Discover the Best Places in the World with Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist

August 27, 2015 by Alexandra Gregg

Last week the definitive coffee table book graced the Flight Centre editorial desk. It caused intrigue, debate over a pizza lunch, and inspired us all to book our next holidays. Yep, you guessed it, that wondrous tome was Lonely Planet’s latest: the Ultimate Travelist. Much anticipated, this globetrotters’ guide ranks 500 of the best places on earth. Whether you agree, disagree or are indifferent, it makes for a fascinating read, especially for keen travellers. And with summer fading and winter drawing ever-closer, perhaps it’s time to add it to your Christmas wish list?

To give you a taster of what to expect, here’s the top 10:

Angkor Wat at sunset (Image: Mark Read/Lonely Planet images)

Angkor Wat at sunset (Image: Mark Read/Lonely Planet images)

1. The Temples of Angkor, Cambodia

What Lonely Planet said: “Even in a region as richly gifted as Southeast Asia, Angkor is something out of the ordinary – a literal representation of heaven on earth, hewn from thousands of sandstone blocks and carved floor-to-ceiling with legends.”

Aerial view of Heart Reef on Great Barrier Reef near Whitsunday Islands (Image: Matt Munro/Lonely Planet images)

Aerial view of Heart Reef near the Whitsunday Islands (Image: Matt Munro/Lonely Planet images)

2. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

What Lonely Planet said: “The reef is a psychedelic underwater playground for divers and snorkellers. Even above the surface this vital ecosystem enthrals all who visit.”

Iconic Machu Picchu (Image: Philip Lee Harvey/Lonely Planet images)

Iconic Machu Picchu (Image: Philip Lee Harvey/Lonely Planet images)

3. Machu Picchu, Peru

What Lonely Planet said: “Gawping down at Machu Picchu after a lung-busting four-day hike is a rite of passage for travellers to Peru. But it’s not the outrageously dramatic Andean setting, nor the way the city clings to impossibly precipitous slopes that makes Machu Picchu so mind-blowing – it’s the fact that no-one really knows what happened here…”

Jiankou section of Great wall of China (Image: Mark Read/Lonely Planet images)

Jiankou section of Great wall of China (Image: Mark Read/Lonely Planet images)

4. Great Wall of China

What Lonely Planet said: “It’s a myth that you can see the Great Wall from space, but when confronted by the sight of this endless structure stretching off into infinite distance, it seems almost impossible that this wouldn’t be true.”

The riverside setting of the Taj Mahal (Image: Pete Seaward/Lonely Planet images)

The riverside setting of the Taj Mahal (Image: Pete Seaward/Lonely Planet images)

5. Taj Mahal, Agra, India

What Lonely Planet said: “The ghosts of Mughal India wander the gleaming marble courtyards, drifting like shadows under archways and floating behind latticework screens. There’s no other building in India that so perfectly encapsulates the attitudes and atmosphere of its era.”

Overview of Grand Canyon seen from South Rim (Image: Mark Read/Lonely Planet images)

Overview of Grand Canyon seen from South Rim (Image: Mark Read/Lonely Planet images)

6. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA

What Lonely Planet said: “Lit by flaming sunsets, filled with billowing seas of fog and iced with crystal dustings of snow, the mile deep, 277-mile-long Grand Canyon is nature’s cathedral.”

Rome's landmark arena (Image: Justin Foulkes/Lonely Planet images)

Rome’s landmark arena (Image: Justin Foulkes/Lonely Planet images)

7. The Colosseum, Rome, Italy

What Lonely Planet said: “Despite the gruesome shows that went on here, there’s no denying the majesty and grace of the arena. Less glam is what went on backstage: guided tours take the historically curious into the subterranean guts of the Colosseum where the full grunge, gore and filth of Roman gladiator combats come uncomfortably to life.”

The ethereal cascades of Iguazu Falls, straddling the Argentina-Brazil border (Image: Matt Munro/Lonely Planet images)

The cascades of Iguazu Falls, straddling the Argentina-Brazil border (Image: Matt Munro/Lonely Planet images)

8. Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

What Lonely Planet said: “These falls are mind-bogglingly mighty: tourist boats that ply the foaming plunge pools below look like matchsticks. Boardwalks also get you thrillingly close.”

Alhambra (Image: Pete Seaward/Lonely Planet images)

Alhambra (Image: Pete Seaward/Lonely Planet images)

9. Alhambra, Andalusia, Spain

What Lonely Planet said: “From afar, Alhambra’s fortress towers dominate the Granada skyline, the sheer red walls rising from woods of cypress and elm, set against a backdrop of the Sierra Nevada’s snow-capped peaks.”

The blue hues of Aya Sofya in Spain (Image: Mark Read/Lonely Planet images)

The blue hues of Aya Sofya in Spain (Image: Mark Read/Lonely Planet images)

10. Aya Sofya, Istanbul, Turkey

What Lonely Planet said: “It [Aya Sofya] is a huge, almost cosmic space, with a sense of vastness unmatched in its ancient era. Inside, the building reveals her treasures in stages: firstly soaring columns borrowed from ancient Greek and Roman cities; secondly, lofty galleries adorned with glittering mosaics. Then, the grand finale: the famous dome.”


Pick up a copy of Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist today, available from the LP online store or on the high street, RRP £19.99.

Ultimate travelist cover


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About Alexandra Gregg

Once a roving local news reporter and now a travel-obsessed writer/sub, I'm head-over-heels for nature, wildlife and the ocean. When I'm not underwater or deploying a snorkel, I'm seeking out the sets of my favourite TV shows around the world. Tweet me @wonderg1rl