(CNN) – In 1973, young British couple Tony and Maureen Wheeler published a guide titled “Across Asia on The Cheap.” Little did they know that a humble guide would lay the foundation for a global travel brand called Lonely Planet.
Almost 50 years later, his travel guide empire, Lonely Planet, continues to advance.
With much of the world slowly reopening after the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have travel in mind. The hope is that in 2022 families will be reunited, loved ones catch up after long periods apart, and accumulated vacation time spent on once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
“After a forced hiatus, it’s time to take those long-postponed travel plans off the shelf and make them come true,” said Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s vice president of experience, in a statement. “The lists celebrate the world in all its wonderful and attractive variety.”
This year, Lonely Planet highlighted its top 10 cities, regions and countries; see the lists below.
Top 10 countries
But don’t think “old” is synonymous with “boring.” Despite its more than 4,500 years of history, we are still learning more about these architectural wonders every year.
Malawi is considered one of the friendliest countries in the world.
Jonathan Gregson / Lonely Planet
But there are treasures in the “warm heart of Africa,” all with fewer tourists to compete with for space along the stunning Lake Malawi, the world’s ninth largest lake.
Malawi has many of the same attractions that its African cousins love, such as safaris where you can observe elephants, baboons, hippos and other animals in their native habitats, all at a fraction of the price.
It is almost impossible to talk about Nepal without talking about Mount Everest. But this Himalayan nation has so much more for travelers who aren’t climbing the world’s tallest mountain.
The kingdom of Oman in the Middle East earned high marks from Lonely Planet employees.
Justin Foulkes / Lonely Planet
Do you think Norway is the only place in the world with fjords? Think again.
But that is not all that Oman has to offer. Within the same trip, you can also experience “the Empty Quarter”, a stretch of desert where Oman meets Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It’s four countries at once, and you won’t need to pack a coat.
Anguilla is one of the Leeward Islands.
Anna Jedynak / Shutterstock
Okay, so Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory and technically not a country. That said, the beautiful Caribbean island deserves a closer look.
She praised the island’s “aquamarine sea, 33 public beaches, 80-degree temperatures, incredible hotels and food,” as well as its responsible approach to public health amid the pandemic.
Thanks to the country’s small size, visitors can tour a wide variety of terrain in no time, from stunning Lake Bled to the bustling capital of Ljubljana.
Lonely Planet is not the only one who notices. This year, the Michelin Guide awarded stars to seven restaurants in Slovenia.
Do you want to explore Mayan ruins, swim in electric blue waters, and see incredible wildlife? Belize has all of this and more, accessible via direct flights from various North American cities.
If you’re waiting for Australia to open its borders, try Belize instead – its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System is impressive, and American travelers won’t have to worry about jet lag. .
Meanwhile, the cautious will appreciate that the national language of Belize is English.
The most Googled topic on the island paradise of Mauritius is “where is Mauritius?” Let’s handle that – it’s in the Indian Ocean about 700 miles east of Madagascar.
Norway has more than 15,000 miles of coastline.
Nick Fox / Alamy
Norway is constantly included in the lists of the happiest countries in the world. So what is your secret? CNN asked two royals, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, for their theories.
If you want to channel that peaceful energy for yourself, head to Bøkeskogen, the northernmost beech forest in the world. It’s about two hours from the capital Oslo, so you can easily experience the city and the countryside in the same day.
1. Cook Islands
Fun fact: Air New Zealand only operates one flight from the United States that does not go to New Zealand. It connects Los Angeles with Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands and a gateway to some of the most beautiful places on the planet.
This group of 15 islands in the South Pacific was at the top of many Lonely Planet employees’ wish lists for 2022 and beyond.
What is offered? Water-focused activities like snorkeling, diving, and fishing, not to mention a look at the native Maori community at Te Vara Nui Village.
Considering choosing a city or region for your next trip? Here are the rest of Lonely Planet’s picks for 2022.
Top 10 regions
1. Westfjords, Iceland
2. West Virginia, USA.
3. Xishuangbanna, China
4. Kent’s Heritage Coast, UK
5. Puerto Rico, USA.
6. Shikoku, Japan
7. Atacama Desert, Chile
8. The Scenic Rim, Australia
9. Vancouver Island, Canada
10. Burgundy, France
10 major cities
1. Auckland, New Zealand
2. Taipei, Taiwan
3. Freiburg, Germany
4. Atlanta, USA.
5. Lagos, Nigeria
6. Nicosia / Lefkosia, Cyprus
7. Dublin, Ireland
8. Merida, Mexico
9. Florence, Italy
10. Gyeongju, South Korea