The rankings are full of surprises…

We’re pretty much always planning a holiday around here. It’s an excellent leisure activity even if most of them don’t end up happening.

So it was with great interest that we saw travel guide Lonely Planet’s top destinations for next year. Divided into countries, cities, regions and best value, the lists include some classics (it’s not surprising to see New Zealand on there, for instance) and some areas we wouldn’t have picked.

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Some of these spots are pretty accessible from the UAE, though, so even if they weren’t previously top of your list, they’re worth looking into.


Top countries to visit 

According to Lonely Planet, Chile, South Korea, Portugal, Djibouti, New Zealand, Malta, Georgia, Mauritius, China and South Africa are the nations you should be booking flights to for next year. Of the bunch, Georgia is the easiest to get to from here – Flydubai will do you an economy return for about Dhs1,400.

A little further afield is Mauritius, with Emirates flights starting around Dhs3,400. For a beach like that, though, we’re listening.

The brightly coloured and historic streets of Malta appeal, too. Emirates will get you there for about Dhs3,700.

Cities to visit

Here’s where things get truly interesting. Seville, in Spain, is named as the top city to spend time in next year, but it’s followed by Detroit, in the USA, and the Australian capital of Canberra.

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Neither of these are famed for their tourist attractions, but Lonely Planet says that Detroit is recovering from years of neglect and becoming a cultural hub.

Canberra, the guide says, is a must for cricket fans, as it’s playing host to some test cricket this (southern hemisphere) summer.

Hamburg, in Germany, Kaohsiung in Taiwan, Antwerp in Belgium, Matera in Italy, Puerto Rico’s San Juan, Guanajuato in Mexcio and Oslo in Norway round out the top 10.

San Juan is still suffering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria, so if you’re after a relaxing, luxurious experience, this probably isn’t for you.

But, according to CNNmany hotels are back up and running, and the locals are thrilled to welcome tourists.

You can check out the best regions to visit here, and the best budget destinations here.

In the mean time, you’ll find us plotting our itineraries.

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