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?

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 U.S. News & World Report's " World's Best Places to Visit ," traveler ratings as well as 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. 

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

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 and 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 3.3 million people in 2022. 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, visit 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, according to U.S. News & World Report.

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 to 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, tallest towers, 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. 

In 2022, 4.7 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 almost 100 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 about 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 it's best to plan 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 away 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 40 million people calling the greater metro area 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 $1.7 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

English writer Samual Johnson once said, “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

South Island, the larger but less populated of the two islands that make up New Zealand, earn this top-spot honor for its gorgeous scenery, adrenelin-pumping experiences and affordability.

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.”

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The Best Destinations in the World: The Gold List 2022

By CNT Editors

Goa India

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

Scottsdale Arizona

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 world's 30 best places to visit in 2020-21.

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Best places to visit in the world

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Top tourist attractions in the world

30. Niagara Falls

Costa Rica is one of the world's best places to visit

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27. Rio de Janeiro

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Oia at sunset, Santorini

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PlanetWare.com

18 Best Places to Visit in the World

Written by Lana Law Updated May 11, 2023

Author Lana Law has traveled the globe extensively, including two year-long world trips, the most recent one in 2022/2023.

The world is filled with such a wide variety of wonderful destinations and beautiful places to visit, it can be difficult to compile a list of the best ones. Thinking about a traveler who, for whatever reason, has never set foot outside his or her hometown, where would be the first places they might visit?

Mt. Cook, New Zealand

The list of the world's best places to visit has to include great cities, like New York, Paris, London, and so on, each of which is filled with a multitude of individual sites or must-see places to visit. The list also includes specific sites, monuments, and locations, each also worthy of a visit in their own right.

For more ideas on where to go and what to see, read our list of the top places to visit in the world.

1. Machu Picchu, Peru

2. the grand canyon, arizona, 3. rome, italy, 4. maui, hawaii, 5. masai mara, kenya, 6. new zealand, 7. istanbul, turkey, 8. angkor wat, cambodia, 10. london, england, 11. manhattan, new york, 12. paris, france, 13. montreal, canada, 14. san francisco, california, 15. marrakesh, morocco, 16. cartagena, columbia, 17. the canary islands, 18. hong kong, map of places to visit in the world.

Machu Picchu

Highlights : Ancient 700-year-old city with an incredible location high in the Andes

Located high in the Andes mountains of Peru, Machu Picchu is now believed to have been a sacred royal retreat for the Incan rulers. Built in the 15 th century CE and abandoned less than 100 years later, the remote site continues to amaze with its perfectly joined, mortarless, intricate stonework. Huge multi-ton blocks of stone are perfectly joined with each other, without the use of mortar or cement.

The journey to Machu Picchu typically starts in the mountain city of Cusco , which was the capital city of the Inca Empire . Cusco is a fascinating place to explore-be sure to spend a few days there before or after your Machu Picchu adventure.

It's possible to hike the Inca Trail from Cusco to Machu Picchu. The full hike takes five days, but you can also start closer and do a one-, two- or three-day hike along the trail. Most people take the train from Cusco, which takes about three and a half hours.

Machu Picchu has taken steps to avoid over-tourism and has limited the number of visitors to the site each day. All visitors need a permit prior to visiting. They are easily available from the Peruvian Ministry of Culture reservation page up to four months in advance. Many websites, hoping to sell tours, do not share this information.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Peru

Grand Canyon

Highlights : The earth's geological history opens before your eyes in a mile-deep chasm

This incredible sight, one of the seven natural wonders of the world , is in the U.S. state of Arizona. It's one of those beautiful places for which photos or video just don't do it justice-its sheer size and scope are hard to comprehend.

With geology formed over the past two billion years, yes billion, the 277-mile-long canyon itself is believed to have been started around five to six million years ago. It was formed by the flow of the Colorado River, which still flows through it and continues to erode the geology along its course. The Grand Canyon is up to 18 miles wide in places and up to a mile deep. Imagine standing on the edge, looking down a sheer rock wall almost a mile to the river below.

Most visitors come to the area referred to as the South Rim . This is where a number of impressive hiking trails into the Grand Canyon begin and great overlooks are spread along the rim road, known as Desert View Drive. A range of accommodations is available here and nearby, from tents to a rustic luxury canyon-side resort built from logs. A few accommodations are also found on the remote North Rim .

Many visitors access the canyon via the historic Grand Canyon Railway , which runs from the town of Williams, Arizona. The 64-mile rail line provides an entertaining way to get to the canyon with food and live music onboard. For those who prefer to drive, see our articles on driving north from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon or driving from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon .

Read More: Top Attractions & Things to Do at the Grand Canyon

The Roman Forum

Highlights : History around every corner; the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Pantheon are must-sees

The Eternal City is more like a giant, living museum. Visitors are immersed in and surrounded by thousands of years of history. It's a relatively compact city, and a three-day itinerary gets you to the minimum number of must-see places.

These must-see sites for any visitor include the Colosseum and adjacent Roman Forum ; the Pantheon ; and Vatican City , a separate country in the middle of central Rome.

Take some time to explore the outskirts of Rome, too. Consider a hike along a tomb-lined section of the Appian Way, the ancient Roman superhighway, and a visit to one of the aqueduct ruins outside the city.

If you feel like hitting the beach after all your exploring, Rome has a wonderful assortment of beach towns just a short drive away on the Lazio Coast. Escape the heat, hustle, and bustle of the city to bathe in the cool waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Rome

A lush tropical beach on Maui

Highlights : A tropical paradise with stunning beaches and five-star luxury resorts

This Hawaiian island offers a wide range of experiences for visitors. You can surf, enjoy a meal on the beach at a five-star luxury resort in Wailea, ride a horse across a dormant volcano in Haleakala National Park , or hike through a rainforest in the West Maui Mountains. The natural scenery is amazing-it's truly one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

When it comes to accommodation, there is something for everyone here, from rustic hippie bungalow bed and breakfasts to five-star luxury resort hotels . Wailea has all the luxury resorts-it's like the beachfront Beverly Hills of Maui. If you're staying here, be sure to venture out and spend some time in Kihei, where the locals hang out.

  • Top Attractions & Places to Visit in Maui
  • Best Beaches on Maui

Cheetah in the Masai Mara

Highlights : Wild animals in their natural environment, luxury safari lodges

Kenya's Masai Mara is an incredible bio-diverse area and a popular safari destination. It's an opportunity to see the "big five" animals (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo) all during one trip or, if you're lucky, during one afternoon.

The protected Masai Mara National Reserve park area is huge, with over 1,500 square kilometers of mainly grassland, extending all the way to the Serengeti Plain of Tanzania. The popular times to visit are during the twice-yearly migrations, the main ones being in July and August. Over a million wildebeest and other animals cross the area in huge groups to go from one feeding area to another. Most visitors fly into Nairobi , then take a small bush plane to the Mara.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Kenya
  • Best Game Reserves in Africa

Lupin blooming at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Highlights : Amazing natural sights in one easy-to-visit country

With its striking natural beauty , friendly citizens, and recent popularity due to its use as the filming location for the Lord of the Rings films (as well as many others), this island nation is one of the world's great places to visit. The biodiversity here is amazing — it's believed New Zealand was one of the last places on Earth to have human inhabitants.

Start your visit off in Auckland , with its culture, history, and museums. Spend some time on the water and at the beach — Waitemata Harbour has beaches, along with a range of sailing and boating activities.

Visit the Rotorua area to learn about and experience Indigenous Maori culture and head to Queenstown to experience the country's wide range of outdoor extreme action sports. Remember, this is where bungee jumping was invented.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New Zealand

Istanbul

Highlights : Shopping in the bazaars, the Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia are not to be missed

Turkey's capital city is another destination that offers a great mix of culture, food, and history. There are thousands of years of history here, starting with Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans and leading up through the Ottoman Empire.

There's a mix of the new and the timeless here unlike anywhere else. You can spend the day shopping and the night at a wonderful restaurant eating great Turkish food and dancing to Turkish music, then rise (very early) in the morning to the sound of the Ezan or morning Islamic call to prayer. It echoes across the rooftops as it's broadcast from loudspeakers set atop the minarets of the city's mosques.

Istanbul has excellent public transit, which means it's easy to get around and explore all the major sites and monuments. Must-see places include the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia , and Topkapi Palace.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Istanbul

Stone faces, Angkor Wat

Highlights : A stunning ancient jungle city with hundreds of intricately constructed temples

Located just outside the Cambodian city of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat is the largest religious site in the world. Angkor Wat is Cambodia's top tourist attraction.

It was created originally as a Hindu temple and mausoleum for the Khmer ruler in the early part of the 12 th century and was converted to a Buddhist temple at the end of the 12 th century. Just part of an enormous ancient city. Angkor Wat is the temple area, and Angor Thom was the city and palace area. There are hundreds of other ruin sites in the area, all part of the ancient capital of Angkor.

Siem Reap and its temples and ruins are now very easily accessible via daily flights from Hong Kong and other large Asian cities. Accommodations range from inexpensive guesthouses to lavish luxury resorts, with everything in between.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Siem Reap

Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Bali

Highlights : Tropical beaches, volcano hikes, ancient temples, and friendly people

The tropical Indonesian island of Bali is a lush, tropical destination that should not be missed. A bit of everything can be found here, from towering volcanoes and sun-kissed shores to lush jungles complete with mischievous monkeys.

Add in the cultural aspect of vibrant temples and the friendly Balinese people, it becomes very easy to spend longer here than you may have planned. Bali has a long list of interesting things to do including rice terrace tours, volcano climbs, surfing lessons, and handicraft markets.

In the evening, enjoy the delights of Balinese dining with a tasty plate of Nasi Goreng or satay followed up by the rhythmic beats of a Kecak dance performance.

Tower Bridge in London

Highlights : History, architecture, dining, and world-class shopping

This historic English city is another destination just filled with incredible places to visit. A trip to London is an opportunity to visit iconic places like the Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace , and the Tower of London .

Take advantage of the city being a cultural center as well by seeing a West End theater show or watching a musical performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Modern London is also a city of fine dining, luxury hotels, and world-class shopping.

Don't miss the museums, the vast British Museum is free, and usually quite crowded. Make time to visit The Wallace Collection , a free museum on Oxford Street. It has one of the world's greatest collections of furniture and porcelain, along with some important Old Master paintings.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in London

Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty

Highlights : Shopping, dining, Broadway shows, museums, and the Statue of Liberty

One of the five boroughs of New York City, Manhattan is actually an island, bordered by the East River and the Hudson (and a little bit by the Harlem River). This island is a bit less than 23 square miles and is home to almost two million residents. Add in the daily influx of workers, and the island routinely holds close to four million people.

No other city in the world offers the frenetic energy of New York City. It's filled with the world's best shopping and dining, along with incredible museums .

Manhattan also has a giant green heart, Central Park . No matter the season, it provides a playground for the city's residents, offering a range of activities from museums to a zoo. There's also a lot of green space where you can play and relax, along with miles of running, biking, and skating trails. You can also enjoy plenty of things to do in winter in NYC , from skating and sipping hot chocolate, to shopping and Broadway shows.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City

The Eiffel Tower

Highlights : Dining, shopping, the Eiffel Tower, museums, Seine River cruises

No visit to the French capital is complete without a trip to and a trip up its most iconic structure. The 300-meter-tall Eiffel Tower was quite simply, the tallest man-made structure in the world, from its opening in 1889 for 41 years until 1930.

Use your visit as a stair workout and climb the 300 steps from ground level to the first of three levels on the tower. If you're in great shape, climb another 300 steps to the second level. Then hop on the elevator here to get to the top. Aside from the workout, you'll also skip most of the crowd who want to take the elevator the whole way.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Paris

Old Montreal in summer

Highlights : Notre Dame Cathedral, historic Old Town and waterfront, delightful dining options

As you listen to the sound of French being spoken around you and explore Old Montreal , wandering down its narrow cobblestone streets-you might think you're in France. The historic area is filled with quaint shops and cafés; this Canadian city can be a chance to experience a bit of Europe in North America.

The city also has a thriving food scene, with several popular farmers' markets, including the Atwater Market and the Jean Talon Market. It's also known for its bagels, cooked hot and fresh by several iconic must-visit bakeries.

Be sure to visit the beautiful Notre-Dame Basilica and take a drive up to Mount Royal, the big hill (or low mountain) the city is named after. You'll be rewarded with some amazing views extending all the way to the port.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Montreal

The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline

Highlights : The iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, historic streetcars

San Francisco is a truly unique American city and one of the world's great vacation spots. Explore its hills, ride the cable cars that climb them, and eat some seafood at Fisherman's Wharf . Also spend some time exploring Marin County on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge , including the picturesque town of Sausalito . The giant redwoods of Muir Woods National Monument are only 30 minutes away and also well worth a side trip.

Be sure to also make time for a visit to or even better, a drive across, the Golden Gate Bridge. This monument to modern engineering genius spans the strait that connects San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The almost two-mile-long, six-lane bridge connects the Northern California city with Marin County.

Opened in 1937, the bridge has a unique, geometric beauty and can be viewed from many areas on either side of its span. Some of the best views are from the Marin Headlands, a hilly part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a national park that includes areas on either side of the bridge.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in San Francisco

Jemaa el-Fnaa Square, Marrakesh

Highlights : Old walled city, shopping in the bazaars, and a sensory overload

Start your Marrakech adventure in the Jemaa el-Fnaa , the main, open square in the Moroccan city. It's the gateway to the medina or old walled city. The square is like nowhere else in the world, presenting a constant show of humanity. There are musical performers, snake charmers, monkey trainers, amateur boxing matches, and transvestite belly dancers.

It's also a giant food market, as well as a giant antique market and swap meet. You can even get a haircut or have some dental work performed. At night, there are fire performers, and an outdoor food fair is set up in the center, with rows of food stalls fronted by counters lined with chairs.

This exotic African destination is only a short flight (usually less than four hours) from most major European cities. As a popular getaway destination, there are frequent flights available. Accommodations range from riads , traditional houses remade into luxury boutique hotels in the medina to five-star luxury resorts just outside the city in an area called La Palmeraie.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Marrakesh

Cartagena's walled city

Highlights : Incredible 500-year-old walled city with historic 19th-century architecture and some of Colombia's best dining

Colorful Cartagena, one of the great historical Spanish cities of the Caribbean, pulses with life along the north coast of Colombia. Founded in 1533, its old walled city has seen its fortunes rise and fall through the centuries and has more recently experienced a resurgence and revitalization.

Significant restoration of the old city has resulted in once-dilapidated 16th-century buildings springing back to life as modern, yet historical hotels, world-class restaurants, and shops. Wander through the narrow city streets to see an impressive church, an open plaza with public works of art, or an eclectic shop selling that perfect souvenir.

Be sure to wander along the ancient city walls, and as you watch the sunset over the ocean, think back to what life used to be like here nearly 500 years ago.

It's easy to get to Cartagena from the United States, with daily flights from Miami and good connections through Panama City. This is the perfect destination for an exotic long weekend getaway from almost anywhere in North America.

Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Cartagena, Colombia

Gran Canaria landscape

Highlights : White-sand beaches, rugged mountains, luxury resorts, island adventures

Off the coast of northwestern Africa are a delightful chain of islands that should be on every sun-seeker's to-do list. The Canary Islands are all a bit different from one another, allowing the intrepid traveler to have four or even five (or more), experiences in one trip.

The Canary Islands are especially known for their beaches. Stunning white-sand beaches washed by crystal-clear waters are among the best beaches in Spain . Many people come here to stay at the multitude of luxury resorts that line the waterfront, and rarely venture off the property.

Those that have a taste for adventure will find towering volcanoes, stunning hiking trails, towering pine forests, and authentic old towns dating back to the time of Christopher Columbus.

Some of the most popular islands are Tenerife , Gran Canaria , Lanzarote , and Fuerteventura . Each of these offers its own unique experience and landscape.

Hong Kong at sunset

Highlights : Star Ferry across Victoria Harbor, skyscrapers, Victoria Peak views, awesome dining

Asia's largest city can feel like an Asian Manhattan, with giant skyscrapers in a compact area and a serious focus on business. But venture deeper, and you'll find the city's unique mix of ancient Chinese culture and remnants of its British Colonial history as well. Gleaming skyscrapers are built with hand-assembled bamboo scaffolding in a fusion of new and old.

The city is divided into two main sections: Hong Kong Island and Kowloon , separated by Victoria Harbour . Take the Star Ferry across the harbor, still one of the great travel bargains, given the spectacular scenery on both sides. You can also venture into the more rural areas to discover the sparsely populated Outlying Islands , hiking trails , and beautiful beaches .

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Hong Kong

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More Great Places to Visit Around the World: If you are heading to Europe, be sure to see our guides to the best places to visit in France , Italy , and Portugal . Our lists of best places to visit in Scotland and Ireland will also point you in the right direction in these countries. For ideas on where to go in America, see our recommendations for the best places to visit in the United States .

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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

58 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 : The Dubai Mall Dubai Fountain At the Top Burj Khalifa

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: 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 Hike from Fira to Oia Skaros Rock

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

55 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

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

42 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 Uluwatu Bali Swing

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

300 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

47 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

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.

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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  • BEST OF THE WORLD

20 of the coolest travel adventures for 2024

From a horseback safari in Kenya to river rafting in West Virginia, here’s our ranked list of the top travel experiences right now.

This page is a portal.   No, really, it is: Our annual Best of the World feature is a gateway to the streets of Paris , the snowy Caucasus Mountains of Georgia , the ancient rock art of Algeria . To help us engage with places more deeply and meaningfully, we drew on National Geographic’s global community of experts to create the following ranked list of 20 great adventures for 2024. Read on and you’ll discover that this page is also a celebration—of travel’s power to transform us and our connections with one another.

#1: Go on horseback safari in Kenya

Guide Hamprey Mweterwa, and riders Llewellyn, Eloise and Tatiana Rose Dyer, watch a herd of zebra from atop their horses in Borana Conservancy, Kenya

A safari in Africa usually conjures an image of mud-spattered 4x4 vehicles bouncing through the bush. But there’s another way to travel: on horseback .  

Although horse safaris originated in Kenya in the 1970s, they’re a perfect fit for today’s growing number of travelers looking for more engaging, sustainable wildlife encounters. At the 32,000-acre Borana Conservancy , two stables house thoroughbreds and ex-polo ponies for riders of all skill levels. Visitors can book half-day, full-day, or overnight rides. July through September is the prime time to go.

Since wildlife perceive equines as just another animal, exploring the landscape atop a horse makes for an intimate experience. “To journey on horseback is to break down the walls—meant to protect but also to separate—between oneself and the natural world,” says Nichole Sobecki , a photographer and equestrian who’s ridden in Borana. “Your horse is a translator, responding to the low growl of the lion, the soft scent of a herd of elephants.” A horse’s ears are an advance warning system, she says, helping knowledgeable guides navigate routes.

#2: Run an Olympic marathon in Paris

Silhouettes of runners pass in front of the Eiffel Tower during the 45th edition of the Paris Marathon

For the first time, members of the public will be able to run their own marathon during the 2024 Summer Olympics , in Paris, France , just one initiative aimed at creating a more inclusive Games.  

Slated to be held the evening of August 10, between the men’s and women’s official races, the Marathon for All will allow 20,024 qualifying lottery winners on the 26.2-mile route that links Paris and Versailles , a loop beginning at the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) and passing through nine arrondissements before finishing at Les Invalides on the banks of the Seine. Before or after the big event, learn the route to follow in their tracks.  

#3: Ski tour UNESCO sites in Georgia

Long a means of transportation, exploration, and hunting, skiing is still a way of life in the mountainous republic of Georgia. Now visitors can enjoy some of the nation’s best backcountry skiing in the Caucasus with the help of outfitters such as Svaneti Ski and Georgia Ski Touring . In Svaneti, excursions may lead skiers through panoramic Gvibari Pass or to medieval Ushguli villages, among the highest continuously inhabited in Europe. The best times to experience this are December to April.

#4: Bear watch in Katmai National Park

Brown bears (Ursus arctos) graze on sedge grass in Hallo Bay in Alaska's Katmai National Park

Alaska ’s Katmai National Park is home to one of the highest concentrations of brown bears in the world. Far from the crowded viewing platforms of the Brooks Camp Visitor Center, a guided trip along the Katmai coast with outfitters like AK Adventures reveals a different side of the park.

Travel gear you'll want to pack in 2024

National Geographic’s top travel products for 2024 run the gamut from customizable bags and backpacks to a recyclable jacket

Here, the bears feast on a diversity of foods: sedges, grasses, razor clams, salmon. “For me, seeing a single brown bear in the wild is meaningful because it is a sign that the landscape is healthy enough to support it,” says Alaska photographer Acacia Johnson , a frequent National Geographic contributor.

#5: Hear legendary live music in Kyoto

A singer on stage rocks out with a guitar

Guidebooks speak of Kyoto as frozen in time, with hushed temples and meditative gardens. But after hours, Japan ’s former imperial capital reveals a live music scene that can be loud and irreverent. At venues like Jittoku and Field , rock, swing, and even Irish music echo into the night. Whatever you’re into, from jazz to punk, there’s a community to share your jam. “This is what happens in Japan when the mask comes off,” says Kyoto guide Van Milton.

#6: Cruise an epic river in Colombia

A view down onto the Magdalena River

About 80 percent of Colombia ’s population lives in the river basin of the Magdalena, which flows for nearly a thousand miles from the Andes to the Caribbean. AmaWaterways’ new cruises on the river—said to be the first by a major cruise operator—take seven-night trips from Cartagena via Mompós to Barranquilla. Stops at colonial towns, performances of vallenato   and cumbia music, and visits to a stilt-house village highlight the region’s culture along this mighty waterway.

#7:   Road trip Route 66 in New Mexico

A ballon festival in Albuquerque at dusk

For nearly a century, Route 66 has beckoned to travelers. A trip along the Mother Road through New Mexico hits timeless landmarks , such as quirky motels and curio shops in and around Tucumcari and symbolic etchings in Petroglyph National Monument . In Gallup—mentioned as one of the places to “get your kicks” in Nat King Cole’s 1946 hit song “Route 66”—you can take in performances featuring Zuni, Lakota, and Diné (Navajo) dancers.  

Some 18 miles of the highway traverse Albuquerque , the longest urban interlude of the route in the United States. And it’s getting a half-million-dollar glow-up with the ongoing restoration of vintage neon signs along Central Avenue.  

While cruising down the brightened strip, stop at the new West Central Route 66 Visitor Center , with its museum and outdoor amphitheater. The center will host events like lowrider car shows, drive-in movies, and artisan markets.

#8: Explore ancient art in Algeria

A guide, wearing the traditional robes and shesh headscarf of the nomadic Tuareg tribe, stands on an outcrop at Adrit.

Algeria is home to Africa’s largest national park, which holds one of the world’s greatest concentrations of ancient rock art. Tassili n’Ajjer National Park is a geologic wonderland of sandstone towers, arches, and sculpted outcrops. But these rock forests are only half the story.  

Neolithic herders and hunter-gatherers carved 15,000 petroglyphs here, including images of elephants, giraffes, and rhinos. These animals are more commonly associated with sub-Saharan Africa—a hint that this arid wilderness was once a grassland crisscrossed by waterways. Five- to seven-day guided tours with Fancy Yellow take in the most spectacular works of Tassili’s art, like the “Crying Cows,” engraved at the base of a stone pinnacle 7,000 years ago.  

Travelers with more time might want to combine a trip to Tassili with a visit to the Algerian Sahara’s other great geologic marvel: the extraordinary mountain range of Ahaggar National Park .

#9: Dive with sharks in Western Australia

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Stretching almost 700 miles along the Indian Ocean north of Perth, Western Australia’ s Coral Coast is studded with natural wonders. But Ningaloo Reef is the star. Here, you can dive with giants: Some 300 to 500 whale sharks ,   one of the largest congregations on Earth, gather along the reef each year between March and July. Ethical outfitters ensure divers give the sharks space and avoid feeding them or using flash photography.  

Even more megafauna abound from July to October, when about 40,000 humpback whales migrate along the Coral Coast. You can also commune with more than 10,000 dugongs in Shark Bay or swim with manta rays at Coral Bay.  

#10: Hike a volcano in Panama

A sustainability leader, Panama recently launched its “1,000 Kilometers of Trails” project , which seeks to bring outdoor recreation and green tourism to rural communities and protected areas.

First out of the gate is the Ruta de la Caldera , a system of five trails around the extinct Valle de Antón volcano . The treks take in waterfall-speckled landscapes, according to photographer Rose Marie Cromwell , who hiked sections of the Ruta de la Caldera over five days.

“There were some spectacular views on top of the volcanic crater—interesting land formations covered in so much green,” she says.

#11: Catch the eclipse at Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, a boat of tourists, and a rainbow as seen from Niagara Falls, Ontario

Directly in the path of totality, Niagara Falls will offer views of a total solar eclipse, which won’t occur again in the contiguous U.S. until 2044. For about three and a half minutes, beginning at approximately 3:18 p.m. on April 8, the sky will darken over the thunderous cataract as the moon crosses between Earth and the sun.  

On the U.S. side of the falls , Terrapin Point, Prospect Point, and the Observation Tower will be prime viewing areas (if clouds stay away). From the Canadian side, an excellent vantage point is Table Rock. A side bonus: The sunny-day rainbow that hovers above the falls will become pink.  

#12: Trek a glacier in Chile

In Chilean Patagonia‘s Laguna San Rafael National Park , visitors can trek to glaciers, taking in a panorama of pale blue ice massifs and glacial waterways. Some 17,300 glaciers still cover the whole of Patagonia’s ice fields, but rising temperatures are rapidly melting them. Climate scientists say sustainable tourism , such as hikes with Chilean outfitters like Turismo Valle Leones , supports local communities and inspires travelers to learn more about how to protect glaciers.

#13: Step back in time on Menorca

the archeological site of Naveta des Taudons lit up by a sky of stars

Spain ’s Balearic Islands are best known for the jet-set beach destinations of Ibiza and Mallorca . But quiet, less developed Menorca has a unique mother lode: The archipelago’s greatest repository of ancient architecture.

In an area of just 270 square miles, Menorca has a total of 1,574 inventoried archaeological sites , ranging from the foundation blocks of small dwellings to well-preserved village centers that existed long before the Roman Empire. Most striking are the navetas,   megalithic tombs dating back to 1600 B.C.; talayots, watchtowers built from mortarless blocks of limestone; and   taulas,   shrines exclusive to Menorca that evoke Stonehenge pillars. These remnants of the Talayotic Menorcan culture, the first civilization to inhabit the island, have now been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List .  

The open-air monuments are easy to visit; the island’s Me-1 road passes by some of the best-preserved sites, including the settlements of Talatí de Dalt, Naveta des Tudons, and Taula de Torretrencada.

Reenter the 21st century at the new Hauser & Wirth gallery in the picturesque town of Mahón. Housed in repurposed 18th-century hospital buildings, the cultural venue presents contemporary art exhibits and has an outdoor sculpture trail with works by Louise Bourgeois and Joan Miró.

#14: Ride classic rails in Scotland

A view from inside the Royal Scotsman as it drives through the Highlands

Exploring Scotland ’s wild, scenic Highlands doesn’t have to mean roughing it. The Royal Scotsman train glides among the moody lochs and dramatic peaks in style. New suites debuting in May 2024 sport interiors that reflect the compelling landscapes through dark woods, wool tweeds , and richly patterned bespoke tartans crafted by Scottish brand Araminta Campbell . After a day spent hiking to waterfalls or playing rounds of golf (a sport inextricably tied to the nation), guests can wind down with a massage at the onboard spa.

Departing Edinburgh ’s Waverley Station, the two- to seven-night rail journeys cross the heart of the Highlands, from Perthshire to Inverness to the rugged west coast. During stops guests can tour castles, stargaze in Cairngorms National Park , sample whisky at revered distilleries, and even take a dip in a loch.

#15: Find authentic flavor in Thailand  

An overhead view of a plate of Northeastern style Thai cuisine

The Isaan region in northeastern Thailand is known for its distinctive cuisine that reflects influences from bordering Laos and Cambodia. “Isaan is a hidden gem of Thailand,” says Weerawat “Num” Triyasenawat, the chef at Samuay & Sons , a Michelin Guide -recommended restaurant in the Isaan city of Udon Thani.

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One key ingredient of the region’s delicious food is pla ra, a fermented-fish seasoning that boosts umami flavor. Local dishes include laab   (minced meat salad), traditionally served during celebrations.

#16: Wander tea trails in Sri Lanka

View over the tea plantations near Kotagala on stage 7 of the Pekoe Trail

Sri Lanka is virtually synonymous with tea. The island nation is one of the world’s top producers of tea leaves. British colonists introduced the first bushes about 200 years ago. Now visitors can trace the footsteps of historic planters on the new, nearly 200-mile Pekoe Trail , the country’s first long-distance walking route.  

Starting just outside Kandy, the trail follows the 19th-century tracks upon which workers and horse-drawn carts transported freshly plucked leaves. Hikers pass through hill towns and tea estates and can stop to take a cooking class or savor a cup of aromatic Ceylon tea.

#17: Gallery hop in São Paulo

Aerial view of the São Paulo Museum of Art (MAP) illuminated at night

São Paulo, Brazil ’s largest city, is an art lover’s paradise, home to numerous galleries, exhibitions, and street murals. The crowning jewel is the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), which is expanding to showcase more of its 11,000-plus artworks, from pre-Renaissance paintings to contemporary sculptures. Departing from the usual model of exhibiting works on walls, MASP hangs some pieces against clear panels, allowing visitors to view the art from all angles.

#18: Raft the rapids in West Virginia  

An overhead view of people rafting the Gauley River in Gauley River National Recreation Area

Despite its name, West Virginia ’s New River is actually one of the oldest on Earth, perhaps as old as 360 million years. The river falls 750 feet in only 50 miles between sandstone cliffs. It eventually merges with the Gauley River.   Outfitters such as ACE Adventure Resort can arrange whitewater rafting trips here on Class III to V rapids through the longest and deepest river gorge in the Appalachians.  

#19: Go antiquing in Hudson Valley

Shoppers congregate inside the Basilica Hudson

The bucolic Hudson Valley is booming, thanks to an influx of New York City residents during the pandemic. But it’s long been a mecca for creatives: Its landscapes inspired America’s first artistic fraternity, the Hudson River School. Antique collectors will be drawn to the hundreds of stores, boutiques, craft shops, and flea markets that sell everything from colonial furniture and rare books to mid-century modern decor. For vintage finds, head to the Antique Warehouse in Hudson, Sister Salvage in Catskill, and Opera House Co. in Athens.

“There’s a common denominator here—the charming historic villages,” says Sarah Gray Miller, owner of Coxsackie antique store UnQuiet . From Stuyvesant to Saugerties, these towns “share a strong commitment to preservation.”

#20: Sleep on the water in British Columbia

The exterior of the Tofino Wilderness Resort reflected in the lake

The newly reopened Tofino Wilderness Resort , owned by the Ahousaht First Nation, is an idyllic base from which to explore the western coast of British Columbia ’s Vancouver Island. In the heart of Clayoquot Sound, the luxury floating lodge was renovated with lumber cut from timber which fell on-site. Through guided whale-watching trips or visits to the Freedom Cove artists’ sanctuary, the Ahousaht share with guests their philosophy, hishuk ish tsawalk (“everything is one”), celebrating the interconnectedness of people and nature in a land they’ve occupied for thousands of years.

Editor's note

Related topics.

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  • SNOWMOBILING

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Viral Chatter

Viral Chatter

Top 10 Summer Vacation Destinations to Visit in the World

Posted: June 19, 2024 | Last updated: June 19, 2024

<p>Summer is the perfect time to explore new destinations and create lasting memories. With more travel opportunities than ever, it’s time to visit some of the world’s most captivating places. From pristine beaches and vibrant cityscapes to serene mountain retreats and historic gems, there’s a spot for every type of traveler. </p> <p>Each destination on our list boasts unique attractions, cultural experiences, and natural beauty, making it a top choice for summer. Get ready to discover the best places to visit and start planning your ultimate summer vacation.</p>

Summer is the perfect time to explore new destinations and create lasting memories. With more travel opportunities than ever, it’s time to visit some of the world’s most captivating places. From pristine beaches and vibrant cityscapes to serene mountain retreats and historic gems, there’s a spot for every type of traveler.

Each destination on our list boasts unique attractions, cultural experiences, and natural beauty, making it a top choice for summer. Get ready to discover the best places to visit and start planning your ultimate summer vacation.

<p>Bali has long been a favorite for travelers seeking a tropical paradise. With its lush landscapes, pristine beaches, and rich cultural heritage, it’s easy to see why. The island offers a unique blend of adventure and relaxation, with plenty of opportunities to explore local culture, nature, and cuisine.</p> <p><strong>Must-Visit Spots:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Kuta Beach</li> <li>Ubud’s rice terraces</li> <li>Uluwatu Temple</li> <li>Local markets and street food vendors</li> </ul>

1. Bali, Indonesia

Bali has long been a favorite for travelers seeking a tropical paradise. With its lush landscapes, pristine beaches, and rich cultural heritage, it’s easy to see why. The island offers a unique blend of adventure and relaxation, with plenty of opportunities to explore local culture, nature, and cuisine.

Must-Visit Spots:

  • Ubud’s rice terraces
  • Uluwatu Temple
  • Local markets and street food vendors

<p>Santorini is the epitome of a picturesque summer destination. Known for its white-washed buildings with blue domes, this Greek island offers a romantic and idyllic setting. Santorini is more accessible than ever, with increased direct flights from major cities worldwide.</p> <p><strong>Must-Visit Spots:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Red Beach</li> <li>Perissa Beach</li> <li>Ancient ruins of Akrotiri</li> <li>Village of Oia</li> </ul>

2. Santorini, Greece

Santorini is the epitome of a picturesque summer destination. Known for its white-washed buildings with blue domes, this Greek island offers a romantic and idyllic setting. Santorini is more accessible than ever, with increased direct flights from major cities worldwide.

  • Perissa Beach
  • Ancient ruins of Akrotiri
  • Village of Oia

<p>For travelers seeking a blend of tradition and modernity, Kyoto is a must-visit. This historic city is renowned for its stunning temples, beautiful gardens, and traditional tea houses. Summer in Kyoto is particularly enchanting, with festivals bringing the city to life.</p> <p><strong>Must-Visit Spots:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion)</li> <li>Fushimi Inari Shrine</li> <li>Bamboo groves of Arashiyama</li> <li>Gion Matsuri festival</li> </ul>

3. Kyoto, Japan

For travelers seeking a blend of tradition and modernity, Kyoto is a must-visit. This historic city is renowned for its stunning temples, beautiful gardens, and traditional tea houses. Summer in Kyoto is particularly enchanting, with festivals bringing the city to life.

  • Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion)
  • Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Bamboo groves of Arashiyama
  • Gion Matsuri festival

<div class="gb-container gb-container-0838b088"> <p>If you’re a nature enthusiast, Banff should be at the top of your list for summer. Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff offers breathtaking landscapes, from turquoise lakes to rugged mountain peaks. Outdoor activities abound, making it a perfect destination for adventurers.</p> </div> <p>If you’re a nature enthusiast, Banff should be at the top of your list for summer. Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff offers breathtaking landscapes, from turquoise lakes to rugged mountain peaks. Outdoor activities abound, making it a perfect destination for adventurers.</p> <p><strong>Must-Visit Spots:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Lake Louise</li> <li>Banff Upper Hot Springs</li> <li>Hiking trails and wildlife spotting</li> <li>Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity</li> </ul>

4. Banff, Canada

If you’re a nature enthusiast, Banff should be at the top of your list for summer. Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff offers breathtaking landscapes, from turquoise lakes to rugged mountain peaks. Outdoor activities abound, making it a perfect destination for adventurers.

  • Lake Louise
  • Banff Upper Hot Springs
  • Hiking trails and wildlife spotting
  • Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

<p>Barcelona truly comes alive in the summer. Known for its unique architecture, vibrant culture, and beautiful beaches, it offers something for every type of traveler. The city’s lively atmosphere and diverse attractions make it a must-see destination.</p> <p><strong>Must-Visit Spots:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Sagrada Família</li> <li>Park Güell</li> <li>La Rambla</li> <li>Barceloneta Beach</li> </ul>

5. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona truly comes alive in the summer. Known for its unique architecture, vibrant culture, and beautiful beaches, it offers something for every type of traveler. The city’s lively atmosphere and diverse attractions make it a must-see destination.

  • Sagrada Família
  • Barceloneta Beach

<p>Cape Town is considered one of the top destinations for those who love ocean and mountain landscapes. One of the favorite features is Lion’s Head, a peak shaped like a wizard’s hat that can be hiked. Another noteworthy spot is Table Mountain, which has a cable car to the top for incredible views of the city and surrounding ocean and mountains.</p> <p>Camp’s Bay is cited as one of the best beaches in Cape Town, although the water is chilly the scenery is spectacular with mountainous landscape in the background.</p>

6. Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is a vibrant city that offers a diverse range of experiences. From its stunning beaches and majestic Table Mountain to its rich cultural heritage, Cape Town has something for everyone. The city’s summer months are perfect for outdoor activities and cultural exploration.

  • Table Mountain
  • Robben Island
  • V&A Waterfront
  • Stellenbosch wine region

<p>One of Italy’s most scenic destinations, the Amalfi Coast’s villages offer Mediterranean views, flowering vines, pastel houses, and historic ruins. The cliffside path between Positano and Amalfi makes an idyllic though crowded walk.</p>

7. Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Amalfi Coast is synonymous with stunning scenery, charming villages, and delicious cuisine. This Italian gem offers a perfect blend of relaxation and exploration. The coastal road itself offers breathtaking views and is a joy to drive.

  • Towns of Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello
  • Scenic coastal drives
  • Fresh seafood and handmade pasta
  • Ancient churches and villas

<p>Queenstown is an adventurer’s paradise, offering a range of outdoor activities set against a backdrop of stunning landscapes. Known as the “Adventure Capital of the World,” Queenstown is perfect for those seeking thrilling experiences and natural beauty.</p> <p><strong>Must-Visit Spots:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Bungee jumping and skydiving</li> <li>Milford Sound</li> <li>Local vineyards and gourmet restaurants</li> <li>Hiking and boating</li> </ul>

8. Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown is an adventurer’s paradise, offering a range of outdoor activities set against a backdrop of stunning landscapes. Known as the “Adventure Capital of the World,” Queenstown is perfect for those seeking thrilling experiences and natural beauty.

  • Bungee jumping and skydiving
  • Milford Sound
  • Local vineyards and gourmet restaurants
  • Hiking and boating

<p>Dubrovnik, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” is a stunning coastal city known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and beautiful beaches. The city’s historic charm and vibrant cultural scene make it an ideal summer destination.</p> <p><strong>Must-Visit Spots:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Old Town</li> <li>City walls</li> <li>Lokrum and Elaphiti islands</li> <li>Snorkeling and beach activities</li> </ul>

9. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” is a stunning coastal city known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and beautiful beaches. The city’s historic charm and vibrant cultural scene make it an ideal summer destination.

  • Lokrum and Elaphiti islands
  • Snorkeling and beach activities

<p>This tropical paradise is a dream destination for families seeking relaxation, adventure, and cultural experiences. With stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and unique wildlife, Hawaii offers endless opportunities for exploration and fun.</p>

10. Maui, Hawaii, USA

Maui is a tropical paradise that offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. The island’s stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and volcanic landscapes provide a diverse range of activities. Maui’s laid-back vibe and friendly locals add to its charm.

  • Molokini Crater
  • Haleakalā National Park
  • Traditional Hawaiian luaus
  • Local beaches and surf spots

These ten summer vacation destinations offer a diverse range of experiences, from tropical paradises and historic cities to adventurous landscapes and cultural hubs. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a blend of both, these locations promise unforgettable memories for the summer.

<p>The first amusement parks were simple affairs with basic rides and attractions meant to thrill and entertain¹. But as the world has evolved, so too have these parks, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and redefining the very concept of amusement. </p> <p>Take a gander at some of the most bizarre, one-of-a-kind amusement parks around the globe that are sure to leave you in awe.</p>

The first amusement parks were simple affairs with basic rides and attractions meant to thrill and entertain¹. But as the world has evolved, so too have these parks, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and redefining the very concept of amusement.

  • Don’t Miss: Forget Disneyland: 10 Unique Amusement Park Destinations

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Frugal Traveler

Where to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

American travelers going abroad this summer will find their money buys more in some unexpected countries, including Japan and Australia.

A chubby gray koala bear lounges in between two branches of a tree.

By Elaine Glusac

Elaine Glusac is the Frugal Traveler columnist, focusing on budget-friendly tips and journeys.

It’s the backpacker’s call to India, the sunseeker’s attraction to Mexico, and the digital nomad’s drive to get to Thailand: Go where the dollar buys more.

The evergreen budget travel strategy is getting a boost this summer: The dollar has surged against a number of foreign currencies, including the Japanese yen, thanks to high interest rates offered by the Federal Reserve — attracting foreign investment, which bolsters the dollar.

“A destination’s weaker currency spells greater value for U.S. tourists,” said Erina Pindar, the chief operating officer and managing partner at SmartFlyer , a global travel agency based in New York City.

“This economic advantage could make far-flung bucket list destinations in Asia, such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan, or in South America, like Peru, Argentina and Chile, more accessible than ever before,” she added.

Distant destinations are usually more expensive to fly to, which, along with the physical toll of jet lag, helps make the case for the country’s North American neighbors, Canada and Mexico , where the exchange rates have long favored the dollar’s buying power.

But this year there are some new contenders with attractive exchange rates to consider, including the following destinations.

Currently, the U.S. dollar is worth about 1.50 Australian dollars, up about 16 percent over the last three years.

The hurdle, of course, is the long flight, which can easily run over $1,000 round trip. But the travel search engine Kayak lists some attractive summer round-trip fares between the West Coast and Sydney starting at $770, with the best availability in August.

Getting around Australia by air isn’t cheap either, especially since the recent collapse of the low-cost carrier Bonza. Jetstar offers lower fares, including, recently, $50 one-way tickets between Melbourne and Adelaide.

Camper vans can be an affordable way to take an Australian road trip, with companies like Jucy , Britz and Apollo offering vehicles that include beds and cooking facilities. Jucy recently priced a two-person van rented for a week in July at about $53 a night.

The Northern Hemisphere summer is Australia’s winter. If you’re planning a ski vacation in the Australian Alps, Tourism Australia suggests avoiding mid-July when schools are on break and many families head to the slopes.

Australia does not have a culture of tipping, potentially saving travelers 20 percent on restaurant meals, according to Craig Bradbery, the chief operating officer of Baillie Lodges, which includes the newly rebuilt Southern Ocean Lodge , a luxury property on Kangaroo Island.

Bali, Indonesia

Many destinations in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, offer compelling exchange rates. In Indonesia, the rupiah is at a four-year low against the dollar.

“I would send clients to Bali, Indonesia,” said Rob Huie, the owner of Luxury Travel Services by Rob , based in Millsboro, Del., noting that the cost of living is low on the island. “The caveat is a higher upfront cost to fly there, but once you’re there you are able to stay at three- and four-star hotels at very affordable rates, have meals for $10 to $25 per day and massages for $10 to $30.”

Travelers with Marriott loyalty points can cash them in at the Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Kuta (rooms from $57 a night). IGH Reward members can spend or earn points at Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach (from $138).

Tripadvisor’s list of the top budget hotels in the central highlands around Ubud includes options under $100.

Bali is a good place to look for a vacation rental, according to the home rental platform HomeToGo . Its data shows the median per-night price for a rental property on Bali this summer is $86, compared to the median price of a rental in the United States at $388.

“Despite the strength of the U.S. dollar on a global scale, prices across the states continue to rise, prompting travelers to look to international destinations where their dollar can stretch further,” said Eleanor Moody, a travel expert at HomeToGo, who added that searches for rentals in Indonesia have more than doubled in the past year.

South America — including Argentina where inflation has spiraled, and Peru where the sol has softened against the dollar — is another place to look for value.

“Stop going to Europe,” said Cecile Blot, the owner of the travel agency Boundless Travels in Washington, D.C., praising “destination dupes” in South America. “Many of the countries on the southern continent offer the entire package — history, culture, nature, culinary delights, world-class accommodation — at a fraction of the price.”

One of these is Colombia , where the dollar recently equaled about 3,935 pesos, a gain of roughly 20 percent over the past five years.

“Colombia has something for everyone,” said Stefanie Pichonnat, the owner of AAV Travel , based in Terre Haute, Ind., citing Cartagena on the Caribbean as a budget-friendly substitute for a European capital, and coastal Tayrona National Natural Park as a cheaper alternative to Costa Rica.

“Coffee aficionados can spend days touring the coffee fincas, passionate hikers can challenge themselves with a trek to the páramo desert and bird watchers will find an abundance of options to explore,” she added.

Air service is frequent and affordable. A recent search for round-trip fares from the New York area turned up summer departures starting from about $290 to the capital of Bogotá and $320 to coastal Cartagena.

From Bogotá, visitors can reach Chingaza National Natural Park in the eastern Andes or spend a few days in the laid-back colonial city of Villa de Leyva . But Colombia’s mountainous terrain and perilous roads often require travelers to fly domestically to see other areas.

Among tour operators that do the planning for you, Responsible Travel , based in England, offers a customizable 12-day trip to Colombia that visits Bogotá, Medellín and the central coffee country, including the lush Cocora Valley with its nearly 200-foot-tall wax palm trees (from $2,990 a person).

The U.S. dollar is currently worth about 156 Japanese yen, a gain of more than 11 percent over the past year.

Demand for Japan was already booming when the economic picture improved. BWH Hotels , which includes Best Western Hotels & Resorts, said occupancy and rates have grown steadily for the past two years because of demand and a shortage of employees, especially in popular destinations like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hokkaido.

But with careful planning, Americans can still exploit the exchange rate. IHG Hotels & Resorts , which operates hotel brands in the country from the design-focused Voco to the high-end InterContinental, suggested traveling by early July for the best rates (an overnight at the Voco Osaka Central starts at $135).

The Japanese-owned Hoshino Resorts tend to be upscale, but their OMO line offers more entry-level accommodations, from capsule hotels to full-service locations. The OMO5 Kyoto Gion , for example, offers rooms that sleep up to six people and include kitchens, starting at 24,000 yen, or about $153. Staff guides offer free tours to temples in the area.

While many temples, parks and shrines are free, travelers in the capital can get the Tokyo Museum Grutto Pass for 2,500 yen (about $16) that includes admission to more than 100 museums and attractions around town.

Among its tips for budget travelers, the tourism office of Japan recommends making lunch your big meal as many restaurants offer midday specials.

There are a number of cost-conscious ways to get around Japan, including trains (a Japan Rail Pass starts at 50,000 yen, or about $320, for seven days), low-cost airlines like Peach and Zipair and overnight buses .

Or consider walking the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route that connects sacred shrines in the Kii Mountains. Walk Japan has a self-guided seven-day trip, including accommodations and most meals, starting at 224,000 yen.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

Open Up Your World

Considering a trip, or just some armchair traveling here are some ideas..

52 Places:  Why do we travel? For food, culture, adventure, natural beauty? Our 2024 list has all those elements, and more .

Port Antonio, Jamaica:  The Grammy-nominated D.J. and music producer Diplo recommends spots in a city he loves  on Jamaica’s northeast coast. A dance party makes the cut.

New Mexico:  The Gila Wilderness, home to wolves, mountain lions and other wildlife, marks a century as a “land lab,”  where nature thrives as far as the eye can see.

Greece:  Is Serifos the perfect Greek island? A writer’s checklist included ferry service, great beaches and good local restaurants.

Brooklyn:  This 36-hour itinerary  skips the most touristy and overdeveloped areas, including Williamsburg and Dumbo, and requires no restaurant reservations or advance planning.

Costa Rica:  Travelers are signing up for phone-free tours to try to escape technology’s tether on daily life. But would it make for a better experience ?

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The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2023

Where to go in 2023, according to T+L editors — for a breath of fresh air, a big-city adventure, or a glimpse at the future of travel.

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.

With much of the world reopened, 2023 is shaping up to be the year travel officially bounces back. We made our list of the 50 best destinations for 2023 a little differently this year: We asked Travel + Leisure's editors where they want to go in the months ahead. Some are raring to get back to Japan, while others have the Trans-Bhutan Trail on their lists. Still more are planning a sail around Greenland, a wine-tasting trip on California’s central coast, and a visit to France’s next big wine region (which is, as it happens, tiny).

A few up-and-coming culinary destinations made our list, as did a remarkable piece of art, the size and scale of which boggles the imagination. While many of the team’s picks are remote, breathe-in-that-fresh-air kinds of places, our list doesn’t skimp on cities where the hustle and bustle is part of the fun.

But with so many choices now back on the map, there are as many styles of trips as there are places to explore. That’s why, for the first time in recent memory, we’ve broken our list of best places to go into categories.

The hope is that, whatever it is you’re after in the year ahead, you’ll find it in one of these 50 places. And who knows? We may just see you there.

— Edited by Paul Brady and Maya Kachroo-Levine

Destination by Category

For cultural riches, alexandria, virginia.

K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria

With postcard-perfect cobblestone streets and quick access to the wineries of northern Virginia , Alexandria is an easy city to love. But these days, the reason to go is to see how effectively the city is confronting its own history, as destinations across the American South grapple with the legacy of the Confederacy . Alexandria, which was founded as a tobacco port in 1749, was for decades of the 19th century the site of the country’s largest domestic slave trade . Today, the Freedom House Museum has three new exhibitions honoring the people who were forcibly brought here. Meanwhile, the African American Heritage Trail, which opened in 2020, follows the Potomac River and encompasses nearly 200 years of history at 11 stops, such as the Torpedo Factory , where many Black men and women worked during World War II. An extension of the route will debut in February 2023 with 20 new stops, including Waterfront Park, the port from which enslaved people were trafficked to places like New Orleans. At Jones Point Park, visitors can learn about Benjamin Banneker , an inventor, mathematician, and free African American from Maryland who was instrumental in the 1791 surveying team that determined the border of the new U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. (For an even deeper look at the city’s Black experience, book with Manumission Tours , which is run by a fourth-generation Alexandrian .) The city’s most elegant stay is Morrison House Old Town Alexandria, Autograph Collection , which was recently voted one of the best city hotels in the continental U.S. in T+L’s 2022 World’s Best Awards. A new Hotel AKA is slated to open in Old Town in winter 2023. — Liz Cantrell

Cairo and the Nile

Emli Bendixen

It’s almost here: After more than a decade of construction — to say nothing of the hype — the Grand Egyptian Museum may finally open, just a stone’s throw from the Great Pyramids of Giza, this spring. What to expect? More than 1 million square feet of exhibition space, treasures including a 40-foot-high statue of Ramses II, outdoor gardens, and an expansive plaza from which visitors can take in the desert surroundings. Meanwhile, a number of new and luxurious ships have started sailing the Nile: Among the best choices are the Viking Osiris , an all-veranda vessel carrying 82 passengers, and the opulent Sphinx from Uniworld Boutique River Cruises , which has 42 cabins swathed in marble and hand-carved wood, with beds dressed in fine Egyptian cotton sheets. The hotel scene is also, thankfully, getting a refresh with a new Mandarin Oriental slated for downtown Cairo in 2024; the forthcoming 200-room Four Seasons Hotel Luxor is scheduled to debut in 2025 — not that you should wait that long to see the ancient Valley of the Kings. — John Wogan

“City,” Nevada

City, 1970 – 2022 © Michael Heizer. Courtesy Triple Aught Foundation. Photo: Eric Piasecki

Even in a state known for its vast, empty landscapes, Basin and Range National Monument , about a two-hour drive north of Las Vegas, takes “remote” to a new level. The 704,000-acre preserve, created in 2015, provides endless opportunities for hiking, climbing, camping, and cycling; its desert valleys and mountain ranges are also dotted with Indigenous rock art sites. But the reason to go now is “City,” the single largest contemporary artwork in the world, which opened to visitors in September 2022. Made from dirt, rock, and concrete, the monumental open-air sculpture was more than 50 years in the making, a collection of mounds, depressions, and stelae conceived by the artist Michael Heizer . The endeavor — which was made possible by joint contributions from art institutions around the country, including LACMA and MoMA — will open to the public for the 2023 season by reservation only . The mile-and-a-half-long sculpture feels at once ancient and futuristic, a destination just as awe-inspiring as the natural one surrounding it. — John Wogan

Havana, Cuba

Brad Ogbonna

The can-you, can’t-you continues, but the Biden administration has made it a touch easier to visit Cuba as a result of its May 2022 relaxation of some restrictions on travel to the island. These days, Americans can go as part of a group tour or visit individually on a "support for the Cuban people" license, travel advisor Molly Layman told T+L. “It’s one of 12 authorized categories of travel to the island,” she said, adding that “it requires citizens to have a full-time schedule of activities that support the Cuban people, which is easily fulfilled through buying services from Cuban entrepreneurs, staying in local homes, dining in private restaurants, and booking cultural activities.” Those ready to take to the vibrant streets of Havana will also need a visa, said Layman, who works as director of operations at tour company Cuba Candela . Travelers can handle that, she said, “on the day of travel at the airport check-in desk or from a tour provider.” (The cost varies depending on where a visa is purchased but rarely exceeds $100.) While the hoops are undeniable, they may well be worth jumping through in the year ahead. — Christine Burroni

Tangier, Morocco

Issam Elhafti/Getty Images

For decades, this northern Moroccan city has attracted a stream of bohemian expats including, most famously, beat-generation writers Paul Bowles and William S. Burroughs. That’s how it cultivated a reputation as a place where foreigners went to live, rather than simply visit. But Tangier’s reputation could change this spring, thanks in part to the opening of Villa Mabrouka — British designer Jasper Conran’s second Moroccan property, which follows the 2018 opening of L'Hôtel Marrakech . The one-time private residence of fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, the hillside property has gorgeous views over the Bay of Tangier within walking distance to the city’s frenetic medina. Villa Mabrouka joins other newcomers, like the Museum of Contemporary Art , a space displaying work by regional artists, also called the Kasbah Museum, as it's housed in the renovated, 17th-century Kasbah prison. Also new on the proverbial block is the just-opened Fairmont Tazi Palace Tangier , set on a refurbished, century-old estate near the old city. Anticipation is already growing for a recently announced Waldorf Astoria, a 115-room and 21-villa resort set to open in 2025. — John Wogan

Lakes Region, Turkey

Istanbul and Bodrum are both rightly popular, but U.S. travelers will find much to love in other pockets of this diverse country — including this inland part of southwestern Anatolia, which travel advisor Engin Kadaster predicts “will be very popular in the years to come.” Kadaster has been including the Lakes Region on more and more itineraries for her clients, and helped coordinate a story in T+L’s August 2022 issue that included destinations such as Isparta, the region’s largest city and a center of rose and lavender production, and the ancient hilltop city of Sagalassos. The region’s most famous feature — naturally — is a series of tectonic lakes, created by ancient earthquakes, in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, but it also holds many ancient Greek and Roman archaeological sites. A blessed lack of mass tourism means that this isn’t a hot spot for luxury hotels, but cozy places like Eskiciler Konaği , a renovated century-old mansion near Lake Eğirdir, or Aliya Konak , a seasonal farmstay on a working lavender operation in Isparta, are warm and welcoming. Intrepid travelers can ditch the hotels altogether by camping along the new Pisidia Heritage Trail , a waymarked route that unites the Lakes Region’s splendid nature and unique history as it passes through ancient sites like Kremna, Adada, and Yazılı Canyon. — Hannah Walhout

The United Kingdom

Courtesy of Peninsula London

T+L’s Destination of the Year may be undergoing a once-in-a-lifetime period of transition, but some things never change. For one, the country’s historic cities will always be home to hotels that mix stately grandeur and affable service. This past summer saw the opening of Gleneagles Townhouse , a chic, urban outpost of the iconic Gleneagles resort, in the heart of Edinburgh; next year London will welcome the cool glam of the Peter Marino–designed Peninsula London . Of the U.K.’s many world-class museums, two have recently gotten upgrades: Glasgow’s Burrell Collection , a stunning assortment of international art and artifacts, and the Manchester Museum , which is dedicated to the natural sciences. The Factory , Manchester’s new cultural center, pays tribute to the famous record label behind '80s rock bands the Happy Mondays and New Order. Gourmands (and the just plain hungry) will want to sample the broad range of culinary delights at London’s new Arcade Food Hall at Battersea Power Station, the latest stage in the rehabilitation of the historic building. No visit to the U.K. is complete without venturing out into its peerless countryside, and Scotland’s first rewilding center, Dundreggan , is one noteworthy place to take it all in: Managed by charitable organization Trees for Life , this 10,000-acre estate on the shores of Scotland’s Loch Ness plans to open a visitor’s center by the end of 2023. Meanwhile, the new Two Toms Trail in Lancashire covers 25 miles and features some of England’s most stunning scenery. — Peter Terzian

Getty Images

The perennially popular city made headlines in 2022 for its day-trip entrance fee , which takes effect in January 2023. But why only go for the day? The Venice Architecture Biennale runs May 20, 2023 to Nov. 26, 2023, with global exhibits curated by Lesley Lokko, the first Black architect to organize the event. Architecture lovers will also want to visit the Procuratie Vecchie, the 16th-century building along St. Mark's Square. Though its façade is one of Italy’s most photographed, the public has only recently been allowed inside, after the completion of a five-year refurbishment led by David Chipperfield Architects . Those looking for nostalgic luxury should plan to arrive in the second half of the year, with their bags packed for a train trip: Belmond’s iconic Venice Simplon-Orient Express will unveil two newly restored carriages from the 1920s and ‘30s in June, with opulent suites modeled to mirror the landscapes of Europe. — Nina Ruggiero

For the Food — and Wine

Courtesy of Four Seasons

It may have a reputation as a stopover city, but Athens deserves a closer look — and at least a few nights — in the year ahead. Not far from the Piraeus port , where travelers hop both domestic ferries and cruise ships that criss-cross the Mediterranean, the Athens Riviera has seen a surge of development. Four Seasons Astir Palace , which opened amid the pandemic, has a private beach on the sparkling Saronic Sea and two spaces designed by Swedish architect Martin Brudnizki, including a midcentury modern cocktail bar and Pelagos restaurant, which has already earned its first Michelin star. In the spring of 2023, One&Only Aesthesis will open just a few miles away, also along the waterfront. Next door is the brand-new Experience Park, with trails, fitness classes, fountains, a Zen garden, and bountiful native plants and flowers; it’s part of an $8-billion waterfront green space called The Ellinikon , on the former site of the city’s international airport, that’s still under development. In central Athens, the 2022 opening of the 43-room Xenodocheio Milos hotel in the Pláka neighborhood brings a bit of cosmopolitan verve, from the team behind international restaurant brand Estiatorio Milos . And while the Odeon of Herodes Atticus on the Acropolis isn’t new — the ancient amphitheater first opened about 1,900 years ago — it will bring back a full schedule of shows in 2023 after a pandemic-era slowdown. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

Central Florida

Courtesy of Small World Vacations

This fall, Hurricane Ian took 81 lives and caused $60 billion in damage across Florida. While the hard-hit southwestern part of the state continues to recover, Visit Florida president and CEO Dana Young said in October that other regions are ready to welcome travelers back. Central Florida in particular is worth a closer look, thanks to its ever-growing hospitality scene. Orlando and Tampa recently won a combined 14 Michelin accolades in 2022, when the guidebook publisher released its first-ever guide to Florida restaurants. The area’s family-friendly draws are better than ever: Disney’s recently opened, highly immersive Star Wars : Galactic Starcruiser is a two-night adventure that takes themed entertainment to the next level by allowing guests to eat, sleep, and breathe Star Wars with lightsaber training, out-of-this-world dining (blue shrimp, anyone?), and a trip to Batuu at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Meantime, Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebrations continue through March 2023, with limited-time eats, nighttime spectaculars, and festive décor. In Tampa, the latest Edition Hotel just opened with a sprawling rooftop pool club and restaurant from chef John Fraser. And getting both to and around Central Florida is easier than ever, with the recent opening of Orlando International Airport’s new 15-gate Terminal C and Brightline rail service connecting Orlando to South Florida destinations including Miami and West Palm Beach beginning in 2023. — Elizabeth Rhodes

The Jura, France

Guillaume Megevand

There’s a tiny French region just west of the border with Switzerland that’s producing some big, big wines. Thing is, only a tiny fraction of those bottles ever make it to the U.S., as T+L recently reported . That means you’ve got to go to the Jura — preferably before everyone gets wise to the area’s seven Appellations of Controlled Origin (AOCs) . Among serious oenophiles, word is already spreading about the vin jaune, “yellow wine,” made from native savagnin grapes and aged in the Jura’s distinct sous voile style, in which the wine matures “under a veil.” Not that wine is the only draw. The Jura also boasts a comté cheese trail — as if the région weren’t French enough — that connects no fewer than 150 fromageries and dairy farms. Hiking in the Jura Mountains, through Baume-les-Messieurs village and to the Hérisson waterfalls , is equally enticing, particularly as an antidote to all the wine- and cheese-focused sightseeing. Most surprising, perhaps, is just how accessible this under-the-radar area can be. Getting to the Jura takes two hours from the French capital by high-speed train , departing from Paris’s Gare de Lyon. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

San Luis Obispo County, California

Courtesy of Visit SLO CAL/Acacia Productions

It’s time to stop sleeping on “SLO.” Once considered a quick Pacific Coast Highway stopover for those visiting Hearst Castle — which reopened this past spring 2022 after a two-year closure — the central coast county is now a draw in its own right. SLO’s seven cities, including Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, and San Luis Obispo, are all buzzing, and the area just earned official American Viticulture Area (AVA) recognition in 2022, thanks to more than 200 wineries, many of which are family owned . Two new Nomada Hotel Group properties opening in 2023 will welcome the inevitable influx of oenophiles: Farmhouse, a collection of 26 rustic-chic cottages with fire pits and hammocks, arrives in January; while River Lodge, a mile from the Paso Robles wine trail, is slated for May. Also being reimagined under Nomada is the Gold Rush–era Pozo Saloon , reopening in the town of Santa Margarita in August with outdoor soaking tubs, live music, trails for hiking and horseback riding, and a glamping site. Paso Robles just notched its first Michelin star ( Six Test Kitchen ), while San Luis Obispo’s SLO Public Market will welcome two new restaurants, All Good Grill and Todo Bueno , in 2023. Nature lovers should make a beeline for the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove : The insects were recently put on the endangered list, but this spot still draws over 10,000 annually. — Nina Ruggiero

Victoria, Australia

Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

Australia has reopened, and this southern state is a particularly appealing corner of the country these days, thanks to hot springs resorts that are poised to make it the next big wine-and-wellness destination: Alba Thermal Springs and Spa on the Mornington Peninsula was the first to open in September 2022, with pools powered by solar and a commitment to achieving climate-positive operations. Metung Hot Springs in East Gippsland is set to follow in late 2022, with updated facilities in an area long known for its thermal waters. Phillip Island Hot Springs , which distinguishes itself with several saltwater features, plans to open in early 2023. Out on the Mornington Peninsula — a destination long popular for its world-class wineries — the InterContinental Sorrento began accepting reservations this past August 2022. Melbourne, Victoria’s appealing capital city, is also expecting new openings, including the intimate, seven-suite Hotel Vera Ballarat by year’s end, followed by the highly anticipated Ritz-Carlton Melbourne , set to open in 2023 in Australia’s tallest tower. Qantas is making it easier to get there, too: By December 2022, the airline will have four nonstop flights a week connecting Dallas and Melbourne, a welcome bridge between Victoria and the middle of the U.S. — Sarah Bruning

For Big-city Thrills

Jonathan Filskov/Getty Images

The eternally cool city will highlight its prowess with all things design, as the official UNESCO World Capital of Architecture in 2023. Venues across Copenhagen — contemporary parks, starchitect-designed skyscrapers, even typically humdrum infrastructure like playgrounds — will host events and visitors for a look at the future of the urban environment. One highlight will be the Copenhill Power Plant, the cleanest waste-to-energy plant in the world — that’s also the site of an artificial ski slope. “We’re going to do a lot of open-house events where 50 different venues are going to be open to the public that are usually closed to visitors,” said Copenhagen’s city architect Camilla van Deurs, who mentioned as examples churches; bridges; and the Danmarks Nationalbank, the central bank building planned in part by Danish design legend Arne Jacobsen. “Superkilen,” van Deurs said, “is a playground for kids and adults — and a cultural hub in the middle of Nørrebro, the most ethnically mixed neighborhood in Copenhagen.” New places to stay in the city also deliver a signature blend of modernism and hygge: Find it at the single-suite Kaj Hotel , which floats on a canal near Copenhagen Opera House, or the colorful new 25 Hours Hotel Copenhagen . — Tim Latterner

Lance Childers/Houston First

The 2020 opening of the Kinder Building, the latest addition to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston , cemented the city’s spot among true international arts destinations. The recent reopening of the Rothko Chapel , after a $35-million renovation, has only reinforced that reputation. Today, a wealth of new ventures is poised to raise the profile of Texas’s largest city in other categories as well. Opening next year, the JMK5 Arena will transform a disused racetrack into a 12,500-seat concert stadium poised to rival the venues of Vegas. It arrives on the heels of the relatively more intimate 713 Music Hall , which has attracted artists ranging from Judas Priest to Lil Nas X. The Houston Zoo is undergoing a much-delayed expansion that will include a Galápagos Islands–themed exhibit, which will feature an underwater tunnel and a penguin habitat. And the Houston Botanic Gardens , which opened in 2020, features 132 acres of diverse ecosystems, from wetlands to prairie. — Peter Terzian

Courtesy of Rosewood Villa Magna

The Spanish capital may finally, thankfully, be shaking off its reputation as the country’s somewhat stuffy business hub. A flurry of tony hotel openings throughout the city has helped, by bringing plenty of personality to what had been a staid scene. It began in 2021 with the arrival of the Mandarin Oriental Ritz ; Rosewood Villa Magna ; and Santo Mauro, a Luxury Collection Hotel . Then came the Edition in April 2022 . Breathing new life into the former Monte de Piedad de Madrid building, the hotel has 177 rooms, 21 suites, and two penthouses, plus two restaurants with food from chef Enrique Olvera and the culinary team behind Mexico City’s acclaimed Pujol . Elsewhere in Madrid, an already electric food scene has only gotten better — particularly in the glamorous Salamanca neighborhood and architecture-rich Chamberi district — with new offerings representing everything from Middle Eastern falafel and Argentinian asado to Spanish-Indian fusion and globally inflected vegan fare. — Sarah Bruning

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Welcome to the new Nashville. The city’s tourism renaissance is being fueled, in part, by a slew of just-opened hotels, including a Conrad , 1 Hotel , and a Soho House . (A Four Seasons just popped up in the bustling SoBro neighborhood, too.) The newly redesigned Hermitage Hotel , meanwhile, now has the first Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant in the South. The Fifth + Broadway complex has new outposts of old favorites, like fried chicken staple Hattie B’s , and the expansive Assembly Food Hall has dozens of choices, including bars, plural. That inimitable Nashville energy can still be found on Broadway, at honky-tonk bars that go until all hours, but there’s also Justin Timberlake’s sexy Twelve Thirty Club or live events like CMA Fest , which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023. Getting there has never been easier, thanks to low-cost carriers such as Breeze Airways and Southwest, both of which have recently added more flights from both coasts, not to mention places like Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Ohio’s Akron-Canton Airport. — Elizabeth Rhodes

Forget the notion that Steel City is just a town for football and factories. The metropolis is working on new cultural destinations that can’t be missed: While the next lunar lander is currently being built in Pittsburgh, the Moonshot Museum , which opened in October 2022, is putting on display mankind’s history of getting to and exploring the lunar surface. The Carnegie Museum of Art is hosting its 58th Carnegie International Exhibition, a huge temporary show of both historical and contemporary art which runs through April 2, 2023. The childhood home of playwright August Wilson has been restored and turned into a museum, complete with studios for arts programming. The city also has a new spate of hotels and bars drawing crowds, like the modern-chic Joinery Hotel Pittsburgh, Curio Collection by Hilton and The Industrialist, Autograph Collection in the Arrott building, one of the city’s first skyscrapers. Across the river in Allentown, Bottlerocket Social Hall is the perfect place to post up with locals and, yes, watch the game. — Tim Latterner

San Francisco

Ryan White/Parks Conservancy

Despite the so-called national conversation, the apocalypse has not yet come to San Francisco. True, this city had the most extreme wealth divide of any in California in 2020, and the seams here can be especially visible. But all the reasons SF shines — the arts, the nature, the dim sum, the sourdough — haven’t gone anywhere. And a slate of recent infrastructure and cultural projects show that many in the city are working to make it a better place to live and a more compelling destination to visit. The new Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco walks the walk of its focus on equity: the museum is completely free and has opted against a permanent collection in order to direct more funds to artists and staff. The city’s urban national park unit, the Presidio of San Francisco , recently gained 14 acres with the opening of the Presidio Tunnel Tops , a green space designed by James Corner Field Operations, the lead firm for New York City’s High Line, which incorporated input from more than 10,000 residents. Another massive community-led park and mixed-use development is underway in India Basin , with sustainability and affordable housing as stated core values. The hospitality scene is also on the come up: 1 Hotel San Francisco , The Line SF , and Beacon Grand (formerly the Sir Francis Drake) have all opened in the past six months, and Auberge Resorts Collection is slated to debut a new hotel in the Hearst Building in 2023. — Hannah Walhout

Don Eim/Travel + Leisure

American travelers can finally get back to the South Korean capital after years of pandemic restrictions — and there’s plenty to catch up on. The city’s arts scene is buzzing, thanks to new venues such as Konig Gallery , not to mention the announcement from Seoul Museum of Art that three new wings will launch by 2024. (An added boost came from Seoul hosting its first edition of Frieze this past September, during which many commenters asked if K-art may well be the next K-pop.) Meanwhile the destination has seen a number of new hotels open, including the surprisingly trendy Fairmont Ambassador Seoul and Josun Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Seoul Gangnam , with its sweeping views of the globally famous district and stunning public spaces, including 1914 Lounge & Bar. — Tim Latterner

For Moments on the Water

Cape verde, the gambia, ghana, and guinea-bissau.

Arnau Ferrer

Though Ghana has, in recent years, surged in popularity as a destination for American visitors , particularly Black Americans , West Africa remains unfamiliar to many. One solution may be the innovative West Africa Archipelago cruises that Hurtigruten Expeditions aims to launch in November 2023. These two-week trips, aboard the line’s 180-passenger Spitsbergen , will stop in ports in four countries, with a huge array of activities on the expedition schedule: visits to historically important sites including Gorée Island ; wildlife-watching forays to spot hippos and manatees; and adventures such as scaling volcanoes and scrambling across lava fields. Though some cruise lines occasionally stop in West African ports, Hurtigruten’s deep focus on the region represents a step change — one that’s driven by passenger demand, said Asta Lassesen, the CEO of Hurtigruten Expeditions. “These islands are not as known as our other destinations, but they are teeming with unique wildlife, different cultures, and offer completely different experiences than you’d find in a traditional cruise destination,” Lassesen told T+L. — Paul Brady

Coastal Ecuador

Courtesy of Kontiki Expeditions

Many travelers know the historic capital city of Quito and the incredibly biodiverse Galápagos Islands , but now's the time to visit Ecuador’s stunning Pacific coastline. From surf towns like Montañita to the preserved beaches and cloud forest of Machalilla National Park, coastal Ecuador is packed with outdoor adventures and stunning scenery. Kontiki Expeditions unlocks the region with eight-day yacht cruises that visit five of the country’s 24 provinces, hitting destinations including Isla de la Plata and Salinas. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Kontiki Expeditions operates an intimate ship with just nine staterooms, refined outdoor and indoor spaces, and a nearly 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio. (Guests can book an individual room, or charter the entire 18-passenger yacht.) Getting there has gotten smoother, too: U.S. airlines including American, JetBlue, and Spirit now offer direct flights to Guayaquil, from which Kontiki Expeditions trips depart. — Elizabeth Rhodes

The Explora I

Courtesy of EXPLORA I

Just don’t call it a cruise: Upstart travel company Explora Journeys describes its itineraries as “ocean journeys,” nevermind the fact they’re aboard the newly built, 461-suite Explora I . The vessel is slated to hit the water in July 2023, with trips in the Mediterranean that visit popular cruise destinations such as Barcelona and Civitavecchia, near Rome, as well as lesser-visited ports including Patmos, Greece, and St.-Tropez, France. “It’s a new style of ocean travel that connects you with the things that are important,” Explora CEO Michael Ungerer told T+L. “There’s a craving to learn something new and make authentic connections without leaving your tried and tested luxury environment and services behind.” Indeed, life aboard won’t be monastic: Explora I will have 18 restaurants and bars and a massive spa, among other luxuries. Still, should all that ocean journeying become a bit too wearying, guests can always retreat to their suites, all of which have private verandas. In fact, when it debuts, Explora I will have the most space per passenger of any vessel anywhere. — Paul Brady

Antarctica is so last year. While Greenland may not have penguins, it does promise plenty of beautiful landscapes and seemingly endless horizons. The newly christened National Geographic Resolution will sail the Eastern shore of Greenland in June 2023, with opportunities to explore the Rømer Fjord depending on conditions. Ponant has a dozen distinct itineraries scheduled for 2023, including a number of round trips from Kangerlussuaq, in Western Greenland, that explore Baffin Bay. The brand-new Seabourn Venture, the line’s first expedition ship, will also be there in 2023; one particularly compelling August itinerary starts in Iceland, spends nearly three weeks along Greenland’s coast, then continues through the Northwest Passage before wrapping in Anchorage, Alaska. More conventional operators, such as Regent Seven Seas Cruises, are making the polar destination a fixture, too. The Seven Seas Navigator will visit Prince Christian Sound and make calls in Nuuk and Paamiut on a June 2023 sailing between New York City and Reykjavik. — Paul Brady

Hvar, Croatia

Goran Stimac/Getty Images

Those seeking a brighter 2023 will find it on Hvar: This Dalmatian Coast island calls itself the sunniest in Croatia. That means plenty of time for cycling more than 100 miles of bikeable terrain or kayak trips to secluded beaches. At night, those clear skies make for incredible stargazing: Jesla, on the island’s north shore, was named the first International Dark Sky Community in Southern Europe in 2022; and Moeesy , the island’s newest luxury hotel, has one room with an over-the-bed skylight for bedtime viewing. The town of Velo Grablje’s 14th-century charm peaks in July, when the lavender festival blooms with food, drink, and family-friendly activities all centered around the fragrant Mediterranean plant. And in Hvar proper, the harborside Riva Marina hotel reopened in June 2022 with refreshed waterfront terrace suites and a new restaurant and bar concept focused on local ingredients. Just down the block is the island’s first sustainable hotel , Beach Bay , which opened this past summer 2022 with an off-grid solar power system and a commitment to honor UNESCO’s Sustainable Travel Pledge . — Nina Ruggiero

The Path of Totality

©StudioPonant/Laure Patricot

A total solar eclipse, in which the moon blocks the sun and plunges the Earth into momentary darkness, is a “relatively common” phenomenon, NASA heliophysicist Dr. Michael Kirk told T+L. The trick is that most eclipses happen over water or in extremely remote places — which is why spotting the next one, on April 20, 2023, will be all about the chase. The upcoming path of totality will cross the Indian Ocean, graze Western Australia, then sweep across Indonesia and East Timor into the Pacific; astro-enthusiasts can chart its full course with the Totality app . That means the best way to catch the show will be to board a ship , such as the 188-passenger Le Lapérouse, for a Ponant and Smithsonian Journeys cruise from Bali, Indonesia, to Broome, Australia. The new Indonesia-based charter yacht Celestia will also be sailing around the edges of totality, making visits to the islands of Komodo National Park, the Moluccas, and Raja Ampat. The very best odds for viewing, said NASA’s Kirk, will be in Western Australia, where “the Exmouth Peninsula, Barrow Island, and the sea in between should have clear skies.” Eclipse chasers could drive the 750 miles from Perth to Cape Range National Park on the Ningaloo Reef–fringed Exmouth, but Tropical Sails Corp’s Pacific Explorer , which can take you there from Perth on a five-day Indian Ocean sail, seems a far more pleasant journey. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

For Fresh Air and Nature

Courtesy of Pal-Arinsal Ski Resort

This tiny European country, which at 181 square miles is smaller than Chicago, could soon turn into one of the world’s biggest ski destinations. The mountainous country, situated between France and Spain, has long been known for its reliable December-to-April conditions thanks to its high-altitude perch in the Pyrenees. But now, for the first time, three Andorra ski areas have been added to the Ikon Pass , putting a collective 7,600 acres of downhill terrain across 215 runs and 123 lifts into play for holders of the global lift ticket. At the same time, the three destinations of Grandvalira , Ordino Arcalís , and Pal-Arinsal (or, collectively, the Grandvalira Resorts Andorra ) will be available on a single local Andorra Pass , which starts at about $50 a day, a bargain by any big-mountain standards. Alternatively, visitors can opt for a newly launched Nord Pass, a multi-day ticket that works at both Ordino Arcalís and Pal-Arinsal for less than $40 per day. So, while these affordable mountains remain a bit of a challenge to reach — Grandvalira can be a four-hour drive from Barcelona — the days of smaller crowds may soon be a thing of the past. — Jamie Aranoff

Asheville, North Carolina

Tim Robison

This flannel-clad city in the Blue Ridge Mountains checks all the boxes, with year-round outdoor activities, sophisticated dining, and easy access, whether you’re driving or flying. (Asheville Regional Airport is on pace for a record-breaking 2022 , with service from 25 destinations.) But the year ahead offers more reasons to visit, starting with some cool new places to stay: Wrong Way River Lodge has a collection of A-frame cabins along the French Broad River that are perfect for white-water rafters. AutoCamp Asheville , another glamping-esque abode with Airstream campers, is slated to open by mid-2023. Downtown, the new Restoration Hotel promises a properly plush stay; its sister property in Charleston consistently ranks in our best hotels in Charleston list . (For those who’d rather be even closer to nature, The Glamping Collective is a newly opened, 160-acre site with domed pods and glass cabins situated a short drive from the city.) Asheville’s food scene has fresh energy from S&W Market , Asheville’s first food hall and the brainchild of award-winning chef Meherwan Irani. For all that’s new, visitors shouldn’t skip the old standbys: French Broad Chocolates is a local fave that’s since gone national, and Battery Park Book Exchange is the prime spot for a late-night glass of Champagne amid dusty bookshelves. — Samantha Falewée

Aysén, Chile

Stefan Ruiz

Chile’s Aysén region lies between two popular destinations — Torres del Paine National Park and the Lake District — with a captivating landscape of hanging glaciers, magnificent fjords, pristine lakes, and jagged peaks. Yet this 41,000-square-mile swath in northern Patagonia — the least populated in Chile — remains largely unexplored by visitors, in part because of its topography. But now, several outfitters and organizations, including Chile’s Route of Parks , are developing more itineraries and ecotourism routes for the non-mountain-scaling adventure traveler, with less-daunting activities like kayaking, hiking, and biking. Not long ago, travel company Explora opened a lodge in Aysén’s Patagonia National Park (working with nonprofit Rewilding Chile to support conservation and educational efforts) and launched eight- to 12-day trips that make travel across the region convenient, with flights, accommodations, and activities included. Factor in loosened COVID-19 restrictions and a newly elected president (the country’s youngest in history) as additional reasons to go now. Then there’s the continually growing partnership between Delta Air Lines and Latam, which allows for mutual lounge access and easy nonstop flights from Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City to Santiago, which is just a short connecting hop from Coyhaique, the gateway to Aysén. — Alisha Prakash

The Hudson Valley, New York

Andre Maier

Yes, the stretch north of New York City and south of Albany, along the banks of the lordly Hudson River, has been attracting enterprising former urbanites — as well as savvy travelers in search of charming towns and idyllic countryside — for the past century or so. But its transition from quasi-rustic to quietly glam marks a new and intriguing chapter. Next summer, The Ranch Hudson Valley , an offshoot of the West Coast’s rigorous retreat The Ranch Malibu, will open on a grand estate built by financier J.P. Morgan (as a gift for his daughter’s marriage to Alexander Hamilton’s great-grandson) and will offer multi-day programs to revive weary New Yorkers. Meanwhile, Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resorts Collection , a property with 60 freestanding cabins and cottages, will highlight the pastoral side of the region, with a farm-to-table restaurant and 140 acres of orchards and wildflower gardens. The region’s reputation for top-notch cuisine continues with the upscale tavern fare at Merchants Social in Hudson and Stissing House in Pine Plains, the Southern-inflected Darlings in Tilson, and the sweet fantasia of the Catskills Chocolate Co. in Catskill. (Longtime cheesemongers Talbott and Arding have recently moved to a beautiful new space in Hudson, too.) But don’t forget to leave room for culture. In Catskill, Foreland is a self-billed kunsthalle that extends across three 19th-century mills with exhibition spaces and artist studios. And the beloved sculpture park Storm King Art Center is getting a $45-million overhaul that includes an extensive new visitors center. — Peter Terzian

Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia

Thomas Retterath/Getty Images

“Zambia is a destination so many people miss,” said travel advisor Leora Rothschild . “The country’s Lower Zambezi National Park is one of my favorite destinations anywhere. Having a safari on a river adds a dynamic element,” she notes, since being on the water offers a different perspective than travelers get while on a game drive or in camp. Among the best places to take in this wildlife-rich destination is at one of its newest lodges , the luxurious eight-suite Lolebezi , which African Bush Camps opened inside the park and on the banks of the river this past June. It’s an ideal base from which to explore Lower Zambezi, which sits opposite Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to what the agency calls its “ dramatic landscape ” and “huge herds of elephant and buffalo.” Though remote, this corner of Zambia has recently gotten a bit easier to access, as pandemic-era travel regulations have loosened. Air Botswana announced in May 2022 that, following a two-year hiatus, it would relaunch flights from Gaborone, Botswana to Lusaka, Zambia. — Samantha Falewée

Prince Edward Island, Canada

Tourism PEI/Sander Meurs

As Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island might get overlooked in favor of the country’s bigger, badder destinations for outdoor thrills. But this tiny island — known to many as the setting of L.M. Montgomery’s beloved “Anne of Green Gables” series — packs a punch. Here, you’ll find rugged cliffs, red-sand beaches , and a surprisingly robust golf scene, with 27 courses. Perhaps the biggest draw for adventurous travelers right now is the Island Walk , a 435-mile trail that opened in 2021 . Tracing the entire coastline, it passes through dozens of small towns and fishing villages. Walkers can start and end at any point, but the entire loop would take about 32 days, assuming a pace of 12-15 miles a day. Not that you’ve got to be hardcore to enjoy the trail: Towns and villages along the route have plenty to offer even non-hikers, such as the relatively new Slaymaker & Nichols , a cozy inn and gastropub in Charlottetown, the provincial capital. Classic PEI experiences endure, such as the seafood-focused, multi-course “ culinary experience ” from celebrity chef Michael Smith at the Inn at Bay Fortune . — Liz Cantrell

Stephanie Vermillion

When high-speed internet was installed at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak, this past August, it was just the latest example of the new era dawning in Tanzania. The leader of the country’s changing face is President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the first woman of color and the first Muslim to lead this country, who took office in 2021. “I never expected that one day I would be president,” President Hassan told PBS . Not that she’s wasting any time. Since taking power, she’s devoted herself to strengthening infrastructure, women’s businesses, education, health care — she received her COVID-19 vaccine on live television to encourage others to get immunized — and sustainable travel. This summer, the Usangu Expedition Camp in Ruaha National Park opened in partnership with the Tanzania National Parks Authority , and the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute ; Selous Safari Company recently refreshed its six-suite private reserve on Fanjove Island, a jumping off point for “marine safaris” by dive boat or kayak. — Samantha Falewée

Uttar Pradesh, India

Luis Dafos/Getty Images

Pummeled by the pandemic, India suffered through a grim 20-month closure, only reopening to travelers at the end of 2021. However, at long last — and with COVID-19 cases now under control thanks to large-scale vaccination programs that have delivered more than 2 billion doses — 2023 is primed to be the year visitors return to this soul-stirring country in full force. While many travelers will opt for Rajasthan’s royal palaces and desert jewels, there’s good reason to discover Uttar Pradesh on your next trip. India’s fourth-largest state is home to classic attractions including the Taj Mahal, in Agra, and the Ganges River ghats of Varanasi, the nation’s holiest city. But the new draws here include Vana, a wellness retreat in the Himalayan foothills of Dehradun. The resort, which is now managed by the World’s Best Award–winning hospitality company Six Senses, has rooms and suites that prioritize the lush landscape with balconies and terraces overlooking the surrounding forest and gardens, offering a true breath of fresh air. — Alisha Prakash

For Beach Vibes

Patrick Michael Chin

Already a favorite weekend getaway for East Coasters, Bermuda will become even easier to get to in 2023. American Airlines resumed flights to the island from New York City's John F. Kennedy International in November, which the carrier had paused in the early days of the pandemic. Upon arrival at L.F. Wade International, travelers are now greeted in a new $400-million terminal with automated immigration gates and preclearance for U.S.-bound passengers — plus unexpected extras like a putting green and an outdoor nature trail. Bermuda’s resort stock is also on the rise. Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa recently debuted a top-to-bottom renovation, adding villas and a Bermudian outpost of Sunken Harbor Club, the tropical cocktail bar above Brooklyn, New York’s wildly popular steakhouse Gage & Tollner. The St. Regis Bermuda is another high-end hotel option, which opened in 2021 with the nation’s first casino and incredible views of Fort St. Catherine. The island recently rolled back all COVID-19 entry requirements, but the Atlantic country’s  remote work program  — which launched in July 2020 and allows for stays up to one year — is still running for anyone looking to make its pink-sand beaches a new home base. — Liz Cantrell

Cayman Islands

Warren Fleming-Hollinger/Getty Images

It just keeps getting easier to visit the Caymans. As of fall 2022, Cayman Airways flies nonstop from Los Angeles International to Grand Cayman, the first direct route from the West Coast to the British territory. “Getting to Hawaii takes longer,” said Kenneth Bryan, Cayman Islands honorable minister for tourism and transport, in an interview with T+L. Wherever they’re flying in from, visitors will find plenty of new offerings along Seven Mile Beach, on Grand Cayman’s west shore. Chief among them is the freshly renovated Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman , which is now outfitted with a La Prairie Spa and Saint June restaurant, complete with a beachfront bar. (The property is thankfully still home to the long-running, annual Cayman Cookout .) For travelers who prefer heart-pumping adventure to pool- or beachside relaxation, the Caymans can deliver: Hiking reserves like the 100-year-old Mastic Trail on Grand Cayman or the Bluff on Cayman Brac may not be as well known as the islands’ beaches — but they should be. Meanwhile a growing art scene is beginning to draw international attention, thanks to shows at the well-established National Gallery of the Cayman Islands as well as the vibey, creative atmosphere at new hotels such as Palm Heights , as T+L recently reported . — Christine Burroni

Coastal Uruguay

© Tali Kimelman/Posada Ayana

The vast skies, empty beaches, and delicious food of Uruguay remain as alluring as they’ve ever been. Still, 2023 promises to be a breakout year for the country’s lowkey coastal destinations, thanks to an ever-growing art scene that adds a layer of culture to this already inviting stretch along the Southern Atlantic. Among the newest must-sees is the Atchugarry Museum of Contemporary Art in Punta del Este, a 90-acre campus which opened in early 2022. Also nearby is artist James Turrell’s “Ta Khut,” an experiential Skyspace that opened in late 2021 at Posada Ayana, a small hotel in José Ignacio. (The seaside village is also home to intriguing contemporary collections at three Vik Retreats properties, including Bahia Vik , with its oceanfront bungalows.) A short drive from José Ignacio, the village of Garzón has lately become a hub for multidisciplinary artists thanks to Campo , an incubator and non-profit that brings creatives to this still-rural corner of Uruguay. — Paul Brady

Lush mountains, bustling beach towns , and idyllic resorts make Guadeloupe the perfect place for adventurous travelers looking for something Caribbean but different. In recent years, though, it’s been difficult for U.S. travelers to reach this French overseas department — particularly after Norwegian ceased its nonstop flights to the destination in 2019. Now, things are looking up again, as JetBlue has relaunched its nonstop service from New York City to the gateway city of Pointe-à-Pitre in November 2022. SkyTeam faithfuls can also now get there on Air France, on nonstops from either Miami or New York; American Airlines also serves the archipelago from Miami. First-timers tend to focus on two of the islands, Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre, the latter of which is home to Guadeloupe National Park. (A local tour company such as Vert Intense can help with the logistics of seeing Carbet Falls and La Grande Soufrière volcano.) Accommodations tend away from big brand names, though — this being France — there is an all-inclusive, beachfront Club Med La Caravelle . Other well-regarded options include the remote, hillside Le Jardin Malanga Hotel , with its dramatic ocean views, or the cliffside villas of the boutique-y La Toubana Hotel & Spa , along the southern shore of Grande-Terre. — Christine Burroni

The Jersey Shore, New Jersey

William Laird

“The real thing is quite different from TV,” George Distefano told T+L. Now a hotelier, Distefano grew up on the Jersey Shore — and today is doing his part to change the narrative around the beloved summer destination. His latest project, The James Bradley , is a 17-room inn that opened in Bradley Beach in August 2022 and is aimed at a crowd that’s perhaps quieter, chicer, and altogether less interesting to MTV producers. In nearby Asbury Park , which has long been a barometer of development, openings of The Asbury Hotel and the Asbury Ocean Club and Residences signal the start of a bougier era. Even Atlantic City is now substantially more chic, after many casino resorts, including Bally’s , Caesars , and Ocean , used the pandemic-induced dip in visitors to undertake hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations. “The area as a whole has had a bit of a renaissance,” Distefano said. One telling indicator of where the Shore is headed next? A Nobu Hotel is slated to open on the boardwalk any day now. — Hannah Walhout

Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii has been in the midst of a multi-year rethink about how tourism impacts the state . “We seek to balance the economic vitality of our industry with the health of our natural environment and the well-being of our communities,” is how Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO John De Fries put it this past summer . On Maui, that balance has been struck recently in efforts to renovate and reimagine some of the island’s most popular resorts. The 54-acre Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua , to take one example, is finishing up a major overhaul that includes a reimagined aquatic complex (with three “zero-edge” swimming pools), an expanded Club Lounge , and programming that will include not just cocktail classes and cooking demonstrations but also lei making and musical performances by Hawaiian artists. On the southwest coast of the island, The Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort is in the midst of its own refresh of all 776 guest rooms and suites; some are, happily, already good to go. There’s other progress beyond hotels: e-bikes are now plentiful on Maui, thanks to a recent rule change that allows them on island roads. Companies like RideSmart Maui lend out wheels that make exploring a breeze, whether your interest lies in the historic sites of Lahaina or the beautiful beaches around Wailea. — John Wogan

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Courtesy of Chablé Hotels

This picturesque stretch of the Yucatán peninsula is in the midst of welcoming four marquee hotels. The Waldorf Astoria Cancun just opened, a brand-new build with 173 rooms and five dining venues all overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Casa Chablé and The St. Regis Kanai Resort are slated to open in early 2023, followed by the Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai in spring 2023. Not new but refreshed is Maroma, a Belmond Hotel , which will reopen in May 2023 after a year-long closure with 10 new oceanfront suites and Latin America's first Guerlain spa. Farther south, closer to Tulum, the ultra-luxurious Hotel Esencia has added a posh new 10,000-square-foot, four-bedroom mansion tricked out with fitness and screening rooms, an underground speakeasy, and three pools — the perfect thing for a friends’ getaway. Not that hotels are the only draw: The last section of the new Maya Train project, which connects Cancun and Tulum, is expected to open by the end of 2023 after delays to address environmental and archeological concerns . The route will make several cultural and historic sites , including Chichén Itzá, more accessible and connect travelers to other destinations in the state of Quintana Roo, including Bacalar, Playa del Carmen, and Puerto Morelos. Also on the horizon is the opening of the long-awaited Tulum airport, which Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said will be completed by the end of 2023. — Sarah Bruning

Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Courtesy of Auberge Resorts Collection

Long a vacationer’s paradise, this section of Mexico’s Pacific coast between Puerto Vallarta and the beach town of San Blas is only getting better in the year ahead. The 59-room Susurros del Corazón , Auberge Resorts Collection, began welcoming guests in November 2022 with experiences that include an introduction to raicilla , a lesser-known agave spirit, and boating excursions in Islas Marietas, a national park known for its biodiversity. On its heels, Naviva, A Four Seasons Resort , which is the second tented camp property from the brand , will open in December 2022. Accommodating just 30 people at a time, the lush 48-acre property is making wellness a key focus, so guests can expect to unwind with options like a temascal ceremony and nocturnal forest bathing sessions. An extra incentive to go? JetBlue launched new nonstop flights from JFK to Puerto Vallarta International, which serves as the gateway to the region. — Sarah Bruning

U.S. Virgin Islands

Courtesy of USVI Department of Tourism; Jamie Aranoff

With no pandemic restrictions, no passport needed, and plenty of inbound flights, the U.S. Virgin Islands are challenging Bermuda for the title of easiest warm-weather getaway for East Coasters. What’s more, the islands just established a Territorial Park System Trust Fund Board which will protect and preserve attractions like St. Croix’s Great Salt Pond and St. John’s Oppenheimer Beach. Caribbean flavors are, once again, another reason to go: The King of the Wing competition on St. Thomas, which celebrates creative chicken cookery, is back after a two-year hiatus; the 23rd annual Taste of St. Croix festival, one of the largest culinary events in the region, happens in April. Carnival , which returned in 2022, will be another event to watch in the year ahead. St. Thomas celebrates from late April through early May with food fairs, pageants, and parades; St. John fetes from late June through July 4, concluding with an Independence Day bash; and St. Croix sparkles from mid-December through Three Kings Day with more traditional, Christmas-centric fanfare. — Jamie Aranoff

For a Look at the Future

This past September, Bhutan, the impossibly scenic country between India and China, reopened to tourists after 30 months. But that’s nothing compared to the 60 years it’s taken to redevelop the 250-mile Trans-Bhutan Trail , which also reopened that month. Once the only way to travel across the Himalayan kingdom, the ancient pilgrimage route is now one of Bhutan’s biggest draws, a must-see for hikers, bikers, and other outdoorsy types. The trail connects 400 historic sites, with museums, fortresses, and temples along the way — plus stunning natural scenery and seemingly endless views. As part of its reopening, Bhutan has ended its policy requiring visitors to be accompanied 24/7 by a guide; instead, the nation has implemented an increased tourism tax, or Sustainable Development Fee, which is intended to fund social and cultural programs, infrastructure improvements, and environmental conservation. (The $200-a-day charge, up from $65, is also deliberately expensive, in an effort to keep visitor numbers low.) On the hotel front, Six Senses opened its fifth and final Bhutan lodge, Six Senses Bumthang , in March 2020, but the eco hideaway tucked in a pine forest in the town of Jakar, of course, has only just become accessible to foreigners. — Alisha Prakash

Boten–Vientiane Railway, Laos

Kaikeo Saiyasane/Xinhua via Getty Images

It’s not every day the world gets a new cross-country railroad. The ambitious Boten–Vientiane railway that stretches across Laos may have opened for business in late 2021, but now’s the time to jump aboard, as travel to Asia reopens to American visitors. The remarkable engineering project is one of many financed by China as part of the country’s Belt and Road Initiative that builds heavy infrastructure across Africa and Asia. In this case, the train has dramatically slashed travel times across the difficult-to-drive if strikingly beautiful landscapes of Laos: Trips that would’ve taken a full day by road can now be done in just a couple hours of train-carriage comfort, as T+L recently reported . The route runs from the northern border town of Boten to Luang Prabang, which is known for its many temples. It then continues on to Vang Vieng, a gateway to some of the country’s most dramatic landscapes, before arriving in the capital, Vientiane, on the border with Thailand. Intermediate stations will help open up to visitors parts of the country that haven’t historically benefited from tourism, as Ruben Derksen, director of product and digital at Bangkok-based tour operator Exo Travel , told T+L. In the years ahead, the 257-mile railway may become even more critical, as just one segment of a Singapore to Shanghai route that will make continent-spanning journeys not just possible, but pleasant. — Paul Brady

Kyoto, Japan

Rudy Sulgan/Getty Images

Kyoto is often thought of as the serene, slowed-down complement to go-go Tokyo. And, certainly, the former Japanese capital has its historic temples, gardens, and teahouses. But since Japan’s October 2022 reopening to independent travelers , this destination and its new draws demand fresh eyes. The city’s famous Gion Matsuri , or festival, is set to return in full force in July 2023 following a pandemic pause, with enormous floats and a wealth of food and drink offerings; the event, which was first held in 869, is said to be Japan’s biggest festival. In August, Kyoto celebrates Gozan Okuribi , a bonfire celebration visible across the city that marks the close of Obon, a festival honoring ancestors. New hotels abound, including hospitality group Banyan Tree’s 138-room Dhawa Yura Kyoto, located in the heart of the city. Another new option is Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto , with 25 rooms set amid lush greenery in front of Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also new — yet firmly rooted in the city’s history — is the recently opened Maana Kiyomizu , where visitors can spend the night in restored machiya , traditional wooden townhouses. Though Japan has only just reopened, it’s already getting even easier to get there, thanks to Delta Air Lines’ brand-new routes from Hawaii to Tokyo plus flights that resumed this fall from Los Angeles. — Alisha Prakash

New Zealand

Barry Tobin; Courtesy of Tourism New Zealand

After a stringent lockdown, New Zealand has at last dropped all travel restrictions. Happily, the country is becoming more accessible than ever, thanks to the nonstop flights between New York and Auckland that Air New Zealand launched in September. (That long haul has also gotten comfier, thanks to the airline’s Economy Skycouch seats.) Wondering if those 17 hours in the air will be worth it? Auckland continues to evolve with no shortage of dazzling new places to stay. The 99-room Hotel Britomart , lined in timber and exuding Zen calm, is at the heart of Auckland’s Britomart District, nine blocks of historic warehouses converted into shops and restaurants. Mawhiti Walheke is a luxurious modern guest pavilion on a vineyard-covered island a short ferry ride from the city. And New Zealand’s spectacular landscape finally has a showstopper of a property to match it: Flock Hill , a fully serviced four-bedroom villa on a sheep ranching station in the Southern Alps region of South Island. — Peter Terzian

Teahupo’o,Tahiti

© Gre goire Le Bacon

The village of Teahupo’o, on the southwestern coast of Tahiti, will take center stage during the 2024 Paris Olympics, despite being 9,800 miles from the French capital. But unless you’re planning to compete, the year ahead is the ideal time for a closer look at this part of French Polynesia, before the world’s attention turns to the South Pacific. Some of the incredible waves here rate among the most fearsome on the planet — hence the name Teahupo’o, which essentially means “wall of skulls” — while others are more rideable for those with some surfing experience. Accommodations such as Tahurai can organize coaching sessions, including some hosted by local surf icon Tereva David. Those more comfortable watching the waves than riding them can get on the water with tour companies such as Teahupo’o Tahiti Surfari , which takes visitors by boat to see the famous Teahupo’o swell, one of the highest and heaviest waves in the world, as well as waterfalls, lagoons, lava tubes, and cliff-diving spots around the island. Meanwhile, it’s gotten easier than ever to reach Tahiti, thanks to Delta Air Lines’ new nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Fa'a'ā International Airport. Air Tahiti Nui has also added connectivity, with the only nonstop flights between Seattle and Tahiti, which took off in October. — Jamie Aranoff

Victoria, British Columbia

Carlina Teteris/Getty Images

What does it look like for a city to meaningfully prioritize “sustainability,” a word that often ends up more “feel-good” than actually “do-good?” Victoria is maximizing its green impact, aiming to make all new buildings carbon neutral by 2025 and halve landfill waste by 2040. Admittedly, few travelers pick destinations based on zero-waste initiatives, but it’s easy to take an environmentally minded trip to Victoria — the city even has suggested “green travel” itineraries , capitalizing on the outdoor beauty of places like Goldstream Provincial Park, one of many green spaces on Vancouver Island. Visitors have their choice of carbon-neutral hotels, such as Inn at Laurel Point and Parkside Hotel & Spa , and can even do carbon-neutral fast food at Big Wheel Burger , Canada’s first such restaurant. Other eco-minded activities include e-biking along the Saanich Peninsula to seaside towns like Sidney — with stops at picturesque wineries or the Butchart Gardens along the way — or hopping aboard an orca-watching cruise with Eagle Wing Tours , which is, of course, part of 1% for the Planet . — Liz Cantrell

JJ Farquitectos/Getty Images

Austria’s capital city may be old — like, Holy Roman Empire old — but 2023 will see neue life in this historic destination. The year ahead is the 150th anniversary of Vienna’s World’s Fair, and the celebrations include 12 months of cultural events. It’s also the 300th anniversary of the opening of the Belvedere, the palatial museum that’s mounting an art nouveau exhibit featuring 90 Gustav Klimt works in February. Adaptive reuse is also on trend here, and the recently opened Rosewood Vienna is but one example, set in a neoclassical building that was once a bank headquarters and, before that, an apartment building where Mozart lived. The now-reopened Reznicek is a contemporary gasthaus inside a 100-year-old inn; Grace's Michelin-starred fare is served in a refurbished wood-paneled café reminiscent of the ‘70s. Not that Vienna is only looking to the past: New initiatives have added 1,000 miles of bike paths, carsharing via WienMobil , a robust network of electric buses, and new development in the fast-growing Aspern neighborhood where every public space and street is named after a woman . Other new additions include Hotel Josefine , with its sultry Roaring ‘20s energy and Hotel Gilbert , with a greenery-cloaked façade and Scandi-inspired design. Nonstop flights from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, New York City, and Washington, D.C. are always an option but the most au courant way in may be the new Paris to Vienna Nightjet train , which runs three days a week, with private cabins with lie-flat beds and breakfast in the morning. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

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