Mountain region of Slovakia named best destination in Europe 2019: Lonely Planet

Strbske Pleso lake in High Tatras, Slovakia

A wild, rugged, mountainous region of Slovakia dotted with plunging waterfalls and lakes and hiking trails has been named the top European destination of 2019 by the travel experts at Lonely Planet. 

High Tatras, Slovakia takes the top spot on LP's annual list, for its "crooked peaks and plunging waterfalls" and wildlife watching, including the rare European sighting of a brown bear. 

The bucolic region is also home to the country's highest mountain peak, Gerlach, popular among mountain climbers and trail hikers, and Štrbské Pleso lake, which, for nearly half the year, is frozen solid and doubles as an outdoor skating rink. 

The selection is made up of destinations that editors say should be on travelers' radars this summer and represent the best of travel right now. 

Indeed, a scan of the top 10 destinations is void of perennial favorites like London, Paris and Rome, and instead features places like Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein and Vevey, Switzerland. 

"From cultural city breaks to awe-inspiring scenery, buzzing foodie destinations and the best spots to escape the crowds, there are a wealth of experiences to be enjoyed across the continent this summer," said LP's VP of Experience Tom Hall in a statement. 

"Whether they are firm holiday favorites that have something new to offer, or places you may never have come across, these destinations should be on any traveler's wish list."    

Here is LP's Best in Europe list 2019: 

1. High Tatras, Slovakia  
A mythical landscape of waterfalls, mountain peaks, glacial lake and forest beasts. 

2. Madrid, Spain 
Madrid is undergoing a revival and boasts "one of the continent's coolest nighttime streets," Calle de Ponzano, a strip of standing-only tapas spots and minimalist cocktail joints. 

3. The Arctic Coast Way, Iceland 
Thunderous waterfalls, colossal glaciers, steaming fumaroles and endless opportunities for snow sports, wildlife watching and wilderness adventures minus the crowds. 

4. Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina 
The region is home to medieval Počitelj, hiking trails to the traditional mountain village of Lukomir, and the CIRO cycling trail. 

5. Bari, Italy  
Revitalization efforts have polished up the old town, with family-run eateries opening in previously boarded-up shops, and a renaissance of cultural spaces breathing new life into locations like ornate Teatro Piccinni theater and once-condemned heritage hotels like the Oriente.  

6. Shetland, Scotland 
The UK's northernmost point features awesome coastal trails, sightings of otters and orcas from craggy headlands and top fish and chip shops. 

7. Lyon, France 
Set to shine on the international stage hosting the finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup in July, Lyon is a dynamic city for food and culture. 

8. Liechtenstein 
Created as part of the celebrations marking 300 years since Liechtenstein became a sovereign nation, the Liechtenstein Trail is a scenic 75km cross-country hiking path "twists over peak and pasture." 
 
9. Vevey, Switzerland 
Held just once every 20 years, the three-week wine festival, Fête des Vignerons, returns to Vevey in June. Visitors can line their stomachs at one of the Old Town's myriad quality eateries, offering everything from 20-course tasting menus to cheap-and-cheerful fondue, before working off their food with a swim in the lake.  
 
10. Istria, Croatia 
Expanding European flight connections make this heart-shaped peninsula easier to reach than ever. The region is home to ancient ruins, beaches, gourmet cycling tours, music festivals and truffle-hunting excursions in fall.