New Zealand has once again been named the greatest country in the Telegraph Travel Awards with Italy being voted the top European country

Once again Telegraph readers have voted New Zealand their favourite country to visit in the Telegraph Travel Awards announced this week.

New Zealand has topped the rankings for seven years in a row and it is no surprise, as the country has long been a favourite of both British travellers and migrants.

The list of ‘greatest’ countries does seem to reflect the tastes of Telegraph readers with many unusual and exotic destinations on the list. Japan has risen to second place and the tropical paradise of the Maldives remains in third.

Usual favourite British holiday destinations such as Spain and France have been shunned in favour of more exotic long haul destinations with Bhutan being a new entry in fourth and other countries such as Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, Peru, Myanmar and Vietnam all making the top 20.

In addition to New Zealand, Canada and Australia, both popular with British migrants, have made the top 10.

The only European countries to have made it to the top 20 are Italy in 10th and Greece in 18th.

African countries feature quite highly with South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda showing that safaris still have a strong pull for Telegraph travellers.

Donald Trump will be disappointed however, as the USA does not make the top 20!

 Top 20 Greatest Countries to Visit According to Telegraph Travel Readers in 2019

(In brackets are the change in rankings from last year)

1: New Zealand (=)

Million Dollar View, New Zealand

New Zealand has long been a favourite of PSS customers too and what’s not to like? Absolutely stunning countryside, unique wildlife, nice beaches, lots of space, fresh air, home of the Maori people and haka with a very progressive society. You can see more of what makes New Zealand such a great country here.

2: Japan (+2)

Japan Mount Fuji

Japan’s profile has been on the rise due to a highly successfully Rugby World Cup in 2019 and hosting the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Interest has therefore never been higher. A mix of ancient far Eastern culture combined with ultra-modern cities, there is plenty to tempt the keen traveller.

3: Maldives (=)

The Maldives remain the ultimate dream tropical island destination. If you want to escape and relax somewhere away from it all you can’t beat the pristine beaches and perfect weather. And in the Maldives they certainly know how to do it in style.

4: Bhutan (new)

Bhutan monastery

Perhaps a surprisingly high new entry on the list, this little Buddhist Kingdom on the edge of the Himalayas has a lot to offer those looking for something a bit different. Explore monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and revel in dramatic tropical forests and magnificent mountain ranges. You might even discover the secret of happiness.

5: South Africa (-3)

South Africa Cape Town

South Africa has always had a lot to offer from safaris to penguins, savannahs to golden beaches, one of the world’s most beautiful cities in Cape Town and the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela. The rainbow nation has to be near the top of every travellers’ bucket list.

6: Botswana (-1)

Botswana safari

With the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta, Botswana has become one of the favourite safari destinations in Africa. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve, with its fossilised river valleys and undulating grasslands, is the perfect place to see the best of Africa’s wildlife including giraffes, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs.

7: Canada (-4)

Canadian mountains

Another favourite of British migrants, it’s easy to see why so many want to make it a permanent home. Beautiful nature, plenty of space with dynamic modern cities there is so much to experience beyond Toronto, Vancouver and of course the Niagara Falls. To find out more see our article on great reasons to move to Canada.

8: Australia (=)

Australia coast

Australia is the most popular destination of PSS customers. Whilst everyone is attracted by the iconic architecture of Sydney’s Harbour and Opera House, more and more people are exploring further afield to visit the Gold Coast, the wonders of Tasmania and the wilder reaches of the Northern Territories. Now with non-stop flights being introduced to both Perth and Sydney, Australia is even more within reach. See why so many Brits are choosing to live in Australia.

9: Namibia (=)

Namibia desert

This southern African country bordering on the Atlantic is perhaps a surprising new entry into the top 10. For the adventurous in search of the real Africa, Namibia is a great choice. Praised for its emphasis on ecotourism, there are numerous national parks where you can escape to a lodge and enjoy over 200 species of mammals.

10: Italy (+3)

Italy Venice

The top European country on the list, Italy has long been a favourite of Brits since the days of the Grand Tour. With beautiful countryside, historical cities, quiet beaches and an amazing cuisine, Italy is not to be missed. Where else so close to the UK can you find active volcanoes, Roman coliseums, the canals of Venice, finished off with fine wine and pizza?

11: Costa Rica (+3)

Costa Rica jungle

The South American country of Costa Rica is rising in popularity and for those in the know it’s no surprise. If you’re looking for adventure such as rope bridges across jungles, or just want to escape to tropical beaches, you’ll find it here. Cost Rica has also become a popular alternative destination for health retreats, cruises and weddings.

12: Tanzania (-5)

Tanzania Serengeti National Park

Tanzania is another popular safari destination offering visitors the iconic duo of the Serengeti National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro. But for those looking beyond the ‘big five’, Tanzania is also home to the archipelago of Zanzibar with its historical Swahili and Islamic influences.

13: Sri Lanka (-1)

Sri Lanka elephants

A popular winter getaway, it’s easy to see why Sri Lanka is known as the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’. With colonial charm, palm trees, beaches, tea plantations, elephants and Buddhist temples, you can experience exotic luxury at a very affordable price.

14: Peru (+1)

Peru Andes

What better destination to visit in South America? Peru has everything to offer – the Andes, Amazon rain forest, panpipes, lamas and of course the unmissable Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.

15: India (+2)

India Taj Mahal

India will always be a destination that everyone will want to visit at least once in a lifetime and then be drawn back to again and again. Whether it’s iconic architecture such as the Taj Mahal, the long white beaches of Goa, tigers, forests and mountains or the heady bustle of Indian cities, there is so much to see and experience.

16: Myanmar (-10)

Myanmar-Burma

Although dropping out of the top 10 due to recent troubles, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, remains a popular destination for travellers. After decades of isolation, adventurous travellers are drawn to experience the orient of old. Visit forgotten temples and pagodas, explore the watery world of Inle Lake and admire the views from Mandalay Hill.

17: Uganda (new)

Uganda gorillas

Despite some troubles, around 15,000 British nationals visit Uganda each year and it does have a lot to offer. Gorilla watching in the misty mountains, rafting near the source of the Nile, the Kisiizi Falls and Kitagata Hot Springs – to name just a few of the unforgettable experiences.

18: Greece (+3)

Greece Athens

Only the second European country to make it into the top 20, Greece offers the perfect balance of ancient history and sun drenched islands. Less than a four hour flight from London,  it offers the perfect escape for both holidaymakers and those seeking a relaxing retirement villa.

19: Seychelles (+5)

Seychelles beach

An idyllic archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles have long been a popular paradise to escape to. Perfect for diving on coral reefs, romantic getaways or sharing a beach with the giant Aldabra tortoises.

20: Vietnam (=)

Vietnam street

With its friendly people, exotic culture and abundance of cheap food, Vietnam has become one of the go to travel experiences in South East Asia. Soak up the atmosphere of the cities, meet the mountain hill tribes, explore the rice paddies of the Mekong and return home with the iconic conical hat!