The 20 best countries to visit in your lifetime

Condé Nast Traveler has published its annual Readers’ Choice Awards, and for the fifth year in a row Italy is the No. 1 destination travelers want to visit.

The awards are based on the ratings and feedback of more than 128,000 readers — the highest level of participation in the magazine’s history.

Other Readers’ Choice Awards include the world’s best cruise lines, hotels, spas, and airlines, all of which you can check out here.

Keep scrolling to see a ranking of the 20 best countries you should visit this year.

20. Morocco

The home of Casablanca is a treasure trove of spice markets, surrealist landscapes, jaw-dropping mosques, and world-class surfing. The cuisine is like none other, with a mix of Arab, African, Persian, and French flavors.

19. Canada

From wilderness camping on Vancouver Island to a stay at North America’s oldest Ritz-Carlton in Montreal, Canada offers travelers all types of experiences. A ride down the toboggan lanes in Quebec City is a must in the wintertime.

18. Japan

Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are a few of the hot spots to explore in Japan. Home to more than 2,000 breathtaking Buddhist temples and shrines, Kyoto was voted the No. 1 city in the world by Travel and Leisure magazine this year.

17. Ireland

From castle hotels to boisterous pubs and the greenest countrysides your eyes will ever behold, Ireland is a feast for the senses. CNT recommends renting a car and taking the world’s longest road trip on the Wild Atlantic Way.

16. Portugal

Small but mighty, Spain’s neighbor has a distinct culture, cuisine, and language. In the summer, head to the western village of Comporta, Portugal’s answer to Ibiza. And no trip to the country is complete without a glass of port wine from the Douro Valley.

15. Mexico

Look out Spain and Italy, Mexico’s culinary scene has entered the ring. The country logged three restaurants — Pujol, Quintonil, and Biko — on the 2015 World’s 50 Best Restaurants List. All three are in Mexico City.

14. Netherlands

Forget why 20-somethings flock here. Go to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other crannies of this gorgeous country for the incredible museums, unparalleled coffee, and stunning countrysides. We suggest splurging on a stay at the newly built Waldorf Astoria — a collection of six townhouses with a Guerlain Spa — on Amsterdam’s oldest and most storied canal.

13. Sri Lanka

If you’re lost, this is where you can find yourself. Fill a backpack and take the island’s “charmingly decrepit” railway to wherever. Buy fritters and curry dishes from train hawkers, look out onto seemingly endless tea fields, and hop off to see sites like the Golden Temple of Dambulla and the famous markets of Pettah.

12. Vietnam

Wandering chef Anthony Bourdain says going to Vietnam changed his life. “It just seemed like another planet; a delicious one that sort of sucked me in and never let go,” he told CNT. We’d be happy just to sip Vietnamese coffee and eat pho all day, but the adventurous can descend into the world’s largest cave, Hang Son Doong, in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

11. South Africa

Cape Town ranked No. 6 on CNT’s Readers’ Choice Awards for the world’s best cities. With the glorious Table Mountain and one of South African hotelier Sol Kerzner’s luxurious One&Only resorts, it’s certainly a draw, but the vineyards of Franschhoek and the safari lodges of Kruger National Park also beckon.

10. India

From the sandy beaches of Goa to the ancient Buddhist caves of Ajanta, the sites to see in the second-most populous country in the world are endless. Far from the crowds of Mumbai, northern Kashmir is often described as India’s Switzerland, where the pace is slower and the skiing is quite good.

9. Turkey

Go to Turkey to see the gorgeous mosques, majestic castles, and natural wonders such as Pamukkale (aka “Cotton Castle”), a plethora of white travertines filled with mineral-rich water. Also go for the newly built Soho House in Istanbul’s romantic Beyoğlu district.

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