Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2016: countries, cities, regions revealed

The top travel destinations of next year are revealed in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016 guide, allowing experienced travellers and new adventurers a chance to get a jump start on next year’s best destinations.

Elephants lumber past a watering hole in Kwando Reserve in Botswana.

Elephants lumber past a watering hole in Kwando Reserve in Botswana. Image by Thomas Retterath © Getty Images

The guide, available in print and on lonelyplanet.com sets out an expert-curated list of the world’s best destinations and experiences.

Next year, Botswana is the top country to visit  followed by Japan and the USA.

Practise your people-dodging skills at Shibuya Crossing in Japan – it’s nicknamed ‘The Scramble’ for a reason.

Practise your people-dodging skills at Shibuya Crossing in Japan – it’s nicknamed ‘The Scramble’ for a reason. Image by Lottie Davies © Lonely Planet Images

Botswana earns its spot at the top as a gorgeous destination for landscape and wildlife, its place as one of Africa’s most stable and thriving societies, as well as many travel benefits such as the many direct flights into the country.

Yosemite's half dome is a popular challenge for keen hikers in the USA, but you might prefer to admire its beauty from afar.

Yosemite’s half dome is a popular challenge for keen hikers in the USA, but you might prefer to admire its beauty from afar. Image by Sean Pavone © Shutterstock

Japan comes in second on the list, with accolades for its modern, bordering on futuristic, cities and gorgeous countryside. In third, the USA received its ranking for its beautiful and diverse national parks, which help make it the ideal nation for a road trip.

dbvirago © Getty Images

Beyond the old city walls in Kotor, Montenegro, verdant limestone mountains loom.

The top cities to visit in 2016 are equally diverse, with Kotor, Montenegro, topping the list.

Quito’s Old Town is peppered with architectural gems like the gothic Basílica del Voto Nacional.

Quito’s Old Town is peppered with architectural gems like the gothic Basílica del Voto Nacional. Image by John & Tina Reid © Getty Images

It is followed by Quito in Ecuador and Dublin in Ireland.

The O’Connell Bridge crosses Dublin’s River Liffey at the very heart of Ireland's capital city.

The O’Connell Bridge crosses Dublin’s River Liffey at the very heart of Ireland’s capital city.
Image by David Soanes Photography © Getty Images

The best regions in the world are: Transylvania, Romania, followed by West Iceland and Valle de Viñales, Cuba.

A wintry outlook over the commune of Bran, overlooked by the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania.

A wintry outlook over the commune of Bran, overlooked by the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania.
Image by Giusepperizzo © Getty Images/Flickr RF

The list highlights the top ten countries, cities and regions, selected through a process that includes Lonely Planet’s authors, editors and bloggers and tweeters. They come up with a list of hundreds of the best places to see in the world, which is then whittled down by a panel of Lonely Planet travel experts who assign each location on the shortlist with a score based on a variety of criteria.

The fishing hamlet of Arnastapi in West Iceland attracts hikers to its beaches and nearby lava fields in summer.

The fishing hamlet of Arnastapi in West Iceland attracts hikers to its beaches and nearby lava fields in summer.
Image by David Noton © Lonely Planet Images

The destinations featured in the book can be chosen because of a specific event coming up that year, because of something new and interesting happening there, or because the experts feel the location has been overlooked or underrated in the past. The book gives travellers a chance to get a glimpse of the world’s best destinations before the rest of the crowd.

Tobacco crops fill the valley in Viñales, Cuba. Beyond them, limestone mogotes dare climbers to test their mettle.

Tobacco crops fill the valley in Viñales, Cuba. Beyond them, limestone mogotes dare climbers to test their mettle.
Image by Mark Read © Lonely Planet Images

The book also doesn’t stop at just travel destinations: it also includes 17 inspiration lists that cover the best value destinations, the best animal adventures and the best place to elope.

Top 10 Countries in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016

  1. Botswana
  2. Japan
  3. USA
  4. Palau
  5. Latvia
  6. Australia
  7. Poland
  8. Uruguay
  9. Greenland
  10. Fiji

Top 10 Regions in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016

  1. Transylvania, Romania
  2. West Iceland
  3. Valle de Viñales, Cuba
  4. Friuli’s wine regions, Italy
  5. Waiheke Island, New Zealand
  6. The Auvergne, France
  7. Hawaii, USA
  8. Bavaria, Germany
  9. Costa Verde, Brazil
  10. St Helena, British Territories

Top 10 Cities in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016

  1. Kotor, Montenegro
  2. Quito, Ecuador
  3. Dublin, Ireland
  4. George Town, Malaysia
  5. Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  6. Mumbai, India
  7. Fremantle, Australia
  8. Manchester, UK
  9. Nashville, USA
  10. Rome, Italy

For more information visit www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel