Lonely Planet has named its top ten regions to visit in 2018, and you don't need to venture too far to visit the winner! The travel company has voted Belfast and the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland as the top region to visit in the New Year, saying it is now recognised as a "must-visit destination by travellers across the globe".
STORY: A back-to-nature getaway at Finn Lough, Northern Ireland
James Smart, Lonely Planet's Destination Editor for Britain and Ireland, said: "While the value of the pound hasn't been great news for British travellers, it has been a great boost for people looking to visit the UK. Belfast & the Causeway Coast topped our list of the top ten regions because it is deservedly now recognised as a must-visit destination by travellers from across the globe.
Belfast and the Causeway Coast has been voted the top region to visit in the world
"Dynamic Belfast has put its troubled past behind it and is a city transformed, its streets packed with buzzing bars and great stories, while the coastline beyond boasts spectacular scenery and plenty of great diversions."
MORE: A city break in Belfast
The Northern Irish region has also enjoyed a surge in popularity thanks to its starring role as the backdrop for Game of Thrones, with Giant's Causeway among the iconic locations seen in the drama. It is the only region from the UK to make the top ten, with other areas shortlisted for 2018 including Alaska, the Julian Alps in Slovenia and Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France.
Alaska also made the shortlist from Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017
In addition to naming the top ten regions for 2018, the travel experts have also shared their shortlists of the top countries, cities and best value destinations to visit in the next 12 months. And once again the United Kingdom has made the list, ranking seventh in the list of best value destinations. See what else made the cut below:
Lonely Planet's Top 10 Regions for 2018:
- Belfast and the Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
- Alaska, USA
- Julian Alps, Slovenia
- Languedoc-Roussillon, France
- Kii Peninsula, Japan
- Aeolian Islands, Italy
- Southern USA
- Lahaul & Spiti, India
- Bahia, Brazil
- Los Haitises National Park, Dominican Republic