Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2018: The 10 most unlikely inclusions

Belfast and its Causeway Coast may have caused a stir by being voted the best region in the world to visit in 2018 by Lonely Planet today; but that’s not the only surprise in the rankings.

Detroit, Canberra and Lanzarote are also surprise big hitters in the four lists, which cover top 10 countries, cities, regions and best value destinations.

The cities list is particularly surprising. Seville tops the rankings, followed by Detroit – whose controversial gentrification has seen hipsters migrate in huge numbers over the past few years – and then Canberra, the much-maligned capital of Australia, usually dismissed as boring.

The list continues with Hamburg, and Kaohsiung in Taiwan. Matera – a formerly destitute town of cave dwellings, or sassi, now popular with the Instagram in Italy’s Basilicata region – is at number seven, and San Juan, the hurricane-hit capital of Puerto Rico at eight. Oslo – again, often dismissed as dull and expensive– is at number 10.

Less of a shock is Tallinn, ranked the best value destination, followed by Lanzarote, Arizona and La Paz in Bolivia. The UK in its entirety comes in at number seven – helped by the plummeting pound.

As for the countries, Portugal - which has seen astonishing explosion in popularity in 2017 - is only at number three, after Chile and South Korea. Djibouti - which has no direct flights from the UK, and was described by Bloomberg as "a forgotten sandlot of a country" - is a surprise entry at number four.
The full lists are:

Top 10 countries

  • Chile
  • South Korea
  • Portugal
  • Djibouti
  • New Zealand
  • Malta
  • Georgia
  • Mauritius
  • China
  • South Africa

Top 10 cities

  • Seville
  • Detroit
  • Canberra
  • Hamburg
  • Kaohsiung
  • Antwerp
  • Matera
  • San Juan
  • Guanajuato
  • Oslo

Top 10 best value

  • Tallinn
  • Lanzarote
  • Arizona
  • La Paz
  • Poland
  • Essaouira
  • UK
  • Baja California
  • Jacksonville
  • Hunan

Top 10 regions

  • Belfast and the Causeway Coast
  • Alaska
  • Julian Alps
  • Languedoc-Roussillon
  • Kii Peninsula
  • Aeolian Islands
  • Southern USA
  • Lahaul & Spiti
  • Bahia
  • Los Haitises National Park