Southern Albania (Northern Epirus)
World's top destinations for 2011
- Travel experts name nine great destinations to explore next year
- New York will be particularly memorable as it commemorates 10th anniversary of 9/11
- Japan can be more affordable than you think; Norway is perfect for lovers of outdoors
- Guatemala is "a bargain wonderland"; Bulgaria offers both great beaches and skiing
(CNN) -- Where on Earth will you find yourself in 2011?
Here's wishing it's somewhere unforgettable -- and the time to plan your journey is now, as the New Year brings the customary yearning for a fresh start and the promise of new people and places.
To set your itinerary in motion, we sought out recommendations from three travel experts: Robert Reid, U.S. travel editor for Lonely Planet; Pauline Frommer, creator of Pauline Frommer's guidebooks; and Martin Rapp, senior vice president of leisure sales at Altour.
Here are nine of their top destinations for 2011:
The top pick on Lonely Planet's list of top 10 countries for 2011 may be a surprise for many people, but Albania gives travelers a taste of the Mediterranean without the crowds and the prices, Reid said.
The real rising destination is Gjirokastra, a city whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, he added.
"It's this cobbled town with Ottoman-era mansions," Reid said. "It's a very atmospheric place that has a lot of history."
With picturesque beaches, good food and a number of heritage sites, Albania won't be off the beaten track for much longer, Lonely Planet says in its review.