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Lonely Planet's top destinations for 2014

Story highlights

  • Annual Lonely Planet Best in Travel guide published Tuesday
  • Reasons for choices include major events/celebrations coming up plus "x-factor"
  • Brazil tops list for best countries to visit. Sikkim, India voted best region

Brazil, Antarctica and Scotland are the top three destinations to visit in 2014, according to the hot-off-the-press Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2014.

The rationale: Well the first is pretty obvious since Brazil is hosting the World Cup. It's the centenary of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic expedition, while Scotland's nod is mainly due to it staging the Commonwealth Games in the summer and celebrating the Year of Homecoming for overseas Scottish. A great accent probably also helps.

Published this week, Lonely Planet's ninth annual roundup of best destinations around the world for the upcoming year was based on "scores for topicality, excitement and that special x-factor," as determined by their inhouse experts and outside writers.

And there are a few surprises. The quiet, peaceful, pretty and sometimes (unfairly) maligned Adelaide in South Australia made the top 10 cities for 2014 (possibly because of some of those adjectives). The ranking prompted this response from an Australian media outlet: Was Lonely Planet drunk when it rated Adelaide?

The travel guide went with Paris as the best city next year (it didn't make the top 10 last year), with Trinidad in second place (January marks the 500th anniversary of the foundation of Trinidad) and Cape Town coming in third.

Read: 10 things to know before visiting Brazil

    In terms of regions as destinations, Sikkim in India was voted the best, for "showing the way for what could be the future of India's tourism industry."

    Some more notable predictions included Hunan region as "the next big thing" in China and the Greek Islands as the best value destination due to recently lowered tourism prices and fewer tourist numbers.

    In addition to the more standard roundups, there are also some more inventive lists ranging from "10 essential travel destinations for Beatlemaniacs" (it's the 50th anniversary of the Beatles going to in New York) and "The cat's meow: top 10 destinations for feline fanatics" to "10 Shakespearean sites for travelers" in honor of the 450th anniversary of the playwright's birth.

    From the 2014 guide:

    Top 10 countries for 2014
    1. Brazil
    2. Antarctica
    3. Scotland
    4. Sweden
    5. Malawi
    6. Mexico
    7. Seychelles
    8. Belgium
    9. Macedonia
    10. Malaysia

    Top 10 regions for 2014
    1. Sikkim, India
    2. Kimberly
    3. Yorkshire
    4. Hokuriku, Japan
    5. Texas
    6. Victoria Falls
    7. Mallorca
    8. West Coast, New Zealand
    9. Hunan, China
    10. Ha'apai Tonga

    Top 10 cities for 2014
    1. Paris
    2. Trinidad
    3. Cape Town
    4. Riga
    5. Zurich
    6. Shanghai
    7. Vancouver
    8. Chicago
    9. Adelaide
    10. Auckland

    Best value destinations for 2014
    1. Greek Islands
    2. Italy's Heel (Puglia)
    3. Nicaragua