Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List: The excitement level is high every year when Lonely Planet puts out their best on travel lists and this year their brand new Ultimate Travel List is no exception.
According to Lonely Planet, the complete list includes “the 500 most exciting, memorable, downright interesting places on the planet in order of their brilliance”. And, since we love connecting people with epic trips around the world, we’re unpacking the top experiences from Lonely Planet’s list, so we can help you get there when it’s safe to hit the road again. Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List is here.
- Explore Petra in Jordan
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Petra may be known to the public thanks to Indiana Jones, but as anyone exploring this ancient city will tell you, there’s much more to it than the famous Treasury façade. For many stranded at home this year, the opportunity to stretch their legs on Petra’s varying slopes will be a welcome challenge.
Taking in the spectacular views from the towering monastery building, to the winding walk of the Seek, or from the High Place of the Sacrifice, your local guide will be able to give you an insight into the city’s rich history and the biblical Nabataeans, who were called Petra House.
- Visit the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador
Since the discovery of Charles Darwin, the bio-diverse archipelago of the Galapagos Islands has attracted nature-loving explorers from every corner of the world. Travel trends for 2021 are already suggesting that people are yearning for a connection with nature and the wide-open spaces of wilderness areas. Spend time spotting the famous blue-footed booby, the Galapagos giant tortoise, sea lions, spiky iguanas, and more.
Ecotourism is a big part of the identity of the 17 islands that make up the national park, so much so that the airport is made mostly of recycled materials and runs on wind and solar power. My Favorite on Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List.
- Learn about First Nations culture in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia
While it may be a little late for foreigners to visit Australia again when you can, you should absolutely visit the country’s cultural heartland: Uluru (or if you’re based in Australia, there too soon). Go!) The iconic rock is sacred to the First Nations community in the area, the Anangu people, which is why intrepid were among the first travel companies to ban climbing.
And really, there are endlessly better ways to spend your time at Red Center, including learning about ancient rock art from a First Nations guide, finding the perfect watering hole to swim in, or watching the golden sunset over the vibrant Red Horizon.
- Embrace slow travel in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
After months of video calls, it should come as no surprise that people are looking to unplug and relax, making the remote Okavango Delta a dream destination in Botswana. Spend time cruising the canals in a traditional Mokoro, a dugout canoe operated by a friendly local ‘Polar’, for the true Okavango waterway experience. It’s an ideal vantage point for keeping an eye out for Africa’s Big Five, as well as for its abundance of birdlife and other spectacular scenery. One of the best on Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List.
- Get active at Lake Bled in Slovenia
The city of Bled is located on the lake of the same name and offers travelers who are looking for an active adventure a wealth of opportunities. If you prefer a water-based activity, then rafting, canoeing, or a boat ride to the island in the middle of Lake Bled may be for you. Once on the island, you should take the chance to climb the 99 steps to St. Mary’s Church for incredible views of the surrounding countryside.
If you prefer to be on dry land the whole time, cycling around the lake or heading to the nearby Wintergarden Gorge for a hike in a natural canyon are both great options.
- Take the jungle boardwalk on the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls straddle the border between Brazil and Argentina and while Mother Nature’s impressive work of art is worth seeing from both perspectives, the Jungle Boardwalk on the Argentine side is a memorable experience. Under the guidance of your local leader, stroll along the bridge walkway to the balcony of Devil’s Throat, then continue for about 45 minutes for views of the two sisters, Bosetti, Adam and Eve, Bernabé Mendez, Mbagua, and San Marting. falls from above, before continuing to catch them from below.
- Reconnect and unwind at Angkor in Cambodia
After the years we’ve had, it’s safe to say that most of us could use a little more zen in our lives than a trip to Angkor, Cambodia, would offer. Spend some time exploring the area’s most famous Hindu temple complex, Angkor Wat, with a knowledgeable local guide who will share stories of ancient civilizations and god-kings, before delving into some of the other 1000 or so temples in the area Proceed to see. And don’t discount the peace that a few moments of quiet contemplation at a stunning sunrise overlooking Angkor Wat can bring to your day…
- Discover the otherworldly Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia
It may sound like a cliché, but there’s actually something else about the world’s largest salt lake, the Salar de Uyuni. In the dry season, the boundless, broken landscape feels like a desert on another planet—one where you can even walk to cactus-filled lake islands. And in wet weather, it turns into a giant mirror with no horizon. Keep an eye on the flamingo and make sure your phone or camera is fully charged – the photo opportunities are as endless as the landscape seems to be.
- Challenge yourself to Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit
While it may not be as famous as its eastern neighbor, Everest, Annapurna’s trekking trails offer beauty and adventure in spades. It takes 11 trekking days to complete the circuit (plus a few days at either end for altitude adjustment and recovery), and you will reach an altitude of about 5,500 m (18,044 ft) at the peak. But, aside from the challenge of the hike, you’ll be treated to views of flame-red rhododendron forests, towering oaks, and snow-capped alpine rivers, as well as interactions with the friendly villagers you meet along the way.