Seasoned or occasional travelers, we all have trips that we dream of taking, places praised by friends on their return from vacation, or discovered while reading. Some even make a list of it. Here we bring you our own list of the 500 most fascinating and memorable places in the world, ranked by their success with the Lonely Planet community. They will know how to challenge you, move you or simply make you want to share your experience.
How did we come up with this ranking of the best destinations in the world?
We started by compiling a list of all the must-sees mentioned in the Lonely Planet guides , meaning thousands of sites and monuments cited by our authors for years. After establishing a shortlist, we then asked everyone in the Lonely Planet community to vote for their 20 favorite sites. Following a mathematical principle, the places systematically mentioned at the start of this top 20 won more points than those mentioned many times but at the end of the ranking. We were thus able to establish a top 500. The results were close, except for the site n ° 1: with 10,162 votes, it occupied a place apart
So here is, for the first time, the ranking of the best destinations in the world by Lonely Planet. We hope it inspires you to make a list of your own desires. And while waiting to discover this top 500, here are the top 10 destinations!
Temples of Angkor, the Hindu paradise on Earth (Cambodia)
The largest temple in the world dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, dating from the 12th century, Angkor Wat stands out a bit in a predominantly Buddhist Cambodia . Huge representation of Mount Meru, the abode of the Hindu gods, it is the undisputed centerpiece of the site. It is made up of thousands of sandstone blocks adorned with bas-reliefs so delicate and graceful that they seem sculpted by the gods; they illustrate the legends of the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. This magnificent monument is the most precious vestige of a Hindu kingdom that once extended as far as Burma, Laos and southern China.
With the nearby city of Siem Reap being served by international flights, Angkor cannot be said to be secret, and yet the visitor who ventures among the roots piercing ancient walls and the effigies of divinities covered with climbing plants will have the he impression of being an adventurer discovering virgin land behind a curtain of greenery.
Over the centuries, the inhabitants of this heavenly city abandoned Hinduism for Buddhism. In the temples, the two mythologies mingle. Arriving at dawn in the ruins of the temple of Bayon is a unique experience: the benevolent faces of Avalokiteshvara, bodhisattva of Compassion, then gently emerge in the mist, like celestial apparitions. The traveler is also overcome with emotion at the overgrown ruins of Ta Prohm, a 12th century temple almost entirely engulfed by the jungle, which has changed little since the arrival of the first European explorers in Angkor in the 17th century. Angkor also offers such unique experiences that travelers often spend several weeks there to soak up the splendor of these temples and remain
Great Barrier Reef, an underwater El Dorado (Australia)
The second place in our ranking is occupied by a natural wonder which stretches for more than 3000 km off the northeast coast of Australia . No need to introduce the Great Barrier Reef . Let us just remember that this is the largest coral reef in the world, populated by 400 species of corals and 1,500 species of fish. Some 30 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises have been identified there, as well as 6 species of sea turtles and 17 varieties of sea snakes.
Machu Picchu, the Inca enigma (Peru)
Only a few voices separated the second winner from the third. However, they differ in every way … The blissful contemplation of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate after four grueling days of trekking on the Inca Trail has become a rite of passage during any trip to Peru . The city, dating from the 15th century, is surrounded by a spectacular Andean landscape and suspended above the void, but its main attraction lies in the mystery that surrounds it. It’s a real enigma.
Great Wall of China, Imperial Wall (China)
Contrary to what people say, the Great Wall is not visible from space, but faced with this building which seems to extend as far as the eye can see, one could be convinced. A few die-hards roam the entire wall on foot, but even if you settle for just one section, you will be in awe of its indestructible aura . You will have the choice between imperial grandeur (near Beijing ), military precision (Gansu) or ageless desolate landscapes (Inner Mongolia).
Serengeti National Park, the wildlife haven (Tanzania)
The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, renowned as one of the planet’s most picturesque destinations, epitomizes the majesty of the natural world. As a cherished jewel among Tanzania’s National Parks, it extends an irresistible invitation to adventurers, offering boundless savannahs and extraordinary wildlife encounters.When creating a list of the world’s most beautiful locations, the Serengeti, as a component of Tanzania National Parks, claims a well-deserved spot!
Taj Mahal, the Mughal pearl (India)
How to achieve architectural perfection? Start with a few acres of sparkling white marble, and add a few thousand semi-precious stones chiseled and set in elaborate Islamic patterns. Choose a sublime setting on the edge of a sacred river, in a sumptuous garden of perfect symmetry. Wrap it all up in an intriguing love story. You get the Taj Mahal .