In case you missed it, Lonely Planet revealed their “top 10 countries to visit in 2018” in November. An inspiring list of countries big and small pretty expected to rather surprising, cold and warm… I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I’d gladly visit them all. From Chili to Portugal or South Africa, Lonely Planet has once again blessed us with some slightly obsessive wanderlust ideas.
There are a few unexpected choices in there that spark my curiosity: take South Korea for example. I’ve long skimmed over the South-East Asian country to point my attention to the likes of Japan or the Philippines. Yet the nation is a perfect example of Asian modernity, bubbling with cosy cafes and libraries, and up-to-date infrastructures in the light of the upcoming Winter Olympics.
Djibouti is another surprise, in 4th place. The tiny country is safe, stable, well-priced and now well connected, so why not! That’s one of the aims of the Lonely Planet guide: to shed light on some previously less-known destinations; but that doesn’t mean you won’t find popular ones too! Take Portugal: it’s a safe bet, but this is a perfect occasion to visit once again. Plus, you may want to try some real pastel de nata before the locals get priced out as in many popular European cities.
The Lonely Planet’s “top countries to visit” has become somewhat of a minor institution in the past 10 years. It’s a well-awaited list that probably causes a fair bit of debate in LP’s offices I would think! It remains independent though. Each entry that makes the list has been submitted and pitched by an individual guide author, following a personal travel experience, or important events in the country for example.
While the list can’t be considered as an absolute pick (I mean, there are way more than 10 countries I’d like to visit in 2018!), it’s a good occasion to grab some inspiration for your travels. That said, I’d bet the lucky 10 are going to be very popular this year, and they may not be the best places to avoid crowds and rocketing prices! You know what, there are still many places I haven’t visited from the 2017 list! Here are my top 3, and yes, I like snow and cold.
The country made number 1 last year, partly for its 150th anniversary. If you ask me it’s in first position in many people’s lists. While I’ve visited bubbly, modern Montreal, and quaint Quebec, there are so many wonders I’ve still to discover in Canada. For one, I need to head to Vancouver. Then, I’d love to get out of the cities and explore the enormity of Canada’s natural landscapes, form the Yukon to British Columbia and across to Nova Scotia!
Another one that had its birthday last year: in 2017 Finland celebrated its 100 years of independence (the country was torn between Russia and Sweden for 800 years). In a country where nature is omnipresent, it makes sense that a new National Park (Horna) was inaugurated last year. This year, festivities may not be in full swing anymore, but I could definitely give in to a bit of sauna and snow hiking.
Nepal is slowly rebuilding after its worst earthquakes in 2015. Temples and palaces collapsed, notably in Katmandou and its valley, but the country is not flattened (obviously, not literally. But not figuratively either, follow me here!). A lot of trek paths remain unscathed and many areas can still be visited. What’s more, if I have any money to spend, I’d be happy to spend it with small local businesses, who need it badly at the moment!