A top travel destination should have awe-inspiring scenery and attractions, as well as an intriguing history. Whether it’s pristine nature, complete solitude or authentic cultural encounters, these destinations are sure to satisfy all desires.
For example, Lake Bled looks like something straight out of a medieval movie with its castle and rustic church. And the Reed Flute Caves in China are as fascinating as they are ancient.
Whether you are interested in food, history, art, culture or nature, France has something to offer all types of travelers. Known as the world’s most popular destination, Paris offers an electric atmosphere and stunning architecture including the Eiffel Tower and Basilique du Sacre Coeur. Alternatively, Bordeaux lures wine lovers with its nearly 300,000 acres of vineyards. Here, you can sample some of the boldest red wines in the country while taking a stroll around its charming city center and enjoying the quaint cafes and restaurants along the cobblestone streets.
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Strasbourg has a distinct French and German feel thanks to its location on the Germany border. Here, you can tour the Gothic-style cathedral and stroll its UNESCO-listed Petite France quarter with its half-timbered houses. Those with an interest in politics can also visit many of the city’s prominent European institutions.
Located in the south of France, Toulouse is a delight for the eyes with its neoclassical Le Capitole, stately Basilica of Saint-Sernin and the shady Canal du Midi. It is also a hub for cuisine, earning the title of France’s Gastronomy Capital. You can find countless restaurants that serve local specialties such as cassoulet and bouillabaisse.
The Provence region of southern France is full of Roman ruins, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There is also incredible natural scenery, from the dramatic gorges of Verdon to the snow-capped peak of Mont Blanc. A trip to this region is a must for outdoor enthusiasts who want to explore the mountains, lakes and valleys while hiking, biking and mountain climbing. You can also take a scenic drive along the Cote d’Azur to see its dazzling beaches and cliffs.
2. Turks and Caicos
The emerald islands of Turks and Caicos are a tropical paradise that offers a blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. The country is home to two major islands, Grand Turk and Providenciales, each offering a unique experience. Grand Turk is where you will find the capital, Cockburn Town, and other historic venues while Providenciales is home to many of the islands’ most preserved natural areas for outdoor recreation.
Known for its white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, Turks and Caicos is the perfect destination for families to enjoy together. A visit to the island of Little Water Cay is a must, where you can explore a shallow shipwreck and snorkel between the colorful barrier reefs. Those who are looking for a more active vacation should consider visiting Chalk Sound, a serene ocean lagoon that is ideal for stand-up paddleboarding. The clear, blue waters of the lagoon offer a great view of the marine life while you glide along the rocky cliffs and coral gardens.
The renowned city of Petra in Jordan is one of the world’s most fascinating and beautiful ancient cities. It was carved into the mountains, and its stunning architecture has made it one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This mysterious place will captivate your soul and leave you wanting more.
Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory in the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas. Its gateway island, Providenciales (known locally as Provo), is home to expansive Grace Bay Beach and luxury resorts. Its crystalline seas and diverse habitats make it an outstanding destination for scuba diving and snorkeling.
The best time to visit Turks and Caicos is between April and May, when the weather is pleasant with warm, sunny days and calm seas. This is considered the “low season” when you can expect lower prices and fewer tourists.
Iceland is one of those rare travel destinations that offers something different depending on the season. Summer is great for hiking, while winter offers ice cave tours and Northern Lights displays.
One of the most popular Iceland attractions is the Blue Lagoon, a natural geothermal pool with soothing properties that is set in scenic Icelandic landscapes. The best time to visit is from May to August when the sun is up and the water temperatures are warm.
Another must-see destination is Landmannalaugar, a volcanic and glacial region in the southeast of the country. The area attracts hikers and backpackers with its spectacular rhyolite mountains and epic day hikes. This unique landscape is also home to hot springs and lava fields, making it an otherworldly destination.
The town of Reykjavik is a cultural hub and there is much to do here all year round. Visitors can take in an Icelandic musical, go whale watching or enjoy the country’s varied cuisine. Reykjavik’s outdoor art scene is vibrant and the capital city itself has a wide variety of landmarks to see, including the Viking ship sculpture Solfar by Jon Gunnar Arnason and Thufa (The Tussock) by Olof Nordal. Download the multi-language Reykjavik Art Walk app to discover the rest of the city’s public artworks, such as Eggin i Gledivik by Sigurdur Gudmundsson which represents the eggs of 34 bird species in the Djupivogur neighborhood or Hringbraut by Einar Jonsson.
In the north of the island, there are a variety of ski resorts. You can find ski slopes for all levels of experience in Isafjordur, Neskaupstadur and Akureyri, as well as cross-country skiing tracks. There are also a number of fun activities on snowy days, such as snowmobile tours and dog sledding.
4. New York
While it might seem obvious to add NYC to the list of top travel destinations, the city is so much more than the iconic skyscrapers and Broadway theaters. The five boroughs are filled with vibrant culture and neighborhood gems. Brooklyn’s historic beach town Coney Island offers nostalgic amusement rides and a bustling boardwalk, while Manhattan’s SoHo, Greenwich Village and West Village offer boutiques, art galleries, and vintage havens.
No trip to NYC is complete without a visit to one of the world’s best museums, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (also known as The Met). You don’t need to be an art connoisseur to enjoy this gallery; its collection of modern masterpieces and classic American artworks is sure to please any visitor.
As for panoramic views, you’ll have no trouble finding them in the Big Apple. Take in the skyline from Brooklyn Bridge or scale 30 Rockefeller Plaza’s skyscraper to the Top of the Rock for unbeatable views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey.
If you’re looking for something a little more off-the-beaten path, check out the High Line, which spans a mile along Manhattan’s west side and sits thirty feet above ground. This urban park is a beautiful addition to the city and was built on an abandoned railway track.
If you want to experience the nightlife in NYC, head to Williamsburg’s trendy Brooklyn neighborhood for a funky music scene and delicious cocktails at bars like Fresh Kills and Donna. Or, explore the quaint neighborhoods of Greenwich Village and SoHo for a more low-key night out.
5. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is one of the world’s most stunning destinations. The country is packed with national parks, wildlife, and beautiful beaches. You can also find lush rainforest, pristine rivers, and gorgeous waterfalls in this amazing place.
There are so many cool things to do in Costa Rica that it can be hard to choose! Fortunately, there are lots of great options for every kind of traveler. For example, nature lovers will love the Monteverde Cloud Forest which contains 2% of the world’s biodiversity. Here, you can see brightly colored birds and even some monkeys.
Another awesome destination is Tamarindo, a popular beach town that’s a great spot for surfing and relaxing on the beach. It’s often crowded with tourists, but the beach is incredibly beautiful and there are plenty of great restaurants, shops, and hotels. If you want to avoid the crowds, try Playa Avellanas which is a little quieter but still has great waves and a great vibe.
Surfers in the know plan their entire vacation around Costa Rica’s luscious coastlines, especially the pounding waves of Playa Tamarindo. Playa Avellanas is a bit quieter than Tamarindo, but it still has great waves and a fun vibe.
The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is less touristy and more authentic than the Pacific side. It’s home to rainforest, secluded beaches, and mangrove and swamp forests filled with exotic wildlife. Tortuguero is a popular turtle nesting destination that’s worth visiting during the right season, and Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge is a great spot for seeing sloths, exotic birds, and other wild animals.