Readers' choice

1. Myanmar

It was no surprise to find so many of our readers championing Myanmar – and we’re pleased to announce that you voted this incredible nation as the top country to visit in 2017. Since Aung San Suu Kyi’s requested tourism boycott of Myanmar was lifted in 2010, travel here has really taken off, with more and more visitors discovering the country’s stunning Buddhist temples, gorgeous empty beaches and traditional way of life.

While Myanmar today is in a state of flux – taking its first steps towards democracy and development after decades of rule by an oppressive regime – the immense kindness of the Burmese people remains a reliable constant.

The Rough Guide to Myanmar (Burma)
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2. Nepal

The Rough Guide to Nepal
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Whether trekking in the Himalayas, meditating at a far-flung monastery, spotting rhinos in the steaming jungles of Chitwan or gorging on street food in frenetic KathmanduNepal is an intoxicating, beguiling and endearing destination.

Tourism is the lifeblood of Nepal’s economy, and though the country is working hard to rebuild itself after 2015’s devastating earthquakes, it is still struggling to recover. Nepal needs all the tourism it can get, and we’re glad to see so much support with the country ranked as the second-best place to visit in 2017.

3. Iceland

Visitor numbers to Iceland are soaring, and our readers have nothing but praise for this otherworldly volcanic isle teetering on the glacial brink of the Arctic Circle.

Your votes made it resoundingly clear: Iceland is a country everyone should visit. In 2017 an expanding network of cheap flights to Reykjavík, the nation’s lively and artistic capital, will make reaching the country’s transcendental landscapes, bubbling hot springs and dancing northern lights even easier than before.

The Rough Guide to Iceland
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4. Italy

The Rough Guide to Italy
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There are myriad reasons visitors keep returning to Italy each year – the wildly diverse landscapes, the ancient cities and the mind-blowing list of regional specialities are just some of them – and you’ve voted the country one of the best places to travel in 2017.

Even amid the bustle of high season, it’s never hard to find a piazza, or entire neighbourhood, untouched by tourism. Head to log cabins in the Alps or the almost tropical shores of the Italian south, meanwhile, and you might feel like you have Italy all to yourself.

5. Mexico

This year, we’ve chosen Mexico as one of the best destinations for budget travellers, with up-and-coming Guadalajara among the must-visit cities in the world. Your votes proved that we’re not alone in our love for this beautiful, overwhelmingly friendly nation.

While there’s so much to explore here – biodiverse jungles, Maya ruins and offbeat colonial towns to name a few – Baja California was especially popular in our poll. For surfers in particular, Baja’s tantalizing desert coastline is prime road-trip material.

The Rough Guide to Mexico
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6. Sri Lanka

The Rough Guide to Sri Lanka
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With many enchanting landscapes and attractions to rival its subcontinental neighbour, and a culture and character all of its own, the palm-fringed island of Sri Lanka has never ceased to inspire.

Low-key beach hangouts, leopard-tracking in lowland jungles and mountainous tea plantations are just a few of the reasons why this country is truly unforgettable.

If you’re considering Sri Lanka for your next trip, you’re not alone. It’s got our readers’ vote for 2017.

7. Colombia

Beaches on both the Caribbean and the Pacific coasts, almost impenetrable Amazon rainforest, the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada and pretty colonial cities packed with great budget accommodation have secured Colombia a place on many an adventurer’s bucket list.

Though once considered unsafe for travel, huge improvements in safety and a recent spike in tourism confirm that Colombia’s old reputation no longer holds water. This country is an incredible place to travel; just get here now before the rest of the world catches on.

The Rough Guide to Colombia
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8. Indonesia

The Rough Guide to Bali & Lombok
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Southeast Asia has long captivated our readers, and this year you’ve voted Indonesia as the top spot in the entire region. With more than 17,000 islands, each with distinct histories, languages and cultures, there are lifetimes’ worth of adventure here.

Temples in Bali and Java, smouldering volcano treks, ultra-affordable accommodation, the jungles of Borneo, glorious beaches and some of the planet’s best surfing and diving have always been prime reasons to go. But the best way to experience the archipelago is this: packing a small bag, renting a motorcycle and embarking on your very own Indonesian odyssey – island-hopping to your heart’s content with nothing but tropical paradise before you.

9. Ireland

Ireland might be a short flight away from mainland Europe’s well-trodden backpacking trail, but you agree it’s always worth the trip.

Plenty of cheap flights to Irish cities from all over the continent make it easy to get here, with epic events like the Galway Oyster Festival – let alone St Patrick’s Day – providing regular incentive. A proper night spent soaking up the live folk music of a jovial Irish pub should be high priority for everyone, yet Ireland’s rugged landscapes – steeped in myth and sublime in their beauty – are what capture most people’s hearts.

The Rough Guide to Ireland
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10. The United Kingdom

Whether you’re planning a big-city weekend in London, embracing the Scottish Highlands’ most majestic scenery, or tracing literary heroes across the Peak District (2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death), you won’t be short of adventure in the UK in 2017.

With small cities across the UK abuzz with creative energy, and a host of literary and music festivals to draw you into the countryside, there’s never been a better time to come.

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