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Top 10 countries to travel to in 2018

Photo taken by Travel On Spot.  

Lonely Planet's traditional top ten lists have become internationally anticipated events. Many holidaymakers, individual travellers, tourists, and even tour operators take note of the destinations suggested by one of the world's most influential tour guide magazines. Travel On Spot, too, takes a closer look at some worthwhile destinations; we suggest that you pick at least two for your journeys in 2018.

10. South Africa

Wild male lion yawning, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Wild male lion yawning, Kruger National Park, South Africa

South Africa continues, year after year, to be among top attractions for those seeking something exotic. Even though catching a flight or booking a safari from Lithuania might appear a lucrative expense, it will make for a life-changing experience. Beaches stretching along two oceans, wind-weathered mountains, wild African animals, wine, vibrant and cosmopolitan environment tinted with African heritage. One of the biggest points of pride for South African people is the memory and legacy of Nelson Mandela. In 2018, the country is organizing numerous events in his tribute, from sports games to art and music festivals. South Africa is becoming an example of a society of the community spirit, respect, and passion.

9. China

Mount Huangshan
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Mount Huangshan

It remains a land of adventure seekers as well as home to the world's most populous nation. China has a millennial reputation for diverse food, exceptional culture, Eastern philosophy, and giant cities. In recent years, however, this colossal country has completed building the world's most extensive highway network, so travelling in China is easier than ever. And things to see are abundant: the city lights of Hong Kong, the peace of Shaolin monks, breath-taking mountains, the Great Wall of China, contrasts of all kinds, intricate writings, and forthcoming smiles of the Chinese people.

8. Mauritius

Photo taken by Hansueli Krapf / wikimedia.org.  

The tiny island surfaces from the Indian Ocean like a tropical postcard. Have you missed water sports, fishing, diving, colourful fish and coral reefs? Mauritius is your place. In the colonial era, the island played a strategic role in the Indian Ocean, but in more recent years it has become a quasi-inaccessible paradise of villas and spectacular beaches. However, new airline routes from Europe and Africa is making Mauritius more accessible and affordable, a welcome development from this island nation which, celebrating 50 years of independence, has things to offer as spectacular as anything you may find in the Seychelles, the Maldives, or the Comoros.

7. Georgia

Ushguli village Caucasus, Upper Svaneti
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Ushguli village Caucasus, Upper Svaneti

For many Lithuanians, Georgia is an familiar and beloved destination. The country in the Caucasian mountains has, over the last decade, invested heavily into upgrading its tourism infrastructure, developing services, and enticing more tourists to visit. In 2018, Georgia caught the attention of Lonely Planet. And for good reason – the spectacular Caucasian Mountains, winding hiking paths and glittering snows, a unique food culture, a wealth of fresh fruit, it is also the birthplace of wine. Add to that energetic folk dances, passionate songs, sparkling Tbilisi, archaeological and historical heritage sites, economically growing Batumi and the Black Sea coast. Moreover, so many budget airlines are offering direct flights to Georgia. It might be a small country, but at least two weeks is what it takes to experience it adequately.

6. Malta

Valletta
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Valletta

The long history of the Mediterranean, archaeological and historical monuments, myths and legends, the cosy capital city of Valletta, 300 sunny days a year, sapphire-blue waters are some of the things that have been drawing holidaymakers from Europe and other continents to Malta for years. In 2018, Valletta is the European Capital of Culture, offering a wealth of events, exhibitions, performances, and festivals.

5. New Zealand

New Zealand
Photo taken by Wikimedia.org.  New Zealand

New Zealand needs no introduction – it has been ranked among the world's most beautiful spots for decades. It is also home to the happiest people on Earth who enjoy exceptionally high standards of living in a natural environment of extraordinary beauty. Mountains, lakes, ocean coasts, indigenous cultures and settler traditions. New Zealand is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers, fishers and surfers. The country continually upgrades its hiking paths, allowing absolutely everyone to explore the whole island on foot. Let's not forget New Zealand's pretty towns: Wellington, Auckland and others.

4. Djibouti

Photo taken by Tyke / wikimedia.org photo.  

Many of you may have raised your eyebrows seeing the tiny north-east African country included in the list. It is, however, a veritable natural wonder. The entire country sits on the meeting point of three tectonic plates, creating dramatic landscapes and extreme natural phenomena bursting up from the ground. Empty deserts, geysers, salt lakes make it look like a different planet. Djibouti also claims a segment of the Red Sea coast, full of unexplored coral reefs, shallow shark bays for divers, and many more water wonders.

3. Portugal

Porto, Portugal cityscape across the Douro River
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Porto, Portugal cityscape across the Douro River

Portugal is a natural and cultural pearl of Europe. Recently, it has been crawling out of the shadow of its big neighbour, Spain, showcasing its excellent cuisine, 300 Blue Flag beaches, best surfer waves, vineyards and exceptional wine culture. Portuguese cities – Lisbon, Porto – enchant one with their architecture, history, and vistas. Portugal is a country that continues to create new national parks. 2018 is just the time to visit Portugal for those who have yet to see it.

2. South Korea

Seoul
Photo taken by veroyama | Flickr.  Seoul

South Korea contains everything that one may term “modern Asia”. Seoul is a futuristic megalopolis with an ever-growing number of architectural and city planning marvels. Speed trains will take you anywhere in the country in an eye blink. There are also the mountains and natural parks. In 2018, South Korea is hosting Winter Olympics, so those after winter experiences will find no better destination than South Korea.

1. Chile

Torres del Paine National park, Chile
Photo taken by Miguel Vieira / wikimedia.org.  Torres del Paine National park, Chile

It is not for nothing that Chile crowns the top of this list. It is a South American country, separated from the rest of the continent by the Andes, the Atacama Desert, and Patagonian rocks, that extends thousands of kilometres along the Pacific coast. It is a land of the most extreme natural contrasts covering all climatic zones. Its culturally vibrant capital Santiago is no less charming. Moreover, the country is celebrating its 200-year anniversary of independence in 2018, so you can join the festive whirlpool of the Chilean party.

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