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 asked you to vote for yours …. and over 8,000 of you weighed in!
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!
Update: Check out our 2022 ranking of the best places to travel in the world.
#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 many things to do 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
#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 Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Cancun. But head to Valladolid and you’ll soon realize that everyone is missing out and that this town is much more than just a stopover for Chichen Itza tours. The town’s center is adorned with colorful Spanish walls and littered with fashionable shops, tasty street food vendors, and an incredible offering of boutiques just as stylish as Tulum’s 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.
When to Visit: November to March
Top Attractions: Chichen Itza, Centro Histórico, Suytun Cenote
Runner Up: Mar Chiquita, Puerto Rico
Related Reading: Travel Insurance for Mexico, Tips for Mexico Travel, Mexico Travel Gifts, How to Rent a Car in Mexico
#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
Related Reading: Tasmania Road Trip Itinerary
#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, cobblestone 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
That’s it for our 2019 Readers’ Award winners!
You can also go check out the six winners picked by our travel blogger judges as the best places to travel in the world for 2019.
And be sure to check out these helpful articles to help you plan your travels in 2019 and beyond:
- Best Travel Backpacks
- How to Find Cheap International Flights
- How to Start a Travel Blog
- Best Travel Umbrellas Reviewed
A remember to think beyond the tourist trail. Bali, Thailand, and Budapest are all wonderful, but there are so many other places to travel off the beaten path in 2019 and beyond!
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I don’t know how this rats nest of a country named Serbia is ranked top, i mean i live in Serbia, Belgrade and i would never come to visit it, it’s so dirty and poluted, the people are rude, the public transport sistem doesen’t work, the streets are filled with holes and so on….
I do not agree. It is polluted but almost every country has a pollution problem, even Paris is not as clean as people think. There are a lot of beautiful places in Serbia that everyone should see! People are different in every country, but it is not true that Serbian people are rude, you are generalizing it. Transport works, I am using it. The streets are not great, but this should be the least important thing. Everyone should go to Serbia to experience the culture, to taste the food which is amazing and to see something different. 🙂
Aleksandar, more and more people are fascinated by Belgrade every year. So maybe theres something wrong with you? Low self esteem?
Hi Aleksandar, I wonder if you had ever stepped out of Belgrade at all? You might try to book an excursion or two to get yourself out there and see more than just a New Belgrade block of flats.
Serbia has a lot to offer. I’ve been there several times with my husband and I was never disappointed with any of the sites, I have always found people very friendly. It is a raw country and tourism is something that the country is just embarking on, but the potential is definitely there.
You probably don’t have much experience travelling yourself and you lack sense of adventure.
Just because you live in Belgrade and think it’s bad doesn’t mean the rest of Serbia is bad (nor Belgrade for that matter). Even Belgrade has a lot to offer, perhaps you just haven’t been there to see for yourself? People can be rude but can be nice as well, it’s a matter of perspective and with whom you hang out. It’s as nice as you make it, just keep your head up. One thing to note here, it is much different to live here, and whole another experience to visit as a tourist.
Looks like you never seen Belgrade or Serbia before , maybe you are upset being croatian . Well , pity it will stay this way for a while . Scenery ,food I mean top of the notch staff is recognisable by number of tourist visiting over last decade , good recommendation is better then any tv campagne . Night life is already making it top weekend destination ,with delicacies on the Serb beauties on the streets too 🙂
You need to feel the soul of the people and place, if you do not have those abilities, then you do not should to go there anymore.
Exactly for all the reasons you mentioned 🙂
Look buddy, the old Serbian saying is that ”The beauty is in the eye of the observer”
Good, happy and loving heart see good in others, and the cold and corrupted one don’t.. you get the point by now..
It’s not that Belgrade and Serbia is bad it is your attitude..
We’ve been throu a lot in our history, at least good people are trying to do good.
That’s what’s still keeping this world safe and worth living your life no matter where you are.
I wish you luck and for you to start thinking positive ^_^
Sve ti jebem ,sisetino raspala.
Vučiću, ti li si?
Serbia is definitely a place to visit! There is so much history wherever you go, great architecture where you can see the variety of styles, friendly people and perfect night life!
Most important of all is that crazy vibe and pulse of this amazing place!
Stop putting a bad name to your home country. It’s really ugly and it makes you look really bad.
Everyone should go and visit Belgrade if they have an interest.
Everyone who goes is in love with the great vibe of Belgrade and surrounding areas.
So, go and enjoy. It’s nothing like the person described.
This must be a joke. If anyone came to Australia & the most recommended place to visit was Orange they would have travelled all the way across the globe for a miserable disappointment. Please do not believe this crazy list. Orange is a boring country town that certainly has some nice food & wine, but it is nowhere any tourist would ever want to visit. Even Australians who have been there wouldn’t recommend it for more than a drive through visit. By all means, come to Australia – we have everything – beaches, desserts, sand, surf, snow, cities, country towns, wineries, harbours, shopping, incredible food, views & anything you could possibly want – but please go to Melbourne & Sydney (especially the Harbour) – NOT Orange!
Belgrade and Novi Sad are beautiful cities, but besides that you have a lot of interesting places to visit in Serbia if you have enough time 🙂 This country is gorgeous! 🙂
Indeed they look some exotic destinations to be at. I have visited some of those and can’t agree more with the choices.
Would like to visit peru
great places to visit
Serbia and Belgrade won, not Hvar and Croatia…I understand your frustration. Stop hating yourself, life is good!
Belgrade is amazing. Visited Serbia last summer and had the time of my life. Restaurants, cafes, friendly people… overall an incredible destination for a long weekend
There is more to visit in Serbia than Novi Sad and Belgrade. I would highly recommend the South Serbia!
Belgrade is the city on two beautiful rivers also two of the biggest rivers in Europe. But besides being at extremely nice position Belgrade also has a beautiful soul and that is why Belgrade has been favorite tourist destination for travelers from all around the world for many years.
Highly agree w Valladolid Mex.
Traveled Cancun to Tulum many times years ago, found Valladolid the most charming, interesting. Throwback to gentler times, happy faces, great hotels, cool park in center of town, and swam to see the “elephant” hanging down in the cenote.