Planning a trip abroad next year or just looking for travel inspiration?

Have you ever thought about a trip to Stone Town in Zanzibar? Or even Moscow's Red Square?

If you haven't, you might be missing out on some of the "Best Places on Earth" according to this new guide.

From Beijing's Forbidden City to the Scottish Highland way, Rough Guides has compiled a list of destinations promisingly called "The Rough Guide to the 100 Best Places on Earth".

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The guide is designed to highlight the destinations its editors think are "unmissable, underrated, up-and-coming or back on the tourist map."

Just leafing through the pages, there are a few places you might not have considered, or even encountered.

"Taking in exhilarating mountain scenery, dazzling cityscapes, pristine tropical islands, atmospheric ruins and sweeping savannahs," this book claims to have scoured "every corner of the globe in the search for 2020's most spectacular spots."

While the entries are full of far-flung places, no "must-see" guide would be complete without a few stops in Aotearoa.

According to the Rough Guide 2020 is the year to head up Fox Glacier and drop in on Queenstown.

An adventure not to miss: Queenstown is one of New Zealand's additions to the list. Photo / Getty Images
An adventure not to miss: Queenstown is one of New Zealand's additions to the list. Photo / Getty Images

A little closer to home, the guide describes Queenstown as"superbly set by the deep-blue Lake Wakatipu and hemmed in by craggy mountains."

While it doesn't let the town's reputation as the world's "adventure capital" go without mention, it says it's the perfect setting for a little R&R between bungy jumps or jet-boat rides: "Locals and visitors alike gather in cosy restaurants, spilling out onto the pedestrianised streets to trade stories of fun-filled days over a cold beer or a hot chocolate."

So far, so familiar.

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However, among the perennial tourism favourites, the Rough Guide unearths some gems you might not have thought of.

Here are a pick of our favourites from the 100 Best Places on Earth:

Far from the lavender fields: Gorges du Verdon, south France. Photo / Getty Images
Far from the lavender fields: Gorges du Verdon, south France. Photo / Getty Images

In the South of France Les Gorges du Verdon are dramatic canyons and a welcome adrenaline-fueled break from the bijou Provence farmsteads. The guide recommends the "spectacular viewpoints, plunging crevices up to 700m deep and glorious azure-blue lakes"

Italian underworld: The caves and sloping streets of Matera, Italy. Photo /Getty Images
Italian underworld: The caves and sloping streets of Matera, Italy. Photo /Getty Images

In Matera, Italy, the guide suggests you "Zigzag through the sloping streets, pausing at Santa Lucia alle Malve and the Crypt of the Original Sin to take in extraordinary eighth and 13th-century frescoes."

Forbidden no more: The Chinese imperial palace in Beijing. Photo /Getty Images
Forbidden no more: The Chinese imperial palace in Beijing. Photo /Getty Images

Forbidden no more: Beijing's Imperial Palace is now a bustling tourist attraction, that should be next on your list. Beyond the impressive walls, it suggests you explore the side rooms and buildings displaying "intimate accoutrements, that bring home the realities of court life for its inhabitants"

On the Road: The Pacific Route 101 in the tyre tred of Kerouac. Photo / Getty Images
On the Road: The Pacific Route 101 in the tyre tred of Kerouac. Photo / Getty Images

On the road: in the tyre tread of Kerouac drive along the Big Sur, tracing highways 1 and 101: "Hugging the cliffs, the road winds high above the rugged shore, giving dramatic views of white-capped surf pounding against the rocks below and sun-sprinkled waves stretching out across the horizon"

Julian Alps: The edge of Lake Bled in the Slovinian Alps. Photo / Getty Images
Julian Alps: The edge of Lake Bled in the Slovinian Alps. Photo / Getty Images

Far from Chamonix, discover the Slovenian Alps: "Formed during the Ice Age, the 7km-long U-shaped glaciated valley features a level, green valley floor covered with flower-speckled meadows and beech woods, enclosed by step-like cliff sides riddled with glacial boulders, waterfalls, springs, streams and a majestic wreath of jagged grey peaks, most of which top 2,000m."

Cradle of life: The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Photo / Getty Images
Cradle of life: The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Photo / Getty Images

Great Rift: Tanzania's world heritage site near the cradle of life is contained within an extinct volcano: "Ngorongoro's highlight is an enormous volcanic crater, formed by the same immense geological upheavals as the Great Rift Valley. Once a mountain as high as Kilimanjaro, about three million years ago Ngorongoro blew itself to bits, covering the Serengeti in ash while the crater floor sank into the mountain. Today, the rim stands at an impressive 2,285m."

Cosmonauts: Palace of Happiness in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Photo / Getty Images
Cosmonauts: Palace of Happiness in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Photo / Getty Images

In the capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, near the plains that oversaw the Russian space programme you'll find "a shining beacon on the desert's edge." The space-age structures and white marble buildings belong on another planet.

Fairy Chimneys: Goreme in Cappadocia, Turkey. Photo / Getty Images
Fairy Chimneys: Goreme in Cappadocia, Turkey. Photo / Getty Images

In Turkey Cappadocia is home to hundreds of Fairy Chimneys: "hills dotted with fantastical forms and honeycombed with cavern towns that give way to boulder-strewn plains". The ancient cave dwellings are thousands of years old.

Midnight sun: Norway's Lofoten Islands. Photo / Getty Images
Midnight sun: Norway's Lofoten Islands. Photo / Getty Images

Do the summer days pass to quickly? Head to Norway's Lofoten Islands and home to the midnight sun. "The fjords are beautiful, timeless and everyone's idea of the soul of Norway," says the guide.

Yes we Khan: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photo / Getty Images
Yes we Khan: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photo / Getty Images

Yes we Khan: The horseback warrior king is ever present in modern Mongolia. In the capital of Ulaanbaatar, Genghis Khan appears on bank notes, cigarette packets and even a giant, 50m tall statue which the guide calls a "modern, man-made structure of titanic proportions."

The Rough Guide to the 100 Best Places on Earth for 2020 is published on September 1.


The Rough Guide to the 100 Best Places on Earth


OCEANIA

Fiji

Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

New Caledonia

Queenstown, New Zealand

Tuamotu and Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Uluru, Australia


ASIA

Andaman Islands, India

Bagan, Myanmar

Bangkok, Thailand

Bhutan

Forbidden City, Beijing

Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue, Mongolia

Great Wall of China

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Himalayas

Jaisalmer, India

Khiva, Uzbekistan

Kyoto, Japan

Lahaul and Spiti, India

Maldives

Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

Sri Lanka

Taj Mahal, India

Temples of Angkor, Cambodia

Tbilisi, Georgia

Tokyo, Japan

Turkmenistan

AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Beirut, Lebanon

Cape Town, South Africa

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Ethiopia

Jerusalem

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Madagascar

Marrakesh, Morocco

Mount Sinai, Egypt

Namibia

Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Petra, Jordan

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Sahara Desert

Stone Town, Zanzibar

Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe

EUROPE

Acropolis, Athens

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Berlin Wall, Germany

Cappadocia, Turkey

Dubrovnik Old Town, Croatia

Galway, Ireland

Gorges du Verdon, France

Haghia Sophia, Istanbul

Iceland

Kamniške–Savinja Alps, Slovenia

Lapland, Finland

Lisbon, Portugal

London, UK

Matera, Italy

Norwegian Fjords

Paris, France

Penwith, Cornwall

Prague, Czech Republic

Red Square, Moscow

Rome, Italy

Sagrada Família, Barcelona

Saxon Switzerland

Scottish Highlands and Islands

St Petersburg, Russia

Stockholm, Sweden

Utrecht, Netherlands

Venice, Italy

Versailles, France

USA, MEXICO & CANADA

Chichén Itzá, Mexico

Denver and Colorado, USA

Grand Canyon, USA

Massachusetts, USA

Memphis and the Deep South, USA

Mexico City

Monument Valley, Arizona

New York City, USA

Niagara Falls, Canada

Pacific Coast Highway, California

Vancouver Island, Canada

Vermont, USA

Wynwood Walls, Miami

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

CENTRAL AMERICA, SOUTH AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN

Amazon Rainforest

Bolivia

British Virgin Islands

Cuba

Easter Island

Galápagos Islands

Machu Picchu, Peru

Nazca Lines, Peru

Nicaragua

Patagonia, Argentina/Chile

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Tikal, Guatemala

Uvita, Costa Rica