SOCIAL SCIENCES

Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel: Our List of the 500 Best Places on the Planet—Ranked

Lonely Planet. 2015. 328p. photos. index. ISBN 9781760342777. $24.99. TRAV
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Gorgeously illustrated and large-format travel books have a tendency to feed wanderlust desires in seasoned and inexperienced travelers alike. Lonely Planet kicks it up a notch by ranking 500 well-known, lesser-known, and relatively unknown sights and sites across the world. The book starts off with its top five landmarks: Temples of Angkor (Cambodia), Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Machu Picchu (Peru), Great Wall of China, and Taj Mahal (India), and rounds off with its final five: Mutrah Souq (Oman), Rock of Cashel (Ireland), Erdene Zuu Khiid (Mongolia), Grand Palace (Thailand), and Independence National Historic Park (Philadelphia). The remaining 490 will inspire, surprise, and delight as readers count how many of these places they have experienced personally. Each entry features a short paragraph and one or more beautifully composed color photographs. The text is insightful and offbeat. Occasional sidebars direct the reader to other entries. Listings may not be comprehensive enough for detail-oriented readers, and it is not clear how the places were chosen or ranked. However, it is abundantly obvious that the destinations are iconic and memorable.
VERDICT Travelers with a competitive edge will savor this work as they plan their next excursions.

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