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Londonderry makes list of world’s ten best cities

Craigavon Bridge in LondonderryLonely Planet has revealed the top ten must-see tourist destinations in the world for next year, and Londonderry (aka Derry) is the only city to make that list in the UK. This is a little surprising, considering the UK is home to popular cities like London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh.

After the 1972 Bloody Sunday incident, Londonderry, Northern Ireland was ruined by fanatic riots, bombings and murders – which didn’t make it much of a holiday destination. Now, however, travel guidebook publishers Lonely Planet have ranked it the fourth best urban location in the world to visit next year. It has been dubbed the “UK City of Culture” for 2013, which reflects the fact that the bubbly historic city is undergoing a rebirth. The city’s lively arts scene, neo-Gothic Guidhall, St Columb’s cathedral, museums and Foyal river are all listed as highlights.

As for the top three cities in the world to visit next year, Lonely Planet ranked San Francisco, California first; Amsterdam, the Netherlands second; and Hyderabad, India third. Beijing was ranked the fifth best city, and it was followed by (in order): Christchurch, New Zealand; Hobart, Australia; Montreal, Canada; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Puerto Iguazu, Argentina.

These best destinations of next year weren’t the only ones covered in the Lonely Planet list. Two of the best destinations in London for tourists to take a trip back in time were the Royal Opera House Tea Dance and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. One of the unluckiest places to visit is the Tower of London because of its many ghost stories and executions. The London Tattoo Convention was named one of the best places to get a tattoo, and the wildlife reserves in Dorset were listed under the Snakes Alive category for their viewing opportunities of adders.

On a different note, the Boris Bike scheme got London recognised among the cities that operate cycle projects. The Great Wall Walks category featured Hadrian’s Wall and the 8th century Offa’s Dyke. Battle in East Sussex was listed under the Legendary Last Stands category for its 1066 Battle of Hastings. The English countryside was listed as one of the best places to search for buried treasure, where people can find hidden Roman coins.

The Lonely Planet guides also lists many other European destinations. Montenegro is listed as one of the top nations to visit next year, and Sri Lanka is believed to be the hottest for both good value and gourmet food. Gothenburgh, Sweden was listed as one of the best value destinations, though Rio, Brazil won this category. Other top value locations include Cambodia, Nepal, Georgia, Bolivia, Nambia, Portland and Slovinia. Corsica was listed at the top region.

Lonely Planet travel editor Tom Hall says that the “Best in Travel” guide is about determining the destinations that offer tourists something special. Derry is a great example of a city that has come out of a tough period. The city has heart, and that shines through in its music and arts scene. He added that European destinations still have a lot of appeal in the global tourism market, and their Best in Travel 2013 selections reflect this.

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