Photo: amy riolo: Sinai
The Lonely Planet travel guide has issued its list of the 10 top regions in the world to visit. Once (or is it still?) thought of as the bible for intrepid travellers, the guide book has chosen some wild and remote places to visit in the search for something new.
Top of the list is Sinai, in Egypt. Other regions making the top 10 include Istria, Croatia (2), Marquesas Islands, Polynesia (3), Cappadocia, Turkey (4), Westfjords, Iceland (5), Shetland Islands, Scotland (6), Great Barrier Reef, Australia (7), West Coast, USA (8), Chilean Patagonia (9) and Gili Islands, Indonesia (10).
Photo: eyefetch: Shetland Islands
The top regions list means getting out the hiking boots and camping equipment; many of these places are tourist-free and don't have luxury hotels. But they do offer pure natural experiences with incredible wildlife, regional food and possibly a more authentic adventure.
For example, the Shetland Islands in Scotland (#6). Some call them the last untamed corner of the UK with wildlife such as puffins, otters and killer whales to watch. The food sounds pretty local and fresh too: seawater oatcakes, Shetland black potatoes and mackerel with rhubarb.
Shetlanders aren't too worried about being over-run with tourists since the region has an unfair reputation as being bleak and desolate; it's hard to reach and expensive.
Photo: wickipedia: Enver Hoxha Memorial, Albania
The top ten countries for next year are Albania (1), Brazil (2), Cape Verde (3), Panama (4), Bulgaria (5), Vanuatu (6), Italy (7), Tanzania (8), Syria (9) and Japan (10).
Tourism to Albania is relatively new--but there is a burgeoning green tourism industry. The country's rugged mountains, untouched villages and stunning coast make it a lost-in-time place to go. The vestiges of Enver Hoxha's reign would make for some scary architecture tours.
In case you want to get a quick city get-away to next year's coolest city, the top ten are ranked New York City (1), Tangier (2), Tel Aviv (3), Wellington (4), Valencia (5), Iquitos (6), Ghent (7), Delhi (8), Newcastle in Australia (9) and Chiang Mai (10).