Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries & Cities for 2018

The perennial question: Where to go?

So many potential travel destinations, so many “best destinations” recommendations. Some are based on reviews by average travelers; others are expert recommendations, from professional travel writers and analysts. None are definitive, but many are worth considering, if only for a fresh perspective on the subject.

In the case of Lonely Planet’s new Best in Travel 2018 list of recommended countries and cities, the first cut is made by the company’s in-house panel of writers and editors; the final list is then compiled by a smaller group of company experts, based on “topicality, excitement and wow-factor.”

Here are their top country picks for 2018:

  1. Chile
  2. South Korea
  3. Portugal (visiting in February 2018)
  4. Djibouti
  5. New Zealand
  6. Malta
  7. Georgia
  8. Mauritius
  9. China
  10. South Africa

Chile, we’re reminded, will celebrate its 200th year of independence in 2018, precipitating a year-long party throughout the country. “Thanks to new non-stop flights from both London and Melbourne, it’s never been easier to catch a plane, raise a glass of pisco sour and toast the celebration.”

And, narrowing the focus, here are Lonely Planet’s experts’ picks for the top 10 cities to visit in 2018:

  1. Seville, Spain
  2. Detroit, USA
  3. Canberra, Australia
  4. Hamburg, Germany
  5. Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  6. Antwerp, Belgium
  7. Matera, Italy
  8. San Juan, Puerto Rico
  9. Guanajuato, Mexico
  10. Oslo, Norway

Some interesting and intriguing choices, not least among them Detroit. Detroit, really? According to Lonely Planet:

After decades of neglect, Detroit is rolling again. It’s like the whole place is caffeine-buzzed, freewheeling in ideas. Young creative types jump-started the scene when they began transforming the crazy-huge slew of abandoned buildings into distilleries, bike shops and galleries. This sparked fresh public works, such as the just-opened hockey and basketball arena downtown, and the QLine streetcar that gives easy access to city hot spots. More are coming …

So yes, maybe Detroit should be on the list. Indeed, such contrarian choices are what make these lists valuable, clearing away stereotypes that have long since been rendered inaccurate.

Reader Reality Check

But Detroit?

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

This article first appeared on SmarterTravel.com, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.

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