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Insiders info into the next “hot” destinations

21st August 2008 Print

Backpackers are always the first to discover the new “it” destinations that the rest of us will be visiting in several years time. They were sailing Croatia in the 90s, the first in when China opened their doors and tucking into sushi before the rest of us knew raw fish was a delicacy.

Through their clever booking system, Hostelworld are able to tap into the backpacker’s brain and track where they’re all headed. Below is a list of cities on the rise, so you can get in before prices sky rocket, crowds take over and the backpackers have moved onto somewhere else…


(and % increase in growth since 2007):

1. Essouria, Morocco – up 103%
2. Aswan, Egypt – up 105%
3. Bratislava, Slovakia - 66%
4. Kyoto, Japan – up 160%
5. Puerto, Iguazu, Argentina – up 82%
6. Livingstone, Zambia- up 100%
7. Cascais, Portugal – up 68%
8. Zagreb, Croatia – up 90%
9. Xi’an, China – up 100%
10. Amman, Jordan – up 89%

Honorable Mentions:

Miama, USA – showing explosive growth – up 122%
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg – NEW to the list

1. Essaouria, Morrocco
This Coastal fishing village is still in the very early stages of tourism, meaning visitors are guaranteed more of an authentically local experience. Enclosed in a bay, the town is renowned for kitesurfing and windsurfing opportunities. With a beautiful curling beach and charming alleyways, Essaouria is laid back and relaxed with a semi-tropical climate all year round. The unique architecture draws from French and Portuguese influences and offers another reason to visit the town, as does the central Medina, is a UNESCO World Heritage Listed area.

Hostel Essaouria
Designed in traditional chic Riad style, this 'Boutique Hostel' offers more than most. Centered around a beautiful Moroccan garden, the Essaouira Hostel will make you feel instantly relaxed and at home. Rooms are beautifully designed and resembling something straight out of an interiors magazine. The high terrace offers magnificent views over the city and free yoga classes to guests. Also on offer is an extensive library, cocktail bar and free tours of the town and its nightlife. Barbeques with delicious local food can be organised for groups. Surf trips, kite surf lessons, fishing trips or camel/horse riding can also be arranged. Rates from £12.39/night

2. Aswan, Egypt
Egypt’s sunniest southern city, Aswan is positioned on the east bank of the Nile around 80 miles south of Luxor. Renowned for its bustling market, Aswan is also one of the driest cities in the world. Aswan is closely located to Nubian villages, offering travellers the opportunity to experience true African culture. In Aswan, the Nile is at its most beautiful, flowing through amber desert and granite rocks, round emerald islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants. The Aswan High Dam and Philae Temple are two major tourist attractions of the region.

Memnon Hotel
A budget hotel located in the centre of Aswan on the banks of the Nile, the Memnon Hotel offers 54 rooms with ensuites and air-conditioning – many with views of the Nile, fridges and TVs. Single, double, triple and suites are on offer with friendly, helpful reception staff available 24 hours a day. The hotel restaurant offers spectacular views over the Nile, an indoor swimming pool and room service around the clock. Rates from £ 3.52/night

3. Bratislava, Slovakia
Dubbed “the new Prague” by travelers in-the-know, Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia is both affordable and beautiful. Locals boast of Bratislava’s relaxed, Mediterranean feel, cultural events and numerous recreational activities. The more popular events include the Tratislave Music Festival in September and Bratislava Jazz Days in October.

One of the most prominent structures in the city is Bratislava Castle, positioned 85 meters above the Danube on an isolated, rocky hill. The castle provides an amazing view of both Bratislava and Austria, and on a fine day visitors can see as far as Hungary. The city offers a variety of sporting activities including trekking, cycling and horse riding, and for the adrenaline junkies the nearby sports centre of Cunovo (20kms from Bratislava) offers adventure sports such as rafting and jet skiing.

This new, intimate hostel has been built in a restored house more than 100 years old. Located in the city center, guests can choose from either private or dorm rooms. The common room offers the perfect social setting with TV, DVDs, table football and bar with some of the best prices in town. Staff are available 24/7 to assist with your every need. The hostel offers bikes for exploring this beautiful city. Rates from £ 12.20/night

4. Kyoto, Japan
With spectacular natural scenery, and more than 1000 temples to explore, this ancient Japanese capital offers the quintessential Japanese experience. Proudly referred to by locals as the “Japanese Heartland”, Kyoto is an essential stop-off in any trip to Japan. Located in a valley in the Yamashiro Basin, Kyoto is surrounded by mountains making for a picturesque backdrop. Renowned for its abundance of Japanese food, various cultural festivals and the traditional geisha centre of Gion, Kyoto is one of the most culturally enriched cities in the world.

Backpackers Hostel House
Recently renovated, this hostel has received countless awards recognising its high standards. This modern hostel is fully air-conditioned and offers both private and dormitory-style accommodation. Located in central Tokyo, several rooms are decked out in traditional Japanese style with tatami mats covering the floors. Staff speak excellent English and are more than happy to offer advice and recommendations for all guests. Rates from £11.29/night

5. Puerto, Iguazu, Argentina
The main draw for this city is the spectacular Iguazu National Park containing the famed Iguazu Falls, both just 18km from the city. The falls are actually made up of 275 individual falls, each up to 80 meters high with the water from the Iguazu river running through them. Another major attraction of the city is its location – situated on the ‘three fronteirs’ where the Argentine, Paraguayan and Brazilian borders meet, making it a fantastic central base for travellers. Other must-sees of the town include the Mborore Museum - a bird rehabilitation centre and the Museum of Images of the Jungle. A subtropical climate means the city is ideal to visit all year round.

Hostel Inn Iguazu Falls
In the pristine, lake-like swimming pool you will find a full bar of refreshing beverages to both hydrate and relax thirsty travelers. There are plenty of wooden sun-beds, umbrellas for those looking to relax or volleyball courts and soccer fields available for some healthy competition. The party starts at dusk and never ends, so don’t forget your dancing shoes. You won’t want to miss the Brazilian show and BBQ night amongst music, cocktails, and a friendly international crowd. In the morning as you relax and enjoy the complimentary buffet breakfast and send e-mails free of charge, the maid hurries up to your bedroom to organize and prepare for the day ahead. Rates from £6.32/night

6. Livingstone, Zambia
Named after the missionary and explorer, David Livingstone, this city is a historical colonial town and the capital of Zambia. The thundering Victoria Falls are located just 10km from the city. The Zambesi River runs just above the falls and offers opportunities for river cruises, fishing and kayaking, or for the more extreme tourists, white water rafting and bungee jumping. The nearby Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is perfect for the traditional African wildlife safari.

Jollyboys Backpackers
Claiming to be one of the best hostels in Africa, Jollyboys is located just 8kms from the Victoria Falls and offers a free shuttle bus every morning. Priding themselves on their service and Zambian hospitality, the hostel can arrange safari tours and other travel arrangements. All rooms are spotless, beers are icy cold and the swimming pool offers refreshment after a long day in the sun. Laze in a hammock or munch on some mangos in the shady mango fields, Jollyboys is one hostel that encourages relaxation. If all that relaxing gets too much, the hostel is just steps away from the museum, markets, banks, grocery stores and all of the fun of Africa! Rates from £4.24/night

7. Cascais, Portugal
This attractive seaside village is a popular holiday destination for the Portuguese locals. Situated just 30km west of Lisbon, this cosmopolitan city is an old town full of narrow and winding lanes that are yours to explore. This former fishing village gained fame as a resort for Portugal’s royal family from the late 1800s, and is surrounded by beaches and mountains. The beach conditions make it an ideal destination for surfing, sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. A perfect spot for a relaxing beach getaway.

Guincho Surf Beach Hostel
Opened in April 2008, Guincho Surf Beach Hostel is the newest hostel in Cascais and the only one at walking distance to the famous beach of Guincho. A perfect place for beach and water fans, surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing lessons are offered at discounted rates to guests. Situated in a traditional Portuguese village, the hostel has modern facilities and a great party atmosphere. The garden and terrace provide amazing views of the ocean and the beautiful Sintra National Park. Rates from £16.52/night

8. Zagreb, Croatia
The largest city in Croatia, yet only just gaining popularity on the tourist map, Zagreb has more museums than any other city in the world. Boasting a medieval ‘old city’ feel with architecture and cobbled streets, Zagreb is reminiscent of Vienna, Budapest and other central-European capitals, though mixed with a visible Italian influence. The city is divided into three parts – the upper town, lower town and new Zagreb, each of which have their own individual feel and attractions. Zagreb serves as the perfect gateway to the many beautiful beaches Croatia has to offer.

Buzz Hostel
Buzz is a fun, modern, clean and comfortable place which is the perfect base for exploring beautiful Zagreb. Its central location means all the town attractions are only a short walk away. Staff are on hand 24hours a day to offer information and guidance on what to see and explore in this yet to be discovered part of Europe. Rates from £15.45/night

9. Xi’an, China
The capital city of the Shaanxi province of China, Xi’an is one of the four great ancient Chinese capitals. With Qinling Mountains to the south and the Weihe River to the north, it is in a picturesque geographical location surrounded by water and hills. With countless attractions to see, including the renowned Museum of TerraCotta Warriors and Horses, Xi’an offers an unparalleled glimpse into the fascinating history of this ancient civilization.

Xiangzimen International Youth Hostel
It is said that the brother of a Song dynasty Emperor used to reside in this very building. This hostel has a charming atmosphere and traditional Chinese style with red lanterns, carved stone benches and vibrant fish tanks. Conveniently located in the heart of Xi’an, all the local attractions are within walking distance. There are a myriad of bars and coffee houses on the hostel’s doorstep to choose from. Staff can arrange local tours and travel arrangements. A restaurant offers both Chinese and Western cuisine and free dumpling-making lessons every Friday. Rates from £1.64/night

10. Amman, Jordan
The capital and largest city of Jordan, Amman has been showing explosive growth in recent years. A lively, modern and culturally diverse city, Amman offers a great insight into the intriguing country of Jordan. Said to resemble Rome as it is situated on seven hills, the city is only a 45 minutes away from the unique ultra-saline waters of the Dead Sea. The older downtown area of Amman is where most of the attractions lie including Mosques and traditional markets. In the district east of Jabal, Amman you can explore the capital’s greatest souks, fine museums, ancient constructions, monuments and other cultural sites.

Farah Hotel
Located deep in the heart of Amman’s historic downtown area, the hostel offers both private and dormitory rooms, many of which contain a satellite TV. The local staff can answer any questions regarding Jordan’s attractions and organise tours for guests. Films are shown every night in the lobby offering a great opportunity to meet other travellers. Quality, low cost restaurants and shopping areas are located on the hotel’s doorstep. Rates from £3.01/night


Miami, USA
Whilst it may not be a new destination, Miami is certainly experiencing a resurgence and has shown explosive growth in the last year. Situated in south Florida, Miami’s sandy beaches, flamboyant nightlife and hours of endless sunshine, especially in winter make it a top American destination. Miami is the only major city in the United States bordered by two national parks, Everglades National Park on the west, and Biscayne National Park on the east. It was ranked America’s cleanest city in 2008 by Forbes Magazine.

Miami Beach International Travellers Hostel
Miami Beach International Travellers is the only boutique hostel in South Beach - located just one block away from the beach front and situated in the centre of the Art Deco district with pubs, clubs and shops on the hostel doorstep. Rooms sleep a maximum of six and come with private bathroom and flat screen TV. Private rooms, with one or two double beds sleeping up to four guests, come with a private bathroom, flat-screen TV and cable.

There is a beautiful original Art Deco lobby, lounge and outdoor terrace for socialising and people watching. Other perks on offer include free tours, continental breakfast, happy hour drinks, pizza movie nights, poker nights and billiard tournaments. Tours to Key West, the Everglades, Bahamas and the Caribbean can also be arranged through the hostel. Rates from £13.26/night

A country enclosed by France, Germany and Belgium, Luxemburg, with the capital titled under the same name, is a country on the rise. Regularly named as the safest city in the world, Luxemburg has remained relatively quiet on the tourist front until now. Boasting an array of historical and cultural attractions, this is a cosmopolitan city offering something for everyone.

Luxembourg City Hostel
The only youth hostel in Luxembourg, this modern hostel caters for individuals, groups and families. The hostel’s restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers Luxembourgish speciality dishes. After dinner, head into the hostel’s lively bar to meet fellow travellers. A tour desk offers guests information on local attractions and can also organise bike rental for exploring the city. Key card access gives guests added security. Rates from £16.18/night

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