25 Destinations Travelers Can't Stop Dreaming About
There are an infinite number of exciting travel destinations, to the point where choosing which ones to visit can seem overwhelming. This list helps you narrow down your options, so you know which destinations are absolute must-dos.
Some of the top travel destinations are historic favorites; others are genuinely surprising. All are world-class and beloved by tourists across the globe.
Did your favorite place make the cut?
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25. Tel Aviv, Israel
When many travelers think of Israel, they picture the historic capital of Jerusalem. But for cosmopolitan charm, the Mediterranean-facing city of Tel Aviv is the place to go. Tel Aviv is youthful, with a thriving arts community, beaches, clubs and bars. While you can certainly find history in Israel’s second-largest city (visit Jaffa, the oldest part of the metropolis), Tel Aviv is thoroughly modern.
The city’s top sights can be found in the neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, where a maze of winding streets houses the hottest theaters and museums.
Stay: Royal Beach Tel Aviv
Overlooking “The Med,” the Royal Beach Tel Aviv is a five-star resort located on the city's promenade. From here, it'll be easy to enjoy Neve Tzedek, Carmel Market and the Port, all of which feature amazing restaurants, art galleries, shopping and museums.
Book it: Royal Beach Tel Aviv by Isrotel Exclusive
24. Sydney, Australia
From cobblestone streets and contemporary art museums to epic views and the incredible Sydney Opera House, Sydney has so much charm it had to make the list.
We'll single out the appeal of Cockatoo Island in the Sydney Harbor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that once served as the home of a prison. Today, it combines history with exemplary views and places to stay and eat.
Stay: Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Ovolo Woolloomooloo is one of the best hotels in the city. The property overlooks Sydney Harbour and is within walking distance of many of the city's most popular sites. Its wharf location and artwork-filled interior make it a hip and modern place to stay.
Book it: Ovolo Woolloomooloo
23. Cusco, Peru
The entryway into Machu Picchu, Cusco amazes visitors with its Incan legacy and Andean baroque. Those wanting to visit the sacred Incan mountains must first spend a night in this city to adjust to the high altitudes.
This gives travelers a chance to explore its charming streets before discovering the breathtaking Sacred Valley.
Stay: Belmond Palacio Nazarenas
For those wanting to be pampered as they explore the sites of the Sacred Valley, Belmond Palacio Nazarenas knows how to do it right. The highly rated property's onsite spa is world-class, and accommodations boast Inca stonework and mountain views.
Book it: Belmond Palacio Nazarenas
22. Hong Kong
Hong Kong's amazing skyline has starred in many Hollywood films and is a truly thrilling site.
Besides its impressive skyline, you'll find historical Chinese architecture in Ngong Ping village and enjoy serenity at the Buddhist Chi Lin Nunnery. Of course, shopping and food are also highlights.
Stay: The Upper House
Catch the impressive skyline from your very own windows in one of the city's top hotel. The intimate and luxurious Upper House offers some of Hong Kong's largest rooms and provides views of the Harbour or the island.
Book it: The Upper House
21. Hurghada, Egypt
With turquoise blue waters and powder-soft sand, Egypt's Red Sea coastal resort town of Hurghada should be on your radar. A renowned beach escape for Europeans, Americans have yet to discover this stunning town with some of the clearest snorkeling sites on earth.
In fact, Hurghada's Careless Reef is one of the top attractions here. Divers enjoy an impressive amount of biodiversity in the relatively undisturbed reef.
Stay: The Oberoi Beach Resort Sahl Hasheesh
Situated on 48 acres along the Red Sea, the Oberoi Beach Resort offers access to some of the city's best beaches. Suites provide sea views, and you can enjoy water sports and PADI-certified dives.
Many have made this resort a honeymoon or anniversary getaway.
Book it: The Oberoi Beach Resort Sahl Hasheesh
20. Jaipur, India
Nicknamed the "Pink City" because of its pink-hued buildings, Jaipur boasts exquisite sites like Jaigarh Fort, City Palace, Amber Fort and the 1799 grand Hawa Mahal Palace.
Travelers find the city's attractions to be not only culturally significant but also absolutely stunning.
Stay: The Oberoi Rajvilas
The same glamorous hotel company that brings five-star service and accommodations to Egypt also takes the top spot for hotels in Jaipur, thanks in large part to its dedication to pampering guests.
Made with the same sandstone that gives the city its pink hue, the 32-acre Oberoi Rajvilas provides ordinary travelers with the same luxuries enjoyed by Indian princes.
Book it: The Oberoi Rajvilas
19. Kathmandu, Nepal
Mount Everest may be out of reach for most people, but visitors can still enjoy the ancient sites of its closest major city, Kathmandu. From climbing the smaller mountains of Nepal (or just getting a taste of the trails) to visiting Nepalese temples and shrines, Kathmandu offers a memorable vacation experience rooted in history and natural wonders.
Make your way to the Bouudhanath Stupa, a Buddhist holy place and Nepal heritage site.
Stay: Kumari Boutique Hotel
Kathmandu isn't filled with five-star resorts, but you can find five-star service in the clean and comfortable Kumari Boutique Hotel, in the heart of the city. Air conditioning and Wi-Fi, not always standard in Nepal properties, are available in this popular hotel.
Book it: Kumari Boutique Hotel
18. Lisbon, Portugal
One of the hottest up-and-comers in tourism is Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Situated on a beautiful river with plenty of sunshine, delicious food and attractions, this city will charm your pants off. You'll find museums, parks, fortresses and palaces, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Belem Tower.
Explore the cobbled streets of the Alfama neighborhood, home to a combination of Gothic and Arabic architecture, plus plenty of cultural sites.
Stay: Corpo Santo Lisbon
Within walking distance to many of Lisbon's biggest sites and attractions, the Corpo Santo Lisbon is a five-star property offering a free walking tour to help newcomers acclimate to the city. For a taste of nature, it also fronts the lovely River Tagus.
Book it: Corpo Santo Lisbon Historical Hotel
17. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Outside of Cancun, in the Riviera Maya, awaits the bustling city of Playa del Carmen. While you can enjoy the Riviera's fantastic beaches and dazzling blue water, there's much more to recommend this destination, including shopping on 5th Avenue and nearby outdoor attractions like Mayan ruins, cenotes and rainforest adventures.
You'll find all that at Xcaret Park, an outdoor lover's paradise with snorkeling and swimming holes, dolphin experiences, underground cave rivers, Mayan temples and cultural experiences. The only complaint we have is that there's so much to do, it's impossible to fit it all into one day.
Stay: Rosewood Mayakoba
Rosewood properties are some of the highest-end resorts in the industry, and the Rosewood Mayakoba is no different. The serene property is tucked into its Yucatan surroundings, with infinity pools, fine international dining, an ultra-pampering spa, and, of course, a beachfront setting.
Book it: Rosewood Mayakoba
16. Tokyo, Japan
Japan's capital makes the list with its wonderful combination of the old and new. See ancient palaces and temples, sample delicious Japanese food (the city is home to more Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else in the world!) and shop till you drop on the city's bustling streets.
Visit in springtime as the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, particularly at one of the city's top attractions, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
Stay: Mimaru Tokyo Ueno Inaricho
Located in Old Tokyo within steps of the train station, you'll find apartment-style hotel rooms at the top-reviewed Mimaru Tokyo Ueno Inaricho. A dining and kitchen space makes the property especially popular with families traveling to the city.
Book it: Mimaru Tokyo Ueno Inaricho
15. Hanoi, Vietnam
Vietnam's "it" destination, Hanoi has more than 600 temples and pagodas, and boasts a combination of ancient history and modern developments.
Hanoi's Old Quarter, bustling with as many motorcycles as people, contains historic architecture, idyllic sites like Hoan Kiem Lake and urban centers like Ta Hien Street, where the street food might just change your life.
Stay: Hanoi La Siesta Central Hotel
Take in city views from the four-star La Siesta Central Hotel, tucked right into Hanoi's Old Quarter. An intimate Colonial-style hotel with just 27 rooms, the property features a rooftop restaurant and ahh-inducing spa.
Book it: Hanoi La Siesta Central Hotel & Spa
Jamaica is one of the most beautiful Caribbean countries. You know you're going to find white-sand beaches, aquamarine waters and reggae music here, but don't miss out on island shopping, rainforest excursions and historical sites for a well-rounded vacation to remember.
One of the island's coolest outings is climbing Dunn's River Falls — a unique activity not offered on any other island in the region.
Rather than going to a sprawling all-inclusive resort, book a stay at Geejam, "an insider escape." There are just seven rooms here, as well as a secluded beach and a recording studio (plenty of musicians have stayed at this posh property).
Book it: Geejam
13. New York, New York
The only U.S. destination on the list shouldn't come as a surprise. The city so nice they named it twice, New York has such an incredible array of attractions, you can turn a trip there into anything you want it to be. High-end hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and Broadway shows, or dive bars, historical sites and open-all-night clubs? Take your pick.
People from around the world consider the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum a must-visit. You should also spend time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park.
Stay: Casablanca Hotel by Library Hotel
The Library Collection in New York is perfect for families. The Casablanca is within steps of Times Square, and features a lovely — and complimentary — daily wine and hors d'oeuvres hour to bring fellow guests together in between their explorative pursuits.
12. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Step back in time when you visit Siem Reap, the gateway to the Angkor Archaeological Park, the largest religious complex in the world. Highlights include the astonishing Angkor Wat, so famous that it is featured in the Cambodian flag, and Angkor Thom, which has been overtaken by nature. The experience is beyond words.
But there's no need to get stuck in the past. By night, Siem Reap flashes you forward back into modern day with its lively mix of bars and restaurants.
Stay: Jaya House River Park
After a day in the crowds, you'll find peace in the Jaya House, resting along the city's river. You'll be just six minutes from Angor Wat but enjoy a sense of serenity amid Cambodia's lush foliage at this boutique property with only 36 rooms.
Book it: Jaya House River Park
11. Prague, Czechia
Prague is a fairy-tale city, filled with castles and a romantic vibe along the Vltava River.
Explore Staromestské námestî's cobblestoned streets, taking in the Old Town's charm, then cross over the Charles Bridge, being sure to touch its many statues for luck and prayers. Of course, tour Prague Castle and enjoy its privileged views over the city.
Stay: Hotel Residence Agnes
Located in the heart of Old Town is the pretty pink Residence Agnes. The building dates back to the 1300s and provides visitors with a historical backdrop within the city.
Book it: Hotel Residence Agnes
10. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is an oasis in the desert that boggles the mind. Man-made islands in the shape of palm trees, the world's tallest skyscrapers, the biggest malls and dancing fountains larger than those in Vegas converge along the Persian Gulf in this metropolis like no other.
Explore Old Dubai to get a glimpse of what the city was like before it struck oil, and take a safari into the desert for belly dancing and camel rides. Then, visit the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
Stay: Raffles Dubai
While there are plenty of resorts to choose from in Dubai, the landmark Egyptian-styled Raffles near Old Dubai is a standout mere steps from the city's amazing souks (markets). The expansive hotel offers more than 250 rooms, fantastic restaurants and bars, a relaxing spa and international couture shopping.
Book it: Raffles Dubai
9. Marrakesh, Morocco
The 12th-century Moroccan city of Marrakesh — also known as the "Red City" due to its buildings of sandstone — is a juxtaposition of sights and sounds. Traverse cobbled and narrow alleys housing outdoor markets, then encounter majestic palaces and mosques.
Many of the city's historic sights can be found in its walled medina, where snake charmers, acrobats and dancers entertain the masses, and souks sell exotic goods.
Make sure also to stroll the massive gardens of Majorelle, created under the direction of fashion designer Yves St Laurent.
Stay: Riad Kheirredine
Just as unique as the city of Marrakech are the 14 rooms of the Riad Kheirredine, a boutique hotel offering personalized service and decor featuring international and Moroccan elements.
Book it: Riad Kheirredine
8. Istanbul, Turkiye
Although travelers are advised to exercise caution in Turkey, Istanbul is a city that warrants a visit. The stunning metropolis is filled with bazaars, opulent mosques and "breathtaking architecture." The only city to rest within both European and Asian borders, it's a place where you can take in history while smelling the scent of spices perfuming the air.
A visit to Istanbul would be pointless without a visit to the Hagia Sophia mosque and museum. Built as a token of love, this structure dates back to 537 AD. It features more than 30 million gold tiles and is a treasure of humanity.
Stay: White House Hotel Istanbul
Take in superb views of Hagia Sophia from the rooftop of the White House Hotel, located in Istanbul's historic district. You can walk to Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Archeology Museum, the Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, the Millennium Stone and Byzantine Hippodrome from this hotel.
Book it: White House Hotel Istanbul
7. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is so incredibly popular, officials are considering curbing the number of tourists who can visit it every year. The ever-bustling city fronts the glimmering Mediterranean Sea, touts intricate and awe-inspiring architecture, and offers a lively culture that stays awake well into the night.
Plus, artists like Antoni Gaudi and Salvador Dali have left their indelible and surreal imprint on its cultural landscape. What else could you want?
Nothing encapsulates the city as much as its signature Gaudi-designed Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, the monumental church that has remained under construction since 1882. As Gaudi said: "The Expiatory Church of the Sagrada Familia is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people."
Stay: The Serras Hotel
Enjoy sea breezes, a glass of wine or cava, and tapas at this waterfront property that offers a reprieve from the bustle of Barcelona. The Serras Hotel' rooftop terrace with a pool, Michelin-starred restaurant and 28 trendy rooms have made it one of the city's most coveted stays.
Book it:The Serras Hotel
6. Phuket, Thailand
It's been years since the Leonardo DiCaprio film "The Beach" introduced hordes of travelers to the beauty of Phuket's Maya Beach. The beach became so popular that Thailand had to close it temporarily and now tightly guards the number of people who can visit per day.
But Phuket is so much more than its once-hidden paradise. The nearly clear Andaman Sea surrounds the largest of Thailand's islands, making for incredible beachside experiences. You can also visit one of the largest Buddha statues in the entire world.
In Phuket town, walk beneath the neon lights of Bangla Road as you shop, dine and drink, or party it up at the island's club-lined beaches.
Stay: Ayara Kamala Resort & Spa
Set along Millionaire's Mile, this 42-room property is known for its amazing views. The Ayara Kamala is tucked into the hills overlooking the sea and provides a more authentic Thai feel than expansive waterfront resorts.
Book it: Ayara Kamala Resort & Spa
5. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is on many travelers' bucket lists, and those who have been confirm that it's a must-visit. From soaking up the sun on a sandy beach, to cutting through smooth-as-glass blue water, to delving deep into the rainforest to uncover centuries-old temples, Bali is a place where you can awaken your senses.
You can even get to know Indonesia's friendly monkeys at Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, one of travelers' favorite experiences.
Stay: The Kayon Resort
Bali resorts are renowned for epitomizing luxury, and the Kayon Resort is perhaps one of the poshest choices.
Perched on the Ubud hillside, and surrounded by the jungle and its holy river, the five-star resort is just 10 minutes from the city center, yet far removed from it in spirit. An adults-only resort, this is a place designed for relaxation and romance.
4. Crete, Greece
Why visit more crowded Greek isles like Santorini and Mykonos when you can take in the similar, less-traveled and just-as-beautiful island of Crete? This small Mediterranean jewel is teeming with archaeological heritage, which includes the palace of the mythical minotaur.
No surprise here: The beaches of Crete are the real draw for visitors, particularly the pink-sand shores of Elafonissi Beach, considered one of Greece's best.
Stay: Melidoni X Village
Enjoy a secluded getaway at the Melidoni X Village, a resort made up of five independent villas. Each villa has its own private swimming pool. Book one, and you'll feel as if you are renting a home in the middle of the island while enjoying outstanding service and gourmet food.
Book it: Melidoni X Village
3. Rome, Italy
Rome is a massive and amazing metropolis, especially for travelers who relish learning about the past. History can be found at every turn here, from the Colosseum and the Pantheon to churches and museums.
If that weren't enough, Rome surrounds the private city-state of Vatican City, which houses a museum amassing thousands of works of art and treasures from around the world.
The towering remains of the city's Colosseum are an impressive testament to Rome's strength and remain one of the best-preserved monuments here.
Stay: Appia Antica Resort
Appia Antica Resort is found within the world's largest archaeological park. Featuring three apartments within one small villa, the property offers a sense of seclusion within the buzzing city.
Book it: Appia Antica Resort
2. Paris, France
Arguably the world's most romantic city, the City of Lights is filled with many romantic sites: the iconic Eiffel Tower, the powerful Arc de Triomphe, the grand art museums of the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay...the list goes on (and on).
Walk through the city's many parks and gardens, and stroll along the Seine, which cuts through the city center. And, of course, take time to enjoy food. Sit at a cafe for hours or have a seven-course meal without rushing through it. After all, this is France, and experiencing the country means experiencing its joie de vivre.
Stay: Maison Souquet
In a city as large as Paris, it's difficult to choose a single hotel. We recommend the Maison Souquet. With only 20 opulent rooms, the property also has a reading room, a hidden bar and a spa with a Turkish-style hammam.
1. London, United Kingdom
It makes sense that the world's visitors are enthralled by this capital city: Its history connects to countries around the globe.
Explore the city's free museums, including the Tate Modern and the British Museum; shop in high-end boutiques from fashionable Oxford Street to Covent Garden; and visit the crown jewels at the Tower of London before checking out the royal family's residences of Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace.
When not taking in the sights, relax in Hyde Park or grab a pint at a local.
Cheers to the world's top city!
Stay: Hotel 41
Within steps of Buckingham Palace, you'll feel like royalty at Hotel 41. The property only has 28 rooms, decked out in black-and-white decor, so a stay here is intimate.