The influential travel guide has urged people to plan a Scottish holiday in 2014 and enjoy the "jam-packed" series of events taking place throughout the year.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to come to Scotland next year as the country plays host to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Year of Homecoming, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and the annual Edinburgh Festivals.
The 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn will also be marked.
The new edition of the Lonely Planet's Best in Travel series also praises Scotland's cities as top attractions for visitors, saying Glasgow's multimillion-pound facelift has left the city looking better than ever while touting Edinburgh as "the most gothic city outside Transylvania."
Travellers have also been urged to explore the Scottish scenery away from the cities, with the book saying that tourists will fall in love with the landscape if they "take the high road" to Loch Lomond, Loch Ness and the Cairngorms National Park.
Lonely Planet contributor Tom Hall said: "Next year Scotland will be well-deservedly taking the spotlight on the world stage.
"The country's buzzing cities and stunning scenery have plenty to offer visitors. Combine this with an incredible calendar of events and Scotland looks set for a year-long celebration."
The list is compiled by the guide's authors, editors and online community. The selection and ranking is made by a panel of in-house experts who give each destination in the shortlist a score in line with criteria like topicality, excitement and "X factor".
Scotland is the only UK country to make the list, which includes Sweden, Belgium, Malawi and Macedonia, although Yorkshire is rated as one of 2014's top regions.
Brazil, which will host both the World Cup next year and the Olympics in 2016, is described as the best country for tourists to visit next year, followed by Antarctica.
Mike Cantlay, chairman of Scotland's national tourism organisation VisitScotland, said the packed calendar of events next year would be an excellent opportunity to showcase Scotland.
He said: "It's clear 2014 is Scotland's chance to shine on the world stage, and to have this commendation is a fantastic seal of approval.
"Next year is simply a wonderful opportunity for Scotland. From the bells bringing in our year-long Homecoming celebrations on Hogmanay, to the biggest ever sporting events to take place in Scotland - the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and the Ryder Cup - this could be the greatest ever chance for our country to be seen as a globally recognised, must-visit destination for many years to come."
Tourism Minister, Fergus Ewing said the praise was a testament to the work being done to market the country. He said: "2014 will be an exciting and historic year for tourism in Scotland. We will be centre stage as host to two of the biggest sporting events in the world. Next year will also see the second year of Homecoming.
"This will extend the benefits and opportunities offered by the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup by presenting a year-long, co-ordinated programme of events designed to welcome visitors around the world and celebrate the very best of Scotland's food and drink, our fantastic active and natural resources as well as our creativity, culture and ancestral heritage."