Travel Lemming Reader Awards
- 2019 -
World's Top Destinations
The best emerging destination on each continent according to over 8,000 readers.
After presenting the 44 best emerging travel destinations in the world as voted by our expert panel of top travel bloggers and influencers, we announced the judges' top 6 picks on each continent and then asked you to vote for yours .... and over 8,000 of you weighed in!
From Europe to Africa to North America, the competition for the top slot on each continent was fierce. We even had politicians and celebrities come out to launch campaigns in support of their favored destination!
Ok, enough with the introductions. Without further ado, here are the 6 winning destinations of our annual Travel Lemming Reader Awards. I'll bet you'll be surprised by at least a few of them!
#1 in Europe
From medieval towns where you can relive centuries of history to modern cities throbbing with the latest in culture and fashion, Serbia is perhaps one of the most underrated travel destinations on the planet. Witness impressive fortresses as you cruise down the Danube, explore the gorgeous mountains around Zlatibor, check out the street art in Belgrade, or get your party on in city's floating nightclubs. Whatever you do, get to Serbia fast before word gets out about this incredible hidden destination!
When to Visit: May to September
Top Attractions: Novi Sad, Belgrade
Runners Up: Hvar, Croatia, Slovenia
Serbia wins the Travel Lemming Reader Award as the #1 destination in Europe for 2019! pic.twitter.com/AgsCGAX51N
#1 in North America
Valladolid is simply magical. A charming colonial town set in the epicenter of Mexico's super-popular Yucatan peninsula, Valladolid has long lived in the shadow of much more popular Mexican destinations like Tulum and Cancun. But head to Valladolid and you'll soon realize that everyone is missing out. The town's colonial center is adorned with colorful Spanish walls and littered with fashionable shops, tasty street food vendors, and an incredible offering of boutique hotels. Visit ancient Mayan ruins by morning, take a dip in an underground cenote in the afternoon, and dance with the locals in the evenings. Just get ready for the possibility that you may never want to leave. Check out our full guide to Valladolid Mexico to plan your visit to this excellent hidden gem in Mexico (don't forget these tips for traveling to Mexico too).
When to Visit: November to March
Top Attractions: Chichen Itza, Centro Histórico, Suytun Cenote
Runner Up: Mar Chiquita, Puerto Rico
Valladolid Mexico is the winner of our Reader Award as the top destination in North America for 2019! pic.twitter.com/JX16VWq2NU
#1 in Australia & The Pacific
Hope you come hungry and thirsty, because the rich soils of an extinct volcano give Orange some of the best food and wine this side of Tuscany. It may only be a few hours away from Sydney, but that distance has been enough to keep it just off the edge of most tourists' maps. You should definitely put Orange and the surrounding region on yours though, and experience panning for gold at the site of Australia's first gold rush, wandering for a walk alongside wind farms and historic buildings, or water sports at Carcoar Dam. Soak in the relaxed pace of life here and you'll soon understand why Orange is our readers' top choice as the best place to visit in Australia for 2019!
When to Visit: March to April, October (for Orange Wine Festival)
Top Attractions: Mt Canobolas Conservation Area, Orange City Heritage Trail
Runner Up: Warrumbungle Dark Sky Park
#1 in Africa
A conservation comeback story, Malawi is arguably the continent's best kept secret when it comes to finding an incredible safari experience without the crowds. The Majete Wildlife Reserve is one of the handful of places on the continent where you can spot all of the so-called "Big Five" animals. And you should also check out the stunning Lake Malawi, where you'll find water so clear you can snorkel in it! With so many beautiful places blissfully free of the crowds, it's no wonder Malawi is our reader's top pick as the best place to travel in Africa in 2019.
When to Visit: May to October
Top Attractions: Majete Wildlife Reserve, Lake Malawi
Runner Up: St. Helena
#1 in South America
Lima has recently gained a reputation as the gastronomic capital of South America. And with so many tasty culinary options, from the white table cloth to the street food variety, it's a city that will turn even the most casual diner into a foodie. But this city is about so much more than its restaurant scene: you'll find surfers taking on breaks set against the soaring Miraflores cliffs, Spanish colonial streets just calling for you to meander down them, and a giant outdoor water show spectacle that needs to be seen to be believed. Best of all, Lima's temperate climate means just about every day is great for exploring this underrated city. Remember: Lima is so much more than just a stopover city!
When to Visit: November to May
Top Attractions: Miraflores Cliffs, Huaca Pucllana, Plaza de Armas
Runner Up: Cali, Colombia
#1 in Asia
The only destination to win our Judges Award and Reader Award for its respective continent, Sri Lanka is definitely one of the trendiest destinations in travel for 2019. In fact, Lonely Planet went so far as to call it the #1 place to travel in the world for 2019. And it's really not hard to understand why: imagine a tropical island filled with culture, history, wildlife, and incredible beaches. From leopard spotting to surfing to exploring thousand-year-old UNESCO World Heritage sites, there is something for every type of traveler in Sri Lanka. And with incredibly affordable prices, it's no wonder that tourism here has been skyrocketing lately. With so much buzz being generated, now is the time to get Sri Lanka on your list ASAP!
When to Visit: December to March (west coast), May to September (east coast)
Top Attractions: Sigiriya, Yala National Park
Runner Up: Bhutan
Nate Hake has traveled to 65+ countries across six continents around the world and blogs about his travels at TravelLemming.com. He is from Denver, Colorado, recently concluded a six month stint living in Mexico, and is now currently traveling in Thailand.