the world.

Not to mention the tango. This sensual dance originated in working class neighborhoods; and is derived from Cuban habanera, the Argentine milonga/candombe, and certain elements from the African community, as well as Spain. Tango is the corazon of Buenos Aires and lives in the streets, salons, and the souls of its people.

SCANDINAVIA: Whether you’re visiting Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, or Iceland, the population is celebrating the holidays with Glogg, a special Christmas drink made of wine, brandy, and spices. Stockholm grabs the title as the most beautiful city in the region. Visit the land of fjords, northern lights, midnight sun, blue lagoon, Danish Royal Gardens, nature and wildlife, and rich royal history.

HONG KONG: This is a city of dazzling wealth, colorful characters, and incredible energy — most of it directed towards making money. Despite its hard commercial heart Hong Kong is a city with pockets of quiet beauty, as well as its gleaming monuments.

Often described as a place where East meets West, Hong Kong reflects the mix of Chinese roots with influences from its time as a British colony. The land of feng shui, buildings lack floors that have the number four on them. There are close to 8,000 skyscrapers with 36 of the world’s 100 tallest buildings. Hong Kong’s skyline is considered the best in the world with the mountains and Victoria harbor complimenting it.

DUBAI: Located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula, Dubai‘s economy was built on the oil business, but tourism, real estate and financial, construction, and sports events are prevalent. Considered the shopping capital of the Middle East, Dubai has more than 70 shopping malls. It’s also known as the “City of Gold.” What attracts visitors to Dubai are tax-free, dry weather, extraordinary accommodations, gourmet food, and pristine beaches that go on for miles.

QUEBEC: The only Canadian province primarily speaking French, Quebec is located in the Eastern part of Canada. The province has 22 tourist regions, each representing the geography, history, and culture. Quebec City is the capital, which celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2008. It has over 400 museums.

Quebec culinary specialties include: shepherd’s pie, poutine (French fries with gravy, topped with cheese), sugar pie, pouding chômeur (a sponge cake with maple syrup sauce), maple syrup, baked beans, tourtière (meat pie), and cretons (pork spread with onions and spices).

Sue Facter owns a news agency that specializes in the luxury brand. Her work has appeared “USA Today,” broadcasts, and the web.