The pandemic hasn't stopped Lonely Planet from ranking the top travel experiences in the world in the 2nd edition of their best-selling coffee table book, Ultimate Travel List. The book is a compilation of the 500 most unmissable sights and attractions in the world—with more than 200 new entries in this edition—ranked in order by Lonely Planet's global community of travel experts.
“We’ve all got a list of places that we want to see for ourselves: places friends have enthused about, places we’ve read about, dreamed about. This is our list,” says Lonely Planet. Check out the travel brand’s top 10 destinations to visit when coronavirus restrictions subside:
Remember the grand finale of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? That’s not Hollywood magic — it’s Petra, a legendary “lost city” that you have to see to believe. Carefully carved into looming rose-red cliffs, Petra was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World by popular ballot in 2007. When you get there, you’ll understand why.
The Galápagos Islands
See the islands that changed the course of science, located 600 miles from mainland South America. It was here that Charles Darwin developed his famed theory of evolution. And today, you can see the same incredibly diverse landscape Darwin saw, getting up close and personal with giant tortoises, puppy-like fur seals and much more.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia
Take life lessons from the traditional owners of world’s most dramatic rock. Uluru-Kata Tjuta rises more than 1,000 feet out of the Australian outback, offering a travel experience that’s both scenic and spiritual. The Anangu people, the area’s original inhabitants, believe it’s still home to spirit ancestors.
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Each year, the floodwaters of the Okavango River arrive from the Angolan highlands and expand this unique ecosystem to almost 20,000 square kilometers (7,722 square miles), sustaining vast quantities of wildlife and attracting famed African species galore — lions, zebras, elephants and beyond.
Yellowstone National Park, USA
This place stinks. But what else do you expect from the world’s largest geothermal area, where the earth is essentially belching 24-7? Yellowstone is home to Old Faithful, of course, but that’s just the beginning of a dazzling natural wonderland, filled with bison, grizzlies, hot springs and pristine wilderness as far as the eye can see.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Emulate erstwhile pilgrims by journeying to the planet’s most photogenic lake. Lake Bled looks like a fairy tale come to life, with blue-green water offset by a winsome white church on a green island, abutted by a terracotta-roofed castle and backed by the snow-daubed Julian Alps.
Iguazú Falls, Argentina-Brazil
Marvel at the astounding power and furious force of a natural wonder. Marking the boundary between Argentina and Brazil, the Río Iguazú flows languidly through the jungle before plunging over a basalt ledge with such sudden, furious force that the planet’s most awe-inspiring waterfalls are the result.
Temples of Angkor, Cambodia
Find nirvana at a sprawling monument to Hindu devotion. You’re welcomed to the Temples of Angkor by a vast moat that peers up at an almost 200-foot-tall tower that is covered in intricate bas-reliefs. Surrounded by teeming jungles, it feels like an unforgettable vision out of a dream. But it’s very real.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
With clouds above and clouds below, strike out on the salt of the earth. Salar de Uyuni is the world’s biggest salt lake, located high in the Bolivian altiplano. As you explore, you’ll be treated to a surreal sight: the thin layer of water creates an enormous mirror, reflecting the sky and clouds above. It’s like the world has been turned upside down.
Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Take a classic Nepalese teahouse trek. The Annapurna Circuit, traversing from rice paddies up into the mighty snow-bound Thorung La Pass, is an amazing journey – challenging, majestic and inspirational. And at the end of the day, some of Nepal’s best lodges offer hot meals, apple pie and pots of milky tea.