Editor’s note: We asked Viator’s founder, Rod Cuthbert, to make a list of his top 5 travel destinations for 2008. Favorite, that is, when he’s not surfing and people-watching on his local beach, Sydney’s Bondi Beach. Sometimes Rod, you do make us a little jealous.
|Gordon River, Tasmania|
And not just because I am from Tasmania! Hobart, the capital, enjoys that slightly more relaxed pace of life that isn’t something you see so much as experience. Tasmania as a whole has a wonderful blend of natural beauty — the World Heritage Area centered around the Gordon River is worth the trip in its own right — and modern lifestyle, with superb wine, cheese and seafood making it an ideal destination for anyone who enjoys life’s finer things.
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|Sunset on the canals of Venice|
Before it sinks? No, that won’t be happening anytime soon. Anyway, I can’t possibly describe in words why you have to visit Venice. See it for yourself, but don’t go alone. Visit outside the high seasons, and don’t be afraid of the cold. Take a water taxi when you arrive (hang the expense); grab a red wine and some cheese, standing at the bar, in the mid afternoon; take photos at the Rialto as the sun is setting, and send them immediately to all the people you don’t like; take in a Vivaldi concert in one of the 150 churches around the city; and definitely buy pizza slices for lunch, to be eaten in the nearest square as you watch the world amble by. But don’t miss it, and don’t be scared by the fact that it’s all been done before.
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|The London Eye at Night, London|
OK, so you’ve been to London a dozen times. Well, OK, but this is a big city, and there’s parts you haven’t seen. Stay in Mayfair (yes, you can find well-priced hotels in Mayfair!) and walk the streets made famous in a thousand novels. Try the bike tour of East London, and go back to Brick Lane later on for the best markets and Indian food you’ll find anywhere. Ride the London Eye at night. Take a day trip to Stonehenge or Bath. Here’s the thing: even people who live in London haven’t seen it all. You certainly haven’t!
More info: London tours & things to do
Photos: London on Viator’s Flickr site
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|Miss Van is all over Barcelona|
There must be a reason why so many people list Barcelona as one of their favourite cities. I certainly do, but — typically, for me — I’m not quite sure why. I just know the food is great, the shopping is superb, great art is everywhere — even spray-painted onto the walls, and the city is compact enough that you can walk most everywhere comfortably. If you’re anything like me you’ll feel good in Barcelona the moment you arrive. If not: well, the rest of Europe is right next door.
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|At the Forbidden City, with a fellow tourist from the provinces|
An Olympic year is always a good time to visit a host city: it’s all spruced up and everyone’s on their best behavior… at least that’s the theory. Beijing is one of those giant-scale destinations where everything is worth seeing: the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, the restaurants, the museums, the parks, the markets, the people, the dogs, the birds in cages that people take on a walk… Like it or not, China is going to take over as the world’s superpower any minute now, so it might be wise to discover just what makes this giant tick. You’ll enjoy the experience.
More info: Beijing tours & things to do
Photos: Beijing & the Great Wall on Viator’s Flickr site
Happy travels in 2008.