Lonely Planet has named Sri Lanka the best country to visit in 2019.
Each year, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel lists start with nominations from Lonely Planet’s vast community of editors, researchers, locals and influencers. The nominations are then ranked by a panel of judges. The outcome is an eclectic list of destinations with unique, compelling and topical reasons to visit in the year ahead – as well as underlying travel trends to look for.
“These are the places to experience in 2019”, says Lonely Planet’s spokesperson Chris Zeiher. “They might be coming into their own, celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime event or simply have been overlooked for too long – whatever the reason, now is the time to plan a trip.”
Top 10 Countries 2019
São Tomé and Príncipe
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The Top 10 Cities to visit in 2019
Australia didn’t make the list of cities to visit either. The honour of the top city to visit in 2019 went to Denmark Copenhagen. The United States scored two spots on the list of cities to visit with Miami Florida in fourth place, and Seattle in eighth place.
Novi Sad, Serbia
Miami, Florida, USA
Mexico City, Mexico
Best Value Destinations 2019
Budget-savvy travellers will love the Lonely Planet list of the best value destinations. These are the places where your dollar will go further. Topping that list was the Nile Valley in Egypt, followed by Lodz in Poland. The Maldives was a surprise entrant on this list. Its inclusion is largely due to a surge in affordable package deals.
Southern Nile Valley, Egypt
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA
Lonely Planet’s top 10 Regions for 2019
Australia did make the list for the best regions to visit. The Red Centre came in at number four.
The Catskills, USA
The Red Centre, Australia
Scotland’s Highlands and Islands
Russian Far East
Elqui Valley, Chile
“At the spiritual heart of Australia’s Red Centre is the country’s most recognised natural wonder, Uluru,” Lonely Planet says.
“In 2019, this sacred site is finally closing to climbers, almost 150 years after explorers decided to ‘conquer the rock’. Instead, visitors will find that this World Heritage site – recognised for its outstanding natural and cultural values – conquers them.”
“Learn about the unique worldview of the traditional custodians of this place,” the book encourages, “and see the stars and the desert with new eyes. Explore Uluru-Kata Tjuta (Ayers Rock and the Olgas), Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) and Alice Springs nearby.”
The Northern Territory also features on another of the book’s top 10 lists for 2019. Litchfield National Park was number three on the list of the best new openings.
“The most visited park in Australia’s Top End, Litchfield is about to undergo extensive improvements to make it even more attractive to visitors seeking adventure. In total, there will be five new swimming spots, at least three new campgrounds and new routes for both mountain biking and 4WDs,” Lonely Planet says.
Other Australian destinations and attractions to be ranked on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019 lists are:
Best New Places to Stay – #9 The Tasman, Hobart
“The Tasman’s doors aren’t opening until 3 June 2019 but it’ll be worth the wait. This luxury hotel is to be set within a group of heritage buildings, including Hobart’s grand, Georgian-style St Mary’s Hospital, built in the 1800s. The historical elements will be merged with modern artworks and cutting-edge glass and steel structures.”
Best New Food Experiences – #4 Laura, Mornington Peninsula
“This sophisticated merging of food, wine and art on Point Leo Estate enjoys phenomenal sunsets from all angles. Named after a 7m-high cast-iron statue by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, Laura offers views across sparkling Western Port Bay and its sculpture park, one of Australia’s largest privately owned collections.”
Best New Attractions for Kids – #2 Live Wire Park, Victoria
“Billing itself as the ‘ultimate elevated adventure’, the park allows children aged between seven and 15 to take part in the Short Circuit, where they have to complete 26 activities involving obstacle courses and suspended trails through the Otway treetops.”
Darwin’s Royal Flying Doctor Service attraction is highlighted in the book’s “Top Trends” feature on “Augmented Attractions”, while Queensland’s Electric Super Highway is showcased as one the “The Great Places for Electric Road-Tripping”.