Lonely Planet Reveals Best in Travel for 2016
PHOTO: Dublin, Ireland ranked third for best cities in 2016. (Photo by David Cogswell)
When Lonely Planet talks, travelers tend to listen.
So it's no surprise that the travel world is buzzing in the wake of Lonely Planet announcing its annual best in travel lists for 2016. This time around, the world's largest travel guide book publisher has recognized Kotor, Montenegro, Transylvania and Botswana as the places most deserving of travelers' attention over the course of the upcoming year.
But that doesn't mean the list ends there. Read on to find out which destinations made Lonely Planet's top 10 in their respective categories.
Best Cities for 2016
While Dublin, Ireland; Mumbai, India and Rome are major cities with well-documented appeal, Kotor headlines a top 10 featuring several gems waiting to be discovered.
With a metro system in the works and a brand new airport, Quito gives Kotor a run for its money. Not sure what to make of Quito? TravelPulse's Janeen Christoff has five reasons why it's emerged as one of South America's hottest destinations.
Dublin; George Town, Malaysia (not to be confused with Washington D.C.'s historic neighborhood) and Rotterdam, Netherlands round out the top five cities for 2016.
"Rotterdam is a modern city, and perhaps not as charming as its Dutch counterparts. But it is incredibly bicycle friendly, clean and very efficiently organized," writes TravelPulse's Josh Lew, who recently included Rotterdam among his five overlooked cities worth visiting. "Rotterdam has plenty of other positive traits as well: a full festival calendar, a killer menu of live music venues and a nightlife scene that some say even tops Amsterdam’s in terms of fun and diversity."
Interestingly, Nashville, Tennessee was the only U.S. city to make the cut for 2016. Lonely Planet credits "rapid gentrification" for boosting the Music City's allure.
Here's how the complete top 10 shook out:
1. Kotor, Montenegro
2. Quito, Ecuador
3. Dublin, Ireland
4. George Town, Malaysia
5. Rotterdam, Netherlands
6. Mumbai, India
7. Fremantle, Australia
8. Manchester, England
9. Nashville, Tennessee
10. Rome, Italy
Best Regions for 2016
Transylvania's spot atop Lonely Planet's list of the best regions for 2016 is sure to stir up plenty of stereotypes. But the reality is that this underrated region in Romania is becoming increasingly modern without losing its character or charm.
But even Translyvania's nature tours pale in comparison to West Iceland, which earns to the No. 2 spot on this year's list. The area remains largely unexplored by tourists but new infrastructure should make visiting easier in 2016 and beyond.
With the U.S. recently making efforts to restore normal diplomatic relations with Cuba, Valle de Vinales finds itself at No. 3. This region promises a rare Cuban experience, one far different than that depicted on postcards from Havana.
Those rising destinations are joined by seven others in the top 10.
1. Transylvania, Romania
2. West Iceland
3. Valle de Vinales, Cuba
4. Friuli's wine regions, Italy
5. Waiheke Island, New Zealand
6. The Auvergne, France
8. Bavaria, Germany
9. Costa Verde, Brazil
10. St. Helena, British Territories
Best Countries for 2016
Appropriately, Africa's Botswana is being recognized as the best country for travel in the year in which it will celebrate its 50th year of independence. Factor in a stable economy and countless natural wonders and it is clear Botswana is deserving of Lonely Planet's top honor.
The U.S. ranks third behind only Botswana and Japan in 2016. The U.S. National Park Service will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, signaling an ideal time for travelers to experience the country's nearly five dozen national parks.
While countries like Latvia, Uruguay, Greenland and Fiji are likely to inspire a bit of background research, arguably no countries in Lonely Planet's top 10 are more surprising than fourth-ranked Palau, an archipelago located in the Western Pacific Ocean.
Originally settled as many as 3,000 years ago, today Palau is a premier destination for diving and snorkeling.
Here's how the top 10 looks for 2016:
3. United States
If it's value you're after in 2016, Lonely Planet also put together a top 10 list of the best value destinations worth exploring next year. Here's a look:
2. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam
3. East Africa
4. New Mexico
5. Bosnia and Herzegovina
6. Galicia, Spain
7. Quebec City, Canada
8. Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast
10. Western Australia
Travelers can expect to see these selections in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2016 guide book as well as the inaugural issue of its new magazine set to hit newsstands next week.
Click here for more information on Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2016.
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