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The Best Destinations in the World: The Gold List 2022

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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World's Most Visited Tourist Attractions, Ranked

Most visited tourist attractions.

Disney California Adventure

The world’s most visited tourist attractions stretch from San Francisco to Paris to Beijing, but they might not be what you expect. For example, Alcatraz doesn’t even make the top 50. The Eiffel Tower only sees about 7 million visitors each year, meaning it doesn't land in the top 20. The Great Wall and the Louvre see a mere 9 million visitors per year, less than a quarter of the crowds the top attraction in the world pulls in. And there's a lot of theme parks.

Still, the list is full of favorites, including several you've probably been to — or at least have on your bucket list. But as anyone who's been shoved up against a throng of sweaty bystanders knows, the most popular attractions in the world aren't always the most pleasant to visit, thanks to everyone else wanting to see them at the same time as you. 

Luckily, there are ways to avoid at least some of the crowds when checking out the world's most popular sites.

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

50. Nagashima Spa Land — Kuwana, Japan

Nagashima Spa Land

Annual visitors: 5.8 million

Nagashima Spa Land Resort is comprised of five sections: the 50-ride Nagashima Spa Land Amusement Park, Nabana no Sato flower park, the 200-store Mitsui Outlet Shopping Park; Joyful Water Park; and Nagashima Onsen, a hot spring complex.

The park is busy year-round, though it’s at its most crowded during the warmer months, particularly in June, July, and August when temperatures rise and locals head to the massive swimming pools at the water park. Throughout the year, weekends and holidays also see more visitors.

*Note: The annual visitor numbers listed are taken from 2018 and 2019, before the 2020 pandemic affected tourism data.

Nagashima Spa Land Tip

Nagashima Spa Land

Shoulder season months like September, October, April and May combine pleasant weather with more manageable visitor numbers, while the coldest months (December to February) see far fewer crowds.

The park is open for reduced hours and some attractions (like the water park) aren’t open, but there are virtually no lines during this time.

Where to stay: Family Lodge Hatagoya Wangan Nagashima 

48. Palace of Versailles — Versailles, France (Tie)

Versailles Palace, France

Annual visitors: 5.9 million

France’s Palace of Versailles served as the royal residence of France from 1682 until the start of the French Revolution in 1789.

Located about 12 miles southwest of Paris, the opulent castle, famed for its magnificent architecture, lavish furnishing and sprawling gardens, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As one of the most popular attractions in Europe, the Palace is nearly always bustling, but crowds are at their densest during the busy summer travel season of late May through early September. Weekends are also busy all year round.

Palace of Versailles Tip

Palace of Versailles

To stroll through the Palace like Marie Antoinette without a horde of peasants following you, visit on a weekday or go in the off-season; the colder months of November to March (excluding holidays) see far fewer crowds.

Regardless of the season, go early. The Palace gets busier in the late morning and afternoon, so plan to arrive before 10 a.m. to beat the rush.

Where to stay: Waldorf Astoria Versailles - Trianon Palace

48. Universal Studios Hollywood — Los Angeles, California, United States (Tie)

Universal Studios

One of the oldest Hollywood film studios still in use, Universal Studios Hollywood is a film studio and theme park, and was the first in the now large family of Universal Studios Theme Parks located around the world.

As with Universal Studios Orlando, one of its most popular attractions is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which opened in 2016, and features the thrill rides Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and Flight of the Hippogriff, as well as the interactive Ollivander's Wand Fitting Experience and The Three Broomsticks restaurant.

The park is at its busiest during the holidays — including long weekends like MLK Jr. Day weekend, President's Day weekend and Memorial Day weekend as well as holiday weeks like spring break, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. 

Universal Studios Hollywood Tip

Universal Studios Hollywood

The best times to visit Universal are weekdays in January and February and September through December, excluding holidays.

Weather is generally mild all year round, so when the kids are back in school, visitors can still enjoy all the perks of the park, but with far fewer people and much shorter lines.

Where to stay: Sheraton Universal Hotel 

47. Bourbon Street — New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Bourbon Street

Annual visitors: 6 million

One of the most iconic streets in the world, and the center of New Orleans’ party scene, Bourbon Street is located in the Big Easy’s oldest neighborhood, the French Quarter.

The street extends for 13 blocks and is lined with bars, restaurants and souvenir shops.

Bourbon Street Tip

Bourbon Street

One easy way to avoid the bulk of the crowds is to stick to visiting during the day when it’s relatively quiet (one major exception: during Mardi Gras, when more than 100,000 people swarm the street).

The hot and sticky months of June through September are low season, as are December, January and Lent, the seven-week period after the festivities of Mardi Gras.

Where to stay: Bourbon Orleans Hotel  

45. Museum of Modern Art — New York, New York, United States (Tie)

Museum of Modern Art

Annual visitors: 6.1 million

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is one of the largest and most influential modern art museums in the world, boasting more than 200,000 examples of modern architecture, design, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, prints, film and electronic media.

But be warned: The museum can easily become jam-packed with revelers.

Museum of Modern Art Tip

Museum of Modern Art

MoMA is especially crowded on Fridays after 4 p.m., when admission is waived as well as during Easter week, Thanksgiving week, between Christmas and New Year’s, Spring Break, during the summer and on rainy days.

To see MoMA’s works without jostling for space, go earlier in the day (particularly on Fridays, when most visitors will wait until the free time) or on Sunday.

Where to stay: The Jewel, a Club Quarters Hotel, Opposite Rockefeller Center 

45. Universal Studios Orlando, Florida, United States (Tie)

Universal Studios

A theme park and production studio opened in 1990, Universal Studios Florida is part of the Universal Orlando Resort, and is themed around the idea that guests can "ride the movies."

Along with thrill rides and themed attractions, it includes several live shows spread across eight lands with surround a large lagoon. With the 2014 edition of Harry Potter's Diagon Alley, the park has become even more popular, especially during peak times: summer, school holidays, spring break, Easter, and the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holiday weeks.

Universal Studios Orlando Tip

Universal Studios Orlando

The best time to visit for lower prices and smaller crowds are January through early March (avoiding holidays), and the second half of August through December (also avoiding holidays).

As with other parks, rainy days and weekdays also see fewer crowds.

Where to stay: Universal's Loews Sapphire Falls Resort  

43. Lincoln Memorial — Washington, D.C., United States (Tie)

Lincoln Memorial

Annual visitors: 6.2 million

A national monument built to honor its namesake, President Abraham Lincoln, the Lincoln Memorial is located on the western end of the National Mall across from the Washington Monument.

Dedicated in 1922, the memorial, a marble sculpture of a seated Lincoln, is housed in a large Greek-style temple with an inscription of two of Lincoln's famous speeches — "The Gettysburg Address" and his Second Inaugural Address — inside.

Lincoln Memorial Tip

Lincoln Memorial

The memorial is at its most crowded when the city is at its busiest, including during the National Cherry Blossom Festival (late March to early April) and holiday weekends like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

Summer and weekends in general are busier, while the winter months and weekdays are quieter. The memorial is open every day, 24 hours a day, so a visit late at night or early morning ensures a viewing with fewer crowds.

Where to stay: The Watergate Hotel  

43. Lake Mead — Nevada, United States (Tie)

Hoover Dam

Located on the Colorado River about 24 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States.

It’s formed by the Hoover Dam, and though that engineering marvel is often what draws visitors to the lake, the water also offers its own attractions, including boating, fishing, swimming and kayaking.

Lake Mead Tip

Lake Mead

Summer is peak season on the lake and at the Dam, and holidays like the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Memorial Day are particularly packed.

To enjoy the lake’s watery wonders without thousands of fellow tourists, aim for a weekday in May or September. If swimming weather isn’t a consideration, go in January or February when crowds decrease significantly.

Where to stay: Viera Suite with Lake Views

41. Disney Hong Kong — Hong Kong (Tie)

Disney Hong Kong

Annual visitors: 6.7 million

Set on 68 acres, Disney Hong Kong consists of seven themed areas, including some from its American counterparts, like Main Street, U.S.A; Fantasyland; Adventureland; Tomorrowland; and Toy Story Land. Cast members speak Cantonese, English and Mandarin, and signs are in English as well as Chinese.

With a daily capacity of just 34,000 visitors, it’s the smallest (in terms of capacity) of all the Disney parks. That doesn’t mean it’s not busy though, and during peak times, its smaller size can make it feel more overwhelmed than some of the larger parks.

Disney Hong Kong Tip

Disney Hong Kong

The busiest times are during the hot, humid summer tourist season, weekends and holidays like Chinese New Year. Unlike some of the other parks, attendance can actually be lower here during the Christmas season.

Other great times to visit including weekdays and from September to April, excluding holidays.

Where to stay: Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel

41. British Museum — London, England (Tie)

British Museum

Dedicated to human history, art and culture, the British Museum is home to a collection of more than 8 million artifacts and works of art.

Opened in 1759, it was the first national public museum in the world and, to this day, it charges no admission fee.

British Museum Tip

The British Museum

The museum is always busy, even more so during the opening and closing weeks of special exhibitions, on Saturdays and on rainy days when people visit in droves to avoid London’s gloom.

To beat the bulk of the crowds, visit on a weekday (Tuesdays see particularly light crowds), Sunday or Friday evening.

Where to stay: NYX Hotel London Holborn by Leonardo Hotels  

39. Lotte World, Seoul, South Korea (Tie)

Lotte World

Annual visitors: 6.8 million

Lotte World is a recreation complex that includes both indoor and outdoor amusement parks areas, an artificial island on a lake linked by monorail, a Korean folk museum, aquarium, hotel, mall and movie theater.

The indoor park, Lotte World Adventure, happens to be the largest indoor theme park in the world. It has 22 rides as well as parades and shows, and the outdoor park, Magic Island, has 17 thrill rides.

Lotte World Tip

Lotte World

Despite its massive size, it can often feel quite crowded, especially during peak times: summer, weekends and holidays. Since the park has a large indoor space, it can also be very busy on rainy days and during the winter.

To avoid some of the crowds and spend less time in line, the best times to visit are Monday through Thursday, as well as the milder months during the spring (March and April) and fall (September and October).

Where to stay: Lotte Hotel World 

39. Everland Resort — South Korea (Tie)

Everland

South Korea's largest theme park, Everland, includes a zoo, a water park, several rides and roller coasters, four gardens and multiple shows. Peak season at the park runs from the third week of July until the end of the second week of August, as well as the weeks of Christmas and New Year.

Spring or fall generally means pleasant weather, fewer crowds and lower prices; however, there are some exceptions: including the last Friday of April through May, and from late October until mid-November, as many Koreans travel to see the fall leaves change.

Everland Resort Tip

Everland Resort

To enjoy the park with far fewer crowds, visit in the the winter low season from late-November through early March (avoiding the holidays listed above).

Visiting mid-week anytime of year will also mean reduced crowds compared to the busier weekends.

Where to stay: The Soom Forest Hotel 

36. Eiffel Tower — Paris, France (Tie)

Eiffel Tower

Annual visitors: 7 million

An icon of Paris, the world-famous Eiffel Tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel and constructed from 1887 to 1889 for the 1889 World’s Fair. It originally received harsh criticism from many locals but has since become one of the most enduring symbols of the city.

At 1,063 feet, it’s the tallest building in Paris and provides sweeping views of the city from its top-level observation deck, located at 906 feet.

Eiffel Tower Tip

Eiffel Tower

An average of 25,000 people ascend the tower every day and the lines can be interminable. Skip-the-line tickets (or reservations at one of the Tower’s two restaurants) can help you avoid some of the waits for the lift, but if you don’t plan on going up in the tower and just want to avoid some of the crowds at ground level, plan to visit closer to sundown or on a weekday in winter.

The busiest times tend to be the summer months, particularly in July and August.

Where to stay: Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel 

36. National Air and Space Museum — Washington, D.C., United States (Tie)

National Air and Space Museum

A Smithsonian Institution museum, the National Air and Space Museum opened in 1976 and is dedicated to the history of aeronautics, aviation, and space technology and innovation. It’s also a center for research into planetary science and terrestrial geology.

Among the nerd-out items on display are the Apollo 11 command module, Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis" and the Wright brothers' plane.

National Air and Space Museum Tip

National Air and Space Museum

To avoid the bulk of the aviation-loving crowd, visit in the afternoon, as the museum is at its busiest in the mornings.

Like much of D.C., it’s also more crowded during the summer, so a winter visit all but guarantees you’ll enjoy a bit more breathing room among the historic planes and aviation artifacts (while simultaneously beating DC’s oppressive summer heat).

Where to stay: Hyatt Place Washington DC/National Mall 

36. Victoria Peak— Hong Kong (Tie)

Victoria Peak

Annual Visitors: 7 million

A mountain on the western half of Hong Kong Island, Victoria Peak towers 1,811 feet above the city. As the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island, it’s a popular spot to see Hong Kong, Victoria Harbour and Lamma Island from above.

It’s also home to several restaurants and two shopping malls, one of which is connected to the upper station of the Peak Tram, a funicular railway that brings passengers up from sea level to take in the staggering views from the top.

Victoria Peak Tip

Victoria Peak

Weekends and public holidays are the busiest times to visit, especially from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., when crowds head to the peak for a bird’s-eye-view of the Victoria Harbour light show.

Weekdays and mornings before 9 a.m. are the best times to go avoid some of the largest crowds.

Where to stay: Bishop Lei International House 

35. Ocean Park Hong Kong — Hong Kong

Ocean Park

Annual visitors: 7.4 million

Opened in 1977, Ocean Park Hong Kong is an oceanarium and amusement park set on 226 acres and separated into two areas, known as the Summit and the Waterfront, which are connected by a cable car and funicular. The park features rides like roller coasters as well as animal exhibits, such as a giant panda habitat and a large aquarium.

Here, as in much of Hong Kong, crowds are unavoidable, though the hordes peak on weekends, particularly Saturdays, and during Chinese holidays such as New Year (in January or February), Dragon Boat Festival (May) and Mid Autumn Festival (October).

Ocean Park Tip

Ocean Park Hong Kong

The best time to visit the park is during off-peak season (the sticky, sweaty months of May to September) and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Shoulder season, the months of September to December, brings better weather and crowds are moderate.

Any time of year, you can skip some of the time waiting in line at the park entrance by buying tickets online or at any 7-Eleven store in Hong Kong.

Where to stay: Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel 

34. Disney California Adventure Park - Anaheim, California, United States

California Adventure

Annual visitors: 7.7 million

Disney California Adventure Park, part of The Walt Disney Company, is a 72-acre park in Anaheim themed after the history and culture of California. Opened in 2001, it incorporates themes and characters from Disney, Pixar and Marvel, including "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Cars," "Frozen," "Toy Story" and "Monsters, Inc."

Though it’s one of the less popular Disney properties, it’s by no means unpopular, and during peak times, it can feel as crowded as any other Disney park on a busy day. It’s at its busiest in summer, on holidays and school breaks, and on weekends.

Disney California Adventure Tip

Disney California Adventure

To avoid the throngs, follow the best practices for most other Disney parks: go midweek, make a beeline for the top attractions first, and aim for popular attractions during off-peak times, such as when most people are dining.

The best months to visit include the off-season months of November to February (avoiding holidays) as well as the shoulder-season months of March, April, September and October.

Where to stay: Disneyland Hotel 

33. Islands of Adventure, Universal — Orlando, Florida, United States

Universal Studios

Annual visitors: 7.9 million

Universal's Islands of Adventure opened in 1999 as part of an expansion of Universal Studios Florida. It features eight themed lands, including the incredibly popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the newest land, Skull Island, themed around King Kong.

The busiest times at the park include New Year’s and the days after, Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, March to April (during various spring break weeks), late-May to early-August, Thanksgiving week and Christmas through New Year’s. Conversely, the best times to visit are January and February and weekdays from September through December, avoiding holidays. 

Islands of Adventure Tip

Islands of Adventure

September is generally considered the most optimal time for those who don’t want to sacrifice mild weather for shorter lines. Kids have just returned to school, so fewer families are visiting, but temperatures are still warm.

Fall’s Halloween Horror Nights have made the month more popular (particularly on Friday nights), but crowds are still significantly reduced from summer highs.

Where to stay: Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Dockside Inn and Suites 

32. Smithsonian National Museum of History — Washington, D.C., United States

Smithsonian National Museum of History

Annual visitors: 8 million

The National Museum of Natural History is part of D.C.’s Smithsonian Institution, located on the National Mall in the heart of the nation’s capital.

Opened in 1910, it has 325,000 square feet of exhibition space that houses more than 126 million specimens — including plants, animals and fossils — and more than 1,000 staff members, including 185 professional natural-history scientists.

Smithsonian Tip

Smithsonian National Museum of History

The museum offers free admission and is open nearly every day of the year — and it sees large crowds nearly every day of the year as well. For a less-crowded experience, go on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, and definitely avoid Saturdays and school holidays.

It’s also busier during summer, especially from mid-May through the end of July. September and February tend to be the slowest months.

Where to stay: Hilton Washington DC National Mall The Wharf  

31. Sydney Opera House — Sydney, Australia

Sydney Opera House

Annual visitors: 8.2 million

Formally opened in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Though its purpose is hosting more than 1,500 performances each year, the bulk of the tourists come simply to see the exterior of one of this century’s most famous works of architecture.

In fact, while 1.2 million people attend a performance and 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the building each year, many visitors to this UNESCO World Heritage Site never actually set foot inside it.

Sydney Opera House Tip

Sydney Opera House

If a photo of the exterior framed against the harbor is all you need, head to the relatively quiet Blues Point Reserve, which offers beautiful views of both the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Otherwise, plan your visit to Sydney during Australia’s winter — from June to August.

Where to stay: Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour 

30. Pier 39 — San Francisco, California, United State

Pier 39

Annual visitors: 8.5 million

Located on the north edge of San Francisco, near the touristy Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 is most famous as the home of a massive group of California sea lions, who regularly (and noisily) haul themselves out of the water to laze on the adjacent dock.

Other attractions include several shops, an arcade, a large double-decker carousel and the Aquarium of the Bay.

Pier 39 Tip

Pier 39

Summer is peak tourist season in San Francisco, which also means lots of people convening at the Pier. However, it’s not peak season for the sea lions, who head to breeding grounds on the Channel Islands for most of June and July.

They’re back from late summer to late spring; to see them in peace, visit during the months of November through March. Crowds are also thinner earlier in the morning and around sunset.

Where to stay: Hotel Zephyr San Francisco 

28. South Street Seaport — New York, New York, United States (Tie)

South Street Seaport

Annual visitors: 9 million

A designated historic area along the East River, the South Street Seaport is home to some of the oldest buildings in downtown Manhattan as well as New York’s largest concentration of restored early-19th-century commercial buildings.

Among these are several renovated mercantile buildings and refurbished sailing ships and the former Fulton Fish Market, which opened in 1822 as one of the city’s first open-air fish markets.

South Street Seaport Tip

South Street Seaport

These days, the seaport is a commercial hub of a different kind, with a tourist mall offering several dining and shopping options. As with most of New York, the South Street Seaport sees the largest crowds during the summer months and on weekends.

To visit it with fewer tourists, go in winter or on a rainy day. Or visit early in the day or late in the evening.

Where to stay: M Social Hotel Times Square New York 

28. Great Wall of China — Beijing, China (Tie)

Great Wall of China

Built over centuries starting as early as the seventh century B.C., the Great Wall of China is a series of stone, brick, wood and earthen fortifications that stretch more than 13,000 miles from east to west across the country. The wall served as both a barrier to invaders and a border to regulate trade and immigration, and its stone towers functioned as lookouts, barracks and stations for smoke signals.

Today, the aptly named Great Wall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s recognized as one of the world’s most impressive man-made structures. It’s also incredibly crowded, especially at its easier-to-access sections, such as Badaling near Beijing. Those areas are at their most jam-packed during Golden Week (beginning of October), the Labor Day holiday (end of April to beginning of May) and the Spring Festival (40 days in February and March).

Great Wall of China Tip

Great Wall of China

Peak time in Badaling tends to be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., so going earlier or later will help you avoid some of the fray.

Another option is to visit some of the less developed spots, such as Jinshanling and Huanghua Cheng, which are only partly restored, or Jiankou and Zhuangdaokou, which are even more decrepit (and should only be visited by fit travelers up for the challenge of steep climbs and crumbling stones).

Where to stay: Commune by the Great Wall, in the Unbound Collection by Hyatt 

26. Musée du Louvre — Paris, France (Tie)

The Louvre

Annual visitors: 9.2 million

The Louvre Museum is the world's largest art museum, housing more than 38,000 objects in its 782,910 square feet of space. Located in what was originally the 12th-century Louvre castle, it’s now most recognizable by the glass pyramid, designed by I. M. Pei,  that marks its entrance.

The Louvre has appeared in countless movies, including “The Da Vinci Code” and “Wonder Woman,” and is home to one of the world’s most iconic paintings, the “Mona Lisa.”

Musée du Louvre

Lines to enter the museum regularly snake throughout its expansive inner courtyard, particularly in the peak summer months of June, July and August. Winter sees far fewer visitors. Additionally, the museum is open late (until 9:45 p.m.) on Wednesdays and Fridays, and come dinner time, the crowds tend to thin out.

Regardless of when you go, you can bypass some of the crowds by buying skip-the-line tickets in advance, or heading to one of the lesser-known entrances away from the glass pyramid (at Porte des Lions or the Galerie du Carrousel).

Where to stay: Hôtel du Louvre, in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt 

26. Navy Pier — Chicago, Illinois, United States (Tie)

Navy Pier

Originally opened to the public as the “Municipal Pier” in 1916, the 3,300-foot-long Navy Pier sits on the edge of Lake Michigan on Chicago’s North Side. In its lifetime, it’s been home to a jail and a training center for the U.S. Navy.

Today, it boasts multiple theaters, a park and indoor botanical garden, more than a dozen restaurants, a beer garden, several amusement rides and the Centennial Wheel, a 200-foot-tall Ferris Wheel that gives riders 360-degree views of the city and lake below.

Navy Pier Tip

Navy Pier

Despite the fact that many Chicagoans wouldn’t be caught setting foot on the pier, it’s the city’s top tourist attraction, and in summer, it’s swarmed with visitors. The winter months (November to March) see far fewer tourists due to Chicago’s famously frigid temps. Other less crowded times are midweek, early in the morning or closer to sunset.

To avoid the hordes, skip a visit on July 4 or over Memorial Day or Labor Day weekends.

Where to stay: LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton  

25. Great Smoky Mountains National Park — Tennessee, United States

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Annual visitors: 9.6 million

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park stretches across the border between North Carolina and Tennessee and encompasses the Great Smoky Mountains, a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, Established in 1934, the park is the most visited national park in the United States and is home to an estimated 187,000 acres of old-growth forest and the densest black bear population in the Eastern United States.

The park has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it contains five historic districts and nine buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The peak sees peak crowds during the summer (June-August) as well as in October. It’s also busier on weekends, particularly long weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend.

Great Smoky Mountains Tip

Great Smoky Mountains

To see more of the park’s natural beauty without the crowds, visit during the off-season. Mid-September sees fewer crowds than busy October, though fall foliage isn’t yet at its peak. January to March are also much slower, though these months often see snowfall. For the best mix of good weather and low crowds, early spring (late March to mid-May) is a good compromise. 

Visiting early in the day or later in the evening can also assure fewer crowds, as can simply walking; much of the park’s natural beauty is easily accessible from the road, but those who take to the trails, will leave the crowds behind as they venture farther away from the pavement.

Where to stay:  Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Gatlinburg Downtown 

24. Universal Studios Japan — Osaka, Japan

Universal Studios

Annual visitors: 9.7 million

Universal Studios Japan opened in 2014 and has 10 themed areas, including perhaps its most famous and popular attraction, "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," which includes a series of shops, rides, and restaurants based on the books and movies. Other rides and shows are themed around internationally beloved characters including Sesame Street, Snoopy, Hello Kitty, Spiderman, and Shrek.

As with other theme parks in Japan, and Japan in general, it’s more crowded during warmer months (May to September), during holidays, and during cherry blossom season (late March-early April). Other popular times include Golden Week (end of April to the beginning of May), Tenjin Matsuri (July 24-25), New Year's, Thanksgiving Day weekend (end of November), the Emperor’s Birthday (23rd of December) as well as school holidays (the last week of November and winter holidays, from Dec. 20 to Jan. 6) and the “Bon” festival season, the week around Aug. 15.

Universal Studios Japan Tip

Universal Studios Japan

Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to visit as well as the months of January (after Jan. 6, when New Year crowds have dissipated) and February — two of the coldest months of the year.

Avoiding holidays, October through December offer the best of both worlds: milder weather and reduced crowds.

Where to stay:  The Park Front Hotel at Universal Studios Japan  

22. Disney Hollywood Studios - Bay Lake, Florida, USA (Tie)

Hollywood Studios

Annual visitors: 9.9 million

At the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disney's Hollywood Studios is a theme park that opened in 1989 (originally knowns as the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park).

The 135 acre-park is dedicated to film, television, music and theater, and is divided into six themed lands with attractions based on "Star Wars," "Toy Story," "Frozen" and other classics. As with other Disney parks, particularly those based in Florida, it’s busy year-round, but crowds swell during the summer months, winter and spring breaks, and over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Long weekends also see bigger crowds.

Hollywood Studios Tip

Disney Hollywood Studios

To make the most of your time and avoid long lines, go mid-week during the off-season or shoulder-season, such as the weeks in December or January right before/after the holidays.

September, October and February also see fewer crowds.

Where to stay:  Walt Disney World Dolphin 

22. Disney’s Animal Kingdom — Orlando, Florida, United States (Tie)

Animal Kingdom

A zoological theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort, Animal Kingdom is the largest theme park in the world, covering 580 acres. Opened in 1998, it is themed around the natural environment and animal conservation, two subjects dear to Walt Disney himself.

Millions of visitors come to see the park’s exhibits, which include thousands of wild animals in recreations of their natural habitat, and like at the other parks, the bulk of those visitors come during the summer months, school breaks, holidays and weekends.

Animal Kingdom Tip

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Like the other parks in the Disney empire, the Animal Kingdom offers Extra Magic Hours on select mornings to guests staying at Disney hotels. For guests who have this perk, it’s a great time to go without the crowds. If you don’t have this perk, though, it’s best to avoid these mornings because, by the time you get to your first attractions, all the Extra Magic Hour people will already be in line.

Arriving early at Animal Kingdom is recommended, as many of the animals retreat to shady spots when the afternoon heat hits. A visit in the afternoon may mean fewer crowds, but it might also mean less opportunity to see the animals.

Where to stay:  Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge 

20. Plaza de la Constitución — Mexico City, Mexico (Tie)

Zocalo

Annual visitors: 10 million

More commonly referred to as the Zócalo, Mexico City’s sprawling central square is the gathering place for military parades, concerts, festivals, and political and cultural events.

It’s also adjacent to other top tourist attractions in the city, including the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace, which means it sees a lot of foot traffic even when there’s no event taking place.

Plaza de la Constitución Tip

Zocalo Square

Mexico City’s slowest tourist season is November to March.

If you visit during these months — and avoid holidays like Dia de Los Muertos (October 31 to November 2), Christmas and New Year’s — you might even have much of it to yourself.

Where to stay:  Gran Hotel Ciudad De Mexico 

20. Pike Place Market — Seattle, Washington, United States (Tie)

Pike Place

One of the oldest continuously operated public farmers' markets in the United States, Pike Place Market has been bringing fresh fish, flowers, produce and other goods direct from farmers, producers and craftspeople to Seattleites since 1907. Seattle’s most popular tourist attraction, it takes up eight buildings and is home to nearly 500 vendors.

On weekends, the market hums with activity as locals do their shopping, tourists queue up at the original Starbucks, and both groups dine on delicious clam chowder, doughy Russian piroshkis and freshly cracked crab.

Pike Place Market Tip

Seattle's Pike Place Market

Big crowds are all but guaranteed on weekends and during summer afternoons when cruise ship passengers flood the city.

The market is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and is at its quietest before 11 a.m. or closer to closing.

Where to stay: Inn at the Market 

19. Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade - Hong Kong

Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

Annual visitors: 10.1 million

The Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade is one of the busiest and most crowded spots in a busy and crowded city.

It’s home to half of the major museums in Hong Kong, including the Hong Kong Space Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Art and Hong Kong Science Museum, as well as hundreds of shops and restaurants.

Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade Tip

Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

The promenade is also an ideal place to admire the view of the Hong Kong skyline and Victoria Harbour. There’s no avoiding crowds on the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront, but you can see it with slightly fewer people if you visit in the low season (the hot, humid and typhoon-prone months of July and August).

At all costs, avoid Golden Week, which takes place twice per year in January or February (around Chinese New Year) and October.

Where to stay:  Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers 

18. Sacre Coeur — Paris, France

Sacre Couer

Annual visitors: 10.5 million

Sacre Coeur (the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris) is in the Montmartre neighborhood in the 18th arrondissement. Set on Montmartre hill, the area is the highest point in Paris. Built between 1875 and 1914, it’s one of Paris’s younger attractions, but it holds significance as a political and cultural monument and the center of the city’s most bohemian, artistic neighborhood.

Crowds that climb the many steps (or ride the funicular) to the top of Montmartre hill not only get to see the famous basilica, they also get a spectacular view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Sacre Coeur Tip

Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur is open from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every day.

The dome closes at 7 p.m. in the summer and 6 p.m. in winter, so if you’re less concerned with climbing the 300 steps of the dome and just want to see the interior, come later at night to avoid the bulk of the crowds.

Where to stay:  Mercure Paris Montmartre Sacré Coeur 

17. Epcot Park, Orlando, Florida, United States

Epcot

Annual visitors: 11 million

Part of Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort Epcot Park opened in 1982 as a futuristic celebration of human achievement. Covering 305 acres, it’s more than twice the size of the adjacent Magic Kingdom and has a focus on technology and culture.

A sort of “permanent world’s fair,” its name stands for "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” and it’s comprised of two main ares, Future World and World Showcase. The latter is made up of 11 pavilions representing the food and culture of countries around the world.

While Epcot Park isn’t as popular as other Disney parks, it still sees its fair share of visitors and, like the other parks, is busiest during the summer, on weekends, and over holidays including New Year's Eve and Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve and Day.

Epcot Center

The best time to visit for fewer crowds is on a weekday in September, January or February, avoiding holiday weekends.

Epcot Park also offers Extra Magic Hours on Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings, so guests staying in Disney hotels can visit before or after the park is officially closed and enjoy the attractions with fewer fellow guests.

Where to stay: Resort Lake Buena Vista Vacation Home

16. Disneyland Paris — Paris, France

Disneyland Paris

Annual visitors: 11.2 million

Originally known as Euro Disney Resort when it opened in 1992, Disneyland Paris spans 140 acres and is largely modeled after the original Disney parks in Anaheim and Orlando, right down to the centerpiece fairy tale castle. Its five-themed lands house 49 attractions, including classics like Thunder Mountain.

A mid-week visit (Tuesday to Thursday), particularly during mid-January through mid-March or from mid-April through mid-May, guarantees shorter lines, but it also means some attractions may be closed.

Disneyland Paris Tip

Disneyland Paris

As with other Disney resorts, it sees peak crowds on weekends, during the summer, during major holidays like Bastille Day on July 14 and when schoolchildren are on break.

If a visit in peak season is unavoidable, the same tricks apply as at other parks: aim for the big-name rides first, and get in line for the most popular attractions during off-peak hours, such as meal times.

15. Tokyo Disney Sea - Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Disney Sea

Annual visitors: 12.6 million

Tokyo DisneySea is the second theme park within the Tokyo Disney Resort. It was also the fastest theme park to reach the milestone of 10 million guests, which it hit just 307 days after its grand opening, and the hype hasn’t dissipated. The park features seven distinct lands, each with a nautical theme, and it’s just about always busy.

As with much of Japan, it’s busier during the warmer months of May to September, during cherry blossom season in late March and early April and during national holidays. To explore the park with fewer fellow guests, go in the off-season — you’ll trade colder temperatures and more fickle weather for shorter lines — or stick to weekdays.

Tokyo Disney Sea Tip

Tokyo Disney Sea

Guests who stay overnight at one of Tokyo Disney Resort theme parks’ hotels, get Happy 15 Entry privileges, which means they can enter the park 15 minutes before regular opening time.

It’s not a huge lead, but that 15 minutes can mean getting in line for a popular attraction or obtaining a FastPass ticket (which allows you to skip the line at a selected attraction) before everyone else.

Where to stay: Tokyo Disneyland Hotel  

14. Golden Gate Park — San Francisco, California, United States

Golden Gate Park

Annual visitors: 13 million

San Francisco’s largest urban park sprawls over 1,000 acres.

It’s the second most visited city park in the world and is home to several of the city’s iconic attractions and best museums, including the DeYoung Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Japanese Tea Garden, Conservatory of Flowers, several windmills and lakes, a carousel and even a bison paddock.

Golden Gate Park Tip

Golden Gate Park

On weekends and during popular events like the Bay to Breakers race and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and Outside Lands music festivals, the park buzzes with activity.

For a quieter experience, stick to weekdays, early mornings and the off-season (late fall through early spring).

Where to stay:  The Gables Inn - Sausalito 

13. Notre-Dame Cathedral — Paris, France

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Annual visitors: 13.6 million (before April 2019)

Completed in 1345, Notre-Dame Cathedral was an icon of Paris for nearly 700 years.

Set along the banks of the Seine river, seeing its gargoyles and towers topped most tourists’ Paris bucket list.

Notre-Dame Cathedral Tip

Notre-Dame Cathedral

The Notre-Dame Cathedral  burned down in April 2019. While there are plans to rebuild, that likely won't start until 2022.

But once completed, you better believe the tourists will be back in droves.

Where to stay:  Hôtel Le Notre Dame Saint Michel 

12. Tokyo Disney Resort — Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Disney Resort

Annual visitors: 14.8 million

Opened in 1983, the 115-acre Tokyo Disney Resort was the first Disney park to be built outside the United States. The park has seven themed areas including four traditional Disney lands: (Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland) and plenty of classic Disney rides featuring beloved characters, including Peter Pan's Flight, Snow White's Scary Adventures and Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

Like other Disney parks, crowds here peak on weekends, major public holidays, during the summer high season, and during Golden Week (which usually runs from the end of April to the beginning of May) and New Year's holidays.

Tokyo Disney Resort Tip

Tokyo Disney Resort

To avoid the bulk of the crowds, visit midweek, on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, particularly in January (after Jan. 6, when New Year’s visitors have gone home) and February.

Crowd size can also vary quite a bit with the weather; rainy days mean some rides might close, but it also means fewer people to contend with if the rain stops and rides reopen.

Where to stay: Tokyo Disneyland Hotel 

11. Grand Bazaar — Istanbul, Turkey

Grand Bazaar

Annual visitors: 15 million

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar more than lives up to its name. It’s one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, encompassing more than 61 covered streets and 4,000 shops selling everything from hand-painted ceramics and silk carpets to delicate jewelry and fragrant spices.

Grand Bazaar Tip

Grand Bazaar

It’s easy to get lost in its labyrinth of halls, and even easier to get overwhelmed by the crowds during peak times.

Fridays are typically less crowded, as are early mornings and late afternoons when you’re more likely to encounter locals doing their shopping than throngs of cruisers and tour groups.

Where to stay: Grand Bazaar Hotel 

10. Forbidden City — Beijing, China

Forbidden City

Annual visitors: 15.3 million

Beijing’s Ming Dynasty palace — the largest ancient palace in the world — has been standing since 1420.

Once the home of Chinese emperors, the 180-acre complex of 980 buildings is now home to the Palace Museum. Visitor numbers are limited to 80,000 per day, and during peak periods like July, August, Chinese national holidays, Spring Festival and Golden Week (held twice per year around Chinese New Year and in October), it can sell out before midday.

Forbidden City Tip

The Forbidden City

Your best bet: Go early, aim for a weekday, and visit during the low season from November through March (holidays excluded).

Where to stay: Jade Garden Hotel Beijing Forbidden City 

9. Disneyland Park — Anaheim, California, United States

Disneyland

Annual visitors: 15.9 million

Opened in 1966, the original 85-acre Disneyland Park consists of eight themed “lands” including favorites like Main Street, U.S.A.; Frontierland; Fantasyland; and Tomorrowland. Attracting both visitors and season-pass-holding locals, it’s consistently busy, especially on weekends, during the summer, and over school holidays, when crowds surge and the “happiest place on earth” can be anything but.

Off-season months include January through March and September through December, when kids are in school and fewer people are traveling to Southern California. Of course, within that window, Christmas, New Year's and Spring Break are busier times, while weekdays, especially those that fall a few days after a major holiday, tend to be quieter.

Disneyland Tip

Disneyland Park

During peak times, head to the most popular attractions early or during times when the bulk of the crowds are focused on other events or dining.

Where to stay: Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel

8. Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom — Orlando, Florida, United States

Magic Kingdom

Annual visitors: 17.5 million

Opened in 1971, Disney’s second theme park surpasses the Anaheim original by nearly 2 million annual visitors. Part of the larger Walt Disney World Resort (which encompasses three other parks, four golf courses, and two dozen hotels), it’s the most popular theme park in the world.

As such, it’s pretty much always busy, but particularly so in summer and on holidays. Because it’s most popular with families, when kids are out of school, crowds surge, lines for attractions can be hours long, and it’s nearly impossible to score a seat at a table-service restaurant.

Magic Kingdom Tip

Magic Kingdom

To avoid the bulk of the chaos, go January through early March or September through December, but avoid weekends, holidays and dates of special events like the Disney World Marathon. While temperatures may be cooler during these months, lines are also significantly shorter. 

If you must go during peaks times, line up for the most popular rides during the nightly parade, during meal times, or during Extra Magic Hours, which are available to guests staying in Disney hotels. The perk allows these guests to enter the park one hour prior to the official opening, or stay up to two hours after the park closes to the general public.

Where to stay: Disney's Art of Animation Resort 

7. Faneuil Hall — Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Faneuil Hall

Annual visitors: 18 million

Once the scene of speeches from the likes of Samuel Adams and George Washington, Faneuil Hall is known as “the Cradle of Liberty” for its role in pre-Revolution America.

Today, it’s a bustling marketplace with more than 100 specialty shops, restaurants and food vendors — as well as Boston’s tallest Christmas tree each holiday.

Faneuil Hall Tip

Faneuil Hall

The pedestrian-only streets around Faneuil Hall are always bustling, and even more so during lunchtime and during the Boston Marathon weekend.

To see it in all its historical glory without the crowds, come during off-hours (early morning or late afternoon), or brave the Boston winter when the city is relatively quiet.

Where to stay: Courtyard by Marriott Boston Downtown/North Station 

6. Grand Central Station — New York, New York, United States

Grand Central Station

Annual visitors: 21.6 million

A U.S. National Historic Landmark, Grand Central Station covers 48 acres and has 44 platforms that bring more than 750 trains in and out of the city each day. For commuters, it’s a vital transit hub, while for visitors, it’s a beautiful, historic Beaux-Arts building with a painted ceiling featuring a map of the constellations.

It’s also home to some of the city’s most iconic bars and restaurants, like the Campbell Apartment, which you might recognize from “Gossip Girl,” and the Oyster Bar, which was featured on AMC’s “Mad Men” and serves a whopping 2 million oysters per year.

Grand Central Station Tip

Grand Central Station

In general, New York is a bit less crowded during the cold months.

To see Grand Central with fewer fellow travelers, avoid rush hour and go late at night or in the wee hours of the morning.

Where to stay:  The Westin New York Grand Central 

5. Niagara Falls — United States and Canada

Niagara Falls

Annual visitors: 22.5 million

Niagara Falls (which is actually three waterfalls) sits on the border of the U.S. and Canada, and its dual citizenship seems to attract double the visitors.

At “only” 165 feet, it’s not the tallest waterfall in the world, but it is one of the most powerful, pumping 6 million cubic feet of water over its edge every minute.

Niagara Falls Tip

Niagara Falls

Niagara is at its most crowded during the warmer months (late spring to early fall) when the Maid of Mist boat sails close to the thundering falls; come in early spring or late fall instead to see slightly fewer tourists, or pack your parka and visit in winter to have the place nearly to yourself.

Avoid long weekends and holidays (both Fourth of July and Canada Day), and book your tickets in advance to cut down on your time spent in lines.

Where to stay:  Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Niagara Falls 

4. Union Station — Washington, D.C., United States

Union Station

Annual visitors: 32.8 million

D.C.’s main transit station sees more than 100,000 commuters every day — plus thousands of tourists who come to see its incredible Classical, Beaux-Arts and Baroque architecture and shop at its more than 70 stores.

Union Station Tip

Union Station

Designed by famed architect Daniel Burnham and completed in 1908, the station is a stop on just about every D.C. tour, including the many school group tours that swarm D.C. in the warmer months, which means spring and early summer are particularly popular times to visit.

Come in fall or winter instead, avoid rush hour, and you might just get a glimpse of what it was like back in the 1940s — when the station served just 45,000 travelers each day.

Where to stay: Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill 

3. Central Park — New York, New York, United States

Central Park

Annual visitors: 37.5 million

New York’s most famous green space covers nearly 850 acres in the middle of Manhattan, and though it’s the most visited park in the world, it still offers a lot of space to spread out.

Central Park Tip

Central Park

One easy way to avoid the crowds is to seek out the less-visited areas of the park, like the Northern Woodlands north of 86th street or The Great Hill, a grassy hilltop that’s the highest point in the park (just avoid it when there’s an event like August’s annual Great Jazz on the Great Hill concert).

Early weekday mornings can also be quieter, and if you can brave the cold, a winter trip ensures you can see one of the world’s most iconic parks without feeling like you’re elbow to elbow with all of Manhattan.

Where to stay: Arthouse Hotel New York City 

2. Times Square — New York, New York, United States

Times Square

Annual visitors: 39.2 million

Once one of the seediest spots in Manhattan, Times Square is now more like a cleaned-up theme park version of New York. Though New Yorkers might turn up their noses at it for not being part of the “real” NYC, tourists and theatergoers still flock to Times Square to check out its crowded chaos, marvel at its massive billboards and see famous Broadway shows.

Unfortunately, traffic swells right before said shows start and after they end, so your best bet for seeing Times Square with slightly more breathing room is in the early morning before rush hour, mid-afternoon or late evening after the theater crowd has gone home.

Times Square Tip

Times Square

Chilly February is the least busy month, with “only” about 250,000 visitors per day.

Where to stay: The Kimpton Muse Hotel, an IHG Hotel  

1. The Strip — Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

The Strip

Annual visitors: 39.6 million

The 4-mile-long Las Vegas Strip, Sin City’s main thoroughfare, is home to more than 30 casinos as well as the famous Bellagio fountains and the High Roller, a 550-foot-tall Ferris wheel that slowly rotates over the city lights.

More than 75 percent of all visitors to Vegas stay at hotels located on The Strip and during peak times — like during the Super Bowl, March Madness, Halloween and the Consumer Electronics Show — it can feel like they’re all there at once.

Sin City Tip

The Las Vegas Strip

The better times to visit include midweek during winter (so long as there are no big conventions happening) and during the peak of summer when the desert’s sweltering temps keep the crowds inside or at the pool.

Where to stay: Wynn Las Vegas 

Days to Come

Traveling Without a Passport

top 10 hot tourist spots

10 Warm Places to Visit All Year Round

Winter is here and we’re dreaming of sunny skies. Here are our top picks for places where it’s always warm all year round

top 10 hot tourist spots

A travel adventure always feels better when it’s balmy. Yet during the winter months, when travelers are most in need of sunshine, it can be difficult to find guaranteed warm places to visit.

So where is it warm all year round? We’ve compiled a list of 10 warm places to travel, from adventurous locations ideal for solo and group tour travel to relaxing destinations perfect for beach lovers. 

Koh Lanta, Thailand

top 10 hot tourist spots

Choose your own adventure on Koh Lanta. This tropical paradise offers a diversity of activities—and average highs of 87F (31C) all year round. 

Bike along the luscious coast for unforgettable views, scuba in the breathtaking marine national park, and explore the stilted restaurants of Ban Si Raya, the island’s original port. If you love to party, head to Hat Khlong Khong—the island’s hippie beach—when the sun goes down. Koh Lanta can also be enjoyed as part of a Thai island-hopping tour .

Koh Lanta’s climate is warm throughout the year, but the rainy season hits hard from July to October. Visit from December to March for a vacation that is both warm and dry.  

See Also: 250+ Tours to Thailand

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Discover sun, sea and black sand beaches set against the extraordinary volcanic landscape of Lanzarote. This Canary Island is breathtaking to behold, with its luminous Montañas del Fuego (Mountains of Fire) and lava fields drawing comparisons to martian terrain. 

top 10 hot tourist spots

Against this dramatic backdrop, revelers sip cocktails and nod along to live music at the island’s many bars. Away from the party scene, wander amidst the spiky plants of the spectacular Jardin de Cactus, explore ancient lava tubes, and learn about the life of influential local artist César Manrique. 

Sunseekers can stretch out on the island’s startling black sand beaches, with average highs never dropping below 68F (20C), and the mercury spiking in summer and fall.

Marrakesh, Morocco

Prepare to be dazzled by the heady sights, sounds and scents of the balmy Ochre City. Once-in-a-lifetime adventures await, from the perfumed souks to the Jardin Majorelle, world-famous for its brilliant blues. 

© Edward Hart/Unsplash

There are plenty of opportunities to delve into the city’s rich history and culture, with major attractions including the Saadian Tombs, Le Jardin Secret, Badia Palace and the ultra-chic Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Marrakesh is also the perfect base from which to explore more of Morocco .

In July and August, Marrakech sizzles under average highs of 98F (37C), while the coolest month is January, with the mercury rising to a comfortable 66F (19C). 

See Also: All Morocco Tours starting in Marrakesh

Bali, Indonesia

Discover a slice of paradise under the swaying coconut palms of Bali, which is a perennial favorite on any warm places to visit list. This vacation hotspot boasts undeniably chilled out vibes, and serves adventure travelers and sunseekers in equal measure. 

© Sebastian Pena lambarri/Unsplash

Surfing, scuba and rafting are some of the most popular activities on Bali, thanks to its pristine coastline. Keen hikers find their path among the thickly-tangled tropical vegetation and waterfalls in-land, while wellness enthusiasts indulge in yoga and spas. Bali is hard to beat when it comes to beaches. There’s the famous Kuta beach, surrounded by party spots, luxurious Nusa Dua, and Padang Padang beach, favored by bohemian types. 

The temperature on Bali remains balmy year-round, hovering between 68F (20C) and 89F (32C). However, the island does have a distinct wet and dry season, with May to October generally the best time to visit. 

See Also: Active Adventure Tours in Bali

Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Mirissa is perfect for adventurers seeking a laid-back beach holiday off the beaten track. 

Modest guesthouses, bars and restaurants line a powdery crescent beach, with the warm tide lapping the feet of diners. At low tide, a sandbar emerges from the water, laying the trail to a small island. Surfing, snorkeling and whale watching are also on offer.

© Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock

Mirissa is best enjoyed as part of a larger Sri Lankan adventure, with the historic fort of Galle an hour’s drive away, and surfer’s paradise Matara just 30 minutes along the coast road. Leave the south coast behind to visit the world-famous city of Kandy and take an iconic train ride through tea country to the wellness haven of Ella .

Temperatures in Mirissa fluctuate just a couple of degrees throughout the year, with highs between 84F (29C) and 89F (32C). Frequent rainfall is to be expected from May to November, but these showers typically pass quickly. 

Tourists have flocked to the former Portuguese enclave of Goa for decades to enjoy its vast golden beaches, famous party scene, and mesmerizing sunsets. 

Lounge on one of the island’s luxurious beaches or head to more secluded sands, where refreshments are available from palm leaf shacks. Shopping is a true cultural experience in Goa —there’s the famous tourist bazaar Anjuna Flea market, as well as the newer Saturday Night Market at Arpora, which becomes a hopping nightlife spot as the sun sets. Don’t miss Aswem, a painfully cool spot on the north Goan coast that regularly attracts A-listers to its upscale resorts and clubs among the sand dunes.

© Lena Serditova/Shutterstock

Hot weather is guaranteed in Goa, with average temperatures fluctuating from 77F (25C) in January to 86F (30C) in May. Monsoon season typically lasts from June to September, however, which can thwart beach days.

Sal, Cabo Verde

The golden sands of the well-developed Santa Maria Beach are a favored tourist hotspot in Sal, while Ponta Preta Beach offers more rugged scenery, and windsurfers flock to Kite Beach. As the sun sets over Santa Maria, live music, traditional dancing and cocktail bars are to be expected. 

© Peace Itimi/Unsplash

There’s a unique experience to be had at Pedra de Lume—the site of a former salt mine in the crater of an extinct volcano—where the saltwater is believed to have therapeutic properties. Meanwhile, divers flock to Buracona, or ‘The Blue Eye’, where they plunge into a cave filled with blue water brilliantly lit by the sun. It’s also possible to use Sal as a jumping off point to explore Cabo Verde’s other islands .

Sal is one of those rare destinations that is great to visit at any time of year thanks to its dry tropical climate. The mercury rises to an average daily high of 87F (31C) in August, while in February—the coldest month—temperatures peak at an average 77F (25C).

Aruba , Caribbean

Year-round sunshine is just one of the benefits of spending a vacation in this Caribbean haven. Miles of white sand beaches are complemented by incredible wildlife-spotting opportunities and outstanding hikes. The adventure is topped off by Oranjestad—the quaint, colorful capital. 

© Rabih Shasha/Unsplash

Nature lovers should not miss the island’s donkey sanctuary, butterfly farm and ostrich farm. Meanwhile, the island’s second highest peak, Hooiberg, is a 587-stair challenge for hikers. Popular beaches include Eagle Beach, Palm Beach and Baby Beach—and Andicuri Beach is a true surfer’s paradise, with limestone cliffs and crashing waves. 

Average highs remain above 86F (30C) throughout the year, and Caribbean hurricanes rarely make landfall on the island.

See Also: All Carribean Tours

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is a sprawling, magical city containing a multitude of adventures.

Take a cable car up to the iconic Sugarloaf Mountain for panoramic views over the city, and pay a visit to the giant Christ the Redeemer statue. Embrace nature at the Parque Nacional da Tijuca to see what’s left of the Atlantic rainforest that once surrounded Rio.

© Marchello74/Shutterstock

Elsewhere, the central neighborhood of Lapa is famed for its nightlife. Its plethora of bars vibrate with samba music, and there’s a huge, loud street party every weekend.

Rio’s hottest months occur from December to March, with average highs hovering around 86F (30C). June to August bring cooler weather, but it’s certainly not chilly—average highs for this time of year sit at around 77F (25C).

Welcome to the gleaming desert-metropolis of Dubai . This ambitious city draws in a wide range of tourists, from luxury lovers in search of seven-star service and sparkling malls, to sporty types looking for their next adrenaline rush on Kite Beach.

© Rasto SK/Shutterstock

Take in the Burj Khalifa and the Burj Al Arab—two of Dubai’s most stunning architectural structures. Soak up the culture at the dazzling gold souk and at Madinat Jumeirah, a modern interpretation of a traditional Arab village.

From June to September, Dubai is scorching, with average highs around 105F (41C), while January is the coolest month, with average highs of 75F (24C).  

top 10 hot tourist spots

Caroline Howley

Caroline Howley is a travel journalist based in the United Kingdom.

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The 60 most beautiful places in the world

The 60 most beautiful places in the world 2024

Where are the most beautiful places in the world? On a planet home to flamingo-pink lakes in Mexico, plus vast, multi-coloured hills in the USA, green ripples of rice paddies in Indonesia and epic icescapes in Antarctica, it's hard to choose a favourite – but why pick one? From countries all around the world, these are our top 60 most beautiful places to visit.

Scattered along Scotland's west coast this chain of isles is one of the country's most beautiful places to visit. Think...

Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Scattered along Scotland 's west coast, this chain of isles is one of the country's most beautiful places to visit. Think shimmering white-sand beaches , sparkling seas and crowd-free hinterlands – it's one of the UK's last remaining secrets, and for good reason.

With endless rows of vines tumbling down hillsides and birds of prey swooping along the riverside at first glance you'd...

Douro Valley, Portugal

With endless rows of vines tumbling down hillsides and birds of prey swooping along the riverside, at first glance you'd think this place was anywhere but Europe. Right in the depths of Portugal , this valley is as romantic as it comes – hike along ridges, taste-test your way through the region's wine and cosy up in some of the country's very best hotels, before waking up and doing it all again.

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

Shark Bay, Australia

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

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

Paracas, Peru

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

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

Algarve, Portugal

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

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

Paris, France

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

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

Hòa Bình, Vietnam

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

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

Sarakiniko Beach, Milos, Greece

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

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

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

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

Death Valley, California

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

In summer endless fields of lavender in bloom turn the Provençal landscape purple. At the end of the season when the...

Provence, France

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

Monks at Bayon temple

Bayon, Cambodia

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

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

Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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

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

Angel Falls, Venezuela

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

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

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

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

Grand Canal, Venice

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

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

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

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

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

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

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

Lake Eyre, Australia

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

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

Bali, Indonesia

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

East Sussex England

Seven Sisters Country Park, East Sussex, UK

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

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

Atacame Desert, South America

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

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

Mount Fuji, Japan

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

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

Jaipur and the Hawa Mahal Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan

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

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

Skeleton Coast, Namibia

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

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

The Scottish Highlands

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

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

Pamukkale, Turkey

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

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

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

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

Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

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

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

Ojos del Mar, Bolivia

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

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

Mount Cook, New Zealand

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

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

Gordes, Provence

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

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

Emerald Lake, British Columbia, Canada

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

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

The Faroe Islands

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

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

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

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

Jodhpur, India

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

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

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

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

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

Svalbard, Norway

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

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

Copenhagen, Denmark

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

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

Lamu, Kenya

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

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

Wulingyuan, China

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

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

Redwood National Park, California

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

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

Havana, Cuba

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

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

Kyoto, Japan

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

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

Marrakech, Morocco

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

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

Ischia, Italy

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

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

Bondi Iceburgs, Australia

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

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

The Philippines

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

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

Arashiyama, Bamboo Forest, Japan

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

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

Las Coloradas, Yucatan, Mexico

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

The Avenue of the Baobabs Madagascar

Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar

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

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Blue lagoon, Iceland

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

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

Cape Town, South Africa

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

Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon, USA

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

Inside view on IkKil Cenote close to Chichen Itza Mexico

Cenotes, Mexico

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

A road poising through the desert of Joshua Tree as sunrise

Joshua Tree National Park, USA

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

Maldives

The Maldives

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

Peyto Lake in Canada

Peyto Lake, Canada

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

Argent Beach on La Digue Island Seychelles

La Digue, Seychelles

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

Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone National Park Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, USA

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

Day Trip Tips

10 Most Visited Tourist Attractions in the World

By: Author Kristi

When planning a trip to a new destination, you might find it helpful to know the most visited tourist attractions in the world. These are the places that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Most Visited Tourist Attractions in the World

According to Trip Advisor, Italy tops out as one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, with three of the top 10 sites that people travel to! It is easy to see why with its rich history, architecture, museums, and of course, food!

France comes in second place with popular tourist attractions that are on everyone’s bucket list!

What surprised me most with this list is that there are absolutely no Asian destinations anywhere on the list!

Nor will you find Iceland listed in the top 10, which has become a really HOT tourist spot in the last few years.

Top Tourist Attractions for 2024

If you are hoping to plan a trip this year and wondering what places are the most popular, check out these 10 most visited tourist attractions in the world:

Colloseum in Rome

1. The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Topping off the list of most popular tourist attractions is the Colosseum which is no big surprise for those with it on their bucket list.

While a significant landmark in Rome, for those that have been & seen it in person, I must say that while impressive, it is not near as excellent a site as The Roman Forum (which didn’t even make the top 10!).

Wondering what else you should see in Rome? Check out our list of favorite Rome sites .

Louvre Museum in Paris France

2. The Louvre Museum in Paris, France

While known as one of the most impressive museums in the world, the Louvre was originally built as a fortress and later reconstructed to serve as a royal palace.

The massive complex that sits on the banks of the Seine is something to behold inside & out.

No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Louvre to see such popular pieces as the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, & Hammurabi’s Code.

What You'll find in St. Peter's Square

3. The Vatican Museums in Rome, Italy

I can totally see why the Vatican Museums made this list!

Filled with some of the most amazing art in the world, this is definitely a destination that everyone should make especially if they are already planning a trip to Rome.

Those looking to plan a trip to Vatican City from Rome will find it an incredible day trip!

Statue of Liberty in New York

4. The Statue of Liberty in New York City

Those visiting New York City will want to make sure to take the time to see the Statue of Liberty .

This famous Landmark for the United States was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi and was a gift from France to the United States.

While you can take the FREE Staten Island Ferry to get a great view of the Statue of Liberty, those who want to visit Ellis Island must book a ticket in advance that includes transportation.

During a trip to Ellis Island, you will see the original torch Bartholdi constructed (it had to be replaced due to damage) along with other artifacts in the museum.

Eiffel Tower France

5. The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

Quite possibly the most recognizable landmark in the world, the Eiffel Tower is a site to behold.

Visible from many points in Paris, there is nothing quite like seeing it up close in person.

You can sit in the park and gaze at the structure from below or take in the sites of Paris from one of three platforms on the Eiffel Tower itself for a fee.

You can also climb the Eiffel Tower and see Paris from various platforms. The views are amazing.

6. Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

If there is one cathedral in the world to see, it is the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Built by renowned architect Antoni Gaudí, this Basilica is a work of art inside and out.

Gaudí wanted to construct a church that would make an impact on the skyline, and the Sagrada Familia certainly does so as it is one of the tallest religious buildings in the world.

While still under construction (due to be completed in 2026), it has been a work in progress for over 130 years and is something you should experience in your life no matter if it is completed or not.

Check out these other Gaudi Landmarks in Barcelona .

Jackson Square New Orleans

7. French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana

The heart of New Orleans is the French Quarter and it is easy to see why this would be one of the top 10 destinations in the world!

There is no other place in the United States quite like it. The home of street jazz, creole cuisine, and Mardi Gras, this place has it all!

But it isn’t all parties, booze, and music, it has history, art & architecture as well.

And when it comes to couples getaways, there are so many romantic things to do in New Orleans.

Venture off Bourbon Street and you will find artists painting portraits and landscapes in Jackson Square.

Then head to The Garden District to see examples of New Orleans’ antebellum past.

Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

8. Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Even if you have never read The Diary of Anne Frank, you probably know that she and her family once live in the attic of a home in Amsterdam.

You can visit The Anne Frank House and see the attic in which she lived along with the bookcase, family photographs, and Anne’s original diary.

top 10 hot tourist spots

9. Skydeck- Willis Tower, Chicago, Illinois

The Skydeck is on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower in Chicago.

While it seems easy enough to take the elevator up to the floor and look out, what makes this famous landmark a place thrill seekers go is The Ledge.

The Ledge is a glass balcony that extends out of the building.

While it may seem harmless enough, this platform has already cracked from the weight of so many people. It has been repaired, but who knows if it might happen again!

The Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.

10. The Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.

The third Italian site on the list of Popular Tourist Attractions in the World is a favorite among honeymooners and couples looking for a romantic getaway.

The Grand Canal serves as the main street (albeit water) in Venice and connects most of Venice’s top tourist attractions as it winds through the city.

While most think of Gondola rides (and you certainly should take one), the easiest way to get from one place to another is on a Vaporetto water bus,

Venice’s floating public transport system. It gives you a great view of all the most popular sites along the Grand Canal.

Take a look at what you can see in Venice in a day !

Most Visited Places in the World

We’ve been to many of the places on this list of most popular tourist attractions in the World and I have to say that they are certainly great sites to experience! If you are looking for more information about day trips to take, please feel free to browse our list of destinations .

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PlanetWare.com

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA

Written by Lana Law Updated Sep 16, 2022

The United States is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world and some of the most recognizable icons on the planet . Many of the top attractions in the United States are bucket list destinations, drawing visitors from around the world.

Compiling a list of places to see is step one. But keep in mind, given the size of the United States, most people plan their trips to a specific region, be it the East Coast, the Southwest, the beaches of Florida or California , or outlying regions like Hawaii and Alaska.

You may want to see the city sights, or head out to the top parks and natural areas in the US . In some cases, you can easily combine the two if you plan a day trip or two.

Plenty of options await you, with incredible sights sprinkled across the country. For anyone in the enviable position of having unlimited time and resources, these are the top attractions to include on your US itinerary.

1. Grand Canyon

2. niagara falls, 3. statue of liberty, 4. white house, 5. walt disney world resort, 7. las vegas strip, 8. yosemite national park, 9. golden gate bridge, 10. times square, 11. freedom trail in boston, 12. yellowstone national park, 13. san antonio river walk, 14. kennedy space center, 15. st. louis arch, 16. glacier national park and the going-to-the-sun road, 17. mount rushmore national memorial, 18. sedona's red rock country.

Grand Canyon

This incredible natural attraction is one of the most visited places in the United States. Carved out by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon cuts deep into the landscape, creating dramatic cliff walls and ledges. Visitors standing on the rim of the canyon can see down to the canyon floor a mile below, and look out over the ridges and cliffs that run as far as the eye can see.

The South Rim , about 4.5 hours by car from Las Vegas, is the most visited section of Grand Canyon National Park. This is where you'll find a large visitor center, regular bus service along the Rim in the high season, and a walkway that runs along the canyon with numerous viewing points and platforms. Several wonderful hikes , including the Bright Angel Trail, leave from here.

Grand Canyon

The Skywalk , a glass bridge leading out over the edge of the Grand Canyon is another popular attraction. It is located at Eagle Point, on the West Rim . This area is about a four-hour drive from the South Rim, but usually less than a 2.5-hour drive from Las Vegas. If you are planning a day trip from Las Vegas, this area is a good option

The North Rim, which also has lookout areas, provides a different perspective. This section of the park is less visited and has limited access from November to May due to snow and winter conditions.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions at the Grand Canyon

Niagara Falls

Situated along the Canada-US border, Niagara Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the world . The water from Lake Erie flows into Lake Ontario over these massive waterfalls, known for the great quantity of water that is constantly tumbling over the vertical drop.

Niagara Falls is actually a set of three falls: It consists of the largest section, known as Horseshoe Falls, with a drop of 187 feet; a second section on the American side of the river, known as the American Falls, with a drop of 89 feet; and a much thinner section located next to the American Falls, known as Bridal Veil Falls, with a drop of 78 feet.

Views are good on both sides of the river, but the Canadian side gives a very different perspective and is worth a visit if you don't mind crossing the border into Canada.

View of American Falls in winter from the Canadian side

Summer is the most popular time to visit Niagara Falls, when the weather is warm, gardens are in bloom, and wandering around is pleasant. Winter provides a unique opportunity to see the snow-covered shores and ice-covered railings, street signs, and trees. It's truly a winter wonderland.

On clear days, the plume of mist rising from Niagara Falls can be seen from as far away as the CN Tower in downtown Toronto, Canada, on the opposite shore of Lake Ontario.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Niagara Falls, NY
  • From New York City to Niagara Falls: Best Ways to Get There

Statue of Liberty

A universal symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty is America's most familiar icon and the largest statue in the world . Standing proudly in New York Harbor, visitors can admire the statue from various points around the city, particularly Battery Park, or take a ferry right to the statue.

For people who plan to go out to the statue, options include grounds tickets, pedestal tickets, or crown tickets, which allow different levels of access to the site. One of the best options is to take a sightseeing tour and see both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Official site: http://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm

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

White House

The White House is the official residence of the President of the United States, and should be on the top of your list of things to see in Washington . This historic structure has been the home of every president except George Washington. Lafayette Park is on the north side of the White House; beyond is a pedestrian-only zone, full of interesting characters, and an excellent spot to get a great photo.

It was originally built by James Hoban in 1792 and, after being burned down by British forces in 1814, was rebuilt in 1818. Tours of the White House are free, but reservations must be made a minimum of three weeks in advance. Strict security rules are always in effect.

Official site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Walt Disney World Resort

This mega amusement park in Orlando is the top family attraction in America, and has been catering to both young and old for decades. Opened in 1971, Walt Disney World has managed to maintain its relevance and its allure for children and even many adults throughout the years.

Walt Disney World Resort encompasses not only the various theme parks, it also includes water parks, Downtown Disney with shopping and theaters, and much more, from fine dining to golf. This is a place where you can spend a day or a week.

If you feel the need for a bit of sand and surf, the beaches of Florida's Atlantic coast are only an hour away.

Waikiki

Home to the most popular beach in the Hawaiian Islands and possibly the most famous beach in the Pacific, Waikiki has been a tourist destination for over a century. Today this area is a cross between tropical paradise and modern city.

Relaxing on this beautiful stretch of sand with palm trees blowing in the wind will certainly let you know you are in the tropics, but the high-rise buildings and busy street in behind are a reminder that you are not far from civilization. Shopping, dining, surfing, and sunbathing are all part of what makes this small section of Oahu so popular with tourists of all ages from all parts of the world.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things To Do in Waikiki

Las Vegas Strip

Walking along the Las Vegas Strip, the main street leading through the city past the mega resorts, is like strolling through an amusement park for adults. Recreations of the New York skyline, the Eiffel Tower, the canals of Venice, and many more foreign sites line this famous street.

Beginning at one end with the Luxor Hotel, designed in a pyramid shape, a walk down the street will reveal an erupting volcano and dancing fountains, while inside the resorts are all kinds of oddities and entertainment. Many of the best things to see and do in Las Vegas are sights that can be seen for free.

One of the main attractions in Las Vegas is the constant lineup of shows. World-famous singers looking to settle down turn to Las Vegas as a home base, where they perform regularly. Unique performing groups from magic to comedy and acrobatics can also be found here nightly.

When you've had enough of the nightlife and city lights, you can still explore the nearby attractions on a day trip from Las Vegas . See nearby Death Valley National Park, Hoover Dam, or Valley of Fire State Park. Explore the desert on hiking trails around Las Vegas , some of which are just minutes from downtown.

Yosemite National Park

One of America's most loved parks, Yosemite National Park is one of the best places to visit in California , particularly for nature lovers. Famous sights, like the incredible granite domes of El Capitan and Half Dome, have to be seen in person to fully appreciate their grandeur. The massive waterfalls that tumble off sheer cliffs from mountain snowfall or sudden summer rainstorms are another of the park's highlights.

Yosemite National Park is full of activity-based things to do that include hiking, climbing, walking, and horseback riding. Hiking trails in Yosemite lead to some of the most scenic areas and are a good way to escape the crowds at lookouts.

View of Half Dome from Glacier Point

For those less inclined to be physically active, the sheer natural beauty of Yosemite can be enjoyed from a picnic table over a leisurely home-packed lunch. You can also see the highlights on a driving tour through the park.

Accommodation is limited in the park to several lodges and a number of very nice campgrounds . Outside the gates, more options are available.

Golden Gate Bridge

Arching across San Francisco Bay, joining San Francisco and Marin County, the Golden Gate Bridge has been a California icon since it was built in the 1930s. Contrasting with the blue water, the bridge's orangish-red color is an aesthetic accent that brings a unique quality to the city.

It also has a unique presence when it's shrouded in fog with just the peaks of the main towers projecting through the low-lying cloud. The bridge is approximately two miles long and part of Hwy 101 or SR 1. If the day is clear, one of the best viewing spots is on Conzelman Road, located in Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Read More: Top Attractions & Things to Do in San Francisco

Times Square

Bustling Times Square, famous for its flashing billboards, New Year's Eve count down, and constant throngs of people, lies at the heart of Midtown Manhattan. This intersection, in normal times, is really about the energy one feels when standing on the corner as taxi cabs rush by and lights flash overhead, rather than any individual site on the square.

While it is an interesting place to visit during the day, it is probably best seen at night to experience the full impact.

Freedom Trail in Boston

Boston's Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile walking route that leads past some of the city's most important historical attractions. A line of red bricks, inlaid in the sidewalk marks the route, making it an easy way for tourists to find their way around.

Information on the trail and the sites can be found at the Visitors Center in the Boston Common , which is a good place to start your tour. Sites along the Freedom Trail include the State House, Old State House, the Old Granary Burying Ground, Old City Hall, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, and many more.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Boston

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is home to a huge ancient volcano, which has resulted in a dramatic landscape and awesome natural phenomena. Geysers and hot springs, along with incredible waterfalls along the Yellowstone River are just some of the attractions drawing in huge numbers of tourists each year.

The park, the oldest national park in the USA, is also home to all kinds of wildlife, with free-roaming bison, bighorn sheep, antelope, black bears, and grizzly bears.

The park is also a wonderful place to camp, with a total of 12 Yellowstone campgrounds containing 2,000 sites.

Read More: Visiting Yellowstone National Park: Attractions, Tips & Tours

San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio's River Walk is a beautiful location and a great place to spend some time, whether you are looking for a place to wander, enjoy a meal, or look for souvenirs. Stretching along the San Antonio River in the heart of the city, this pedestrian area is lined with restaurants and outdoor dining areas, with everything from casual to fine cuisine.

Small boats meander along the river and scenic arching bridges complete the tranquil scene. Large old trees drape over the river and walkway providing shade. The River Walk also features a variety of entertainment, with occasional live music and seasonal events.

Official site: http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in San Antonio

Shuttle Atlantis at Cape Canaveral, Kennedy Space Center

For those who have ever dreamed about what it would be like to blast off into space, a trip to the Kennedy Space Center is a must-do. The spacecrafts of NASA along with the history of space exploration make for an entertaining and educational experience. This is a popular attraction with all ages and one of the top things to do in Florida .

You may think that your visit will be a quick one; see a few spaceships and then head on your way. However, many people are surprised when they become fully engrossed in their visit and end up spending most of the day at the center.

Things to see include the rocket garden, the real Space Shuttle Atlantis, the Heroes and Legends exhibit, and the Journey to Mars exposition, along with many others.

Official site: https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/

St Louis Arch

This famous "Gateway to the West" in St. Louis is both symbolic and eye-catching. Rising above the city, gleaming in the midday sun and illuminated at night, the arch can be seen from miles away on the otherwise flat surroundings.

It was built in the early 1960s and stands in Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park . Elevators offer easy and scenic transportation to the top of the arch where visitors are treated to great views out over the city and surroundings.

Official site: https://www.gatewayarch.com/

Glacier National Park

Montana's Glacier National Park offers some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the United States. Mountains, lakes, glaciers, valleys, and waterfalls combine to form a spectacular alpine landscape.

One of the best ways to truly appreciate the terrain is from the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. This narrow road, hugging the mountain side as it winds its way up and over the 7,747-foot Logan pass, opened in 1932.

Due to the elevation and climate, the road is only open during the summer months. The sights along this road are superlative, and you'll likely find yourself stopping at handy pullouts to soak it all up.

Glacier National Park also has some unique historic lodges, including the East Lodge, with it's huge timbered interior. The park is also a top hiking destination in the state. Hiking trails lead to wonderful alpine vistas if you're willing to put in a bit of effort.

The park is relatively isolated, so most people plan to visit for a few days. Accommodation is available in the historic lodges and hotels in West Glacier, and if you feel like camping in Glacier National Park , 13 campgrounds are available.

Read More: Top Things to Do in Glacier National Park

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

If you find yourself in South Dakota, don't miss a chance to see Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Towering above the surrounding forest are the faces of four US Presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt.

This incredible achievement was created by one man, John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum, and upon his death, finished off by his son Lincoln. The hard work of carving giant heads out of stone started in 1927 and continued on for many years until its completion in 1941.

The national memorial is a popular attraction, especially in the summer. Try to plan to arrive early in the day to avoid the crowds.

Hiking in Sedona

Just a wonderfully scenic two-hour drive from Phoenix, this small city has quickly become one of Arizona's top places to visit .

Its beautiful setting, in among the red rocks, makes it perfect for a day trip from Phoenix , but it makes an even better vacation destination. Plan on spending at least a night or two to enjoy all Sedona has to offer. The town has some fantastic restaurants as well as spas and luxury resorts in and around town.

Sedona has a bit of everything when it comes to keeping busy: fantastic hiking , mountain biking , and camping , all coupled with a quirky vibe that makes a trip here fun for everyone.

Sedona is a year-round destination, but is especially popular in the spring, when the trees burst into bloom and you get the occasional desert rain storm.

Read More: Top-Rate Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Sedona

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10 of the Best Places To Travel When It’s Swelteringly Hot

Posted: September 1, 2023 | Last updated: May 7, 2024

<p>The phrase “summer vacation” brings with it a whole set of cliches, many involving warm-weather destinations. But with <a href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/slideshows/cities-most-at-risk-from-climate-change-moodys/">climate change</a> making each summer seemingly warmer than the next, perhaps it’s time to rethink vacation planning.</p> <p>There are plenty of vacation destinations that appeal to those looking to beat the heat — and they offer plenty of things to do as well. Here’s a look at some of the best places to visit when it’s swelteringly hot outside.</p>  <p>Join 1.2 million Americans saving an average of $991.20 with Money Talks News. <a href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/?utm_source=msn&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=one-liner#newsletter">Sign up for our FREE newsletter today.</a></p> <h3>Get smarter with your money!</h3> <p>Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then <a href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/?utm_source=msn&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=blurb#newsletter" rel="noopener">sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter</a> to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. <a href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/?utm_source=msn&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=blurb#newsletter" rel="noopener">Sign up for our free newsletter today.</a></p> <p class="disclosure"><em>Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.</em></p>

The phrase “summer vacation” brings with it a whole set of cliches, many involving warm-weather destinations. But with climate change making each summer seemingly warmer than the next, perhaps it’s time to rethink vacation planning.

There are plenty of vacation destinations that appeal to those looking to beat the heat — and they offer plenty of things to do as well. Here’s a look at some of the best places to visit when it’s swelteringly hot outside.

Join 1.2 million Americans saving an average of $991.20 with Money Talks News. Sign up for our FREE newsletter today.

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<p><strong><span>This location’s historical monthly average temperatures for the month of</span></strong>:</p> <ul> <li><strong>August:</strong> Average high of <a href="https://weather.com/weather/monthly/l/31fa7b6da0d67b704f144e94301d9210d78e25bea3fd96aef25943702ce92293" rel="noopener">71 degrees</a> Fahrenheit (22 Celsius), low of 55 Fahrenheit (13 Celsius)</li> <li><strong>September:</strong> Average high of 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 Celsius), low of 50 Fahrenheit (10 Celsius)</li> </ul> <p>You’re going to see the Pacific Northwest, both Canadian and U.S. cities, show up a few times on this list, and for good reason. This part of the continent doesn’t get as hot as much of the rest of North America, and there are plenty of things to do.</p> <p>Start off with breathtaking <a href="https://www.destinationvancouver.com/">Vancouver, British Columbia</a>, a thriving, diverse seaport. Don’t miss Canada’s largest Chinatown, the hip restaurants of historic Gastown or the natural beauty of 1,000-acre Stanley Park. Before you go, be sure to nibble on a Nanaimo bar, a decadent layered treat named for the Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo.</p>

Vancouver, British Columbia

This location’s historical monthly average temperatures for the month of :

  • August: Average high of 71 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius), low of 55 Fahrenheit (13 Celsius)
  • September: Average high of 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 Celsius), low of 50 Fahrenheit (10 Celsius)

You’re going to see the Pacific Northwest, both Canadian and U.S. cities, show up a few times on this list, and for good reason. This part of the continent doesn’t get as hot as much of the rest of North America, and there are plenty of things to do.

Start off with breathtaking Vancouver, British Columbia , a thriving, diverse seaport. Don’t miss Canada’s largest Chinatown, the hip restaurants of historic Gastown or the natural beauty of 1,000-acre Stanley Park. Before you go, be sure to nibble on a Nanaimo bar, a decadent layered treat named for the Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo.

<p><strong><span>This location’s historical monthly average temperatures for the month of</span></strong>:</p> <ul> <li><strong>August:</strong> Average high of <a href="https://weather.com/weather/monthly/l/6df2ee9a4cf33d8bc7b6babd606b6affc7f510058c107302bfb3d1eed6319bd1" rel="noopener">71 degrees</a> Fahrenheit (22 Celsius), low of 51 Fahrenheit (11 Celsius)</li> <li><strong>September:</strong> Average high of 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 Celsius), low of 47 Fahrenheit (8 Celsius)</li> </ul> <p>Don’t confuse the big mainland city of Vancouver with Vancouver Island, which sits about 60 miles (100 km) southwest. Vancouver Island is home to British-accented <a href="https://www.tourismvictoria.com/">Victoria</a>, the capital of British Columbia. Take a scenic ferry to the island, then enjoy elegant afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Feel the work world slip away while wandering through 55-acre Butchart Gardens and learn about the province’s history at the Royal British Columbia Museum.</p>

Victoria, British Columbia

  • August: Average high of 71 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius), low of 51 Fahrenheit (11 Celsius)
  • September: Average high of 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 Celsius), low of 47 Fahrenheit (8 Celsius)

Don’t confuse the big mainland city of Vancouver with Vancouver Island, which sits about 60 miles (100 km) southwest. Vancouver Island is home to British-accented Victoria , the capital of British Columbia. Take a scenic ferry to the island, then enjoy elegant afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Feel the work world slip away while wandering through 55-acre Butchart Gardens and learn about the province’s history at the Royal British Columbia Museum.

<p><strong><span>This location’s historical monthly average temperatures for the month of</span></strong>:</p> <ul> <li><strong>August:</strong> Average high of <a href="https://weather.com/weather/monthly/l/6609719a9c6bd246aa190d2b84c335a4c03081e899fb34e58f6429ba83b4e1d0" rel="noopener">65 degrees</a> Fahrenheit (18 Celsius), low of 46 Fahrenheit (7 Celsius)</li> <li><strong>September:</strong> Average high of 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 Celsius), low of 35 Fahrenheit (1 Celsius)</li> </ul> <p>Alaska stays true to its nickname of America’s “Last Frontier,” and remote Fairbanks is the frontier’s front door for many. The <a href="https://www.explorefairbanks.com/#tracker">city’s tourism site</a> lets you track two of its most famous attractions — the astounding Aurora Borealis, known as the northern lights, and the magnificent midnight sun. That’s the 70-day period when Fairbanks receives 24 hours of sunlight. Many Fairbanks tourists arrive by cruise ship, another travel option.</p> <p><a href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/7-ways-coupons-waste-your-money-and-time/">Related: 7 Ways Coupons Waste Your Money and Time</a></p>

Fairbanks, Alaska

  • August: Average high of 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 Celsius), low of 46 Fahrenheit (7 Celsius)
  • September: Average high of 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 Celsius), low of 35 Fahrenheit (1 Celsius)

Alaska stays true to its nickname of America’s “Last Frontier,” and remote Fairbanks is the frontier’s front door for many. The city’s tourism site lets you track two of its most famous attractions — the astounding Aurora Borealis, known as the northern lights, and the magnificent midnight sun. That’s the 70-day period when Fairbanks receives 24 hours of sunlight. Many Fairbanks tourists arrive by cruise ship, another travel option.

Related: Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

<p>Rocky coasts, granite cliffs, lighthouses, picturesque streets and world-class seafood are among the reasons the town of <a href="http://www.barharborinfo.com/">Bar Harbor</a> on Mount Desert Island is a perennial destination for those who love New England.</p> <p>Just don’t get so caught up in town that you don’t take time to hike, climb or bike in nearby <a href="https://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm">Acadia National Park</a> — aka the crown jewel of the North Atlantic Coast.</p>

Bar Harbor, Maine

  • August: Average high of 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius), low of 60 Fahrenheit (15 Celsius)
  • September: Average high of 71 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius), low of 53 Fahrenheit (11 Celsius)

Bar Harbor is a charming resort town on Mount Desert Island, the largest island off the coast of Maine and the gateway to Acadia National Park. It’s a picture postcard from the Golden Age, when families such as the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and Pulitzers retreated here to grand summer homes. Ooh and aah at those mansions; marvel at the natural beauty of the mountains, granite cliffs and ocean; dine on fresh lobster; and bike or hike the park’s scenic byways.

<p>Seattle has the third-highest rate in the study for its average number of weeks worked per year, at 39.7.</p> <p>The Emerald City also comes in 17th of 100 for its relatively high percentage of workers putting in at least 1,700 hours to work each year, at 56.7%.</p>

  • August: Average high of 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius), low of 57 Fahrenheit (14 Celsius)
  • September: Average high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius), low of 53 Fahrenheit (12 Celsius)

The bluest skies you’ll ever see are in Seattle , or so the Perry Como/Bobby Sherman song goes. Summers are mild, and bugs and humidity are rare (so, too, is air conditioning — though more homes are adding it). Ride a glass elevator to the top of the iconic Space Needle or soar in the Seattle Great Wheel, a waterfront Ferris Wheel featuring 42 climate-controlled gondolas. And explore Seattle’s fabulous neighborhoods, from Scandinavian-accented Ballard to bustling Capitol Hill and funky Fremont, home to the Fremont Troll statue, who hunkers down under a bridge clasping a Volkswagen Beetle.

<ul> <li><strong>Metro/micro area:</strong> Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA</li> <li><strong>Percentage change in housing units (2012—2022):</strong> +22.3%</li> <li><strong>Percentage change in population (2012—2022):</strong> +17.9%</li> <li><strong>Total change in housing units (2012—2022):</strong> +37,719</li> <li><strong>Total change in population (2012—2022):</strong> +78,492</li> <li><strong>Total housing units (2022):</strong> 206,610</li> <li><strong>Total population (2022):</strong> 516,779</li> <li><strong>Percentage change in median home price (2012—2022):</strong> +165.8%</li> </ul>

Portland, Oregon

  • August: Average high of 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius), low of 59 Fahrenheit (14 Celsius)
  • September: Average high of 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius), low of 55 Fahrenheit (13 Celsius)

Just three hours south of Seattle sits Portland , Oregon’s laid-back largest city. The downtown’s Pearl District is a true gem, and it’s just a short walk from there to Powell’s City of Books, which takes up a full city block and offers both new and used books of all sorts. If you’re OK with the weirder things in life, don’t miss the Peculiarium museum (it helps to believe in aliens and spontaneous combustion). The young and young-at-heart will adore making their own pancakes at Slappy Cakes.

<p><strong>This metropolitan area’s rank for year-round particle pollution</strong>: 7</p> <p><strong>Population</strong>: 291,323</p> <p>Despite its high ranking for annual particle pollution, this region at the western end of Lake Superior was <a href="https://www.lung.org/research/sota/city-rankings/msas/duluth-mn-wi#pmann">43rd worst for 24-hour particle pollution</a> during 2020-2022. A report in 2022 found that the Hibbard Energy Center — whose combustion of coal and biomass helps supply the Minnesota Power utility — “<a href="https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2022/08/the-human-and-financial-cost-of-air-pollution-in-minnesota/#:~:text=After%20analyzing%20data%20on%20five%20Minnesota%20Power%20plants%2C,disproportionately%20low-income%20and%20face%20high%20cumulative%20socioeconomic%20burdens.%E2%80%9D">is associated with relatively high health impacts</a>.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/what-is-umbrella-insurance-and-do-i-need-it/">Related: What Is Umbrella Insurance, and Do I Need It?</a></p> <h3>Sponsored: Find a vetted financial advisor</h3> <ol> <li>Finding a fiduciary financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. <a rel="sponsored noopener" href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/out/aff_c?offer_id=33&aff_id=1000&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.msn.com%2Fslideshows%2Fmetro-areas-with-the-cleanest-air%2F">In five minutes, SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 financial advisors serving your area.</a></li> <li>Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. <a rel="sponsored noopener" href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/out/aff_c?offer_id=33&aff_id=1000&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.msn.com%2Fslideshows%2Fmetro-areas-with-the-cleanest-air%2F">Get on the path toward achieving your financial goals!</a></li> </ol> <p class="disclosure"><em>Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.</em></p>

Duluth, Minnesota

August: Average high of 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius), low of 60 Fahrenheit (15 Celsius)

September: Average high of 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 Celsius), low of 51 Fahrenheit (10 Celsius)

There’s an old saying: In Duluth , the view is always Superior. That’s because the world’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Superior, dominates the northeast Minnesota city. Head down to waterfront Canal Park to marvel at the Aerial Lift Bridge, take a tour of the William A. Irvin ore boat-turned-museum, and grab a coffee or craft beer. Don’t forget to tour Glensheen Mansion, a historic 20,000-square-foot waterfront home and the site of an infamous 1977 murder.

<p><strong><span>This location’s historical monthly average temperatures for the month of</span></strong>:</p> <ul> <li><strong>August:</strong> Average high of <a href="https://weather.com/weather/monthly/l/e2c39c2a784ce19c236c011e497b21c4df2b6670ec150a0081df612b97a3a80a" rel="noopener">71 degrees</a> Fahrenheit (22 Celsius), low of 44 Fahrenheit (7 Celsius)</li> <li><strong>September:</strong> Average high of 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius), low of 37 Fahrenheit (3 Celsius)</li> </ul> <p>You’ve likely seen tourism photos of <a href="https://www.banfflakelouise.com/">Banff National Park’s majestic Lake Louise</a>, an eerily turquoise, glacier-fed lake snuggled against the Canadian Rockies. It’s a bucket-list destination for many. You can also glide in a gondola into the mountains, ride an ATV to a hidden waterfall or float down the Bow River on an inflatable raft. O Canada!</p> <h3>Sponsored: Find a vetted financial advisor</h3> <ol> <li>Finding a fiduciary financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. <a rel="sponsored noopener" href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/out/aff_c?offer_id=33&aff_id=1000&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.msn.com%2Fslideshows%2Fof-the-best-places-to-travel-when-its-swelteringly-hot%2F">In five minutes, SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 financial advisors serving your area.</a></li> <li>Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. <a rel="sponsored noopener" href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/out/aff_c?offer_id=33&aff_id=1000&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.msn.com%2Fslideshows%2Fof-the-best-places-to-travel-when-its-swelteringly-hot%2F">Get on the path toward achieving your financial goals!</a></li> </ol> <p class="disclosure"><em>Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.</em></p>

Banff, Alberta

  • August: Average high of 71 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius), low of 44 Fahrenheit (7 Celsius)
  • September: Average high of 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius), low of 37 Fahrenheit (3 Celsius)

You’ve likely seen tourism photos of Banff National Park’s majestic Lake Louise , an eerily turquoise, glacier-fed lake snuggled against the Canadian Rockies. It’s a bucket-list destination for many. You can also glide in a gondola into the mountains, ride an ATV to a hidden waterfall or float down the Bow River on an inflatable raft. O Canada!

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<p><strong><span>This location’s historical monthly average temperatures for the month of</span></strong>:</p> <ul> <li><strong>August:</strong> Average high of <a href="https://weather.com/weather/monthly/l/647dad36e69ec541028b578bd7f8f449fb3920f8c038aa0e68298966726f0d04" rel="noopener">67 degrees</a> Fahrenheit (19 Celsius), low of 52 Fahrenheit (11 Celsius)</li> <li><strong>September:</strong> Average high of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius), low of 46 Fahrenheit (7 Celsius)</li> </ul> <p>Scenic <a href="https://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/top-destinations/st-johns">St. John’s,</a> on Newfoundland island off Canada’s Atlantic coast, is the capital of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Get your cameras ready: Downtown is famed for the striking, jellybean-colored houses of the Battery neighborhood. Hike up to historic Cabot Tower, where back in 1901, Guglielmo Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless message. The Provincial Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador, Railway Coastal Museum and Johnson Geo Centre are all popular attractions.</p>

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

  • August: Average high of 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19 Celsius), low of 52 Fahrenheit (11 Celsius)
  • September: Average high of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius), low of 46 Fahrenheit (7 Celsius)

Scenic St. John’s, on Newfoundland island off Canada’s Atlantic coast, is the capital of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Get your cameras ready: Downtown is famed for the striking, jellybean-colored houses of the Battery neighborhood. Hike up to historic Cabot Tower, where back in 1901, Guglielmo Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless message. The Provincial Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador, Railway Coastal Museum and Johnson Geo Centre are all popular attractions.

<p><strong><span>This location’s historical monthly average temperatures for the month of</span></strong>:</p> <ul> <li><strong>August:</strong> Average high of <a href="https://weather.com/weather/monthly/l/84a18bae65787b516dd1c48fb170c59483c4508a8e827b71d924933c55a1e824" rel="noopener">85 degrees</a> Fahrenheit (29 Celsius), low of 68 Fahrenheit (19 Celsius)</li> <li><strong>September:</strong> Average high of 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius), low of 64 Fahrenheit (18 Celsius)</li> </ul> <p>Amble down the <a href="https://www.ococean.com/">Ocean City, Maryland,</a> boardwalk, named <a href="https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/beaches/articles/americas-favorite-boardwalks">America’s best </a>by the Travel Channel. It boasts food, shops, arcades and amusements, including the magnificent, century-old Herschell-Spillman Carousel. Laze on the beach or get your heart pumping by surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking or jet skiing. Horse-loving types should gallop away for a day trip to Assateague Island, famed for its wild horses, who are carefully protected by the <a href="https://www.nps.gov/asis/learn/nature/horses.htm#:~:text=The%20horses%20are%20split%20into,band%20occupies%20a%20home%20range.">National Park Service</a>.</p> <p>Join 1.2 million Americans saving an average of $991.20 with Money Talks News. <a href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/?utm_source=msn&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=one-liner#newsletter">Sign up for our FREE newsletter today.</a></p> <h3>Get smarter with your money!</h3> <p>Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then <a href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/?utm_source=msn&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=blurb#newsletter" rel="noopener">sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter</a> to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. <a href="https://www.moneytalksnews.com/?utm_source=msn&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=blurb#newsletter" rel="noopener">Sign up for our free newsletter today.</a></p> <p class="disclosure"><em>Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.</em></p>

Ocean City, Maryland

  • August: Average high of 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius), low of 68 Fahrenheit (19 Celsius)
  • September: Average high of 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius), low of 64 Fahrenheit (18 Celsius)

Amble down the Ocean City, Maryland, boardwalk, named America’s best by the Travel Channel. It boasts food, shops, arcades and amusements, including the magnificent, century-old Herschell-Spillman Carousel. Laze on the beach or get your heart pumping by surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking or jet skiing. Horse-loving types should gallop away for a day trip to Assateague Island, famed for its wild horses, who are carefully protected by the National Park Service .

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These Are Going to Be the Most Popular Travel Destinations in 2024

Discover destinations all over the world inspired by TV and movie sets, music tours, lifestyle trends, and more.

“At Expedia Group, we have extensive first-party travel data that we use to enhance and curate experiences for our travelers across Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo,” Jon Gieselman, president of Expedia Brands, says in the report. “These insights shape our travel forecasts, revealed in Unpack '24, enabling our travelers to be the first to discover and book the most desired trips before they become well-beaten paths.”

Ready to ignite your travel bug? Ahead, discover the most popular travel destinations of 2024.

The Top 10 Travel Destinations of 2024

Expedia Group predicts that travelers are most likely to jet set to destinations popularized in fan-favorite TV shows and movies. According to the report, “More than half of travelers say they’ve researched or booked a trip to a destination after seeing it on a TV show or in a movie. In fact, travelers say TV shows influence their travel decisions more than Instagram, TikTok, and podcasts.” With that in mind, they reveal that the top 10 travel destinations of 2024 are as follows:

  • Thailand - Featured in White Lotus , Season 3—which has sadly been pushed to premiere in 2025
  • Romania - Featured in Wednesday , Season 2—which has not yet set a release date
  • Malta - As seen in Gladiator 2 , which is set to premiere on November 22, 2024
  • Paris - As seen in Emily in Paris
  • Scottish Highlands - Featured in Outlander
  • London, Bath, and Windsor, U.K. - As seen in Bridgerton and The Crown
  • South Korea - Featured in Squid Game —the Season 2 release date has yet to be announced
  • Florida Keys - As seen in the series Bad Monkey
  • Australia - Featured in Baz Luhrmann’s Faraway Downs series, as well as the film Furiosa , which is set to premiere on May 24, 2024
  • Greece - as seen in the films Argylle (set to release in 2024) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3

The Top 10 Travel Destination Dupes

Dupes have long been lauded in the beauty and fashion categories, and now the concept is making its way to travel. “1 in 3 of those polled say they’ve booked a dupe,” the report reveals. “But what do these less obvious alternatives offer besides potential savings? They’re often less crowded, tend to be a little unexpected, and can be every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true destinations.”

Intrigued by the idea of booking a stellar vacation for a fraction of the price? Check out Expedia Group’s Top 10 Travel Destination Dupes, below, which are listed as the original destination of inspiration and the dupe that mirrors it.

  • Seoul —> Taipei
  • Bangkok —> Pattaya
  • Santorini —> Paros
  • Saint Martin —> Curaçao
  • Sydney —> Perth
  • London —> Liverpool
  • Lisbon —> Palermo
  • Geneva —> Québec City
  • Zermatt —> Sapporo
  • Nashville —> Memphis

The Top 10 Tour-Inspired Travel Destinations

Music lovers, this one’s for you! As you well know, traveling to see your favorite artists live is expensive, to say the least. With this in mind, Expedia set out to find the most affordable destinations where the world’s most famous pop and rock stars are set to take the stage in 2024.

Through their research, in which they analyzed the average daily rates of tour locations, they found the top 10 most affordable cities (less than $150/night on average) where travelers can witness the likes of Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Coldplay, Metallica, Madonna, and more. They are as follows:

  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - $91
  • Edmonton, Canada - $108
  • Mexico City, Mexico - $119
  • Warsaw, Poland - $119
  • Birmingham, U.K. - $127
  • Houston, Texas - $130
  • Antwerp, Belgium - $140
  • Tokyo, Japan - $147
  • Perth, Australia - $148
  • Detroit, Michigan - $149

For more research-backed travel trends, be sure to check out Expedia’s full Unpack ‘24 Trend Report .

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Rebecca R. Norris is a full-time freelance writer living in the DC metro area. She writes for a variety of publications, primarily covering women’s interest topics. When she's not writing, she can be found out and about with her Jack-Chi, Cash, sweating her way through an Orangetheory class, or taking it easy with family and friends 

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The 55 Most Beautiful Places in the World

From cloud forests to glacial lakes, these destinations are the world's best sights to see.

Anne Olivia Bauso is a travel writer and hotel expert based in New York City. She has written hundreds of hotel reviews, from 5-star Ritz-Carlton properties to treehouse eco-resorts in the jungle.

top 10 hot tourist spots

There are never-ending reasons to travel, but many go to seek those awe-inspiring moments that stop them in their tracks, searching for the sights that will stay with them forever. Every day, travelers find those experiences among the ruins of Machu Picchu or at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.  

From sky-blue lakes in Canada to sandstone beaches in Seychelles, beauty abounds in every corner of the Earth. Focusing largely on national parks , mountains, beaches, deserts, and other natural wonders , we’ve compiled the world's most beautiful places to inspire your next dream destination. 

Join us for a journey to some of the most beautiful places in the world, like the red rocks of the Grand Canyon and the abundantly colorful Great Barrier Reef.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

There's no better way to experience Patagonia's rugged natural beauty than in Torres del Paine National Park . The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is home to its namesake granite towers (the park's name is an amalgam of the Spanish word for “towers” and the Tehuelche word for “blue”), as well as sparkling lagoons and otherworldly glaciers.

Bagan, Myanmar

It's hard to truly grasp the magnitude of Bagan Archaeological Zone , dominated by thousands of temples, pagodas, and stupas. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site on a bike (or e-bike to cover even more ground). For an eagle's-eye view, take a hot-air balloon ride at sunrise to see the temples scattered across the lush landscape.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, Costa Rica

This magical, misty, and well-preserved cloud forest in northwestern Costa Rica is the ultimate template for sustainable ecotourism. Along with its sister cloud forest, Santa Elena Reserve, Monteverde is a practically untouched paradise home to thousands of plant, animal, and bird species (including the radiant quetzal), visible from jungle paths and nail-biting steel bridges hanging over the canopy.

Anse Source d'Argent, Seychelles

Pinpointing the most beautiful Seychellois beach is like splitting hairs, but Anse Source d'Argent gets extremely high marks for its sugar-white sand framed by dramatic granite boulders and sparkling aquamarine water. The sweet shoreline is relatively secluded from the resort crowds on La Digue Island.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Don Eim/Travel + Leisure

Offering some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet, the Grand Canyon truly merits the term "breathtaking." The vast geologic wonderland, one mile deep and up to 18 miles across, displays countless layers of colorful rock and practically hypnotic vistas.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia

One of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls spans the Zimbabwe and Zambia borders. "The smoke that thunders," as it is known to locals, and its surroundings, are hubs for white-water rafting, helicopter rides, big-game safaris , and other thrilling adventures.

Whitehaven Beach, Australia

Irjaliina Paavonpera/Travel + Leisure

Whitehaven Beach is arguably one of the loveliest shores in the world. Part of Australia's Whitsunday Coast, the star attraction is remarkable for its amazing combination of pure silica sands and vivid blue-green waters.

Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar

On a dirt road near Madagascar's west coast is a stretch of enormous baobab trees, all that remains of a once-dense forest. The centuries-old giants are especially magnificent cast in the light of a sunrise and sunset.

Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia

The world's largest salt flat covers 4,000 square miles of the Bolivian Altiplano. In the dry season, it's an endless white sheet of salt tiles made all the more dazzling by clear, sunny skies. From December to April, however, regular rains create a mirror effect that merges lake and sky. No matter when you see it, Salar de Uyuni is one of the most captivating sights on earth.

Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam

With hundreds of jungle-covered karsts springing out of emerald green waters, Hạ Long Bay is a photographer's dream. Hop on a boat or kayak to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site 's beautiful islands and surreal cave systems.

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Nicholas Schmidt/Travel + Leisure

Lake Atitlán in the Sierra Madres offers a combination of Indigenous culture, waterside serenity, and yoga bliss. Cross the gorgeous crater lake by boat and explore various pueblos, shop local markets for Mayan crafts, and sleep in treehouse accommodations.

Le Morne Brabant, Mauritius

A freestanding basaltic mountain hulking over a bright blue-green Indian Ocean lagoon certainly makes spectacular scenery. When viewed from above, the surrounding sand and silt form an optical illusion that appears to be a massive underwater waterfall at this mythic place. Thanks to its isolation and near-inaccessibility, Le Morne sheltered people who escaped enslavement during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Acadia National Park, Maine

From rocky shorelines shrouded in mist to conifer-cloaked mountainsides, Acadia is a wild place of sea, stone, and forest. Visitors flock here to hike, fish, climb, camp, and experience the end-of-the-world feel in New England's only national park.

Okavango Delta, Botswana

The mighty Okavango, the largest inland delta in the world, is a vast network of winding waterways and animal-attracting lagoons. Navigating through reed-studded channels in a mokoro (traditional canoe) and spotting hippos, leopards, and elephants is one of the world's great travel experiences for nature lovers.

Railay West Beach, Thailand

Dmitrii Guldin / Getty Images

On the Railay peninsula's west side, Krabi's famous karsts meet a simply stunning jade-green lagoon. The vertical cliffs block access from the Krabi mainland, making Railay reachable only by boat, adding to its incredible appeal.

Maasai Mara, Kenya

This famed wildlife preserve (next door neighbor to the Serengeti) is one of the world's most enchanting ecosystems . The Mara's golden grasslands stretch to the horizon, interrupted by graceful acacia trees and rumbling throngs of wildebeest and zebra — and their stalking predators.

Cat Island, The Bahamas

Cat Island is a secret nirvana hiding in plain sight in the Bahamas . Sparsely developed and off the main tourist track, Cat Island is resplendent in miles of nature trails and wondrous pink-sands sprawling under the Caribbean sun.

Zhangye National Geopark, China

Distinct rolling bands of orange, cream, yellow, brown, and russet against jagged mountain peaks make this geological anomaly in Gansu, China look like a psychedelic scene on Mars.

Glencoe, Scotland

The Scottish Highlands are filled with astonishingly scenic glens, but Glencoe is perhaps the most famous (and infamous, due to a brutal 17th-century massacre). Today the valley is a haven for hikers, mountaineers, and whiskey lovers — the 19th-century Ben Nevis Distillery is a short drive away.

Mount Kōya, Japan

The Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi founded this mountaintop temple town in 819. Today, the sacred and serene place is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site , and contains more than 100 temples, including head temple Kongobuji, featuring gorgeous gilded sliding doors and ceilings carved with flowers. Within the ancient complex is a mausoleum and cemetery surrounded by a cedar forest with old growth trees up to 600 years old.

Dead Sea, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel

Name aside, the Dead Sea is a lake and one of the world's saltiest, at that (in fact, the saline water has such a high density that it keeps bathers afloat). Set between Jordan, Palestine, and Israel at the Earth's lowest elevation, it's known for its beautiful clear and tranquil waters (nearly 10 times more saline than the ocean) and surrounding mineral formations, sandy beaches, nature preserves, natural pools, and waterfalls.

Zion National Park, Utah

Lauren Breedlove/Travel + Leisure

Glorious Navajo Sandstone cliffs, rainbow-colored canyons, and incredible biodiversity make Zion one of the most popular (and most scenic) national parks in the U.S.

Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland

Dominated by a 3,000-square-mile ice cap of the same name, Vatnajökull is a chilly, Icelandic wonderland of caves, craters, glacier-filled calderas, and waterfalls. Perhaps the most famous falls is Svartifoss, surging over hexagonal lava-rock columns.

Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale's electric-blue thermal pools and white travertine formations, naturally formed by slowly crystallizing calcium carbonate, make for gorgeous vacation photos.

Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Hawaii

Nā Pali translates to "the cliffs" in Hawaiian, a deceptively simple name that might not fully prepare travelers for the epic glory on view. The staggering coastline is too rugged and vertical for road access, so the only way to see it is by boat, air, or seriously intense hiking trails.

Table Mountain, Cape Town

Ascending iconic Table Mountain tops the list for most travelers in Cape Town. Adventurous hikers can go on foot, but there's also an aerial cableway that gently sweeps up to the 3,563-foot summit. Either way, the top offers insane panoramic views of the South African capital and the Atlantic.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Built nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Incan citadel whose engineering ingenuity and head-spinning views rival the extraordinary beauty of its Sacred Valley setting.

Lucerne, Switzerland

Picture a serene alpine lake fringed with soaring Alps. Now add in a walkable medieval town and you've got the setting for this long-popular Swiss destination . Don't miss Mount Pilatus (via the world’s steepest cogwheel railway) and the Rigi for nature trails and a famous viewpoint overlooking three lakes.

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia

The Blue Ridge Parkway may lack Highway 101's ocean scenery, but it trades Pacific views for peaceful Appalachian beauty. Stretching 469 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Shenandoah National Park , the 45 MPH, no-trucks route winds past overlook after overlook, letting road-trippers marvel at the mountains' dreamy blue hue.

Pulau Tioman, Malaysia

This isn't a tropical island getaway with a wild party scene or string of upscale resorts. Pulau Tioman is more of a floating nature preserve, with local character and a strong sense of environmental conservation (coral rehab and sea turtle preservation are major focuses for the island's Juara Turtle Project ). The island, off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the South China Sea, is popular for its dive sites, shipwrecks, and tropical rainforest.

Damaraland, Namibia

Damaraland region is an almost-mystical vision of red-earth desert plains, flat-topped mountains, petrified forest, and well-preserved ancient Bushmen rock paintings. Though it looks like a scene from Mars, Damaraland is rich in wildlife, home to lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes, and the critically-endangered black rhino.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil

Altogether, the 275 cascades on the Argentina -Brazil border form a mind-blowing, panoramic waterfall. The overwhelming sight, combined with the sound and energy of water rushing at up to 450,000 cubic feet per second in the rainy season, is pure magnificence.

Matira Beach, French Polynesia

The South Pacific calls up many visions of spectacular beaches . Bora Bora 's Matira Beach gets singled out for its miles of pearly white, flour-fine sand and breathtaking bright turquoise lagoon.

Cirque de Gavarnie, France

Cirque de Gavarnie is a popular hiking destination in the Pyrenees, and one of its most beautiful. Called "the colosseum of nature" by Victor Hugo, the Cirque is a ring of sheer granite mountain walls enclosing a picture-perfect green valley. It's astounding even before you add in three-tier Gavarnie Falls pouring over a 922-foot drop.

Shark Bay, Australia

Shark Bay: where the red earth of Australia's westernmost point meets the teal waters of the Indian Ocean. The bay is home to one of the largest and richest beds of seagrass in the world, as well as stromatolites — rocky-looking, cauliflower-shaped microbial reefs and some of the oldest life forms on Earth.

Lofoten Islands, Norway

The Lofoten archipelago bursts dramatically out of the Norwegian Sea. Between the jagged peaks and steep slopes are quaint fishing villages, secluded coves, scenic backpacking and biking trails, and dreamy white-sand beaches.

Los Cabos, Mexico

Flanked by the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California, Los Cabos ' symphony of natural features — desert, mountains, sea, and plenty of sunshine — and yes, raucous party scene, have made it one of the most popular vacation destinations in North America. Its cobalt blue waters are a hub for diving, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, and whale watching.

Taormina, Sicily

Laura La Monaca/Travel + Leisure

Taormina has all the elements for a gorgeous Mediterranean destination : ancient ruins, a charming old town, and a setting backed by Mount Etna, an active volcano you can summit by foot.

Dal Lake, India

The snow-capped Zabarwan Range rise above Kashmir's romantic Dal Lake, a long-time Himalayan escape for Indians fleeing the south's heat. During the summer, veranda-clad cedar houseboats bob along the lake's western edge while floating markets and brightly-painted taxi boats drift by.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The world's largest barrier reef is an unrivaled experience for snorkelers and divers. The sensational underwater world is made up of 2,900 individual reefs, 900 islands, and a mind-boggling diversity of marine life.

Fairy Meadows National Park, Pakistan

Near the foot of the world's ninth-highest mountain (Nanga Parbat), Fairy Meadows offers sublime mountain scenery and wildlife, including brown bears, markhor, and Himalayan ibex. Be forewarned: The road to get there has been dubbed the second deadliest road on the planet by the World Health Organization. To get to Fairy Meadows, you’ll have to be escorted by locals, in groups of six people at a time. 

Wulingyuan Scenic Area, China

Thousands of tapering quartz sandstone formations spiral skyward in this 100-square-mile stretch of karst terrain. Beneath the towers lie valleys, streams, waterfalls, caves, natural bridges, and dense green forest.

Banff National Park, Canada

Canada's oldest national park showcases the majesty of the Canadian Rockies in Alberta. Banff is known for its staggering peaks, dense pine forests, hot springs, animals (grizzlies, bighorn sheep, and moose all call the park home), and almost eerily azure glacier-fed lakes, such as the postcard-perfect Peyto Lake.

Wadi Rum Reserve, Jordan

Wadi Rum is a stunning red-desert landscape filled with canyons, dunes, mountains, springs, archeological sites, and stone archways (brave hikers can cross the largest, Burdah Rock Bridge, which is more than 200 feet above the ground).

Milford Sound/Piopiotahi, New Zealand

Glaciers carved this awe-inspiring valley , leaving behind craggy peaks with sheer drops into glistening waters. Part of UNESCO World Heritage Site Te Wahipounamu , Milford Sound is blessed with waterfalls, rainbows, rainforest, and a diversity of wildlife — everything from black coral to bottlenose dolphins, with seals and even penguins in between.

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Blissfully isolated 217 miles off the Brazilian mainland, this lovingly-preserved archipelago offers pristine beaches and clear waters abundant in marine life perfect for world-class snorkeling.

The Algarve, Portugal

Surrounded by the Atlantic to the south and west, Portugal's Algarve region looks and feels like a wild respite. Wind-sculpted cliffs and headlands frame big, sandy beaches popular with surfers and dotted with secret coves and grottoes.

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Solitary Mount Kilimanjaro is one of Africa's most stunning icons, rising more than 19,000 feet from coffee and banana farms up to snowy volcanic peaks. Along the way, hikers trek through distinct climate zones, from rainforest to high-altitude desert to the arctic-like summit (aka "the roof of Africa").

Mount Fuji, Japan

Both an active volcano and an icon of serenity, Mount Fuji is one of the world's most magnificent sights. You can hike to the sacred landmark's summit for sweeping views or simply gape at it from Lake Kawaguchi and elsewhere in the beautiful Five Lakes region . Head to the spa town of Hakone in winter to pair crisp Fuji views with steaming hot springs.

Li River, China

The Li River carves through the lowland farms and jagged karst terrain of northwestern Guangxi, creating some of China's most picturesque scenery (the area is so pretty, it appears on the 20 yuan banknote). A four- to five-hour river cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is the most popular way to experience Li River, though travelers wanting more autonomy can rent bamboo rafts or hike — the natural moon-shaped arch of Moon Hill makes a glorious lookout.

Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como has been one of Italy's most popular vacation spots since the time of the Roman emperors. This unabashedly high-rolling resort area still attracts a posh crowd with its lush gardens, cinematic palaces and villas, and sun-soaked alpine shores. Take the funicular to the tiny village of Brunate for an amazing panorama.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Like so many of Earth's most stunning sights, Crater Lake is the result of earth-altering, volcanic forces. Its 1,943-foot depth makes it the deepest lake in the U.S. , filled with mesmerizingly deep blue waters fed by rain and snow. View its perfection from hiking trails, boat tours, and the 33-mile Rim Drive around the caldera. (Keep in mind, some attractions like boat tours and the scenic Rim Drive close for the winter season.)

Big Sur, California

Makito Umekita/Travel + Leisure

Even considering California's 840 miles of monumental coastline, it's hard to rival the beauty of Big Sur . Thick redwood forest, foggy canyons, and rocky cliffs tumbling into the Pacific define this area (the name refers to both the town and the coastal region), made all the more famous for its freewheeling NorCal vibes and Old Hollywood history.

Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee

With half a million acres split by Tennessee and North Carolina, this famous park 's wondrous mountain scenery encompasses hardwood forests, steep-sided ravines cut through by rivers and streams, and brilliant wildflowers in bloom from spring to fall. Hikers have 150 trails available to them, from the Appalachian Trail’s Charlies Bunion hike to the more challenging Rainbow Falls route.

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

The scenery alone — waterfalls, calderas, misty bamboo forests — makes Volcanoes National Park a worthy contender of any travel list. The mystical setting is all the more special for hosting buffaloes, birds, golden monkeys, and the elusive mountain gorilla.

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Most Visited Countries 2024

European countries, often rich in history, culture, beautiful beaches, and ocean views, attract the highest number of tourists.

France, leading in tourism for over 30 years, offers attractions like the Eiffel Tower and Disneyland Paris, drawing 38 million tourists to Paris alone in 2019.

Global travel and tourism, an $8.9 trillion industry in 2019, suffered a loss of $4.5 trillion and 62 million jobs in 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Global travel and tourism was an $8.9 trillion (US$) business in 2019 . Moreover, though the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced that number to roughly a quarter of its previous value, all signs point to tourism continuing to grow, expand, and evolve. Every country on Earth has something to offer international visitors, from the pyramids in Egypt to the rainforests of Brazil or the sidewalk cafes of Paris —but which countries attract the most visitors of all? Most of the countries with the highest tourism rates are located in Europe , whose rich history, architecture, and cultural influence make it an appealing destination for many travelers. Countries positioned on or near a body of water are also very popular, particularly those that offer a relaxed, low-key atmosphere mixed with beautiful beaches and ocean views.

Top 10 Countries Most Popular with Tourists (by number of 2019 visitor arrivals)

The most popular tourist destination in the world for more than 30 years, France offers a myriad of attractions: the Eiffel tower, countless world-class restaurants, the Musée du Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, the Notre-Dame cathedral, the beaches of the Côte d'Azur, and of course, Disneyland Paris. Moreover, the lushly beautiful countryside is full of storybook villages, mountains, vineyards, and the occasional castle. One can even view prehistoric cave paintings in Lascaux. Paris, France's capital, is the most visited city in Europe, receiving 38 million tourists in 2019.

Spain is another tourist destination overflowing with interesting attractions. Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia cathedral and other works in Barcelona , the Guggenheim museum, the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, Europe's largest aquarium (the lily-shaped L'Oceanogràfic), the beaches of Gran Canaria, and La Rambla in Barcelona. Spain is also home to El Teide, an ancient—but not entirely dormant—volcano, which visitors can hike around at the Parque Nacional del Teide on the Spanish island Tenerife.

England's capital city, London , attracts visitors with a wide range of sights including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and the British Museum, which includes the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Cairo . Beyond London, England offers the mysterious Stonehenge, the Beatles' birthplace in Liverpool , the quaint beauty of the Cotswolds, the sci-fi botanical gardens of the Eden Project, and more. Speaking of more, the UK also includes three additional subdivisions. First is Scotland, with the charming city of Edinburgh , moody Loch Ness and Inverness , the scenic highlands, and the historic St. Andrews golf course. Next comes charming Wales and its castles, scenery, and capital city of Cardiff . Finally, Northern Ireland boasts attractions including Belfast 's bubbling nightlife, the glens and coastline of Antrim, and one of Europe's most compelling natural wonders: the Giant's Causeway.

The Mediterranean nation Turkey balances captivating man-made attractions such as Hagia Sophia mosque and Topkapı Palace with archaeological wonders such as the Biblical city of Ephesus, the fairy city of Cappadocia, and the desolate fallen splendor of Mount Nemrut. It also has more than its share of natural wonders, including the famous beaches at Ölüdeniz and Patara, the mineral pools at Pamukkale, and the Mediterranean coastline itself.

The South Asian country of Thailand is also known as the "Land of Smiles", and offers both modern comforts and wild adventure. Thailand's capital, Bangkok , receives over 20 million visitors every year. Popular attractions include the Grand Palace in Bangkok; beaches including Railay, Long, and Monkey beach; the ancient city Ayutthaya and ornate Buddhist wat Coi Suthep, and national parks including Khao Yai (where wild elephants roam) and the otherworldly Khao Sok.

The impact of COVID-19 on travel and tourism

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21 had a devastating effect on the travel and tourism industry. According to a report released by the World Travel & Tourism Council , the pandemic cost the industry an estimated US$ 4.5 trillion in 2020, which resulted in the loss of 62 million tourism-dependent jobs. Data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization backs this up. Consider the following table:

International tourist arrivals (in thousands of visitors):

Compared to 2019, tourism dropped by approximately 74% in 2020, with a total of a billion fewer travelers over the course of the year--making 2020 the worst year on record for tourism. The UNTWO's own estimates registered a loss of US$ 1.3 trillion in lost revenues and 100-120 million jobs either lost or at risk.

The impact has been particularly damaging in countries that rely heavily upon tourism as part of their GDP. Lost tourism in Macau , one of China 's special administrative regions, led to a 79.3% drop in year-on-year gambling revenues , which caused overall GDP for 2020 to fall 43.1% compared to the previous year.

While tourism has picked up slightly in 2021, they still fall far short of the pre-pandemic numbers. Late 2020 projections were hopeful that the industry would be back on track by late 2021, but the ongoing nature of the pandemic has thwarted that optimism. As of late 2021, most estimates do not expect the industry to rebound to 2019 (pre-COVID) levels until sometime in 2023 at the earliest.

  • Visitor totals are displayed in 1000s. For example, South Africa 's displayed total of 3886.6 equals 3,886,600 visitors.

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  • UNWTO Tourism Data Dashboard - United Nations World Tourism Organization
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Seven Best Vacation Spots to Beat the Summer Heat

The best vacation spots to beat the summer heat and embrace the comparatively cool, include Alaska, Reykjavík, British Columbia, and Stockholm.

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Panoramic city view with historic buildings along the waterfront of Sodermalm district, a southern district of Stockholm City Centre.

If you’re trying to stay cool this summer , why not just leave the heat behind? Some of the best vacation spots in the world let you do just that. While it may be sweltering in your part of the world, other countries and cities are experiencing mild summer temperatures or are in the middle of their winter season. 

Many parts of the United States, however, are heating up. Experts believe that there’s a good chance this summer could be one of the hottest on record, with Accuweather predicting that from June through August, temperatures will reach 2 degrees above historical averages across more than half of the country. In fact, a recent heat wave has already set new daily high-temperature records from Washington D.C. to Maine, reports Forbes . 

If you're finding the summer heat unbearable, you can escape these record-breaking temperatures by traveling to one of the best vacation spots to escape the summer heat.

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 1. Denali National Park, Alaska 

USA, Alaska, Denali National Park, caribou in front of Mt.McKinley

  • July average high temperature: 59°
  • August average temperature: 54°

If you want to stay cool and escape the heat this summer, consider heading to Denali National Park, where you’ll get up close and personal with unspoiled wilderness and wildlife. The best part? The average summer temperature ranges from only 33 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. We recommend taking a bus tour of the park, where you'll have the opportunity to look for wildlife like bears, moose, caribou, foxes and wolves. There are plenty of guided hiking tours as well. Take advantage of the cool summer air while you can!  

It takes 5.5 hours to get to the park from Anchorage by car or 8 hours by train, and only about 2.5 hours by car or 4 hours by train if you leave from Fairbanks. If you really want to get off the grid, you can even stay inside Denali National Park at one of its remote, exclusive wilderness lodges.

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rear view of a man looking at an Amsterdam canal on a sunny day.

  • July average high temperature: 71° 
  • August average temperature : 71°

If you’re not the outdoorsy type, a vacation in the city might be more your speed. Throughout the year, the temperature in Amsterdam usually ranges from 34°F to 71°F, rarely reaching below 22°F or above 81°F — great news if you’re looking to escape the heat this summer. Plus you’ll have plenty of daytime to sightsee. Amsterdam sunsets take place after 10 pm for much of June and July, according to Eating Europe , and traces of light can be seen up to 11 pm or later almost the entire summer. 

If you like art or history, make sure to stop by several of the city’s famous museums, including the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum. You can also enjoy the city’s many canals by taking a guided canal cruise. 

3.  Reykjavík, Iceland 

Wide angle view of the landscape at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, Europe.

  • July average high temperature: 56°
  • August average temperature: 56°

Although June, July and August are technically Iceland's warmest and driest months, don’t expect the weather to be warm or dry — average summer temperatures in Iceland range between 50-59 ° F, rarely reaching over 80 ° . And thanks to Iceland’s “midnight sun,” where the sun never fully sets, you’ll have almost 24 hours of daylight to enjoy all the country has to offer — which is a lot. 

Start your adventure in Reykjavik, where you can rent a car and start on what’s known as the Ring Road — an 800-mile loop circling the country. On this route, you’ll find waterfalls, glaciers, national parks and black-sand beaches. While you're in Iceland, also check out some of the best natural scenery on the planet in the Icelandic Highlands, which are inaccessible in the winter but can be explored in the summer. You’ll find breathtaking mountains, lava fields, hot springs and glaciers.

4. Cape Town, South Africa

Colony of Penguins on Boulder Beach, Cape Town.

  • July average high temperature: 68°
  • August average temperature: 68°

While we Americans try to beat the heat from June to August, countries in the Southern Hemisphere are enjoying their winter season. So if you’re looking to escape record-breaking high temperatures, travel south. At this time, Cape Town experiences a cooler and wetter climate, so expect temperatures under 70 ° as well as plenty of rainy days.

The benefit of visiting in winter? It's the off-peak tourist season, meaning fewer crowds and tourists while you go whale watching, hike Table Mountain, delve into the city’s famous culinary scene or embark on a safari. 

South Africa also made Kiplinger’s list of Best Places to Visit Where the Dollar Is Strong and The 10 Cheapest Countries to Visit .

5. South Island, New Zealand

Pink sunrise over Lake Matheson, South Island, New Zealand

  • July average high temperature: 46°
  • August average temperature: 50°

New Zealand is another great vacation spot to escape the heat, especially for those who love snow. Winter will be in full swing, so expect alpine scenery, snow-capped mountains and crisp, cold air. The South Island in particular is home to many popular ski resorts, making it well-suited for snow sports enthusiasts. From Queenstown, you'll be able to travel to some of the best ski fields in the South Island within just a 20 to 90-minute drive. Coronet Peak, for example, is one of the most popular ski resorts on the South Island, featuring varied terrain for both beginners and experts.

If you're not a skier, no worries. You can still explore the region by taking a train ride through the Southern Alps, exploring glaciers, going on a dog-sledding or snowmobiling adventure and stargazing at the world's largest Dark Sky Reserve . For those who just want to relax, you can enjoy a cozy winter escape while staying in Queenstown.

6. Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver, Skyline, British Columbia.

  • July average high temperature: 72°
  • August average temperature : 72°

Vancouver summers are very mild and pleasant, with temperatures typically ranging from 66˚F to 73˚F throughout the day and dropping at night; the average low temperature for both July and August in Vancouver is 58°. Summer weather in Vancouver is also dry, so expect sunny days with only a small chance of rain — perfect weather to explore the city. 

Make sure you head over to Stanley Park to explore the 400-hectare natural West Coast rainforest, attend the Richmond Night Market, the largest night market in North America, and eat seafood on Granville Island. The city also hosts several summer festivals, including the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Vancouver Greek Fest and Granville Block Party. 

7. Stockholm, Sweden

Skeppsbron embankment in Stockholm.

  • July average high temperature: 75°
  • August average temperature: 72°

Stockholm weather is perfect for sightseeing. Temperatures are comfortable and mild, with lots of sunshine. And during the summer months, the city experiences a total of 18 hours of daylight. 

Stockholm is rich with culture, offering 89 museums, 423 libraries, 80 cultural and community centers and 93 venues for theatrical performances across the 14 islands the city is situated on. The Vasa Museum, the most visited museum in Scandinavia, is a must-visit, housing the world's only preserved 17th-century ship. At the Swedish History Museum, browse 10 million artifacts from Sweden's history, organized by era. Also, take a ferry trip to explore the Stockholm archipelago of 30,000 islands. 

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    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.

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    Alhambra, Spain. 27. Buckingham Palace, London. 28. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. 1. Eiffel Tower, Paris. Spring flowers in front of the Eiffel Tower. The symbol of Paris and one of the most photographed structures in the world, a visit to the Eiffel Tower is a must for all travelers.

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    Forbidden City cracks the top 10 of the world's most visited attractions despite setting crowd limits. Annual visitors: 15.3 million. Beijing's Ming Dynasty palace — the largest ancient palace in the world — has been standing since 1420. Once the home of Chinese emperors, the 180-acre complex of 980 buildings is now home to the Palace Museum.

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    11. Hong Kong. Hong Kong is one of the most incredible travel destinations in the world. Multiple islands surround the city (also the name of the country) and have much to offer you as a tourist, from lively art, luxurious resorts, unique shopping locations, and fantastic street food.

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    Sal, Cabo Verde. The golden sands of the well-developed Santa Maria Beach are a favored tourist hotspot in Sal, while Ponta Preta Beach offers more rugged scenery, and windsurfers flock to Kite Beach. As the sun sets over Santa Maria, live music, traditional dancing and cocktail bars are to be expected.

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    Glacier National Park. #1 in Best Places to Visit in the USA for 2023-2024. Glaciers are the main draw of this Montana national park, but its more than 700 lakes, two mountain ranges and multiple ...

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

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    23. Casablanca. Today Casablanca is a large, modern city, but the former French colonial post still allows myriad movie moments for those who want to revisit love in the medina and Old City. Casa (as locals call it) isn't too touristy, but it's the most cosmopolitan and Western-feeling city in Morocco.

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    2. The Louvre Museum in Paris, France. While known as one of the most impressive museums in the world, the Louvre was originally built as a fortress and later reconstructed to serve as a royal palace. The massive complex that sits on the banks of the Seine is something to behold inside & out.

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    Sites along the Freedom Trail include the State House, Old State House, the Old Granary Burying Ground, Old City Hall, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, and many more. Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Boston. 12. Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park.

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    The city's tourism site lets you track two of its most famous attractions — the astounding Aurora Borealis, known as the northern lights, and the magnificent midnight sun. That's the 70-day ...

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    The most popular tourist destination in the world for more than 30 years, France offers a myriad of attractions: the Eiffel tower, countless world-class restaurants, the Musée du Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, the Notre-Dame cathedral, the beaches of the Côte d'Azur, and of course, Disneyland Paris. Moreover, the lushly beautiful countryside is full of storybook villages, mountains ...

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