Increasingly, more of us are making wish lists of destinations we're determined to see once it's safe to spread our wings again. So to help with our bucket-list plans, Lonely Planet has ranked the world's top 500 unmissable travel experiences and put them all together in one handy book: Ultimate Travel List.

Ultimate Travel List is the second edition of Lonely Planet's bestselling coffee table book. Designed to be a companion to your armchair travels or the tool to refuel your wanderlust, it features more than 200 new destinations in a picture-perfect wish-list of 500 places, each ranked in order of brilliance.

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The enigmatic "lost city" of Petra in Jordan bagged the top spot © Getty Images

The list contains "a mix of knock-out new openings, sights that have upped their game, or places more relevant to the way we travel now," says Lonely Planet. And as the pandemic changes our travel priorities, the company has changed how it calculated the list. “For this edition, we awarded extra points to destinations and attractions that are managing tourism sustainably,” says Lonely Planet’s VP of Publishing, Piers Pickard.

Outdoor adventures and classic backpacking experiences feature heavily in the book, but overall the list is a mix of thrilling, memorable and interesting travel experiences, with something for every traveler in every corner of the globe. 

See the world's top 10 travel experiences, according to Lonely Planet

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The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal made it into the top 10 © Alexander Mazurkevich / Shutterstock

The longlist was compiled by highlights found through Lonely Planet's expansive archive of guidebooks, before being carefully whittled down to a shortlist. Everyone in the Lonely Planet travel community was asked to vote on their top 20 experience to create a well-rounded mix of adventures. “We’ve all got a list of places that we want to see for ourselves: places friends have enthused about, places we’ve read about, dreamed about. This is our list,” says Lonely Planet's Chris Zeiher.

Aerial shot of Yellowstone Lake
Nine of the US' National Parks made the list, with Yellowstone ranked in fifth place © Getty Images

Within that definitive list are 29 experiences that can be enjoyed in the United States, with nine National Parks making the cut, as well as a good mix of cultural and art institutions – including the highest new US entry onto the list: The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

"After seven months of staying at home, now's the perfect time to start thinking about where and how to travel once normality returns,” Pickard adds. "In putting together this book, we were excited by changes in both the ‘where’ and the ‘how’."

Buy Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel List

The Ultimate Travel List is released today and is priced at $24.99 (AU$39.99/£19.99 ). In addition, Lonely Planet will be giving users of its travel app Guides by Lonely Planet access to free destination content to over 100 locations featured on Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List. Guides by Lonely Planet is available for download on iOS and Android. More information can be found here.

Buy Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel List

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