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Lonely Planet’s top places to go in 2024

Patagonia, including Torres del Paine national park, is one of Lonely Planet's picks for 2024.
encrier/iStockphoto/Getty Images
Patagonia, including Torres del Paine national park, is one of Lonely Planet's picks for 2024.

By Maureen O’Hare, CNN

(CNN) — Get your wishlist fired up, Lonely Planet just revealed its 50 top travel destinations for the year ahead.

The travel publishing empire turns 50 this year, and its bumper Best in Travel 2024 list is expanded across five categories: top countries, regions, cities, sustainable travel destinations and best-value locations.

The No.1 country is Mongolia, chosen by Lonely Planet for its “wide-open spaces, adventure activities, and distinctive culinary and musical culture.” This is the world’s most sparsely populated country and the Mongolian government is ready to start filling it up a little. This year it declared 2023 through 2025 the “Years to Visit Mongolia,” easing entry conditions for international travelers and improving infrastructure, not least with a new $650 million airport.

Other countries to make the 10 top picks include popular favorites such as Mexico, Croatia and St. Lucia, as well as lesser visited spots such as Benin and Uzbekistan.

City destinations

The top city on Lonely Planet list is Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, which the travel giant loves for its “unique rhythms, impressive array of locally inspired restaurants, and steady rotation of arts and culture venues.” We love it also for Nairobi National Park, just a short drive out of the city’s central business district, where you can see more than 400 species roaming the open grass plains while skyscrapers twinkle on the skyline.

Paris, host of the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, is also on the list, as is Prague, another European capital which is no stranger to tourist crowds. Lonely Planet says the Covid-19 lockdown has allowed the Czech capital to “hit the reset button”  and to promote “slow tourism and attractions away from the city center.”


The top sustainable travel destination for 2024 is Spain, because of the country’s efforts to expand renewable energy, to boost off-season travel and to bring tourism to emerging destinations, such as the port city of Valencia, thereby easing pressures on hot spots such as Barcelona.

The “wild beauty” of South Africa also gets a nod, with Lonely Planet recommending visitors check out the country’s “impressive crop of ecolodges” committed to protecting Earth’s biodiversity. We also love Babanango, South Africa’s big new game park which is transforming the KwaZulu Natal region into a wildlife wonderland.

Easy on the bank balance

The best-value category will be of particular interest to many in these wallet-pinching times. The underrated American Midwest is the top tip here: in cities such as Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit, “you’ll find old warehouses transformed into art studios, new eco design hotels and many Michelin-starred restaurants,” says Lonely Planet.

The publisher also recommends Algeria as an under-explored corner of Northern Africa. Pointing out that it’s a three-hour flight or less from much of Europe, Lonely Planet says visitors will find “well-preserved Roman sites and fine historic cities” and “an affordable, crowd-free experience.”

Regional destinations

When it comes to regional picks, the Western Balkans’ upcoming Trans Dinarica cycling route is a top choice by Lonely Planet. Opening next year, the 3,364-kilometer (2,090-mile) trail passes through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia, taking in mountain ranges and the Adriatic Sea along the way.

Donegal, Ireland’s most northwestern county, has the country’s longest coastline and more than 100 beaches – and the chances are good that a visitor might get one all to themselves. Says Lonely Planet, “Here you’ll find the highest sea cliffs in Europe and miles of unspoilt coastal hiking trails.”

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2024











St. Lucia


Western Balkans’ Trans Dinarica Cycling Route

Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Donegal, Ireland

País Vasco, Spain

Southern Thailand

Swahili Coast, Tanzania

Montana, USA

Saalfelden Leogang, Austria


Nairobia, Kenya

Paris, France

Montreal, Canada

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Manaus, Brazil

Jakarta, Indonesia

Prague, Czech Republic

Izmir, Turkey

Kansas City, Missouri



Patagonia, Argentina and Chile


Wales’ trails

The Portuguese Way / Caminho Português de Santiago


Hokkaido, Japan


Baltic Trails of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

Eco-lodges of South Africa


The Midwest, USA



Danube Limes, Bulgaria

Normandy, France


Ikaria, Greece


Southern Lakes & Central Otago, New  Zealand

Night trains, Europe

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