Truly, I’ve never imagined Australia’s Federal Capital, Canberra, as one of the world’s best cities for 2018, or any other year. And I can say that with a little authority as I worked there, briefly, and recently drove through, fairly fast.

Yet, Lonely Planet’s recently published Best in Travel 2018, has Canberra – a “smallish” inland city midway between Melbourne and Sydney – as Number 3 on the annual list of the best cities in the world to visit.

Lonely Planet’s Chris Zeiher, in Canberra when the Top 10 Cities list was announced, was quick to admit that “quite a few people expressed surprise” at that choice.

Chris says the city may be “under-the-radar”, but like other cities on the list it has re-invented itself recently to make itself more traveler friendly.

Spain’s southern city of Seville was number one city, which didn’t register surprise, though the American city of Detroit, at number two, was another surprise.

Completing the list were Germany’s Hamburg (4), the difficult to pronounce city of Kaohsiung in Taiwan (5), Antwerp, Belgium (6), Matera, Italy (7), the recent hurricane affected San Juan in Puerto Rico (8), Mexico’s Guanajuato (9), and Norway’s Oslo (10).

Frankly, Seville and Oslo are the only ones listed that this traveler agrees with.

But, maybe in the next twelve months Canberra will become the capital of cool.

I’m even planning a trip there for the Cartier Exhibition of diamonds, emeralds and other precious stones at the National Gallery of Australia next year. Much of the jewelry has been loaned by international Royals and celebrities, and includes the “halo” tiara belonging to Britain’s Queen which was worn by Kate Middleton for her wedding to Prince William.

For those wondering which countries rated in Lonely Planet’s 2018 list here they are, again some of the entries raising a question or two about eligibility.

From 1-10 the countries are: Chile, South Korea, Portugal, Djibouti, New Zealand, Malta, Georgia, Mauritius, China, and South Africa.

For more on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018