You can always rely on Lonely Planet’s annual ‘Best of Travel’ lists to spring some eye-openers. Bringing you off-the-beaten-path places among more visited destinations, the indices usually have readers nodding their heads in agreement, shaking them in disagreement, or scratching them in bewilderment.
Perhaps one of the bigger surprises this year is the inclusion of Canberra as the world’s third hottest city to visit in 2018.
It shouldn’t be shocking in the sense that Canberra has some awesome attractions, like the humbling Australian War Memorial, well-stocked museums and nearby wineries, as well as one of the world’s coolest parliament houses.
But it is surprising in that no Aussie city has ever been ranked higher in the index, and hey, it’s still Canberra.
“Criminally overlooked Canberra packs a big punch for such a small city,” Lonely Planet says of the nation’s capital. “National treasures are found round almost every corner and exciting new boutique precincts have emerged, bulging with gastronomic highlights and cultural must-dos.”
As well as flagging the city’s first Test cricket match next year, the guide points to the 100th anniversary of the WWI Armistice at the war memorial, and a permanent Reconciliation Day public holiday from 2018 onwards.
The other top cities LP says should feature on every traveller’s wishlist for the year ahead are Seville (Spain, 1st), Detroit (US, 2nd), Hamburg (Germany, 4th) and Kaohsiung (Taiwan, 5th).
Of the world’s must-visit countries for 2018, none will apparently be more exciting than Chile, which will mark 200 years of independence next year, South Korea, Portugal, Djibouti and New Zealand.
The most exciting regions for 2018 are Belfast and the Causeway Coast (N.Ireland), Alaska (US) and the Julian Alps (Slovenia), while Tallinn (Estonia) was deemed the best value destination.
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel lists consider criteria such as “topicality, excitement and wow-factor”, with outstanding or special experiences coming up in the year ahead. They can also be overlooked and underrated places. Like Canberra.
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