Travel guide urges world to take a high road north to natural beauty

scotland's Highlands and Islands have been named one of the top regions in the world to visit next year by a leading travel guide.

PLANET'S FINEST: Hillwalkers set out towards the Three Sisters mountain range in Glencoe, Scotland. PIC: PA

The region’s natural beauty, wildlife and fine seafood helped earn its place in the top 10 of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019, a collection of the best travel destinations, trends, journeys and experiences to have in the year ahead.

The guide said that the whisky boom, which has seen a swathe of new distilleries open in the region, helped secure its place on the list.

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It said they offer “a great introduction to one of the wildest, least inhabited and most scenic parts of Europe” while the region’s “innovative and fast-developing” accommodation sector is also highlighted.

Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s editorial director, said: “The wild landscapes of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands offer the ultimate escape and visiting the region’s remote areas is now easier than ever thanks to impressive developments in accommodation. This is a stunning area with so much to offer travellers, from its glorious natural landscape and rich history to enviable local food and drink.”

The guide highlights the accommodation on offer from purpose-built campervan parking spots to designer cottages modelled on ancient buildings

The Highlands and islands feature fifth on the list of top regions for 2019, coming in ahead of Gujarat in India, Manitoba in Canada and Elqui Valley in Chile. Piedmont in Italy was in first place. Sri Lanka has been named the number one country to visit in 2019.