NatGeo vs Lonely Planet: 2012 Travel Top 20 (In Photos)

With January being one of the busiest travel months of the year, it’s the ideal time for travel experts to make their predictions on the best up-and-coming spots across the globe. Lonely Planet and National Geographic are no exception.

Ranged alongside each other for your perusal and viewing pleasure are the two lists of top travel destinations for 2012 produced by each of the two authorities.


Lonely Planet


© Greg Knapp


With the Olympics almost upon us, fair London town is a travel hotspot on almost everyone’s list this year for an irrepressibly buoyant atmosphere that only the world’s premier international sporting contest can bring.


Cadiz, Spain

Nestled along the southern coast of Spain, Cadiz often plays second fiddle to the country’s better-known cities such as Barcelona and Madrid. Tourist and expats will love this area since it has some of the world’s best coworking spots, people are taking great advantage of this.  However, Cadiz displays a simple yet unique charm that is typical of the southern states of Spain. With it’s wonderful, hot weather Fuerteventura is another place where tourists can experience some of this fantastic historical Spanish  architecture  whilst working on their tans!

Welsh Coast

Myanmar (Burma)

A land with a history of long and storied troubles that are not entirely over, Myanmar is at long last welcoming tourists to come and see the natural splendour of this mysterious and beautiful south east Asian country.



Just off the ‘toe’ of Italy, Sicily offers particularly thrilling sights and spectacles of the Mediterranean, all through the lens of a culture that bears many of the hallmarks of its mainland equivalent, yet is fiercely and proudly unique.



With its majestic forest and oversized sea cliffs, Taiwan is a feast for the eyes as much as it is for the stomach, thanks to the sumptuous cuisine on offer. A blend of old and new, Taiwan is a vibrant and modern destination yet visitors cannot help but feel steeped in the history of China, as the Taiwanese museums bear innumerable treasures that were carried across from the mainland during World War II.


Wedged in between emerging giants China and India, Bhutan is a land of overwhelming natural beauty. Take a trek through the immaculately conserved forests and mountains and you’ll get a sense of this right from the first step.


National Geographic

Queenstown, New Zealand

On the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, Queenstown stands as a Mecca for travellers of every type. For those of adventurous spirit, jet boating, winter sports and bungee-jumping await. For those wanting a more relaxed pace, the utterly spectacular sights of the Milford Sound fjord can be accessed from Queenstown, as tour groups travelling there are mostly based in the resort.

Muskoka, Ontario

Koh Lipe, Thailand

This tiny island that sits 70km off the south-western coast of Thailand is part of the Tarutao National Marine Park. As such it plays host to some of the most vibrant specimens of tropical fish and other sea life in the region.

Sonoma, California


It’s not for nothing that the term “Outer Mongolia” is still used a term to denote remoteness. This vast country of sweeping plains is still largely unknown by the vast majority of the world’s travelling types. However, tourism has grown slowly but steadily in recent years as visitors fall in love with the expansive wilderness that they explore, taking home tales of their Mongolian adventure.



Sri Lanka

The island of Sri Lanka provides the perfect blend of gorgeously scenic sights and thrilling entertainments to satisfy the more hands-on visitor. With natural, unspoilt splendour to be found along the north and east coasts, 2012 is the time to visit Sri Lanka before it is ‘discovered’ by mainstream tourism.

North Columbia

Dresden, Germany

The “Florence of the North” as it was called in the 18th Century, Dresden provides the most picturesque panorama that one could hope for. The cityscape is dominated by the spires of stately buildings, castles and palaces, all of which are maintained to an immaculate standard.

Image Sources:  1  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14 16  17  18  19  20  21

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