Turku, Finland (Turku2011.fi) and Tallinn, Estonia (tallinn2011.ee) are the European Capitals of Culture for 2011.
Turku may be small but the former Finnish capital packs a big punch and its year-round celebrations kick off on 15 January with fireworks, concerts along the River Aura, and dockside art installations. Estonia marks the 20th anniversary of its independence this year, so celebrations won't be confined to Tallinn, but head here for such cultural highlights as rooftop film screenings and "sonic" city tours.
Remote Easter Island has been difficult and expensive to reach, due to tight restrictions on international routes that limited stopovers to flights from Chile and Tahiti. But the airline LAN (lan.com) starts its bi-weekly flights from Lima, the Peruvian capital in early 2011.
Three major hotel openings kick off the New Year. The Four Seasons Hotel – London, at Park Lane (fourseasons.com/London) will reopen with 1930s-inspired interiors by Pierre-Yves Rochon and a rooftop spa. Rooms from £265. Dubai-based Jumeirah's first Maldives property, the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi (jumeirah.com) on the Gaafu Alifu Atoll, will offer 22 villas with 24-hour butler service. Rooms from £1,265. And the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende (rosewoodsanmiguel.com) is due to open in the rural town in Mexico of the same name with 67 rooms and suites. Rooms from £189.
The cultural attraction
The biggest Dali collection outside Spain is held in the Florida resort of St Petersburg (salvadordalimuseum.org). Now, these 2,000-plus works are getting a new museum, named after the artist, which opens with a "surreal procession" at 10am on 11 January, headed by Infanta Cristina, younger daughter of King Juan Carlos of Spain.
The great outdoors
The rainforests of Tasmania are opened up with a new walking trail this month. The Tarkine Rainforest, set to be listed as a World Heritage Site, is an uninhabited 3,800sq km area of mountains, rivers and eucalyptus forests. Walks organised by Tarkine Trails (tarkinetrails .com.au) explore the forest. Prices from £805 for a three-day trek.
The family holiday
UK family-friendly hotel chain Luxury Family Hotels (luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk) is kicking off 2011 with a special offer: kids stay free throughout the year at all five of its hotels, which include Woolley Grange in Wiltshire and Moonfleet Manor in Dorset. The B&B deal is based on children under 12 sharing their parents' room. From £160 per night.
World Expeditions (worldexpeditions .co.uk) gets the year off to an exhilarating start by launching its Journeys of Discovery brochure. Twenty new trips have been added to excite the discerning adventurer, including an expedition to the ruins of northern Peru.
The British day out
The Book of Destruction, an exhibition by award-winning German photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer, will have its UK premiere in London (mosaicrooms.org) from 28 January to 12 February. Having documented the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for 20 years, Wiedenhöfer returned to Gaza in 2009 to record the devastation of the area and its people.
The winter sports
The Polo Masters Tour (polo-master.com) arrives in Val d'Isère from 11 to 14 January, with the world's best professional players competing on snow in a high-octane contest beneath the dramatic Face de Bellevarde. Competitions start at 6pm each night, with lively festivities for spectators creating après-ski with a difference.
All prices are per person, based on two sharing, unless otherwise stated. Hotel room prices are per room per night, unless otherwise stated