Local media seemed taken aback by the sudden honour. Newspaper Charente Libre described it as a "big surprise."
The region, which is headed by former Socialist presidential candidate Ségolène Royal, covers 26,000 square kilometres and has a population of around 1.7 million.
It is known for beautiful scenery as well as the towns of Poitiers and Angoulême and contains the fashionable coastal resorts of La Rochelle and the neighbouring Île de Ré.
It can also boast the town of Cognac, home of the famous tipple.
In its description, the Lonely Planet called the region "much more laid-back than the Med" and said it was "a place where you can slow the pace right down."
"Cycle over the lazy landscapes of the dreamy Île de Ré or raise a glass in the pretty town of Cognac," it advises. "Soak up the salty air of the white city, La Rochelle, after exploring its fascinating museums and breathtaking aquarium."
Here is the full list of the top 10 regions:
1. Coastal Wales
2. La Ruta Maya, Central America
3. Northern Kenya
4. Arunachal Pradesh, India
5. Hvar, Croatia
6. Sicily, Italy
7. Maritime Provinces, Canada
8. Queenstown & Southern Lakes, New Zealand
The guide also listed its top 10 cities to visit in 2012:
1. London, England
2. Muscat, Oman
3. Bangalore, India
4. Cadiz, Spain
5. Stockholm, Sweden
6. Guimaraes, Portugal
7. Santiago, Chile
8. Hong Kong, China
9. Orlando, USA
10. Darwin Australia