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Best Places to Travel in 2024

Almost everyone seems to be traveling this year, but with nearly an endless list of enticing places around the world, the passion for exploring or just enjoying a relaxed getaway among spectacular scenery continues in 2024. In fact, a recent OnePoll survey found that Americans are planning to visit an average of four different destinations next year.

For those who still haven’t decided where to go, this list is sure to inspire you with the best places based on various interests and other factors with something for everyone from outdoor adventurers and nature lovers to solo travelers, couples, families, and retirees.

The Best Places to Travel in 2023:

  • Best for Outdoor Adventure: Iceland
  • Best for Nature Lovers: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  • Best for Arts & Culture: Barcelona, Spain
  • Best for Eco-Friendly Escape: Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Best for Wellness: Sumba Island, Indonesia
  • Best for Relaxation: Kauai, Hawaii
  • Best for Foodies: Istria, Croatia
  • Best for Beach Bums: Seychelles
  • Best for Mountain Lovers: Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
  • Best for Small Town Retreat: Trinity, Newfoundland, Canada
  • Best for Families: Homer, Alaska
  • Best for Couples: Milos Island, Greece
  • Best for Solo Travelers: Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Best for Budget-Friendly: Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Best for Luxury: Maldives
  • Best for Remote Getaway: Longyearbyen, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway
  • Best for Big City Thrills: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Best for Large Groups: Napa Valley, California
  • Best for LGBTQ+: Melbourne, Australia
  • Best for Retirees: Alsace, France
Best for Outdoor Adventure: Iceland Ice cave in Iceland
Credit: Ice cave in Iceland by © Glenn Nagel - Dreamstime.com

Best for Outdoor Adventure: Iceland

Iceland often ranks at the top of destinations for outdoor adventure with the opportunity to enjoy practically every activity imaginable among some of the world’s most spectacular scenery.

Why Visit? Whether you’re looking for the more typical recreational activities like hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and kayaking, or something more thrilling and unique, Iceland offers it all. Here you enjoy all of that and snorkel between two continents, take a glacier trek, go ice climbing or ice caving, heli-skiing, surfing, parasailing, and more. Afterward, there’s sure to be a hot spring nearby for a memorable soak.

Don’t Miss: Iceland is one of the best places in the world to watch whales, with its cold waters home to 20 different species, including humpbacks, sperm whales, pilot whales, and orcas. While May through September is the peak viewing time, in some places that can be seen as early as February, with orcas frequently spotted off the shores of the enchanting Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Best for Nature Lovers: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador blue-footed boobie, Galapagos
Credit: blue-footed boobie, Galapagos by © Wirestock - Dreamstime.com

Best for Nature Lovers: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

A nature lover’s paradise, the Galapagos Islands is one of the world’s top spots for viewing unique wildlife.

Why Visit? In this archipelago located 600 miles off the Ecuador mainland, you can get up close to giant Galapagos tortoises, the largest tortoise species on the planet, swim alongside sea lions, penguins, and marine iguanas, and witness the dance of the blue-footed booby bird. The landscapes are impressive too, with everything from volcanic mountains to idyllic white sandy beaches.

Don’t Miss: Snorkeling in the crystal-clear blue waters that surround the islands is a must, but if you only have time for one site, make it Los Tuneles on Isabela Island. Accessed by boat tour, not only will you see an incredible series of lava tunnels, but a myriad of marine life from reef sharks, red crabs, and sea turtles to eagle rays, penguins, marine iguanas, and sea lions.

Best for Arts & Culture: Barcelona, Spain Barcelona
Credit: Barcelona by bigstock.com

Best for Arts & Culture: Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona attracts millions of travelers from around the world for its art and culture, with countless artistic treasures, magnificent architecture, and a renowned food scene.

Why Visit? With Barcelona birthing many famous artists, you’ll find many masterpieces in its museums and galleries, while the architecture is some of the most magnificent in the world, including Gaudi’s famous Sagrada Familia, a psychedelic Gothic and art nouveau structure with vibrant colors and unconventional animal representations that’s been called the greatest achievement in Catalan construction. When it comes to dining, enjoy everything from tapas and traditional Catalan fare to Michelin-starred cuisine.

Don’t Miss: The whimsical Park Guel is a highlight that includes Gaudi’s House, now a museum containing furniture and items that were designed by the architect himself.

Best for an Eco-Friendly Escape: Ljubljana, Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia
Credit: Ljubljana, Slovenia by www.bigstock.com

Best for an Eco-Friendly Escape: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Slovenia is one of Europe’s most underrated destinations, and it was named the first Certified Green destination in the world, based on factors like air quality, green businesses, and wildlife protection.

Why Visit? Ljubljana, the Slovenia capital, was named a European Green Capital, boasting a pedestrian-only zone and a bike-sharing program for exploring the picturesque cobbled streets that are overlooked by hilltop Ljubljana Castle.

Don’t Miss: Famous Lake Bled is just a 40-minute drive northwest of Ljubljana, providing a stunning backdrop of the towering Julian Alps with a tiny islet in the middle topped by a 12th-century church. Legend tells that those who ring the bell and make a wish will see it come true.

Best for Wellness: Sumba Island, Indonesia Breakfast in the treehouse during Spa Safari Adventure, Nihi Sumba
Credit: Breakfast in the treehouse during Spa Safari Adventure, Nihi Sumba by K.C. Dermody

Best for Wellness: Sumba Island, Indonesia

Sumba sits at the end of the chain of Indonesian island gems, offering a unique destination for wellness that still hasn’t been discovered by mass tourism, despite being home to NIHI Sumba, named the world’s best resort twice by Travel + Leisure.

Why Visit? Just an hour’s flight from Densapar, remote Sumba has been called Indonesia’s “lost” isle, providing a true island fantasy that’s perfect for those seeking to enhance wellness, complete with pristine white sandy beaches lapped by turquoise waters and waterfalls surrounded by lush greenery. It’s renowned for surfing, snorkeling, and horseback riding, as well as offering the chance to get to know traditional village culture.

Don’t Miss: A stay at NIHI Sumba ensures the utmost wellness experience that includes ocean-view yoga sessions, riding horses bareback into the surf, equine meditation sessions, and a spa safari. It begins with an easy 90-minute trek through the rice fields, rolling hills, and a traditional Sumbanese village, followed by breakfast in a treehouse overlooking the sea, and perhaps a refreshing dip in the infinity pool. Cap it off with a relaxing massage, and your choice of a body wrap, scrub, or facial.

Best for Relaxation: Kauai, Hawaii Secret Falls Kauai
Credit: Secret Falls Kauai by Wikimedia Commons

Best for Relaxation: Kauai, Hawaii

Known as the “Garden Isle,” Kauai offers stunning beauty and the most tranquil setting of Hawaii’s major islands.

Why Visit? In Kauai, you can relax on some of the most beautiful soft, sandy beaches, some of which you might enjoy all to yourself. Other highlights here include snorkeling among sea turtles, strolling through colorful gardens, and meditating next to the beauty of a cascading waterfall, with nearly 10,000 of them here, more than any other Hawaiian island.

Don’t Miss: Hanalei Bay on the North Shore with its long, half-moon of golden sands backed by lush green mountains laced with waterfalls has a pier that offers the perfect place for a picnic and a panoramic view.

Best for Foodies: Istria, Croatia delicous food in Istria, Croatia
Credit: delicous food in Istria, Croatia by K.C. Dermody

Best for Foodies: Istria, Croatia

The Istria Peninsula of Croatia is often compared to Tuscany minus the crowds, with picturesque walled hilltop towns, endless vineyards, and olive groves. It’a also a food lover’s paradise with dishes that reflect its Slavic, Italian, and Croatian heritages.

Why Visit? Istria not only offers stunning beauty but some of the best food and wine in the country. As it juts out into the northern Adriatic, you’ll find plenty of fresh fish and seafood, along with dishes featuring high-quality olive oil, local cheeses, and other products like truffles.

Don’t Miss: In the forests below the hilltop town of Motovun in the Mirna Valley, you can join an expert truffle hunter and truffle-hunting dogs to learn how the region’s rare delicacy is found. Afterward, you might sit down with the family to enjoy a truffle-focused dish. There are many shops in town that sell truffle items too, from truffle sea salt to olive oil.

Best for Beach Bums: Seychelles Coco Beach, Seychelles
Credit: Coco Beach, Seychelles by © Juliengrondin - Dreamstime.com

Best for Beach Bums: Seychelles

Made up of 115 islands scattered like jewels across the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is the ultimate island paradise with some of the most stunning stretches of sand on the planet.

Why Visit? The islands in the Seychelles are known for their pristine coral-fringed white sand beaches and massive granite rocks. There’s a beautiful stretch for everyone here, like Anse Lazio and Anse Volbert on Praslin, with warm, shallow water lapping the sun-bleached sands. On Anse Royale in St. Anne, from late November through February, sea turtles can be spotted laying their eggs, while coral reefs, hawksbill turtles, dolphins, and colorful fish are just offshore.

Don’t Miss: The uninhabited island of Curieuse is known for its giant tortoises that freely roam sandy coves and can often be seen gathering around picnic areas, hoping human visitors will share a bit. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the rare Seychelles black parrot too.

Best for Mountain Lovers: Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland  Lauterbrunnen Valley, Swiss Alps
Credit: Lauterbrunnen Valley, Swiss Alps by bigstock.com

Best for Mountain Lovers: Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland 

Nestled in the Swiss Alps in a lush valley surrounded by towering mountains and waterfalls cascading down dramatic cliff faces, as soon as Lauterbrunnen comes into view, you might think you’ve managed to enter heaven.

Why Visit? The name Lauterbrunnen means “many fountains” referring to the cascading falls, some of which are a thousand feet high. You can easily walk to the foot of Staubbach Falls from town and by following a steep path, stand behind the veil of water in the summer. Head to nearby Trummelbach Falls to see this unique series of waterfalls that are inside a mountain, accessible by stairs and a tunnel elevator. There are miles and miles of hikes throughout the area, as well as opportunities for parasailing that provide a bird’s-eye view.

Don’t Miss: Take a ride on the cable car that runs from Stechelberg to Schilthorn Mountain for breathtaking views over the Bernese Alps

Best for Small Town Retreat: Trinity, Newfoundland, Canada The colorful town of Trinity, Newfoundland
Credit: The colorful town of Trinity, Newfoundland by K.C. Dermody

Best for Small Town Retreat: Trinity, Newfoundland, Canada

Trinity is a tiny, colorful town along the east coast of Newfoundland that looks as if it was created as a film set.

Why Visit? One of the most charming towns you’ll ever see, Trinity is home to colorful and historic saltbox homes and other centuries-old buildings with museums, unique shops, art galleries, and a fantastic dinner theater featuring local singers, musicians, and actors, as well as offering a wealth of outdoor adventures.

Don’t Miss: This is one of the best places for whale watching in the world and it hosts one of the best outfitters for the experience, Sea of Whales Adventures. From about mid-June through September, with July and August the peak time, there are countless humpbacks in the area that come to feast on the capelin, and you might see sperm whales, fin whales, blue whales, minkes, and orcas too.

Best for Families: Homer, Alaska Arctic lupines and a mountainous backdrop in Homer, Alaska
Credit: Arctic lupines and a mountainous backdrop in Homer, Alaska by © Mvandyke99 | Dreamstime.com

Best for Families: Homer, Alaska

The cultural hub of Southcentral Alaska, Homer is surrounded by dramatic mountain peaks, glistening glaciers, and driftwood-strewn beaches, offering something for all ages.

Why Visit? Families with kids can take part in a wealth of outdoor adventures, from fishing, kayaking, and wildlife cruises, to tide-pooling and just playing on the beach. There are many family-friendly eateries, with lots of seafood-focused menus, and it’s possible to visit a real homestead featured on the Discovery Channel show “Alaska: The Last Frontier,” to get a peak at a life that may seem romantic, while revealing just how challenging it can be.

Don’t Miss: There are many possible excursions from Homer, but families looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience won’t want to miss the chance to see grizzly bears up close on a flightseeing trip with Scenic Bear Viewing.

Best for Couples: Milos Island, Greece Kleftiko, Milos Island, Cyclades, Greece
Credit: Kleftiko, Milos Island, Cyclades, Greece by © Lefteris Papaulakis | Dreamstime.com

Best for Couples: Milos Island, Greece

While Santorini may steal the spotlight when it comes to a romantic couples’ getaway, the island of Milos provides a much more tranquil atmosphere.

Why Visit? Milos is magical, with dreamy beaches, and opportunities to sail around the island, hop off and swim around spectacular caves, soak in natural hot springs dotted along the shore, and stroll through whitewashed towns like Plaka, overlooked by a Venetian castle. From here, you can also take in the enchanting sunsets.

Don’t Miss: Sarakiniko Beach with its smooth, white volcanic rock that looks like a lunar landscape. Contrasted by a sea in stunning shades of green and blue, it provides the perfect scenery for romantic moments with the one you love.

Best for Solo Travelers: Scotland Isle of Skye, Scotland
Credit: Isle of Skye, Scotland by bigstock.com

Best for Solo Travelers: Scotland

Scotland is not only one of the most beautiful countries, it’s one of the best for solo travelers of all types, including women and LGBTQ+ travelers.

Why Visit? If you’re looking at solo travel for the first time, Scotland is a great place to start. The locals are extremely friendly and welcoming, everyone speaks English, and there are plenty of ways to meet other travelers if you want to. Here you can do everything from hike through the Highlands with its countless lakes and soaring mountains, visit ancient castles, and enjoy tranquility on beaches that look as if they should be in the Caribbean.

Don’t Miss: The Isle of Skye is renowned for its enchanting beauty with places like the Fairy Pools and the stunning Quiraing, but to make the most of it, spend at least a couple of nights here so you can explore some of its hidden spots away from the tourist crowds like the Fairy Glen. While the Fairy Pools are overrun with visitors, this area near Uig is much less visited and features whimsical cone-shaped hills and captivating rock formations.

Best for Budget-Friendly: Buenos Aires, Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina
Credit: Buenos Aires, Argentina by © Always Wanderlust | Dreamstime.com

Best for Budget-Friendly: Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires is jam-packed with attractions, cozy cafes, lively bars, and outstanding restaurants, but it’s also a surprisingly good value as one of the world’s most affordable cities.

Why Visit? A city like no other, Buenos Aires is highly walkable with many pedestrianized areas where you’ll find interesting shops, cafes, wine bars, and plenty of steakhouses. As you wander, it’s not uncommon to witness an impromptu tango performance right in the street. Palermo is one of its hippest districts, home to art galleries, museums, and markets, while Puerto Madero hosts an intriguing mix of modern and historic buildings with upscale dining enjoyed along the waterfront.

Don’t Miss: There are many places to catch a tango performance, including the city’s oldest and most charming barrio of San Telmo which also offers venues for taking tango lessons if you want to try the dance yourself.

Best for Luxury: Maldives The Maldives
Credit: The Maldives by Bigstock.com

Best for Luxury: Maldives

Spread out like a string of pearls in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is known for its high-end private island resorts providing the ultimate in luxuries while surrounded by what looks like a tropical fantasy.

Why Visit? There are some 200 inhabited islands to choose from in the Maldives so you’ll have a wide range of fantastic picks. No matter where you land, look forward to an incredible underwater world for snorkeling and diving among vibrant coral, reef fish, rays, moray eels, sea turtles, dolphins, and more. Sunset champagne cruises and romantic candlelit dinners on the sand are a great way to end the day.

Don’t Miss: Treat yourself to a private island resort that comes with a personal butler, pampering spa treatments, and gourmet meals.

Best for Remote Getaway: Svalbard Archipelago, Norway Monaco Glacier in Svalbard, Norway
Credit: Monaco Glacier in Svalbard, Norway by © Betty Leung - Dreamstime.com

Best for Remote Getaway: Svalbard Archipelago, Norway

One of the last great untouched wilderness areas in Europe, the Svalbard Archipelago is a remote and rugged destination filled with craggy mountains, blue-tinged glaciers, and more polar bears than people.

Why Visit? While Svalbard’s population is less than 3,000, there’s plenty to do here. In addition to seeing polar bears, there’s a wealth of wildlife here that most people never see outside of a zoo or aquarium, including reindeer, walrus, polar fox, beluga whales, blue whales, and humpbacks.

Don’t Miss: Take to the sea on a boat excursion or an expedition cruise to view some of the most impressive marine mammals, which might include the elusive narwhal. Polar bears, walruses, and other wildlife can be easier to spot too.

Best for Big City Thrills: Mexico City, Mexico Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral
Credit: Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral by K.C. Dermody

Best for Big City Thrills: Mexico City, Mexico

High-altitude Mexico City is a living museum with everything from ancient ruins to magnificent colonial architecture, and plenty of modern delights.

Why Visit? Mexico’s capital is one of the world’s most vibrant cities with a collection of neighborhoods that each offer something unique of their own. The “City of Palaces,” it’s home to one of the world’s largest urban parks, Chapultepec where you can visit a castle and explore the fascinating National Museum of Anthropology, the largest and most-visited in the country. The historical center was the center of the ancient Aztec Empire and the seat of power for the Spanish colony of New Spain. It contains most of the city’s sites from both periods and many museums. In between, you’ll find bustling markets with colorful handcrafted items and street food stalls serving mouthwatering eats.

Don’t Miss: A day trip to the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan is a must, with both group and private guided tours that include pick-up right from your hotel.

Best for Large Groups: Napa Valley, California Napa Valley, California
Credit: Napa Valley, California by visitcalifornia.com

Best for Large Groups: Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley is best known for its wineries, with over 400 in just a 30-mile span, but there are many other things to do to please groups of all sizes.

Why Visit? In addition to tasting and touring, there’s a wide variety of activities to engage every member of your group in Napa Valley. You might take a bike tour of the valley with options that can include visits to the winery, or get out on the water in paddleboards or kayaks on the Napa River. The mineral springs in Calistoga provide unforgettable soaks and the Napa Valley Wine Train offers group rates for parties of 21 or more.

Don’t Miss: If you really want to treat your group to something special, consider a sunrise hot-air balloon ride.

Best for LGBTQ+: Melbourne, Australia Graffiti Street art in Hosier lane Melbourne
Credit: Graffiti Street art in Hosier lane Melbourne by © Tktktk - Dreamstime.com

Best for LGBTQ+: Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital, a diverse and inclusive city, with a fun and friendly gay scene.

Why Visit? There’s a thriving LGBTQIA+ community, including an excellent calendar of events. You’ll find plenty of things to do without having to worry about being discriminated against, including checking out the lively marketplaces like Queen Victorian Market and sampling some of the world’s best street food, with quite a few fancy food trucks. There are lots of shops like the elegant Royal Arcade, galleries, museums, and theaters too.

Don’t Miss: If you like street art, be sure to take a street art tour as Melbourne offers some of the best. If you want to explore independently there are street art maps with some of the hotspots including Hosier Lane, Blender Lane, Duckboard Place, and Tattersalls Lane.

Best for Retirees: Alsace, France Colmar
Credit: Colmar by Bigstock.com

Best for Retirees: Alsace, France

Bordering Germany and Switzerland, Alsace is located in the northeast of France, a region of spectacular beauty, delicious foods, and fine wines.

Why Visit? Retirees will find lots to explore in Alsace, which is best enjoyed at a relaxed pace. There are several storybook towns like Riquewihr, so enchanting the entire place has been declared a historic monument. Colmar and nearby Eguisheim, with cobbled streets and romantic half-timbered homes and buildings, are just two of the others. Their settings look just as they did 500 years ago, with many fountains and picturesque courtyards overlooked by galleries laden with flowers. As the region’s wine is the star attraction, you’ll be able to sample it in one of the many wine cellars.

Don’t Miss: A guided tour is a great way to explore some of the most charming Alsace villages without having to get behind the wheel, with options from Strasbourg and Colmar.

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