Updated: 10/01/2012 13:35 | By Cathy Winston, contributor, MSN Travel
Best holidays for 2012 - according to the experts

Sicily, Italy



Sicily, Italy (© Andrea Rapisarda Photography_Getty Images)
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  • Sicily, Italy (© Andrea Rapisarda Photography_Getty Images)
  • Burma (Myanmar) (© Katie Garrod_Getty Images)
  • Tunisia (© Bethune Carmichael_LP)
  • Freetown, Sierra Leone (© Christopher Herwig_LP)
  • Northern lights, Scandinavia (© Gareth McCormack_LP)
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"I knew Sicily was a pretty spectacular place when I visited earlier this year but didn't appreciate just how much there was to see, how great the food was and what a welcoming people lived there," says Tom Hall, editor of Lonelyplanet.com. "In a week I barely scratched the surface and can't wait to go back."

35Comments
02/01/2012 19:29
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Tunisia, I have to say PLEASE just don't go to Tunisia. When I went there I was spat at in the street and please don't misunderstand I'm a 40 plus woman who was respectfully dressed at all times but I was still spat at in the street. When walking from our hotel to the near by beach on a number of occasions there were dead animals just thrown on the side of the road. One evening we were in the hotel bar when a group of creepy men gathered around me and a friend and when my partner came over to see if we were ok he was set upon and then thrown in jail where he was beaten again only this time by the police ...... the guys who worked in our hotel were very kind and helped us so much when we had no where else to turn (the hotel rep was not interested in helping us) . Thankfully the barman at the hotel we were staying at went to the Tunisian police and explained that it was in fact the local guys who had set on my partner for no reason and helped us get him released ...I can say in all honesty I'm not sure what we would have done without him ......

If we had gone to Tunisia and NEVER left our hotel grounds we would have been fine but for us at least that's not a holiday its a fancy prison. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our bad experience in Tunisia and its not that we are not experienced travellers we have both travelled extensively since our teens and between us have been almost all over the world. I won't bore you with all the details I'll just say again PLEASE DON'T GO TO TUNISIA ....in our experience its not even safe !!!!!

27/12/2011 15:44
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Methinks MR.fogle is having a girrafe! London is filthy,overcrowded and overpriced.It's also about as welcoming as hades!

27/12/2011 05:19
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Just back from Havana. I wanted to go before too many tourists got there and ruined it. I have a friend who used to go there more than ten years ago and was told how good and how cheap it was. I was too late. It is one of th most expensive places i've ever been. The locals, having had a taste of western money and stupidity, have become amazingly greedy. The tipping culture has gone crazy to the point where it's difficult even to ask someone in the street for the time of day without them asking for a tip. Even the slightest thing costs a lot more than what you'd reasonably expect to pay most other places and about ten times more than you'd expect to pay somewhere like Thailand. The Havana culture doesn't exist any more. It's just for the tourists and it'll cost you. There's definitely something wrong with a culture where a waiter can earn more in a day than a doctor can earn in a month. I was told a lot of doctors are becoming taxi drivers because there's more money in it. On top of that there's a 25 peso (about £17) airport tax you have to pay just to leave the country. The flight (with Virgin) was horribly cramped. The seats were too close together so that if the person in front reclined their seat they were literally on top of you. The air quality was possibly the worst i've ever experienced on the flight. I've been on more than 70 commercial flights and only Kuwait Airlines and Jet Star Asia were nearly as bad as Virgin. Virgin even had the cheek to charge an extra £50 for the seats beside the exits (with leg room). That is greed. I'll never fly with Virgin again. I did enjoy the holiday but i could've gone just about anywhere for what it cost. If you've got A LOT of money to spend and don't mind random passers by looking for a tip then have a look. But unless you go all inclusive and just plain refuse to leave the resort you'll be spending a lot (and wondering where it went). But if all you want to do is stay in a resort, you wouldn't know the difference between Cuba or anywhere else so i wouldn't bother with the nine hour flight and go to Turkey or Egypt instead.
02/01/2012 14:25
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Okay so evryone sais Tunisia is great. But just be careful to which parts of tunisia because when i went my dad got mugged and there were really creepy men and plus the hotel was gross. So if you go i would recommend staying in a... nicer area and in a hotel maybe posher than what you usually go too. It will be worth it. I wish my experience of tunisia was as enjoyable as everyone elses.
27/12/2011 13:12
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Experts lol more like salesman/women.
02/01/2012 04:33
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Wherever you go just enjoy your holiday, given time almost every venue will throw you a few suprises. In these hard pressed times a holiday is a real bonus and many of these places are beyond peoples budget, so even if its Southend on Sea or Argentina, giving yourself a break from lifes daily pressures is essential for your good health.

 

Myanmar is a worth exploration, and not just Yangoon the capital, taking the to the roads is an experence all on its own, and the road to Mandalay can be a lifetime adventure, but worth it. What ever you do, just give yourself time, don't rush it, allow life to happen, the journey is also part of the enjoyment.

 

Life is what you make it.... it won't just happen for you. You have to do something about it, so make it happen for you in 2012. I left the UK a few years ago with just a few hundred pounds in my pocket, and I've never been back since. My standard of living is much higher, I have more personal time than ever before, there is more time for friends and loved ones, enough work to live a quality life, a lot healther, and all the so called modern technology gagets and essentials one can have in the UK , plus its safe to walk the streets on your own at night.

 

Its an amazing world out there don't be fooled by politics and propaganda, people are mostly just like us wherever you go, we all have the same basic values. You can earn less but have more, where ever you go make your personal list of things essential to you, if you have that you can live anywhere...... don't get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing day after day, find yourself a better life 

02/01/2012 14:35
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As a family with 2 children and at the disadvantage of having to travel in the school holidays im afraid these holidays are not practical and way above our budget. Possibly places to visit when the kids leave the nest. We are going to Crete for 2 weeks all inclusive which will cost £3000, more than half the cost of our car! I like to relax on holiday to get away from TV, laptops,  cooking/cleaning/working/washing/ironing etc so i can have a 2 week break and spend some quality time with the kids, swimming, beach, waterparks games, dancing, walking. etc. Kids soon get bored sightseeing and just want to have fun with their parents. 
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Anywhere not involving the Euro!
Cuba looks good.
02/01/2012 02:01
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We are like chick's being fed regurgitated food !!!
27/12/2011 22:49
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Got to agree with Tom (the muss) below.

 

Simon Calder (not for the first time - this is the guy who just endorsed the Cayman Islands on LBC without mentioning how much things cost out there, the fact that it resembles a building site or the crime issues) is talking out of his rear when it comes to Cuba.

 

Based on my recent visits it's a great place for cheap, all-inclusive holidays if you don't mind hotels full of Russians and the sort of UK tourists who did Ibiza when they were younger but the country is now very much into the 'all-mighty dollar' and that definitely ruins the experience. 20 years ago his comments might have been right but the influx of tourists from Europe, Canada and (mostly unofficially) from the USA has changed things. 12-15 years ago I could fly into Havana from one of the other Caribbean countries with a couple of mates and US$100 each a night would get us an apartment, fully serviced including female company, plus the full cultural experience but those days are definitely long gone.

 

As journalists are still subject to immigration controls (I was nearly arrested on arrival a couple of years ago) I'm not even sure where he got his opinion from - possibly out of the guide books? How friendly is Cuba? Well friends of mine had half their luggage stolen (all the expensive stuff) out there and the police didn't want to know. On my last trip I was charged £3 for a rum and coke that would cost a local about 20p, someone tried to steal the glasses I was wearing in Havana and everyone you dealt with seemed to expect a minimum $5 tip even if the service was rubbish. When the cruise ships and US tourists hit the place, probably in 2012, you can kiss whatever is left goodbye.  

 

My advice if you want somewhere special, try Albania. I first went there in 1991 and it is still staggeringly unspoilt.   

 

Egypt (the Red Sea/Sinai area) is also good right now. It's nothing like as unspoilt as it was 15 years ago but if you stay away from Sharm El Sheikh it's cheap with great scenery and no crowds.   

02/01/2012 14:48
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Give me The North Norfolk Coastline any time .
10/01/2012 14:03
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Despite their recent economic probelms, the Greek Islands still offer elegance and beauty, quiet secluded villages and some of the best beaches in the Med. Kefallonia, Skiathos, Patmos, Simi, Lefkada and Tinos being just a few. The sunsets over Santorini are some of the best you will see anywhere and they take your breath away.
02/01/2012 20:51
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Tbf, ive travelled allot, been to many a great place and many a bad one. I would like to add that within Europe it would have to be CALABRIA  in southern Italy, Been there five times, Ryanair fly there direct from Stansted, cheap too, the place is untouched, people are great and accommodation cheap, beaches are empty, save for August when the North Italians invade. The beach where we go, "Santa fuime" is 40kms long clean and sandy and in may/june/july/sept, if you can see 30 people on it then your seeing it "Busy" Tropea, Pizzo, Roccella are all within an hour of the local Airport of Lamezia and you can be in Sicily within an hour via the ferry from Reggio.

Outside of Europe, well that i will have to say (along with another poster) would be "The Gambia", yes it might have a rep for the beach "Bods" hassling you, however a firm, "Go away" will soon have them leaving you be. Go inland a bit and the countryside is just breath taking. Also, pound for pound, cheap too. Simple enough to get to from Gatwick to Banjul with Thomson or Thomas Cook with three departures a week, they also fly out of Manchester i believe.

 

Where ever you got this year, have fun and as i was once told as a bit of advice and its served me well, once you are abroad, YOU are the foreigner, Just remember that and your laughing.

27/12/2011 02:28
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Looking at the pic of Buenos Aires (16) i wondered how the hell did the dancer get his foot in that position, somehow it doesn't look right......love the Argentinian Tango mind you !!

27/12/2011 21:04
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@Guess Who. Respectfully, I disagree with you about Sierra Leone. Having just moved after living there for two and a half years, I'd have to say that Freetown is ABSOLUTELY A SAFE PLACE TO VISIT. I'd feel safer walking around there at 11 o'clock at night than I would in many parts of the UK. For once MSN has got it right; Sierra Leone is an incredible place with so many friendly people. It's still a bit pricey due to the lack of supply in terms of flights and accomodation (BMI are one of only a handful flying from Europe, so they can get away with higher prices), but if you can afford it then definitely go! You won't regret it. 
03/01/2012 00:18
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Hey everybody, come to Cambodia. It is very cheap, and most people speak VERY good English. There are beautiful beaches in Sihanoukville , check out sihanoukvilleatoz.com and one of the major attractions in the north is the Angkor Wat temples in Siem Reap. This is the time to come now............ it is amazing !!!!
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Dubai is great but you have to avoid the expensive hotels, dont go to Indian run hotels they are cheap but often dirty, plumb for an arab run hotel that caters for the local arabs or air crew. The al bustan in quassis is a good bet £70 a night and only 10 minutes on the monorail to the city centre.
02/01/2012 19:43
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My wife and I have been abroad quite a lot over the last few years but as we are both disabled and getting no better we find all the hassle going through the airports is now too painful (the actual flights are quite enjoyable). We understand WHY the security has to be the way it is and would much rather have it in place than not, but it does prevent us from flying.

 

Now, to get to the point - being as we have no interest in either sports or large crowds (so making London a no-go area) is there NOWHERE in this country worth going to next year???

 

Apparently not Crying 

02/01/2012 14:56
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The non person referred to is the ex 28 year old nurses and other aliases. MSN blocked my posting for including the recent names so they can surely do something to sort out this irritation ...
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Adrian Murphy:  Clearly you like travelling.  Have you tried going on a cruise from Southampton?  Cruising does not have to be expensive.  In many ways it is cheaper than holidays which involve flying.  This is because entertainment and sumptuous food is all paid for.  I do not work for a cruise company but I love cruising from Southampton.  I avoid flying like the plague when I am on holiday because I make around 15 business trips a year to far flung places.  Flying is hell it does not matter what is at the end of the journey.
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