The Lonely Planet has been producing tourist guides since 1973. The experts of the publishing house have been selecting the best countries, cities and destinations for travel since 2004.
The annual Best in Travel publishing house award consists of 2 stages. In November and December, the publishing house names the winners according to experts. In January, the results of the open vote are announced. You can vote for your favourite tourist destinations on the official website of The Lonely Planet.
Award winners Best in Travel 2021
9 unique places that promote the ideas of ecotourism won in various categories: from “The Best Hiking Route” to “The Best Islands”.
Gothenburg, Sweden – “The best city for leisure”. Once an industrial city, today Gothenburg is the eco centre of Europe. For example, 95% of the city’s hotels and public transport operate on renewable energy sources. Many industrial spaces have been turned into galleries, restaurants and wineries.
Gothia Towers is the largest hotel in the Nordic countries. It consists of 1,200 rooms, restaurants, bars and a SPA complex powered by wind power. Next to the hotel is the Liseberg amusement park – also the largest in Scandinavia.
Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city with a population of around half a million.
The Gothia Towers Hotel has 11 luxury rooms, and the bar on the 24th floor offers a panoramic view of Gothenburg.
Le Vie di Dante, Italy – “The best route for hiking”. The 395 kilometre long track starts in the Italian city of Ravenna, passes through the Apennines and ends in Florence. The entire journey is dedicated to the life and work of Dante Alighieri. Along the way, the traveller will be able to discover the Tuscan hills, medieval churches and Aquacheta waterfall.
Rwanda – “Best Wildlife Conservation Programme”. This African country has managed to preserve the population of the rarest animal, the mountain gorilla. Scientists predicted that the species would disappear completely by the beginning of the 21st century. But the government managed not only to preserve but also to increase the population of gorillas. Today, 12 gorilla families live in Rwanda’s Volcano National Park.
Male mountain gorilla in Volcano National Park, Rwanda
There are 6 extinct and 3 active volcanoes within Rwanda.
Rocky Mountaineer Train, Canada – “Best train ride”. The train route runs through Canada’s Rocky Mountains – past picturesque waterfalls, winding gorges and valleys home to elk and grizzly bears. The train has a special system in place that reduces carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The owners of Rocky Mountaineer transfer part of their income to the country’s national greening programme.
There are 5 national parks in the Canadian Rocky Mountains: Banf, Yoho, Waterton Lakes, Jasper and Kutenay.
The Rocky Mountaineer train has panoramic windows for full immersion.
Virginia Mountain Bike Trail, USA – “The best bicycle route”. The track runs along the Blue Ridge, a mountain massif in Virginia. The length of the route is about 770 kilometres and it will take about 2 weeks to complete. The track is more suitable for experienced cyclists and requires good preparation. But there are easier sections for beginners, such as the Shenandoa Valley.
Grootberg Lodge Resort, Namibia – “Best Eco Hotel”. The resort consists of houses that are completely built with natural materials. They easily blend in with the landscape of the Klip River Valley. Resort guests can enjoy the picturesque views of the African plateau and watch lions and rare black rhinos.
Palau – “Best Islands”. The archipelago state in the Pacific Ocean consists of 576 islands. In 2009, the Palauan Government established the world’s first shark sanctuary. 80% of the marine and coastal area of the reserve is under state protection. The Chelbaheb Coral Islands Group has been on UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage List since 2012.
The archipelago of the rocky islands of Chelbaheb is uninhabited and under state protection.
The Underwater Coral Reef World near the Palau Islands in Micronesia
In the following, we will talk about the 2 winning countries that have citizenship or residence permit investment programmes in place. With a passport or residence permit card of these countries, the investor can visit the submitted destinations without having to apply for a visa.
Antigua and Barbuda ‑ winner in the category «Best New Direction»
The Caribbean Island State has made environmental care one of its top development priorities.
Antigua has a so‑called Green Corridor, a network of sustainable hotels and resorts located along the southwest coast of the island. There is also the Wallings Nature Reserve National Park on the island, which is taken care of exclusively by volunteers and local residents.
The Frigate Bird Sanctuary is located on the country’s second island, Barbuda. Around 5000 birds of frigates live in the Codrington Lagoon National Park. It is the largest colony of frigates in the Western Hemisphere.
Around 270,000 tourists annually visit the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda.
Male frigate during the marriage period
Half Moon Bay, a wild beach in the southeast of Antigua Island.
365 beaches with white sand and blue water will be offered to tourists in Antigua and Barbuda. The most famous of these is the crescent‑shaped beach of Half Moon Bay.
Bonus for gourmets: you can try rare fruits in the country. For example, a special kind of Antigua Black pineapple is only found on the islands – the fruit spoils quickly, so it cannot be exported to other countries.
Greece ‑ winner in the category «Best Gourmet destination»
Greek cuisine uses local products 100%. Most national dishes are based on olive oil, tomatoes, herbs and fresh seafood.
Each region of Greece is famous for its dishes. For example, Crete is famous for its recipe of rosemary snails and spanakopita, a cake filled with spinach, leek, eggs and feta cheese.
You can get acquainted with the culinary tradition of Greece in various formats. For example, while hiking in the Kalimnos Mountains, a traveller will learn about herbs and spices. Octopus carpaccio will be offered in the Mylos Fish Restaurant, which is located in the historical premises of the windmill. The Taverna Vakhos Harbour is located near the ancient city of Delphi, the excavation site of which is inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. Tourists can try lamb dishes, a chorta salad made of wild herbs and homemade desserts.
Seafood restaurant on the island of Samos in Greece
Spanakopita pie stuffed with spinach, leek, eggs and feta cheese is one of the main dishes of Crete.
Octopus carpaccio served at Mylos Fish Restaurant in Leros, Greece
Citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda and residence permit in Greece for travel around the world
Russian citizens can travel to 117 countries without visas. These include Namibia and Palau, which have won in the Best Eco Hotel and Best Islands categories. But to travel to most popular destinations, Russians need to obtain a visa. For example, to travel to European countries and the USA.
It can be difficult to obtain a visa because of the geopolitical situation in the world. In any case, you also need to collect a large package of documents and visit visa centres in person. To apply for a visa in the USA, you need to pass an interview at the embassy. As a rule, the interview queue is scheduled for months in advance.
In the experience of Immigrant Invest, 95% of investors want a second citizenship or residence permit to travel the world without visas. The fastest and most reliable way to obtain a passport or residence permit in another country is to participate in a government investment programme.
Antigua and Barbuda gives you the opportunity to apply for a country passport within 3 to 6 months. The minimum investment amount is $ 100,000. The investor can make a non‑refundable contribution to the National Conversion Fund, buy real estate or invest money in business. There is also an option for families of 6 people or more to contribute to the University of the West Indies Fund.
Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda can travel without visas to 151 countries including the Schengen, UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. The holder of a country passport can also apply for a 10‑year tourist visa to the USA and Canada under a simplified procedure which is not available to Russian citizens.
Greece allows you to apply for a residence permit for an investment of € 250,000 or more. To participate in the programme, an investor needs to buy a property, rent a hotel or an apartment in a tourist complex, or buy a land plot for construction or agriculture. The registration period is about 3 months.
An investor with a residence permit in Greece can enter any Schengen country without a visa and stay up to 90 days in half a year. Residence status allows you to move to Greece – a country with a warm climate and rich history. Programme participants also have the right to apply for citizenship after 7 years. In this way the investor can become a full citizen of an EU country and travel to 184 countries without visas.