Pack your bags the telegraph travel writers pick the top 20 destinations for 2011

From the glories of New Zealand’s Middle Earth to the medieval charms of Tallinn, there are plenty of places offering a fresh reason to visit in the year ahead.

April 29 will be a glorious day in the capital for those who enjoy a spot of royal pomp and glory. By all means join the throngs celebrating the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, but a better idea is to avoid the inevitable price hikes and visit later in the year to splash out on a new luxury hotel. The W London, the first W in Britain, is opening in Leicester Square in February, providing its signature urban-cool chic. The more traditional will prefer the St Pancras Renaissance, reopening in the iconic building above the Eurostar terminal, its Gothic revival turrets housing 245 stylishly renovated rooms. Other new openings include the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge; the Corinthia, overlooking Trafalgar Square; and the Four Seasons on Park Lane. FK

Austrian Alps
France is having to face up to the fact that Austria may soon overtake it as the most popular destination for British skiers. Unlike their expensive neighbours, Austrian resorts have taken the pragmatic step of offering more value for money in these financially straitened times. While the skiing may not have the scope of France and Switzerland, it is certainly not to be scoffed at – from the snowsure resorts of Obergurgl and Sölden and the Apline charm of Kitzbühel to the accessibility of Innsbruck and “steeps and deeps” of St Anton. What is more, no one does après ski like the Austrians. CSS

Stratford upon Avon
Stratford, one of the most popular stopovers for overseas visitors, is often overlooked by the British. This is the year to put that right. The sights associated with Shakespeare – his birthplace, his tomb in the church, Hall’s Croft (his daughter Susanna’s house) and Anne Hathaway’s cottage in nearby Shottery, are genuinely interesting; moving, even. This February the RSC opens its redeveloped theatre – new summer productions are Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s

The publishing sensation of the past few years has drawn attention to Stockholm, the stage upon which Stieg Larsson’s fast-paced and intensely violent Millennium books unfold – a phenomenon which will soar this year with the release of a new Hollywood version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Visitors to the Swedish capital can take part in Millennium tours, which take in the heroes’ (journalist Mikael Blomkvist and hacker Lisbeth Salander) blood-spattered stomping grounds, including their fictional homes, the Millennium offices and their favourite bars. FK

Tallinn, Estonia
The charmed capital of Estonia this year, together with the Finnish city of Turku (see below), assumes the mantle of European Capital of Culture. The Estonians are planning quite a celebration with 7,000 events spanning opera, theatre, film, design and singing – a key part of life here, used in the revolt against Soviet rule 20 years ago. With its beautifully preserved medieval old town and proximity to the sea, Tallinn has long been on the traveller’s radar. An expansion of air routes to the city operated by easyJet and Ryanair will make it even easier to go in 2011. AB

Turku, Finland
Turku, once the capital of Finland, has long been overshadowed by neighbouring Helsinki – but that will change this year as Turku becomes European Capital of Culture (along with Tallinn, see above). A packed cultural programme of events is scheduled for the medieval seaside city in 2011, beginning with an extravagant opening ceremony on January 15. JA

Zagreb, Croatia
Dubrovnik has tended to attract most attention as a city-break destination in Croatia, but the striking fin-de-siècle architecture of the capital Zagreb – a “pocket-sized Vienna” – will receive a boost this year when easyJet ( begins regular flights there in February. A return flight costs from about £60. JA

Egadi Islands, Sicily
The Aeolian Islands to the south east of Sicily have become a well-known holiday destination; far fewer people know about the scattering of rocky islands just off the west coast. They are a great option for a good-value escapist holiday in early spring – and are easily combined with some of the great classical sights of Sicily such as Segesta, Agrigento and Selinunte. What’s more, they are now easy to get to. NT

Florence, Italy
For its art and architecture it is undeniably one of the great cultural destinations in Europe – and the food’s not bad either. The only problem has been getting here – the vast majority of flights land at Pisa, and it’s a long schlep by car, or at least an hour on the train from there to Florence. Cityjet has started a new flight from City airport to Florence airport (just a few minutes outside the city). Anyone starting from central London can save about two hours’ travelling time. NT

Kefalonia, Greece
Ten years on from the release of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – the screen adaptation of Louis de Bernières’s wonderful tragicomic tale of Kefalonia’s wartime occupation – the island remains a rural idyll populated by eccentric goat herders and Robola wine-swilling orthodox priests. For a taste of Greek life unchanged in generations, ignore trendy Fiskardo and hire a car to explore the villages and monasteries of the Lixouri peninsula. OS

Bay of Kumlubük, Turkey
It’s not often that you find a hotel with an organic farm as a sideline. But maybe the Dionysos Estate in Turkey could set a trend this year. The hotel, which tiers unobtrusively above a canyon overlooking the Bay of Kumlubük, certainly displays a taste for the unusual. The region, deep in rural Turkey, offers unspoilt beaches, ancient archaeological sites and is great for trekking and biking either along the coast or up in the mountains. Aside from its three restaurants, spa and private beach club, the hotel is gearing up to produce wine from its own vineyards; already it makes an award-winning olive oil (guests can help with the October harvest). Olive picking or wine tasting before a spa treatment – it could set a new trend. SH

Tripoli, Libya
December marked the start of a new Bmi service to Tripoli to rival British Airways’ long-standing service to the Libyan capital, so expect some competitive deals this year. Forget preconceptions (and the ubiquitous posters of Colonel Gaddafi) for the country’s relative isolation has made the people disarmingly friendly, while the medieval courtyards of the walled Old Town are straight out of Arabian Nights. With the magnificent ruins of Leptis Magna just 65 miles away, Tripoli represents a truly exotic option for 2011. CSS

Marrakech, Morocco
Fast becoming a must-see city, Marrakech offers accommodation in stylish riads for every budget. The options for visitors to venture deeper into Morocco are growing also – tours now often include trips to the Atlas Mountains, Berber villages – and kite-surfing lessons. NP

Slowly but surely, British travellers are starting to return to Zimbabwe following the shaky political rapprochement between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, and safari packages are now featured in many tour operators’ 2011 brochures. It is a beautiful country and the splendid wilderness areas have been relatively untouched by the regime’s destructive instincts. The people are charming and friendly. The only problem is that the long shadow of Mugabe and his henchmen still falls across the country; until they are gone, nothing will be quite normal. GB

Antigua is one of the great sailing destinations of the Caribbean, and the Antigua Yacht Club in English Harbour remains one of its social hubs. But the closure of Sunsail’s base a couple of years ago sharply reduced the options for anyone who likes to take to the water there. The gap has now been filled with the opening of a new resort at Nonsuch Bay on the east coast. It is a high-quality set up with spacious, beautifully finished self-catering apartments and an on-site restaurant. Most important, though, is the professionally staffed dinghy sailing centre, with top-of-the range RS dinghies for you to use or learn on. NT

Sri Lanka
With its lush vegetation, Indian Ocean beaches, Buddhist temples, tea plantations – and excellent value – Sri Lanka is likely to attract a growing number of British tourists this year, tempted, too, by the fact that it is now nearly two years since the end of the civil war. In addition to tried and tested favourites such as Kandy and the beaches of Bentota, some operators are venturing east into relatively uncharted territory. AB

Yunnan, China
This underdeveloped region is a great place to discover traditional China. Home to communities of ethnic minorities, Unesco heritage towns, awesome gorges and allegedly the fabled Shangri-La, the region is undervisited, even though it is just across the border from Laos and Vietnam. This is changing fast however, so go soon. NP

2011 marks the centenary of Hiram Bingham’s discovery of Machu Picchu. Still waiting to be discovered by the majority of tourists are ruins farther north that include the cloud forest fortress of Kuelap and the Temples of the Sun and Moon. NP

The new film, Patagonia, starring Matthew Rhys and Duffy, may not have earned critical acclaim but the location certainly has. This year sees the launch of a new company Swoop Travel, which offers more than 140 different trekking, kayaking, horse riding and mountaineering trips, from the Lake District in the North to the glacial mountains of Torres del Paine in the far south, as well as to lesser known parts of this great wilderness. CSS

New Zealand
Filming for the highly anticipated two-part adaptation of The Hobbit, the forerunner to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, begins this year. After much legal wrangling, New Zealand’s glorious natural landscapes will once again serve as the backdrop to Middle Earth, providing further inspiration to explore such unspoilt sites as Milford Sound and the Tongariro National Park. The country will also be hosting the Rugby World Cup in September and October. OS

Contributions by: Graham Boynton, Francisca Kellett, Adrian Bridge, Oliver Smith, Natalie Paris, Nick Trend, Charles Starmer-Smith, Simon Horsford and Jolyon Attwooll