Top destinations for 2012

Looking for inspiration for your next vacation? Known for its globetrotting research and intrepid reporting, Lonely Planet has released its new list of the best places to go and things to do around the world in Best in Travel 2012 .

And it’s not just about specific cities and countries. According to the guidebook: “When people talk about the best places to travel, it’s often all about a city or a country. But if you forget to think regionally you could miss some of the world’s best travel spots.”

The number one region selected by the panel of Lonely Planet experts for 2012 is Coastal Wales. Starting next year, Wales will become the only country in the world where you can walk the entire length of a country’s coastline. (Construction of the All Wales Coast Path is due to be completed in May). Another highlight for royal watchers: While exploring the nooks and crannies of the seashore, visitors may be able to wave to royals-in-residence Prince William and Kate.

La Ruta Maya in Central America, which has some of the planet’s most mysterious ruins, came in second, followed by Northern Kenya and what is described as “one of Africa’s greatest adventures in all its dusty and pot-holed glory.”

Canada’s Maritime Provinces — Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (PEI) — ranked 7th for the top regions in the world to visit, with Lonely Planet citing the charms of the clapboard fishing villages, cliff top lighthouses, wharf side oyster cafes and rustic regional cuisine and wineries. And next year the Maritimes will mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster.

Here’s the full list of Lonely Planet’s top picks of the regions to put on your map:

1. Coastal Wales
2. La Ruta Maya, Central America
3. Northern Kenya
4. Arunachal Pradesh, India
5. Hvar, Croatia
6. Sicily
7. The Maritime Provinces, Canada
8. Queenstown & Southern Lakes, New Zealand
9. Borneo
10. Poitou-Charentes, France

(For more on these top spots, go here.)

To make its selection for Best in Travel, Lonely Planet gathers ideas from staff and its extended family of travellers, bloggers and tweeters. The final picks are made by its panel of in-house travel experts, based on topicality, excitement, value — and what Lonely Planet calls that ‘special X-factor’.

Source: Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2012

Photo © Luan Tran

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