Lonely Planet have just released their ‘Best in Travel’ guide for 2019! We love taking a look through the destinations that make the list to see if any of them are in our travel plans for the year ahead – it’s a great way to start planning!
We took a look at their picks for the top 10 countries to visit next year. We’d love to know if any of these countries are on your travel wish list.
1. Sri Lanka
Top of the list is the unique island paradise Sri Lanka. It’s home to some unique wildlife, a diverse mix of cultures and religions and plenty of historical and natural wonders to visit – but did you also know it is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, great for surfing, swimming or just relaxing on the sand. Whether you want to explore on your own independent itinerary, as part of a small group tour or join a delicious food tour, a cycling adventure or include a relaxing sailing component to your trip, the travel possibilities are endless in Sri Lanka. There’s a reason why we’ve seen this destination grow in popularity amongst travellers over the last year and we agree that it should definitely be on your travel bucket list!
Coming in a close second is the quaint and historical European country of Germany. Take in the history of Berlin, indulge in German sausages, pretzels and a stein in the beer halls of Munich or escape to some beautiful and tranquil countryside towns. Visit in winter to get a glimpse of some spectacular Christmas Markets, or for those wanting to experience the famous Oktoberfest celebrations you may want to time your visit for late September/ early October. Germany has long been a popular travel destination, however 2019 marks the 100-year anniversary of Bauhaus – a famous and historical art and design movement – which means there will be special exhibits, museums and events held throughout Germany over the year.
Zimbabwe is one of our favourite countries to visit in Africa. Home to the mighty Victoria Falls, the majestic Zambezi River, some incredible National Parks (that are home to the ‘Big Five’) and friendly and welcoming local people. Whether you’re after some active adventures such as bungee jumping at Vic Falls or looking for a more relaxing experience on a canoe ride along the Zambezi – there really is something for everyone in this top 3 destination.
This tropical country connects the north of South America with the South of Central America and is mostly recognised as being home to the incredible Panama Canal. This famous shipping route connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and is the ideal spot to experience on a small ship cruise. From white sand beaches, to tropical rainforests to the modern city scapes and nightlife of Panama City, Panama is great to explore on its own or to combine with the lovely Costa Rica, Nicaragua or Honduras.
Central Asia has become increasingly popular amongst travellers this year, so there’s no surprise that number 5 on the list is the unspoilt Kyrgyzstan. There’s so much history, culture and diverse natural landscapes to explore, Krygyzstan particularly is very mountainous and the majesty of its landscape will leave you in awe. We recommend visiting this country as part of a small group tour, as you won’t want to miss what some of its surrounding neighbours have to offer travellers.
A visit to this beautiful country in the Middle East will stay with you forever. Perhaps not as popular as its neighbouring Egypt, Jordan offers travellers a fascinating mix of ancient wonders and modern cosmopolitan cities. You can take in the breathtaking desert scenery of Wadi Rum, uncover the magic and mystery of the world wonder Petra and have a float in the Dead Sea while you are there.
For us Australians, there’s no surprise that Indonesia has made the top 10! We know how beautiful the islands are, how friendly the local people are and how much wildlife, culture and diverse landscapes there are to take in. Of course, there’s also the bonus of how close to home Indonesia is for us, giving us the option for a quick mini getaway during the year or a longer relaxing escape. Remember, there are plenty of incredible islands to explore in this country – by land or by sea – even though most of the time Bali is at the top of most Australian minds.
If you’ve explored quite a bit of Europe already, then a destination such as Belarus may be a nice option for something different upon your return. Castles, cathedrals, soviet structures and rich forests await in this modern country with a mix of Soviet, Polish, Orthodox and Jewish influences. Head off in search of the European bison, spend the night inside a castle, visit a traditional village and take in the rich history of this fascinating country.
9. Sao Tome & Principe
Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of this two-island nation in Africa, it’s not one you find in many travel brochures or guides. Tropical waters, empty beaches and dense jungles make this destination a trekking and snorkelling paradise. Not as simple to reach as other African countries – but if you’re looking for unspoilt paradise then it’s worth the effort.
Last, but certainly not least, rounding out the top 10 is the Central American destination of Belize. Its gorgeous Caribbean coast is home to the world’s second largest barrier reef and unique marine life, and it also has some incredible cave systems waiting to be explored. With an exotic mix of people, cultures and traditions you’ll find there’s so much more to Belize than just the stunning natural offerings.
As you can see there are some amazing destinations on the 2019 list. Whether you’d like to explore on a group tour or put together an itinerary for you to explore independently, our experienced consultants can help you tick these countries off your travel list!