BEST IN TRAVEL 2018: THE BEST DESTINATIONS SELECTED BY LONELY PLANET

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 Every year, the relentless list of good intentions and desires for the new year arrives. To those who have made travelling a reason for life, to those who love to travel even with fantasy, to those who wish to add a flag on their own customised map every year: it’s to all of you that the Best In Travel 2018, the guide that Lonely Planet publishes each year to highlight the most suggestive places to visit, is dedicated. The Italian Eye will guide you to the places chosen for 2018 and will show you why they are to be marked on your own map. 10 countries, 10 cities and 10 regions. Some confirmations and many surprises, as it always happens.

The ancient practice of cormorant fishing, where the bird catches a fish too big to swallow, can still be witnessed in some parts of China. © Pacmanfrog Photo / Moment RF / Getty Images - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

The ancient practice of cormorant fishing, where the bird catches a fish too big to swallow, can still be witnessed in some parts of China. © Pacmanfrog Photo / Moment RF / Getty Images – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”

Anita Desai

BEST IN TRAVEL 2018 – TOP 10 COUNTRIES

Chile - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Chile – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

I) In 2018 it will celebrate its 200 years of independence, and that’s why it’s ranked first in the top 10 countries to visit next year. We are talking about Chile, that long and narrow strip of land in South America, so different and so isolated from the rest of the world, where next year the Chileans will lift pisco glasses to celebrate independence and remember all the contradictions of their arid, authentic country. With direct flights from London and Melbourne, it’s now easier to reach this land and celebrate with locals.

South Korea - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

South Korea – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

II) The second place goes to the country that will host the 2018 Winter Olympics Games: South Korea, the non-plus ultra of Asian modernity that, also thanks to the futurist capital, Seoul, is the second in the list of countries to visit in 2018.

BEST IN TRAVEL 2018 – TOP 10 COUNTRIES

Portugal - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Portugal – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

III) The cultural ferment of the last two years, with the opening of museums with evocative design, microbreweries and gourmet restaurants, makes Portugal the third best place in the Best In Travel 2018. Its stunning landscapes and its beaches bathed by a sea worth the Blue Flag, but still at reasonable prices, make Fernando Pessoa’s land ever more attractive.

Djibouti - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Djibouti – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

IV) For intrepid souls seeking strong and exciting – yet strictly natural – adventures, fourth comes Djibouti, the country where the magma thrives under an earthy crust and the lunar landscapes exhale gas from fumaroles.

The eighth wonder of the world? Rudyard Kipling thought so of the Milford Sound, on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. © Marconi Couto de Jesus / Shutterstock - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

The eighth wonder of the world? Rudyard Kipling thought so of the Milford Sound, on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. © Marconi Couto de Jesus / Shutterstock – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

V) Those dreaming about Nature, wild and unspoiled, can only point towards the Great Walks country, a network of nine hiking trails that leads hikers to some of the world’s wildest scenarios. We’re talking about New Zealand, fifth in the Best In Travel 2018. Next year, a new Great Walk will open for the first time to explore the wild and wonderful west coast of South Island.

BEST IN TRAVEL 2018 – TOP 10 COUNTRIES

Malta - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Malta – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

VI) If the sea and 300 days of sun are not enough for you, Malta in 2018 will offer a renewed cultural liveliness. La Valletta, the capital of the country, will, in fact, be next year’s European Capital of Culture. There are already a large number of cultural activities scheduled, including the baroque art festival and a biennial of contemporary art, thus making Malta the sixth place in the standings.

Georgia - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Georgia – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

VII) At the seventh place we find a country projected in the future, but strongly proud of its traditions: Georgia. South Caucasus crossroad with a complex and unresolved history, Georgia is a land to be discovered and rediscovered, possibly tasting a good local wine, in one of the typical taverns where the goblets stand in honour of old and new heroes.

BEST IN TRAVEL 2018 – TOP 10 COUNTRIES

Mauritius - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Mauritius – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

VIII) At the eighth place, the island known as the “Indian Ocean Star and Key” for its strategic position. We are talking about the paradisiacal Mauritius, which, in 2018, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of independence.

China - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

China – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

IX) The most populous country in the world is awarded the ninth place in Best Travel 2018. The merit also goes to the restoration of the imperial palace of Běijīng – the Forbidden City – and to the world’s largest high-speed rail network, which allows tourists to move around easily throughout China. In this cosmopolitan perspective of modernisation and renewed ferment, the inauguration of the Design Society’s polo culture, which includes a museum created in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum of London in the cosmopolitan city of Shēnzhēn, must be mentioned.

South Africa - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

South Africa – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

X) Lastly, South Africa comes tenth with the celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s centenary, accompanied by a series of sporting, cultural and artistic events. The purpose is not just the commemoration of Mandela, but the attempt to inspire the development of societies based on the values of transparency, respect and altruism. Three good reasons to visit one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

BEST IN TRAVEL 2018 – TOP 10 REGIONS

Causeway Coast - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Causeway Coast – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

I) Regarded as the top region to visit in 2018 is the Belfast and Causeway Coast region. Belfast is today full of trendy neighbourhoods overflowing with bars, restaurants and clubs. The old harbour area has become the lively Titanic Quarter, which houses elegant apartments and a stunning museum. To the north, the Causeway Coast extends, whose timeless beauty enjoys a renewed popularity.

Studying ice melt via SUP on Bear Lake in Kenai Fjords National Park. © James and Courtney Forte / Aurora Open / Getty Images - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Studying ice melt via SUP on Bear Lake in Kenai Fjords National Park. © James and Courtney Forte / Aurora Open / Getty Images – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

II) In the second place, we find a unique natural scenery in the world, with snowy mountains where you can spot grizzlies, humpbacks and fjords dotted with glaciers. We are in Alaska, where Nature unquestionably reigns, even though the new aerial routes and cruises are making it more accessible.

Atop a small island in the middle of Lake Bled, the Baroque Church of the Assumption can be reached by traditional Slovenian pletna boat. © ZM Photo / Shutterstock - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Atop a small island in the middle of Lake Bled, the Baroque Church of the Assumption can be reached by traditional Slovenian pletna boat. © ZM Photo / Shutterstock – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

III) The third place is won by Slovenia, with the Julian Alps making it a mountain paradise in an unjustly neglected corner of Europe. The region is protected by the Triglav National Park, where local operators combine hiking excursions to stays in elegant pastoral homes.

BEST IN TRAVEL 2018 – TOP 10 REGIONS

Languedoc-Roussillon - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Languedoc-Roussillon – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

IV) If for a long time Provence and the French Riviera have monopolised the scene of southern France, 2018 could be the year ahead for the Languedoc-Roussillon region, which is the fourth in the Best In Travel 2018. The region boasts an excellent kitchen and outstanding wines, and it’s about to inaugurate two new and modern museums.

Kii Peninsula - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Kii Peninsula – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

V) At the fifth place, we find the country where the number of visitors has doubled in recent years and is set to grow again: Japan. The least known Japanese region is perhaps The Kii Peninsula, which offers lovely natural scenery, thermal springs, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, with no crowds of tourists.

Aeolian Islands - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Aeolian Islands – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

VI) Sixth place in the Best Travel 2018 is finally Italy and its Aeolian Islands: a handful of stones launched in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Volcanic cones, black sandy beaches and some of Europe’s most beautiful coasts and seashores are inviting foreign travellers in search of a true Mediterranean vacation. 

BEST IN TRAVEL 2018 – TOP 10 REGIONS

Alabama - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Alabama – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

VII) For Alabama, 2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. This event inspired numerous civil rights attractions, including the construction of the Memorial to Peace and Justice in Montgomery: an extraordinary structure of suspended columns commemorating the 4000 documented victims of the lynx of the nation. The house where Martin Luther King was born will be open to the public, as well as the motel where he was killed, hosting poetry slams, concerts and more.

Keylong - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Keylong – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

VIII) Instead, for those who love impressive mountains, rugged roads, and almost supernatural landscapes, then the windy valleys set east and west of Keylong will be a little paradise for you. Restored by the rains from the high peaks of the Himalayas, the arid oaks of the Spiti hide some of the most spectacular treasures of Buddhist art, while the lushest Lahaul offers little-visited temples and a secondary itinerary to Kashmir, considered one of the most dangerous roads world. Often ignored by travellers heading to Ladakh, this wild and magnificent region is finally beginning to receive the attention it deserves. To see now, before it becomes just another step towards the Himalayas.

BEST IN TRAVEL 2018 – TOP 10 REGIONS

Bahia - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Bahia – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

IX) From the mountains to the sea. Located on the northeast coast of Brazil, Bahia is a tropical paradise of white sandy beaches and clear blue waters, islands surrounded by coral reefs, cocoa plantations, and hosting the Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina, famous for its waterfalls.

Los Haitises - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Los Haitises – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

X) On the southern side of Bahía de Samana, the Parque Nacional Los Haitises is a mosaic of stony islands, blue canals and lush forests. To see before it explodes with mass tourism, Los Haitises seems to have come out of the Prehistoric era just now, and to visit it means entering the heart of the cultural history of the Dominican Republic. At the tenth place of the Best Travel In 2018.

BEST IN TRAVEL 2018 – TOP 10 CITIES

Seville - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Seville – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

I) The first place in the standings is won by Seville, a city dedicated to reviving its artistic past. In 2018, the capital of Andalusia will host the 31st European Film Awards and will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of baroque painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo with some unique exhibitions.

Detroit - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Detroit – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

II) At the second place in the Best In Travel 2018, we have Detroit. The city seems to be pervaded by an unrepeatable energy, moved especially by the young creatives who have begun to transform a host of abandoned buildings into distilleries, bicycle shops and art galleries. In the wake of this desire for renewal, the hockey and basketball stadium in downtown and the QLine tramway, which crosses the city’s hubs, have been built. Also, three new parks will extend the cycle track on the riverfront, making the town even greener.

BEST IN TRAVEL 2018 – TOP 10 CITIES

Canberra - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Canberra – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

III) Canberra, third in the Best In Travel 2018 for the city category, has a lot to offer to its visitors. At every corner, there are national treasures, and new neighbourhoods are born with gourmet jewels and unmissable cultural destinations. In 2018, the Australian War Memorial will host the events scheduled for the 100th anniversary of World War I armistice.

Hamburg - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Hamburg – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

IV) Thanks to the opening of the new Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall, Hamburg is fourth in the standings. The city has many surprises: beach bar on the river, a nightlife among the best in Europe and lovely buildings.

Taiwan - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Taiwan – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

V) An immense cultural centre and a 100,000-square-meter concert space are emerging on the front of the Kaohsiung Harbor, the showcase of Taiwan‘s experimental architecture. To this, it will be added a terminal for cruise ships and a light metro. For those in the city who prefer the hinterland, on Xiaogang Shan trail you will be able to admire the Strait of Formosa from the new Sky Walk, a 27-meter high gangway. A region to visit right now, before being targeted by mass tourism.

BEST IN TRAVEL 2018 – TOP 10 CITIES

Antwerp - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Antwerp – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

VI) Antwerp, capital of the Flanders, is rich in historical treasures and masterpieces of art and design. In 2018, the city will celebrate its baroque golden age: inspired by its most illustrious citizen, Rubens, the Antwerp Baroque 2018 exhibition will bring Flemish masters and modern talents in a billboard that features parades, concerts, street art, multimedia shows and laboratories.

Matera, a city carved in the rocks - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Matera, a city carved in the rocks – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

VII) At the seventh place in the city category comes Matera, Italy, with its golden stone houses lined up on the slopes of a deep valley, looking almost like a crib. Under the surface of the city of stones, a labyrinth of caves, churches and rock monasteries dates back to 9,000 years ago, making it one of the most ancient cities in the world. Matera has its rustic charm in hotels, restaurants and bars carved in the rock.

San Juan - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

San Juan – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

VIII) In eighth place, two cities in one: old San Juan is a walled city with cobbled streets, tree-lined squares, historic churches and fortresses. Over the walls, modern San Juan is decorated with murals and rich in museums and art galleries. A trip worth taking twice.

BEST IN TRAVEL 2018 – TOP 10 CITIES

Guanajuato - Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

Guanajuato – Best In Travel 2018 by Lonely Planet

IX) Guanajuato, on the central highlands of Mexico, boasts attractions that can compete with the most prestigious locations. The silver-rich wealth created an urban panorama of great scenic impact, made up of churches with elaborate decorations, enchanting squares and colourful homes spread across the lush valley where Guanajuato stands.

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X) Oslo is preparing to celebrate an important event: in 2018, the royalties of Norway will celebrate 50 years of marriage. The program features spectacular shows and a rich calendar of civic, culinary and cultural events. Also in 2018, the Oslo Opera House will celebrate its tenth birthday with a special season of concerts and shows: you could not choose a better time to visit it.

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