Top 10 cities to visit in 2012 named

Darwin has been named as one of the top 10 cities to visit in the world in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2012.

The book, released on Monday, says the city that was once a frontier town of brawling fishermen and rednecks is now a place with a "pumping nocturnal scene, magical markets and restaurants, and world class wilderness areas".

It says now is the time to go to beat the crowds to the city's redeveloped Waterfront Precinct and before east coast galleries snap up the indigenous art that is on offer.

Northern Territory Tourism Minister Malarndirri McCarthy says the accolade confirms the city has the "X-factor" that travellers seek.

"Darwin is now a must visit holiday destination for travellers around the globe and the only destination in Australia to be handpicked by Lonely Planet."

Darwin made the list in 10th place, behind London (home to the 2012 Olympic Games), Muscat, Bengaluru, Cadiz, Stockholm, Guimaraes, Santiago, Hong Kong and Orlando.

In the list of top 10 countries to visit, Uganda was named No. 1 ahead of Burma and Ukraine.

After being devastated by Idi Amin, the book says Uganda's wildlife is returning with vengeance. "It's taken nasty dictatorships and a brutal civil war to keep Uganda off the tourist radar, but stability is returning and it won't be long before visitors come flocking back."

Rounding out the top 10 countries were Jordan, Denmark, Bhutan, Cuba, New Caledonia, Taiwan and Switzerland.

Which countries and cities are on your list to visit next year? Post a comment below and tell us why.