World’s hottest destinations for 2013 contain Aussie surprise

Lonely Planet's annual list of the hottest destinations to visit next year has named Hobart as one of the top 10 best cities in the world.

The Tasmanian capital has reinvented itself, says Lonely Planet, thanks to the addition of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) created by eccentric gaming mogul David Walsh.

Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2013 book also cites the Tasmania Museum and Art Gallery and the city's dining and microbrewery scenes as key attractions.

“Now is the time to discover what's going on down there before the rest of the world catches on,” it said.

The most recent figures from Tourism Tasmania show the popularity of MONA, with 25 per cent of all visitors to the state, more than 200,000 people, heading to the museum in the year ending June 2012. It ranked as the second most-visited attraction in the state, behind the Salamanca Markets.

Hobart came in at number seven on the cities list, with San Francisco taking the top spot thanks to its hosting of the America's Cup next year. Amsterdam, which celebrates the 400th birthday of its canal ring next year, came in at number two, with Hyderabad, Derry/Londonderry and Beijing rounding out the top five.

With tourism still suffering in the wake of last year's earthquakes, Christchurch received a welcome boost by being named at number six. Lonely Planet praised the city's new energy and inventiveness, with the destruction of the city centre being used as an opportunity to rethink urban form.

Sri Lanka was named as the number one country in the world to visit next year. With the long-running civil war now over and visitor numbers increasing, Sri Lanka is emerging as one of the world's best-value destinations, Lonely Planet said. The country is becoming easier to reach due to cheap fares from regional hub Bangkok.

Montenegro, named at number two, was on the “fast track to superstardom” thanks to its natural beauty and glamorous beach resorts.


The home of Gangnam style, South Korea, was named at number three, with Ecuador and Slovakia rounding out the top five.

The annual Lonely Planet lists are compiled based on the views of the company's staff, writers and online community. Spokesman Adam Bennett said that the choices are not based on where travellers are already going (which explains why the likes of New York, London and Paris are not on the list) but rather are "our pick of where we believe travellers really should consider visiting in 2013."

He said that destinations make the list for a variety of reasons, including special events, recent developments or buzz, or that the destination is up-and-coming and worth visiting before the crowds get too big.

Lonely Planet's top 10 cities to visit in 2013

1. San Francisco, US

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

3. Hyderabad, India

4. Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland

5. Beijing, China

6. Christchurch, New Zealand

7. Hobart, Australia

8. Montreal, Canada

9. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

10. Puerto Iguazu, Argentina

Top 10 countries to visit in 2013

1. Sri Lanka

2. Montenegro

3. South Korea

4. Ecuador

5. Slovakia

6. Solomon Islands

7. Iceland

8. Turkey

9. Dominican Republic

10. Madagascar