Each year, Lonely Planet publishes its Best in Travel series, dedicated to uncovering the most exciting locations set to impress during the following calendar year. Split into four categories spanning cities, countries, regions and ‘best value’, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019 provides us with an insight into where the travel industry has its eye focused, along with an opportunity to spot the locations and regions with a growing buzz around them. As the industry’s leading travel copywriting and content service, this of course takes our fancy, so read our latest ItinerWord blog and find the results for the upcoming year, along with some of our key takeaways.
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019
Top Ten Countries to Visit in 2019
- Sri Lanka
- São Tomé & Príncipe
Top country 2019: Sri Lanka
The secret is out on Sri Lanka. With the island nation’s incredible mix of pristine beaches, biodiversity, as well as their fascinating cultural and religious practices, tourism throughout the country is reaching new heights. Such is the way with Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel List, with the number one spot typically belonging to a country that offers something for everyone. Never has this been more evident than with Sri Lanka.
2nd place: Kyrgyzstan
Also earning its place on the list is Kyrgyzstan, seemingly the must-visit destination found within the increasingly popular region of Central Asia. The majority of Kyrgyzstan’s intrigue can be attributed to its stunning backdrop of snow-capped mountains and crystalline lakes, providing hiking and climbing enthusiasts with an irresistible and often remote setting. Throw in an improved road network facilitating easy local travel and you have a winning combination.
3rd place: Indonesia
A long-time favourite for global travellers can also be found in Indonesia, despite the adverse conditions faced in the wake of several recent volcanic eruptions. The countless beautiful islands that make up Indonesia play their part in reminding us that, depending on exactly where you end up; delicious cuisine, rich culture and picturesque landscape will never fail to impress, leading the way among the world’s best travel destinations. Eco-tourism continues to thrive in Indonesia too, a fact that should set the tone for all countries with such spectacular biodiversity and delicate eco-systems, as can be found here.
Top Ten Cities to Visit in 2019
- Novi Sad
- Mexico City
Top city 2019: Copenhagen
No one should be surprised at Copenhagen’s place atop the must-visit cities of 2019; the trendy Danish capital has been alluring visitors for years now and there appears to be no slowing it down. With an almost legendary cycling-friendly status, a burgeoning food and drink scene and fascinating European culture and history to boot, it’s not hard to see why.
The USA strikes twice
Two North American cities also claim their place among the rankings, with Miami’s highly reputed art and design scene cultivating a new image for a city typically known for its (admittedly still booming) nightlife. Seattle, at number 8, is drawing new crowds thanks to a tech and startup empire rivalling that of its West Coast competitor, San Francisco. Beyond its flourishing business centres, however, Seattle also provides ample outdoor space and green areas too, making it an incredibly diverse traveller experience for anyone visiting the USA.
Up-and-coming South-Central Europe
The inclusion of Croatia’s Zadar and Serbia’s Novi Sad are then testament to a desire for new destinations to visit in 2019, in the increasingly popular tourist hubs of South-Central Europe. Croatia, in particular, has been experiencing unprecedented numbers of tourists thanks to its splendid coastline cities, music festivals and quaint towns. Zadar is certainly no exception, featuring not only the sensational Baltic views and fine seafood to match, but also a captivating old town along with beautiful inland national parks and cascades nearby. With a fraction of the visitors seen in better-known cities, Zadar certainly has the winning formula and deserves its recognition among the must-see cities of 2019.
Best Holiday Regions for 2019
- Piedmont, Italy
- The Catskills, USA
- Northern Peru
- The Red Centre, Australia
- Scotland’s Highlands and islands
- Russian Far East
- Gujarat, India
- Manitoba, Canada
- Normandy, France
- Elqui Valley, Chile
Stunning landscapes reign supreme
Nearly all of the regions listed as the best places to visit in 2019 share one thing in common: jaw-dropping scenery. Regardless of where in the world you are, it seems that tourists’ desire to experience the pure natural beauty of a country is as much a travel highlight today, as ever before. At the top of the pile is Italy’s Piedmont Region, with its wonderfully eccentric traditional customs and celebrations (The Battle of the Oranges comes instantly to mind). Meanwhile, the Scottish Highlands continue to win over all who visit with their now iconic landscapes, lochs and glens mixed with centuries of history and unmistakable cultural heritage. It is no coincidence that ItinerWord recently relocated its entire travel copywriting and content business to Glasgow, creative minds certainly benefit from scenes like these!
Lesser-known South America
South America’s dreamlike array of backdrops are highlighted too. Northern Peru, for example, typically not featured on the well-trodden backpacker trail – most likely due to the lack of lively towns, more commonly found further south – has since begun to percolate as a point of interest for anyone seeking a real South American adventure. With north-westerly Iquitos forming the launch pad to the Amazon and spectacular mountain passes looming along the bottom of the Andes Cordillera, this region may not remain an off-the-beaten-path destination in Peru for long. Further south, The Elqui Valley, found between Chile’s sprawling Atacama Desert and the capital, Santiago, possesses a world-renowned observatory where you are free to lose yourself in sparkling constellations across the night sky.
A region on the rise in Russia
A surprise appearance on the list however is the less-travelled Far East of Russia, home to the blossoming city of Vladivostok and a variety of cultural hotspots, not to mention the cinematic Kamchatka and its smouldering volcanic peninsula, hot springs and solitary mountains.
Best Value Travel Destinations of 2019
- Southern Nile Valley, Egypt
- Lodz, Poland
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA
Top spot: Egypt’s Southern Nile Valley
Arguably the most important of all four categories, the Best Value Destinations of 2019 should strike a chord with every traveller looking to get the most bang for their buck. History buffs will be delighted to see that the Southern Nile Valley leads the pack, with very affordable and wonderfully scenic Nile boat tours providing the basis for a fascinating insight into Egypt’s spectacular ancient history, and plenty of awe-inspiring monuments along the way.
Treasures of Bangladesh
Visiting Bangladesh, at number 7, looks like one to watch for the ensuing years with a trajectory not dissimilar to Sri Lanka, mentioned earlier on. When considering its splendid national parks, cultural depth and unspoiled beaches – all possible to visit within a modest comparable cost – it’s a miracle that Bangladesh hasn’t experienced the same explosion of tourism found in the neighbouring countries of India, and Nepal.
More of South-Central Europe
The inclusion of Slovenia and Albania to the list of best value travel destinations rounds off the South-Central European representatives. Both offer beautiful mountain ranges and quaint villages, with traditional customs continuing to persevere here too. Extremely cheap train journeys provide an ideal way to experience the wonderfully picturesque panoramas each country also possesses, while adding a slice of much-needed adventure to any tour.
Our verdict on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019
South America and Central Europe appear to be consistent trending destinations throughout the Best in Travel 2019 lists, suggesting the two regions – in their more remote parts – should be explored sooner rather than later. However, as travel content providers who have all come from the industry, we at ItinerWord know all too well that both these destinations have been popular for a long time, although huge swathes of each of these regions are still yet to be fully explored. Thankfully, the highlights of South America will never tire and always be must-see travel destinations, just as with elsewhere in Europe, of course.
2019 trend: nature and the outdoors
A premium also seems to be placed on the importance of the great outdoors in this year’s Best in Travel list, with many of the cities, regions and countries included being known for their surrounding natural beauty. While this has been a long-time feature of popular reasons to travel generally, 2019’s recommendations suggest a real focus, something that may sit consistently near the top of the tourism wishlist as the year rolls on.
The USA is a secret winner
Finally, it seems important to acknowledge that the USA quietly continues to inspire tourists as a great all-round package, thanks to its superb mix of landscapes, iconic sites and incredibly varied cities. Despite not earning a place on the top 10 countries, the USA owns 5 spots across the remaining 3 categories, an opinion we would be inclined to agree with here at ItinerWord.
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