Sri Lanka, Copenhagen and Egypt take top spots in Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel”

It’s time to update that bucketlist because Lonely Planet have revealed their annual “Best in Travel” lists for 2019, collating lists of the hottest destinations, experiences and travel trends for the year ahead. Each year, the accompanying travel book sells well around the world, highlighting various hot-ticket destinations and events that should be on every traveller’s radar.

Categories included in the “Best Of” collection include “Top 10 Regions”, “Top 10 Countries”, “Top 10 Cities”, and “Top 10 Value Destinations”. We’ve included some of the results below, but be sure to head on over to for all the info.

Perhaps most discussed each year is the choices for top 10 countries, which for 2019 is led by Sri Lanka at #1. The South Asian island country is in good company though, with some surprises on the list including Zimbabwe at #3, Krygyzstan at #5, and Belarus at #8.

Top 10 Countries 2019
1. Sri Lanka
2. Germany
3. Zimbabwe
4. Panama
5. Kyrgyzstan
6. Jordan
7. Indonesia
8. Belarus
9. São Tomé and Príncipe
10. Belize

The top 10 cities couldn’t be any more different, topped by Copenhagen and rounded out by the likes of Miami, Shēnzhèn, Novi Sad in Serbia, Mexico City, Seattle, and Kathmandu.

Top 10 Cities 2019
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
2. Shēnzhèn, China
3. Novi Sad, Serbia
4. Miami, Florida, USA
5. Kathmandu, Nepal
6. Mexico City, Mexico
7. Dakar, Senegal
8. Seattle, USA
9. Zadar, Croatia
10. Meknès, Morocco

One list Aussie travellers will definitely want to pay attention to is the Best Value Destinations, balancing exciting and memorable locations with wallet-friendly tourism so you’re dollar can go even further. Sticking with the surprises is Egypt’s Southern Nile Valley at #1, followed by Łódź in Poland, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in USA, Albania, Slovenia, and Bangladesh.

Best Value Destinations 2019
Southern Nile Valley, Egypt
Łódź, Poland
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA
Houston, USA

Haven’t seen Australia anywhere yet? Us Aussies aren’t used to be left of lists nowadays, but luckily there are quite a few that include some of the country’s most underrated destinations. Australia’s “The Red Centre” (where Uluru is) ranks at #4 on the Top 10 Regions list, ahead of picturesque locations like Manitoba in Canada, Normandy in France, and Soctland’s Highlands and Islands. Though we sit behind The Catskills in USA, Northern Peru, and Piedmont in Italy.

Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Regions 2019
1. Piedmont, Italy
2. The Catskills, USA
3. Northern Peru
4. The Red Centre, Australia
5. Scotland’s Highlands and Islands
6. Russian Far East
7. Gujarat, India
8. Manitoba, Canada
9. Normandy, France
10. Elqui Valley, Chile

Australia can also be found on plenty other lists. Hobart’s yet-to-open luxury hotel The Tasman slides in at #9 on “Best New Places to Stay”; Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory is #3 on “Best New Openings”; Laura in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula ranks #4 for “Best New Food Experiences”; and “Live Wire Park”, also in Victoria, falls just one spot short of #1 in “Best New Attractions for Kids”.

“These are the places to experience in 2019”, said Lonely Planet’s 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”.

Feature image: Sri Lanka

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.