25 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the World

Written by Lana Law Updated Feb 15, 2022

Travelers are always looking for inspiration to guide their adventures. Coming up with a list of places to visit can be challenging when you're staring at a globe. What are the top tourist attractions in the world? The most iconic sites that all travelers have on their bucket-list of things to see around the globe?

Some destinations just stand out above the rest. Many are the type of places where you can take a photo, and it requires no explanation to identify the location: the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum. But some places are less well known to new travelers or those who have not yet ventured out to the more exotic destinations. These can often be the most rewarding to visit.

For many of these attractions, it's what they symbolize and the destinations they represent that make them so significant. In other cases, it is the site itself that makes it worth visiting the country. Some of these are the more popular UNESCO World Heritage sites .

If you're looking to start your own checklist of places to visit during your life, begin with our list of the top tourist attractions in the world.

1. Eiffel Tower, Paris

2. the colosseum, rome, 3. statue of liberty, new york city, 4. machu picchu, peru, 5. the acropolis, athens, 6. the taj mahal, india, 7. pyramids of giza, egypt, 8. great wall of china, 9. angkor wat, cambodia, 10. petra, jordan, 11. grand canyon, usa, 12. stonehenge, england, 13. borobudur, indonesia, 14. niagara falls, canada & usa, 15. bagan, myanmar, 16. sydney opera house, 17. mount kilimanjaro, 18. the louvre, paris, 19. forbidden city, china, 20. prague castle, czech republic, 21. chichen itza, mexico, 22. corcovado and cristo redentor, rio de janeiro, 23. château de versailles, france, 24. mount fuji, 25. central park, new york city.

Spring flowers in front of the Eiffel Tower

The symbol of Paris and one of the most photographed structures in the world, a visit to the Eiffel Tower is a must for all travelers. Few landmarks inspire such a passion for travel as this single iron structure.

Young travelers heading out on the road for the first time, couples looking for a special getaway, artists looking to spur their creativity, and romantics of all types are all drawn to Paris. This is a city where history and culture collide and where travelers of all kinds can find the experience they're after.

The Colosseum

The most famous and largest structure still standing from the Roman Empire, the Colosseum is also the biggest attraction of modern-day Rome . It's been a bucket-list destination of travelers for generations. And it does not disappoint.

Set in the heart of the city, the Colosseum is an easy place to visit. Direct flights from around the world land in Rome daily, making it a destination you can visit in a weekend if you choose. Wander through Rome's ancient streets, tour the colosseum, and if time allows, plan a trip to other areas of Italy .

Statue of Liberty

America is full of great sights and places to visit , but it's the Statue of Liberty that represents the United States like no other place. This symbol of freedom in New York City was gifted by the French to the American people in 1896.

Of all the attractions in New York City , this is one every tourist must see. The best thing to do at the Statue of Liberty is to take a ride up to her crown and soak up the view over the city. Access to the statue is via ferry, also a highlight of a visit.

Machu Picchu

If you are planning to see only one attraction in South America, this is the place to come. The ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu is arguably the most impressive ruined city in the world.

Much of the attraction comes from its location, high in the jungle-clad mountains of Peru. Set on a high plateau with soaring green mountains, the setting is surreal. The sheer tenacity of the original builders to create this amazing place in what would have been impenetrable jungle, is, in itself, impressive.

Visitor numbers are now limited to a maximum per day, so the experience has been greatly enhanced.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Peru

The Acropolis in Athens

Perched above present day Athens , the Acropolis draws you up and in. Follow in the footsteps of ancients as you walk up the same steps that have been walked on since 438 BC - 2,500 years.

Views out over the city are incredible as you walk between the meticulously restored ancient buildings. Near the end of the day, you'll want to linger and watch the sunset from the stairs near the entrance. This is a nightly ritual in Athens.

The site is also impressive looking up at it from the city below. Spend an evening dining on a rooftop patio to soak in the view of the hilltop ruins lit up at night.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is the one sight in India that all travelers need to see. The country is filled with incredible cities and fabulous places to visit, but the 17th-century Taj Mahal is the one place that says you've been to India.

This mausoleum, commissioned by the Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, is known internationally as a symbol of love. This fantastic structure, made with inlaid precious and semi-precious stones, has to be visited to be fully appreciated.

Its riverfront setting, surrounding gardens, and reflecting pools are also what make the Taj Mahal so special.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in India

Pyramids of Giza

If you've visited places like the Colosseum in Rome or the Acropolis in Athens, built over 2,000 years ago, you may think you have a good handle on ancient sites. But the Pyramids of Giza take ancient to a whole other level. These were built over 4,500 years ago. Tourists were coming to see these magnificent structures literally thousands of years ago.

Located just outside Cairo , the pyramids, which is also where you'll find the Sphinx, are easy to get to, and tours are easy to arrange. A sunset camel ride around the structures is a wonderful experience.

Great Wall of China

In a land of modern cities and towering skyscrapers, the Great Wall of China, built between the 14th and 17th centuries, is a stark contrast but a striking image that all visitors to China should see.

A stroll along the top of the wall provides an incredible view of the structure snaking off into the distance. The wall stretches an astounding 21,196 kilometers, through some remote areas.

Many travelers seeing the sights of China choose to visit the wall on easily organized tours from Beijing, a relatively short motorcoach ride away.

Stone faces at Angkor Wat

Surrounded by jungle and, in some cases, overgrown with huge trees and roots, the ancient structures of the Angkor complex may look like a movie set to some visitors.

Wandering through Angkor Wat, the main centerpiece of the complex, it's easy to feel like you've entered another era. This is without a doubt, one of the most impressive sites in Southeast Asia and the main reason many people visit Cambodia .

The stone faces peering out over the buildings and gates are images that you won't soon forget.


You may have an Indiana Jones feeling as you walk through a 1.2-kilometer-long narrow crack in the sandstone hills and emerge into a hidden city. First built over 2,000 years ago and lost to the outside world for 600 years, the city was only discovered in 1812.

Stunning buildings are carved directly into the red rock walls and are wonderfully preserved, just begging to be explored and photographed.

If you arrive early, an eerie silence, coupled with long shadows, give this abandoned city a special feel.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Jordan

Grand Canyon

The greatest natural attraction in the United States, the Grand Canyon is a key sight for all travelers planning their lifetime of adventures. Standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon, looking out over the carved landscape, will awaken your senses.

Several hikes in the canyon and along the rim offer unique perspectives. Walk even a short distance down the Bright Angel trail to gain additional views and to experience what the canyon is like below the rim.

For even more adventure plan a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the canyon.

The Grand Canyon looks different throughout the day and at different times of the year. One trip is never enough. If you are going to add this place to your to-see list, consider what you want to do here to determine the best time to visit .


Stonehenge is one of those places that makes you ponder what went on here over 4,500 years ago. It's long been a mystery to historians, and has captured the imagination of countless visitors. Despite the large number of tourists that descend on Stonehenge, the place still has a mystical feel.

At the site, giant stones, some standing, some fallen, are set in two roughly circular patterns that are oriented to highlight the summer and winter solstices. For a truly memorable experience, plan your visit during one of these times.

An easy day trip from London , Stonehenge can easily be worked into your UK itinerary.

Sunrise at Borobudur

Set in a steamy jungle with three volcanoes providing the backdrop, Borobudur is Indonesia's top tourist attraction .

Borobudur dates from the 9th century and is one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world. It's a fascinating place to wander about. Over 500 Buddhas are spread around the site, some of which sit under ornate stupas.

Try to visit early in the morning when you'll have the best chance of experiencing a bit of early mist, and the view to the volcanoes will be the clearest.

Niagara Falls in winter

On the border between the United States and Canada, these great falls have been drawing explorers and travelers for centuries. Just over an hour from the city of Toronto, Niagara Falls is easy to get to, and the town is a fun place to spend a night or two.

Walk up to the edge of the falls, stroll along the paved walk lining the gorge for different views, or take a boat tour for a close-up look at the water pouring over the lip of the gorge above you. For a bird's-eye view, head up the Skylon Tower to look out over the falls.

At night, see the falls lit in different colors. If you're visiting in winter, watch the huge plume of mist rising into the sky above the falls.

Bagan, Mayanmar

While this ancient site may not be on the average traveler's radar, it's another of Southeast Asia's bucket-list attractions.

Spread out over a lush plain are more than 10,000 sacred structures dating from 1044 through to 1287. Hire a bicycle and pedal your way from one amazing structure to the next, or take a tour. Some of the structures can be entered, but the real beauty is the sheer number that dot the landscape.

For an aerial view, consider taking a hot air balloon tour at dawn.

Sydney Harbour

Like many other attractions around the world, the Sydney Opera House is one of those places that is easy to identify and obviously associated with Australia. A photo of yourself in front of the white sails screams Australia.

The Sydney Opera House was built in several stages and officially opened in late 1973. To fully experience the building, take a tour inside to see the unique shape and hear the exceptional acoustics.

Soak up the view from the Opera House area back towards the world-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Mount Kilimanjaro

The highest peak in all of Africa, this majestic mountain – a dormant volcano – is one of the most recognizable symbols of the continent. The snowcapped peak is an impressive 5,985 meters (19,340 feet) and is often the backdrop to photographs of the wild animals that roam Amboseli National Park and other areas.

You can see this beautiful sight from afar or tackle the multi-day hike to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro for the fantastic views over the land and to watch the sunrise.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Tanzania

The Louvre, Paris

If there is one museum in the whole world that you absolutely must see in your life, it's the Louvre. Even if you are not a fan of museums, this one is worth the trip to Paris to see.

Although most people know it as the home to the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa , this is just one of the reasons to visit the Louvre .

The museum holds countless masterpieces by the greatest artists that have ever lived. But even the building itself is an icon. The glass pyramids and the 18th-century building are recognizable to almost everyone, and have been shown in countless movies.

Forbidden City

Like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, also known as the Imperial Palace, in Beijing is one of the top places to visit in China . The sprawling complex dates from the 14th and 15th centuries and is a spectacular example of historical China.

Over the centuries, the palace has housed 24 Ming and Qing Emperors. Inside the city, the Palace Museum holds over 340,000 artifacts showcasing the treasures of China's dynasties. In front of the Forbidden City is the massive Tiananmen square .

Prague Castle

Sitting atop a hill across the river from the center of the city, Prague Castle casts an imposing aura over its surroundings. The castle is an incredible collection of buildings constructed from the 9th to 14th century.

Stroll over the ornate 14th-century Charles Bridge spanning the Vltava River and head up the hill to wander the narrow, twisty streets in the castle complex . The castle is one of the largest in the world, and around almost every corner is a historical building, church, or open square.

Chichen Itza, Mexico

The ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza have been drawing curious tourists since they were first brought to light by a popular book by John Lloyd Stevens in 1843. Today the site, located near the center of the Yucatan Peninsula, is one of the top tourist attractions in Mexico and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

The 30-meter-high Pyramid of Kukulkán has been restored to its full glory along with many of the other significant buildings, including the Great Ball Court, the Temple of the Warriors, and the eerie Skull Platform.

Chichen Itza is located about 200 kilometers from Cancun and is easily accomplished in a day trip from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and other areas of the Mayan Riviera either on your own or as part of a group.

Aerial view of Rio de Janeiro with Cristo Redentor

Keeping a watchful eye over the citizens of Rio de Janeiro from his perch atop Corcovado mountain is the stunning statue of Cristo Redentor. This huge 30-meter-high statue with its arms wide open in a welcoming gesture has been one of Rio's top tourist attractions since 1931.

The harbor of Rio de Janeiro is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world . The views from the top of the 709-meter Corcovado look out over this beautiful sight, including Sugarloaf Mountain and the city perfectly poised for beautiful photographs. The best way to get to the top is a ride up through the forests of the Tijuca National Park on the 3.5-kilometer Corcovado Rack Railway.

Château de Versailles

The wealth and grandeur of 17th-century France is on display at the incredible Château de Versailles. The château and the grounds are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and should be near the top of your touring plans when in France.

The Château de Versailles has an unbelievable 2,300 rooms housing some of France's most impressive interior design work, especially in the world-famous Hall of Mirrors. Other important rooms include the King's State Apartment and the Queen's Apartment.

The grounds of the château encompass 800 hectares, and one of the most impressive sights is the Gardens (Les Jardins). Geometrical pathways follow immaculately trimmed hedges past serene pools all surrounded by lawns cut to within an inch of their life.

Chureito Pagoda and Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is the most well-known and highest mountain in Japan. Often pictured snowcapped, this dormant volcano is both a spiritual site and one of the top tourist attractions in Japan . Soaring 3,776 meters high, Mount Fuji is one of three Holy Mountains, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Hiking to the top of the mountain is a popular thing to do in Japan. Each year, nearly 300,000 people follow one of four routes to the top. One of the most popular things to do is time your hike so that you reach the summit just before sunrise.

Mount Fuji is located 100 kilometers east of Tokyo and is easily accessible via public transit and tours .

Read More: Exploring Mount Fuji: A Visitor's Guide

Fall colors in New York's Central Park

Loved by generations of New Yorkers and by people from around the world, Central Park is one of the most famous public spaces in the world. Backdrop to countless movies and television shows, the park's walkways, lakes, and historical sights have been drawing city dwellers and visitors since it was first created in 1858.

Some fun things to do in Central Park include taking a horse drawn carriage ride through the park, visiting the Strawberry Fields Forever area and Imagine monument dedicated to the late John Lennon, renting a row boat, or just strolling under the towering trees. If you find yourself in the park in the cold season, ice-skating is one of the most popular things to do in New York in winter . Going ice skating with your sweetie is also a romantic thing to do in New York.

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World’s 30 Best Travel Destinations, Ranked

Best places to visit in the world.

Bali, one of the best travel destinations

The ultimate ranking of travel destinations aims to solve a serious problem: so many places to visit, so little time.

But even in a world with a trillion destinations, some manage to stand out and rise to the top. From the sleek skyscrapers of Dubai to the emerald-green waters of the Bora Bora lagoon, you’re sure to find at least one vacation that piques your interest (and likely several!).

These are the 30 best places to visit in the world. Which ones have you already been to? And which ones stoke your wanderlust most?

Note: We may earn money from affiliate partners if you buy through links on our site.

30. Argentine Patagonia

Traveler in Argentine Patagonia

In this region of the Andes, you’ll find glaciers, evergreen trees, deep blue lakes and clear skies everywhere you look. For a trip full of adventure and discovery, there are few better destinations on the planet.

No trip is complete without a visit to the craggy Mount Fitz Roy, the historic (and mysterious) Cave of the Hands, the Punta Tombo wildlife preserve, the Peninsula Valdes marine wildlife refuge and the impressive Perito Moreno Glacier. Be sure to bring your camera and your sense of wonder.

*Rankings are based on the 2021 U.S. News & World Report's " World's Best Places to Visit ," traveler ratings and our own editorial input.

What to Know Before You Go to Argentine Patagonia

Argentine Patagonia Glacier National Park

Where to stay: Cyan Soho Neuquen Hotel

Hot tip: Since springtime occurs in the southern hemisphere in October and November, those months are your best bet when planning a trip.

Fun fact: The largest dinosaur fossils ever unearthed were found in Argentine Patagonia. They belong to the largest-known titanosaur, believed to have weighed about 83 tons. 

29. Amalfi Coast, Italy

Campania, Amalfi Coast

Set in the Sorrentina Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast has long been renowned for its natural beauty and idyllic coastal towns. During the golden age of Hollywood, it was a preferred vacation spot for glamorous movie stars.

Days here are spent eating Italian food, drinking wine and walking around colorful cobblestone streets. You can also expect to drink copious amounts of wine as you look out into the Mediterranean Sea.

The best way to see the coast is to rent a car , then drive to different towns each day.

What to Know Before You Go to the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast road

Where to stay: Hotel Marina Riviera

Hot tip:  If you're planning on using a beach chair to work on your tan, make sure you wake up early, as they are usually first come, first served.

Fun fact:  The Amalfi Coast is featured in Sofia Loren's 1995 Film, "Scandal in Sorrento."

28. Cancun, Mexico

Beach sunset in Cancun

For years, Cancun has been the preferred getaway for East Coast Americans (particularly Floridians) who want an international getaway that's still close to home. But despite the droves of tourists, the area has managed to keep the charm that attracted people in the first place.

The city is known mostly for its luxury hotels, wild nightlife and warm beaches. Definitely indulge in all of these — as well as the Mexican food! — but also consider other activities like visiting Mayan ruins, swimming in cenotes and snorkeling. One thing is certain: You won't run out of things to do in Cancun .

What to Know Before You Go to Cancun

Cenote Zaci, Mexico

Where to stay: Hyatt Zilara Cancun

Hot tip:  While you're in Cancun, make a plan to visit one of Grupo Xcaret's six eco-tourism parks, with the best ones being Xcaret and Xelha. The Mexican-owned company is credited with starting the eco-tourism trend in the Yucatan Peninsula, and the parks offer incredible and varied local experiences.

Fun fact:  The Yucatan Peninsula, where Cancun is located, was the cultural, political and economic center of the Mayan civilization. Many locals have Mayan ancestry and Mayan continues to be widely spoken in the area.

27. San Francisco, California

Close up of Golden Gate Bridge

Everyone should visit San Francisco at least once in their lives. Though tech companies grab all the headlines these days, it remains down-to-earth, diverse and packed with things to do.

Where to start? No matter your style, you’ll want to check out the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge, see the sunbathing sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf, take a tour of the historic prison Alcatraz and relax in one of the city’s many parks, especially Dolores Park for its epic people-watching on the weekends. 

For dinner, treat your tastebuds and make a reservation at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants in the Bay Area .

What to Know Before You Go to San Francisco

San Francisco houses

Where to stay: The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square

Hot tip: Want similarly beautiful landscapes and rich cultural attractions, but at lower prices and with (slightly) fewer crowds? Head to Oakland just across the Bay Bridge, named one of the most exciting places on earth to travel by National Geographic. 

Fun fact: The fortune cookie was invented in San Francisco by a Japanese resident. Random!

26. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls in autumn Canadian side

Niagara Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world . The power with which water storms down cliffs on the border between the United States and Canada has captivated the imagination of humans for centuries. 

This natural wonder is comprised of three awe-inspiring falls. One of the best ways to experience them is on a boat tour.

What to Know Before You Go to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls boat tour

Where to stay: Sheraton Niagara Falls

Hot tip: There is some debate about which side of the falls is better, but the general verdict is that the Canadian side offers better views. This is because you can (ironically) get a better view of the American Falls as well as get up close to Horseshoe Falls. 

Fun fact:  Established in 1885, Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the U.S.

25. Yellowstone National Park

Bison at the Great Prismatic Spring

Located mostly in Wyoming as well as Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone is America’s first national park and remains one of the most popular in the country, welcoming more than around 3.8 million people last year . With unpredictable geysers, rainbow-colored hot springs, craggy peaks, shimmering lakes and tons of wildlife — from elk to boars to bison — it’s easy to see why so many people flock here. 

The park makes for an awesome family trip and is well-suited to budget travelers since it offers so many campsites ( over 2,000! ). 

What to Know Before You Go to Yellowstone

Old Faithful Geiser erupting, Yellowstone

Where to stay: Stage Coach Inn

Hot tip: You’ll never fully beat the crowds at this wildly popular park, but April, May, September and November are your best bets for finding some solitude.  

Fun fact: Yellowstone is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined.  

24. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

snorkle Destinations: Great Barrier Reef, Australia

As the largest reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef is home to thousands of marine species. This makes it a paradise for scuba diving or snorkeling. 

The reef system is truly gigantic, with over 600 islands and about 2,900 individual reefs. This is one of Australia's greatest prides, but it's also a planetary national treasure. Seeing it with your own two eyes is an experience that is incredible beyond words.

What to Know Before You Go to the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef from above

Where to stay: Crystalbrook Flynn

Hot tip: Though going underwater to see the reef is a must, we also recommend booking a helicopter tour to experience the magic of it from above.

Fun fact:  Made of corals, which are animals that live in collectives, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet.

23. Santorini, Greece

White washed houses in Santorini

With its picturesque blue-domed churches, whitewashed buildings and colorful beaches, the island of Santorini is a photographer’s paradise. If you want to snap photos to post to Instagram and make everyone back home jealous, this is the place to go. 

Also make sure to experience some of Santorini’s archaeologically significant sites, like Ancient Akrotiri (an ancient city preserved by volcanic ash) and Ancient Thera (where humans lived as early as the 9th century BC). And don’t forget to visit the smaller islands that surround it, including Thirassia, Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni. 

What to Know Before You Go to Santorini

Santorini houses

Where to stay: Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Santorini

Hot tip: To optimize your vacation, U.S. News recommends visiting in September and October or April and May, when the weather is still warm but there aren’t as many other tourists milling around.

Fun fact: While it’s difficult to prove, locals like to say there’s more wine than water on this island where it hardly rains (and vino abounds).

22. Florence, Italy

Florience center, Italy

For art and history buffs (and anyone who appreciates delicious Italian food), Florence is a must-visit city. 

As the birthplace of the Renaissance, it’s home to some of the most iconic artworks by the world’s premier artists throughout history — Michaelangelo, Brunelleschi and Donatello, just to name a few. In addition to art museums and architectural wonders, Florence is also home to chic shops, quaint cafes and spectacular gardens. 

What to Know Before You Go to Florence

Il Duomo, Florence

Where to stay:  NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa

Hot tip: Keep Florence in mind if you want to spend your honeymoon in Europe without spending a fortune, says U.S. News.

Fun fact: The city’s famed “El Duomo” cathedral took over 140 years to build .

21. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite, one of the most-visited national parks in America with more than 4 million annual guests, encompasses 750,000 acres of wilderness just waiting to be explored.

It’s home to scenic waterfalls, like the 317-foot Vernal Fall and the 617-foot Bridalveil Fall, as well as iconic rock formations like El Capitan and Half Dome, two popular spots for the world’s best rock climbers to test their mettle.

Not surprisingly, the wildlife here also impresses. Dozens of species of butterflies, marmots, bobcats and mule deer are just some of the animals that call Yosemite home. And keep your eyes peeled for black bears; some 300-500 roam the park . 

What to Know Before You Go to Yosemite

Yosemite National Park

Where to stay:  The Ahwahnee

Hot tip: Summer can get really busy here, so if you want to camp, be sure to book a spot early. Want to beat Yosemite’s notoriously bad traffic? Ditch the car and take advantage of the park’s extensive free bus system.

Fun fact: This is one of the only places in the country where you can catch a moonbow — like a rainbow, but created by the light of the moon instead of the sun. 

20. St. Lucia

St. Lucia Les Pitons

Whether you’re visiting on a cruise ship or just relaxing at an all-inclusive resort or boutique hotel, stunning St. Lucia is a clear winner. This Caribbean island offers diverse terrain for vacationers, from its pristine beaches to its lush rainforests to its volcanic peaks, the Pitons, that loom over the landscape. 

Adrenaline-junkies love hiking, climbing and zip-lining, while newlyweds (and soon-to-be-married couples) enjoy the romantic mix of fine dining, adults-only resorts and exotic activities. 

What to Know Before You Go to St. Lucia

St. Lucia boats

Where to stay: Rabot Hotel From Hotel Chocolat

Hot tip: Visit when temperatures are moderate, which is typically in May and June.

Fun fact: St. Lucia is the only country named after a woman: Christian martyr Saint Lucia of Syracuse.

19. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai skyscrappers

Everything is bigger and better in Dubai, home to one of the world’s largest shopping malls, the world’s tallest tower, one of the world’s largest man-made marinas — and the list goes on. 

This Las Vegas-like urban center in the United Arab Emirates has an eclectic mix of activities for visitors to enjoy, including beaches, waterparks, tons of shopping and even an indoor ski resort. Outside the skyscraper-filled city, the vast desert awaits, best enjoyed via quad-biking or sandboarding.

What to Know Before You Go to Dubai

Dubai beach

Where to stay:  Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai

Hot tip: Though you’re likely to pay a pretty penny for a trip to Dubai no matter when you visit, you can save a little cash by visiting during the scalding-hot summer months and by booking your hotel room two to three months in advance.

Fun fact: Dubai’s man-made Palm Islands were constructed using enough imported sand to fill up 2.5 Empire State Buildings . 

18. Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Many travelers describe their visit to Machu Picchu as life-changing. Why? It’s an archaeological wonder, the remains of an ancient Incan city dating back more than 600 years. No wonder this is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most-visited attraction in all of Peru. 

Be sure to visit significant sites like Funerary Rock, where it’s believed Incan nobility were mummified, and Temple of the Condor, a rock temple sculpted to look like the impressive bird in its name.  

What to Know Before You Go to Machu Picchu

Llamas in Machu Picchu

Where to stay: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Hot tip: If you’re planning a trip, be sure to get your ticket in advance, as only 2,500 people can visit Machu Picchu each day. (And a lot of people have this destination on their bucket list.)

Fun fact: The site contains more than 100 separate flights of stairs . 

17. Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbor with boats

With its iconic Opera House and lively Bondi Beach, Sydney is the perfect spot to vacation if you’re looking for a blend of culture, arts, nightlife and relaxation. 

Spend the day on the water at Darling Harbour, then head to the Royal Botanic garden for even more fresh air. Want to travel like a local? Get a ticket to a rugby match and order a Tim Tam, a popular chocolate-covered cookie that pairs well with coffee. 

What to Know Before You Go to Sydney

Sydney Opera House in the evening

Where to stay: Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

Hot tip: You can make your trip more affordable by visiting during Sydney’s shoulder seasons, which are typically September through November and March through May.

Fun fact: In 2007, Bondi Beach was the site of the largest ever swimsuit photoshoot ; 1,010 bikini-clad women participated, enough to earn it a spot in the Guinness World Records book.

16. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon from observation point

The Grand Canyon is truly massive (277 river miles long and up to 18 miles wide!), which helps explain why so many people feel the urge to see it in person. 

Last year, 6.4 million people visited, making the Grand Canyon the second-most popular national park in the country (behind Great Smoky Mountain Nationals Park). Established in 1919, the park offers activities for all ability levels, whether you want to do an intense hike down into the canyon and sleep under the stars (with a backcountry permit, of course) or simply want to saunter along the South Rim Trail, an easy walking path with views that wow.

What to Know Before You Go to the Grand Canyon

Family in the Grand Canyon

Where to stay:  The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon

Hot tip: If you’ve wanted to visit the Grand Canyon for a while now, this is the year to do it. The park is celebrating its 100th birthday with musical performances, lectures, screenings and other special events.

Fun fact: The most remote community in the continental U.S. can be found in the Grand Canyon. At the base of the canyon, Supai Village — part of the Havasupi Indian Reservation — has a population of 208. It’s inaccessible by road, and mail is delivered by pack mule. Want to see it for yourself? The village houses a collection of campsites , accessible via a hiking trail.

15. Bali, Indonesia

Landmark Temple Gates in Bali

In recent years, Bali has become a popular expat destination, where groups of "digital nomads" work and play. 

But the island hasn't lost its original charm to this added tourism and continues to be an incredible destination. Divide your time between swimming in the beach, hiking active volcanoes, visiting temples and enjoying views of tiered rice terraces.

What to Know Before You Go to Bali

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple in Bali

Where to stay: Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach

Hot tip:  Though shoulder season (January to April and October to November) means fewer crowds and cheaper prices, it also means rain. Tons of it. We'd recommend avoiding the rainy season if possible.

Fun fact: On the Saka New Year, Balinese people celebrate Nyepi. This Hindu celebration is a day of silence when everything on the island shuts down and no noise is allowed.

14. New York, New York

New York City Manhattan

As the saying goes, New York City is “the city that never sleeps” — and you won’t want to either when you visit, lest you run out of time to take it all in. 

Be sure to check out newer attractions, like the High Line (an elevated park) and Hudson Yards (a mega-mall along the Hudson River), but also make time for some New York City classics, like catching a Broadway show or standing under the lights of Times Square. 

Foodies will have a hard time choosing where to eat (the city is home to 93 Michelin stars !), which is why an extended trip is always a good idea.

What to Know Before You Go to New York City

New York City Broadway

Where to stay: The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel

Hot tip: Yes, January and February get cold here, but this is also the best time to lock in relatively reasonable hotel rates. You can spend your time eating in the city’s restaurants, exploring its fabulous museums and catching its world-class theater shows, without needing to spend much time in the chilly outdoors. 

Fun fact: There’s a birth in New York City every 4.4 minutes — and a death every 9.1 minutes. 

13. Banff National Park, Canada

Banff Lake Louise

Some of the world’s most stunning mountain scenery and vistas are located in Banff, the tiny Canadian town located at 4,537 feet above sea level inside the national park by the same name. Banff is the highest town in Canada, and Banff National Park was Canada’s first, established in 1885.

Shred some powder at Banff’s three ski resorts in the winter, then come back in the summer for activities like hiking, biking, fishing and scrambling (scaling steep terrain using nothing but your hands).

What to Know Before You Go to Banff

Kayaking in Banff National Park

Where to stay: Fairmont Banff Springs

Hot tip: June to August and December to March are the best times to visit if you want to take advantage of summer and winter activities. 

Fun fact: Banff National Park has more than 1,000 glaciers .

12. Maldives

Sunset in the Maldives

You can look at picture after picture, but you still really need to visit the Maldives to believe its beauty. If rich sunsets, flour-like beaches and vibrant blue waters are your style, this is the destination for you. 

Though it’s somewhat difficult to get to this small island nation southwest of Sri Lanka, that also means it’s incredibly private and secluded, which makes it the perfect spot for a honeymoon or romantic beach getaway. 

And don’t worry about getting bored, either — explore the water by snorkeling or scuba diving, relax in the spa or wander around the bustling Male’ Fish Market.

What to Know Before You Go to Maldives

Maldives overwater bungalows

Where to stay: Velassaru Maldives

Hot tip: May to October is the island-nation’s rainy season — but that also means it’s the best time to go for fewer crowds and better rates.

Fun fact: In 1153 AD, the nation’s people converted to Islam. Today, the Maldives remains the most heavily Muslim country on earth.

11. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Sagrada Familia

Soccer, architecture, shopping, nightlife, world-class food and wine, arts and culture — is there anything Barcelona doesn’t have? If there is, we honestly can't think what it would be. 

This cosmopolitan Spanish city is home to some awe-inspiring architecture, including several buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi, so be sure to book tours of his whimsical creations like Park Guell and the yet-to-be-finished Church of the Sacred Family (La Sagrada Familia). 

For nightlife and shopping, Las Ramblas is always bustling; for an enriching arts experience, follow the progression of famed artist Pablo Picasso at Museo Picasso.

What to Know Before You Go to Barcelona

Barcelona Park Guell

Where to stay:  Hotel Bagues

Hot tip: It can get really humid here, so U.S. News suggests planning your trip in May and June, before things really heat up.

Fun fact: In preparation for its 1992 hosting of the Olympics, the city flew in sand from as far afield as Egypt to make Barceloneta Beach a place where people would want to go. Though largely man-made, the beach remains a wonderful spot for seaside R&R. 

10. Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park in the winter

The crown jewel of beautiful Montana, Glacier National Park is every outdoors traveler's dream.

Of course, the most defining natural feature of the park are its glaciers, which provide spectacular views as well as a number of pristine lakes. There are hundreds of trails that will take you up peaks, down through valleys and across some of the most beautiful landscapes you'll ever see.

What to Know Before You Go to Glacier National Park

Mountain goats at Glacier National Park

Where to stay: Firebrand Hotel

Hot tip:  Plan to spend a day or two in the nearby town of Whitefish. This gateway to Glacier National Park is one of the best small towns in America and a destination in its own right. 

Fun fact: During your visit, you're very likely to run into mountain goats, which are the official symbols of the park.

9. Tokyo, Japan

Akihabara Tokyo

The Japanese capital is one of the most exciting cities on the entire planet. It is notoriously fast-paced, with neon lights illuminating the multitudes that are constantly rushing to their next destination. 

But Tokyo is also a city of temples, of taking time to picnic under the cherry blossoms and of making sure you enjoy the abundance of delicious food that can be found on basically every corner.

What to Know Before You Go to Tokyo

Sensoji temple , Tokyo

Where to stay: The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Hot tip: Visit between the months of March and April or September and November for more comfortable temperatures. Of course, spring is when the city's cherry blossoms are famously in full bloom.

Fun fact: Tokyo happens to be the largest metropolitan area in the world, with more than 36 million people calling it home.

8. Phuket, Thailand

Phuket boats

If you’re looking for a vacation destination that feels luxurious but won’t break the bank, start searching for flights to Phuket now. 

This island in southern Thailand, which is just an hour flight from Bangkok, is surrounded by the Andaman Sea, so white sandy beaches abound. If a stunning sunset is what you’re after, head to Promthep Cape, the southernmost point on the island and a popular spot for photo-ops. For views of the island and beyond, climb to the top of the massive alabaster statue called Big Buddha.

You can even learn something during your vacation by visiting the Soi Dog Foundation, an innovative animal shelter that’s fighting the meat trade and taking care of the thousands of stray cats and dogs in the area.

What to Know Before You Go to Phuket

Phuket temple

Where to stay: InterContinental Phuket Resort

Hot tip: Visit between November and April for the best weather — and ideal conditions for beach activities like swimming and boating. 

Fun fact: The island is not pronounced in the rather colorful way it appears to be. The correct way to say it is “poo-ket” or “poo-get.”

7. Rome, Italy

Rome, Colosseum

Though Rome’s historic significance cannot be overstated, don’t assume that this Italian city is stuck in the past. On the contrary, you’ll find posh storefronts and luxurious hotels not far from iconic structures like the Pantheon (built in 120 AD) and the Colosseum (built in 80 AD).

And then, of course, there’s the city’s art. Stroll through Rome, and you’ll stumble upon some of the greatest treasures the world has ever seen — an astonishing collection of frescoes, paintings, ceilings and fountains created by icons like Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael and Bernini.

After all that exploration, take advantage of ample opportunities to eat and drink, including at several Michelin-starred restaurants. City staples include suppli (deep-fried balls of risotto, mozzarella and ragu meat sauce) and cacio e pepe (a deceptively simple mix of al-dente pasta, pecorino romano and fresh black pepper). 

What to Know Before You Go to Rome

Rome Spanish Plaza at dawn

Where to stay: Radisson Blu Ghr Hotel

Hot tip: Tourists congregate here in the summer when temperatures are also sweltering. Go instead between October and April, when there are thinner crowds, better rates and cooler temps. Just make sure to bring a light jacket.

Fun fact: Each year, travelers throw about $1.5 million worth of coins into the Trevi Fountain. The money is donated to Caritas, a Catholic nonprofit that supports charities focused on health, disaster relief, poverty and migration.

6. London, England

Modern bridge London

U.S. News quotes English writer Samual Johnson when making the case for London as one of the best places to visit in the world: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” 

From live performances of Shakespeare to truly world-class (and free!) museums like the National Gallery, London will enrich your mind and enliven your senses. Of course, no visit would be complete without a stop at Buckingham Palace to see the famous stone-faced guards outside and the 19 lavish State Rooms inside (though, unfortunately, you can’t see the queen’s private quarters). Another must-see landmark is the Tower of London, the historic castle on the north side of the River Thames.

What to Know Before You Go to London

London in the spring

Where to stay: Vintry & Mercer

Hot tip: Many U.S. cities now offer direct flights to London, so set a price alert and act fast when you see fares drop.

Fun fact: London’s pubs are worth a visit for their names alone; fanciful monikers include The Case is Altered, The Pyrotechnists Arms, John the Unicorn and The Job Centre. 

5. Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti, French Polynesia

Flavorful French cuisine, top-notch resorts, warm waters — need we say more? Though Tahiti can be pricey, travelers say it’s so worth it. 

The largest of the 118 French Polynesian islands, Tahiti is split into two main regions (connected by a land bridge). Tahiti Nui, the larger region, is home to the island’s capital Papeete and surfing hotspot Papenoo Beach, while Tahiti Iti, the smaller region, offers more seclusion and the bright white sands of La Plage de Maui.

What to Know Before You Go to Tahiti

Tahiti bungalows during sunset

Where to stay: Hilton Hotel Tahiti

Hot tip: Visit between May and October, Tahiti’s winter, when there are less humidity and rain. 

Fun fact: Overcrowding is not a concern here; Hawaii gets more visitors in 10 days than all of French Polynesia does in a year.

4. Maui, Hawaii

Rocky beach in Maui

If you’re short on time or you just can’t decide which Hawaiian island to visit, Maui is right in the sweet spot: not too big, not too small, but just right.

There are five regions to explore on Maui, including the popular West Maui and South Maui, home to some of the island’s best-known attractions and beaches (Wailea Beach is in South Maui, for example). But don’t overlook East Maui, where you can travel along the Road to Hana, or the Upcountry, where you can explore the world’s largest dormant volcano, Haleakala. 

What to Know Before You Go to Maui

Maui cave

Where to stay:  Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

Hot tip: This is Hawaii we’re talking about, so your trip will be on the pricey side. Be sure to budget for add-ons if you need them (think gym access and WiFi at your hotel), and do some research on insurance before you head to the car-rental counter.

Fun fact: How’s this for a selling point? Maui has more beach than any other Hawaiian island — 60 miles of it , with red, white and black sand.

3. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora overwater bungalows

Don’t write off the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora just because of its size. Though it’s a little more than 2 miles wide and just 6 miles long, Bora Bora packs in an abundance of natural beauty. To start, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the island’s turquoise lagoon surrounded by lush jungle.

If you’re looking for more than relaxation on your trip, consider hiking or booking a 4X4 tour of Mount Otemanu, part of an extinct volcano that rises 2,400 feet above the lagoon. You can also snorkel among the coral reef of Coral Gardens, where you might catch a glimpse of reef sharks, eels and stingrays.

Because of its remoteness, flying into Bora Bora Airport will be quite a journey, no matter where you're departing from. But you'll forget everything as soon as you see this Polynesian paradise that is beautiful beyond words.

What to Know Before You Go to Bora Bora

Bora Bora Island

Where to stay: Conrad Bora Bora Nui

Hot tip: Though Bora Bora can be wildly expensive to visit, you can cut costs by visiting between December and March (though you should avoid the Christmas holiday) and by bringing your own alcohol and sunscreen with you.

Fun fact: Bora Bora is one of the countries that no longer exists . The Kingdom of Bora Bora was an independent state until it was forcefully overtaken and annexed by France in 1888.

2. Paris, France

Paris from the Arc de Triumph

Paris has it all — incredible cuisine, legendary landmarks and centuries of history. Those are just some of the reasons it’s the second-best place to visit in the world.

Though you’ll want to spend your time hitting up popular tourist spots like the Eiffel Tower and the Musee d’Orsay, you should also carve out time to explore other parts of Paris — the city’s 20 diverse neighborhoods, called arrondissements, for instance. Standouts include the 2nd arrondissement, which touts covered passages and some of the city’s hippest restaurants, and the romantic 18th arrondissement, with charming squares, cafes and bars, set apart from the city’s more tourist-packed areas.

What to Know Before You Go to Paris

Paris Montmartre at dawn

Where to stay: Grand Hotel Du Palais Royal

Hot tip: Yes, summer in Paris is busy, but the weather is also ideal — average highs are in the 70s.

Fun fact: Built for the 1889 World Fair, the Eiffel Tower was originally meant to be temporary , and was almost torn down in 1909. Luckily, local officials saw its value as a radiotelegraph station, preserving the future tourist icon for generations to come. 

1. South Island, New Zealand

Milford Sound

Instead of choosing just one city or region, U.S. News selected an entire island for the coveted top spot. South Island, the larger but less populated of the two islands that make up New Zealand, earned the honor for its “breathtaking scenery, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and affordable activities."

They really weren’t kidding about those once-in-a-lifetime activities, either. The 33.5-mile hike on Milford Sound, which is limited to 90 people at a time, is considered one of the world’s best treks, with stops at Lake Te Anau, suspension bridges, a mountain pass and the tallest waterfall in the country, Sutherland Falls.

For a heart-pumping experience, you can jump out of a helicopter while flying over the Harris Mountains with skis on your feet. Still not satisfied? Roam Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage area, and explore the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, two of the most accessible glaciers in the world.

What to Know Before You Go to New Zealand

South Island, New Zealand

Where to stay: QT Queenstown

Hot tip: Book your trip for the fall, when South Island is temperate, not overcrowded and offers great rates. Bonus: This is also when the island is at its most stunning.

Fun fact: New Zealand natives, called Kiwis, are among the most hospitable you’ll ever meet. The local saying “He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata” translates , appropriately, to “What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people.”

Honorable Mention: British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands beach

Sadly, we can't include every destination in the world here. But to make the ruling a bit fairer, we've included two places that were included in previous U.S. News & World Report lists. They may not be in the top 30, but they're incredible destinations everyone should plan to visit at least once.

The British Caribbean is one of the most enjoyable and exclusive vacation destinations in the world. With some 60 islands and cays to explore, the British Virgin Islands offer a little something for everyone — granite boulders, mountainous cliffs and, of course, the gorgeous Caribbean Sea. 

What to Know Before You Go to the British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands cave

Where to stay:  Sugar Mill Hotel

Hot tip: Because of the warm weather, travelers tend to flock to the islands around the holidays, so plan your visit in the fall to avoid large crowds. Looking to save a few bucks? U.S. News suggests staying on Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, then making a day trip to the British Virgin Islands.

Fun fact: BVI’s Norman Island was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, “Treasure Island.”

Honorable Mention: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam with tulips

Sometimes, Amsterdam gets a bad rap for its Red Light District and marijuana-peddling coffee shops , but there’s so much more to this European city than those two sound bites. 

Amsterdam offers plenty of opportunities to delve into history and culture, too, from the home where Anne Frank wrote her journal during the Holocaust to the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh paintings and drawings at the Van Gogh Museum. 

It’s also a surprisingly kid-friendly destination, with spots like the NEMO Science Museum and the spacious Vondelpark for little ones to explore.

What to Know Before You Go to Amsterdam

Amsterdam sign

Where to stay: citizenM Amsterdam South

Hot tip: Avoid the high tourist season by planning your visit for just before summer (between April and May) or just after it (between September and November).

Fun fact: Amsterdam is home to what is surely one of the only cat-focused houseboats in the world: a floating feline sanctuary aptly named Catboat .

The Best Destinations in the World: The Gold List 2022

By CNT Editors

Best Destinations in the World The Gold List 2022

There are three great lists annually in  Condé Nast Traveler,  all of which have changed due to the events of the last two years: the Readers’ Choice Awards , which you, our beloved audience, select; the Hot List , which compiles the new and notable of the previous year; and this one, which is ultimately about the places and experiences our editors carry in their hearts. This year, when we say  our editors,  we mean  CNT ’s entire global crew, working in locations from California to Beijing ; we’ve also expanded the parameters of the list to include not just the hotels and cruises you’ve seen in years past, but also the destinations we treasure. The Gold List is, more than ever, made by humans for other humans—something we need more than ever in this day and age. Here, our favorite destinations in the world.

Read the complete set of Gold List winners   here .

All listings featured in this story are independently selected by our editors. However, when you book something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Cholula Puebla Mexico

Puebla, Mexico

I love when I can feel familiar with a new place in 48 hours. In Puebla , Mexico’s historic, fourth-largest city, all the spots you want to hit are walking distance within its center, itself a tidy sprawl of bright pink and yellow villas and small plazas. That includes food markets for a crispy cemita (a schnitzel-­style sandwich with all the fixings); the gilded Capilla del Rosario and the city’s famed talavera, or ceramic houses; I stayed for close to an hour watching the row of artisans hand-paint and hand-fire their mugs, plates, and vases at Uriarte Talavera. Before the pandemic, tourism was just starting to happen here, and the city was in that sweet spot of supporting a new breed of traveler, like with the artisanal-inspired Cartesiano hotel, but without muting any of its essence for international business. I liked that I had to use my shoddy Spanish with barkeeps and store owners. And that sitting in those plazas meant a front-row seat to daily Poblano life: vendors selling sliced cucumber spices with cayenne, old-timers playing dominos. Puebla felt like a special somewhere on the verge of discovery in a country with pockets already turned over to the masses. My guess with all that’s happened this past year is that it still does. —Erin Florio

Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Rio de Janeiro

If you were to hook the city of Rio de Janeiro up to a cardiogram, the needle would swing off the page. The city thrums with live samba and bossa nova at all hours of the day; the bustling streets, bookended by the dramatic rise of granite monoliths on one end and the pounding waves of the Atlantic on the other, have a pulse all their own. It's easy to feel this when you're amid throngs of colorfully clad cariocas —I feel it most swaying to the live music at Pedra do Sal on Monday nights, or when, perched in the leafy hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa, I hear people in neighborhoods below lean out their windows to cheer when Flamengo scores a goal. It's a complicated city, with plenty of issues—insecurity, corruption, inequity, to name just a few—but there's a premium on joy and celebration that isn't reserved for Carnaval . There are few places in the world where you know you couldn't possibly be anywhere else, and whenever I hear the whole of Arpoador beach break into applause as the sun sets in summer, I'm reminded that Rio is one of them. —Megan Spurrell

Alentejo Vicente Coast

Alentejo, Portugal

I call the road to the sea through Portugal’s Alentejo region the place where the beatniks read Pessoa; you can imagine Kerouac breezing through its small hotels, surf camps, and villages scattered with craft shops, markets, and bohemian bars. For me it’s a place of happiness. There are boutique hotels like São Lourenço do Barrocal and Dá Licença and olive groves, cork oaks, and infinite horizons. The road ends at Vicentine Coast National Park, a wild, protected coastline in southern Europe. A paradise for surfers , it has electrifying sunsets, but the icy waters stop it from ever getting too crowded. —David Moralejo

Svalbard Norway

Svalbard, Norway

Arctic Svalbard —whose capital, Longyearbyen, is the world’s northernmost town—is like nowhere else I’ve been. On the one hand, it’s a deep-nature Scandi fantasy of snowmobiles, Northern Lights, ski-touring along glacial valleys, and surprisingly smart boutiques with stacked wine cellars. But there’s also a compelling strangeness to this international settlement, where no one is born and no one dies. There are the Soviet mining towns with their Lenin busts, whether abandoned or (even weirder) still working; the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which preempts a coming apocalypse; it’s advisable to leave Longyearbyen with a shotgun, in case of polar-bear attack. As much as a destination, it’s a journey into the heart of the climate crisis, with academics from across the world doing game-changing research here. I’m itching to go again—to escape but also to think and connect, which is what happens in all the best places. —Toby Skinner

Goa India

My first trip to Goa as a college student was wrapped in dreams of homemade chorizo and reliving moments from the cult Bollywood coming-of-age film Dil Chahta Hai . Many trips and feni cocktails later, Goa remained a respite for my city-weary bones. The state straddles its multicultural past and present, trading up ’60s hippie markets for hipster boutiques while keeping its old-world Indian and Portuguese traditions intact. Simple fish-curry plates, aunties doing an impromptu jig to fado, old-timers squabbling over their favorite Goan soccer club, and the right freshness of bread coexist with edgy global menus, alt-music gigs, and all that is artisanal and arty. The ocean changes color from one season to the next, the multi-color sunsets never repeat, and like many travelers, I continue to return and find my salve in sunshine, sea, and susegad —the quintessential Goan idea of the slow, easy, and good life. —Diya Kohl

Plettenberg Bay South Africa

Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

Plettenberg Bay is South Africa's summer playground, and I, a Capetonian, would drive the 186-mile coastal path along the scenic Garden Route each year to join the fun. The bohemian seaside town sits atop a sheltered bay, where a jumble of hipster coffee shops, seafood restaurants, and kitsch boutiques tumble down onto fynbos-covered cliffs—where a slew of new hotels like The Robberg Beach Lodge sit beside grandes dames like The Plettenberg Hotel . Pretty young things like to celebrate the end of matric student exams, where hedonism sweeps across the bay, while dolphin and whale watches come during the languid, warm winter months. Venture just outside Plett to find the luxury Tsala Treetop Lodge , a manicured Gary Player golf course, indigenous Keurbooms River Nature Reserve, the Plett Polo Club on the Kurland Estate, and a host of animal sanctuaries to meet cheetahs, elephants, and monkeys. But above all, come for the glorious golden beaches. Central Beach—dotted with bars—surfy Lookout Beach, and the eerie, mist-covered sands of Robberg Nature Reserve. Search hard enough and you might stumble on a sand dollar—the symbol of Plettenberg Bay, thought to bring eternal luck. —Isabella Sullivan

19 Warm Places to Visit in December, From Hawaiian Beaches to African Deserts

Caitlin Morton

26 Best Christmas Markets in Europe, From Vienna to Zagreb

When I can’t take another minute of winter, I head to Scottsdale. As, historically, do the day-drinking spring breakers and the far less rowdy snowbirds. Recently, though, the Valley of the Sun has come into its own, claiming its stunning desert setting and Southwest culture in new ways. If I’m bringing the kids, the 1929 Frank Lloyd Wright–designed grande dame The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (on the border of Scottsdale and Phoenix), is my place. It has sprawling grounds and seven pools, one with a legitimate waterslide, and just underwent a much-needed facelift. Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort , terraced into the side of its namesake adobe-hued mountain, has my favorite spa in town. Its adults-only pool on weekends and easy access to sunrise hiking give me plenty of excuses to leave the kids at home. Solo or with family, I can always bank on sunshine, a great exhibit at Phoenix’s nearby Desert Botanical Garden, and excellent Sonoran-style Mexican food. —Rebecca Misner

Tuscany Val Graziosa

Val Graziosa, Italy

I am a frequent traveler to Val Graziosa, a valley near the Pisan mountains and a part of Tuscany relatively unknown and terribly beautiful. Here there is Monte Pisano—“ che i Pisan veder Lucca non ponno, ” the poet Dante said, a small group of mountains that hides Lucca from Pisa and makes it impossible for the Pisan locals to see the city of Lucca. There are olive trees everywhere, producing the best olive oil on Earth in a splendid countryside. I love to walk around the surroundings of Montemagno—please read the book Maledetti Toscani, by Curzio Malaparte, and you will understand a lot about Italians from this region. I love to go to the grocery store in Patrizia for a glass of wine (the one and only épicerie of the village) and then to Certosa di Calci, a 14th-century monastery, and one of the many secret beauties in my crazy country of Italy. —Maddalena Fosati

Chiang Mai Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand

When I first went to Chiang Mai, I intended to stay a couple of nights and ended up staying more than a week; for me, that trip is a reminder of travel at its most impulsive and impetuous: the freedom to move on when you feel like it. There’s no beach pressure here, and inland Thailand always feels more interesting than the obvious hits of the beachfront. And, away from the beaches, there's the sense of a modern Thai city where young creatives are carving out a contemporary aesthetic, with the energy that a large student population gives a city. —Rick Jordan

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The 59 most beautiful places in the world

By Katharine Sohn

The 59 most beautiful places in the world 2023

Where are the most beautiful places in the world? On a planet home to flamingo-pink lakes in Mexico, plus vast, multi-coloured hills in the USA, green ripples of rice paddies in Indonesia and epic icescapes in Antarctica, it's hard to choose a favourite – but why pick one? From countries all around the world, these are our top 59 most beautiful places to visit.

The most westerly point on mainland Australia is this UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded before Captain Cook...

Shark Bay, Australia

The most westerly point on mainland Australia is this UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded before Captain Cook discovered land at Botany Bay, with Dutch explorers touching down here in the 17th century. The area is diverse – there’s a beach made up entirely of tiny white shells, stromatolites on the shore of Hamelin Pool and the salt mine at Useless Loop, which produces the purest grade of salt in the world and is only accessible via four-by-four – or visible from the sky.

A small seaside town in the Ica region of Peru Paracas is where the desert meets the sea. A trip to the area isnt...

Paracas, Peru

A small seaside town in the Ica region of Peru , Paracas is where the desert meets the sea. A trip to the area isn’t complete without a boat ride to Islas Ballestas, the rocky islands off the Pacific coast known for their diverse wildlife including flocks of sea lions and crowds of baby penguins.

The redcliff coastline and pristine whitewashed Moorish villages that dot the southwestern region of Portugal have...

Algarve, Portugal

The red-cliff coastline and pristine whitewashed Moorish villages that dot the south-western region of Portugal have started shifting crowds away from the region’s busier hotspots. It has its own sunny microclimate and affordable places to stay such as Casa Mãe in Lagos make it a great winter-sun option too.

With its striking architecture grand boulevards worldclass art jewelbox patisseries and classic places to stay this is a...

Paris, France

With its striking architecture, grand boulevards, world-class art, jewel-box patisseries and classic places to stay , this is a city that never sleeps. Its unrivalled food scene is best experienced by stumbling upon corner bistros down cobbled streets.

Vietnamese for peace Hòa Bình province is located in the north of the country and is home to hill tribes including the...

Hòa Bình, Vietnam

Vietnamese for peace, Hòa Bình province is located in the north of the country and is home to hill tribes including the Hmong, Muong and Dzao, plus endless rice fields.

Offradar Milos has some of the best beaches in the Aegean without the buzz of Mykonos or Santorini. Moonlike Sarakiniko...

Sarakiniko Beach, Milos, Greece

Off-radar Milos has some of the best beaches in the Aegean without the buzz of Mykonos or Santorini . Moon-like Sarakiniko is made up of mounds of undulating bone-white, wave-like volcanic rock and forms one of the island’s most mesmerising bays.

The most extreme continent on earth is also the coldest windiest driest and most inhospitable to forms of life. Pristine...

The most extreme continent on earth is also the coldest, windiest, driest and most inhospitable to forms of life. Pristine and practically untouched, no one lives in Antarctica full time, apart from seals, penguins and marine life. It’s as remote as one can get.

Known as the hottest place on earth Death Valley reached a record temperature of 53°C in 2019. Its a vast area of...

Death Valley, California

Known as the hottest place on earth, Death Valley reached a record temperature of 53°C in 2019. It’s a vast area of extremes: with snowy peaks, scorching sands and wildflower meadows, the National Park encompasses a wide range of different landscapes. One of the most popular locations is the multi-hued Artists Palette, a series of eroded hills whose colouring is due to the oxidation of natural metal deposits in the mountains. ‘ Star Wars ’ fans will be keen to see the site that inspired the planet Tatooine.

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Provence, France

In summer, endless fields of lavender in bloom turn the Provençal landscape purple. At the end of the season, when the crop is harvested, honey, soaps and pastries are made with a fragrant dose of the plant.

Monks at Bayon temple

Bayon, Cambodia

Built in honour of one of Cambodia’s most famous kings, Jayavarman VII, Bayon is a 12th-century state temple that’s a unique architectural feat in the heart of Angkor Thom. Fifty-four gothic towers carved with 216 gargantuan smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara – the bodhisattva of compassion – fill the temple , and the design showcases the shift from Hinduism to Mahayana Buddhism. With Angkor Wat not far away, Bayon, its off-the-beaten track little sister, is a close second in popularity.

The famous three peaks of the National Park are among Wyomings most recognisable sights the Grand forming the highest...

Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The famous three peaks of the National Park are among Wyoming’s most recognisable sights, the Grand forming the highest point of the range. It’s a hike on many pro adventurers' list, but for newbies looking for an outdoors excursion floating down the Snake River or mountain-biking through the 310,000-acre landscape are viable options, too. Top it off with supper at Snake River Grill in Jackson’s town centre and an overnight stay at the cliff-side Amangani .

The worlds highest waterfall with 3212ft cascades is located in the UNESCOprotected Canaima National Park and was the...

Angel Falls, Venezuela

The world’s highest waterfall, with 3,212ft cascades, is located in the UNESCO-protected Canaima National Park and was the inspiration for the Disney film ‘Up’. The site is only accessible by boat or plane.

A gateway to the East Kyrgyzstan has natural beauty. Unspoilt pine forests rocky ridges and rolling jailoos  are typical...

A gateway to the East, Kyrgyzstan has natural beauty. Unspoilt pine forests, rocky ridges and rolling jailoos (summer pastures) are typical of the country. In the warmer months visitors flock to glacial lakes, while in winter a stay with semi-nomadic shepherds is an experience unlike any other.

The 12500ftlong canal runs straight through the centre and has inspired numerous artists including Canaletto Monet and...

Grand Canal, Venice

The 12,500ft-long canal runs straight through the centre and has inspired numerous artists including Canaletto, Monet and JMW Turner. Flanked by buildings dating from the 12th to the 17th centuries, it’s the grandest waterway in the Floating City .

Hwange has a greater diversity of mammals than any national park in the world and is the largest natural reserve in...

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Hwange has a greater diversity of mammals than any national park in the world and is the largest natural reserve in Zimbabwe . The size of Belgium , it is home to more than 50,000 elephants and 500 species of bird. The wet-season winter months are the best time to see migratory birds or book an off-season safari when the park gets fewer visitors.

A third of Mongolia is covered in desert and while its the 18thlargest country in the world its three million...

A third of Mongolia is covered in desert, and while it’s the 18th-largest country in the world, its three million inhabitants make it the most sparsely populated. Visitors can go local: riding horses, helping to look after livestock and sleeping in a herder's ger – a traditional felt yurt.

This salt lake constitutes the lowest point on the continent. Normally dry due to evaporated water with its saltdeposit...

Lake Eyre, Australia

This salt lake constitutes the lowest point on the continent. Normally dry due to evaporated water, with its salt-deposit haze, the body only fills completely twice every 100 years on average.

Minutes from scooterbuzzing Ubud are artsy lowkey villages vivid green rice paddies lush forests and vast jungles. Bali...

Bali, Indonesia

Minutes from scooter-buzzing Ubud are artsy, low-key villages, vivid green rice paddies, lush forests and vast jungles. Bali is one of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands and sees an average temperature of about 30°C year round. Explore by bicycle and then head to one of its many cool beach clubs.

East Sussex England

Seven Sisters Country Park, East Sussex, UK

Britain’s unspoilt south coast is home to one of the country's greatest walking trails and seaside parks, the Seven Sisters. Made up of 280 hectares of chalk cliffs, a winding river valley and flat top grasslands with views of the English Channel, the coastal path begins near Eastbourne, the start of the 100-mile South Downs Way.

On a route made famous by revolutionary Che Guevara who kicked off his motorcycle journey in Buenos Aires head down to...

Atacame Desert, South America

On a route made famous by revolutionary Che Guevara who kicked off his motorcycle journey in Buenos Aires , head down to Chile through the Atacama Desert into the Peruvian Amazon and up to Venezuela. Vast expanses of sandy flats quickly roll into high tops of dunes and gorges leading to plateaus of dusty grass. It’s a trip for explorers, with the Andes standing tall above the Argentine –Chile border, blurring one side into the other. NASA even uses the desert as a testing ground for future Mars missions.

Fujisan the tallest peak in Japan is a sacred mountain and symbol. On a clear day it can be seen from Tokyo but one of...

Mount Fuji, Japan

Fuji-san, the tallest peak in Japan , is a sacred mountain and symbol. On a clear day, it can be seen from Tokyo , but one of the best ways to view the still-active volcano is by taking the shinkansen bullet train from the capital to Osaka (top tip: sit on the right-hand side for the best views). Surrounding areas Hakone (where there are natural hot springs) and Fujigoko are worth visiting during cherry-blossom season.

The largest city in Rajasthan is filled to the brim with buzzing bazaars sacred lakes and gilded royal palaces  the...

Jaipur and the Hawa Mahal Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan

The largest city in Rajasthan is filled to the brim with buzzing bazaars, sacred lakes and gilded royal palaces – the decadent 18th-century royal-owned Rajmahal Palace is a smart hotel. Among the famously rosy-hued buildings of the Pink City, the honeycomb-like Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds, is surely the most recognisable of all. The incredible sandstone structure has 953 small exterior windows (called jharokhas ) decorated with intricate lattice work.

The Namib Desert is the oldest in the world and in the middle of its vast Skeleton Coast are endless miles of stone and...

Skeleton Coast, Namibia

The Namib Desert is the oldest in the world, and in the middle of its vast Skeleton Coast are endless miles of stone and sand, dry riverbeds and dunes. Desert-adapted animals here include elephant, giraffe, lion, brown hyaena and Cape fur seals that thrive in the area.

Its a few hours from buzzing Edinburgh not far from the Cairngorms to the start of the eastern Highlands. Stretching...

The Scottish Highlands

It’s a few hours from buzzing Edinburgh , not far from the Cairngorms, to the start of the eastern Highlands. Stretching around Skye, around the North Coast 500 route up to the village of John O' Groats, the region is also home to the tallest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis. There’s natural beauty everywhere, from babbling Fairy Pools and big-horned cattle to clear coastal waters and snowy mountain caps.

Meaning cotton castle in Turkish this natural wonder is made up of layers of white travertine terraces of iceblue spa...

Pamukkale, Turkey

Meaning cotton castle in Turkish , this natural wonder is made up of layers of white travertine terraces of ice-blue spa pools. It’s also next to the site of the well-preserved ruins of Hierapolis, the Greek-Roman city established in the 2nd century BC.

Stretching over eight countries  France Switzerland Monaco Italy Liechtenstein Austria Germany and Slovenia  the Alps...

Stretching over eight countries – France , Switzerland , Monaco, Italy , Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany and Slovenia – the Alps are the most extensive mountain range in Europe . It has some of the greatest skiing in the world with popular towns including Chamonix -Mont-Blanc (the highest mountain), Lech , Gstaad and Courchevel .

This archipelago of five islands  Bazaruto the largest Benguerra Magaruque Santa Carolina and the smallest Bangue  was...

Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

This archipelago of five islands – Bazaruto, the largest, Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Carolina and the smallest Bangue – was once part of a peninsula connected to the mainland but now, when the Indian Ocean retreats at low tide, swirls and ripples of white sand become visible. A protected marine park, its waters are rich in manta rays, schools of dolphins, hawksbill turtles and dugongs (cousins of equally curious manatees).

Six turquoise waterholes lie within the salty plains of Ojos del Mar in the Tolar Grande region of Bolivia. Inhabited by...

Ojos del Mar, Bolivia

Six turquoise waterholes lie within the salty plains of Ojos del Mar in the Tolar Grande region of Bolivia . Inhabited by stromatolites (deposits formed by algae) and microorganisms, the water can change slightly in colour, depending on the angle of the sun, from bright blue to seafoam green.

Home to the tallest mountain in New Zealand the AorakiMount Cook National Park part of the Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage...

Mount Cook, New Zealand

Home to the tallest mountain in New Zealand , the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, part of the Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Site on the South Island, is a mountaineer’s dream. More than 40 per cent of the area is covered in glaciers, with the largest and longest named the Tasman Glacier. It was here that Sir Edmund Hillary trained for the first momentous ascent of Mount Everest.

One of the Luberon's most striking hilltop hamlets Gordes stands tall on the edge of the Vaucluse plateau. With views...

Gordes, Provence

One of the Luberon's most striking hilltop hamlets, Gordes stands tall on the edge of the Vaucluse plateau. With views across the surrounding region of Provence , the quintessential medieval town is a must-visit. A stay at Bastide de Gordes , the village’s most glamorous hotel, will make the trip complete.

Easily one of the Canadian Rockies most recognisable landmarks Emerald Lake is located within Yoho National Park in...

Emerald Lake, British Columbia Canada

Easily one of the Canadian Rockies’ most recognisable landmarks, Emerald Lake is located within Yoho National Park in British Columbia. Backed by the towering mountain peaks of the President Range, in summer the clear glacial water is ideal for canoeing and attempting a quick swim.

The selfgoverned group of 18 volcanic islands makes up this remote archipelago where sheep outnumber humans. Grasslined...

The Faroe Islands

The self-governed group of 18 volcanic islands makes up this remote archipelago where sheep outnumber humans. Grass-lined houses, craggy coastlines and lush waterfalls are all part of the Nordic landscape but there’s a surprising food scene too.

Modern highrise buildings meet period architecture in retro Hong Kong one of the most densely populated cities in the...

Modern high-rise buildings meet period architecture in retro Hong Kong , one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It’s a street-food capital where eating dim sum like a local in an old teahouse is a mandatory experience. For the best views of the harbour, catch a Star Ferry or hike the hills of Ma On Shan, one of the summits that surround the city.

The magical walled Blue City is a tangle of winding medieval streets. The monumental 15thcentury Mehrangarh Fort which...

Jodhpur, India

The magical, walled Blue City is a tangle of winding medieval streets. The monumental 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort, which is still run by the royal family and now serves as a museum, looks out over the old city and its mesh of box-shaped buildings, shops and bazaars.

The Navajo name of this slot canyon translates to ‘the place where water runs through rocks and the narrow ravine is an...

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

The Navajo name of this slot canyon translates to ‘the place where water runs through rocks’ and the narrow ravine is an American Southwest treasure, filled with ripples of eroded stone formations, and sunlight creating orange filters and bright patterns. The popularity of this spot among keen photographers speaks for itself – this is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

This Arctic archipelago about a threehour flight north of Oslo has one of the harshest environments on the planet....

Svalbard, Norway

This Arctic archipelago , about a three-hour flight north of Oslo , has one of the harshest environments on the planet. Nearly two-thirds of it is protected and the islands are made up of bird sanctuaries, nature reserves and national parks where polar bears roam. The Northern Lights can be seen in the winter and in the summer, when the temperature tops out at 6°C, the sun doesn’t go below the horizon.

The forwardthinking capital of Scandi cool appeals to foodies design junkies and a cool young crowd. With its...

Copenhagen, Denmark

The forward-thinking capital of Scandi cool appeals to foodies, design junkies and a cool young crowd. With its ground-breaking food scene , including world-famous Noma (and Noma 2.0 ), it’s a city to be taken seriously. Colourful buildings dot the central Nyhavn port, but it’s worth exploring alternative community Christiania, quirky Vesterbro and hipster Nørrebro, too.

The old town of Lamu on the Indian Ocean island of the same name was established in the 14th century. Now a UNESCO World...

Lamu, Kenya

The old town of Lamu , on the Indian Ocean island of the same name, was established in the 14th century. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the port city is a mish-mash of cultures – Swahili, Asian, Arabic, European – while along the laid-back coast majestic dhows sail by all day long.

More than 3000 narrow quartzsandstone pillars make up Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area in the Hunan...

Wulingyuan, China

More than 3,000 narrow, quartz-sandstone pillars make up Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area in the Hunan Province. These natural wonders, many higher than 656ft, are broken up by ravines, gorges, caves and waterfalls. It’s easy to see why the UNESCO World Heritage Site was James Cameron’s inspiration for Avatar .

Home to the worlds tallest trees Redwood National Park north of San Francisco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part...

Redwood National Park, California

Home to the world’s tallest trees, Redwood National Park, north of San Francisco , is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of an International Biosphere Reserve that protects close to half of the planet’s old-growth redwoods – some of which are 370ft high. With more than 200 miles of trail routes, it’s ideal for camping, hiking and riding.

The crumbling façades of this island nation's capital keep bringing in waves of travelling artists rum fanatics and...

Havana, Cuba

The crumbling façades of this island nation's capital keep bringing in waves of travelling artists, rum fanatics and cigar smokers to the city. It’s where Hemingway wrote seven of his books and drank Mojitos at La Bodeguita del Medio. And with temperatures of 27°C in December, it’s an ideal winter-sun destination.

Considered to be the cultural centre of Japan Kyoto is awash with ancient temples and shrines serene teahouses and...

Kyoto, Japan

Considered to be the cultural centre of Japan, Kyoto is awash with ancient temples and shrines, serene teahouses and sublime gardens. The bright-orange Fushimi-inari, a shinto shrine in the hills, is a visual beauty. Grab an artisan coffee, taken very seriously in the traditional city, and make the two-hour pilgrimage through the shrine's thousands of torii (gates). Other spots worth visiting include Gion, the home of the geishas, the golden pavilion of Kinkaku-ji and Nishiki market for street food or a traditional kaiseki feast at one of the city's local restaurants.

The kaleidoscopic city may best be known for its market life spice sellers and ancient medinas but its reimagined riads...

Marrakech, Morocco

The kaleidoscopic city may best be known for its market life, spice sellers and ancient medinas, but its reimagined riads, cool independent shops and contemporary art scene are giving it a modern edge. There are lots of places to discover – from Yves Saint Laurent’s restoration of cobalt-blue Jardin Majorelle to the smoky street-food stalls in Jemaa el-Fna.

A quick ferry ride from Naples the island of Ischia  famed for its thermal spas and unshowy local life  is a tumble of...

Ischia, Italy

A quick ferry ride from Naples , the island of Ischia – famed for its thermal spas and unshowy local life – is a tumble of fishing villages and beaches that match Amalfi but without the crowds.

The Old City sacred to a number of religions blends grand design with places of prayer. Dome of the Rock on the Temple...

Jerusalem, Israel

The Old City, sacred to a number of religions, blends grand design with places of prayer. Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount is one of the oldest extant works of Islamic architecture. Meanwhile the Kotel, also known as the Western Wall, is a must-visit for any first-timer and is considered to be the holiest site in the Jewish faith.

Bondi Icebergs might easily be the most famous pool in the world. The Olympicsize structure has been standing on the...

Bondi Iceburgs, Australia

Bondi Icebergs might easily be the most famous pool in the world. The Olympic-size structure has been standing on the southern end of Bondi Beach for more than 100 years. It’s not heated or chlorinated, but filled with seawater, with the Tasman Sea crashing against its edge.

The Philippines has more than 7000 islands  about 5000 of which are uninhabited  where roughly 175 languages are spoken....

The Philippines

The Philippines has more than 7,000 islands – about 5,000 of which are uninhabited – where roughly 175 languages are spoken. For diving, El Nido is the ideal spot with crystal-clear water and vibrant marine life.

About 20 minutes outside Kyotos city centre is the atmospheric Arashiyama bamboo forest. Arrive at around 7am to avoid...

Arashiyama, Bamboo Forest, Japan

About 20 minutes outside Kyoto’s city centre is the atmospheric Arashiyama bamboo forest. Arrive at around 7am to avoid the crowds and get a chance to see and feel the wood, as well as hear it creaking in the wind. Morning light is just as ethereal, too. Arabica coffee shop is nearby, overlooking Hozugawa River.

The incredible pink lakes here make up part of the protected nature reserve of Ría Lagartos Biosphere on Mexicos Yucatn...

Las Coloradas, Yucatan, Mexico

The incredible pink lakes here make up part of the protected nature reserve of Ría Lagartos Biosphere on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. Red-coloured algae, plankton and brine shrimp that thrive in the waters not only turn the native flamingos pink but help produce 500,000 tons of salt per year.

The Avenue of the Baobabs Madagascar

Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar

This is one of Madagascar's most visited natural sites – and for good reason. Aside from the spectacular photo opportunities on offer as the sun casts auburn shades on the trees, travellers come to support local conservation efforts, and spot the unique wildlife that frolics in the overgrowth nearby.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Blue lagoon, Iceland

One of  Iceland's  most spectacular sites is, surprisingly, man-made. The Blue Lagoon's waters are a byproduct of a nearby geothermal power plant, which passes through turbines and into the lagoon. Natural geological layers account for the water's rich mineral content, which travellers use to their benefit, bathing and smothering themselves in the rich clay.

Eager to spot a waddle of penguins in the wild There's no need to save up for the ultimate excursion to Antarctica ...

Cape Town, South Africa

Eager to spot a waddle of penguins in the wild? There's no need to save up for the ultimate excursion to Antarctica – although that's just as high on many bucket lists. On the shores of some of  South Africa's  most picturesque beaches, the animals mingle in search of a mate – safe from the fearsome great white that circle beneath the waves just metres away.

Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon, USA

The Grand Canyon is part of the Colorado River basin and, aside from its beauty, is geologically significant as the waters that pass through here have revealed billions of years worth of rock layers. While it's popular with travelling day-trippers, native Americans still call it home, having first settled in the caves thousands of years ago.

Inside view on IkKil Cenote close to Chichen Itza Mexico

Cenotes, Mexico

Formed by the collapse of eroded limestone,  Mexico's  cenotes harbour secrets and beauty discovered by sunshine-chasers each year. The unique formations were celebrated by the ancient Maya people, and archaeological investigations over the years have found artefacts made from gold, jadeite, shell and more on the sandy depths.

A road poising through the desert of Joshua Tree as sunrise

Joshua Tree National Park, USA

Stone tools and spearheads discovered in Joshua Tree National Park suggest the region was inhabited as long as 8,000 years ago. Modern travellers experience this wilderness in a very different way, checking into luxurious micro-resorts and serviced holiday homes. Think the landscapes are otherworldly by day? Look to the skies at night for an altogether different, and unforgettable, sight.


The Maldives

Spoiling retreats of all shapes and sizes litter the sandy banks of the Maldives , an archipelagic state in the Indian Ocean. Between the indulgent wellness resorts and exotic restaurants, the crystal-clear waters offer ample opportunity for snorkelling and diving excursions. Dive into the blue and find yourself in a world of kaleidoscopic colour as fish fizzle in and out of focus.

Peyto Lake in Canada

Peyto Lake, Canada

One of Canada's most beautiful and most-photographed lakes is a pool of cerulean on darker days, while its glacier waters mirror the sky's dappled blue on brighter days. Keen amblers are well rewarded as they reach Bow Summit, the highest point on the Icefields Parkway.

Argent Beach on La Digue Island Seychelles

La Digue, Seychelles

The third most populated island in  the Seychelles , La Digue takes its name from a ship in the fleet of French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne, who visited the Seychelles in 1768. Thanks to its otherworldly granite formations, glassy waters and fine sand, Anse Source d'Argent is often regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – a spot travellers fawn over as they venture out from the island's uber-luxurious hotels and resorts.

Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone National Park Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, USA

Bison, bears, geese, deer – these are just some of the animals that call the oldest national park in the world home. Each change of the seasons beckons new residents out of their homes, as many cosy up during the cold winters and await the first signs of spring. A highlight of the park is the Yellowstone Caldera, a gargantuan crater that was formed by a cataclysmic volcanic eruption some 640,000 years ago.

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The World's Most-visited Tourist Attractions

Since 1971, Travel + Leisure editors have followed one mission: to inform, inspire, and guide travelers to have deeper, more meaningful experiences. T+L's editors have traveled to countries all over the world, having flown, sailed, road tripped, and taken the train countless miles. They've visited small towns and big cities, hidden gems and popular destinations, beaches and mountains, and everything in between. With a breadth of knowledge about destinations around the globe, air travel, cruises, hotels, food and drinks, outdoor adventure, and more, they are able to take their real-world experience and provide readers with tried-and-tested trip ideas, in-depth intel, and inspiration at every point of a journey.

For nearly 500 years, the emperors living within Beijing's opulent Forbidden City dictated who could enter and leave. Well, the gates have opened, and tourists are pouring in to see it all for themselves. Attendance is up by 2.5 million since 2010.

The Forbidden City is a dream destination for some Americans, but most have never researched a trip to Everland or Lotte World. Yet these South Korean theme parks also rank among the world's 50 most-visited tourist attractions—beating out the Eiffel Tower (nearly 7 million), the Great Pyramids (4 million), and Stonehenge (1 million). And there are more surprises.

Where we choose to spend our vacation time says a lot about what we value. Despite—or perhaps because of—what the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) calls "global economic challenges," more travelers are hitting the road than ever. International tourist arrivals increased by five percent in 2013, according to the UNWTO. That translates to a record of more than one billion trips. With its population of 1.36 billion, China has become the second-largest exporter of tourists. Russia, now the fifth-largest outbound market, increased travel spending by 26 percent.

Like it or not, theme parks clearly have worldwide appeal. France's Disneyland Park draws about the same number of visitors (10.5 million) as Sacré Coeur, and four of the world's 20 most-visited tourist attractions are Disney parks.

Many inspiring and iconic places can't quite keep up. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum narrowly missed the top 50, as did the British Museum in London (6.7 million), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (6.3 million), and the Roman Colosseum and Forum (5.1 million each). The Berlin Wall Memorial Site logged only 500,000 visitors in 2013, though extra crowds arrived in November 2014 for the 25th anniversary of its fall.

Accessibility can be a factor. It takes extra effort to reach Yellowstone National Park (3.2 million) or the Terracotta Army in Xi'an, China (4.8 million). And Peru's Machu Picchu has restricted tourism to help maintain the site's integrity; only 2,500 can enter per day, or 912,500 per year.

So what is the most-visited tourist attraction in the world? And can 91 million people be wrong? Read on to see the results—and an explanation of our methods for calculating it all.

Julie Bang/Travel + Leisure

The Methodology: To tally up the world's most-visited attractions, we gathered the most recent data supplied by the attractions themselves or from government agencies, industry reports, and reputable media outlets. In most cases, it was 2013 data. Attractions that don't sell tickets gave us estimates as best they could.

We defined "tourist attractions" as cultural and historical sites, natural landmarks, and officially designated spaces. So Boston's shop-filled Faneuil Hall Marketplace (est. 1742) made the cut, but not Minnesota's Mall of America, which, with 40 million annual visitors, would otherwise have tied for No. 4. Short walkways and plazas also fit our definition of tourist attractions; that disqualified the Blue Ridge Parkway. We also omitted beaches, bridges, and sites that draw almost exclusively religious pilgrims.

Reported by Kate Appleton, Rich Beattie, Adrien Glover, Lyndsey Matthews, April Orcutt, Joshua Pramis, and Ann Shields

No. 1 Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Annual Visitors: 91,250,000

Hand-painted ceramics, lanterns, intricately patterned carpets, copperware, gold Byzantine-style jewelry, and more eye-catching products vie for your attention within this 15th-century bazaar's vaulted walkways. It has since expanded and become increasingly touristy, but locals, too, are among the millions of bargain hunters. To haggle like a pro, lowball your starting offer and don't be afraid to walk away. And if it all gets overwhelming, break for a succulent doner kebab or strong cup of Turkish coffee.

Source: Grand Bazaar management

No. 2 The Zócalo, Mexico City

Jorge Castro/Travel + Leisure

Annual Visitors: 85,000,000

Formally known as the Plaza de la Constitución, the enormous Zócalo thrums with activity. It hosts military parades, cultural and political events, concerts, exhibitions, fairs, and public art installations. Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace flank this historic public square, and an imposing Mexican flag, raised and lowered daily, waves over the scene.

Source: Mexico Tourism Board

No. 3 Times Square, New York City

Annual Visitors: 50,000,000

Tourists flock to New York's neon heart for the flashing lights, Broadway shows, megastores, and sheer spectacle—including costumed characters eager to pose for photo ops. Pedestrian-only areas with café tables introduced a few years ago have made it easier and more appealing to hang out here. Times Square can even be a convenient, if chaotic, base, thanks to hotels at every price point and easy access to public transportation: subways, rails, buses, and more yellow taxis than you can count.

Source: The Times Square Alliance

No. 4 (tie) Central Park, New York City

Annual Visitors: 40,000,000

New York has larger green spaces, but none is more famous than Central Park , which stretches across nearly 850 acres of prime Manhattan real estate—an oasis for both tourists and locals. You can ride in one of the horse-drawn carriages, check out the modest-size zoo, climb to the top of 19th-century Belvedere Castle, or take a break from pounding the pavement to sprawl on the Great Lawn, gazing at the skyscrapers above.

Source: Central Park Conservancy

No. 4 (tie) Union Station, Washington, D.C.

Opened in 1907, this busy station shuttles some 12,500 passengers daily in and out of Washington, D.C. But it also handles millions of tourists who pass through to take in the impeccably mixed architectural styles throughout the colossal building: from Classical to Beaux-Arts to Baroque. More than 70 retail outlets make Union Station a shopping destination, and it's also a jumping-off point for many D.C. tours.

Source: Union Station

No. 6 Las Vegas Strip

Annual Visitors: 30,500,000

In 2013, 77 percent of Vegas tourists—30.5 million—chose to stay at hotels right on the four-mile-long Strip. And why not? Roll out of bed and onto the Strip to catch the Bellagio fountains in action, shop, gamble, and, of course, people-watch (which can get especially fun later at night). For a cool new vantage point, hop aboard the High Roller , a 550-foot-tall Ferris wheel that debuted in March 2014. It's part of Linq, a flashy 300,000-square-foot shopping and entertainment complex by Caesars.

Source: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

No. 7 (tie) Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo

Annual Visitors: 30,000,000

Built more than 100 years ago to honor the divine souls of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, this Shinto shrine in bustling Tokyo is a peaceful haven surrounded by a holy forest of more than 100,000 trees. Seasonal gardens feature spring azaleas, summer irises, brilliant autumn leaves on Japanese maples and ginkgos, and black pines dusted with winter snow.

Source: Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)

No. 7 (tie) Sensoji Temple, Tokyo

Tokyo's oldest temple was dedicated to the Bodhisattva Kannon, the most compassionate Buddha, in 628. Dramatic nighttime illumination highlights vermilion and crimson detailing in the Five-Storied Pagoda. Continuing centuries-long tradition, stalls along the temple's Nakamise Street sell food and goods to pilgrims, whose numbers swell around New Year's.

No. 9 Niagara Falls, New York and Ontario

Annual Visitors: 22,000,000

Straddling the border of the U.S. and Canada, three massive waterfalls, together called Niagara Falls , spill about 6 million cubic feet of water—from a maximum vertical drop of 165 feet—every minute. While there are about 500 taller waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls is spectacular for its sheer power. It's also more accessible than many major falls, a short flight or drive for millions of regional tourists.

Source: Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp./Canadian Tourism Commission

No. 10 Grand Central Terminal, New York City

Annual Visitors : 21,600,00

Unlike harried commuters, visitors take their time in the main concourse of this Beaux-Arts landmark , pausing to view its glittering ceiling painted with a map of the constellations from the night sky. Shops, an annual holiday market, special events, and restaurants also attract attention. Two of the grandest venues are the Campbell Apartment, serving craft cocktails, and the historic Oyster Bar —featured on AMC's Mad Men —which shucks 2 million fresh bivalves a year.

Source: Grand Central Terminal

No. 11 Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City

Annual Visitors: 20,000,000

The Old Basilica , begun in the 16th century and completed in 1709, stands in stark contrast to the massive new basilica, designed by the Mexican architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, which was built in the mid-1970s and looks like a sports arena. It is, in fact, intended to hold 50,000 people, who come for mass—celebrated several times a day—and to see an image of the Virgin Mary that is said to have appeared on an apron in 1531.

No. 12 Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Orlando, FL

Annual Visitors: 18,588,000

The Most Magical Place on Earth is high on virtually every family's to-do list and remains the most-visited theme park on the earth. Expanded Fantasyland now includes the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train family-style roller coaster and a chance to meet Anna and Elsa from the smash-hit Frozen in the Princess Fairytale Hall near Cinderella Castle. Time-tested attractions include the Jungle Cruise and Space Mountain, the daily Disney character parade down Main Street, USA, and a fireworks spectacular that lights up the sky many nights.

Source: TEA/AECOM Global Attractions Attendance Report

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No. 13 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston

Annual Visitors: 18,000,000

Dating back to 1742, Faneuil Hall ("the Cradle of Liberty") once hosted speeches by such greats as Samuel Adams and George Washington. Today, the downtown marketplace has more than 100 specialty shops and eateries and occupies a pedestrian-only, cobblestoned area that swarms with tourists and street performers. Each winter, Faneuil Hall also hosts Boston's tallest Christmas tree, along with festive light displays and choirs.

Source: Faneuil Hall Marketplace

No. 14 Tokyo Disneyland

Annual Visitors: 17,214,000

Disney's Tokyo outpost has become the second most-visited theme park in the world (beating out Anaheim, CA's Disneyland, which held that title in 2010). It shares the sweetness of the original parks' Fantasyland with Peter Pan's Flight and Dumbo the Flying Elephant as well as Tomorrowland's Space Mountain and Star Tours—The Adventures Continue. A musical soundtrack and other renovations have improved the Adventureland classic: Jungle Cruise Wildlife Expedition, while a new after-dark night cruise promises more surprises.

No. 15 Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA

Annual Visitors: 16,202,000

Though not as massive as its Orlando counterpart, the original Disney park , which occupies about 85 acres of land, has retro charm and some better features. Here the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction lasts almost twice as long and ends in a humid southern bayou with fireflies (instead of a gift shop). The Indiana Jones Adventure ride careens over lava, past swarms of beetles, and under that 16-foot rolling boulder. Thrill-seekers will also appreciate that the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has reopened.

No. 16 Forbidden City, Beijing

Annual Visitors: 15,340,000

It doesn't have a street address—which is only fitting for a place that was once considered the center of the universe. Nowadays, tourists swarm this 178-acre walled compound of opulent halls, gardens, and winged pavilions. Attendance is up by 2.5 million since 2010. It can easily take half a day to explore the grounds, and history buffs will appreciate the self-guided audio tour—or a hired guide.

Source: Forbidden City Palace Museum and China Odyssey Tours

No. 17 Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco

Annual Visitors: 14,289,121

Beaches, cliffs, hills, forts, and towering redwood trees make up the Golden Gate National Recreation Area , easily accessible from San Francisco. Many visitors come to embrace the outdoors, whether hiking, biking, swimming, birding, riding horses, or whale-watching. But this scenic area is also rich in history and includes landmarks like Alcatraz prison and the Presidio, an 18th-century military post. You can even base yourself within the recreation area; Cavallo Point's rooms and suites occupy restored turn-of-the-20th-century Colonial Revival buildings that overlook San Francisco Bay .

Source: National Park Service

No. 18 Tokyo DisneySea

Annual Visitors: 14,084,000

DisneySea , the companion park to Tokyo Disneyland overlooking Tokyo Bay, took inspiration from aquatic myths, legends and the lore of the sea. Divided into seven "ports of call," the park emphasizes water attractions with Venetian gondolas, a Mermaid Lagoon, a journey to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and an Aquatopia with quirky boats in a sea of rocks, whirlpools and water spouts. But it's not all fountains and bubbles—the park also has scary rides like the Tower of Terror, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull.

No. 19 Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Annual Visitors: 14,000,000

A masterpiece of Gothic architecture—all soaring buttresses, crouching gargoyles, and magnificent rose windows— Notre Dame has survived attacks of Huguenots, sansculottes, occupying armies, and questionable renovations since its completion in 1345. In spite of its often violent past, visitors flock to the cathedral for the hushed peace and reflection it provides, even in the midst of Paris.

Source: Atout France, the France Tourism Development Agency

No. 20 Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Annual Visitors: 13,000,000

Cascading three miles from the Panhandle down to the Pacific, Golden Gate Park serves as playground and haven for this diverse city. The park's offerings include museums (the de Young Museum and the Academy of Sciences), botanical wonders (the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, a rhododendron forest, and more than 75,000 trees, among others), sporting fields and courts, playgrounds, and even a small herd of buffalo.

Source: San Francisco Recreation & Park Department

No. 21 Balboa Park, San Diego

Chelsea Loren/Travel + Leisure

Annual Visitors: 12,000,000 to 14,000,000

Balboa Park's 1,200 acres form a mini-city with 15 accredited museums, 19 gardens, nine performing arts groups, a miniature railroad, a golf course, tennis courts, lawn bowling, a gymnasium, a historic carousel, and a Super Sonic Samba School. Not to mention the world-famous San Diego Zoo , with three crowd-pleasing giant pandas. Balboa Park also features the Spreckels Organ, whose 4,518 pipes range from the size of a pencil to 32 feet tall.

Source: Balboa Park

No. 22 South Street Seaport, New York City

Annual Visitors: 12,000,000

This 12-block historic East River site in Lower Manhattan dates back to the 1600s, and its cobblestoned streets are packed with shops and restaurants. Pier 17 will reopen in 2016 after undergoing extensive renovation. Commercialism aside, the history runs deep here and is perhaps best experienced on one of the two 1800s tall-masted schooners the South Street Seaport Museum maintains. Go for a sunset sail with Gotham as a backdrop.

Source: The Howard Hughes Corporation

No. 23 San Antonio River Walk, San Antonio, TX

Annual Visitors: 11,500,000

Cypress-lined cobble-and-flagstone paths meander for four miles along both sides of the narrow San Antonio River. Locals and visitors come to the River Walk's horseshoe-shaped loop downtown to browse shops and hang out at restaurants like Boudro's for a prickly-pear margarita and guacamole prepared tableside. The Museum Reach river walk section stretches an additional 1.7 miles north, past art installations under every bridge and the San Antonio Museum of Art.

Source: San Antonio River Walk (Paseo del Rio)

No. 24 Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Michela Sieman/Travel + Leisure

Annual Visitors: 11,229,000

Built to honor the late Walt Disney's utopian ideal of the innovative future (the name is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), Epcot attracts guests who skew a little older than those of its neighbor, the Magic Kingdom. Restaurants are aimed at more sophisticated palates, and annual celebrations include a flower and garden show and an international food and wine festival. Perennial favorite rides like Soarin', Mission: SPACE, and The Seas with Nemo & Friends keep the kids and kids-at-heart happy. Expect visits to the Norway pavilion to spike when a Frozen -themed ride debuts in 2016.

No. 25 St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy

Annual Visitors: 11,000,000

One of the holiest Catholic sites, St. Peter's Basilica teems with ornate gold, marble columns, paintings of angels, iconic statues, and works created by a who's who of Renaissance artists, including Raphael, Brunelleschi, Bernini, and Michelangelo, who sculpted the marble Pietà and designed the massive dome. For a nominal fee, you can climb 320 steps to the top and soak up the most famous panorama of Rome .

Source: Italian Government Tourist Board

No. 26 Great Wall of China

Annual Visitors: 10,720,000 (Badaling and Mutianyu areas combined)

Once used as a wartime defense, the Great Wall winds "like a dragon tail" from eastern China to western, spanning some 5,500 miles. While much of what is visible today was built during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), construction began on various sections as far back as 770 B.C. Credit goes to the million slaves and prisoners of war who carried blocks of granite, bricks, stones, and dirt on their backs up to the top of the ridgelines. The Badaling section, closest to Beijing, draws the biggest crowds. Word has gotten out, inspiring some travelers to make the longer drive to the more serene Mutianyu section.

Source: National Tourism Administration of the People's Republic of China and China Odyssey Tours

No. 27 Sacré Coeur Basilica, Paris

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Annual Visitors: 10,500,000

Sacré Coeur lures visitors to the summit of Montmartre for a litany of reasons—while some come to pray and meditate, most come for the remarkable 360-degree views of the City of Light from its highest vantage point. The construction of the basilica, which started in 1871, was intended to restore peace to a site stained by violence during the Paris Commune.

No. 28 Disneyland Park, Marne-la-Vallée, France

Annual Visitors: 10,430,000

When Disney's first European theme park opened in 1992, many French protested the "cultural imperialism" of such an American symbol opening 40 minutes outside of Paris. Today it's one of the most-visited locations in Europe. So be prepared to queue for popular rides like It's a Small World, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast. A 3D ride inspired by the film Ratatouille opened in 2014; enter through a replica of Gusteau's restaurant.

No. 29 Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Annual Visitors: 10,198,000

Since 1998, this animal-themed park has successfully marketed Mickey Mouse and silverback gorillas under one all-inclusive "roof." If it has four legs or wings or a tail, chances are you'll find it at this zoo/museum/school theme park. Don't miss the Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, or the 14-story Tree of Life sculpture carved with some 325 animals. Fun fact: at one point park creators also wanted to include a section for mythological creatures called "Beastly Kingdom."

No. 30 Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Annual Visitors: 10,110,000

Disney describes this park (est. 1989) as " the Hollywood that never was and always will be ." Laid out much like a real-life motion picture studio, with a 154-acre network of streets and buildings and miniature replicas of famous landmarks, it showcases the golden age of film. But most kids make a beeline to Toy Story Midway Mania! at Pixar Place and Star Tours—The Adventures Continue.

No. 31 Universal Studios Japan, Osaka, Japan

Annual Visitors: 10,100,000

Opened in 2001 and a near twin to its Orlando sibling—albeit one with more sushi— this popular movie theme park is one of four operated by Universal in Japan. Highlights include a Jaws -like shark encounter, Jurassic Park roller-coaster ride, Sesame Street in 4-D, and now the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Interesting fact: investment banking firm Goldman Sachs is the park's largest shareholder.

No. 32 Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood, CA

Annual Visitors: 10,000,000 to 12,000,000

Nothing says Hollywood like the (literally) star-studded Walk of Fame , with each star bearing the name of a celebrity with enough cachet to be immortalized on the street. That means stars from James Dean and Marilyn Monroe to, more recently, Tina Fey and Neil Patrick Harris.

Source: Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

No. 33 Pike Place Market, Seattle

Annual Visitors: 10,000,000

One of the oldest continually operating farmers' markets in the U.S. (est. 1907), this nine-acre National Historic District is famous for kitschy Seattle souvenirs, salmon-throwing fishmongers, and its "gum wall" installation art. The many seafood restaurants include Market Grill and Emmett Watson's for oysters. It's just down the street from one of the original Starbucks—complete with an early-edition logo featuring a more, er, risqué mermaid.

Source: Pike Place Market

No. 34 Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

Annual Visitors: 9,345,695

Originally Cherokee homeland, America's most-visited national park first opened in 1940 and covers some 520,000 acres of protected Tennessee and North Carolina forestland that's bisected by the Appalachian Trail. Whether hiking Chimney Tops (or any of the 800 miles of trails) or driving the super-scenic U.S. Highway 441, visitors are sure to get an eyeful of the mystical haze that inspired the park's name. To escape the crowds, park ranger Caitlin Worth recommends heading to Balsam Mountain Road, a high-elevation gravel road accessible from the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

No. 35 Musée du Louvre, Paris

Annual Visitors: 9,334,000

The world's largest museum is both the subject of ongoing architectural controversy—not everyone agrees with the 1989 addition of I. M. Pei's 69-foot-high glass pyramid entrance—and an art-lover's wonderland of some 35,000 masterworks. Throngs parade through the former 12th-century palace to see such famous highlights as Leonardo da Vinci's smiling La Gioconda , a.k.a. Mona Lisa —a painting that, rumor has it, was originally commissioned by François I to hang in his château at Fontainebleau. And the crush of visitors continues to increase, up about 10 percent since 2010. One tip: avoid peak crowds by timing your arrival to Wednesday or Friday evening, when the museum is open until 9:45 p.m.

No. 36 Navy Pier, Chicago

Annual Visitors: 8,900,000

While the USS Chicago —docked at the end of the pier—is a reminder of its World War I military past, this bustling Lake Michigan promenade now caters to civilians with a mix of carnival rides, dancing fountains, trinket stalls, an IMAX theater, and local food favorites Garrett Popcorn and Billy Goat Tavern. Don't miss the exceptional stained-glass museum featuring colorful works by Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Source: Navy Pier

No. 37 Disney's California Adventure, Anaheim, CA

Annual Visitors: 8,514,000

Cars Land, a 12-acre real-life rendition of Radiator Springs from the films that pay homage to Route 66 and retro-cars culture, remains a big draw at Disney's California Adventure . Guests "racing" in the Radiator Springs Racers attraction never know which car will get the checkered flag. Most fun, though, is still Soarin' Over California, a simulated hang-glider flight over the Golden State complete with motion, wind, and the sweet scent of orange blossoms.

No. 38 Sydney Opera House, Sydney

Annual Visitors: 8,200,000

With its dramatic cantilevered roof and harbor setting, the Sydney Opera House is easily Australia's most recognizable landmark—and its most visited. Few tourists leave Sydney without at least stopping here for a photo op. But you can do much more: go backstage for a tour, attend one of the 40-plus weekly performances, and watch the sun set over the city and Sydney Harbour Bridge from the alfresco Opera Bar. Make your grand exit on the scenic Manly Ferry, which passes right by.

Source: Sydney Opera House

No. 39 Universal's Islands of Adventure, Orlando, FL

Number of Visitors: 8,141,000

Hogwarts fans went hog wild when Islands of Adventure opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010, and the attendance numbers continue to reflect Harry's magic touch. Shops, restaurants (The Three Broomsticks), and rides are all branded with the boy wizard; nonbelievers can find rides themed with Marvel superheroes and other trademarked characters. The Jurassic Park River Adventure, for instance, is a hairy river-raft ride with a terrifying T. rex attack, set in a habitat for animatronic dinosaurs.

No. 40 (tie) Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

Annual Visitors: 8,000,000

Dinosaur fossils, a huge stuffed elephant, and an insect zoo have been wowing kids for generations (and for free). The 126-million-item collection even includes the notorious Hope Diamond. But this National Mall favorite continues to innovate, in the last few years opening the Ocean Hall and the ambitious Hall of Human Origins, where visitors come face-to-face with specimens and models of their ancestors.

No. 40 (tie) Grand Palace, Bangkok

Number of Visitors: 8,000,000

The gold-spired Grand Palace in Bangkok is one of Thailand's most important sacred sites. The riverfront complex, built in 1782, housed Thai kings for 150 years. The Outer Court serves as the visitor entrance today; the Center Court was the king's residence; and the Inner Court, the quarters of his consorts and daughters. Keep an eye out for Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, located near the Outer Court.

Source: Thailand Tourist Services

No. 40 (tie) Pier 39, San Francisco

Melissa Zink/Travel + Leisure

Of course it's corny—replete with candy shops, T-shirt emporiums, stuffed animals, and fried food—but this tourist magnet at the edge of Fisherman's Wharf offers great views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Perhaps the wooden pier's biggest attraction is the noisy community of sea lions that bark and bask on the docks. Aquarium of the Bay is by the pier's entrance.

Source: PIER 39

No. 43 Palace of Versailles, France

Annual Visitors: 7,527,122

King Louis XIV did a pretty nice job redoing a place that started out as a mere hunting lodge and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's so nice, in fact, that people willingly trade a day in Paris cafés for the experience of wandering Versailles' hallways, like the gilded Hall of Mirrors—the best place to channel your inner Sun King.

No. 44 Ocean Park, Hong Kong

Annual Visitors: 7,475,000

Sure, there are roller coasters, but this 40-acre theme park stands out for attractions that are more down to earth. There's Panda Village, where, despite the name, visitors come to see playful otters; Pacific Pier, where you can feed seals and sea lions; and the Sea Jelly Spectacular, where you can marvel at some 1,000 jellyfish, including many phosphorescent species. A mountain divides the park, which you can navigate by bus, train, even cable car. (It's a bus ride away from central Hong Kong.)

No. 45 Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Annual Visitors: 7,470,000

You'd have to be a pretty big curmudgeon for Bourbon Street not to put you in a good mood. Free-flowing music and booze might have something to do with it. Restaurants and bars pack this historic strip of the French Quarter; Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is even rumored to be haunted. Of course, if you really like crowds, grab your mask and join the Mardi Gras circus.

Source: New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau

No. 46 National Museum of China, Beijing

Annual Visitors: 7,450,000

This museum on Tiananmen Square measures 2.07 million square feet—surpassing New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2 million square feet—and reopened in 2011 after a decade-long renovation. It presents 5,000 years of Chinese history, as approved by the Ministry of Culture. (In other words, don't expect much on the Great Leap Forward.) Artifacts include ancient Chinese Buddhist sculptures, a cowboy hat Deng Xiaoping wore on a visit to the U.S., and glazed pottery from the Tang dynasty. The museum also hosts temporary shows on subjects ranging from Leo Tolstoy to African art.

No. 47 (tie) Hong Kong Disneyland, Hong Kong

Annual Visitors: 7,400,000

Hong Kong Disneyland features tried-and-true crowd-pleasers like Sleeping Beauty's castle and Space Mountain as well as the recent additions of Mystic Point (2013), Grizzly Gulch (2012) and Toy Story Land (2011), increasing the park's size in the last three years by 25 percent. What sets this park apart from the others? It was designed according to the Chinese rules of feng shui in a nod to local culture. It also has a dedicated stop on Hong Kong's efficient metro.

No. 47 (tie) Lotte World, Seoul

The world's largest indoor theme park is just the beginning of a complex that seems as big as Seoul itself. An outdoor amusement park, a folk museum, theaters, malls, an aquarium, and other venues round it out, along with—of course—plenty of karaoke machines.

No. 49 Everland, Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea

Annual Visitors: 7,303,000

Everland amusement park in South Korea has been thrilling kids since 1973 and knows how to keep them coming. The park is divided into themed sections that range from American Adventure (a rodeo experience, a wildly swinging Columbus ship) to Zoo-Topia (Amazon River ride, Safari World). It holds the record for the world's steepest wooden roller coaster.

No. 50 Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Annual Visitors: 7,000,000 to 8,000,000

The Taj Mahal is a graceful tribute to eternal love—a mausoleum that a 17th-century Moghul emperor built for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Gardens and reflecting pools with fountains lead to the mausoleum made of white marble with inlaid flower patterns made of semiprecious stones. The number of visitors has more than doubled since 2010 (when it welcomed 3 million).

Source: Department of Tourism, Government of Uttar Pradesh

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52 Places to Go in 2023

An Indian woman wearing a traditional sari wrap is using a taper to light a whole wall filled with hundreds of little oil lamps. They are illuminated and casting a bright glow over the scene; each lamp is set in its own little box within the wooden wall structure, tied with supporting pieces of bamboo. There are bunches of tiny bananas also tied to the top of the wall case.

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A buzzing city ready for a coronation, a brand-new airport link and a prehistoric colossus read more.

Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

The Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace has a royal marching band walking out of the palace gates, with waiting crowds gathered and police standing nearby. The band are blowing their instruments and wearing navy topcoats with gold buttons and gold helmets with long red tassels hanging from the top.

Between an altered post-lockdown landscape, sensational changeovers at 10 Downing Street and the death of Queen Elizabeth II, there is no doubt that London is in transition. But the city continues to juxtapose old traditions and new possibilities, offering something for everyone who loves culture, history, art and nightlife.

For fans of the royal family, and maybe a few naysayers, the crowning of King Charles III , Britain’s first coronation in seven decades, will be the main event in May. There’s also the revamping of Battersea Power Station , an iconic former coal-fired power plant, into a shopping and leisure hub, and a new line on the Underground will directly connect Heathrow Airport to the central boroughs. A cast of a titanosaur, the largest creature ever to walk the planet, will make its European debut at the Natural History Museum , and late-night obsessives can head to newly opened dance clubs like the Beams . Big changes, yes, but a wealth of new choices, too.

— Isabella Kwai

Morioka  Copied to clipboard!

A walkable gem without the crowds, just a short bullet train ride from tokyo read more.

Andrew Faulk for The New York Times

Morioka, Japan

Until this past October, Japan maintained some of the most stringent travel restrictions of any major country. Now, travelers are beginning to stream back to popular destinations like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.

The city of Morioka, in Iwate Prefecture, however, is often passed over or outright ignored. Circumscribed by mountains, it lies a few hours north of Tokyo by Shinkansen, the Japanese high-speed rail lines. Morioka’s downtown is eminently walkable. The city is filled with Taisho-era buildings that mix Western and Eastern architectural aesthetics as well as modern hotels, a few old ryokan (traditional inns) and winding rivers. One draw is an ancient castle site turned into a park.

There’s also fantastic coffee, including one of Japan’s third-wave originators: Nagasawa Coffee, whose owner, Kazuhiro Nagasawa, is so committed to his beans that he uses a vintage German-made Probat roaster, which he personally imported and restored. Azumaya serves up all-you-can-eat wanko soba , which comes served in dozens of tiny bowls; Booknerd offers classic Japanese art books; and Johnny’s, a jazz cafe, has been open for over 40 years. An hour west by car: Lake Tazawa and dozens of world-class hot springs.

— Craig Mod

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park  Copied to clipboard!

The majesty and awe of towering buttes in a setting fit for hollywood read more.

Rachael Wright

Three enormous sandstone towers, which appear to be several hundred feet tall, rise above a flat, red landscape, while a road curves through the foreground. The sky above is light blue and is partially occluded by wispy white clouds. Small green shrubby plants dot the ground.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park,

Americans have been flocking to national parks, many of which were overrun with visitors during the peak of pandemic-related international border closures. Amid the bustle, peacefully taking in the majesty of nature can be a challenge.

Monument Valley offers a less crowded alternative. The site, known as Tse’Bii’Ndzisgaii in Navajo, has been a popular insignia for the American West ever since John Wayne rode in to film “Stagecoach” in 1939, and the grandeur of its cinematic sandstone buttes, towering above a copper-red desert vastness, elicits a feeling of reverence and awe.

The tribal park, which features a 17-mile driving loop, is open to visitors under the stewardship of the Navajo Nation. Its relatively basic infrastructure — in contrast to sites governed by the National Park Service — and its out-of-the-way location on the Arizona-Utah state line help create a more serene experience compared with other awe-inspiring U.S. destinations.

— Rachael Wright

Kilmartin Glen  Copied to clipboard!

A misty scottish stonehenge, with all of the mystery and far fewer visitors read more.

Andy Haslam for The New York Times

Kilmartin Glen, Scotland

The sun rises over Kilmartin Glen as it has for thousands of years, illuminating an ancient landscape of more than 800 archaeological monuments sprouting in the mist. This verdant valley on Scotland’s wild west coast is one of the most significant prehistoric sites in Britain, yet it’s largely off the visitor circuit; imagine Stonehenge without the crowds.

Wander among majestic stone circles, standing slabs that jut from the earth, burial cairns and rock carvings of concentric rings, expanding like ripples from a drop of water. And now the past is getting a refresh: The Kilmartin Museum is reopening with expanded exhibits and new experiences that delve into the region’s relics and flourishing natural life, including Moine Mhor (Great Moss), one of the few remaining raised bogs in Europe, above which looms the Iron Age hill fort of Dunadd.

For full immersion into the Scotland of yore, stay at the moody 16th-century Kilmartin Castle , which was recently transformed into a boutique hotel, with vaulted ceilings, copper tubs and a wild swimming pond.

— AnneLise Sorensen

Auckland  Copied to clipboard!

New Zealand

Pastries that rival France’s best, with a side of adventure tourism on the North Island Read more

Susan Wright for The New York Times

Over 20 French pastry cases are set out in rows on a black metal baking tray, in the process of being filled with a cream and having segments of fresh strawberries arranged artfully on top in a circular design. A hand holding a pastry brush is glazing the strawberries.

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is usually considered the entry point for the rest of New Zealand’s natural attractions, but travelers just passing through can miss that it’s also the culinary capital (sorry, Wellington).

Restaurants that have been germinating while the country’s borders were closed are now ready to be sampled by all. Just 10 minutes on foot from the newly renovated downtown, for instance, takes you to Hugo’s Bistro , where a regular clientele, including many lawyers, dines on unfussy French-inspired food that takes advantage of New Zealand’s fertility: Saffron, wasabi and truffles, among other delicacies, are grown in the country. Cazador , a longtime staple of the residential neighborhood Mt. Eden, serves local game in its restaurant and house-cured meats in its delicatessen.

The city’s famous multiculturalism also plays a part: Omni , which opened in 2020 and whose head chef worked at Hong Kong’s Yardbird, makes high-end yakitori, and Little French Pastry ’s founders, originally from France, serve up mille-feuille rivaling Paris’s best.

Palm Springs  Copied to clipboard!

Spotting stars in the streets and counting galaxies in the sky read more.

Beth Coller for The New York Times

A large telescope is aimed upward through a slit in the roof of an observatory dome. The dark blue sky, visible through the slit, is dotted with stars, and the interior of the dome is illuminated with a red light.

Palm Springs, California

Yes, this is the land of midcentury nostalgia, with its low-slung Modernist architecture and the recent return of the 26-foot-tall “ Forever Marilyn ” statue. But these days, there’s another headliner: the surrounding desert, and the dark skies above.

Astrotourism is on the rise, with a constellation of ways to explore the cosmos, including at the Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory , which offers tours and monthly “Swoon at the Moon” events. Unfurl a blanket on the desert floor and gaze up at the starry sky at Joshua Tree National Park . This designated International Dark Sky Park has one of the darkest skies in California, with stargazing treks and the annual Night Sky Festival .

The desert nature and history that flourish around Palm Springs are also shaping the city’s landscape, including the new Palm Springs Downtown Park , designed to reflect Indian Canyons , ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians; the Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza and Museum , which, when it opens later this year, will be one of the largest Native American cultural centers on the West Coast; and new desert-inspired hotels like Azure Sky .

Kangaroo Island  Copied to clipboard!

A haven for koalas and other wild creatures, healing after devastating wildfires read more, kangaroo island, australia.

A short trip from Adelaide, South Australia’s capital, the nearly 1,700-square-mile Kangaroo Island is known for incredible wildlife, breathtaking ocean views and its status as an ecological haven — like a zoo without fences.

Three years ago, devastating fires consumed the island, wiping out wildlife and destroying a famous luxury hotel, the Southern Ocean Lodge . Efforts to rebuild are continuing, and the island is more compelling than ever to visit. New organizations that sprang up to help with the wildlife recovery offer visitors a chance to play a part in funding that regeneration.

At the Kangaroo Island Koala and Wildlife Rescue Centre , you can book a private tour to see the animal hospital facilities, or bottle-feed a joey (a baby kangaroo). At the long-established Seal Bay Conservation Park , you can watch one of Australia’s largest colonies of sea lions frolic on the beach. And in 2023 the Southern Ocean Lodge will reopen, grander and better than before.

— Besha Rodell

Vjosa River  Copied to clipboard!

Cycling through the canyons and valleys of one of europe’s last untamed waterways read more.


A verdant river valley with undulating mountains surrounding it is shown at sunset. There is a glow over the green as the sun is slowly going down behind the rocky mountains in the distance.

Vjosa River, Albania

Protecting the Vjosa , one of Europe’s last undammed rivers, hasn’t been easy. After a decade of proposed projects that threatened to alter the waterway’s wild flow, its innumerable ecosystems and its valleys strewn with ancient communities, the Albanian government signed a commitment last June to create the Vjosa Wild River National Park .

Making good on that pledge, scheduled to become reality in 2023, will establish a global conservation model while preserving the country’s canyon-lined, 120-mile stretch of the 169-mile waterway, which runs from the Pindus Mountains in Greece to the Adriatic Sea, as well as including around 60 miles of tributaries.

For travelers — on trails like Albania’s new UNESCO Cycling Route (opening January 2023), which runs along the river and visits World Heritage sites like the city of Gjirokastra — safeguarding the Vjosa and its river system, with over 1,100 animal species, encourages responsible discovery of alpine settlements, where locals welcome adventurers for coffee, raki (local fruit brandy) and a chance to imbibe oft-overlooked Balkan culture.

— Alex Crevar

Accra  Copied to clipboard!

Feast first, dance later, in a hub of innovative west african cuisine read more.

Jessica Sarkodie for The New York Times

Three local Ghanaian restaurant staff are busy working behind a tiled bar with a wooden top; there are shelves behind them lined with alcohol bottles of different colors and varieties. There are stools strewn with colorful words in front of the bar, and wait staff, including a waiter carrying a tray with bowls of food, are walking by.

Accra, Ghana

Accra’s food scene typically consists of two schools: “chop bars” that serve traditional, cheap meals like fufu (made from pounded cassava, green plantains or yams) with tomato-based spicy soup, and pricier restaurants serving foreign fare.

Travelers to Accra, Ghana’s capital, can now see a new wave of chefs and entrepreneurs bridging this gap by emphasizing and innovating with local produce. At the Mix, a new restaurant and design hub, the West African staple gari (granulated cassava root) is dyed pink with beetroot and accompanies squid in a passion fruit sauce.

The sustainable food space in Accra is also one to watch; Ghana Food Movement , an educational group, hosts events throughout the year, including a signature Dine & Dance series in which underutilized indigenous ingredients like millet, eaten by Ghanaians almost exclusively as porridge, are made into stars over three courses. The meal is followed by a dance party, of course, in true Ghanaian fashion.

— Jessica Sarkodie

Tromso  Copied to clipboard!

A clear-skied hot spot where aurora seekers are likely to spy their dazzling prize read more.

Nerd Nomads Travel Blog

A deep blue sky is striated with neon green lights, as if shooting upward from a point in the far distance. Closer in the foreground are dramatic hills and a cabin with lights on inside.

Tromso, Norway

After years of low solar activity, projections are looking up for travelers hoping to experience the aurora borealis, or northern lights. As the sun’s volatility increases, with more coronal mass ejections and solar flares, so, too, will the frequency and intensity of the aurora. Experts predict solar activity to peak in 2025, explained Trond S. Trondsen, an aurora expert at Keo Scientific , a designer of specialized optical instruments for space research in Calgary, Alberta. Already, he said, “the number of sunspots are climbing faster than predicted .”

One of the best places to see the northern lights, Tromso, Norway, is more than 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and is relatively accessible, as far as reliable viewing locations go. Travelers can get there either by plane or by a combination of train and bus. Cruise ships and ferries are also a possibility.

Most important, the town’s surrounding landscape, near the sea but with mountains nearby, offers enough distinct weather zones to make it likely that there will be clear skies most nights — a must for seeing the lights when they do appear.

— Ingrid Williams

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park  Copied to clipboard!

Blinding white dunes and aquamarine pools in an otherworldly natural water park read more.

Scott Baker

An expansive dune of windswept white sand stretches out to the horizon, with a blue-green lake in the midground. The sky above is partly cloudy and deeply blue.

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil

Want to feel like you’ve traveled so far that you’re only vaguely tethered to Earth? Welcome to Lençóis Maranhenses , a horizon of rolling, blindingly white sand dunes rising into the sun and descending into otherworldly green and blue lagoons filled with rainwater.

Forget your cell signal or trappings of comfort: There are few if any structures, people or even trees around, and the park’s location near the Equator means it’s blazingly hot during the day. Yet almost all Brazilians will tell you they want to visit this remote area to experience the sensation of playing in a lunar water park.

Logroll down the dunes, splashing into the natural pools. Traverse the area on horseback, stopping at “oases” along the way. Or be mesmerized by its immensity via helicopter tour. It’s the antidote to that claustrophobic Covid-era feeling — a vast, borderless moonscape where you can roam wild and free.

— Shannon Sims

Bhutan  Copied to clipboard!

Cliff-top fortresses and rhododendron forests on a revived trekking trail read more.

Marcus Westberg

Buddhist monks in scarlet-red robes descend the stone staircase of a temple high in the mountains on the side of a cliff. The sides of the staircase are painted white and decorated ornately with gold, and the temple is surrounded by trees, with a series of mountain ranges rising in the background, the furthest one snowcapped.

After two and a half years of pandemic isolation, Bhutan reopened in September with changes to its longstanding “high value, low volume” tourism policy. Visitors are no longer required to travel on package tours, but Bhutan’s mandatory “sustainable development fee” increased to $200 from $65 per day.

At the same time, the 250-mile Trans Bhutan Trail, a path used for centuries as a pilgrimage and communications route, reopened after a three-year restoration that mended suspension bridges, stone stairs and long-overgrown temples. The trail stretches east to west across nearly the entire country, passing through cities, villages, farmlands and wilderness. Depending on the route and time of year, trekkers might spy the snowcapped Himalayas, visit cliff-top fortresses, scale sacred mountain passes or pass through blooming rhododendron forests.

Official guides are required, and itineraries range from half a day to more than a month. Accommodations include guesthouses, home stays, luxury hotels and well-appointed campsites on each of the trail’s 28 sections. Proceeds from trips booked with Trans Bhutan Trail , the nonprofit that led the restoration, go toward trail maintenance, educational programs, guide training and other community causes.

— Sara Clemence

Kerala  Copied to clipboard!

Learn to climb a palm tree, visit a temple during an annual festival and get a sustainable taste of village life read more.

Poras Chaudhary for The New York Times

Kerala, India

We travel to immerse ourselves in other cultures, but some forms of community tourism put residents on display without offering benefits. Not so in Kerala — a southern Indian state celebrated for its beaches, backwater lagoons, cuisine and rich cultural traditions like the Vaikathashtami festival — where the government has adopted an award-winning approach that allows visitors to experience village life while supporting the communities that host them.

In Kumarakom, one of several “ responsible tourism destinations ” in the state, visitors can paddle through jungly canals, weave rope from coconut fiber and even learn to climb a palm tree. In Maravanthuruthu, visitors can follow a storytelling trail and enjoy village street art before taking in an evening performance of a traditional temple dance.

— Paige McClanahan

Greenville  Copied to clipboard!

South Carolina

Adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and on dinner plates downtown Read more

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

An overhead view shows a variety of dishes from a Georgian restaurant, including khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread with an egg at its center.

Greenville, South Carolina

Set in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville has established itself on the culinary scene. The quaint city of about 70,000 has more than 200 restaurants — 85 percent of which are local, without a tie to a national chain — in its strollable downtown area alone. Visitors may come for the access to outdoor adventures, but they’ll most likely leave having been introduced to flavors from around the world.

Even as the renowned Soby’s celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022 and two food festivals — euphoria and Fall for Greenville — attract tens of thousands of people annually, restaurants continue to crop up around the city. The second location of Charleston’s acclaimed Lewis Barbecue opened to long lines in September. Mr. Crisp , with Greg McPhee as executive chef, highlights seafood, especially its crisp-yet-tender hand-battered fish and chips. Keipi celebrates Georgian khachapuri and the country’s ancient wines; Aryana delivers a taste of Afghanistan; and Califas has brought Mexican birria tacos to Greenville.

“The real heartbeat of Greenville is a creative and diverse food community that keeps reinventing itself,” said Sid Evans, the editor in chief of Southern Living. “The food here is adventurous, and the chefs have embraced the global influences shaping the modern South.”

— Ari Bendersky

Tucson  Copied to clipboard!

A rebounding center of art and adobe with centuries-old ties to mexico read more.

John Burcham for The New York Times

Tucson, Arizona

Barrio Viejo, an area of more than 150 acres in Tucson, is the largest barrio in the United States and exemplifies Tucson’s connection to Mexico, with centuries-old Sonoran adobe architecture.

This year, the neighborhood, which has one of the most diverse racial, cultural, religious and ethnic populations in the country, will receive National Historic Landmark designation . Revival projects include the restoration of the 300-seat Teatro Carmen , built in 1915 and later converted into the Black Elks Club , and female-owned boutique hotels, like the Citizen in the former home of the Tucson Citizen newspaper and the Downtown Clifton in a once-faded motel.

Take the Tucson Origins Tour by Borderlandia , which specializes in tours of the U.S.-Mexico border area, for a deep dive into history. Then explore the famed Etherton Gallery and Andrew Smith Gallery , both in new spaces. Don’t forget Barrio restaurants like the local coffee drinkers’ favorite EXO Roast , housed in an 1885 adobe home, and the Coronet , which moved to the neighborhood in 2019.

— Daniel Scheffler

Martinique  Copied to clipboard!

Creole culture, giant ferns and hummingbirds that don’t back down from a staring contest read more.

A small hummingbird with green iridescent feathers and plumage on the top of their body flies and feeds from a flowering plant. The pink blooms its flying in front of are long and chandelier-shaped, hanging off a light-green branch.


While travel was frozen in 2020, Martinique celebrated the induction of its traditional yole sailboat — a lightweight craft kept upright by crew members, who use their body weight as ballast by sitting on poles that extend over the sides of the hulls — on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. In the fall of 2021, the entire island was named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve , recognizing the destination’s commitment to sustainable economic and social development.

Islanders are awaiting yet another decision from UNESCO, which they hope will name the nearly 4,600-foot volcano Mount Pelée and the Pitons du Carbet range to the World Heritage List. The region represents “the diversity of Martinique,” said Alex Dobat, who owns Natiyabel , a scuba diving and hiking outfitter (whose name means “nature is beautiful” in Creole), who described ferns the size of trees, wild begonias and hummingbirds “staring at you quietly.”

Tourism officials are counting on the UNESCO certifications to attract ecotourists to its peaks, rainforests, reefs and Creole culture.

— Elaine Glusac

The Namib Desert  Copied to clipboard!

Southern Africa

1,000-foot dunes and crashing waves along a nearly uninhabited coastline Read more

A large desert expanse with deep red sands gives way to a gently rising sand hill then a rocky mountain range in the background. Tufts of dry grass poke through the sand in the foreground.

The Namib Desert, Southern Africa

Along the desolate coast of Namibia, 1,000-foot-tall sand dunes descend into the sea. During low tide, intrepid adventurers can drive along the beach, past towering yellow dunes on one side and the South Atlantic’s churning waters on the other. This is the Namib, the world’s oldest desert, and the perfect place for a long road trip . After almost three years of Covid-19 restrictions, it’s hard to imagine a place where you can feel more free.

“Namib” means “vast place” in Khoekhoegowab, a language spoken in many parts of Namibia. It’s astonishingly easy to get lost in this almost entirely uninhabited expanse of sand, where you might travel for days without seeing another human being.

In the Namib-Naukluft National Park, travelers can go back in time at the Deadvlei, where 600-year-old trees stand eerily lifeless, preserved by the dry air; challenge themselves to climb the 100-story Big Daddy Dune; observe desert-adapted wildlife like oryx and springbok; and even see mysterious fairy circles .

— Jen Guyton

The Alaska Railroad  Copied to clipboard!

470 miles of mountains, glaciers and grizzlies from the comfort of a glass dome read more.

Christopher Miller for The New York Times

The Alaska Railroad,

Since 1923, the Alaska Railroad — the last railroad in the United States to carry both people and freight — has connected millions of passengers and trade goods over 470 miles of track, from Seward to Fairbanks. This year is the centennial of its operation and a celebration is planned in Nenana, where President Warren G. Harding drove in the golden spike on July 15, 1923, completing the railroad.

Operational well before Alaska became a state, in 1959, the railroad is an environmentally friendly way for passengers to see wilderness, and even the aurora borealis, without sacrificing comfort: Glass-domed rail cars make viewing easy. It is also the only remaining flag-stop major railroad in the country. Passengers can wave a flag to embark or disembark, gaining access to more remote locations, including harder-to-reach areas of the Chugach National Forest, through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

Sights along the way include Denali, North America’s tallest peak, and Kenai Fjords National Park. History buffs can view a special exhibit at the Anchorage Museum that runs from May to February 2024, chronicling the railroad’s history.

— Charu Suri

Fukuoka  Copied to clipboard!

Savoring an endangered street-food tradition on the often overlooked island of kyushu read more.

Diners are sitting outside around the counter of an open-air food stall. Smoke is emanating from the open kitchen, and the diners are chatting and huddled over plates of food. Red lanterns attached to the stall are glowing brightly, along with the illuminated signs on top of each stall.

Fukuoka, Japan

Fukuoka, a subtropical city perched on the northern shore of Kyushu, is one of the few remaining places in Japan where you will see rows of yatai — open-air street-food stalls resembling boxes of neon light. Many sell traditional foods like ramen, yakitori and oden, but if you stroll along the riverfront on Nakasu, a small island that is Fukuoka’s red-light district, you’ll find some diversity with wine, coffee, and even French sausages and garlic toast.

Yatai were a common sight across Japan in the 1950s, but during the 1964 Summer Olympics, the authorities had them removed to project an image of economic recovery. In the present, Fukuoka is the only city left that’s fighting this bureaucracy. The government has acknowledged the cultural significance of yatai by increasing the safety and quality of the food and by offering more licenses in 2022. Even so, the number of yatai has fallen drastically to around 100 stalls today from more than 400 in the ’60s. Pull up a seat while you can and enjoy rubbing shoulders with strangers over supper again.

— Harvard Wang

Flores  Copied to clipboard!

An island paradise where crater lakes change color and nine-foot dragons roam read more.

Lauryn Ishak for The New York Times

Five boats, two passenger motorboats and three wooden fishing boats with covers, are gathered around a pier. They are surrounded by turquoise blue water, with a few people in swimwear waiting on the pier. The sky is bright blue with fluffy white clouds in the distance.

Flores, Indonesia

The term “fairy-tale getaway” is overused, but what else do you call a far-off, unspoiled, Southeast Asian island with nine-foot Komodo dragons, active volcanoes, white-sand beaches, coral gardens, rushing waterfalls and color-shifting crater lakes reputed to house departed spirits?

Such are the allures of Flores, one of the roughly 17,500 islands of the Republic of Indonesia. An hour’s flight from Bali and far less visited, Flores may be seeing more visitors with the scheduled opening late this year of Kodi Bajo , a luxury resort in the fishing town of Labuan Bajo. Operated by the group behind the NIHI hotel on Sumba, a nearby Indonesian island, Kodi Bajo will offer sumptuous hillside accommodations and views of the nearby Komodo National Park archipelago — the only place in the world inhabited by the famous giant lizards.

— Seth Sherwood

Guadalajara  Copied to clipboard!

Celebrating queer culture’s diversity and l.g.b.t.q. athletes from around the globe read more.

Adrian Wilson for The New York Times

Two bartenders stand within an enclosed bar, surrounded by the glow of a yellow-orange light. Nearest to the camera, one of them measures out alcohol in a metallic jigger. Shelves of alcohol line the walls.

Guadalajara, Mexico

Travel has always been a way to experience diversity, and in 2023 you’ll find a variety of sexual expression and shifts in traditional gender roles in Jalisco’s capital. This fall, the city will co-host (with Hong Kong) the 11th annual Gay Games . Athletes from around the world — of varying ages, sexual orientations and levels of athletic experience — will participate in 20 sports.

The city is also home to the annual Prohibido festival , during which an abandoned theater is transformed into a celebration of sexual diversity through art installations, interactive experiences, live music and talks about polyamorous and nonbinary culture. In Guadalajara, too, women take on nontraditional performance roles. On most nights, you can hear one of almost a dozen female mariachi bands from the area at Hotel Riu Plaza Guadalajara or El Patio, a restaurant. There are also local performances by female cowboys, known as escaramuzas, who present their choreography on horseback.

The city is considered by some to be Mexico’s drag capital, with numerous performers and shows. Guadalajara has also developed “antiturista” maps, including one for L.G.B.T.Q. travelers, that provide a local’s perspective on places to see and stay.

— Maggie Jones

Tassili n’Ajjer  Copied to clipboard!

Rock art, sandstone pillars and a glimpse at a lost saharan history read more.

Bright red-orange sand dunes stretch across a vast landscape that is interspersed with slightly darker-brown rock formations. The rocks are jagged and irregularly shaped.

Tassili n’Ajjer, Algeria

Often overshadowed by its neighbor, the tourism giant Morocco, Algeria — a stone’s throw from Mediterranean Europe and a mere three-hour flight from London — has recently relaxed its visa policies, allowing for much easier exploration of the country. While most visitors tend to stick to the coastal north, which contains some of the region’s best preserved Roman ruins, Africa’s largest country also contains its largest national park.

Virtually unknown to the outside world, Tassili n’Ajjer is eight times the size of Yellowstone. At the heart of the vast landscape of Saharan sand and stone lie the deep red dunes and pillars of Tadrart Rouge. Accessible only by a four-wheel-drive vehicle, this astonishingly striking national park is home to thousands of ancient works of rock art, stretching back to when the desert was a thriving savanna, as well as to a very much living nomadic Tuareg culture.

— Marcus Westberg

Kakheti  Copied to clipboard!

New flavors and ancient winemaking traditions in tiny hilltop towns and green valleys read more.

Irma Laghadze

A big steel bowl filled with a large amount of hand-twisted dumplings (more than 50) is being held by two pairs of hands over an open fire, as steam rises around it.

Kakheti, Georgia

The mountainous nation of Georgia’s 8,000-year-old winemaking tradition is at the center of several new trends in the wine world, including skin-contact (a.k.a. orange ) wines, amphora fermentation and charismatic grape varieties like saperavi. As a result, Georgian wine exports to the United States recently topped one million bottles and are growing at almost 29 percent annually, as Wine Enthusiast recently reported .

For wine lovers, a tasting trip to estates like Vazisubani and Kardanakhi in Kakheti offers a chance to discover new wines in a landscape of tiny hilltop towns and verdant valleys framed by the Caucasus. Many wines are made in traditional pointed qvevri clay vessels that are buried in the earth.

To complement the experience, local chefs have started offering cooking classes where gastronomes can learn how to make the meaty dumplings known as khinkali and other dishes from what Saveur magazine called “Europe’s great unsung cuisine.”

— Evan Rail

Nîmes  Copied to clipboard!

A sunny mediterranean morsel whose charming streets are studded with roman monuments read more.

Joann Pai for The New York Times

Nîmes, France

Nîmes is that rarest of Gallic delicacies — a sunny southern French city with great charm and fascinating architecture and museums that hasn’t yet become thronged with tourists like Arles or Avignon.

The city has a growing word-of-mouth reputation for the excellence of its dining options, which include everything from Michelin two-star restaurants like the chef Pierre Gagnaire’s Duende at the recently renovated Hotel Imperator to exceptionally good lunchtime dining in Les Halles de Nîmes, a covered food market, where the Halles Auberge and La Pie Qui Couette offer first-come first-serve counter service at noon. The latest local buzz is about the chef Georgiana Viou, originally from Benin, who serves up her personal and very delicate Afro-Provençal cooking at Rouge , the restaurant of the elegant new 10-room Margaret-Hôtel Chouleur in a landmarked mansion in the heart of the Écusson, or Old City. Le Coin and Menna, two excellent cosmopolitan modern French bistros — a type of restaurant that’s new to Nîmes — are not far away.

Shed some calories after a meal by taking in the sights of the Rome of France, a sobriquet explained by the most spectacular collection of Roman monuments in Europe outside of Italy.

— Alexander Lobrano

Ha Giang  Copied to clipboard!

A two-wheeled thrill ride leads to mountainside settlements where hmong and tay culture lives read more.

An elderly Vietnamese woman with glasses and a head-scarf sits outside at a small wooden table, hand-painting a fabric made of hemp that she is unrolling. She is wearing a purple and yellow print shirt, and there is a wooden wall behind her.

Ha Giang, Vietnam

The several-day loop by motorbike through the Ha Giang highlands in northern Vietnam is not for the timid. Getting to the city of Ha Giang takes six hours by road from Hanoi, and the loop’s steep roads, serpentine passes and recurring switchbacks can make the journey both treacherous and exhilarating.

This remote tableau of soaring peaks and cavernous valleys inspires a deep connection to the landscape and its inhabitants. Veer off the main road onto the narrow ribbons of concrete streaking the mountainsides and into the Hmong and Tay settlements dotting the hillsides and hollows. To learn more about their cultures, you can hire a guide from QT Motorbikes and Tours .

Road improvement projects and new high-end accommodations have made the loop more accessible and inviting. Don’t miss a boat ride through the canyon on the emerald river at Ma Pi Leng Pass.

— Patrick Scott

Salalah  Copied to clipboard!

A historic frankincense-trading center where the desert erupts in waterfalls read more.

Traversing a gently flowing river, a desert oasis, a line of five camels are following each other in procession, walking in the water up to their shoulders, single file. Trees in varying shades of green line the riverbank, and there is a mountain range in the background.

Salalah, Oman

With last year’s World Cup drawing attention to the built environment elsewhere in the Persian Gulf states, seaside Salalah, Oman, offers visitors a chance to see the region’s natural beauty. Depending on when you go, the area is either lush and green and blanketed in thick fog, or basking in sunlight and a warm breeze.

During the khareef (monsoon), the valleys and riverbeds are flooded with fresh water, and the mountains flow with waterfalls. The city is also home to Al Baleed Archaeological Park and the Museum of the Frankincense Land , which provides a visual history of the ancient incense trade and the associated export routes to the rest of the world. (A nearby collection of sites, known as the Land of Frankincense , is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.) Another draw is the collection of historical ports spread along the coast.

The population of Salalah, one of Oman’s largest cities, is around 330,000, so it’s easy to find oneself alone in the crystal clear waters of the area’s many tranquil beaches, including Mugsail, Fazayah and Haffa.

— Noa Avishag Schnall

Cuba  Copied to clipboard!

An island of music and white-sand beaches ripe for rediscovery as the united states eases travel restrictions read more.

Robert Rausch for The New York Times

A deserted beach is seen at sunrise, with the waves gently lapping the shoreline and the wet sand glistening and reflective. There are piles of rocks and palm trees further back on the shore, leading up to a grassy mound and the sun rising on the right in the distance.

With its sea-sprayed, pastel facades, white-sand beaches and tobacco-rich valleys, Cuba sits tantalizingly close to the United States, though it often feels out of reach — especially in recent years, when the Trump administration reinstated strict rules for American citizens hoping to visit.

But a confluence of factors just made travel to the island nation a bit easier. Last spring, President Biden relaxed many of the restrictions imposed by his predecessor. And in November, American Airlines resumed flights beyond Havana, adding departures to the beach town Varadero and the interior city Santa Clara, a regional capital steeped in revolutionary history. More flights from other carriers are set to begin in the coming months.

Cuba’s people are as generous with their stories — of history, family, even politics and protest — as they are with their music, an omnipresent, joyful soundtrack thrumming through the island’s cities and towns. Less than two years after historic protests were met with harsh repression, and as the country rebuilds from Hurricane Ian, travel to Cuba and support of its people may never be more valuable.

— Lauren Prestileo

Odense  Copied to clipboard!

A mystical new museum and garden with all you need to write your own fairy tale read more.

Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times

A solitary woman wearing headphones is seen standing in front of a museum exhibit. She is looking at a light display and surrounded by other luminous installations. She is wearing headphones and plaid pants.

Odense, Denmark

Designed by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma & Associates, the new Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense, on the island of Funen, is more than a museum. It’s a mystical land, featuring labyrinthine gardens that double as a public park.

The museum explores Andersen’s literary interplay between real and imaginary: You can gaze up at the sky through a glass dome and feel like the Little Mermaid; roam sunken courtyards, illuminated by sunlight splintering through trees; and engage with exhibits by contemporary artists in cylindrical spaces wrapped in latticed timber that suggest the city’s traditional thatched-roof houses. The museum is as much about telling stories as it is about imagining your own: Creativity is encouraged at the magical Ville Vau children’s center, where children can paint, draw, write and play dress-up amid colorful scenes from Andersen’s fairy tales.

Time your visit with Odense’s summertime H.C. Andersen Festivals , and then find artistic inspiration, as Andersen did, by venturing across his home island of Funen, the “garden of Denmark,” with its storybook castles (the moated Egeskov is the stuff of dreams), heather-coated hillsides and misty coastline.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park  Copied to clipboard!

The shape-shifting sandstone heart of a continent and its indigenous heritage read more.

Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

Uluru, the sandstone monolith, is seen off in the distance at sunset, glowing a terracotta red, with the mellow-toned blue and pink sky behind it. Tufts of grass and shrubs rise from the earth in the foreground.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia

At Uluru, time stretches, dissolves. Over 500 million years old, the 1,142-foot sandstone monolith in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a shape-shifter: aflame in pink, orange and violet through the day; its crevices gush with the rain, its surroundings erupt with wildflowers.

Now, Uluru is a symbol of urgency. In 2017, it was the site of the Uluru Statement From the Heart , which calls for an Indigenous “voice to Parliament” to be enshrined in Australia’s Constitution. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced there would be a national referendum on the issue in 2023.

Uluru is sacred to the Anangu people, who protect and manage the land, and for decades tourists climbed the rock against their wishes. Climbing was banned in 2019, and now visitors can take a 5.8-mile walk around Uluru’s base to experience its splendor. The ban was a rare victory for Indigenous rights and cultural respect, and evidence that even deep-rooted attitudes can change.

— Tacey Rychter

Boquete  Copied to clipboard!

A slope-side nirvana for coffee geeks, waterfall hikers and white-water rafters read more.

Paul Castillero

Shining through a peek-hole in the lush growth of a forest is the orange glow of the rising sun, with clouds and a mountain range around it.

Boquete, Panama

Geisha, among the world’s most expensive coffee varietals, thrives on the slopes of the Barú Volcano, near Panama’s western border. In recent years, specialty coffee geeks the world over have gravitated here, encouraging coffee farms around the highland town of Boquete to act more like Bordeaux vineyards. New cupping rooms and bodega tours have been added at farms like Lamastus Family Estates , Chevas Coffee Estate and Finca Altieri , while coffee-themed hotels — including Finca Lérida and Panamonte — have updated their facilities.

In Boquete’s town center, which acts as a base for adventure activities like waterfall hikes and white-water rafting, the noted Panama City chef Mario Castrellón has opened a branch of the coffee roaster Café Unido , as well as a restaurant and bar with seasonal menus and Geisha-infused cocktails, in the new Selina hostel . The bold, 60-room property straddles a small river, with rooms ranging from beds in concrete cylinders to luxe suites.

— Nicholas Gill

Tarragona  Copied to clipboard!

An unsung artsy seaport rich in well-preserved roman ruins, and delicious tapas read more.

A old, stone cathedral, seen in the distance through a maze of residential buildings with clay-tiled roofs, is illuminated with yellowed lights. The sky shows a rich palette of colors ranging from blue and purple to orange and gold.

Tarragona, Spain

Long upstaged by the flash of Barcelona, this unsung waterfront city on the Costa Daurada is a culturally rich alternative, with thriving Catalan traditions, from the famous castells (human towers, formed by people standing on one another’s shoulders) to earthy Romesco sauce, often served with grilled fish and vegetables, and best enjoyed in El Serrallo, a maritime neighborhood.

But what elevates the Tarragona experience is the past: This is one of the oldest Roman settlements in the Iberian Peninsula. The impressively preserved Tarraco ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, transform the city into an open-air museum, from the mighty Roman walls to the amphitheater framed by the Mediterranean.

Against this ancient backdrop, the city is in the midst of change: a revitalized port, new low-cost fast trains to the region and a growing contemporary arts scene. Perhaps the best way to savor it is to partake in a paseo: Stroll the Rambla Nova, grazing on tapas along the way, to the aptly named Balcó del Mediterrani observation point, where touching the iron railing is said to bring good luck.

Charleston  Copied to clipboard!

A powerful space will examine a city’s past and honor the african american legacy read more, charleston, south carolina.

Charleston’s brutal history of slavery can be overshadowed by a romanticized portrait of a city with charm, award-winning restaurants and plantation gardens. The planned opening of the $100 million International African American Museum this year will help comprehensively display the city’s complicated past.

The I.A.A.M. occupies the former Gadsden’s Wharf, where an estimated 30,000 African captives landed during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, more than at any other site. The sleek, single-story building floats atop 18 pillars clad in tabby, a kind of concrete made from oyster shells, and houses a genealogy center, a social justice action lab and 10 exhibit galleries that include stories of slavery and the Great Migration. A public outdoor space offers an African Ancestors Memorial Garden featuring indigenous plants like Lowcountry sweet grass and Canary Island palm trees.

This spring, the Charleston tourism board will debut a comprehensive guide to Black-owned businesses to elevate the overlooked successes of creative locals.

— Lauren Matison

Cayos Cochinos  Copied to clipboard!

Planting coral and counting sea turtles where there are no cars or roads read more.

Looking through a gap in the dense forest with a tree bough framing overhead, there is a view of a wooden beach cabana on stilts, siting over the turquoise water of a lagoon.

Cayos Cochinos, Honduras

Off the northern coast of Honduras, the Cayos Cochinos archipelago, part of a marine preserve where commercial fishing is banned, encompasses about 300,000 acres, two main islands and 13 small cays, with a collective population of about 200 Indigenous Garifuna residents.

Before the pandemic, the nonprofit Cayos Cochinos Foundation, which manages the reserve, derived much of its funding to study and protect its biodiversity from the fees paid by day-trippers to snorkel there. Now, the nongovernmental organization is gently opening itself to tourism, allowing visitors to stay in basic cabins (from $45 a night) that previously hosted exclusively scientists.

Between scuba dives and hikes to see pink boa constrictors and black-chested spiny-tailed iguanas, travelers can volunteer to propagate new coral or count sea turtles. Travel to the islands, which are roadless and free of cars, also supports the Garifuna community, which offers guide services, restaurants and tastings of the local root-infused spirit, guifiti.

Burgundy Beer Trail  Copied to clipboard!

Paying homage to hops and yeast in a region where wine has long reigned read more.

A man with dark hair and a beard and wearing a zip-up puffer vest is standing surrounded by huge wooden beer barrels in the cellar of brewery. He is pouring beer from a long-neck bottle into a large stemmed goblet, and there is an ancient stone wall behind him.

Burgundy Beer Trail, France

Wine lovers have long revered the great vintages of Burgundy. Now, beer lovers have their eyes on the Burgundy region, following the arrival of head-turning new breweries like Ammonite , Vif , Independent House and 90 BPM , all within 90 minutes of one another, and all rated among the best in France by fans on sites like Untappd and RateBeer .

Winemaking influences these new brewers, some of which employ solera barrel systems (like those used to age and blend sherry and Madeira wines), natural yeast, small oak barrels and other tools and techniques most often used by vintners.

For years, France has been a laggard in the global craft beer revolution, running far behind neighboring countries like Spain and Italy. The emerging beer trail in Burgundy’s wine region shows how France might soon develop an enviable beer culture of its own.

Istanbul  Copied to clipboard!

Reviving a city’s historic architecture just in time for modern turkey’s centennial read more.

Maria Mavropoulou for The New York Times

A modern-looking, three-level museum building of steel and glass is seen from the front, leading out to a forecourt of polished stone. There are people walking past the facade, and there is a sign in big capital lettering on the front that reads, “Istanbul Modern”

This October, the Turkish Republic celebrates its 100th anniversary, and to mark the occasion, Istanbul’s local government has invested millions in giving historic structures new life.

Among them: Feshane, a factory that manufactured the iconic Turkish hats and one of Istanbul’s first steel buildings, will become one of its largest art centers; west of the old city, a comprehensive restoration of the stone-and-brick Mevlanakapi city walls with their 22 towers dating back to the fifth century, will transform them into a four-and-a-half-mile walking path; and the Botter Apartment, one of Istanbul’s earliest Art Nouveau buildings, whose bottom floor was originally a studio for the sultan’s private tailor, will be turned into a fashion design center.

There’s more. Art museums are planned for the former Yedikule gasworks and the Halic Shipyard, one of the world’s oldest still in operation. And most notably, the newly built Istanbul Modern museum, designed by the architect Renzo Piano, will open its doors along the Bosporus in Karakoy, showcasing the works of notable Turkish artists such as Fahrelnissa Zeid and Erol Akyavas.

— Nora Walsh

Taipei  Copied to clipboard!

Floating sky lanterns and soaring skyscrapers in a sprawling, thrumming capital read more.

A bustling night market in Taipei has shoppers roaming up and down a long strip, lined on either side with stall fronts. There is backlit lettering on signage over many of the stalls, and illuminated yellow lanterns hang overhead. The night sky is black.

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei is a glorious assault on the senses, a capital with stunning natural beauty, low crime, and clear air despite its immense urban sprawl. From its neon-lit night markets to its Qing Dynasty temples, visitors can feel the quiet drum of independent pride, however fragile its future.

Beijing, which sees self-ruled Taiwan as an unruly child, continues to assert its desire to reunify with Taiwan and put the island firmly back under its control. But for now, a visit to this city offers a riot of culinary and cultural pleasures. In 2023, the island’s third-tallest skyscraper will open, and the Taiwan Lantern Festival , a beloved tradition in which thousands of glowing lanterns float skyward in tandem, will return to Taipei after more than two decades.

Taipei’s future is uncertain. But in 2023, it remains an ideal place to gape at the sheer power of human innovation.

— Debra Kamin

El Poblado  Copied to clipboard!

Medellín, Colombia

A chic shopping district, pulsing nightlife and rainbow-colored macaws Read more

Federico Rios for The New York Times

A bartender, wearing an apron and standing in front of a large mirrored array of alcoholic beverages, slides an orange and green drink toward the viewer.

El Poblado, Medellín, Colombia

In the 1600s, Spanish settlers established El Poblado, “the village,” along the Medellín River. Eventually, the larger city of Medellín grew to the north, and El Poblado became a rural getaway for wealthy Colombians.

Today, it is once again a center of activity. The grid of two- or three-story homes has blossomed with shops and restaurants, interspersed with boutique hotels rising above the treetops. Nearby, gushing waterfalls and rainbow-colored macaws add to the lush tropical vibe.

An afternoon roaming the neighborhood, popping into Mon y Velarde for menswear or Makeno for artisanal home goods, followed by coffee at Pergamino or modern Colombian cuisine at Oci.Mde , is a worthy entry on any South American traveler’s bucket list. Stay out late enough to see the area transform into the pulsing heart of the city’s nightlife, with D.J.s on the rooftops and dance parties in the streets.

Lausanne  Copied to clipboard!


Spectacular views of Lake Geneva and an exploding architectural and artistic scene Read more

Clara Tuma for The New York Times

Looking down onto a cityscape from above, cars are driving down a bustling retail main street and apartment buildings are above the shops. A church steeple is seen in the distance.

Lausanne, Switzerland

Already blessed with a sublime Lake Geneva location and dramatic mountain views, Lausanne, Switzerland’s fourth-largest city, has been adding architectural and artistic beauty to its repertoire as well.

Known as Plateform 10 , the city’s three-year-old arts district recently inaugurated a bold new building that resembles an artfully cracked block of white stone for a pair of museums. Photo Elysée is dedicated to exhibiting photography in all its forms, while MUDAC is a haven of five creative outlets: design, glasswork, ceramics, jewelry and graphic art. The two institutions join the new home of the city’s international art museum, the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts , which moved into its ridged, rectangular building in 2019.

Methana  Copied to clipboard!

A hike, a stroll or a run into the bronze age followed by a soak in an ancient tub read more.

Two runners, a man and a woman, are seen from behind as they are running along a rocky mountain trail, at the very edge of the cliff. They are dressed in black and gray and the blue sea and a mountain are seen in the distance.

Methana, Greece

Athens’s nearest active volcano, Methana, sits on a peninsula of the same name some 30 miles southwest of the Greek capital. Though largely unknown to tourists, the area is slowly evolving, in part because of its increasing popularity as a hiking destination.

In recent years, groups of locals have managed to reopen and map old walking paths, some of which date back to the Mycenaean Era, creating hiking trails that attract visitors from around the world. (So far, more than 18 miles have been cleared and marked.) The Methana Volcano Challenge , first organized in 2021, offers a trail run across the peninsula’s sloping landscape.

Visitors to this volcanic peninsula can also enjoy several hot springs, the most interesting of which is an ancient (and recently renovated) tub known as the Pausanias Baths near the village of Agios Nikolaos.

— Demetrios Ioannou

Louisville  Copied to clipboard!

A rising l.g.b.t.q. scene with quilts, drag shows, the derby and, of course, bourbon read more, louisville, kentucky.

One of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains, and arguably among the most beautiful, Louisville somehow flies under the radar. This despite its graceful 19th-century park system , designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, and its bourbon-fueled convivial spirit.

Today, its L.G.B.T.Q. scene is also thriving, with hot spots like Chill Bar and Play Dance Bar , which hosts regular drag nights featuring touring artists. (The city has also earned top marks from the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index for seven years running and is home to two new L.G.B.T.Q. community centers.) This spring brings Hotel Genevieve , from the Texas-based Bunkhouse Group, which offers Louisville-inspired touches like décor that pays homage to the city’s rich quilting heritage, an on-site market selling work from local artists and bourbon selections from neighboring Rabbit Hole Distillery .

Make plans for 2023, because the city might not stay below the radar much longer: 2024 will draw the masses for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby.

— Paul L. Underwood

Manaus  Copied to clipboard!

River-to-table cuisine and ancestral recipes in the heart of the amazon read more.

A fish, cooked whole, sits on a small plate beside a sliced lime. Two additional bowls — filled with colorful food — sit beside the plate, as does a glass filled with a yellow-green drink.

Manaus, Brazil

Michelin-starred restaurants in São Paulo use Amazonian ingredients to appear exotic, but in Manaus, where you can sip steamy gourds of tacacá from a stand in front of the Teatro Amazonas or wander past plastic bottles of tucupi, the juice squeezed from grated cassava, in Adolpho Lisboa Municipal Market, Amazonian ingredients are a fact of life.

At the Indigenous-owned Biatüwi , a restaurant that pays homage to ancestral recipes and cooking techniques, drinks are made from fermented purple yams, and chiles are used to purify river fish in piquant stews like quinhampira.

Then there’s the chef Felipe Schaedler, who has helped threatened Yanomami communities commercialize their native mushrooms and runs two restaurants of his own: Banzeiro and Moquém do Banzeiro . Steering away from traditional preparations, Mr. Schaedler reimagines ingredients like lemon-grass-flavored ants and tambaqui ribs in a modern format, as do the bistros Caxiri , set in a colonial building overlooking Largo de São Sebastião, a grand plaza, and Fitz Carraldo, in the boutique hotel Villa Amazonia .

Vilnius  Copied to clipboard!

A 700-year-old survivor ready to party like there’s no tomorrow read more.

Gordon Welters for The New York Times

A man sits above a river, his feet dipping into the water, on a two-seated chair that is suspended about ten feet below a decorative bridge. Atop the bridge, three people look down at the man. Behind them is what appears to be a collection of residential buildings.

Vilnius, Lithuania

Lithuania’s cobblestoned capital has a long history of bootstrap survival. Occupied once by the Nazis and twice by the Soviets, Vilnius has a story that is complex and fascinating to explore. Its architectural riches span from Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque; grand churches rub shoulders with quaint timber homes on leafy streets.

In 2023, the resilient city celebrates its 700th birthday with a full year of revelry. A light festival , free music performances and the first Vilnius International Biennial are all on the calendar. Artificial intelligence will resurrect one of the city’s first operas from the 17th century, and an exhibition space will allow visitors to virtually explore Vilnius’s streets as they looked more than 200 years ago.

Ringing in its eighth century, Vilnius reminds travelers that, when viewed through the long lens of history, our own uncertain times are fleeting.

Macon  Copied to clipboard!

1,100-year-old native american mounds and deep rock ’n’ roll roots read more.

A pathway leads into a large mound of earth, perhaps around 10 or 15 feet tall at its peak and covered with neatly manicured grass. The mound has a large opening framed with wooden logs.

Macon, Georgia

The area around Macon has been home to multiple Native American tribes for 12,000 years. That history will be acknowledged this year, when Georgia is expected to get its first national park: The Ocmulgee Mounds, some of the most significant prehistoric Indigenous mounds in North America, date to the year 900, and are now a national historical park .

The national park will include the Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge , for a total of 50,000 acres, and offer a network of exquisite hiking trails and artifacts from American Indian culture. Management will be shared by the Muscogee Nation and the National Park Service.

Additionally, the city, whose musical roots run deep — Little Richard, the Allman Brothers and Otis Redding all got their start here — is celebrating its 200th anniversary with a new 10,000-seat amphitheater . Visitors can check out the Hotel Forty Five , a boutique hotel that opened downtown last year and that was named both for the angle of the street on which it sits and as a nod to musical history.

— Ondine Cohane

Madrid  Copied to clipboard!

Kicking off a worldwide tribute to picasso in a place that’s a masterpiece unto itself read more.

Emilio Parra Doiztua for The New York Times

If art is a universal language, as travel often reveals, Pablo Picasso’s antiwar “ Guernica ” may be one of its most potent symbols.

The Spanish and French governments recently announced the Picasso Celebration 1973-2023 in front of the famous painting at the Reina Sofia museum, kicking off a transnational commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death. The worldwide tribute, from Madrid to Paris to New York City, includes some 50 exhibitions, many of which explore the artist through the lens of the present day. Madrid leads the way, with tributes throughout the year, including “Picasso. The Sacred and the Profane” at the Thyssen-Bornemisza ; “Picasso 1906. The Turning Point” at the Reina Sofia ; and an exhibition exploring Picasso and El Greco at the Prado .

During Picasso’s anniversary year, it’s worth noting that the city’s artistry isn’t just within its museums, but outside as well: Madrid’s cultural core is an urban masterpiece of art, nature and light, and in 2021, the entire area of the Paseo del Prado and verdant Parque del Buen Retiro, called “Landscape of Light,” was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Grand Junction  Copied to clipboard!

A bonanza of canyons, arches and cliffs, without the hordes of tourists read more.

Sharp orange-red sandstone cliffs contrast with the deep blue of the sky in the background. The cliffs, dramatically steep at the top, give way to gentler slopes of eroded material below.

Grand Junction, Colorado

On Colorado’s Western Slope, arid Grand Junction offers attractions similar to those of Moab, Utah, the gateway to Arches National Park, without the throngs.

The area around the Colorado alternative has the second-largest concentration of natural arches in the country in Rattlesnake Canyon, where some 35 sandstone spans are part of the roughly 123,700-acre McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area , reachable via off-road vehicle or a strenuous 14-mile round-trip trek. More convenient hiking trails in the Colorado National Monument — where geologic uplift and erosion formed monoliths of the same Entrada sandstone found at Arches — lie within about 10 minutes of town.

The 2021 opening of the Palisade Plunge adds a 32-mile descent — from the world’s largest flat-topped mountain, 10,000-foot Grand Mesa, down to the Colorado River — to the area’s biking challenges. All trails lead back to downtown Grand Junction, filled with shops, craft breweries, locavore restaurants and wine-tasting rooms from area vineyards.

La Guajira  Copied to clipboard!

An unspoiled land of orange-sand beaches and flamingo-lined lagoons read more.

Four figures, silhouetted against a dark orange-blue sky, are standing atop a hillside, with the ocean in view in the distance on the right.

La Guajira, Colombia

The remote and arid La Guajira peninsula, straddling Colombia’s border with Venezuela, remains largely unknown to international tourists — in spite of its dramatic salt flats, flamingo-lined lagoons and orange-sand beaches.

Terrorist activity made this area mostly off limits until 2016, but eco-minded hotels, including La Casa del Pavo Real and Hotel Waya Guajira , have spread along the peninsula, relying on increased flights to Riohacha, the regional capital, and nearby Santa Marta.

This region is the home of the Indigenous Wayúu people, who have expressed concerns that giant development projects may irreparably alter their ancestral lands. Tour operators visit Wayúu weavers known for their chinchorros, the colorful hammocks that take months to make, and their rustic kitchens, where cooks like Zaida Cotes showcase traditional cuisine based on salted fish, goat meat and purple corn.

Bergamo and Brescia  Copied to clipboard!

Open-air theater, art, music and a plateful of local delicacies in a cultural crossroads read more.

Andrea Wyner for The New York Times

An ancient city with pretty red roofs and facades of white and yellow sits in the foreground. In the distance are rolling forested hills and mountains.

Bergamo and Brescia, Italy

Milan may outshine Bergamo and Brescia , but in 2023 a spotlight will fall on these two Lombardy cities after they were jointly named the Italian Capital of Culture . More than 100 art projects, music and theater events (some open-air), nature walks and new bike routes are ​meant to map a way forward after the tragic headlines this northern region generated in 2020, when it was more ravaged by the coronavirus than anyplace else in Italy.

Bergamo is distinctive for its ancient, walled Città Alta (Upper Town) and modern Città Bassa (Lower Town), the two connected by ​narrow roads, a funicular and a footpath. Brescia, around 30 miles southeast , is a handsome crossroads of Roman, medieval and Renaissance sites .

Outstanding food is another draw — it’s Italy, after all — with menus in both areas featuring creamy, nutty polenta taragna and variously stuffed crescents of casoncelli swirled with butter and sage — little pasta miracles that prove how good life can still be.

— Julie Besonen

American Prairie  Copied to clipboard!

A vast, and growing, swath of nature where you can still feel tiny read more.

Janie Osborne

A dark-brown buffalo grazes through a field of light-yellow grasses, forming a striking contrast. In the distance, a row of trees showcases variously colored leaves: green, yellow, orange.

American Prairie, Montana

With its wide-open skies and boundless horizons, American Prairie is ideal for visitors seeking a respite from the fast pace of modern life. A vast nature preserve founded by a Montana nonprofit, A.P. has been accumulating grasslands since 2004. It currently consists of 455,840 acres — and the preserve continues to expand by acquiring private properties that connect to surrounding public lands. The goal: to create a contiguous, three-million-acre reserve and restore a disappearing ecosystem.

A.P. offers a broad range of activities, including leisurely walks, cross-country skiing and expert-level hiking, biking and paddling. Paved roads lead to Antelope Creek Campground, which features an interpretive trail and distant views of the Little Rockies. Buffalo Camp, accessible by gravel roads and situated among the reserve’s largest bison herd, is a little farther off the beaten path and provides a chance to see a buffalo jump, a cliff traditionally used by Indigenous peoples to harvest bison.

— Janie Osborne

Eastern Townships  Copied to clipboard!

A leisurely journey through the countryside with stops for wine, cheese and poutine read more.

An abbey — several stories tall, built from light-colored stone and showcasing a deep-green roof — is dusted with snow and sits among snow-covered trees.

Eastern Townships, Quebec

This is slow travel at its best: Pedal across the quiet Quebec countryside, refueling on local cheese, wine and, yes, poutine. Montreal and Quebec City are the stars of the region, but the bucolic, lake-laced terrain between them is often relegated to fleeting glimpses from the windows of a rental car.

The Eastern Townships — Canada’s New England, with French flair — deserves a visit all its own, and especially now, with the recent debut of the Véloroute Gourmande . The 150-mile cycle route traces the Route Verte and Trans Canada Trail across this charming region dotted with flower-festooned villages, and features more than 100 epicurean stops along the way, from farmers’ markets to maple groves to fromageries to vineyards.

Try the lush, sweet vin de glace (ice wine), made from ripe grapes that have frozen naturally on the vine, at Le Cep d’Argent , and the buttery Brise des Vignerons at the family-run Fromagerie des Cantons , one of the first in the area to develop cheese exclusively from Jersey cows, a nod to the region’s British influences.

New Haven  Copied to clipboard!


A home to tinkerers and rebels, and a treasure trove of contemporary art and architecture Read more

New haven, connecticut.

Connecticut’s third-largest city is a historic, mostly walkable and bikeable seaside town with distinctive neighborhoods, an encyclopedic collection of great American architecture, a thriving cultural life and one of the best food scenes in the country for a city of its size (134,000).

Founded in 1638, it’s a place where people have always tinkered with, mused about and challenged the status quo, which is why the New Haven Preservation Trust is now looking at saving the modernist buildings of the 1970s, which many see as disastrous examples of urban renewal. Discover one of the best of these brutalist concrete buildings by checking into the new Hotel Marcel , named for its architect, Marcel Breuer. Recently renovated, it’s become the first completely solar-powered, energy-neutral hotel in the United States.

Check out NXTHVN , a cutting-edge, community-focused arts center founded in 2019 in two abandoned factory buildings in the Dixwell neighborhood that has become the heart of a vibrant African American artists’ community. And then treat yourself to a great meal — maybe crispy artichokes with Parmesan aioli and pork belly with Tuscan cabbage and apple mostarda — at the recently opened Villa Lulu .

The Black Hills  Copied to clipboard!

South Dakota

Pine forests, powwows and a climb up to Crazy Horse’s giant granite face Read more

Benjamin Rasmussen

On top of a high rocky overlook, with green fields visible far below in the distance, three trees are covered in many dozens of prayer cloths, which have been tied to the trees’ trunks and branches.

The Black Hills, South Dakota

The Lakota people trace their creation to the He Sapa, or Black Hills, a mountain range of dramatic peaks and pine forests in an area that is South Dakota’s chief tourism attraction.

Now, representatives of all nine tribes in the state — working as the South Dakota Native Tourism Alliance — are having a say in how to experience Native American sites with the publication of a new tribal nations’ visitors guide , including destination suggestions and tips on visitor etiquette. The assembly helped identify the Great 8 , eight sites and experiences — among them powwows, or dance celebrations — that are significant to Indigenous culture, with a concentration in the Black Hills. These include Bear Butte State Park where hiking trails may lead past prayer cloths tied to trees, 7,244-foot Black Elk Peak, the state’s highest, and the Crazy Horse Memorial .

The massive sculpture of the Lakota warrior turns 75 next summer, when the biannual Volksmarch will allow hikers to ascend the carving, still under construction, and stand beneath Crazy Horse’s more than 87-foot-tall granite face.

Sarajevo  Copied to clipboard!

Bosnia and Herzegovina

A living museum of resilience where empires and cultures have long intersected Read more

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

A town center is seen from above at night, with the main high street illuminated as it runs between the dark building and surrounding apartments. There are people walking in the street, churches glowing as they rise from the other buildings, and the surrounding mountains in the distance are dotted with lights from many homes.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo’s history lives in the present. There is the Latin Bridge, where a certain archduke was assassinated, catalyzing World War I. There are buildings still pockmarked by shells from the siege three decades ago. And there is the intricate interplay of empires, from the Ottoman to the Austro-Hungarian, that allows visitors to tour a mosque, a cathedral, an Orthodox church and a synagogue all within a few blocks.

These layers of history, of course, can detonate as easily as they can coexist. Bosnia’s multiethnic capital remains on edge. Look up to the hills, and there are the artillery positions built on the grounds of the 1984 Winter Olympics. But Sarajevo’s splendor comes from this intrusion of the past. It remains a living museum that hints at how a Ukraine or a Syria cannot only survive but perhaps one day flourish anew.

— Hannah Beech

tourist spots worldwide

Design and Production

Sean Catangui and Gabriel Gianordoli

Danial Adkison, Stephen Hiltner, Suzanne MacNeille, Morrigan McCarthy, Fiona Murray, Nancy Ramsey, Tacey Rychter and Amy Virshup

Photo Editing

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Baden Copeland


A photograph with an earlier version of this article misidentified the city shown in the image. The photograph depicted the province of Tarragona, Spain, not the city itself. The image has been replaced.

The article also misstated the size of the Barrio Viejo neighborhood of Tucson, Ariz. It is more than 150 acres, not 150 blocks.

A photograph with an earlier version of this article misidentified the location in the image. It is Keelung, Taiwan, not Taipei.

tourist spots worldwide


Best Places In The World To Visit

Here is the list of 33 best places in the world to visit, 1. paris, france - the city of lights.

Paris, France - The City of Lights

Known For : Eiffel Tower The Louvre Notre Dame

Paris, the enchanting 'City of Lights', captivates with its blend of history, art, and romance. Its cobblestone streets lead to iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame. By night, the Seine River reflects shimmering illuminations, echoing the city's luminous spirit. An epicenter of culture and elegance, Paris remains an eternal muse for visitors from around the globe.

Best Time: June to August

56 Paris Attractions

2. London, England - London: The heritage of England

London, England - London: The heritage of England

Known For : Tower of London British Museum London Eye

London, the heart of England, stands as a vibrant mosaic of history, culture, and innovation. From the regal Buckingham Palace and the echoing bells of Big Ben to the modern Shard piercing the skyline, the city embodies the nation's heritage. Cobblestone streets, iconic red buses, and the River Thames intertwining its fabric, London offers an immersive journey through centuries, celebrating the essence of English tradition while embracing the future.

Best Time: April to September

53 London Attractions

3. Pamukalle, Turkey - Pamukalle-The City of Minerals

Pamukalle, Turkey - Pamukalle-The City of Minerals

Known For : Pamukkale Natural Park Travertines Hierapolis

Pamukkale, located in Turkey, is often referred to as the 'City of Minerals'. Famous for its terraces of gleaming white calcium deposits, these natural thermal springs look like frozen waterfalls cascading down the mountainside. The therapeutic waters, rich in minerals, have drawn visitors for centuries, seeking rejuvenation and solace. With ancient ruins of Hierapolis nearby, Pamukkale offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical depth, making it a mesmerizing destination.

Best Time: September

10 Pamukalle Attractions

4. Dubai, UAE - A Megacity That Never Stops Growing

Dubai, UAE - A Megacity That Never Stops Growing

Known For : At the Top Burj Khalifa Dubai Fountain The Dubai Mall

Dubai, a jewel in the UAE's crown, stands as a testament to ambition and innovation. Rising from desert sands, its skyline boasts architectural marvels like the Burj Khalifa, piercing the heavens. Luxury shopping malls coexist with historic souks, offering a blend of tradition and modernity. As a city that never stops evolving, Dubai dazzles with its opulence, technological feats, and a vision that ceaselessly pushes the boundaries of urban development.

Best Time: November to April

123 Dubai Attractions

5. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

The Pyramids of Giza, standing tall on Egypt's desert plains, are enduring symbols of ancient marvel and mystery. Built as grand tombs for pharaohs, these monumental structures have for millennia captivated imaginations with their scale and precision. The Sphinx, silent guardian of the pyramids, adds to the enigma. A visit to this UNESCO World Heritage site is not just a journey through sand and stone, but a leap back in time to a civilization's zenith.

6. Maldives, Maldives - A Tropical Haven

Maldives, Maldives - A Tropical Haven

Known For : Stay in an Overwater Bungalow Diving in Maldives Snorkelling in Maldives

The Maldives, an archipelago of over a thousand islands, emerges from the Indian Ocean as a tropical haven. Each atoll, with its aquamarine waters and powdery white sands, paints a picture of paradise. Overwater bungalows offer uninterrupted vistas of endless horizons, while vibrant coral reefs beneath the surface teem with marine life. For those seeking solitude and luxury embraced by nature's beauty, the Maldives is the quintessential retreat.

Best Time: Mid December to April

103 Maldives Attractions

7. Bangkok, Thailand - Of street food, skyscrapers and unending nights

Bangkok, Thailand - Of street food, skyscrapers and unending nights

Known For : Grand Palace Chatuchak Market Wat Pho Bangkok

Bangkok, the pulsating heart of Thailand, is a blend of modernity and tradition. Skyscrapers tower over ancient temples, while the scent of sizzling street food fills bustling alleyways. By night, the city transforms, with markets illuminating streets and rooftop bars offering panoramic city views. From the sacred spaces of the Grand Palace to the frenzied energy of Khao San Road, Bangkok delivers a whirlwind of flavors, sights, and unending nights of revelry.

Best Time: Late November to Mid Jaunary

129 Bangkok Attractions

8. Prague, Czech-Republic - A Historical and Cultural Excursion

Prague, Czech-Republic - A Historical and Cultural Excursion

Known For : Prague Castle Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) The Clementinum and the National Library

Prague, the heart of the Czech Republic, offers a mesmerizing journey through time. Its cobblestone streets, lined with Gothic and Baroque masterpieces, echo with tales of emperors and artists. The iconic Charles Bridge connects centuries of history, while the astronomical clock ticks away in Old Town Square. Serving as a canvas of architectural splendor and cultural richness, Prague promises an immersive historical and cultural excursion for every wandering soul.

Best Time: April to October

50 Prague Attractions

9. Great Barrier Reef, Australia - Nature's Biggest Marvel

Great Barrier Reef, Australia - Nature's Biggest Marvel

Known For : Green Island Heart Reef Hayman Island

The Great Barrier Reef, stretching along Australia's northeast coast, is nature's most magnificent masterpiece. As the world's largest coral reef system, it boasts a kaleidoscope of marine life and vibrant coral formations. This underwater wonder, visible even from space, offers a mesmerizing dance of colors and shapes. A sanctuary for biodiversity, the reef stands not only as an iconic symbol of Australia's natural beauty but also as the planet's most splendid marine marvel.

Best Time: June to November (Spring)

6 Barrier Reef Attractions

10. Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Known For : Watch Sunset at Oia Akrotiri Kamari Beach

Santorini, perched atop the Aegean Sea, is Greece's postcard-perfect gem. Its iconic white-washed buildings and blue-domed churches cling to steep cliffs, offering breathtaking sunsets over the caldera. The island's volcanic past has sculpted unique beaches with red and black sands, while its villages brim with history and charm. A haven for romantics, Santorini's enchanting landscapes and azure waters create an unforgettable tableau of Mediterranean beauty and allure.

Best Time: June to September

41 Santorini Attractions

11. Sydney, Australia - The complete Australian experience

Sydney, Australia - The complete Australian experience

Known For : Sydney Opera House Sydney Harbour Bridge Royal Botanic Gardens

Sydney, Australia's gleaming harbor city, delivers the quintessential Australian experience. Framed by the iconic Sydney Opera House and the sprawling Harbour Bridge, it's a vibrant blend of culture, cuisine, and coastal beauty. From the golden sands of Bondi Beach to its bustling markets and cosmopolitan nightlife, Sydney encapsulates the spirit of Down Under. Offering both urban allure and natural wonders, it's a destination that captures the heart and soul of the continent.

Best Time: December to February.

44 Sydney Attractions

12. Phuket, Thailand - Where Summer Beach Fashion Truly Comes Alive

Phuket, Thailand - Where Summer Beach Fashion Truly Comes Alive

Known For : Big Buddha Bangla Road Phuket Old Town

Phuket, Thailand's largest island, is the epicenter of summer beach fashion. Its golden sands and azure waters serve as a runway for sun-seekers, each flaunting vibrant swimsuits, breezy sarongs, and chic sun hats. Amidst the backdrop of swaying palms and beachfront bars, fashion truly comes alive, reflecting the island's effervescent spirit. Here, sun-kissed days are not just about relaxation; they're a stylish statement of tropical elegance and flair.

Best Time: November to February end

124 Phuket Attractions

13. Florence, Italy - The City of Character

Florence, Italy - The City of Character

Known For : Galleria dell’Accademia The Ufizzi Gallery Ponte Vecchio

Florence, Italy's artistic heart, is often described as the 'City of Character'. Birthplace of the Renaissance, its streets and squares are adorned with masterpieces from giants like Michelangelo and Botticelli. The Duomo's iconic dome dominates the skyline, while the Uffizi Gallery holds treasures of unparalleled beauty. Beyond art, Florence offers intimate cafes, Tuscan flavors, and a timeless ambiance, making it a destination where history and passion come alive in every corner.

Best Time: Throughout the year

41 Florence Attractions

14. Barcelona, Spain - The Paris of Spain

Barcelona, Spain - The Paris of Spain

Known For : Sagrada Familia Las Ramblas Park Guell

Barcelona, frequently hailed as 'The Paris of Spain', radiates with architectural splendor and cultural dynamism. The whimsical creations of Gaudí, from the iconic Sagrada Família to the vibrant mosaics of Park Güell, define its skyline. Narrow alleys of the Gothic Quarter, bustling markets like La Boqueria, and the sun-kissed beaches of Barceloneta collectively capture its unique spirit. Barcelona seamlessly blends ancient charm with avant-garde flair, mirroring the romantic allure of Paris in its own Iberian style.

Best Time: May to August

47 Barcelona Attractions

15. Mauritius, Mauritius - Indian Ocean's Island Paradise.

Mauritius, Mauritius - Indian Ocean's Island Paradise.

Known For : Black River Gorges National Park Seven Coloured Earth of Chamarel Scuba Diving in Mauritius

Mauritius, nestled in the heart of the Indian Ocean, emerges as the quintessential island paradise. Its powdery white beaches merge seamlessly with cerulean waters, providing a haven for sun-worshippers and water enthusiasts alike. Verdant mountains and sugar cane fields punctuate its landscape, while a rich tapestry of cultures defines its soul. From Creole rhythms to spicy curries, Mauritius offers a delightful blend of nature and heritage, embodying the very essence of tropical allure.

Best Time: July to October (winter)

146 Mauritius Attractions

16. Hong Kong, Hongkong

Hong Kong, Hongkong

Known For : Victoria Harbour A Symphony of Lights Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong, a dynamic metropolis, melds East and West in a vibrant tapestry of culture, commerce, and cuisine. Its iconic skyline, studded with futuristic skyscrapers, stands sentinel over bustling harbors and tranquil green mountains. From the aromatic alleyways of Temple Street Night Market to the serene trails of Lantau Island, Hong Kong offers a rich blend of urban energy and natural beauty, encapsulating the very essence of contrast and harmony.

Best Time: October to December (Autumn)

337 Hong Kong Attractions

17. Bali, Indonesia - An idyllic retreat

Bali, Indonesia - An idyllic retreat

Known For : Tanah Lot Kuta Beach Uluwatu

Bali, nestled within the vast Indonesian archipelago, stands as an idyllic retreat for souls seeking tranquility and enchantment. Its landscapes, where verdant rice terraces merge with sun-drenched beaches, create a tapestry of natural beauty. Ancient temples, the gentle hum of Gamelan, and the intricate dance performances narrate tales of tradition and spirituality. From the bustling streets of Seminyak to the serene vibes of Ubud, Bali promises a rejuvenating escape into a tropical dream.

Best Time: April, May, June and September

295 Bali Attractions

18. Amsterdam, Netherlands - Heritage and history, parties and parks, food and fresh beer

Amsterdam, Netherlands - Heritage and history, parties and parks, food and fresh beer

Known For : Rijksmuseum Van Gogh Museum Vondelpark

Amsterdam, the jewel of the Netherlands, offers a captivating blend of old-world charm and modern vibrancy. Its winding canals are lined with historic houses, reflecting centuries of heritage. By night, the city pulses with lively parties and the hum of conversation. Sprawling parks provide serene escapes, while bustling markets and cozy cafés tantalize with sumptuous food and freshly brewed beer. Amsterdam is a celebration of contrasts, where tradition mingles effortlessly with contemporary delights.

Best Time: March to October

44 Amsterdam Attractions

19. Seychelles, Seychelles - The Honeymoon Paradise

Seychelles, Seychelles - The Honeymoon Paradise

Known For : Anse Lazio Snorkeling in Seychelles Sunbathing in Seychelles

Seychelles, an archipelago nestled in the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, is often heralded as 'The Honeymoon Paradise'. Its pristine beaches, fringed by swaying palm trees and granite boulders, set the stage for romance. Crystal-clear waters shimmer under the tropical sun, while secluded coves offer intimate moments of tranquillity. A sanctuary for love and serenity, Seychelles is where newlyweds find their idyllic beginning amidst nature's most breathtaking canvases.

Best Time: April to May, September to October

96 Seychelles Attractions

20. San Francisco, Usa - The Golden State's City of the Golden Gate

San Francisco, Usa - The Golden State's City of the Golden Gate

Known For : Golden Gate Bridge Alcatraz Island Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco, perched on the edge of California's coastline, is fondly known as the 'City of the Golden Gate'. Its iconic red bridge stretches majestically across the bay, while its hilly streets offer panoramic views of the Pacific. From the historic charm of cable cars to the bohemian vibes of Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco melds traditions with innovation. A cultural melting pot, it embodies the Golden State's spirit of diversity and progressive thinking.

Best Time: September to November (Autumn)

256 San Francisco Attractions

21. Mumbai, Maharashtra - The City of Dreams

Mumbai, Maharashtra - The City of Dreams

Known For : Elephanta Caves Marine Drive, Mumbai Juhu Beach

Mumbai, the bustling heart of Maharashtra, is often hailed as the 'City of Dreams'. Its skyline, a blend of colonial architecture and modern high-rises, tells tales of aspiration and evolution. From the vibrant lanes of Colaba to the serene Marine Drive promenade, Mumbai pulsates with energy. As the home of Bollywood and a melting pot of cultures, it promises a tapestry of experiences, where dreams take flight amidst its chaotic yet charismatic embrace.

Best Time: October to February

114 Mumbai Attractions

22. Kolkata, West Bengal - The city of Joy

Kolkata, West Bengal - The city of Joy

Known For : Victoria Memorial Fort William Kolkata Belur Math

Kolkata, nestled in West Bengal, is fondly termed the 'City of Joy'. A cradle of literature, arts, and revolution, its streets echo with tales of heritage and hope. Trams rumble past colonial edifices, while the aroma of roshogolla and street food fills the air. From the historic Howrah Bridge to the vibrant Durga Puja celebrations, Kolkata radiates a warmth and cultural depth, offering a soulful embrace to every visitor.

Best Time: October to March

79 Kolkata Attractions

23. Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, nestled high in the Andean mountains of Peru, is a testament to the architectural prowess and spiritual significance of the Inca civilization. Overlooking verdant valleys and shrouded in mist, this ancient citadel reveals a tapestry of stone terraces and temples. A journey to its enigmatic ruins offers a window into a bygone era, while challenging the physical and elevating the spiritual dimensions of those who tread its paths.

24. The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon, a majestic chasm carved by the Colorado River, stands as a testament to nature's unparalleled artistry. Spanning over 277 miles in Arizona, its layered red rock formations tell tales of Earth's ancient past. As sunlight dances across its vast expanse, visitors are left in awe of its sheer magnitude and raw beauty. A visit promises both a humbling perspective and an indelible imprint on the soul.

25. New Zealand - The Land Where Adventures Wait

New Zealand - The Land Where Adventures Wait

New Zealand, often dubbed the 'Land Where Adventures Wait', beckons with its juxtaposition of rugged landscapes and serene vistas. From the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps to the otherworldly geothermal terrains of Rotorua, it's a haven for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. Each corner of this island nation offers a unique dance of earth, water, and sky, promising unforgettable experiences for every intrepid soul.

26. Colosseum, Rome

Colosseum, Rome

The Colosseum in Rome, an enduring symbol of ancient grandeur, stands as a testament to the Roman Empire's architectural prowess and its thirst for spectacle. Once echoing with the roars of gladiators and spectators alike, this colossal amphitheater, with its arches and worn stones, evokes tales of bravery, drama, and human endeavor. A visit transports one back in time, offering a poignant glimpse into the heart of ancient civilization and its vast cultural tapestry.

27. Bora Bora, French-Polynesia - A colossal cosmos encircled by a mystique lagoon

Bora Bora, French-Polynesia - A colossal cosmos encircled by a mystique lagoon

Known For : Matira Beach Water Sports in Bora Bora Land activities

Bora Bora, situated in French Polynesia, is a colossal cosmos of vibrant blue hues and lush greenery, encircled by a mystique lagoon and barrier reef. Renowned for its turquoise water and luxury overwater bungalows, this tropical paradise effortlessly marries natural splendor with opulence. Each glimpse of its pristine beaches and silhouettes of Mount Otemanu on the horizon invites visitors into a realm of serene beauty and timeless allure.

Best Time: May to October

3 Bora Bora Attractions

28. Iceland - For the offbeat traveller

Iceland - For the offbeat traveller

Iceland, a realm of stark contrasts, beckons the offbeat traveller with its fiery volcanoes and glacial landscapes. From the ethereal glow of the Northern Lights to the geothermal springs of the Blue Lagoon, it offers an otherworldly escape. Its rugged terrains, dotted with waterfalls and geysers, promise an experience unlike any other. For those seeking paths less trodden and nature in its rawest form, Iceland is the ultimate destination.

29. New York City, Usa - The City that Never Sleeps

New York City, Usa - The City that Never Sleeps

Known For : Statue of Liberty Times Square Empire State Building

New York City, often dubbed 'The City that Never Sleeps', pulsates with unyielding energy. Its iconic skyline, punctuated by skyscrapers like the Empire State and One World Trade, stands as a beacon of ambition and dreams. The bustling streets, from Broadway's glowing marquees to Central Park's tranquil paths, tell tales of millions. A melting pot of cultures, arts, and ideas, NYC promises a perpetual dance of experiences, keeping its promise of sleepless wonder.

275 New York City Attractions

30. Costa Rica - Abundance of Natural Beauty

Costa Rica - Abundance of Natural Beauty

Costa Rica, a gem nestled between two oceans, is synonymous with an abundance of natural beauty. Rainforests teeming with vibrant flora and fauna stretch towards pristine beaches, where waves beckon surfers and sun-seekers alike. Majestic volcanoes rise against the horizon, and hidden waterfalls punctuate dense jungles. With its commitment to sustainability, Costa Rica not only offers a visual feast of biodiversity but also stands as a testament to harmonious coexistence with nature.

31. British Virgin Islands - The Gem of Caribbean

British Virgin Islands - The Gem of Caribbean

Known For : The Baths Rhone Marine Park (Salt Island) Fallen Jerusalem National Park

The British Virgin Islands, nestled in the heart of the Caribbean, emerge as a gem of turquoise waters and sun-kissed sands. This archipelago, comprising over 60 islands and cays, offers secluded bays, vibrant coral reefs, and verdant hills. Sailors drift lazily from one isle to another, seeking the perfect mooring spot, while beachcombers revel in the pristine shores. Reflecting the laid-back Caribbean spirit, these islands promise an untouched paradise for wanderers and dreamers alike.

Best Time: December to April

13 British Virgin Islan Attractions

32. Amalfi, Italy

Amalfi, Italy

Amalfi, nestled along Italy's rugged southern coastline, is a tapestry of sunlit cliffs and azure seas. This historic maritime town, with its maze of narrow alleys, boasts centuries-old architecture and bustling piazzas. Lemon groves scent the air, while vibrant bougainvillea drapes over stone walls. With its serene beaches and iconic cathedral, Amalfi perfectly captures the charm and romance of the Mediterranean, offering a slice of Italian paradise to every visitor.

33. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, located in the heart of Cambodia, stands as a testament to the Khmer Empire's architectural brilliance and spiritual devotion. This sprawling temple complex, with its intricate carvings and grandeur, is both a symbol of national pride and a UNESCO World Heritage site. As dawn breaks, its iconic silhouette against the rising sun offers a moment of serenity and timelessness, inviting travelers to step back into a golden era of Cambodian history.

Are there more best places in the world that we missed out? Let us know in the comments below!

This post was published by Vrinda Movva

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Top 30 travel destinations worldwide for 2024 revealed by National Geographic

tourist spots worldwide

From “wildlife havens and urban escapes to off-grid locales and cultural gems,” National Geographic Traveller’s Cool List 2023 reveals destinations that are “set to make the news” next year, a company press release said.

National Geographic Traveller (UK) announced a list of thirty locations which span five continents that were chosen by editors as the “top places and spaces around the world where tourism benefits communities and the environment as much as the visitors and locals themselves.”

“The 30 entries reflect an incredible range, featuring everything from exciting immersive journeys to inspirational visits that could take just a few hours,” the statement says. 

“Whether it’s culinary excellence, solar eclipses, night trains, new national parks, rewilding initiatives, ancient wonders revisited or cultural landmarks, we’ve curated some of the best travel destinations for the next 12 months,” Pat Riddell, editor of National Geographic Traveller (UK), was quoted as saying in the statement. “From Canada, the US and Argentina to Sierra Leone, Sikkim, Australia and beyond, the world is represented in all its full glory.”

National Geographic's top 30 travel destinations for 2024 

  • Albanian Alps, Albania
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • Europe by train
  • Galloway & Southern Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Nordland, Norway
  • North Yorkshire, England
  • Pompeii, Italy

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More: Amtrak unveils new fleet of Airo trains and the 14 routes they will serve

  • Saimaa, Finland
  • Tartu, Estonia
  • The Euros, Germany
  • Valletta, Malta
  • Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

North America

  • Dominican Republic
  • Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

South America

  • Atacama Desert, Chile
  • Iberá Wetlands, Argentina
  • Akagera, Rwanda
  • Andrefana Dry Forests, Madagascar
  • Sierra Leone

More: UNESCO adds 42 treasures to World Heritage List, including another in a Midwest state

  • Sikkim, India
  • Tainan, Taiwan
  • Xi’an, China


  • Victoria, Australia

To see the full list online, visit:

More From Forbes

Bucket list travel: the top 50 places in the world.

  • What's on your travel bucket list?
  • No matter how many places are on your bucket list, this ranking will get you dreaming of places near and far.
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According to a new survey, Bali is the top bucket list destination in the world.

What's on your travel bucket list? If you're like most people, the more you travel, the more places you add to your bucket list. So when the editors of the website Big 7 Travel announced the list of the world's top 50 bucket list destinations, we stopped in our tracks and started checking off the boxes.

The website surveyed its 1.5 million-strong social audience  in order to determine the best bucket list places around the world. According to Sarah Clayton-Lea, head of content with Big 7 Travel, this is the first time the site has assembled this list. "Bucket list travel was a trend that popped up again and again in previous surveys when asking our readers what sort of travel content they most enjoyed consuming," says Clayton-Lea. "So, our curiosity got the better of us and we wanted to know which destinations people are dreaming of for 2019/2020."

READ MORE: "Why You Should Skip Iceland And Go To These 9 Under-the-Radar Places"

The results of the world’s top 50 bucket list destinations include some of the most beautiful places on earth. "White sandy beaches are still a must-visit for many, with vibrant cities also making an appearance on a lot of people’s bucket lists," says Clayton-Lea. Countries with naturally beautiful scenery and world-famous landmarks came out on top: 22% of the destinations on the list have white sandy beaches, while 52% are iconic cities.

The famously colorful Bo Kaap neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa.

In the study, Big 7 Travel found that people were also more likely to add a destination to their list if they had seen it on social media, and 33% of people research vacation destinations on their Instagram feed. "With over one-third of our readers saying they look to Instagram for travel inspiration, it makes sense that cities with colorful neighborhoods (such as Cape Town’s Bo Kaap) made the cut," says Clayton-Lea.

Bali topped the list of the 50 most popular bucket list destination on earth, but there were also some unexpected picks. "The top 10 list has a lot of the expected dream destinations, but there are a few surprises on the list: Paro Valley in Bhutan, for example, or Virunga National Park in the Congo," says Clayton-Lea. "I think this shows a great appetite for a need to get off the grid and can only assume that social media (and Netflix, in the case of Virunga!) is responsible for spreading the word of these amazing places."

An interesting factoid uncovered in the study: Most people have an average bucket list of just 11 places, with the hope of visiting seven of those locations during their lifetime. No matter how many places are on your bucket list, this ranking will get you dreaming of places near and far. Read on for the top 50 bucket list destinations in the world and what Big 7 Travel had to say about each one.

Overlooking the jungle on one of Bali's highly Instagrammed swings.

1. Bali, Indonesia:  "You’ll find beaches, volcanoes, Komodo dragons and jungles sheltering elephants, orangutans and tigers. Basically, it’s paradise. It’s likely you’ve seen an image of Bali on social media at least once in the past seven days, as it’s such a popular bucket list destination for 2019."

2. New Orleans: "The lively city known for its street music, festive vibe and a melting pot of French, African and American cultures is well worth the trip. NOLA is a city packed with adventures at every turn and should be on everyone’s must-visit list."

3. Kerry, Ireland: " All the way west in Ireland is one of the country’s most scenic counties. Kerry’s mountains, lakes and coasts are postcard-perfect, and that’s before you add in Killarney National Park. The unique small towns such as Dingle add to its charm."

El Badi Palace in the Marrakesh medina.

4. Marrakesh, Morocco:  "This ancient walled city is home to mosques, palaces and lush gardens. It’s known as The Red City thanks to the color of the brick walls surrounding the city. The medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre."

5. Sydney: "Sydney is known around the world as one of the greatest and most iconic cities on the planet. Amazing things to do aren’t hard to find; the city has gorgeous beaches, great cafes and world-class entertainment on offer wherever you look."

6. The Maldives: "This tropical nation in the Indian Ocean is made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. It’s home to some of the world’s most luxurious hotel resorts, with white sandy beaches, underwater villas and restaurants and bright blue waters."

Paris, France.

7. Paris, France: "One of the most iconic cities in the world, Paris tops many people’s bucket lists. You’ll see so many famous landmarks here: the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame cathedral—the list is never-ending."

8. Cape Town, South Africa: "Cape Town is a dream location to visit: endless natural beauty and clifftop views, pastel pink neighborhoods and turquoise waters."

9. Dubai, U.A.E.: "The high-flying city of the U.A.E, Dubai is one of the most glamorous destinations you’ll ever visit, and is particularly popular with Big 7 Travel readers."

Sunset In Bora Bora, French Polynesia.

10. Bora Bora, French Polynesia: "Bora Bora is Tahiti's most famous island. How do overwater bungalows and underwater adventures sound to you? To us, it’s everything we could want from a bucket list destination."

11. New York: "New York is one of America’s most exciting states. With charming upstate scenery, world-class cuisine and culture and more things to do than you could fit in one lifetime. The city’s five boroughs all have special features; it’s almost impossible to narrow it down"

12. Dubrovnik, Croatia: "As George Bernard Shaw once said, 'Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik.' With its winding streets, cliffside beach bars and UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old Town, it’s no wonder Dubrovnik is such a popular spot."

Carlton hill in Edinburgh, Scotland.

13. Edinburgh, Scotland: "With the historic Edinburgh castle looming over the city, culture in spades and wonderfully friendly locals, this is one of the world’s greatest city breaks."

14. Rome, Italy: "Whether it’s your first time in Rome or your 50th, the best thing about this city is that you’ll always discover something new each time you stroll the scenic streets."

15. Paro Valley, Bhutan:  Paro Valley is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs ) and dramatic landscapes. Tucked between China and India, Bhutan is a mysterious country that prides itself on sustainable tourism. You’ll find Paro Taktsang here, a Himalayan Buddhist sacred site."

At the Jal Mahal Palace at sunset in Jaipur, India.

16. Jaipur, India: "Jaipur is known as the ‘Pink City’ for its pale terracotta buildings. This was originally done to impress the visiting Prince Albert during his 1876 tour of India by order of the Maharaja (Sawai Ram Singh). Even today, it’s illegal to paint buildings any other color."

17. Waikato, New Zealand:  "Waikato, a region in New Zealand’s North Island, is home to massive underground caves, lush rainforest and the buzzy city of Hamilton. But the area’s main attraction? A Middle-earth adventure on the film set of  Lord of the Rings. Hobbiton Movie Set still has the original Hobbit holes from the making of the films."

18. Havana, Cuba:  "Cuba’s capital is almost 500 years old and a riot of color. Brightly painted buildings and vintage cars make Havana a photogenic dream."

A view of Tokyo Skytree and the city skyline from the Tobu Levant Hotel.

19. Tokyo, Japan: "Visiting Tokyo is like visiting the future—flashing neon lights, incredible technology—yet there’s still a rich sense of culture and history."

20. Antarctica:  "Earth’s southernmost continent, Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime destination. Nowhere else can compare with the extreme remoteness of this snowy place. It’s not an easy trip to make, but you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the white wilderness, icy sea kayaking and whale sightings."

21. Vancouver, Canada: "Vancouver is surrounded by water yet close to the mountains and has world-class art, restaurants and heaps of other attractions to keep you entertained."

22. Los Angeles: "In a city with year-round sunshine, glam bars, beaches and hikes, there are endless incredible experiences to enjoy in Los Angeles. It’s no wonder there are almost 5O million ‘LA’ hashtags on Insta."

In Kruger National Park, South Africa.

23. Kruger National Park, South Africa:  "The Kruger National Park is a vast space in northeastern South Africa that is home to a huge array of wildlife. The park has safari experiences of all kinds, allowing you the opportunity to escape busy city living and get back to nature."

24. Santorini, Greece: "Santorini is actually a group of islands; Thíra, Thirassiá, Asproníssi, Palea and Nea Kaméni. Beaches with volcanic black or red sand and clear blue waters make this an ideal holiday spot. With its famous Santorini sunsets, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular bucket list destinations."

25. Moscow, Russia: "Russia’s cosmopolitan capital, Moscow is a beautiful destination to visit in any season. Colorful domes and bell chimes ring out from over 600 churches in the city, and the sense of history is immense. Culture lovers will be impressed with the museums and ballet."

26. Singapore : "Singapore is a small island city-state off southern Malaysia which punches way above its weight on a global level. It’s a modern city with colorful buildings, futuristic bridges and a cloud forest."

London's Westminster Bridge.

27. London, England: "Pretty pink restaurants, futuristic space-age toilets and jungle skyline views are just some of our favorite things about London. And of course, all the classics: Big Ben, red phone boxes and world-class museums and galleries."

28. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:  "Rio de Janeiro has always been one of the most iconic cities in the world with instantly recognizable landscapes and landmarks."

29. Petra, Jordan: "The ancient Nabatean city of Petra in southern Jordan is surrounded by beautiful red rocks and steep gorges. The world wonder is without a doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction."

30. Hong Kong:  "Famous for its skylines and vibrant food scene, what most people  don’t  know is that 70% of Hong Kong is mountains and lush parks. Colorful playgrounds and sci-fi apartment blocks give HK an enviable edge."

Beach and sea waves shot from above in Barbados.

31. Barbados: "Barbados is one of those magical holiday destinations that everybody dreams about visiting. Who  wouldn’t  put this on their bucket list? Nestled in the south of the Caribbean, it offers stunning beauty and wonderful local culture and is the perfect place to unwind."

32. Amsterdam: "Forget about cliched images of smoke shops and gaudy red lights. From floating flower markets to bohemian neighborhoods, this city has it all."

33. Santiago, Chile: "Santiago is a cosmopolitan city with the very best of Chilean culture; art galleries, design shops and handicraft markets, as well as lively Latino nightlife. You’ll stroll through historic neighborhoods with pretty winding streets and charming bars and cafes."

34. Cairo, Egypt: "Cairo is one of the most ancient cities in the world. Sitting on the Nile river with wonderful museums, vibrant culture and friendly locals, it makes for a great holiday."

Biking in Copenhagen.

35. Copenhagen, Denmark: "Copenhagen’s rustic fishing ports, modern graffiti and winding red brick streets are just some of what makes it such a beautiful bucket list destination. It oozes Scandi cool from every corner, with top-notch food, stylish design and an always hip atmosphere."

36. Seoul, Korea: "Seoul is a vibrant metropolis where old-meets-new, with pop culture (K-Pop!) alongside Buddhist temples.

37. Laucala Island Resort, Fiji:  "Laucala Island Resort is a private island in Fiji, in absolute paradise. It is one of three small islands off the northeast coast of Taveuni in Fiji. There are coconut trees, a sustainable farm and miles of beach, as well as coral reefs, postcard-perfect beaches and lush rainforest."

38. Providencia, Colombia: "The Colombian island of Providencia is the perfect combination of South America and the Caribbean. It’s best known for Crab Cay: an unspoiled little island where all there is to do is snorkel and lie on the beach."

Photographing Machu Picchu, Peru.

39. Machu Picchu, Peru: "The best way to get here? Arrive at Machu Picchu in style on the 360° Train that will bring you through the Peruvian countryside to the lost city. The wide, panoramic windows are perfect for soaking up the view, plus they serve Pisco Sours on board."

40. Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo: "Virunga National Park is one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet and home to the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. It’s full of lush rainforest and has received even more attention since the documentary  Virunga."

41. Lisbon, Portugal: "Lisbon, the hilly capital of Portugal, is postcard-perfect with its cobbled streets, pristine waters and local Atlantic beaches."

42. Hanoi, Vietnam: "Hanoi—the capital of Vietnam—is known for its rich history, busy street life and centuries of French, Asian and Chinese influences all blended into one bustling city. It’s a wonderful base from which to explore the North of Vietnam, including Halong Bay and Sapa, while also enjoying the comforts of a modern vibrant city."

A view of Honolulu's Magic Island And Waikiki Beach.

43. Hawaii: "From the hustle and bustle of Oahu to the romance of Maui and off-the-beaten-path adventures on Lanai and Molokai. The Hawaiian Islands are pure paradise. Explore colorful canyons and waterfalls and eat your body weight in fresh poke."

44. Ibiza, Spain: "While you’ll have your fair share of techno club experiences, Ibiza is also one of the most beautiful Spanish islands, with a pretty Old Town and scenic beaches. Spend the day on the beach and the nights in legendary clubs."

45. Beijing, China: "Beijing is China’s political, economic, and cultural center, with six Unesco World Heritage Sites in this city alone. Discover Forbidden City, street food dishes of Peking duck and of course, the Great Wall of China."

46. Budapest, Hungary: "The capital city of Hungary, Budapest is a fairytale city in Eastern Europe. The city itself is separated by the 19th-century Chain Bridge that connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest—hence the name Budapest."

Photographing Vernazza in Cinque Terre.

47. Cinque Terre, Italy: "Is there anything prettier than this area of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline? The five towns (Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare) are made  for bucket lists."

48. Buenos Aires, Argentina: "Bookstores set in palatial theatres, tango dancing in the streets and brightly painted neighborhoods. These are just some of what makes Buenos Aires so beautiful."

49. Las Vegas: "With the bright lights, party atmosphere and endless things to see and do, it’s no wonder that Las Vegas has become a glittering global tourism destination. Take a chance in the casinos until the early hours or see world-class entertainment."

50: Matterhorn, Switzerland: "The Matterhorn is one of the world’s most iconic peaks—the pyramid-shaped mountain, which is very difficult to climb, is said to be the most-photographed mountain in the world."

READ MORE: •  "Ranked: The 20 Most Dangerous Places to Live" •  "Bucket List Travel: The Top 50 Places In The World" •  "Why You Should Skip Iceland And Go To These 9 Under-the-Radar Places" •  "23 Surprising Things That Will Get You In Trouble In Italy"

• "Bucket List Travel: Top 10 Places In The World And Top 29 In The U.S."

Laura Begley Bloom

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Top 50 Travel Destinations & Places to Visit in the World 2023

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Editor Note:  This post was originally published on  14 July 2020 and Updated on 29 September 2023 to make it more comprehensive and up-to-date.

Traveling can be a life-changing experience and travelers when getting a list of places to be viewed is like a precious gift.  Trying to make this informative, we have compiled a list of the 50 best places to visit in the world for travel enthusiasts. These are inspirations from various platforms and most of which are World Tourism Ranking and others for their scenic beauty that has been captured so well. 

Traveling is like therapy and for those who haven’t experienced the charm, this list would be very useful. A gradual beginning would lead you to tick the last place on the list and you will be stimulated to look for another destination. That is the impact traveling has on the mind and the heart. Before we stream into the advantages of traveling, look at the list below and find out yourself:

So here you go…

Best Places to Visit in the World

1. bora bora island, french polynesia.

The epitome of romance, Bora Bora is one of the best travel destinations in the World. This place is known for its luxurious stays and adventurous activities. The hotels in Bora Bora offer full privacy and their floating villas have direct entrance to the sea while their terrace is blessed with romantic sunrise & sunset.

This south pacific island is regarded as the center of the romantic universe with white sand beaches, blue water, tropical colored fish, beautiful coral gardens and luxurious resorts & spas.

Amazing wildlife, oceanic adventure, and wining & dining at these places often come together. With all these places close to each other, you can visit them together. When in Australia, New Zealand and Bora Bora island can be planned with the help of a tour planner.

Tahiti ranks as the best island in the world, the best honeymoon destination in the world , the best place to visit in Australia and The Pacific. New Zealand is famous for perfect weather with rainforests and glaciers. And if you are missing waters, you will find that in abundance in Australia with a shoreline of 50,000 km.  

Best time to visit Bora Bora?

Anytime is a good time to visit Bora Bora because the weather is warm year-round. May to October is the time when the island receives a lot of tourists and the rain showers are isolated.  But the best time to go to Bora Bora is the months of November and April. During this time you can skip the crowd and get the perfect weather.

Ready to Unveil the Magic of Bora Bora? Discover the best Packages Here!

Private Bora Bora Lagoon

Private Bora Bora Lagoon & Water Lunch Experience

  • Snorkelling gear
  • Round trip transfers from your Hotel
  • Beverages – wine, soda & bottled water

Full-Day Bora Bora

Full Day – Snorkel Cruise by Polynesian Outrigger Canoe with BBQ Island Lunch

  • Learn about Bora Bora marine life & culture
  • Enjoy BBQ lunch at the beach
  • Hotel pickup & drop with snorkeling equipment

Best vacation spots in Bora Bora:

  • The island of love Moorea
  • The romantic island Bora Bora
  • The most photographed isle in the South Pacific Motu Tapu
  • Fautua Waterfall 
  • Matira Beach
  • Coral Gardens
  • Bora Bora Boat Tours
  • Mount Otemanu

Interesting fact:

Initially, the Tahitian language doesn’t have any letter “B”, it was “Pora Pora” instead of “Bora Bora”. Pora Pora means “the firstborn”. And then the English letter settled here and people began pronouncing it as Bora Bora. 

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2. Machu Picchu, Peru – The Sun Gate

Huayna Picchu is a mountain in Peru, rising over Machu Picchu , the so-called Lost City of Incas . This place is popular among tourists as the sunrise from the Sun Gate is simply spectacular. The hills here proffer one of the most marvelous views of the main square of Machu Picchu, with the sun in the backdrop.

The setting sun each day is something to look forward to with the hues it spreads. This place is widely rated as one of the world’s greatest ancient archaeological sites .

The interesting fact about Picchu is that only 400 people are allowed to climb the hills in a day.

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Machu Picchu:

  • Huayna Picchu
  • Winay Wayna
  • Temple of the moon
  • Puyupatamrca
  • Llaqtapata, Putucusi
  • Los Jardine de Mandor

Your Machu Picchu Adventure Awaits! Explore Top Packages Now

Full-Day Machu picchu

Private Full-Day Tour To Machu Picchu with Lunch

  • Hassel free round trip with car & train
  • Explore at your own pace
  • Learn the history & culture of Machu Picchu with a private guide

4 day Machu picchu

4-Day Machu Picchu with Biking, Rafting, Ziplining from Cusco

  • Hike, raft, bike & zipline
  • Learn the history & culture of Peru with a private guide
  • Enjoy breathtaking mountains and hike to mountain summits

3. Great Barrier Reef, Australia – Great Natural Wonder

One of the most remarkable Australian natural gifts is the Great Barrier Reef . The hallmark of this place is ‘lavish’ and ‘beauty’. So if you want to see this grandeur of nature in Australia, you need to spend money and come & stay at the most luxurious places the Reef has to offer. This place is blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef.

The reef contains an abundance of marine life and comprises over 3000 individual reef systems and coral cays and hundreds of picturesque tropical islands. It also boasts of some of the world’s most beautiful sun-soaked, golden beaches. Because of its natural beauty, the Great Barrier Reef has become one of the world’s best travel destinations.

Best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef?

The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is between June to October. During this time you get to view the clear water allowing you to take that deep dive into it. 

Ready to Explore the Underwater World of Great Barrier Reef. Here are Top Packages –

great barrier reef

Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Cruise from Cairns

  • Comprehensive training and safety guidance
  • Including snorkeling, diving and safety gear
  • The ticket price includes onboard boat lunch.

great barrier reef with scenic flight

Full Day Reef Cruise Including 10 Minute Heli Scenic Flight

  • Experience a luxurious super-yacht featuring an onboard BBQ buffet lunch.
  • Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving, catering to various skill levels.
  • Breathtaking sights observed from a boat, helicopter, and underwater vantage points.

Best places to visit in the Great Barrier Reef:

  • Whitehaven beach 
  • Yongala Shipwreck
  • Lady Elliot Island

4. Bangkok, Thailand

Glitterati and vibrant is how Bangkok can be described. With lots of floating markets and perfect nightlife, you are about to have the best time of your life at this amazing place. With ladyboys and temples, the place is a unique blend of urban spiritual life. People here are followers of Buddha and the temples are divine.

Almost all the buildings and structures reflect the Chinese origin of this place. You are in for a lot of vigor in Bangkok with not just nightlife, but also some wonderful shopping. 

Major Tourist Attractions in Bangkok

  • The Grand Palace
  • Wat Pho 
  • Asiatique the Riverfront
  • Chinatown, Khao San Road
  • Chatuchak Weekend Market
  • Chao Phraya River
  • Bangkok National Museum

Bangkok Dream Tours

Bnagkok night view

Bangkok by Night: Temples, Markets and Food by Tuk-Tuk

  • Comprises dinner at a nearby eatery along with street food snacks and desserts
  • Witness the illuminating city lights highlighting Bangkok’s temples, palaces, and iconic landmarks

Bnagkok temples

Three BEST Temples Bangkok City Tour “Must Visit” By The River

  • The admission tickets for temples and sites are all covered
  • Transfers to the hotel are provided
  • Perfect for those with limited time, aiming to explore extensively.

5. Cappadocia, Turkey – Most Magical Place on Earth

Cappadocia Turkey

Magic can only be seen and seeing is believing. This amazing place in Turkey offers a breathtaking view that words would fall short when we begin to explain it. Coming to Cappadocia’s you realize that everything done by nature has its own beauty.

The volcanic eruptions are also shaped magically into a beauty making humans realize their worth in front of nature.  According to the World Tourism Ranking, 45 Million people visit Turkey each year, and from that about 2 Million come to visit Cappadocia. 

Best places to visit in Cappadocia:

  • Goreme open-air Museum
  • Hot-air Ballooning
  • Zelve open-air Museum
  • Derinkuyu underground city
  • Red and rose valley
  • Cavusin, Soganil

Unlock Cappadocia wonders: Dive into Exclusive Packages!

Cappadocia 2 day trip

Cappadocia Dream – 2 Days Cappadocia Travel with Balloon Ride from/to Istanbul

  • Reduce your time spent in queues and maximize your exploration of Cappadocia
  • Travel comfortably in a smoke-free vehicle
  • Experience a captivating and unforgettable sunrise flight aboard a hot air balloon

Cappadocia balloon ride

Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Tour Over Fairychimneys

  • Take home a flight certificate as a memento of your journey
  • A morning departure offers excellent viewing opportunities

6. Paris, France – Most Visited City in the World

paris eiffel tower

A whopping 89.4 million tourists visiting France each year is not in vain. It certainly has a reason and Paris is perhaps one BIG reason .  It’s almost impossible to not fall in love with this city. It is full of history, beauty, and love. The city exudes culture, class, style and sophistication above all.

Watch the Eiffel Tower and become a poet or photographer instantly as you naturally draw inspiration from these and like of these in Paris. Be in awe when you observe the massive Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum and the list is endless.

Best place to visit in Paris:

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Louvre Museum
  • Montmartre – Wall of Love
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Tuileries Garden

Ready to Unveil the Magic of Paris? Discover the Best Packages Here

eiffel tower

Eiffel Tower Skip The Line Summit with Host

  • Discover the culture, traditions, and history of Paris
  • Enjoy expansive views from the viewing platforms on the second and third levels

tuk tuk in paris

Tuktuk in Paris Private City Tour with Pick Up

  • Narration by a guide proficient in English
  • They provide round-trip transfers to your preferred hotel or location

7. New York, United States – The City Which Never Sleeps

A city that forever awakens and observes an influx of people throughout the year, you will be thoroughly awed by the skyscrapers in the city. These skyscrapers are built for a reason, and they restore incredible art galleries, and museums, some amazing contemporary cuisine restaurants, and a catalog of things.

New York is one city that is bestowed by its designers with an infrastructure to please one and all. No traveler has been disappointed ever while visiting New York . Here you can feel the synergy between urban and natural areas and how the greens have been retained irrespective of major developments in the city.  

Unlock New York wonders: Dive into Exclusive Packages!

new york via helicopter

New York Helicopter Tour: Manhattan Highlights

  • Witness renowned landmarks such as the Empire State Building and Central Park
  • Witness awe-inspiring aerial views.

niagara falls

Niagara Falls in One Day from New York City

  • Witness the falls and enjoy ample time for exploration at Niagara Falls State Park
  • Easily accessible, return transportation from Times Square

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City:

  • Statue of Liberty
  • Ellis Island, 
  • Central Park
  • Little Italy and Chinatown
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Grand Central Terminal
  • Financial District
  • 9/11 Memorial
  • Broadway Show

Interesting Fact:

More than 60 million people visit this city every year. 

8. Rothenburg – Germany:

Rothenburg is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Germany and part of the famous romantic road through southern Germany. The full name of this city is Rothenburg ob der Tauber means the Red Castle above the Tauber (river). It is because this town is situated on a knap overlooking the Tauber River.

Rothenburg is too touristy so to skip the crowd you must explore this town early in the morning and walk inside & outside of the wall to take better pictures. The main attraction of this town is the Charming Old Town itself.

The 13th-century town hall tower is the higher point of the city where you can get a birds-eye view of this beautiful city.


Discover exclusive Rothenburg tours with premium packages to choose from

  • Private walking tour with guide
  • Medieval musical tour of Rothenburg ob der tuber

There are many things you can explore in Rothenburg:

  • The Town Hall Tower
  • Old town of Rothenburg
  • The walls of old town
  • St. James Chruch
  • Medieval Crime Museum
  • Rothenburg Museum

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9. Guanajuato – The most Beautiful City in Mexico

A city in central Mexico, Guanajuato is known for its history of silver mining and colonial architecture. The houses in the city are very attractively painted with the most bright colors available.

These sights will be a treat for your eyes when you see fuchsia pink mingling with pillar box red, saffron yellow, baby blue, and lime green. Because of its picture-perfect beauty, the city is visited by more than 28 million people each year. 

Ready to Unveil the Magic of Guanajuato? Discover the best Packages Here!

Tacos and Tequila Food

Tacos and Tequila Food Walking Tour in San Miguel de Allende

  • Explore a culinary adventure by visiting seven local eateries and bars, indulging in a delectable array of gourmet tacos
  • Get a comprehensive insight into Mexican culture and cuisine from an experienced guide.


Transportation between Bajio Airport and Guanajuato Capital

Major tourist attractions in guanajuato:.

  • Guanajuato underground tunnels
  • The Basilica of Our Lady
  • Guanajuato old town
  • Mummy Museum
  • Pipila Monument
  • The Alley of the Kiss
  • La Valenciana Church

10. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat is one of the most famous archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over 400 acres of Land, Angkor War is said to be the biggest religious monument in the world . Originally, it was dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu but at end of the 12th century, it becomes a Buddhist temple. Now, it is no longer a temple, it serves as one of the best tourist destinations in Cambodia.

Angkot wat represents the entire range of Khmer art from the 9th to the 15th century. This temple is considered the heart and soul of Cambodia.

Things to see in Angkor Wat:

  • Ta Prohm Temple
  • The Bayon Temple
  • Terrace of the elephants
  • Preah Khan Temple

11. Amsterdam, Netherlands – Cycling Capital of the World

amsterdam - best places to visit in the world

The most active city in the world – Amsterdam, the capital of Netherland, is one of the best places to visit in Europe. This vibrant city is celebrated for its stunning architecture, iconic canal system, flower-adorned bridges, and excellent mobility network. Whether you’re a honeymoon couple, a backpacker, or a leisure traveler, Amsterdam caters to everyone’s preferences.

For art and history enthusiasts, Amsterdam is a paradise. With over 50 museums showcasing precious art pieces, culture, photography, and architecture dating back to ancient times, the city offers a rich cultural experience.

The streets of Amsterdam exude a vibrant and artistic ambiance, encouraging you to pause and capture their beauty. Moreover, the city’s street cafes allow you to savor lip-smacking food, adding to its reputation as a culinary hotspot.

  • Here’s an interesting fact : Amsterdam boasts more bicycles than people and over 2500 boats. Additionally, it surpasses Venice in terms of the number of canals.

Best Time to Visit

April to May is the prime time to explore Amsterdam, with pleasant weather and blooming tulips creating a picturesque backdrop. However, be prepared for larger crowds as this is the peak tourist season. If you prefer a quieter experience and wish to avoid the hustle and bustle, September to October is the ideal time to visit Amsterdam.

Things to do in Amsterdam

  • Cycling around the city.
  • Admire the beauty of the city through canals.
  • Visit Anne Frank Museum to deep dive in the era of world war 2.
  • Spend time inside the Amsterdamse Bos park which is three times bigger then New York’s Central Park.
  • Try local beer.
  • Discover Amsterdam independent shopping streets for shopping.
  • Admire the beauty of tulips at Keukenhof Gardens, the most famous tulip garden in the world.
  • Visit Rijksmuseum.

12. Iceland – Land of Fire & Ice

iceland - best travel destination

In recent years, Iceland has emerged as a hotspot among world travelers and is easily one of the best places to visit. Located between Norway and Greenland, Iceland is a Nordic country renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, glaciers, active volcanoes, the Blue Lagoon, abundant wildlife, and mesmerizing Northern lights. From the soothing Blue Lagoon to the lush green rugged landscapes, the natural beauty of this country is truly enchanting.

Iceland is one of the youngest countries in the world. Approximately 11,00 years ago, this land was discovered by the Vikings from Norway.

Beyond its appeal to tourists, Iceland is also an excellent country to call home. Despite the high cost of living, Iceland ranks as one of the most peaceful and eco-friendly nations in the world.

  • Interesting Fact – Approximately 60% of Iceland’s population resides in its capital city, Reykjavik.

Best time to visit

Iceland boasts a range of extreme weather conditions, so the best time to visit this country entirely depends on your preferences. For those interested in witnessing the Northern Lights, the ideal period is from November to February when the nights are at their longest. On the other hand, if you’re keen on outdoor activities and basking in the warmth, the best time to visit would be during the summer months of June to August when you can experience the enchanting phenomenon of the midnight sun.

Top tourist attractions of Iceland

  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
  • Explore the black sand beaches
  • Take bath in hot springs and blue lagoon
  • Explore the ice caves
  • Visit capital of Iceland – Reykjavik
  • Visit Skógafoss Waterfall
  • Take legendary horseback riding.

13. Costa Rica – Switzerland of Central America

costa rica - top tourist attractions

If you’re a nature lover, Costa Rica should be at the top of your list of top tourist attractions in the world. This peaceful American country boasts coastlines along both the Pacific and Caribbean seas, giving rise to some of the most beautiful beaches, interconnected canals, and national parks where you can witness green turtle nesting. The abundance of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, rainforests, beaches, unique eco-friendly hotels, and adventurous activities attracts millions of visitors every year.

For adventure enthusiasts, there are a plethora of activities to indulge in, including river rafting, canyoning, snorkeling, surfing, swimming, zip-lining, cave tubing, waterfall rappelling, and paragliding. And if you’re seeking relaxation, there are stunning beaches, spas, and natural hot springs to unwind in.

The peak tourist season in Costa Rica is from December to March when the weather is dry, the sun shines brighter, and there’s less humidity. However, for those who prefer to avoid crowds and hustle, May to November is the ideal time to visit. November to May marks the rainy and green season in Costa Rica, offering lower crowds and the best deals on hotels and transportation.

Top Tourist Attractions in Costa Rica

  • Take a high flying zip line tour at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.
  • Explore rich wildlife and natural wonders at Corcovado National Park.
  • Visit Arenal Volcano National Park.
  • Witness best beach sunset at Santa Teresa.
  • Explore San Jose – The capital of Costa Rica.
  • Take a coffee and chocolate farm tour farm tour.
  • Take a relaxing bath at Tabacon Hot Springs.
  • Admire the beauty of Fortuna waterfall.

14. Cinque Terre, Italy – Comprise the five small coastal villages

Cinque Terre means five lands comprising the five villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso and Corniglia, those are located in Italy’s northwestern coastal region of Liguria. All these five villages are linked with a hiking trail called Sentiero Azzurro cliffside.

The vibrant hues of the houses are its benchmark and explain the beauty of this place.  Also, if you are a foodie and love seafood, you will be exhilarated with the choice you are about to get here. Happy exploring great food! 

Top things you should not miss in Cinque Terre:

  • Ramble around Cinque Terre
  • Views of Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero
  • Explore Portovenere
  • Best sunset spot in Cinque Terre
  • Cinque Terre National Park

15. Agra, Taj Mahal, India

An immense mausoleum of white marble, built-in Agra by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz, the monument is breathtakingly beautiful. The tranquility of white is universally spread over the Taj. It is one of the masterpieces of world heritage and also one of the best travel destinations in the world.

Standing on the banks of the Yamuna River, Agra it is one of the best tourist attractions in the world. With the most beautiful hotels and places to stay, you will be charmed with the hospitality the accommodations will have to offer you.

If you have a strong palette, do try the street food in Agra as it is famous for some ‘Indian Chats’. There are more monuments and gardens near the Taj Mahal that are equally beautiful and worth a visit.

Major tourist attractions near Taj Mahal:

  • Mehtab Bagh
  • Jama Masjid
  • Wildlife SOS
  • Fatehpur Sikri
  • Shopping in Agra

16. Bali, Indonesia

Bali is an Indonesian Island and one of the best holiday destinations in the Indonesian archipelago. Bali is known for its volcanic mountains, history, art & culture, food, temples and beautiful sandy beaches.

For its beauty, it has been nicknamed many times and is also called Island of Gods, The Last Paradise, Land of Thousand Temples and Morning of the World. Bali has world-class surfing and diving places.

Best time to visit Bali:

From April to June and September to October along with Christmas & New year is the best time to visit Bali.

Top-rated tourist attractions in Bali:

  • Pura Tanah Lot
  • Mount Batur
  • Ubud Monkey Forest
  • Tegallalang and Jatiluwih Rice Terraces in Bali
  • Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
  • The sidemen valley
  • Seminyak Beac

17. Singapore – City of Garden

From a fishing village to one of the most developed places in the world, Singapore is the best vacation spot in the world. Singapore is also known as the Garden City because there are trees everywhere which makes it like a Garden. The delicious food, picturesque sightseeing, adventurous activities and splendid charm of this place would entice you forever.

Singapore is famous for its beautiful place like Garden by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Flyer, Sentosa, Chinatown and Merlion.

Greece, with its rich tapestry of attractions and natural beauty, stands out as one of the world’s best travel destinations. It boasts a staggering 6,000 islands, of which a mere 227 are inhabited, each offering its unique charm. Moreover, Greece is renowned for its world-famous historical sites, stunning beaches , and ancient archaeological wonders.

The country’s diverse landscapes encompass towering mountain ranges, creating a picturesque backdrop for any traveler’s adventure. Additionally, Greece’s evergreen climate adds to its allure, making it an enticing year-round destination. With a network of dozens of international airports, traveling to Greece is not only accessible but also affordable, ensuring that this Mediterranean gem is within reach for all wanderlust seekers.

Top Tourist Attraction in Greece:

  • Acropolis, Athens

19. Milford Sound, New Zealand – Explore the 8th Wonder of the World

Formed by glaciers during the Ice Age, the scene around Milford Sound still bears proof of its creation as an epic landscape: Cliffs rise from fjords crowned by mountains and waterfalls.

After the experience, the water from the surface goes underneath to visit the main coasting, submerged observatory in New Zealand, Milford Discovery Center and Underwater Observatory. You can go more than 30 feet somewhere down in the water and get 30 deg of submerged condition.

Best time to visit Milford Sound:

The best time to visit Milford Sound is during winter. November is the peak season when the sound hosts more than two thousand people per day. April/May and September/October are less crowded.

Best Vacation Spot in Milford Sound, New Zealand:

  • Milford Sound Underwater
  • Harrison Cove
  • Milford Sound Lodge
  • Anita Bay 
  • Bowen Falls
  • Go Orange Cruise
  • Milford Track

20. Luzern, Switzerland

Lucerne, a city in Central Switzerland , without a doubt, justifies the claim of the most lovely city in Switzerland and also the most beautiful vacation spots in the world.

Every year more than 9 million tourists witness this beautiful place. It is a paradise for newlyweds and you will often observe couples there.

Moreover, the blue waters in the city and the greens together synergize into making this one of the most visited places in Switzerland. Lucerne is famous for its postcard views and lovely weather. 

Major Tourist Attractions in Lucerne:

  • Old Town, Lucerne
  • Mount Pilatus
  • Chapel Bridge
  • Lake Lucerne
  • Natur-Museum Lucerne
  • Lion Monument
  • Spreuer Bridge
  • Swiss Museum of Transport

21. Madrid, Spain

Madrid, the Capital of Spain is one of the best travel destinations in the world. This city is famous for being open for all kinds of travelers with the famous museums, busy streets, vibrant nightlife, cultural heritage, scenic structure, century-old bars and clam historic spots.

The main highlight of this city is Museo Del Prado. It is a collection of elite arts of Spain and Europe. Goya, Durero, Rembrandt and Velazquez is the best attractions of Museo del Prado. It is a home of 7000+ paintings.

22. London, United Kingdom

London is one of the biggest and most populated cities in the world and that makes it the best place to visit in the world. London is a fashion hub and cultural capital. Visitors come here to enjoy its royalty, pubs, theater, museum and the amazing landscape it offers.

Around 17 million people visit this beautiful city every year. London has a large cultural diversity and people from many origins live and visit it.

Top Tourist Attractions in London

  • The London Tower
  • Tower Bridge
  • The British Museum
  • Big Ben and Parliament
  • National Gallery
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Churchill’s War Rooms
  • Covent Garden

23. The Colosseum Rome, Italy

The Colosseum is one of the best tourist spots in Rome. It is one of the most recognized monuments in the world. Every year over 6 million tourists visit it. It stands as an iconic symbol of ancient imperial Rome’s architectural and engineering powerness.

Nearly after the 2000 years of construction, the colosseum is still stood and this is the major reason behind its popularity. This Roman architecture is huge. There are 80 entrances to get into this monument.

24. Bryce Canyon Bryce, Utah – Perfect Place for Travel Geek

Bryce Canyon National Park is an American national park located in southwestern Utah. This place is famous for layered red and orange sedimentary as it provides the mystique beauty to this place. The presence of hoodoos which are geological structures has made this place a famous one with more than 2 million people visiting it every year. 

Best time to visit Bryce Canyon?

May to September is considered the best time to visit Bryce Canyon National park. During that period you get plenty of ranger activities and the warmest weather of the year. 

Top Sight at Bryce Canyon National Park:

  • Navajo Loop Trail
  • Queens Garden Trail
  • Inspiration point
  • Bryce Amphitheater
  • Fairyland Canyon
  • Wall Street
  • Thors Hammer
  • Bristlecone Point

Things to do at Bryce Canyon National Park:

  • Horse Riding

25. Sydney, Australia

The city is very multicultural, so the food on offer is delicious, and it’s also a fantastic shopping destination. It is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country and the best holiday destination in the world, attracting over 32 million visitors per year. 

Best place to visit in Sydney:

  • Opera house
  • Harbour bridge
  • Royal Botanic Garden
  • Darling Harbour
  • Queen Victoria Building
  • The Sydney Tower Eye
  • Taronga Zoo

26. Niagara Falls, Canada/USA

Niagara Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in the world . It is a collection of three waterfalls which is located on the US-Canada border along with the Niagara River. Niagara Falls is famous for its majestic height (51 Meters) and shocking flow rate (225,000 Cubic feet per second).

Every year more than 30 million people visit it. You can see this waterfall from both Canada and US. There are the number of viewpoints of this waterfall like Skylon Tower, Queen Victoria Park, Table rock etc. Even you can book a room near to this waterfall which allows you to see it from your bed.

27. Malaysia

Malaysia is a wonderful travel destination for those who love sandy beaches, HALAL food, rich culture & history, religious sites, shopping malls and beautiful Islands. Despite being a small country Malaysia has numerous places and things that you can reconnoiter and make your trip a memorable one.

The best place to visit in Malaysia is none other than its capital Kaula Lampur . A city with great food, good nightlife and low cost of living among world capital. This city has one of the world’s largest buildings, the Petronas Twin Tower. They were the tallest building in the world from 1988 to 2004.

28. Phuket Thailand:

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and rated as one of the best beaches in the world . The white sand, blue water, spicy Thai food, palm tree, lively town, adventurous sports and sandy beaches make it the best holiday destination.

You can travel to Phuket on a minimum budget and go to a higher limit to enjoy the best luxury of Thailand. Phuket is always a vibrant place to travel with lots of spas, hotels, cafes, bars and a wide range of party options.

Places to Visit in Phuket:

  • Phi Phi Island
  • Old Phuket Town
  • Bangtao Beach
  • Siam Niramit
  • Weekend Night Market
  • Wat Chalong Temple
  • Phang Nga Bay

29. Budapest, Hungary, Europe – City of Baths

Budapest is home of art or culture and one of the best tourist destinations in Europe. Here you will witness one of the biggest parliament buildings of world, the oldest zoo, the largest music festivals, and tons of world heritage sites. Budapest is the city that will keep you entertained.

The city is full of surprises and wonders with hidden & exciting spots, a lively center majestic river, tall church spires and a lot more to make the most of your time. 

If you’re an art lover then Budapest could be the perfect destination for you because it has more than 100 Museums & galleries and 40+ theaters. 

Top Vacation Spots in Budapest:

  • Chain Bridge
  • Parliament Building
  • Heroes Square
  • Buda Castle
  • Szechenyi Spa Baths
  • Margaret Island
  • House of Terror
  • Faust Wine Cellars

30. Manali, India

Manali is one of the best hill stations not only in India but in the entire world. Located at a height of 2050 meters, the weather and mountains of Manali always fascinate the tourist, especially romantic couples. Manali is a heaven for adventure lovers, here you can do lots of things like skiing, trekking, camping, paragliding, rafting, riding, biking and many more.

If you’re looking for a good mixture of art, culture, peace and adventure then you should head up to Manali. The world’s most beautiful mountain pass, Rohtang Pass is located just 50 KM away from Manali. Solang Valley, Hidimba Devi Temple, Vashisht Temple, Old Manali, Manu Temple, Jogini Falls are some of the best places to visit in Manali.

31. Norway, Europe

Norway is one of the most beautiful and happiest countries on earth. It has something to offer to every kind of traveler such as the northern lights, the midnight sun, and one of the best places to glimpse the Aurora Borealis is the Lofoten Islands , in northwestern Norway. 

Most beautiful places to visit in Norway:

  • Waterfalls valley
  • Lofoten Island
  • Fantoft Stave Church

32. Istanbul, Turkey

istanbul turkey

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and one of the largest in the world. Impressive architecture, historic sites, dining, shopping, nightlife and exotic atmosphere all make Istanbul one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Istanbul is the only city in the world that straddles two continents : Asia and Europe.

Best places to visit in Istanbul:

  • Topkapi Palace
  • Blue Mosque
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Grand Bazaar
  • Spice Bazaar

33. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Spread over an area of 278 miles, the Grand Canyon National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and arguably the most beautiful natural wonder in the world. Its fresh air, zero pollution, and raw natural beauty make it a perfect place to escape from the city.

The canyon itself is an astonishing 278 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 1 mile deep. This vast expanse means that you could spend months exploring it and barely see one rim.

Carved out by the Colorado River, which flows right through the canyon, it becomes even more beautiful with this natural watercourse. Filled with stunning rugged landscapes, trekking trails, long mountain ranges, and gorges, this place is considered the Crown Jewel of America.

Fun fact: The canyon creates its own weather, which means that at one point, the temperature could be quite low, and just 8 miles away, it could be very warm.

The peak season and the ideal time to visit the Grand Canyon National Park is from June to August when the weather is perfect, and families are eager to opt for a summer vacation. If you want to avoid the crowds, then November to May is the perfect time to visit.

Things to do in Grand Canyon National Park

  • Enjoy the spectacular view of the park from Desert View Watchtower.
  • Take a mule ride.
  • Enjoy the bird’ eye view of the park through a helicopter ride.
  • Visit the Yavapai Geology Museum.
  • Visit the Grand Canyon skywalk and enjoy the amazing views.
  • Enjoy stunning sunrise from Imperial Point and sunset from Cape Royal.
  • Hike the well-known Bright Angel Trail.
  • Do Camping.
  • Visit the Southern Rim viewpoints.
  • Explore the Grand Canyon village at South Rim.

34. Srinagar, Kashmir India- Paradise on Earth


Srinagar, the largest city and capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, is often referred to as the ‘Switzerland of India.’ This beautiful city is nestled in the heart of the Kashmir Valley, situated alongside the serene banks of the Jhelum River.

Srinagar is widely regarded as a true paradise on earth, a notion that was also acknowledged by the great Mughal Emperors, who aptly described it as the “Paradise on Earth.” Its charismatic charm beckons travelers from far and wide to experience its unparalleled beauty and tranquility.

Best Places to visit in Srinagar:

  • Bonafide Multi Brand
  • Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden
  • Hari Parbat
  • Shankaracharya Temple
  • Nigeen Lake 
  • Pathar Masjid

35. Maldives

Maldives is a South Asian Island Country. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world or you can say paradise on earth. The interesting thing about the Maldives is that the first underwater cabinet meeting was held here. The actual beauty of this place is underwater with colorful coral reefs, exotic fishes and vibrant marine life. 

It is a place where nature at its best. A perfect place for those who enjoy the water around. The ideal temperature of Maldives makes it ideal for water activities like swimming, snorkeling, surfing, fishing, scuba diving.

Top tourist attractions in the Maldives:

  • Banana reef
  • Island hopping
  • Water sport
  • Alimatha Island
  • Artificial beaches
  • Biyadhoo Island
  • Ithaa Undersea Dining 

36. Mauritius

A beautiful island founded by Arab’s in the 10th century, Mauritius is one of the best destinations for family and honeymoon couples. Mauritius is known for its beautiful white beaches and islands. It is divided into 9 different districts and each of them is very picturesque and wonderful to stay.

Nothing can beat a beautiful island surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The best thing about Mauritius is the range of pricing and activities that if you’re a budget traveler you’ll always have a wonderful time.

Dubai is a stopover destination for tourists who fly in and out of UAE. It is the perfect family holiday destination in the world. This city is famous for its beautiful shiny skyscrapers like Burj Khalia, shopping malls like Dubai Mall, luxurious staying options, sandy beaches, adventurous sports and delicious food.

Dubai has many exciting things to do ranging from Natural to man-made like Artificial Palm Island, Dubai Water Canal, Dubai Bollywood Park, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Frame.

38. Mongolia – World’s Emptiest Country


Mongolia, the world’s least populated country, is famous for its nomadic culture and vast rugged landscapes. The majority of Mongolians live a nomadic life, primarily as herdsmen, residing in portable felt and canvas tents. They constantly move from one place to another in search of food and water, both for themselves and their animals.

Most of Mongolia remains untouched, with vast deserts and stunning combinations of mountains and forests. Unlike many tourist destinations, Mongolia lacks man-made attractions; instead, its appeal lies in its natural beauty. It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, offering plenty to explore with the help of friendly locals.

Fun Fact: Mongolia boasts more horses than people and five times as many goats and sheep.

The best time to visit Mongolia is during the summer season, which spans from May to September. During this period, the weather becomes pleasant, ideal for enjoying outdoor activities. Daytime temperatures range from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius, while nights are cool, with temperatures between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. This season also coincides with Mongolia’s most famous festival, Naadam Holiday, making it an excellent time to experience the country’s rich culture and traditions.

Top Tourist Attraction in Mongolia

  • Explore world-class hotels and restaurants in the capital of Mongolia – Ulaanbaatar.
  • Lost in the beauty of the Gobi Deserts.
  • Enjoy the rugged landscape by horse riding.
  • Explore the untouched region of this country by trekking & hiking.
  • Do camping.
  • Visit Lake Khovsgol which holds 380 billion liters of freshwater.
  • Stay in Ger Camps.
  • Visit Flaming Cliffs at Bayanzag.

39. Rovaniemi Lapland, Northern Finland – Home Town of Santa Claus


The city is best known as the home of Santa Claus, located right astride the Arctic Circle at Santa Claus Village. It is one of the best travel destinations in the world.  During early June to July, locals came out of their house to enjoy the beauty of polar nights. Tourists from all over the world visits it to witness the beauty of the Mid-Night sun. 

There are numerous reasons to visit this place like lappish culture, wild nature, adventurous activities, urban life, northern light, polar night and midnight sun.

Best places to visit in Rovaniemi Lapland:

  • Santa Claus Village
  • SantaPark – The home cavern of Santa Claus
  • Santa Claus Office
  • Pyha-Luosto National Park
  • Santa’s Post Office
  • Arktikum Museum 
  • Bearhill Husky
  • Santa Claus Reindeer
  • Rovaniemi Chruch

40. Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

Situated at the foothills of Table Mountain on South Africa’s Cape Peninsula, where the great Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean converge, Cape Town is one of the world’s best cities. The city is renowned for its stunning landscapes, cultural heritage, delicious food, and amazing beaches.

Overlooking the stunning two-mile-long plateau of Table Mountain, Cape Town boasts a rich colonial history that is reflected in its architecture. The blend of different nationalities in this city makes it culturally rich, contributing to its amazing food scene.

Cape Town is the second most populated city in South Africa, following Johannesburg. With approximately 950 square miles of the region covered by the metro, getting around the city is easy.

Cape Town is a year-round destination, meaning that any time of the year can be the best time to visit. Each season has its own unique colors and charm. However, the peak season falls during South African summer (from November to March) when the weather is warm and comfortable, perfect for exploring beaches and enjoying outdoor activities.

Things to do in Cape Town

  • Enjoy endless ocean views from Cape Point.
  • Explore world-class beaches.
  • Visit Robben Island – UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Explore Old Biscuit Mill for amazing food.
  • Click pictures at Woodstock street art.
  • Paddling alongside the dolphins in the Atlantic ocean.
  • Spot cute penguins at Boulder beach.
  • Spend an amazing time at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden.

41. Bologna, Italy

Top tourist attraction

Bologna is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region and the largest city in Northern Italy.  Bologna is known for its tasty food, ancient architecture, medieval town and the old University of Europe. This city is also famous for inventing a meaty ragu sauce, used in two tasty regional dishes: tagliatelle and lasagna.

Major tourist attractions in Bologna Italy:

  • Piazza Maggiore
  • Fountain of Neptune
  • Asinelli Tower
  • Saint Pettrounius Chruch

42. Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

More than 3000-year-old, the 7th wonder of the ancient world, the Great Pyramid of Giza is 479 feet tall from a 754 sq feet base. It is still a mystery for the scientists who are trying to figure out how the ancient Egyptians moved, carved and erected the block which weighed about 60 tons.

The historical site is absolute of interest to more than 35 million people visiting these wonders of the world.

Best places to visit near the Great Pyramid of Giza:

  • Solar Boat Museum
  • Western Cemetery
  • Pyramid of Chephren
  • Egyptian Museum
  • Egypt Papyrus Museum
  • Sound and Light Show of Giza Pyramid

43. Guilin China – The Magical Place

Every corner of this extraordinary place would astonish you. As you begin to explore, you will be amazed by the findings in every nook and corner of this city. Guilin is built around two rivers and lakes that are interconnected. 

Many distinctive bridges crisscross the waterways. As visitors, you will enjoy the walking trail that can spend numerous hours meandering near the lovely waterway and lakes making Guilin what it is. 

Best tourist attractions in Guilin China:

  • Li River Guilin
  • The Reed Flute Cave
  • Elephant Trunk Hill
  • Seven Star park
  • Folded Brocade Hill
  • Solitary Beauty Hill
  • Longji Terraced Field

44. Queenstown New Zealand

Queenstown is located on the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand. It is the third-largest lake by surface area in New Zealand. Owing to its beauty and the landscapes, the most iconic movie called ‘Mission Impossible’ was shot here. 

It is a great place for adventure seeker with numerous year around adventurous activities like rafting, riding, horse trekking, jet boating, sky diving, bungy jumping, canyon swinging and skiing (in winter).

Top sights in Queenstown:

  • Milford Sound
  • Lake Wakatipu
  • Lake Wanaka
  • The Remarkable Ski area
  • Skippers Road
  • Hollyford Track
  • Kiwi Birdlife Park

45. Hoh Rain Forest, United States

hoh rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. It is located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington State, USA. 

Every year Hoh Rain forest gets an average of 12 feet of rain.  And fog and mist contribute the equivalent of another 30 inches of rain, resulting in the richness of natural life including massive conifers, 130+ species of mosses, ferns and lichens. 

For 1000 years, this forest has managed an unchanged unique ecosystem. Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock are the common types of trees grown in the Hoh rainforest. These trees can reach over 300 feet high and 7 feet in diameter. Even some of the trees are 1000 years old. 

46. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Nestled between majestic mountains and the sea, Rio de Janeiro is the ultimate destination for party enthusiasts. Its unique and laid-back culture, vibrant nightlife, samba (Brazilian dance), pristine white sandy beaches, iconic landmarks, and never-ending festivities allure millions of tourists from around the globe.

The Brazilian coastline boasts some of the world’s most exquisite beaches, including Ipanema and Copacabana, while the Carioca landscape is home to UNESCO World Heritage sites. Whether you’re a street food aficionado, a nature lover seeking breathtaking beauty, or someone who revels in music, dance, and libations, Rio de Janeiro has something to offer everyone.

Fun Fact: Rio boasts the bluest skies in the world and hosts the largest carnival party globally.

Rio de Janeiro enjoys favorable weather year-round. However, December to March is the best time to visit, featuring festive celebrations like Christmas, New Year’s, and the renowned Rio Carnival. Keep in mind that this is also the most expensive time to experience Rio’s magic. For those who prefer smaller crowds and more budget-friendly options, April to September is the ideal time to explore this enchanting city.

Top Tourist Attractions in Rio De Janeiro

  • Click pictures at Christ the Redeemer – one of the 7 new wonders of the world.
  • Enjoy stunning views of the city from Sugarloaf Mountain.
  • Play basketball at Ipanema beach.
  • Spend a great time at Copacabana beach.
  • Explore Santa Marta Favela to learn about the culture of Rio.
  • Climb the 215 colorful steps of Escadaria Selaron.
  • Explore the Downtown area for the best cafes.
  • Admire amazing architectural beauty at the Museum of Tomorrow.

47. Hallerbos, Belgium- The Blue Forest


The forest with young trees and lots of bluebells (The Blue Forest). The forest is a favorite of many visitors as they come to view the beautiful purple carpet of bluebells. The giant Sequoia trees also make this forest more than worth it. It is a public forest located in the municipality of Halle, Belgium.

Every year for two weeks, the Halle Bros turn into the blue forest when the ground is covered with bluebells. The perfect time to visit Hellerbors to catch the bluebells is different every year, sooner the temperature rises sooner the flower bloom (Mid-April). Every year millions of tourists flock to this place lured by its airy beauty and irresistible charm.

Best places to visit near Hallebros Belgium:

  • Saint Martinusbasiliek
  • Grote Markt
  • Provincial Domain Huizingen
  • Rozentuin Coloma

48. Tokyo, Japan

tokyo, Japan

To explore Japan thoroughly, you would need more than one visit, but starting your Japanese journey with a visit to the capital, Tokyo, is perfect. Tokyo, the most populated city in the world, is a paradise for shopaholics, food lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and entertainment seekers.

Despite being one of the busiest cities globally, Tokyo maintains a fast-paced lifestyle while staying deeply connected to its cultural roots. The city truly comes to life at night, as neon billboards and bright lights adorn it in a unique and captivating fashion. Alongside its bustling landmarks, Tokyo also boasts beautiful green spaces located in its outskirts.

Here’s an interesting fact: Tokyo is home to the world’s busiest intersection, known as Shibuya Crossing. With seven crossings on each side of the streets, approximately 2500 people can cross every time the lights turn green.

When it comes to the best time to visit Tokyo, it’s advisable to plan your trip between September and November or from March to May. If you want to witness the mesmerizing beauty of cherry blossoms, April is the perfect time to explore this vibrant city.

Top tourist attraction in Tokyo

  • Try the yummy street food. Tokyo also has many theme cafes & restaurants.
  • Admire the structural beauty of Tokyo Tower.
  • Visit Tsukiji and Toyosu fish market.
  • Enjoy the beauty of the Imperial Palace.
  • Click pictures with cherry blossom trees in Ueno Park.
  • Take a day trip to Mount Fuji.
  • Visit Tokyo Skytree, Senso-Ji, Meri Jingu, and Tokyo National Museums.

49. Verona, Italy- The town of Romeo and Juliet

verona italy

Verona is deemed as one of the most romantic cities in Italy, famous for the most tragic love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet . And for this reason, it’s impossible to visit Verona without seeing Juliet’s infamous balcony. 

The interesting thing about this place is that people used to write notes declaring their love for someone on the courtyard walls and now more than 5,000 letters are received every year.

Best places to visit in Verona Italy:

  • Juliet’s House
  • Verona Arena
  • Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore
  • Verona Cathedral
  • Castel San Pietro

50. Waiheke Island Auckland, New Zealand – Island of wine

Biennial Headland is the highlight of this amazing Island in Auckland . For its beauty, the island is considered one of the top islands in the South Pacific and the fourth-best island in the world. Every year more than a million people visit this beautiful Island.

If you are looking forward to a relaxing holiday, with some wine, beautiful landscapes, gorgeous beaches, cute little cafes and restaurants, crafty shops and art galleries, this island is what you are perhaps looking for. 

Things to do in Waiheke Island:

  • Visit Onera Beach
  • Walk on Onetangi Reserve
  • Taste Waiheke Island Wine
  • Taste Waiheke Olives
  • Rome around the island
  • Archery and Clay shooting
  • Explore art galleries
  • Explore its wildlife

Going through these amazing places, your bucket list would now be ready! These places are ready to bestow their magic upon you. If you have already visited some of them, you may let us know your experience. 

Did you visit any of the places from the above list? Share your experience with us in the below comment section.

Frequently Asked Questions?

Q1: what are the top 10 holiday destinations.

Tokyo – Japan, Istanbul – Turkey, Bali – Indonesia Georgia Ireland, Paris France , Lucerne Switzerland, Mexico, Vietnam, Madrid Spain are top 10 holiday destinations in the world.

Q2: What are the best Budget-Friendly Destinations in 2023?

Chiang Mai, Thailand, Palawan Philippines, Hanoi Vietnam, Colombo SirLanka, Malaysia and Bali Indonesia are the  cheapest places to travel in the world .

Q3: Which are some family Holiday Destinations in 2023?

Bali Indonesia, Mekong Delta Vietnam, London UK, Rome Italy, Athens Greece, Paris, Barcelona Spain and Kangaroo Island Australia are the  best family holiday destinations in 2023 .

Q4: Which are the best honeymoon destinations in 2023?

Maldives, Mauritius, Bali Indonesia, Paris, Raratonga, The Cook Island, Lucerne and Monteux, Switzerland, Hamilton Island, New York City and Banff National Park Canada are some of the  most romantic places in the world .

Q5: Where can I go in the summer 2023?

Rome Italy, Paris France, Quebec City, Chicago, Great Barrier Reef Australia, Singapore, Dublin Ireland, and Machu Picchu are the best places to visit in the world during summer.

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Hi Guys, My Name is Pursottam Saini, living the life of my dream – From traveling one destination to another and seeing the places I still don’t believe.

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These Are Going to Be the Most Popular Travel Destinations in 2024

Discover destinations all over the world inspired by TV and movie sets, music tours, lifestyle trends, and more.

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Already thinking about where you want to travel in 2024 ? If you’re hoping to hit the hottest travel destinations of the year, Expedia Group is here to help. The one-stop travel site—alongside and VRBO—just released Unpack '24 , a travel trends analysis for the coming year. In addition to detailing the projected top 10 most popular international destinations of 2024, the site also revealed 10 “dupes” for travelers looking to perhaps spend a bit less, as well as those hoping to be surrounded by fewer fellow tourists. Additionally, they revealed 10 affordable cities where the world’s biggest musical acts are set to perform, as well as where to travel if you live a sober lifestyle.

“At Expedia Group, we have extensive first-party travel data that we use to enhance and curate experiences for our travelers across Expedia,, and Vrbo,” Jon Gieselman, president of Expedia Brands, says in the report. “These insights shape our travel forecasts, revealed in Unpack '24, enabling our travelers to be the first to discover and book the most desired trips before they become well-beaten paths.”

Ready to ignite your travel bug? Ahead, discover the most popular travel destinations of 2024.

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The Top 10 Travel Destinations of 2024

Expedia Group predicts that travelers are most likely to jet set to destinations popularized in fan-favorite TV shows and movies. According to the report, “More than half of travelers say they’ve researched or booked a trip to a destination after seeing it on a TV show or in a movie. In fact, travelers say TV shows influence their travel decisions more than Instagram, TikTok, and podcasts.” With that in mind, they reveal that the top 10 travel destinations of 2024 are as follows:

  • Thailand - Featured in White Lotus , Season 3—which has sadly been pushed to premiere in 2025
  • Romania - Featured in Wednesday , Season 2—which has not yet set a release date
  • Malta - As seen in Gladiator 2 , which is set to premiere on November 22, 2024
  • Paris - As seen in Emily in Paris
  • Scottish Highlands - Featured in Outlander
  • London, Bath, and Windsor, U.K. - As seen in Bridgerton and The Crown
  • South Korea - Featured in Squid Game —the Season 2 release date has yet to be announced
  • Florida Keys - As seen in the series Bad Monkey
  • Australia - Featured in Baz Luhrmann’s Faraway Downs series, as well as the film Furiosa , which is set to premiere on May 24, 2024
  • Greece - as seen in the films Argylle (set to release in 2024) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3

The Top 10 Travel Destination Dupes

Dupes have long been lauded in the beauty and fashion categories, and now the concept is making its way to travel. “1 in 3 of those polled say they’ve booked a dupe,” the report reveals. “But what do these less obvious alternatives offer besides potential savings? They’re often less crowded, tend to be a little unexpected, and can be every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true destinations.”

Intrigued by the idea of booking a stellar vacation for a fraction of the price? Check out Expedia Group’s Top 10 Travel Destination Dupes, below, which are listed as the original destination of inspiration and the dupe that mirrors it.

  • Seoul —> Taipei
  • Bangkok —> Pattaya
  • Santorini —> Paros
  • Saint Martin —> Curaçao
  • Sydney —> Perth
  • London —> Liverpool
  • Lisbon —> Palermo
  • Geneva —> Québec City
  • Zermatt —> Sapporo
  • Nashville —> Memphis

The Top 10 Tour-Inspired Travel Destinations

Music lovers, this one’s for you! As you well know, traveling to see your favorite artists live is expensive, to say the least. With this in mind, Expedia set out to find the most affordable destinations where the world’s most famous pop and rock stars are set to take the stage in 2024.

Through their research, in which they analyzed the average daily rates of tour locations, they found the top 10 most affordable cities (less than $150/night on average) where travelers can witness the likes of Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Coldplay, Metallica, Madonna, and more. They are as follows:

  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - $91
  • Edmonton, Canada - $108
  • Mexico City, Mexico - $119
  • Warsaw, Poland - $119
  • Birmingham, U.K. - $127
  • Houston, Texas - $130
  • Antwerp, Belgium - $140
  • Tokyo, Japan - $147
  • Perth, Australia - $148
  • Detroit, Michigan - $149

For more research-backed travel trends, be sure to check out Expedia’s full Unpack ‘24 Trend Report .

Headshot of Rebecca R. Norris

Rebecca R. Norris is a full-time freelance writer living in the DC metro area. She writes for a variety of publications, primarily covering women’s interest topics. When she's not writing, she can be found out and about with her Jack-Chi, Cash, sweating her way through an Orangetheory class, or taking it easy with family and friends 

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Business Wire

NEW YORK--( BUSINESS WIRE )--American Express Travel ® released its annual Trending Destinations list for 2024 today, featuring the 10 must-visit vacation spots based on global American Express ® Card Member travel bookings and recommendations from Amex Travel’s team of 6,000 expert Travel Consultants. This year’s list – 2024 Trending Destinations: Off the Beaten Path – goes beyond the traditional, well-known vacation spots to uncover hidden gems and new experiences that travelers, particularly Millennials and Gen-Z, are looking for.

“People are looking for new experiences and to immerse themselves in the local culture when they travel,” said Audrey Hendley, President of American Express Travel. “Whether you crave a new adventure or just want to beat the crowds, this list is a great place for every type of traveler to find their next vacation destination. Through our Travel Consultants’ expertise and extensive knowledge, we can help find the perfect place to stay, fastest way to get there, and the best local activities to create an incredible trip,” she added.

Below is the full list of the Top Trending Destinations for 2024:

The Trending Destinations list offers a trip for all kinds of travelers. For example:

  • Instead of the popular Blue Mountains of New South Wales, consider the Adelaide Hills with its charming villages and bustling culinary scene for your Australian rural retreat.
  • If you love the history and energy of Istanbul, Bodrum, Turkey is home to beaches on the sparkling blue Aegean, bustling bazaars, fresh seafood, and active nightlife.
  • Pastel-hued Porto Cervo, Italy on the island of Sardinia is a more exclusive alternative to the iconic Amalfi Coast that still gives visitors celebrity glamour and mouth-watering cuisine.
  • The sparkling seas, friendly locals and historic culture of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean make it the perfect destination for those who love the laid-back vibes and white-sand beaches of St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Travelers who love to ski in Sapporo can head farther afield to Niseko, Japan on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, for an equally unforgettable winter-sports experience.
  • Those who flock to Mexico’s Riviera Maya for its beautiful scenery and vibrant food and culture will find a similarly colorful and stimulating urban experience by travelling inland to San Miguel de Allende.
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico offers a similar blend of American Southwest culture, history, and natural beauty as popular Sedona.
  • The Maldives have come to symbolize the exclusive end-of-the earth beach vacation. The Seychelles offer a similar paradise, along with expansive biodiversity and multicultural vibrancy.
  • Udaipur, India, an uber-romantic city of lakes and palaces, is a great alternative to Agra, home to the Taj Mahal.
  • For those who love skiing the Dolomites, picturesque Zermatt, Switzerland offers a similar, charming feel.

American Express Travel’s Travel Consultants have identified the best places to explore, eat, and stay for each destination, so that travelers can get a taste of the local culture, including seeing koalas in the wild in Adelaide Hills; shopping for Turkish towels at the bazaars in Bodrum; and visiting a museum devoted to ceremonial masks in San Miguel de Allende.

When Card Members book trips with Amex Travel, its massive global footprint and incredible benefits help them make the most out of their travel through access to 6,000 Travel Consultants in 23 countries who speak 13 languages and over 2,300 properties in 114 countries through the Fine Hotels + Resorts ® 1 and The Hotel Collection 2 programs.

1 This benefit is available only to eligible Platinum Card Members. 2 This benefit is available only to eligible Gold and Platinum Card Members.

ABOUT AMERICAN EXPRESS American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us on , , , , and .

Key links to products, services and corporate responsibility information: personal cards , business cards and services , travel services , gift cards , prepaid cards , merchant services , Accertify , Business Blueprint , Resy , corporate card , business travel , diversity and inclusion , corporate responsibility and Environmental, Social, and Governance reports .

Methodology: American Express Travel’s 2024 Trending Destinations are selected based on global American Express Card Member bookings through American Express Travel, looking at year-over-year travel growth between 2019 and 2023.

Seller of Travel : American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. is acting solely as a sales agent for travel suppliers and is not responsible for the actions or inactions of such suppliers. Certain suppliers pay us commission and other incentives for reaching sales targets or other goals and may provide incentives to our Travel Consultants. For more information visit .

California CST#1022318; Washington UBI#600-469-694

Source: American Express Company Location: U.S.

AMERICAN EXPRESS Emily Vicker [email protected]

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Travel | Wanderlust’s 10 top islands in the world…

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Travel | bay area inflation cools off in a big way — finally, subscriber only, travel | wanderlust’s 10 top islands in the world include some jawdropping spots.

Palawan island in the Philippines is known for its quaint fishing villages, gorgeous beaches, incredible wildlife and a subterranean river that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Getty Images)

Wanderlust, the UK travel magazine, has just announced its readers’ choice awards in categories that range from “most desirable” — Britspeak, we think, for “ooooh!” — country, region and island to emerging destinations and top spots for gastronomy, wildlife and culture. With each category divided into global and European-centric lists, there’s enough here to inspire scores of vacations.

The most desirable region in the world, Wanderlust’s readers have declared, is British Columbia, followed by the Galapagos Islands and California. The most delicious country is, of course, Italy —  and the most appealing destination for wildlife lovers is Costa Rica. And the most desirable islands list circles the globe, from Cuba to Sri Lanka and the Philippines archipelago.

Some spots are so remote, we had to look them up — and we still don’t know where they are. Turns out there are multiple Saint Helena islands, including a British Overseas Territory 1,600 miles west of Angola in the Southern Atlantic, where Napoleon was exiled and later died. There’s also a Saint Helena island in South Carolina, and a Saint Helena Island National Park in Australia. (Our money’s on the remote mid-Atlantic island, though. It’s British, just like Wanderlust’s readers, and the site has an entire travel guide devoted to it, including tips on how to get there. Psst, it’s much easier if you have your own yacht or private plane.)

Here’s a sneak peek at the top islands around the world. Find the full list and all the tempting destination details at

Top 10 most desirable islands in the world

4. Palawan, Philippines

5. Tasmania

6. Mauritius

8. Sri Lanka

9. Saint Helena

10. Barbados

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Cozy stays, beaches and Japan top our 2023 winter & holiday travel trends

Key Takeaways

  • This winter, travelers are seeking warm beaches, bustling cities, and snowy chalets.
  • Trending destinations for families span the streets of Tokyo to the beaches of The Bahamas.
  • With the borders re-opened to international travelers, guests are setting their sights on Asia-Pacific countries from Japan to Thailand.

Winter Listing for Holiday Travel

Just in time for the busy, holiday travel season 1 , Airbnb is releasing its annual winter travel trends, revealing trending 2 destinations, most booked categories, and stays that travelers are searching for and booking this upcoming season. From warm weather destinations in South America to bustling cities in Japan, travelers are seeking memorable stays in every corner of the globe – the perfect way to create those core memories this holiday season.

Trending destinations worldwide

This winter season, guests are setting their sights on dreamy destinations in Asia-Pacific and South America, from Osaka, Japan to São Paulo, Brazil. With Japan easing border restrictions just last year in October 2022, it’s no surprise that one of the country’s gems, Osaka, is one of the trending destinations for this winter and holiday season. The following locations are just some of the trending global destinations that are catching travelers’ attention, based on worldwide searches from January 1, 2023 to September 15, 2023 for winter and holiday travel.

  • Osaka, Japan
  • Québec City, Canada
  • Taipei, Taiwan
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Hanover, Germany
  • Wānaka, New Zealand
  • São Paulo, Brazil
  • Muang Pattaya, Thailand
  • Tokyo, Japan

From a Scandinavian-inspired loft in Hong Kong, to an ocean view home with an infinity pool in Brazil, here are the most wishlisted stays in our top trending destinations this winter:

A dimly lit wood paneled bedroom

Trending family destinations worldwide

Globetrotting families 3 are ready to pack their bags and explore new destinations this holiday season, spanning the streets of Tokyo to the beaches of The Bahamas. The diverse representation of destinations demonstrates that Airbnb has something for every type of family. In fact, families can get an Airbnb with two bedrooms and one bathroom for less than the price of one hotel room at a major chain 4. Playfully captured through our recent Get an Airbnb ad, Airbnb offers families the space and privacy they want, at the value they need. 

Below are some of the trending destinations by families for check-in between November 1 and December 31, 2023, based on global searches from January 1, 2023 to September 15, 2023 5 .

  • Puerto del Carmen, Spain
  • La Plagne-Tarentaise, France
  • Crucecita, Mexico
  • Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • Tignes, France
  • Nassau, The Bahamas

US travelers seek sun soaked stays

From Oaxaca, Mexico to Nassau, The Bahamas, US travelers are searching for warm weather getaways this winter and holiday season. Below are some of the trending international destinations US travelers are searching for the upcoming season based on global searches from January 1 to September 15, 2023 6 . 

  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • San Salvador, El Salvador
  • Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Havana, Cuba
  • La Fortuna, Costa Rica
  • Cali, Colombia
  • Culebra, Puerto Rico

The US cities trending this winter & holiday season

From Colorado Springs, Colorado to Ludlow, Vermont, the list of US cities trending this winter might be surprising. However, as Airbnb continues to help disperse travel globally , we’re seeing more people opt for smaller cities and towns, beyond urban centers and traditional tourist spots. 

Below is an interactive map of some of the top trending cities 7 in the United States for this winter and holiday season.

Most booked categories for winter and holiday stays

This winter and holiday season, travelers are turning to Airbnb Categories, searching for poolside stays, good surf by the beach and places to play golf , perfect for family travel. Airbnb Categories allow guests to discover millions of unique places to stay around the world, with homes in over 60 different categories based on their style, location, and other factors. Based on bookings from January 1 through September 15, 2023, these were some of the most booked 2023 Airbnb Categories for US guests.

  • Amazing pools
  • National parks
  • Iconic cities
  • Amazing views
  • Countryside

Listening to our community

In Airbnb’s recent fall 2023 update , the company highlighted key platform improvements made over the past year, based on community feedback around pricing, cleaning fees, customer service, and better search and filters. These improvements will help travelers have a more seamless travel experience with Airbnb this holiday season and beyond. 

Guests can also rely on these Airbnb holiday travel hacks to find the perfect stay for any budget, and any vibe.


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