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Aussie red rock that rivals Uluru

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Canberra came in at number 3 on Lonely Planet's "Best in Travel" list for 2018 … and the rest of the country is very confused.

Plaza de Espana showcases regional Spanish architectureSource:Supplied

The Hungarian parliament, a music hall in the UK and a German castle that’s believed to have inspired Disney movies have been named some of the “alternative” must-visit landmarks around the world.

Also on the top-20 list were a Japanese temple built to honour a goddess and some stunning rock formations that could rival the world-famous Uluru.

The list of 20 “off the beaten track” attractions were named in a survey of 1000 globetrotters by Travelzoo.

The Hungarian parliament has been named one of the top 20 alternative landmarks

The Hungarian parliament has been named one of the top 20 alternative landmarksSource:istock

Among them is Germany’s Burg Eltz, a fairytale style medieval castle nestled in the hills and forest above the Moselle River.

The Rock Houses – homes carved straight into the rock amid a wildlife haven in Stourbridge, UK – is also a popular choice.

The Kiyomizu-dera Temple located in the hillside of Kyoto, Japan – built to honour Kannon, the goddess of mercy – made the top 20 too.

Germany’s Burg Eltz is thought to have inspired Disney movies

Germany’s Burg Eltz is thought to have inspired Disney moviesSource:istock

The Travelzoo study also found a fifth of the 1000 adults polled preferred to visit lesser-known areas because they can experience them without any preconceived ideas of their own.

“We’re all familiar with those must-visit places – the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and so on,” Travelzoo general manager James Clarke said.

“They are all truly amazing landmarks, but there are a growing number of travellers who want to see sights that aren’t quite so well known.

“Thankfully, we are blessed with fantastic landmarks across the globe which are also well worth a visit – and that’s exactly what we wanted to show through this research.”

Kiyomizu-dera Temple was built to honour the goddess of mercy.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple was built to honour the goddess of mercy.Source:istock

Wilton’s Music Hall in London, which is one of the few surviving musical halls, is also among the British locations to make the list.

Closer to home, the other desirable destinations include Australia’s Ningaloo Reef, a world heritage-listed site home to turtles, tropical fish, manta rays, humpback whales and whale sharks. Also making the list is Kata Tjuta – located about 45 minute drive from Uluru – is another ancient rock formation that tends to change colour.

Lake Louise has snuck into the list as a top place to visit.

Lake Louise has snuck into the list as a top place to visit.Source:istock

The Baths of Caracalla in Rome – considered some of the best-preserved ancient buildings from Roman times, and Canada’s CN Tower are other locations travellers are eager to see.

The study also found visiting a particular place could have a profound impact on visitors, as a fifth had been moved to tears by the beauty, wonderment or history of some corners of the globe.

And 20 per cent even said their entire outlook on life changed after visiting some places.

Another three in 10 have been left speechless and a quarter have completely re-evaluated how they feel about a country.

Eight in 10 believe visiting a country’s landmarks and other areas of significance gives you a better understanding of that place’s culture.

Kata Tjuta is another famous red rock formation

Kata Tjuta is another famous red rock formationSource:istock

Despite the rise of social media and the internet, the study also found word of mouth was still the biggest inspiration for where those polled chose to visit.

Four in 10 said they relied on recommendations from friends and family; however, a third will depend on Google and a quarter will use guidebooks.

Social media also has an influence, albeit not among quite so many travellers – Twitter (11 per cent), Facebook (18 per cent) and Instagram (16 per cent).

“Travelzoo exists to provide its members with the inspiration to travel to new and interesting places,” Mr Clarke added.

“Visiting the alternative destinations listed in this survey provides a way for travellers to explore unfamiliar cultures and off-the-beaten-track landmarks to really gain a deeper understanding of the world.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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