If it's good enough for Lonely Planet, it's good enough for me. That's often been my rule of thumb in judging the merits of kinda dodging looking hostels and dubious modes of transport in the world's more remote reaches. And since Lonely Planet has just released its annual Best in Travel list, I figure I can do one too - albeit with the knowledge that such lists are obviously highly subjective and instrinsically pretty self indulgent.
With those disclaimers out of the way, and without further ado, here it is:
Elissa Webster's Top 10 Countries for 2016
1. Sri Lanka
Beaches, mountains, plenty of spice, an abundance of easy transport options, not so many other tourists. Throw in layer upon layer of fascinating history and culture, a generally pretty laid back vibe, super friendly people, a pretty favourable exchange rate, and you've got my vote. There's some pretty talented craftspeople making cool handmade things too - bonus!
One of my most memorable travel days ever happened here - we flew in a tiny plane over two active volcanoes and a heart-shaped reef, watched land diving on Pentecost Island, ate fresh fish for lunch in a thatched hut in a tiny village and swam with dugongs. Need I say more?
I might be biased here because we lived here for 6 months, but it's pretty knock out as far as travel destinations go. Highest mountain in the world, teahouse trekking, ancient history and colourful, living cultural traditions. And some really gorgeous handmade toys for kids to bring home with you.
For colour and chaos right alongside vastness and introspection, you can't beat Morocco. Except for maybe...
What's there to say? Mother India - you love her or you're terrified of her. I just want to be smooshed into her ample, sweaty, kind of smelly bosom. And fill my entire house with as much of the beautiful, vibrant, handcrafted treasures that she brings to life like no where else.
The spice and pizazz of Spain but with way less people and a slightly less coiffured feel.
Home of pasta. If I wasn't Australian, I'd like to be Italian. Enough said.
You can't ask for more colour, culture, camera candy or pretty much anything else a traveller is looking for than Peru serves up. Oh yes, craftsmanship like this...
From the lunar looking landscape of Cappadocia to the tremendous coast of Bodrum and beyond, and the world-in-a-city of Istanbul, Turkey deserves the big wrap that everyone who's been there gives it. And then some.
It's heartbreaking and it's hard, but a trip to Zimbabwe ranks among my most significant travel experiences for being moved to feel and learn and reconsider and reflect and respond. That's an experience worth having. And there is some cool stuff to see too!
So there you have it! That's my top 10 picks. How did I go? What makes your list? And just for reference sake, here is Lonely Planet's picks :)
Top 10 Countries in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016
Top 10 Regions in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016
- Transylvania, Romania
- West Iceland
- Valle de Viñales, Cuba
- Friuli’s wine regions, Italy
- Waiheke Island, New Zealand
- The Auvergne, France
- Hawaii, USA
- Bavaria, Germany
- Costa Verde, Brazil
- St Helena, British Territories
Top 10 Cities in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016
- Kotor, Montenegro
- Quito, Ecuador
- Dublin, Ireland
- George Town, Malaysia
- Rotterdam, the Netherlands
- Mumbai, India
- Fremantle, Australia
- Manchester, UK
- Nashville, USA
- Rome, Italy