Author: The Lonely Planet Team
Geographic Area: Worldwide
Original Language: English
I know I’ve been doing a lot of guidebooks lately, and not a whole lot of real travel writing. Unfortunately, it’s been a slow process getting settled into my new home state. However, once October gets going I should have more time to read and review a greater variety of books. Until then, I found this one at the library and thought I’d share!
I’ve always been interested in rankings. What’s the tallest building, the biggest desert, the hottest place, etc. I even like ranking things that are far too subjective to rank, like who’s the best actor, or what’s the best movie ever made. For me, the fun comes from coming up with a case for something that’s really just meant to be enjoyed.
That’s why the subtitle of Ultimate Adventure caught my eye: “Our List of the 500 Best Places to See…Ranked!”
Ranking the best places? But how? That’s like saying who’s the best guitarist, or the most technically skilled rapper. You might whittle the list down to several people who are all extremely good, but you’re never going to get a consensus on the #1 spot.
I was intrigued.
The globetrotters at Lonely Planet all took a poll to determine what their own personal favorite places were, and the result is this thick volume. You’ll see a lot of the most famous destinations that everyone knows about, like the Great Wall of China and Petra, as well as lesser-known places, like Tallinn Old Town and Socotra Island.
Keep in mind that this is, after all, a highly subjective list. The Grand Palace in Thailand looks like one of the most incredible structures I’ve ever seen, and it’s in 499th place. Meanwhile, some near the front of the book didn’t seem like they’d do much for me. So take it all with a grain of salt.
Now, I got bored one weekend and counted up all the entries. It turns out that the most represented country in this book (and also the most destination-dense country) is the United Kingdom. The tiny British Isles lay claim to 35 of the 500 destinations, followed by the United States at 27, and then France at 16. While the UK is a wonderful place and I look forward to going back there, I was very surprised that they appeared that frequently.
What was the top ranked destination? Check the book out and see for yourself! And let us know in the comments section if you agreed with their rankings or not. Whether you like Lonely Planet’s list or not, either way I hope it inspires you to seek out adventures both well-known and less-traveled.