Like every year, this year, TripAdvisor announced the most beautiful destinations in the world for 2016 for a minute of time, you have time to plan your next trip.
Before you book a hotel or airline tickets, be sure to take into account this list:
25. Budapest, Hungary
Over 15 million gallons of water bubble daily into Budapest’s 118 springs and boreholes. The city of spas offers an astounding array of baths, from the sparkling Gellert Baths to the vast 1913 neo-baroque Szechenyi Spa to Rudas Spa, a dramatic 16th-century Turkish pool with original Ottoman architecture. This Travelers’ Choice Destination, called the “Queen of the Danube,” is also steeped in history, culture and natural beauty. Get your camera ready for the Roman ruins of the Aquincum Museum, Heroes’ Square and Statue Park, and the 300-foot dome of St. Stephen’s Basilica.
24. Sydney, Australia
City slickers, culture vultures and beach bums alike fall in love with Sydney. Hang ten at famed Bondi Beach or stroll the calmer sands of Coogee. Is Cash burning a hole in your pocket? You’ll find great shopping in the Rocks district and along George and Pitt Streets. Climb to the top of the Harbour Bridge or take a skywalk on Sydney Tower for a 360-degree view of the city. But whatever you do, don’t leave town without cuddling the koalas in the Taronga Park Zoo—they’re ridiculously adorable.
23. Kathmandu, Nepal
Nepal’s capital is situated in a valley full of historic sites, ancient temples and shrines, golden pagodas and fascinating villages. Hotels, bars, and restaurants cater to all budgets. Shops offer handicrafts, carpets, and Nepali paper prints. Bus services, taxis, and bicycles open up the city. Trek to see the Monkey Temple, the valley’s oldest and most sacred shrine. Mingle with locals and animals amid Durbar Square’s monuments and temples, or join mountain trekkers in the bustling Thamel District.
22. Cusco, Peru
Incan majesty and Andean baroque exist side-by-side in Cusco’s stone streets, epitomized by the Qoriacancha palace and the church of Santo Domingo flanking the Plaza de Armas. In this high-altitude melting pot of Amerindian and mestizo culture, you’ll find extraordinary textiles, lively summer festivals, and archaeological wonders.
21. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo can’t be judged from the outside since those expecting ancient monuments will instead be greeted with modern drabness. The Imperial Palace, still home to the Emperor, shouldn’t be missed, and the Edo-Tokyo Museum details the city’s history. Sensoji Temple is the city’s oldest, and the Tokyo National Museum holds the largest collection of Japanese art in the world.
20. Cape Town Central, South Africa
Cape Town glistens at the southern toe of the African continent. Tourist brochure-views at Blaauwberg Beach and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens are within the easy driving distance of “The Mother City.” The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve provides sweeping sea vistas, hiking trails and wildlife encounters. On a more somber note, travelers can visit Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years.
19. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Playa del Carmen is distinct among Yucatan beach towns both culturally and commercially. While its beaches are similar to other destinations’, its nightlife and hotel culture is hipper in the European and American style, blending the traditional Mexican locale with a more permissive and opulent array of tourist options.
18. Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong’s a great city for an adventurous eater. Stop at a street vendor for fish balls on a stick or stinky tofu. Bakeries offer wife cake, pineapple buns, and egg tarts. Or opt for as much dim sum as you can eat. If you’re tired of local and regional Chinese specialties, check out upscale offerings from some of the world’s top chefs, like Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse.
17. Buenos Aires, Argentina
The birthplace of the tango is, like the dance itself, captivating, seductive and bustling with excited energy. Atmospheric old neighbourhoods are rife with romantic restaurants and thumping nightlife, and Buenos Aires’ European heritage is evident in its architecture, boulevards, and parks. Cafe Tortoni, the city’s oldest bar, will transport you back to 1858, and the spectacular Teatro Colon impresses just as it did in 1908. Latin America’s shopping capital offers the promise of premium retail therapy along its grand, wide boulevards.
16. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam is truly a biker’s city, although pedaling along the labyrinthine streets can get a little chaotic. Stick to walking and you won’t be disappointed. The gentle canals make a perfect backdrop for exploring the Jordaan and Rembrandtplein square. Pop into the Red Light District if you must—if only so you can say you’ve been there. The Anne Frank House is one of the most moving experiences a traveler can have, and the Van Gogh Museum boasts a sensational collection of works.
15. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is full of exquisitely decorated Buddhist temples—as you go from one to the next you’ll be continually blown away by the craftsmanship and elaborate details. But if you’d rather seek enlightenment in a gourmet meal, or dance the night away, you’ll also enjoy Bangkok—the restaurant and nightclub scenes here are among the best in the world.
14. St. Petersburg, Russia
The second largest city in Russia, St. Petersburg is the country’s cultural heart. Views splendid architectural gems like the Winter Palace and the Kazan Cathedral, and give yourself plenty of time to browse the world-renowned art collection of the Hermitage. Sprawling across the Neva River delta, St. Petersburg offers enough art, nightlife, fine dining and cultural destinations for many repeat visits.
13. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
There is often a perception that Dubai is a playground only of the rich and famous. This can mean that holidaymakers telling friends of a pending visit to Dubai can be suspected of a secret lottery win. The reality is, however, that the Dubai government are doing all within their power to encourage international tourism and the emirate is opening up to people of all social status. One of the main reasons why international visitors come to Dubai is for its shopping facilities. There are more than seventy shopping malls in Dubai, as well as countless numbers of more traditional retail outlets. A lot of traders still negotiate on prices for items, so it is not always a good idea to pay the first price suggested. Shoppers and sightseers alike should not miss visiting the Ibn Battuta Mall. Named after a legendary traveler, the mall is separated into geographically themed wings. As well as retail outlets, it also contains a wide variety of entertainment facilities and food and drink establishments. History and culture in Dubai: Although much of Dubai is of ultra-modern construction and design, the emirate still retains a wealth of sites with Old World appeal. There is no better place to start your historic exploration of Dubai than at the Dubai Museum, a former fort, constructed in the eighteenth century. The museum contains artefacts relating to traditional Arabian life down through the centuries, from weapons to musical instruments. Sheikh Saeed al-Maktoum House was the palace of a former ruler of the area and is now a museum, affording full insight into the privileged lifestyle of the period. Jumeirah Mosque is Dubai’s largest and although tours are available on certain days, the magnificent architecture of the mosque is best appreciated when the floodlights come on after dark. Relaxing in Dubai: It is imperative to remember at all times that only certain restaurants and bars in Dubai are allowed to sell alcohol but this should not detract from the entertainment value on offer. The Moroccan themed Kasbar is one bar to make a point of visiting due to its highly unusual terraced construction, while Carter’s in Wafi City in the heart of Dubai is one of the better combined bars and restaurants, very popular with the nightlife crowd later in the evening. The climate of Dubai is very much suited to sun worshippers, though dress code is required to be observed on many public beaches. This is another benefit of private holiday rental in Dubai, permitting discretion and full enjoyment of the climate. If you have children in your party, the Wild Wadi Waterpark is something which should not be missed, where the wonderful variety of rides and activities for all ages are based on the adventures of the legendary Sinbad.
12. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, has become an increasingly popular place to visit in recent years, with a warm Mediterranean climate in spite of its place facing the Atlantic Ocean. Full of bleached white limestone buildings and intimate alleyways, Lisbon’s mix of traditional architecture and contemporary culture makes it the perfect place for a family holiday.
11. Barcelona, Spain
Stroll Las Ramblas and enjoy Barcelona’s unique blend of Catalan culture, distinctive architecture, lively nightlife and trendy, stylish hotels. You’ll find Europe’s best-preserved Gothic Quarter here, as well as amazing architectural works by Gaudi. La Sagrada Familia, considered Gaudi’s masterpiece, is still under construction (your entrance fee helps to fund the project). Feel like a picnic? Look no further than the rambunctious La Boqueria market, where you can stock up on local delicacies.
10. Ubud, Indonesia
9. New York City, New York
The first time you go to New York, go ahead and be a sight-seer—everyone should visit the Statue of Liberty, the Met, Times Square, etc. But on a return trip, pick a neighbourhood and go deep. You’ll find hole-in-the-wall bars, great delis, quirky shops… Exploring the non-touristy side of New York is an incredibly rewarding experience for a traveler.
8. Hanoi, Vietnam
The charming Vietnamese capital has aged well, preserving the Old Quarter, monuments and colonial architecture, while making room for modern developments alongside. Hanoi may have shrugged off several former names, including Thang Long, or “ascending dragon”, but it hasn’t forgotten its past, as sites such as Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and Hoa Lo Prison attest. Lakes, parks, shady boulevards and more than 600 temples and pagodas add to the appeal of this city, which is easily explored by taxi.
7. Rome, Italy
It’s nicknamed the Eternal City for a reason. In Rome, you can drink from a street fountain fed by an ancient aqueduct. Or see the same profile on a statue in the Capitoline Museum and the guy making your cappuccino. (Which, of course, you know never to order after 11 am.) Rome is also a city of contrasts—what another place on earth could be home to both the Vatican and La Dolce Vita?
6. Prague, Czech Republic
We hear the question, “What’s the next Prague?” a lot. But while we’re all for discovering great new destinations, we hardly think Prague is over. Sure, everyone’s heard of it, but it’s still a grand city with extraordinary historic and cultural sights, and it’s definitely worth a visit. The often-rebuilt Prague Castle has overlooked the city since the 9th century, and the synagogues and cemetery of the Jewish Quarter are must-sees. Nightlife here is diverse and plentiful, from trendy clubs to sophisticated wine bars to late-night cellar bars.
5. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap is a fast-growing city with plenty of new hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs. But chances are, you’re here not because of the city itself, but for what’s nearby: amazingly well-preserved ancient temples. Even if you have the worst jet lag ever, drag yourself out of bed to be at Angkor archaeological Park when it opens—sunrise over Angkor Wat is worth losing sleep over.
4. Paris, France
Everyone who visits Paris for the first time probably has the same punch list of major attractions to hit: The Louvre, Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, etc. Just make sure you leave some time to wander the city’s grand boulevards and eat in as many cafes, bistros and brasseries as possible. And don’t forget the shopping—whether your tastes run to Louis Vuitton or Les Puces (the flea market), you can find it here.
3. Marrakech, Morocco
Your local farmers’ or flea market may be a fun place to spend a Saturday morning, but it’s got nothing on Marrakech’s markets. Spend a day here to immerse yourself in the spectacle. (Yes, that is, in fact, a snake charmer.
2. Istanbul, Turkey
Europe and Asia meet in Istanbul, and throughout this vibrant city, you’ll find centuries-old mosques, churches, and markets happily co-existing with modern restaurants, galleries, and nightclubs. And plan on visiting a hammam (traditional Turkish bath)—for about $20 your skin will be scrubbed clean. And we mean scrubbed. Your wimpy loofah has nothing on this.
1. London, United Kingdom
There’s so much to see and do in London, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Major sights like the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace are on most visitors’ itineraries, but no matter what your interests, you’ll probably find something here. Art lovers should make a beeline for the National Gallery and the Tate Modern. If military history’s your thing, don’t miss the Cabinet War Rooms. Finally, forget everything you’ve heard about bland, mushy British food—the restaurant scene here is fabulous.
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