The top countries
A thin sliver of land on the western edge of the South American continent, Chile offers a wealth of landscapes to explore. This country stretches across the Andes mountain range, to the Atacama Desert, and boasts 4000km of Pacific Ocean coastline. Caro Bohets says on Facebook that the colourful houses of Valparaíso are a must-see.
Boasting a rich cultural heritage, a huge variety of annual festivals, wonderful world cuisines, and an astonishing natural beauty, Malaysia can cast spells over anyone. On Twitter, @hannahGlodge says it’s great for winter sun, and on Facebook Ahimsa Kerp describes it as “chilled out, with gorgeous sunsets and so many great day trips”.
This tiny country is getting a lot of love from Rough Guides readers this year: @bryonyAR says it’s “one of the most surprising and beautiful places on Earth” while others noted its wonderfully diverse terrain. Laura Kingsley on Facebook said: “I still can’t get over how beautiful that country is”.
Packing plenty of physical beauty into such a small mass of land, Wales boasts some great mountain ranges, lush valleys, a ragged coastline and ancient castles. On Facebook, you said the Brecon Beacons and Cambrian Mountains are undisturbed and easily accessible – and are great value compared to other rural areas.
Sandwiched between ever-popular India and troubled Afghanistan, Pakistan has some beautiful yet fairly untouched scenery. Be sure to check government travel advice before booking a trip.
One fifth of Hungary’s population live in Budapest and it’s obvious why: it is the political, cultural and commercial capital of the country, with hip cafes and bars, and the stunning historic Belváros (old town). As Neils Logister put it on Facebook, Budapest is “the beauty of Eastern Europe”.
Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, once said “Valparaíso es un montón, un racimo de casas locas” (Valparaíso is a heap, a bunch of crazy houses). It’s true, and spread over an amphitheatre of hills encircling a wide bay, Valparaíso is the most intriguing and distinctive city in Chile.
The best-value destinations
This small country offers big-time fun for the budget traveller. As our readers pointed out, the national parks are cheap to enter, the trekking is spectacular and those mountain-top views don’t come with a price tag.
Excellent hospitality, delicious food and warm-hearted people are the reasons why Soheil Sarmadi says he loves Iran on Facebook, and the low prices are just a happy coincidence. It’s possible to have an all-you-can-eat buffet here, with drinks, tea and live entertainment included, for less than £9 ($14).
5. Central Asia
This rather untouched corner of the world is becoming increasingly popular among the more intrepid traveller. Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan all got votes from our readers on Facebook, and with such good skiing in the winter and excellent trekking in the summer, it’s unsurprising.