SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - For those wondering where to go this year, U.S.-based travel company Gate 1 Travel (www.gate1travel.com) has come up with a list of what it believes will be 2010's top holiday destinations.
This list is not endorsed by Reuters.
From the hills of Tuscany to the ruins of Rome, Italy is known for its unparalleled beauty, food and shopping. Travelers often find themselves exploring the vast countryside or jumping on a train to see the sites. For most, the main attraction is the country's rich history.
For an affordable yet fascinating vacation, Egypt ranks high on the charts. Not only has Egypt remained consistently geopolitically stable, but it is also home to the Great Pyramid of Giza. Despite the hot temperatures year round, tourists never seem to get enough of Egypt's many facets.
Greece is a sought-after destination where beauty, culture, and history collide. With gorgeous beaches, ancient ruins, and tributes to the Gods, honeymooners often retreat to the Greek Isles for a romantic getaway, while avid travelers dig deep into the history of the country.
Similar to Egypt, Turkey's tourism industry has grown over the years because of its affordability as an international destination. Upon arrival, visitors are enchanted by unique historical and archaeological sites, majestic mountains and valleys, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, castles, mosques and a beautiful coastline.
Home to Machu Picchu, Peru has emerged in recent years as a very popular tourist destination. With 17th century architecture, Inca ruins, and uninhabited jungles, Peru is waiting to be explored. The capital city Lima acts as the central district both financially and culturally while the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco draws nearly one million visitors each year.
6. Oberammergau, Germany
Oberammergau is a small Bavarian village located on the Ammer River in South Central Germany amongst the Bavarian Alps. But it's not the town's charming location that entices nearly half a million people to journey there every 10 years - it is the world famous Passion Play. This play, performed by the natives of Oberammergau in 1634, depicted the last few days of Jesus Christ. The natives vowed to enact the Passion of Christ every ten years until the end of time if Jesus would end their suffering and spare their lives during the bubonic plague.
Located in the heart of the Middle East and boasting tremendous historical and religious significance, Israel and the Palestinian-ruled West Bank represent the meeting of three faiths - Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Visitors who come to Israel also find themselves exploring Jordan and its most popular city, the Rose Red City of Petra, as well as the Dead Sea that has coasts on both countries.
With its rapidly growing infrastructure and budding economy, China is a blend of modern sophistication and rich tradition. It's this unique combination that makes the country a popular destination. There's the Great Wall of China and Beijing's famed Temple of Heaven, with its white marbled, circular altar. Other popular cities include Xian, one of the oldest, and Shanghai, which this year will host the World Expo.
With a population of over one billion, India is one of the most diverse countries in the world. In Delhi, tourists will find gorgeous Hindu temples and the Qutub Minar, the world's tallest free-standing brick minaret. Not far from Delhi is also the city of Agra, home to the Taj Mahal. India is not only thrilling but affordable.
10. Costa Rica
From volcanoes and waterfalls to uninhibited wildlife, Costa Rica has rapidly grown as a popular ecotourism destination. Thrill seekers can enjoy the wide array of wildlife and biodiversity, as well as adventure activities such as the zipline canopy and hanging bridges. As a whole, Costa Rica has increased in popularity as Mexico continues to recover from the 2009 H1N1 flu epidemic.
Editing by Miral Fahmy