Manitoba

World's best travel destinations include Italy, Peru and … Manitoba

Northern lights, beautiful lakes and world-class restaurants are among the attractions that prompted Lonely Planet to name Manitoba among the top places to see in 2019.

Province is only Canadian location to make the 2019 Lonely Planet list

Not only does Manitoba have the highest concentration of polar bears in the world, it's one of the best places to watch the Northern Lights, says Ben Buckner, Canadian destination editor for Lonely Planet. (Travel Manitoba)

Northern lights, beautiful lakes and world-class restaurants are among the attractions that prompted Lonely Planet to name Manitoba among the top places to see in 2019.

The province ranked eighth in the internationally recognized travel company's annual list ​of the top 10 regions in the world to visit. The company annually creates top 10 lists of countries, cities, regions and best-value destinations.

The Number 1 region is the Piedmont area of Italy, followed by New York's Catskills in second and Northern Peru in third.

Visitors to Churchill can see polar bears and beluga whales. (Travel Manitoba)

"The list is highly anticipated every year. To be named not only one of the top 10 destinations for 2019, but also the only Canadian destination in the entire best-of-the-best list for next year is really a big deal," said Linda Whitfield of Tourism Manitoba.

They were told about the distinction a few months ago but were sworn to secrecy until the official unveiling of the list this week.

"We're thrilled," said Colin Ferguson, president and CEO of Travel Manitoba.

"Certainly Manitobans know about the hidden gems found in our province, but now the rest of the world can discover them too, thanks to this influential designation."

Manitoba's many lakes and rivers offer escapes for nature lovers. (Travel Manitoba)

The following is an excerpt from Lonely Planet's Best in Travel: 

"Manitoba is, quite literally, at the centre of everything. It's the geographical middle of Canada and a crucial point of encounter; the ancient Aboriginal people would trade their wares at what is now Winnipeg's downtown core. The capital city has retained its multicultural flavour, with over a quarter of its population having recently immigrated from nations as varied as the Philippines, Nigeria and India.

"Further north, near the township of Churchill, the province acts as an important crossroads for the country's megafauna — wandering bears and exploring whales. Increased air transfers and enhanced safari packages will now get travellers closer to nature than ever before."

The guidebook company says the list starts out with nominations from Lonely Planet's community of editors, researchers, locals and influencers. It is then narrowed and ranked by a panel of judges.

"The outcome is an eclectic list of destinations with unique, compelling and topical reasons to visit in the year ahead," Lonely Planet stated in a news release.

In addition to the province's natural attractions, there are many festivals, such as the popular Fringe Festival every summer in Winnipeg. (Travel Manitoba)
If you can't get up to Churchill to see the polar bears, you can get up close at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Zoo. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

"Manitoba is arguably Canada's most underrated province," said Ben Buckner, Canadian destination editor for Lonely Planet. "Not only does it have the highest concentration of polar bears in the world, it's one of the best places to watch the Northern Lights."

This is the 14th edition of the annual Best in Travel book and Lonely Planet's website features tips and videos on visiting each destination. 

The list of top 10 regions, in order:

  • Piedmont, Italy.
  • The Catskills, USA.
  • Northern Peru.
  • The Red Centre, Australia.
  • Scotland's Highlands and islands.
  • Russian Far East.
  • Gujarat, India.
  • Manitoba, Canada.
  • Normandy, France.
  • Elqui Valley, Chile.

More from CBC Manitoba:

About the Author

Darren Bernhardt

Reporter/Editor

Darren Bernhardt spent the first dozen years of his journalism career in newspapers, first at the Regina Leader-Post then the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. He has been with CBC Manitoba since 2009 and specializes in offbeat and local history stories and features. Story idea? Email: darren.bernhardt@cbc.ca

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.