Sri-Lanka is Lonely Planet's must-see destination for 2019. Picture: Supplied

Sri Lanka claimed the top spot in its list of countries to visit in 2019, with Germany and Zimbabwe just behind, while Italy’s Piedmont, the Catskills in the USA, and northern Peru topped the list of must-see regions.

Egypt’s Southern Nile Valley, Lodz in Poland and the USA’s Great Smoky Mountains were named as the three best-value destinations for 2019.

Sri Lanka came top in the list of best countries to visit primarily because travel has become much easier there since the civil war ended in 2009.

“It’s changed so much, so quickly, and in a lot of ways that makes travel much easier,” said Matt Philips, destination editor at Lonely Planet.

“During the civil war there were large tracts in the north that was completely off limits, but now there are new road and rail links, and new internal flights.”

He also said travel products had evolved greatly in Sri Lanka, and now include diverse opportunities beyond mere beach holidays, from eco-tourism and yoga retreats to visiting national parks to see elephants and leopards.

The temple statues of Colombo, Sri-Lanka. Picture: Supplied
Lonely Planet’s best travel destinations for 2019 - top 10 Countries:

1) Sri Lanka

2) Germany

3) Zimbabwe

4) Panama

5) Kyrgyzstan

6) Jordan

7) Indonesia

8) Belarus

9) São Tomé and Príncipe

10) Belize

Lonely Planet's best travel destinations for 2019 - top 10 cities:

1) Copenhagen, Denmark

2) Shenzhen, China

3) Novi Sad, Serbia

4) Miami, Florida, USA

5) Kathmandu, Nepal

6) Mexico City, Mexico

7) Dakar, Senegal

8) Seattle, USA

9) Zadar, Croatia

10) Meknès, Morocco

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