The best places to visit in 2022 have been named by the travel experts at Lonely Planet – and it’s the Cook Islands that’s No1, followed by Norway in second place.

Lonely Planet’s new Best In Travel 2022 book identifies the top 10 countries and regions as well as the top 10 cities to visit next Year.

The best cities have been unveiled as Auckland, Taipei and Germany’s Freiburg – with Dublin in seventh – and the best regions as Iceland’s Westfjords, West Virginia, Xishuangbanna in China and Kent’s Downs and Heritage Coast ranking fourth.

Lonely Planet says the Cook Islands offer 'adventure, cultural interaction and culinary delights'. Pictured above is the archipelago's Rarotonga island

Lonely Planet describes the Cook Islands as a place that offers ‘adventure and cultural interaction, as well as culinary delights’. Pictured above is Rarotonga, an archipelago island.

Auckland, pictured above, is 'recognised for its blossoming cultural scene where the spotlight is on local creativity'

Above, Auckland is’recognized for its blossoming culture scene where the spotlight shines on local creativity’

Kent's Downs and Heritage Coast is the only UK top 10 entry. Pictured are the region's White Cliffs, near Dover

The only UK entry in the top 10 is Kent’s Downs & Heritage Coast. Pictured are the region’s White Cliffs, near Dover 

Lonely Planet claims that the Cook Islands was awarded the gold medal for its innovative strategies in pushing forward environmental initiatives within the South Pacific.

It states that “Diverse landscapes frame by the vast expanses of the largest ocean in the world promise active adventure, cultural interaction, and culinary delights.”

Highlights for visitors include snorkelling, paddleboarding in Muri Lagoon and caving on “Atiu.” On Saturday mornings, you can also wander through Punanga Nui market.

Norway is runner up and is described by the media as a ‘leading star in sustainability, green technology, community culture initiatives from the cities to remote areas’.

Runner-up country Norway is described as a 'leading light on sustainability, green technology and community culture initiatives'. Pictured is the Norwegian fishing village of Reine in the Lofoten archipelago

Norway is the runner up country and is described as a “leading light on sustainability technology and community culture initiatives”. Pictured is Reine, Norway’s fishing village, in the Lofoten archipelago.

A view of Le Morne Brabant mountain in Mauritius, which claims third place in the countries list

A view of Le Morne Brabant mountain in Mauritius, which claims third place in the countries list

Belize comes fourth in Lonely Planet's list of the world's top 10 countries to visit in 2022. Pictured is the Belizean island of Tobacco Caye

Belize comes fourth in Lonely Planet’s list of the world’s top 10 countries to visit in 2022. Pictured is the Belizean island of Tobacco Caye 

Pictured is the town of Piran in Slovenia, which Lonely Planet says 'is a world leader in being literally and figuratively "green"'

Pictured is Piran in Slovenia. Lonely Planet describes it as a leader in being literally “green” and figuratively so.


1. Cook Islands

2. Norway

3. Mauritius

4. Belize

5. Slovenia

6. Anguilla

7. Oman

8. Nepal

9. Malawi

10. Egypt

Source: Lonely Planet 

Lonely Planet recommends that holidaymakers “take the country’s most spectacular train ride over the snowy Hardangervidda plateau” on the Bergensbanen rail line and then go dog-sledding with Tromso in Arctic Circle.

Third place is claimed by Mauritius, followed closely by Belize and Slovenia. Lonely Planet describes Slovenia as a leader in being literally, and figuratively, “green”, with responsible travel being a part of the Slovenian way of life for many decades.

The remaining countries are Anguilla (6th), Oman (7th), Nepal 8th, Malawi (9th), and Egypt (10th).


Lonely Planet’s winner Auckland in New Zealand was named as one of the top cities to visit.

It also states that there are 53 volcanoes within the city’s borders, more than 50 islands and three wine regions, as well as numerous beaches.

Need some help planning your Auckland trip? Lonely Planet recommends that you visit the Auckland Museum to see Pasifika and Maori artifacts, and then sign up for a wine-tasting tour on the Hauraki Gulf Islands.

Silver medal winner Taipei is praised because of ‘its inclusive approach towards society and protections of natural and cultural experiences’, while Freiburg is third as a trailblazer in Germany’s environmental movement.

Fourth place is claimed by Atlanta, Georgia. Lonely Planet describes Atlanta as “Hotlanta” due to its contemporary energy, sweltering summers and vibrant cultural jewel, according to Lonely Planet.

The guidebook recommends eating at Mary Mac’s Tea Room for ‘classic Southern cuisine’ and visiting the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the US.

Silver medal winner Taipei, pictured, is praised for 'its inclusive approach to society and protection of natural and cultural experiences'

Silver medal winner Taipei (pictured) is praised for its inclusive approach to society, protection of natural and cultural heritage, and ‘its inclusive approach towards society’

Freiburg (pictured) comes third in the best cities category as 'a trailblazer in Germany's environmental movement'

Freiburg (pictured), is third in the Best Cities category for being a ‘trailblazer’ in Germany’s Environmental Movement.

Pictured is the view of midtown Atlanta from the city's Piedmont Park. 'Atlanta is a thriving, shining cultural jewel in the heart of the American South,' declares Lonely Planet

Pictured is midtown Atlanta seen from Piedmont Park. Lonely Planet declares that Atlanta is a vibrant, shining cultural jewel in America’s heartland.

Lagos, Nigeria is fifth with Nicosia (also known by Lefkosia), Cyprus sixth. 

Dublin is awarded seventh place owing to its ‘approach towards ethical tourism, its flourishing independent craft shopping scene, and plans to pedestrianise areas of the centre to create an renewed sense of community’.

Highlights of the Irish capital include the Guinness Storehouse where punters can enjoy ‘a pint in plain’ and the historic Kilmainham Gaol prison.

The remaining cities in the ranking include Merida in Mexico (8th), Florence (9th), Gyeongju in South Korea (10th).

The Nigerian city of Lagos is named the fifth best place for a city break in 2022. Pictured is a view of the Lagos Lagoon at night

In 2022, Lagos, Nigeria is ranked fifth in the best places to visit for a city break. Here is a night view of the Lagos Lagoon.

Seventh place in the city ranking is awarded to Dublin, a city that boasts a 'flourishing independent artisan shopping scene'. Pictured is the Irish capital's Ha'penny Bridge

Dublin is ranked seventh in the city ranking. This city boasts a vibrant independent artisan shopping scene. Pictured is the Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin, Ireland.


Lonely Planet’s ranking of the best regions states that Westfjords is deserving winner because it’s “one of the most remote, untouched areas” in the world. It also notes that the area is becoming increasingly popular with outdoor adventurers and hikers.

The guidebook revealed that West Virginia is the runner-up.

It states: “Visitors will find a still-uncrowded area with unspoiled mountains, unmistakable heritage and leisurely tempo Southern small towns that converge with the adrenaline activities that attract adventurers across the continent.”



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

Source: Lonely Planet 


1. Westfjords in Iceland

2. West Virginia, USA

3. Xishuangbanna (China)

4. Kent’s Heritage Coast, UK

5. Puerto Rico

6. Shikoku, Japan

7. Atacama Desert, Chile

8. The Scenic Rim of Australia

9. Vancouver Island, Canada

10. Burgundy, France


Lonely Planet says region winner Westfjords (pictured) is 'one of the most remote and untouched regions' in the world. Above is Hornbjarg, a cliff in the region's Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Lonely Planet claims that Westfjords, the region winner (pictured), is ‘one the most remote and unexplored regions in the world’. Hornbjarg is a cliff located in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

Region runner-up West Virginia, pictured, 'has long been a nexus of American culture', according to Lonely Planet. Pictured is the state's New River Gorge Bridge

Lonely Planet describes West Virginia as the Region Runner Up. Pictured is the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia.

Lonely Planet recommends that you snowboard on Snowshoe Mountain while exploring the Mountain State. Also, visit Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. This park is home to ‘a stuck in time 19th-century town’ and a network hiking trails.

Xishuangbanna is third. In the meantime, ‘intensive domestic investments in tourism infrastructure and completion of the high-speed China-Laos Railway Project’ have helped the region’regain its historic status as a central hub for Southeast Asian travel and commerce’.

Kent’s Downs and Heritage Coast is UK’s only top 10. It earned its spot ‘thanks its commitment to sustainable tourism initiatives’. These include the regeneration of Dover and Folkstone and plans to establish a Biosphere reserve and make the Strait of Dover a Unesco World Heritage site.

The guidebook says region bronze medallist Xishuangbanna, pictured, is 'on track to regain its ancient status as a central hub of Southeast Asian travel and trade'

The guidebook says region bronze medallist Xishuangbanna, pictured, is ‘on track to regain its ancient status as a central hub of Southeast Asian travel and trade’

Puerto Rico (pictured above) comes fifth in the world's best regions ranking, while Shikoku in Japan is ranked sixth

Puerto Rico (pictured above), is ranked fifth in the ranking of the world’s most beautiful regions, while Shikoku in Japan ranks sixth

Lonely Planet extols Kent’s “long stretches of beautiful, iconic cliffs” and “idyllic country”. It recommends that holidaymakers bike along the Channel Way and taste the Kent Downs’ ‘champagne-like fizz”.

Puerto Rico is ranked fifth, while Shikoku (Japan) is ranked sixth. The rest of the ranking includes Australia’s Scenic Rim (8th), Chile’s Atacama Desert (7th), Vancouver Island (9th) and Burgundy (10th).

Lonely Planet’s world-famous destinations lists are based on nominations from Lonely Planet writers, bloggers, publishing partners, and staff.

Its panel of experts travel professionals then narrowed down the nominations to three top 10 lists. Each winner was chosen based upon its “topicality”, unique experiences, “wow!” factor and ongoing commitment toward sustainable tourism practices.

Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s VP for Experience, said about the Best In Travel 2022 lists, “After an enforced hiatus it’s now time to take those long-postponed plans off the shelf, make them a reality, and the lists celebrate all its wonderful enticing variety.

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel continues to provide new perspectives on popular destinations such Norway, Slovenia, Iceland, and Dublin, Ireland. It also uncovers some gems like the Kent Downs Heritage Coast or Freiburg, Germany’s most sustainable and sustainable city. 

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2022 Available hereThe book is now available. 

Best in Travel 2022 has been compiled using the opinions of staff, writers, bloggers, publishing partners and more

Best in Travel 2022 was compiled with the opinions of staff, bloggers, authors, and publishing partners.