Feast your eyes on Lonely Planet’s top 10 countries to visit for 2015
With 2014 coming to an end in just around two months, lets have a sneak preview at what’s installed for us in the year of 2015 for travel. In its latest guidebook, Best in Travel 2015, published on Tuesday, Lonely Planet listed the best places to go and things to do all around the world in 2015! And guess Singapore has one more reason to celebrate besides celebrating her Golden Jubilee in 2015 as the travel guide has named Singapore the world’s number one country to travel to next year.
The magazine cited the Republic celebrating her Golden Jubilee in 2015 as one of the key reasons for picking Singapore for their top spot, alongside the food and emerging local fashion scene. According to Chris Zeiher, Lonely Planet Asia Pacific sales and marketing director, “We reached out to our community of travellers (for suggestions) and each country is scored on topicality, unique experiences and the ‘wow’ factor by our panel of experts, which include our founder Tony Wheeler.”
So without further ado, here’s Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries to visit for 2015:
Singapore has an extra reason to party in 2015: it’s her Golden Jubilee. Since sealing its independence in 1965, Singapore’s heritage buildings, hawker centres, green spaces and shopping malls have lured travellers, but new developments have elevated the experience. First there’s Marina Bay, a new entertainment precinct, then there’s the new crop of swanky hotels, new attractions like the National Art Gallery and the Singapore Sports Hub, and more than a dozen metro extensions in development.
The sands of Namibia turn silver this year as the country celebrates its 25th anniversary of independence. The country has made ground-breaking progress in sustainable development: the first African country to include protection of its environment within its constitution, Namibia empowers local communities to contribute. With stories of habitat loss elsewhere in Africa dominating the news, word of Namibia’s conservation successes hasn’t gained traction. Explore it before you have to share it.
As of 1 January 2015, Lithuania will be the newest member of the eurozone, the final step in its journey from reluctant Soviet republic to fully fledged European nation. Travelling in Lithuania is going to get easier when it comes to electronic payments and finding an ATM. And why visit? The Curonian Spit is one long line of gorgeous beaches, backed by Europe’s largest moving sand dunes. Then there’s Vilnius’ baroque old town, which earned Lithuania one of its entries on the World Heritage list.
Despite the draws of Nicaragua’s quaint colonial (albeit bullet-holed) towns, riotous folkloric fiestas and enchanting Caribbean islands, the stigma of its war-torn past has kept the wider travel community at bay. Then came Mukul, the nation’s first fully fledged five-star resort, followed by Yemaya Island Hideaway and Spa. Nicaragua has now garnered a name as an emerging luxury ecotourism destination, and foodies are raving about the restaurants morphing Managua into a culinary capital.
There’s a whole lot of love for the old country, which carries a burden of expectation skewed towards the sheep-on-the-road, thatched-roof image – slightly at odds with the modern Ireland of motorways and macchiatos. Ireland is stunningly scenic, its traditions – music, dance, whiskey and beer – firmly intact. And this year is the year of the Wild Atlantic Way, a 2500km scenic drive that snakes its way round every nook and crook of the western seaboard from Donegal to Cork.
6. The Republic of Congo
The Congo (not to be confused with neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo) stands on the cusp of a new era. It’s got oil, it’s got timber, it’s got an expanding infrastructure and after turbulent years it’s finally safe and stable. Right now foreign tourists are as rare as an albino gorilla, but the Congolese government has set to work rehabilitating old national parks, establishing new ones and updating tourism infrastructure. For those ready to heed the call of the wild, the Congo awaits.
This astonishingly inexpensive country is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. But get in quick: the genre-jumping Exit Festival – annexing a medieval fortress in Novi Sad each July since it began as an anti-Milošević protest – was awarded the Best Major European Festival title. Belgrade is being mentioned in the same panting breaths as Berlin and Ibiza. And Serbia’s killer skiing, spa-hopping and Drina River rafting are luring thrillseekers away from pricey playgrounds in ‘the other Europe’.
The Philippines 7100+ islands have dive-tastic coral reefs, sunbathe-ready white sands, swaying palm trees and nipa-palm thatched huts. Plus in 2015 the government is laying on all sorts of special events to raise the profile of the archipelago. And if there’s one thing Filipinos know how to do, it’s party – expect street parades, food festivals, sports tournaments and live music. Now that Philippine Airlines has gained approval for direct flights to Europe, America and Australia, why wait?
9. St Lucia
This ravishing island of emerald mountains and golden beaches is still little-visited except for cruise-ship traffic. With primo diving and snorkelling, hikeable rainforests, and even a drive-in volcano, it’s got all the right stuff for the off-the-beaten-path adventurer. Nature-lovers can swim alongside dolphins, watch sea turtles laying eggs on Grand Anse beach, or observe iguanas. Thrill-seekers should climb the Piton mountains, kitesurf Sandy Beach, or dive coral-crusted undersea walls.
Developments such as budget flights are certainly bringing Morocco’s surf beaches, mountain valleys and palm groves closer to Europe. None of the country’s Maghrebi mystique is gone, but travellers can now explore the stirring landscapes and Berber culture in comfort and style. And anyone visiting in 2015 will see the city of Fez come into its own, as a host of glamorous, high-end openings have brought it a new level of sophistication.
There you go, fresh from the oven; Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries to visit for 2015
Source: Lonely Planet