The world's must-visit destinations in 2017: hidden gem holidays to book now

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Amy Swales

It’s that time of year again.

Just as the weather turns and, seemingly overnight, Christmas goes from an outlandishly early passing thought to a steadily building panic, the travel experts behind the much-loved Lonely Planet guidebooks release their annual dose of wanderlust with Best in Travel.

And following 2016’s top 10 must-visit regions in the world including Manchester and Dublin, for 2017, there are another two within easy reach for those of us in the UK.

north wales
North Wales came fourth in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel © Ray Wise / Getty Images

North Wales is the only UK destination to make the grade, coming in fourth, while Skellig Ring in Ireland squeezes in at number 10.

A fantastic area for walking, climbing and cycling thanks to the incredible mountains of Snowdonia, North Wales is also a hugely popular spot for surfers, has plenty of history in its World Heritage Site castles and is making a name for itself on the foodie scene too, with Anglesey eatery Sosban & The Old Butchers recently bagging Wales’ seventh Michelin star.

Inca ruins of Choquequirao, Peru, Lonely Planet best in travel
Inca ruins of Choquequirao, Peru

The region topping the list (which you can see in full at the end of this article) is the remote Choquequirao, Peru, described in the new guide as having a “growing traveller buzz” as holidaymakers get wise to the sprawling jungle and as-yet relatively undiscovered Machu Picchu treks.

lonely planet best in travel
Bordeaux in France topped Lonely Planet's list of 2017's must-visit cities © Justin Foulkes / Lonely Planet

Meanwhile, Bordeaux in France is named as the top city to book a stay in next year, followed by Cape Town, South Africa, and Los Angeles in the US. Mérida in Mexico came fourth and Ohrid in Macedonia came fifth.

Canada receives the accolade of number one country in the world to visit next year, followed by Colombia and Finland. Myanmar, pictured in the main image, came in ninth.

Lake Moraine in Canada’s Banff National Park
Lake Moraine in Canada’s Banff National Park © Justin Foulkes / Lonely Planet

Best in Travel 2017 recommends the cities, countries and regions around the world we should all have on our to-do lists in the coming year, choosing spots that not only have plenty to recommend in the way of food, scenery and activities, but may be underrated or hidden gems, or be offering something new in the coming months via special events.

The lists – top regions, countries and cities – are chosen by Lonely Planet’s community of writers, editors and bloggers.

Scroll below for the full top 10 lists and visit for more information or to buy Best in Travel 2017. And don't blame us when you realise you've somehow booked up all next year's annual leave.

ohrid macedonia
Ohrid in Macedonia was named fifth must-visit city in 2017 by Lonely Planet © Ivan Vukelic / Getty Images

Top 10 Regions 2017

  1. Choquequirao, Peru
  2. Taranaki, New Zealand
  3. The Azores, Portugal
  4. North Wales, UK
  5. South Australia
  6. Aysén, Chile
  7. The Tuamotus, French Polynesia
  8. Coastal Georgia, USA
  9. Perak, Malaysia
  10. The Skellig Ring, Ireland

Top 10 Cities 2017

  1. Bordeaux, France
  2. Cape Town, South Africa
  3. Los Angeles, USA
  4. Mérida, Mexico
  5. Ohrid, Macedonia
  6. Pistoia, Italy
  7. Seoul, South Korea
  8. Lisbon, Portugal
  9. Moscow, Russia
  10. Portland, Oregon

Top 10 Countries 2017

  1. Canada
  2. Columbia
  3. Finland
  4. Dominica
  5. Nepal
  6. Bermuda
  7. Mongolia
  8. Oman
  9. Myanmar
  10. Ethiopia 
Nepal’s Lake Pokhara
Lake Pokhara in Nepal, named as one of Lonely Planet's top 2017 destinations © Jacek Kadaj / Getty Images


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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.

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